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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 129

V.] STANDARD BOOKS. 123 view, it is founded upon a truth. There are many things which a mere acquaintance with the facts of history, however that acquaintance may have been gained, enables a man to do better than he would do them without it. There is a knowledge of history for ordinary practical purposes which may be acquired without either the love of the subject or going through the disciplinary study of it by way of culture. And this we must not undervalue, because a very little may be made to go a great way; and it is quite possible for a man to wish to take an independent and right view of public affairs and political duty, who has not, and never had and never can have, a proper education for forming a complete judgment. We respect the man who, when he has to vote on any public question, goes to his books to get up the question instead of voting as the party whip would wish him ; we would rather that .his education had fitted him to do right at once, that he had studied public questions to begin with, or that he had, by the culture of educational reading, exercised his mind to discern between good and evil; but we do not despise him even if he votes wrong in the end. Even an indifferent Cyclopaedia is better than a paid party agent as a guide in doubtful questions. Now how can this sort of information be best provided? I do not know of any expedient that has not been at one time or other tried; tried in vain, you say. Not quite in vain, if such expedient has, as I said, enabled a man to do better than he would have done without it. We do not condemn the use of a Ready Reckoner because we think that a tradesman ought to do and would do better without it; it is much safer for his customers than that convenient leaden canon, the rule of thumb ; but we do not think that a banker who entirely depends on his Ready Reckoner will ever become Chancellor of the Exchequer. One has known

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