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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 252

246 CONTINUANCE OF THE EMPIRE. [TX. have declared his own independence but have extinguished the dignity which had ceased to symbolise, not only universal empire, but even national unity. From time to time the phantom empire clothes itself in power and strength ; the house of Bavaria fails to hold the dignity, but, on legal pleas which, if their legality were contested, it could not vindicate by arms, possesses itself of two or three electorates, and founds a distinct family policy of most important consequence. The house of Luxemburg, a little county under Henry VII, gains in the third generation the superiority of the two non-Teutonic kingdoms, and under Sigismund, knight-errant and political pedant, sways the destinies, for the moment, of Christendom itself. The house of Austria, in the same way, lays thus the foundation of that empire which is to be one of the great forces of the next age ; not by fraud, not by violence, but here by a politic marriage, here by a well advocated inheritance, here by a claim on an imperial fief forfeited or escheated: honestly where the letter of the law is in her favour, by chicanery it may be here and there, but that a chicanery that wears a specious garb of right. The imperial idea was but a small influence compared with the superstructure of right, inheritance, and suzerainty, that legal instincts and a general acquiescence in legal forms had raised upon it. In the counter influence, that of the Roman see, there is perhaps more of the idea and less of the substantive right. I am speaking, of course, politically, and not theologically. The idea of the Petrine succession was a developing idea, that of the Cesarean succession was a waning and diminishing one: the latter was the declining from a great fact, the ancient dignity and power of imperial Rome; the former was the growth into a great fiction, the temporal supremacy of papal Rome. The empire astonishes us with the vitality which the

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