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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 268

2Ó2 THE REFORMATION. [X. Ì it has been since Charles VIII, marching into Italy, had opened the new drama. Rights were sought out and put forward as the pretexts of the struggle, but the struggle was for superiority and the hold on power. The action of the house of Austria was in itself defensive action ; on every side its spreading dominions were at the mercy of the strong enemy whom they seemed to hem in ; the action of Francis and Henry II was necessarily aggressive; wherever they turned, except seawards, there were the forces of Austria watching them; over the Pyrenees, over the Alps, over the Rhone, over the Rhine, within the historic limits of France, northwards and eastwards, there was the rival power, and even on the sea-board there were the hostile fleets. Next comes the Reformation, a struggle it may be said f ideas, as the Hapsburg struggle with France is a struggle of rights, but primarily a struggle of powers ; the rights in the one case, the ideas in the other, being the occasion rather than the essential ingredients of the rivalry. But setting the idea side of the Reformation for the moment in the background, follow the rivalry of the foremost powers. In this aspect the Reformation cuts curiously across the earlier dividing lines : it breaks up such unity of German action as has yet existed, and gives France its first great advantage : the strange alliance of Henry ΙΧΓ with the Protestant powers, an alliance most distinctly of force, not of idea, strikes the first hard blow at the preponderance of Austria, and the irrecoverable loss of the three bishoprics is one of the mortal wounds of the empire. The next act is the rebellion of the Netherlands and the contemporary wars of the league in France ; the Austrian heritage is broken in two, but the family interest and alliance for a time supplies the place of personal union. For a generation, however, Austria proper stands outside the struggle of the balance ; she has to repress the movements towards religious

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