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HARVARD
UNIVERSITY
LIBRARY

047*172

TO HIS SONS,

WILLIAM RICHARDSON ROBINSON, AND
MATTHEW WILKINSON ROBINSON,

THIS VOLUME OF ENGLISH HISTORY

IS SPECIALLY INSCRIBED,

BY THEIR AFFECTIONATE FATHER.

Clifton Rectory, near Penrith,

March 15, 1823.

PREFACE.

THE following work claims no higher merit than that of being a faithful abridgment of Hume and Smollet's Histories of England, with a continuation from authentic documents of events between the year 1760 and the coronation of George the Fourth. The author hopes that the whole will prove useful as a manual to juvenile students, for whom it is chiefly designed.

The necessity of acquiring knowledge of the history of our own country, and of public events in which Great Britain has participated, is so obvious, as to render it unnecessary to prove, that the history of their own country is a study which no British youth of either sex ought to neglect.

The author has endeavoured to devest himself of all party spirit, and, in recording the successive facts, he has allowed no prejudices of his own to intermingle with the narration. Truth, and the principles of the British constitution, have been the standards by which his labours and sentiments have uniformly been guided.

The history of Mr. Hume having obtained an unrivalled degree of literary precedency, and that of Dr. Smollet having been generally recognised as a worthy continuation from the Revolution to the demise of George II., it is reasonable that a succinct compression of these standard national works should be preferred to all others for purposes of education. But the design would have been incomplete without a continuation to

the present age; and, though the author is aware of the delicate responsibility of becoming a contemporary historian, yet, as the duty became necessary, he has endeavoured to perforin it with care and fidelity.

The tables and facts contained in the Appendix form new features of such a work as the present; but they furnish data, from which the student will be able to draw many valuable conclusions, and will tend to illustrate and corroborate many details in the text of the History.

THE

HISTORY OF ENGLAND.

CHAP. I.

The Britons-Romans-Saxons-The Heptarchy.

ALL ancient writers agree in representing the first in habitants of Britain as a tribe of the Gauls or Celts, who peopled that island from the neighbouring continent. Their anguage was the same-their manners, their government, their superstition; varied only by those small differences, which time, or a communication with the bordering nations, must necessarily introduce. The inhabitants of Gaul, especially in those parts which lie contiguous to Italy, had acquired, from a commerce with their southern neighbours, some refinement in the arts, which gradually diffused themselves northward, and spread only a very faint light over this island. The Greek and Roman navigators or merchants, gave the most shocking accounts of the ferocity of the people, which they magnified, as usual, in order to excite the admiration of their countrymen. However, the south-east parts of Britain had already, before the age of Cæsar, made the first and most requisite step towards a civil settlement; and the Britons, by tillage and agriculture, had there increased to a great multitudes The other inhabitants of the island still maintained themselves by pasture. They were clothed with the skins of beasts. They dwelt in huts that they reared in the forests and marshes, with which the country was covered. They easily removed their habitation, when actuated either by the hopes of plunder, or the fear of an enemy. The convenience of feeding their cattle was even a sufficient motive for removing their dwellings; and, as they were ignorant of all the refinements of life, their wants and their possessions were equally limited and scanty.

The Britons were divided into many small nations or ribes; and being a military people, whose sole propertv

was their arms and their cattle, it was impossible, after they had acquired a relish of liberty, for their princes or chieftains to establish any despotic authority over them. Their governments, though monarchical, were free; and the common people seem to have enjoyed even more liberty among them, than among the nations of Gaul, from whom they were descended. Each state was divided into factions within itself. It was agitated with jealousy or animosity against the neighbouring states; and while the arts of peace were yet unknown, wars were the chief occupation, and formed the chief object of ambition among the people.

The religion of the Britons was one of the most considerable parts of their government; and the Druids, who were their priests, possessed great authority. They enjoyed an immunity from wars and taxes. They possessed both the civil and criminal jurisdiction. They decided all controversies among states, as well as among private persons; and whoever refused to submit to their decree,

as exposed to the most severe penalties. Thus the bands of government, which were naturally loose among that rude and turbulent people, were happily corroborated by the terrors of their superstition. No species of superstition was ever more terrible than that of the Druids. Besides the severe penalties which it was in their power to inflict in this world, they inculcated the eternal transmigration of souls, and thereby extended their authority as far as the fears of their votaries. Human sacrifices were practised among them. The spoils of war were often devoted to their divinities; and they punished with the severest tortures those who dared to secrete any part of the consecrated offering. These treasures they kept in woods and forests, secured by no other guard than the terrors of their religion; and this steady conquest over human cupidity, may be regarded as more signal than their prompting men to the most extraordinary and most violent efforts. No idolatrous worship ever attained such an asce scendancy over mankind, as that of the ancient Gauls and Britons.

The Britons had long remained in this rude and independent state, when Cæsar, having overrun all Gaul by his victories, and being ambitious of carrying the Roman arms into a new world, then mostly unknown, took advantage of a short interval in his Gaulic wars, and invaded

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