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CHAP. II.-MODERN HISTORY,
si There is no nation whose history.admits of so many æras as that of England. We shall, for the sake of bre vity, consider it under the following heads: 1. Before the time of the Saxons.. II. The Saxon line. Ill. The Danish. IV. The Norman. V. The Plantagenets. VI. The Houses of Lancaster and York., VII. Of Tudor. VIII. Of Stuart, IX, Ot Orange. X. Of Brunswick.. din ?
1. Befort the time of the Sarons. ? 1. It is highly probable, that'England derived its first in habitants from the Celtæ of Gaul. The authentic history of this kingdom commences with the first Roman invasion, and we learn from Cæsar and Tacitus, that the coud. try was at that period, in a state very remote from barbarism. It was divided into a number of small independent sovereignties, each prinçe having a regular army, and a fixed revenue. The manners, language, and religion of the people were the same with those of the Gallic Celtæ. The last was the Druidical system, whose influence pervaded every deparıment of the government, and, by its power over the minds of the people, supplied the imperfection of laws.
2. Britain was invaded by the Romans under Julius Cæsar, about fifty-two years before the birth of Christ, but he made no conquests. Claudius, and his generals Plautius, Vespasian, and Titus, subdued several provinces, after thirty pitched battles with the natives in the years 4 and 44; and the conquest was completed by Agricola, in the reign of Domitian, in 85. In 410, the Romans being no longer able to defend so distant a province, relinquished it to the old inhabitants. The Britons, conscious of their inability to protect theinselves against their northern peighbours, had, therefore, recourse to their conquerors: and the Romans, beside occasionally sending over a legion to the aid of the Britons, assisted them in rebuilding the wall of Antoninus, which extended between the friths of Forth and Clyde. This wall was esteemed by the Romans a ne
cessary barrier, first against the Caledonians, and afterwards agaibst the Scots and Piets.
3. The Scots and Picts, probably, had their origin from two tribes of native Britons, who, at different times, had fled from the dominion of the Romans. They are allowed, however, to have been brave and warlike adventurers, who eften invaded the Roman territories, and were greatly superior 10 the now dastardly and dispirited Britons. These two nations or tribes no sooner heard of the final depars ture of the Romans, than one party crossed the frith of Fortb, in hosts made of leather, while another attacked with fury the Roman wall, which the Britons had repaired for their defence, but which they abandoned on the first assault, leaving their country a prey to the enemy.. The Scots and Picts made dreadful bavoc among the fugitives; and meeting with no opposition, they laid waste all the southern part of the island with fire and sword. In the following year, they were visited by famine. The miserable Britons, in this frightful extremity, had once more recourse to Rome. They wrote to Ætins, then consul the third time, that memorable letter entitled The Groans of the Britons. . We know not,' say they, even which way to fee. 'Chased by the barbarians to the sea, we have only left us the choice of two deaths ; either to perish by the sword, or be swallowed up by the waves.” What answer they received is uncertain; but it is well known they obtained no assistance, Rome being then threatened by Attila, the most terrible enemy that ever invaded the empire.
4. The Britons, amid all their calamities, had one consolation; they had embraced Christianity: a religion which above all others, teaches the endurance of misfortunes,-which encourages its votaries to' triumph in adversity, and inspires the soul with joy in the hour, of affliction. Many fled to Gaul, and settled in the province of Armorica, to which they gave the name of Britany; part submitted to the Scots and Picts ; and part, collecting courage from despair, satlied froin their woods and caves apon the secure and roving invaders, cut many of them to pieces, and obliged the rest to retire into their own country. But the enemy, threatening to return next season with superior forces, the distressed Britons, by the advice of Vortigern, Prince of Dapmonium, called over to their as
sistance, by a solemn deputation, the Saxons and Angles, or Anglo-Saxons. The Saxons, like all the antient Gernian tribes, were a free, brave, and independent people. They had arrived at that degree of civilization in which the mind has acquired sutticient force for enterprise, and seeins to derive evergy from the unimpaired vigour of the body. The Saxous bad spread themselves over Germany, and the Low Countries, from the Cimbrian Chersonesus, now called Jutland, taking possession of the whole territory between the Rhine and the Elbe ; and, when the Britons sent to implore their assistance, they were masters not only of the present Westphalia, Saxony, East and West Friesland, but also of Holland and Zealand They readily complied with the request of Vortigern, and having fitted out three large transports, about fifteen hun dred of them put to sea under the command of Hengist and Horsa, two brother chiefs, said to be descended from Woden, their tutelary god.
II. The Saron Lint. 1. Hengist and Horsa, the Saxon chiefs, in the year 450, landed in the Isle of Thanet, which was assigned to them as a possession, and a league was entered into be tween them and the British prince. Soon after their arri val, they marched against the Scots and Picts, who liac made a new irruption, and advanced as far as Stamford.
These northern ravagers, unable to withstand the steady valour of the Saxons, were routed with great slaughter, Hengist and Horsa, after their victory over the Scots and Picts, sent to their countrymen intelligence of the fertility and opulence of Britain, inviting them to coine and share in the spoils of a nation without union, and without valour, —sunk in indolence and sloth.
2. The invitation was readily accepted. Seventeen ves. sels soon arrived with five thousand men; who, joined to those already in the island, formed a considerable army. Though now justly alarmed at the number of their allies, the Britons sought security and relief only in passive submission; and even that unmanly expedient soon failed then. The Saxons complained that their subsidies were ill paid, and demanded larger supplies of corn and other
provisions. These being refused as exorbitant, they formed an alliance with the Scots and Picts; and proceeded to open hostilities against the people they had come to protect. The Britous were at last under the necessity of taking arms; and having deposed Vortigern, who was become odious by his vices, and the unfortunate issue of his rash councils, they put themselves 'under the command of his son Vortimer. . Many battles were fought between the Saxons and Britons with various success, though common. ly on the side of the former; and, in one of these battles, the Saxon general Horsa was slain. --The sole conimand now devolved upon Hengist; who, continually reinforced by fresh adventurers from Germany, carried desolation to the most remote possessions of the Britons. · Anxious to spread the terror of his arms, he spared neither age, sex, por condition.
Of the unhappy Britons who escaped the general slaughter, some took refuge among the inaccessible rocks and mountains ;-many perished by hunger;-and many forsaking their asylum, preserved their lives at the expense of their liberty. Others, crossing the sea, sought shelter among their countrymen in Armorica. Those who 'remained at home suffered every species of misery; they were not only robbed of all temporal, but even spiritual comforts. In this extremity, a British and a Christian bero appeared.
3. Arthur, prince of the Silures, revived the expiring valour of his countrymen, He defeated the Saxons in several engagements; and particularly in the year 520, in the famous battle of Badon Hill, which procured the Britons tranquillity for more than forty years. But the success of Hengist and his followers having excited the ambition of other German tribes, the Britons ultimately found themselves unequal to the contest, and in the year 584, retired to the mountains of Cornwull and Wales, where they formed independent principalities, protected by their remote and inaccessible situation; and there enjoyed and fransmitted to their descendants, their lauguage, manners, and independent spirit. The Saxous and Angles, or Anglo-Saxons, (for they are mentioned under both these denoininations,) were now absolute masters of the whole fertile and cultivated part of South Britain, which had changed not only its inhabitants, but its language, chštoms, and political institutidis. In the course of their wars with the Britons, which continued a ljudred and thirty-five years, the Saxons had established many separate 'kingdoms, known by the name of the Saxon Heptarchy.
154. Heptarchy. To review the history of euch particular mation that formed the Heptarchy, would be endless ; it is sufficient to observe, that after the wretched natives were shut up in their barren mountains, and the conquerors had nothing to fear from them, the bond of alliance was in a great measure dissolved among the princes of the Heptarchy. Jealousies and dissentions arose, and a series of Violent internal convulsions and wars ensued..'10" }
5. Egbert. The seven kingdoms of the Saxon Heptarchy were united under Egbert, king of Wessex, in the year 827. His dominions were nearly of the same extent with what is now properly called England; a name which was given to the empire of the Saxons in Britain, immediately after the termination of the Heptareliy. During the reign of Egbert, the northern adventurers visited our land, and committed many ravagés.
They first landed in the isle of Sheppey, in the year 832, pillaged it, and carried off their booty with impunity. They returned the next year in thirtyfive ships. Egbert gave them battle at Charniouth, in Dorsetshire; where they were worsted, after an obstinate dispute, but made good their retreat to their ships. Sensible of the power of their enemy, they entered into an alliance with the Britons of Corliwall; and, in the year 835, landing in that county, their confederates and they made an irruption in the county of Devon. They were met by Egbert at Hengesdown, and totally defeated.But whilst England was threatened with new alarms from the same quarter, this warlike monarch, who alone was able to oppose the invaders, unfortunately died, and left the kingdom to his son Ethelwolf, in the year 838, a prinice better fitted to wear the cowl than the crown, ina
6. Ethelwolf, began his reign with dividing his dominions according to the absurd custom of those times; delivering over to his eldest son, Athelstan, thie counties of Essex, Kent, and Sussex.? But no inconveniencies seem to have arisen from this partition, the terror of the Danish invaders preventing alt domestic dissentions, Dime proved