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Studies from Court and Cloister
J.M. Stone

Page 1 of 589


STUDIES FROM COURT AND CLOISTER 

I.  MARGARET TUDOR 

Notwithstanding the spy-system which was brought to so great a
perfection under the Tudors, the study of human nature was in their
days yet in its infancy.  The world had long ceased to be ingenuous, but
nations had not yet learned civilised methods of guarding themselves
against their enemies.  At a time when distrust was general, it was
easier, like Machiavelli, to erect deceit and fraud into a science, and
to teach the vile utility of lying, than to scrutinise character and
weigh motives.  It was then generally understood that opponents might
legitimately be hoodwinked to the limits of their gullibility; but it
was reserved for Lord Chesterfield, two centuries later, to show how a
man's passions must be studied with microscopic intensity in order to
discover his prevailing passion, and how, that passion once discovered,
he should never be trusted where it was concerned.  The study of men's
characters and motives as we understand it, formed no part of the
policy of sixteenth-century statecraft, or Wolsey would not have been

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