Page:The Chartist Movement.djvu/39

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

foreigner. He was still more gratified when called upon by Lamprecht to read an elaborate treatise in German on the der englische Untertanenbegriff, the English conception of political subjection. His only embarrassment now was that he could never quite convince himself that there was any specifically English conception of the subject at all, and that he rather wondered whether Lamprecht knew whether there was one either. But however much he criticised, he never lost his loyalty to the man. His doubts of the Lamprechtian system became intensified when he found underlying it errors of fact, uniform vagueness of detail, and cut-and-dried theoretical presuppositions against which the broad facts of history were powerless to prevail. One of his last judgments, made in a letter to me in June 1913, is perhaps worth quoting:

Professor Lamprecht is lecturing this term on the history of the United States. His course is exceedingly interesting, but I am bound to say that his history strikes me as highly imaginative. He never speaks of the English colonies. They are always "teutonisch," except when (as to-day) he says in mistake "deutsch." Thus Virginia in 1650 was "teutonisch." He persistently depreciates the English element on the strength of the existence of a few Swedish, Dutch, and German settlements. By some magic English colonists cease to be English as soon as they cross the ocean, so that their desire for freedom and political equality owes little or nothing to the fact of their being English. He carefully distinguishes even Scots from English. He views the history of America down to 1763 as an episode in the eternal struggle of the "romanisch" and "teutonisch" peoples, and the beginning of the decided triumph of the latter, whose greatest victory of course was in 1870–71. I am firmly convinced that he neither understands England, nor the English, nor English history. Still, although I don't agree with half he is saying, I find his method of handling things interesting; he stimulates thought, if only in the effort to follow his.

The whole period at Leipzig was one of intense activity. Hovell enjoyed himself thoroughly. He was always eager to widen his experiences, and found much kindness from seniors and juniors, Germans and compatriots. He made a special ally of his French colleague, who did not take Kulturgeschichte quite so seriously as he did. The two exiles spent the short Christmas recess in a tour that extended as far as Strassburg,