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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 429

XVI.] HENRY'S CLAIM TO GREATNESS. 423 suffered from royal prodigality for three centuries, a less fault than extravagance. Even avarice is not always fatal to the heroic character, if there be the rudiments of the true heroic character there at all. Henry VII was a virtuous man, sober, temperate, and chaste, withstanding great temptations to vice and an abundant store of loose example. His household was kept frugally and severely; all his advisers, except Empson and Dudley, were men of character unstained, if not energetic for good. For one better' or greater king, there are in European history fifty smaller and worse. But still—is there any of that self-denying devotion which gives itself for the people? Is there any true conception of the duty of a shepherd of the host? Is there any impulsive well-doing ? I can see none. I see a cold, steady, stronglypurposed man, patient, secret, circumspect; with not many scruples, yet not regardless of men's opinions ; very clearsighted; very willing to wait for reconciliation where there is a chance, and not hasty where vengeance is the only course ; but ruthless where his own purpose is directly endangered, and sparing neither friend nor foe where he is not strong enough to rely on himself alone. It may have been a nature too cold to care for popular love; or too selfcontained to condescend to court it; there is no evidence that Henry VII ever dreamed of winning it. In his domestic life there is little that calls for remark. He cannot have cared much about his wife or any of her relations: he honoured and trusted his mother, and may have been in some matters guided by the advice which natural acuteness and varied experience helped her to give him. But this is a minor matter, and would count for little in the picture of a man of whose real character we knew enough to enable us to judge of him. I said in the former lecture there is nothing attractive about him, with all his virtues and all the great consequences of his work. There is surely always something

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