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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 259



JX.] PRIVATE WAR. 253 inferior tribunals had failed to satisfy the litigants; and private war was little else, except that there the coercive power of the tribunals which should have been appealed to was greater, and the waging of war in contempt or despite of them a bolder defiance of the laws of human society. Public war was not, like private war, branded as a social crime, because the one tribunal which might have decided the questions at issue without bloodshed was both dishonest and weak. Private war was not only a contempt of competent jurisdiction but a sin against social order. Yet down to the close of the period, the habit of private war was in a great part of Europe unbroken and unrepressed : in the empire the successive proclamations of the peace were inoperative ; in the other states the custom was extinguished only with the independence of the powers that practised it; wherever there was disorganisation, wherever the feudal spirit broke the bonds in which constitutional rule had limited its powers, there private war was regarded as the I ultimate appeal : men went to law to avenge their wrongs and to vindicate rights, and, when they could not get law that was strong enough-to enforce itself, they went to war. Lastly, look at the Crusades. The Crusades were the great exception to the rule as I have stated it ; they were not wars waged for proprietary rights ; they scarcely even pretended to be so. The Holy Land, the patrimony of the Crucified, as the Crusaders called it, was not theirs by any title of law ; historically the only power which had a legal claim to Palestine was the Byzantine empire, but the territorial claims of the Comneni were, throughout the crusading period, defied where they were not ignored ; the Crusaders believed the Greek emperors to be either in league with the Moslems, ready to betray Christendom for a price, or else, as schismatics, one shade more or less culpable than


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