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WILLIAM STUBBS Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects


Sir John Froissart's Chronicles of England, France, Spain and the Ajoining Countries from the latter part of the reign of Edward II to the coronation of Henry IV in 12 volumes 

Chronicles of Enguerrand De Monstrelet (Sir John Froissart's Chronicles continuation) in 13 volumes 

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Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects
page 69

III.] THE PASTON LETTERS. 63 increased interest felt in historical matters at this day, I might, I think, allege the curious phenomenon of the republication of the Paston letters. Curious, invaluable, as these relics are, they are really unintelligible to all but the innermost ring of historic students. Their language, their localised details, their minutiae of family history and illustration of manners, are without any meaning to nine people out of ten. Yet they have just been reprinted with a most admirable apparatus of notes and introductions, in a most useable and convenient form, for the small sum of one guinea ; a price at which only a very large circulation can repay the editor for his outlay, to say nothing of his labour and the expenditure of stores of carefully gathered knowledge. So far, you may say, so good ; but when we remember that the demand for the republication was not the result of awakened historic interest, or even of curiosity as to what the much-talked-of letters might contain, but sprang directly from an ingenious and paradoxical argument on their authenticity written by a well-known scholar, who was not, I believe, specially interested in their contents so much as in their external history; that it was promoted by the rumour that our greatest judge was going to investigate their genuineness, and that in the third place the curiosity so provoked was stimulated and encouraged by the unexpected discovery of new stores of similar matter,—when, I say, we remember these things, we are bound to confess that the sensational history of the Paston letters, rather than the really valuable matter contained in them, has been the chief element in the demand for their production. However this may be, we bless the accident and rejoice in the result. However the zeal originated, that result is according to knowledge. It is time, however, that I should proceed to mention some of the more important additions to our historical stores which have marked the period which I have, desultorily I fear, tried

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