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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 288



282 THE ROYAL IDEA. [XI. end in itself, on kingly volition as the only and ample reason for anything whatever ; on his dignity as such a complete vice-Deity that, under his fiat, municipal law rose, without any further sanction, to the level of divine revelation. His marriages are royal marriages, his murders royal murders, his diseases royal diseases. There is nothing to hide, nothing to be ashamed of. Bessie Blount is as much a fact as Anne Boleyn, and Anne Boleyn as Katharine of Aragon. If they are to his taste they are honoured and worshipped with him ; if he is tired of them the country is tired of them too ; they are abominable ; they confess themselves guilty of impossible sins ; send them by parliamentary petition to the block. What is strange in all this is not the idea itself, which George IV may have had as strongly as Henry VIII : it is the force of character that makes the idea tolerable to other men ; that makes More, Warham, Cranmer, Gardiner, Cromwell, faithful administrators of the idea ; and that forces, against their will evidently, but still effectively forces, Parliament and Convocation, Lords, Clergy and Commons, to register simply the peremptory orders of the king as their own wishes. There were cliques and parties at Henry's court during the whole of his reign, there was a strong party against Wolsey, there was a protestant and a catholic party, and a Norfolk and a Suffolk party ; but I am sure that it is a mistake to regard Henry as pulled by one or other of these alternately ; or to think that the changes of his policy, and I am not at all sure that the changes were at all so great as they are commonly regarded, were dictated by any other than his own despotic will : he used, I think, the parties, not they him ; what influence he allowed them was allowed for his ends, and the moment he saw them pursuing their own ends he stopped them. Of course such a theory about him, if true, necessitates


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