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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 130

PARTY-SPIRIT BOOKS. 124 IN[V. people too who have thought the Encyclopaedia Londinensis a useful sort of reading for Sunday afternoons ; no doubt it would enable you, like one of Dickens's heroines, to pass a number of remarkable opinions upon a remarkable number of subjects. But seriously, anything should be welcome that would save a well-intentioned man from the necessity of taking his rule of political conduct from the leading articles of party papers. We have had popular histories and pictorial histories, political Cyòlopaedias, and Books for the Million ; a whole historical department of the Society for Diffusing Useful Knowledge. Yet it seems as if even for such work, even where such work would pay, no one has the spirit to undertake it unless he is stirred by something stronger than the desire of being useful, the desire of ventilating some party view or destroying the character of some partisan opposed to him. Imagine a history of England in which the lying story of Hannah Lightfoot appears as an important clue to the difficulties of the reign of George III, and the triumphs of the Commonwealth are regarded as incomplete unless Henrietta Maria can be shown to have been an adulteress. These are extreme cases, because they are cases in which a coarse and violently prejudiced mind has undertaken the task of writing for party purposes ; but the infection is not confined to coarse and vulgar minds : it defiles some of the very noblest works, especially historical works, that have ever been written. How can we recommend the man who wants to get up the rights of a case to a history like Macaulay's ? how easy must have been the victory of Macaulay's hero if all his adversaries were the pitiful knaves and fools that they appear to him to have been. I am not calling him a slanderer, I do not believe that he was one ; or ignorant or careless, for he was most learned and accurate ; nor insincere, for he was most sincere ; but for all that he was as much a party writer as Clarendon or Prynne, or Burnet, or Collier. And where such a man with

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