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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 286

28ο FOREIGN POLICY. [XI. and, in spite of many leagues with Charles, war of England against France has no other direct object than the acquisition of a stronghold on or near the coast. Money is spent in loans, or dangled in the shape of promises, there are threats of diversion and plans of united campaigns which come- to nothing more. England claiming to be an arbitrator is really a make-weight. I cannot therefore agree with those who would extol the foreign policy of England in the beginning and end of the reign as a masterpiece of diplomacy. Honesty would have been the simpler, the wiser, and the cheaper policy ; and so I think the nation itself felt. Far more would really have been gained by letting the competitors fight out their quarrel and exhaust themselves ; and the position of England could have been made safe at a tenth of the cost. But it was a new game, a new drama, and England as represented by Henry must have a leading part. Within the borders of the island, the old struggle of Scotland, allied with and prompted by France, is a matter of secondary interest ; and the two great crises, the battle of Flodden in 1513 and the death of James V in 1542, great as they are in picturesque and personal interest, scarcely trouble the current of peace at home; the border warfare, seldom intermitted, the party struggles of the Scots themselves, whether the time is one of truce or of hostility, furnish opportunity for military and administrative occupation, and for the energies of uneasy men. I pass then rapidly and generally over these external points in which so much of contemporary history is expended, and prefer to look more closely at home. And let us first look at the king. I am i.ot one of those critics who incline to a very disparaging estimate of Henry VIII. He was not, as a man, more vicious than many kings who have maintained a very fair reputation in history. In

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