Page:Historical Lectures and Addresses.djvu/304

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Let me apply these considerations for a moment to those countries which have been the great ruling countries of the world, both intellectually and in the path of industrial civilisation. These have always been small countries. They have been small countries which had their natural features greatly diversified and were capable of being broken up into small portions, each of which was self-contained. Such are the features of Palestine, of Greece, of Italy, and such are the features of England. It seems to me rather remarkable to consider that the great nations which have influenced the thought and the civilisation of the world should have all been formed under the same conditions—conditions in which the mind was undoubtedly stimulated to activity by the fact that it could so rapidly pass from one set of suggestions to another. In England we are particularly favoured. Think of the variety of scenes and the diversity of features which we find in this island. Anybody who takes a walk finds that on his walk, say of ten miles, he passes through at least two or three quite different regions, which suggest to his mind quite different thoughts, which often show differences in the flora and the geology. These differences cannot fail to impress themselves upon the mind of anybody who is really receptive of impressions at all.

Let us take the best-known regions of England—for instance, the Lake District. I suppose the geologist—I am not a geologist—could teach you there all the laws which regulate mountain formations; he would be able to point out to you all that was necessary for your instruction from a geological point of