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

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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 

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WILLIAM STUBBS
Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects
page 250



244 RECOGNITION OF WEAK RIGHTS. [IX. instances of departure from this rule; indeed, as I shall show, two at least of the most important changes in the map of Europe, the most potential and far-reaching changes, were produced by the breach of it; but the rule as a rule was observed. In England we know how the long-suffering of the Plantagenet kings allowed the continuance of such houses as the Mowbrays, the Ferrers, the Mortimers, the Despensers; how, when generation after generation had proved that disaffection was a part of the hereditary constitution of the offending races, the heirs of the traitors were restored or rehabilitated, until, in the wars of the Roses, the opposing houses perished in one another's downfall. There was no fear of shedding blood, but there was great fear of destroying right. So, too, with small states abroad. The little principalities of the Low Countries subsisted side by side with their powerful neighbours ; the small kingdoms of Spain united and separated according to the special law of inheritance that was recognised by each ; and where an attempt at infringement was made, the aggressor found himself matched against a wide and powerful union of powers instinctively actuated by the intention of right. In France we see this exemplified, not merely by the long continuance of the Plantagenet inheritance in the South, but by the existence of Provence, by the toleration of the accumulations of the Burgundian inheritance, by the independence of Flanders and Lorraine. In all these cases there were conducing causes, but in each case there was also the plea of right. Proprietary right, we say; the recognition by kings that, if they do not recognise the proprietary rights of the weaker, then the stronger will not consider theirs; proprietary rights, the leading idea that the tenant belongs to the land and the land to the landlord, and if the principle be broken down in one case, it cannot be maintained in another : proprietary right, I grant, but still right, still something that may


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