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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 186



ι8ο THE CRUSADES. [Vili. we may determine that the salvation of Turkey is possible, or that Cyprus is an unhealthy island, a professor of History may draw some little comfort from the fact that the attention of people has been called to a portion of the history of Christendom of which little notice has been taken of late years, and which is closely connected with one of the greatest movements that ever affected the history of the world. Having said this, I will add that my object in this lecture is not to ventilate dogmas, to impress any principle, moral or political, or to justify any foregone conclusion. I plead guilty to the charge brought against me of choosing subjects which are of no importance to any human being ; I wish simply to talk about a subject on which a good deal of intelligent interest has arisen, and in the further discussion of which many fresh points of interest may be expected to present themselves. It is right, however, that I should preface one word of caution against myself. The Crusades are not, in my mind, either the popular delusions that our cheap literature has determined them to be, nor papal conspiracies against kings and peoples, as they appear to the Protestant controversialist ; nor the savage outbreaks of expiring barbarism thirsting for blood and plunder, nor volcanic explosions of religious intolerance. I believe them to have been, in their deep sources, and in the minds of their best champions, and in the main tendency of their results, capable of ample justification. They were the first great effort of medieval life to go beyond the pursuit of selfish and isolated ambitions ; they were the trialfeat of the young world, essaying to use, to the glory of God and the benefit of man, the arms of its new knighthood. ~ That they failed in their direct object is only what may be alleged against almost every great design which the great disposer of events has moulded to help the world's progress ; for the world has grown wise by the experience of failure,


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