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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 428

or no literary or ecclesiastical activity, although there are, now and then, small flashes of anticipation of what is coming : the reign of Henry VIII would not in any respect have been what it was, if he had not had a predecessor like Henry VII ; but, such as it was, it gathers up and concentrates in itself all the interest that would properly belong to that of his father. I have said enough about the political importance of the reign, and perhaps in the last lecture more than enough about personal incidents and characteristics. T o the last, however, Henry VII remains somewhat of an enigma to us. Was he a great king ? If it be enough to constitute a great king, to have reigned twenty-four years without a single important war, and to have united in apparent peace a ] number of dynastic forces that had been struggling for a century; to have found England weak and poor, and divided against herself and isolated in Europe, drenched in blood and impotent in internal government; and to have left her rich, and at peace with herself, and growing in contentment, and well administered; having a place in the councils of Europe second to none, courted on every side and able to make her weight felt perceptibly in the balance ; to leave a full treasury and an uncontested title to his successor, and a reputation stained by nothing that in the eyes of his contemporaries bore the guilt of crime.; then the reign of Henry VII was a great reign, and perhaps Henry VII himself was a great king. If we look rather on the moral of the reign we may somewhat modify our opinion. We look in vain for anything that would constitute him a hero or a benefactor. We find no great fault except his avarice, but even that cannot be regarded as the vulgar appetite for hoarding : and avarice, in a king who keeps within the letter of the law and the constitution, is perhaps really, and certainly in a land which had

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