Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects
ON THE STUDY OF
MEDIEVAL AND MODERN HISTORY
AND KINDRED SUBJECTS
DELIVERED AT OXFORD, UNDER STATUTORY OBLIGATION
IN THE YEARS 1867—1884
WILLIAM STUBBS, D.D.
BISHOP OF CHESTER AND HONORARY STUDENT OF CHRIST CHURCH
LATE REGIUS PROFESSOR OF MODERN HISTORY
LL.D. OF CAMBRIDGE AND EDINBURGH:
A MEMBER OF THE COURT OF THE VICTORIA UNIVERSITY, AND AN
HONORARY MEMBER OF THE IMPERIAL UNIVERSITY OF S. VLADIMIR OF KIEFF
AND OF THE ROYAL BAVARIAN, PRUSSIAN, IRISH AND DANISH ACADEMIES
AT THE CLARENDON PRESS
M DCCC LXXXVI
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If I were asked what is my reason for printing these lectures, I might be at a loss for an answer. They are not printed by request, or because they seem to me worthy to be preserved, or because they are likely to be useful reading, or because they supply a want. It may be that they owe their present form to the fact that the love of correcting proof-sheets has become a leading passion with the author.
Some part of the volume may be readable, some part useful: it may be that the useful part is hard reading, and the readable part trifling, but I will give myself, unphilosophic as it may be, the benefit of a doubt. The lectures were written under the pressure of statutory compulsion, and against the grain. I know, by sad experience, how often the best lecture, the best sermon on which I have most prided myself—eloquent, lucid, learned, logical,—has gone the way of all fireworks. There is a chance that something may be said for work elicited by forcible pressure, under weariness and vexation, against stress of time, under statutory obligation and a conscientious sense of duty.
The statute under which these lectures were delivered was a burdensome statute to me; it would not be so to every professor, but the discomforts of working under it could only be explained by experience: and the statute 'itself is now a thing of the past. The feeling of compulsion, the compulsion to produce something twice a year which might attract an idle audience, without seeming to trifle with a deeply loved and honoured study, was so irksome that never once, in the course of my seventeen years of office, did I think that there would come a time when I could look back on this part of my work with pleasure or grateful regret. And I fear that this will be only too obvious to any one who tries to read this book. But I have said more than enough about it; and I will content myself with adding that the following are only a selection from a larger number of exercises delivered under the same conditions. Most of the omitted lectures have seen the light in other places. The second lecture of 1867 was made part of the Introduction to the second volume of Roger Hoveden, in the Rolls Series. The lectures of 1868 and 1874, on Anglo-Saxon literature and monastic history, formed part of a plan which I finally discarded after the restoration of Professor Earle to the Anglo-Saxon Chair, and, by themselves, do not seem to justify publication. Those for 1869 on Comparative Constitutional History, and for 1871 on Scottish Constitutional History, would have required a larger apparatus of notes, and more labour of revision, than I could at present afford, to qualify them for a permanent form, and are as a matter of necessity excluded. The lectures for 1870 form the Introduction to my Select Charters; those for 1873 were utilized as the seventh chapter of the Constitutional History; those for 1875 as the fourteenth chapter; and those for 1872 in the preface to the second volume of the Memoriale of Walter of Coventry.