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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 393



XV.] MATRIMONIAL SPECULATIONS. 387 arbiter of the Netherlands, and possibly of Spain ; or Johanna of Castile, if she could have been consoled for the death of the archduke; or that delightful duchess of Angoulême, Louise of Savoy, the mother of Francis I, and destroyer of the Constable of Bourbon ; or last, but not least, Katharine of Aragon, his own daughter-in-law, if the pope, whose conscience was elastic enough to dispense a marriage with a brother's wife, could so far stretch a point of infallibility as to connive at such a politic enormity. Well, the lady Margaret, poor thing, had four husbands, and Henry VIII had six wives; matrimony was clearly a feature in the germinating policy of the Magians of the renaissance. And then, did ever English king receive, like Henry VII, three caps and swords from three successive popes,—from Innocent VIII, Alexander VI, and Julius II ? And last, but not least, Francis Bacon for a biographer! And yet we want something more ! But it is time to be serious. If it is fair to estimate the importance of a reign by the contrast which may be drawn between the two that precede and follow it, the reign of Henry VII should be regarded as one of the most important, and in some respects the most important reign in English History. But to argue thus would really be a mistake ; really much of the importance that does attach to it is not its own, but arises from the general character of the age in which it fell, the critical, transitional age, which would have been very much what it was whatever sort of king was on the throne of England. " If the points which English History has thus in common with general European History during this period be left out of consideration, both the interest and the real significance of the actual events of the history of England fall into the background. Such interest as it has becomes a dreary and commonplace interest; its dramatic action, if it can be .c c 2


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