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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 339

XII.] WHAT HENRY WAS. 333 latter half of his reign. I do not believe that he was abnormally profligate : in this region of morality he was not better perhaps than Charles V , but he was much better than Francis I, and Philip II, and Henry IV. But he was cruelly, royally vindictive ; there was in him an everincreasing, ever-encroaching self-will, ever grasping and grasping more and more of power : a self-will guided by a high intellect, and that sort of sincerity which arises from a thorough belief in himself. I am not prepared to deny that deep, cunning, unscrupulous men, like Cromwell, traded on their knowledge of his character ; but not one of those who tried to work their own ends through Henry escaped the doom to which false friends and open foes alike found their way. Well, you say, you would not wish to see him worse cursed. I do not condemn him. God forbid, in whose hand- are the hearts of kings. I do not believe him to have been a monster of lust and blood, as so many of the Roman Catholic writers regard him. I cannot accept at all the picture which Mr. Froude has drawn. I think that even Lord Herbert's estimate of him is deficient in the perception of his surpassing self-wilfulness. -1 do not attempt to pourtray him after my own idea ; but I seem to see in him a grand gross figure, very far removed from ordinary human 1/ sympathies, self-engrossed, self-confident, self-willed; unscrupulous in act, violent and crafty, but justifying to himself, by his belief in himself, both unscrupulousness, violence, and craft. A man who regarded himself as the highest justice, and who looked on mercy as a mere human weakness. And with all this, as needs must have been, a very unhappy man, wretched in his family, wretched in his friends, wretched in his servants, most wretched in his loneliness : that awful loneliness in which a king lives, and which the worst as well as the best of despots realises. Have I drawn

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