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[p. 128] the life of a State, a nation, a people. If the dignity of history is to be preserved it must never be regarded in a petty way.

It is easy for the individual, especially if he lacks historical training, or that broad insight which often supplies its place, to fall into this local antiquarianism. One of the important functions of the historical society, in relation to its members, is to lift them out of this habit by that constant comparison of work along different lines with a common object, which inevitably opens new ranges of vision, and tends to prevent the narrowness resulting from concentration of interest upon a single object. But more than this, we must always keep in sight the great movements in which those of the town merge and by which they are interpreted. Localism must not mean isolation, and limitation of field must not be allowed to produce narrowness of view. To a younger writer about to undertake the biography of one of America's Revolutionary statesmen a veteran historical scholar gave this advice: ‘Don't hurry. Do not settle to real work on this for a year or two. You must read everything of importance on the period of this man's life and for half a century before and afterward. Soak yourself in the period of which he formed a part. Then you can interpret his life.’

There is the same difference between real history and history as it is often treated that there is between the preservation of real historic memorials and the collection of worthless relics. The Royall House as it stands to-day ought to be preserved, with restorations where needed, because it is a rare type of the grander old-colonial houses, now fast passing away, and assists more than many volumes could do in reconstructing for us the life of a very interesting and important epoch in New England history. But if the Royall House should give way some day before the march of improvement, the chips and blocks and bricks that the relic hunters will collect with such avidity will have no more value

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