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

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WILLIAM STUBBS
Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects
page 148



142 INTERNATIONAL INTERCOURSE. [VI. both an educated man himself, but also the patron of many learned Englishmen. There was something, however, besides the literary wideawakeness of Henry and his family that made England and its Court at the time a centre of literary activity. Henry was the most powerful king of the West, and his hand was in the affairs of all the Western kingdoms: and this at the time when international acquaintance was carried on upon the very largest scale. There can hardly have been a period of our history in which the intercourse between England and France was freer or more frequent. The enormous number of letters which passed between England and Rome, every letter, remember, carried by a separate messenger; the stream of pilgrims to the East, and the prominence given in the histories of the time to the adventures of the few that returned ; the cosmopolitan character of the clergy, the frequent promotions of English and Normans in foreign churches, and their continued intercourse with their friends at home ; the recourse to foreign Universities, and the honours won by English scholars at those Universities, were a constant inducement to others to follow them ; the welcome given at the English Court to foreign scholars, and finally, the fact that the English Court was open to all exiles from East or West, North or South ; all these served to arouse and keep awake that curiosity about foreign matters which will not be satisfied without the acquisition of learning : so that learning is not sought for itself only, but as a part of the equipment of a man of the world. A little may go a long way under such circumstances, but yet every little helps to make a mickle, and there were many men about, as I shall hope to show you, who were bent on picking up all they could, and to whom nothing came amiss. T o run rapidly over the more prominent examples under each of the heads I have enumerated : in 1155, the first year


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