SOME AFFAIRS OF NEW AMSTERDAM.
Measuring events with a foot rule.
TWENTY-FIVE years ago, when the late Lord Sherbrooke, better known as Robert Lowe, was Chancellor of the Exchequer, he made a very shallow speech on the uses of a classical education, in the course of which he amused himself with belittling the Greeks and Romans. Their history, he said, was hardly worth the time spent on it. The battle of Marathon, for example, was of less account than a modern explosion in a coal mine, which often slays a greater number of victims than the 192 Greeks who perished in withstanding the hosts of Darius Hystaspes. The moral intended was that the newspaper is a better text-book than Herodotus. Now I can imagine that too exclusive attention to the newspaper, with its myriad disconnected items of fact and fancy, might so destroy one's sense of perspective as to blind one to the importance of an event upon which hung the whole future of European civilization. No one with any sense of historic perspective needs to be told that the battle of Borodino, where 70,000 were killed and wounded, was a trivial event, even for Russians, compared with the battle of Marathon. In history we cannot measure things with a foot rule.