Page:Historical Lectures and Addresses.djvu/246

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and whenever they see a handsome foreigner they say that 'he looks like an Englishman,' and that 'it is a great pity he should not be an Englishman'; and when they set any delicacy before a foreigner they ask him 'if such a thing is made in his country'." Early in the reign of Henry VIII. Sir Robert Wingfield argues in a magnificently English manner, "As the English nation has always surpassed the French in valour and good faith (I do not wish to speak invidiously), so it cannot be judged inferior to it either in antiquity and dignity, or in the size of its territory, or in its learning and capacity". "Valour and good faith," these are the primary and practical qualities which the Englishman has always claimed as conspicuously his own; then he is prepared to argue that all other good qualities follow naturally from their possession. I have spoken of some points in which we misunderstand foreigners; there is a point in which they misunderstand us. Our valour they do not deny, but our claim to conspicuous good faith is not equally clear in their eyes. Good faith is to some degree a matter of opinion, and a reputation for it is only gained by scrupulous care. It cannot be won by a few heroic achievements. While we think of all the disinterested things that England has done, other countries think of the hindrances she has placed in their way that she might maintain her own interests. I am afraid that they often regard her humanitarian pleading as so much hypocrisy, and suspect some ulterior motive behind. Though they are wrong in so doing, we should remember that their error is natural, and that it is to some degree our