The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 1, July 1897 - April, 1898 Page: 152
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152 Texas Historical Association Quarterly.
rial progress is but a phase of the growth of human philosophy,
of ideas, of mental culture. So, too, is the political and moral pro-
gress of the world. In truth, all phases of our civilization, whether
social or individual, whether moral or material, whether economic
or political, are interwoven so closely and are so interdependent
that we can not separate them except ideally. Every phase of it
implies the others. Yet they all reflect certain central ideas, and
these ideas are the moving forces of the whole.
In turning our attention to the subject of economic history, it is
obvious that in an hour's discourse only a few thoughts can be of-
fered, and these must be of a general rather than of a specific char-
acter; and it has seemed to. me that the most suggestive thoughts
would relate to the growth of economic ideas rather than to econ-
omic incidents, though incidents must be referred to for purposes
of illustration. I know of no study more interesting than the
research into the condition of peoples of past ages, to learn how
they lived, what was the scope and interest of their daily life, what
kind of food did they eat, what sort of clothing did they wear, how
were they housed, and what was the degree of bodily comfort or dis-
comfort which they enjoyed or suffered. Above all, it is interesting
to inquire what were their thoughts and opinions on each or any
class of subjects. These questions engage the attention and labor of
present historical writers far more than the older ones. In fact,
it is only, in comparatively recent years that historians have given
such questions much thought. Such information as we possess
has not been handed down to us in any one book written by a con-
temporary writer, giving a systematic, fairly complete and detailed
account of such matters in a single volume. It is gathered in num-
berless fragments from numberless sources, and pieced together by
comparison. Much of it is inferential, though the inferences seem
to be well sustained. Not merely histories, but poetry, dramas,
treatises on all subjects, laws, church canons, inscriptions, books of
controversy, and finally old letters abound in materials of this frag-
mentary sort, which, when collated and carefully compared, throw
much light upon the condition and customs of past generations.
This information, however, is much fuller and more circumstantial
with respect to the condition of the higher classes than of the
lower, as might be expected, for their doings and their relations to
the world around them were more conspicuous, and they alone as
individuals performed the leading parts in the dramas of history.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 1, July 1897 - April, 1898, periodical, 1897/1898; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101009/m1/173/: accessed July 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.