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The inland inhabitants are represented as extremely numerous, living in cottages thatched with straw, and feeding large herds of cattle. They subsisted chiefly upon milk, or flesh procured by the chase. What clothes they wore, to cover any part of their bodies, were usually the skins of beasts ; but their arms, legs, and thighs, were left naked, and commonly painted blue. Their hair, which was long, flowed down upon their backs and shoulders, while their beards were kept close shaven, except upon
the upper lip, where it was suffered to grow. The dress of savage nations is every where pretty much the same, being calculated rather to inspire terror than to excite love or respect.
As to their government, it consisted of several small principalities, each under its respective leader ; and this seems to be the earliest mode of dominion with which mankind are acquainted, and deduced from the natural privileges of paternal authority. Upon great and uncommon dangers, a commander in chief was chosen by common consent in a general assembly; and to him was committed the conduct of the general interest, the power of making peace or of carrying on
Their forces consisted chiefly of foot, and yet they could bring a considerable number of horse into the field upon great occasions. They likewise used chariots in battle, which, with short scythes fastened to the ends of the axle-trees, inflicted terrible wounds, spreading terror and devastation wheresoever they drove. While the chariots were thus destroying, the warriors, who conducted them, darted their javelins against the memy, ran along the beam, leaped on the ground, resumed their seat, stopped or turned their horses at full speed, and sometimes cunningly retreated, to draw the enemy into confusion.
The religion of the Britons was one of the most considerable parts of their government; and the Druids,* who were the guardians of it, possessed great authority among them. No species of superstition was ever more terrible than theirs : besides the severe penalties which they were permitted to inflict in this world, they inculcated the eternal transmigration
• From Druidh, which in the language of the northern Britons signifies an enchanter, a magician. Much curious and valuable information respecto ing the Druids is contained in an elegant and classical dissertation by my amiable and learned friend the Rev. Dr. Graham of Aberfoyle, in bis Es. say on the Authenticity of the Poems of Ossian-in Dr. Smith's Gælic da. ex uities and in Dr. Henry's History of Great Britain. Ed.
of souls, and thus extended their authority as far as the fears of their votaries. They sacrificed human victims, which they burned in large wicker idols, made so capacious as to contain a multitude of persons at once, who were thus consumed together. To these rites, tending to impress ignorance with awe, they added the austerity of their manners, and the simplicity of their lives. They lived in woods, caves, and hollow trees; their food was acorns and berries, and their drink water :: by these arts they were not only respected, but almost adored by the people.
It may be easily supposed, that the manners of the people took a tincture from the discipline of their teachers. Their lives were simple, but they were marked with cruelty and fiercegess; their courage was great, but dignified neither by mercy nor perseverance.
The Britons had long remained in this rude but independent state, when Julius Cæsar, having overrun the greater part of Gaul, now France, with his victorious armies, and willing still farther to extend his fame, determined upon the conquest of a country which seemed to promise an easy triumph. When the troops destined for the expedition were embarked, he set sail for Britain about midnight, and the next morning arrived on the coast near Dover, where he saw the rocks and cliffs covered with armed men to oppose his landing.
The Britons had chosen Cassivelaunus for their commander in chief; but the petty princes under his command, either desiring his station, or suspecting his fidelity, threw off their allegiance. Some of them fled with their forces into the internal parts of the kingdom, others submitted to Cæsar, till at length Cassivelaunus himself, weakened by so many desertions, resolved upon making what terms he was able, while he yet had power to keep the field. The conditions offered by Cæsar, and accepted by him, were, that he should send to the Continent double the number of hostages at first demanded, and that he should acknowledge subjection to the Romans. Cæsar, however, was obliged to return once more to compel the Britons to complete their stipulated treaty.
Upon the accession of Augustus, that emperor had formed a design of visiting Britain, but was diverted from it by an unexpected revolt of the Pannonians.
Tiberius, wisely judging the empire already too extensive, made no attempt upon Britain. From that time the natives began to improve in all the arts which contribute to the advancement of human nature.
The wild extravagancies of Caligula, by which he threaten. ed Britain with an invasion, served rather to expose him to ridicule than the island to danger. At length, the Romans, in the reign of Claudius, ninety seven years after the retreat of Julius Cæsar, began to think seriously of reducing it under their dominion. The expedition for this purpose was conducted in the beginning by Plautius, and other commanders, with that success which usually attended the Roman arms.
Caractăcus was the first who seemed willing, by a vigorous effort, to rescue his country, and repel its insulting and rapacious conquerors.
This rude soldier, though with inferior forces, continued, for above nine years, to oppose and harass the Romans ; till at length he was totally routed, and taken
; prisoner by Ostörsus Scapula, who sent him in triumph to Rome. While Caractăcus was leading through that city he appeared no way dejected at the amazing concourse of spectators who were gathered upon this occasion, but casting his eyes on the splendours which surrounded him, “ Alas, (cried he,) how is it possible, that a people possessed of such magnificence at home could envy me an humble cottage in Britain !" The emperor was affected with the British hero's misfortunes, and won by his address. He ordered him to be unchained upon the spot, and set at liberty with the rest of the captives.
The cruel treatment of Boadicea, queen of the Icēni, drove the Britons once more into open rebellion. Prasutăgus, king of the Iceni, at his death, had bequeathed one half of his dominions to the Romans, and the other to his daughters, thus hoping, by the sacrifice of a part, to secure the rest in his family: but it had a different effect ; for the Roman procurator immediately took possession of the whole ; and when Boadicea, the widow of the deceased, attempted to remonstrate, he ordered her to be scourged like a slave, and violated the chastity of her daughters. These outrages were sufficient to produce a revolt throughout the island. The Iceni, as being the most deeply interested in the quarrel, were the first to take arms; all the other states soon followed the example; and Boadicea, a woman of great beauty, and masculine spirit, was appointed to head the common forces, which amounted to two hundred and thirty thousand fighting men. These, exasperated by their wrongs, attacked several of the Roman settlements and colo nies with success. Suetonius Paulinus, who commanded the Roman torces, hastened to relieve London, which was already a flourishing colony; but found, on his arrival, that it would be requisite, for the general safety, to abandon that place to the
merciless fury of the enemy. London was soon, therefore, reduced to ashes ; such of the inhabitants as remained in it were massacred; and the Romans, with all other strangers, to the number of seventy thousand, were cruelly put to the sword. Flushed with these successes, the Britons no longer sought to avoid the enemy, but boldly came to the place where Paulinus awaited their arrival, posted in a very advantageous manner, with a body of ten thousand men. The battle was obstinate and bloody. Boadicea herself appeared in a chariot with her own daughters, and harangued her army with masculine intrepidity ; but the irregular and undisciplined bravery of her troops were unable to resist the cool intrepidity of the Romans. They were routed with great slaughter; eighty thousand perished in the field, and an infinite number were made prisoners ; while Boadicea herself, fearing to fall into the hands of the enraged victor, put an end to her life by poison.
The general who finally established the dominion of the Romans in this island was Julius Agrịcola, who governed it during the reigns of Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian, and distinguished himself as well by his humanity as by his courage.
For several years after the time of Agricola, a profound peace seems to have prevailed in Britain, and little mention is made of the affairs of the island by any historian.
At length, however, Rome, that had for ages given laws to nations, and diffused slavery and oppression over the known world, began to sink under her own magnificence. Mankind, as if by a general consent, rose up to vindicate their natural freedom; almost every nation asserting that independence of which they had been long so unjustly deprived.
During these struggles the British youth were frequently drawn
away into Gaul, to give ineffectual succour to the various contenders for the empire, who, failing in every attempt, only left the name of tyrants behind them. In the mean time, as the Roman forces decreased in Britain, the Picts and Scots continued still more boldly to infest the northern paris ; and crossing the Firths, which the Romans could not guard, in little wicker boats covered with leather, filled the country wherever they came with slaughter and consternation.
The Romans, therefore, finding it impossible to stand their ground in Britain, in the reign of the emperor Valentinian, took their last leave of the island, after being masters of it for nearly four hundred years, and now left the natives to the choice of their own government and kings. They gave them the best instructions the calamitous times would permit, for exercising their arms, and repairing their ramparts, and helped them to erect a new wall of stone, built by the emperor Sevērus across the island, which they had not at that time artisans skilful enough among themselves to repair.
Under whom and in what year did the Romans first invade Britain ? Who frequented the coasts of Britain opposite France, and in what did they trade? What induced them to settle there? What art did they introduce into Britain ? Had the inland inhabitants any correspondence with the new settlers ? What did they consider them ? How were the inland inha. bitants employed ? On what did they chiefly subsist? Of what did their dress consist ? What form of government then prevailed ? Describe their military forces and manner of fighting. Who were the priests of the Britons ? Describe their superstitions and worship. In whose writings is the fullest account of the tenets and practices of the Druids to be found? In what particulars did the Britons resemble their teachers ? What country had Julius Cæsar almost wholly conquered before he made the descent upon Britain ? Whom did the Britons appoint commander in chief of their forces against the Romans ? Was he successful? Did the Britons fulfil the terms of their stipulated treaty ? What prevented Augustus from visiting Britain ? What was the opinion of the Emperor Tiberius with regard to this island ? How many years after the retreat of Julius Cæsar, and in whose reign did the Romans resolve to add it to their empire ? Describe the character and efforts of Caractacus, By whom was he conquered ? How did he act when led in triumph through Rome? Of whom was Boadicea queen? Relate her bravery and fate. What town did Suetonius Paulinux hasten to relieve? In what state did he find it, and what was its fate? Who finally established the dominion of the Ro- mans in Britain, and during whose reigns did he govern it ? What obliged the Romans to abandon the island? How long were they masters of it? What nations attacked the northern parts of the country with greater bollness as the Roinan forces decreased? What evidence is there that the Britons then had made little progress in architecture ?
From the arrival of the Saxons in the year 449 to the first lanıl
ing of the Danes in the year 787.
NHE Britons, being now left to themselves, considered