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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 289



xi.] MORES CAUTION: the belief of great development of design and new purpose in the king himself : but that I think is the most natural solution of most of the critical questions of the reign. The words which More addressed to Cromwell, soon after hé resigned the chancellorship, seem to be a key, almost prophetic in simplicity, to the after-history. ' Master Cromwell,' he says, ' you are now entered into the service of a most noble, wise, and liberal prince : if you will follow my poor advice, you shall in your counsel-giving to his grace, ever tell him what he ought to do, but never what he is able to do.' ' For if a lion, knew his own strength, hard were it for any man to rule him.fl From the very beginning of his reign, he is finding out what he can do; from the fall of Wolsey, and especially after the sacrifice of More, he is coming to regard what he can do as the only measure of what he ought to do : he is becoming the king for whom the kingdom is, the tyrant whose every caprice is wise and sacred : he turns the theory of kingship into action ; the king can do no wrong ; therefore men shall call right all that he does : he is the king, not an individual ; what in an individual would be theft, is no theft in him; all property is the king's, he can take it, and he takes it ; all that proceeds from his mouth is law ; the king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, therefore all that comes out of the king's heart is the Lord's doing. Yet with all his grotesque and inhuman self-absorption, the miserable and growing result of the long tenure of irresponsible power, we cannot wisely deny the king some great qualities besides mere force. Contemporary foreigners, the justice of whose general judgment is amply proved by later history, and whose opinion, according to Lord Bacon's dictum, is generally that which future ages will be found to confirm, are unanimous in their glorification of Henry's personal and mental gifts. His beauty was of that sort that commended itself to the taste of those times. And more


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