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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 248

LAW AND SCIENCE. [IX. was a profound influence with politicians. It may seem fanciful, but I cannot help adding a parallel illustration. The scholastic philosophy was an attempt to codify all existing knowledge under laws or formulae analogous to the general principles of justice. It was no attempt, as is sometimes said, to bind all knowledge with chains to the rock of S. Peter, or even to the rock of Aristotle; just as right is one and indivisible, and all rights are referable to it (if we only knew where to find it) as the ultimate touchstone and arbiter, so Truth is one and indivisible, and the medieval philosophy found its work in reconciling all existing knowledge logically with the One Truth which it believed itself to possess. What logic was to the philosopher legislation was to the statesman and moralist, a practical, as the other was a theoretical, casuistry; an attempt to justify all its conclusions by direct reference to first principles. You may tell me, if this is true, the age of which you are speaking ought to have been a scientific age, or at least a mathematical age, and it was not. I reply that it was a scientific age in many respects, only it had misunderstood to some extent the character of its subject-matter; it applied scientific method to matters which were not capable of being scientifically treated, an error which it had in common with a good deal of the scientific philosophy of other ages, the present age not least signally. It used principles and applied demonstration in matter to which neither the principles nor the method were properly applicable; it argued too rashly from the known to the unknown, and relied too implicitly on its own implements. But that is by the way: our present parallel is simply, that in both philosophy and law the middle ages exemplified a like tendency to generalise and to syllogise ; the names of Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus stand over against the names of Edward I and Lewis IX as leaders of thought, emancipators for the time,

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