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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 109

IV.] SCHOLASTIC SCIENCE. Shall I be saying too much if I say at once that one great objection to the very idea of reducing History to the lines and rules of exact science lies in the fact I have already stated, that generalisations become obscurer and more useless as they grow wider, and, as they grow narrower and more special, cease to have any value as generalisations at all ? Is not a historical science liable, if it can be elaborated at all, to become on the one hand a mere table of political formulae and on the other a case-book of political casuistry ? And, in either case, is it not as a mere political weapon that it is sought for, not as an increase of knowledge, not as an investigation of truth, nor as a study of History for its own sake? And is not the fact that the idea of a science of History finds acceptation, not among practical historians, but among high-paced theorists, a proof that such a possibility belongs to theory and not to practice ; that it is aimed at as a new grace for the all-accomplished doctrinaire, rather than as an object to be sought by those who seek after wisdom ? There were days, centuries ago, when the schoolmen fancied that they could bring into class and line all human knowledge, and encroach to some extent upon the divine, by syllogisms and conversions and oppositions. Much precious knowledge those men handed down to us, with much verbiage and false logic ; but even they for the most part left History alone. They ticketed every portion of man's moral anatomy, found a rule for every possible case of choice, a reason and a reward for every virtue, and a punishment for every conceivable crime ; they turned generalisations into laws, and deduced from them as laws the very facts from which they had generalised. They benefited mankind by exercising and training subtle wits, and they reduced dialectics, almost, we might say, logic itself, to absurdity. I do not undervalue them, because the

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