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ONE of the most carefully taught studies in this College is the study of History. A number of electives are offered, which are made both entertaining and instructive; but there seems to be a curious gap in the middle of the list. The history of the golden age of Greece and Rome is taught in the classical electives; the fall of the Roman Empire, and the general history of Europe to Charlemagne, are contained in History I.; the second course extends from this point to the middle of the fifteenth century, while the sixth, the next general course, begins only with the seventeenth century.
The period left out is that of the Reformation, a period at once most important and most interesting. In England,* the entire Tudor dynasty is thus omitted; in France, we lose the important reign of Louis XI., the period of the struggle with Burgundy, and of the final consolidation of the kingdom, the reign of Francis I., and the religious wars. In Germany, we lose Luther and the whole Reformation; in the Low Countries, the tyranny of Philip II. and the rise of the Dutch Republic. To suppose that a student will carefully study this period by himself is expecting rather too much; indeed, to study it thoroughly without the help of an instructor would be, for most of us, exceedingly difficult, if not impossible. At the same time, a student of history not acquainted with this period would be somewhat in the condition of a man who had left algebra out of the study of mathematics.
It is true that our instructors in History have now as much work as they can do, but cannot an additional man be supplied? or, if the College is too poor for that, cannot the proposed course alternate with History II., in the same way that History VI. is hereafter to alternate with History VII.?
*Since writing the above the elective pamphlet has come out, in which History IV. is so changed as to include the constitutional history of England as far as the seventeenth century. The ground thus covered, the constitutional history of one country, is so small a part of that to be gone over in the proposed elective, that it does not affect our pressing need of a course in the History of the Reformation.
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