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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 108

I02 A SCIENCE OF HISTORY. [IV. History ? As I hope I made clear before, I do not intend this lecture to be a systematic exposition of my own views or any one else's ; and I certainly do not intend to attempt an analysis of History as the subject-matter of a science or philosophy. I am only trying, if possible, to adjust my own impressions to the maxims of our theoretical instructors, and to say a word or two on subjects which recent discussions suggest. It certainly seems curious that, although the advocates of the Unity and Continuity of History, and the believers in the science and philosophy of History, imagine themselves to be diametrically opposed to one another, the weakness of their respective positions seems to be the same. Both prefer to work out generalisations and collect coincidences, rather than to study the drama in its plot and personnel ; both decline to look at the subject, as we might say, all round. It is true that this is a fault of theory rather than of practice : a really good historian may, as we all know, combine an earnest faith in the Unity of History with a power of creating most exact and minute reproductions of periods, scenes and characters; and such an advocate might almost convince us of the truth of his doctrine, because his practice is so completely free from the faults which that doctrine seems to the outside critic to involve. I am perhaps in error too on the other side, in speaking of the Science of History and the Philosophy of History in one breath ; for certainly there is a Philosophy of History which is not content with abstractions, but busies itself with following up causes and following out consequences, goes behind the scenes of the drama as well as directs a miscroscopic vigilance on the stage; and there is a sense in which the Unity of History is itself a Philosophy of History. I will then leave out the Philosophy of History, and finish the lecture with a few words on the theory of a science of History.

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