imitate, and to supersede, these foreign institutions; and to compose a code of civil and criminal jurisprudence, for the use of a great and united people. The same obligations, and the same privileges, were communicated to the nations of the Spanish monarchy: and the conquerors, insensibly renouncing the Teutonic idiom, submitted to the restraints of equity, and exalted the Romans to the participation of freedom. The merit of this impartial policy was enhanced by the situation of Spain under the reign of the Visigoths. The Provincials were long separated from their Arian masters by the irreconcilable difference of religion. After the conversion of Recared had removed the prejudices of the Catholics, the coasts, both of the Ocean and the Mediterranean, were still possessed by the Eastern emperors; who secretly excited a discontented people to reject the yoke of the Barbarians, and to assert the name and dignity of Roman citizens. The allegiance of doubtful subjects is indeed most effectually secured by their own persuasion, that they hazard more in a revolt, than they can hope to obtain by arevolution; but it has appeared so natural to oppress those whom we hate and fear, that the contrary system well deserves the praise of wisdom and moderation (125). HeToiationof While the kingdoms of the Franks and Visigoths were estaBritaio. blished m Gaul and Spain, the Saxons achieved the conquest of Britain, the third great diocese of the Prajfecture of the West. Since Britain was already separated from the Roman empire, I might, without reproach, decline a story familiar to the most illiterate, and obscure to the most learned, of my readers. The Saxons, who excelled in the use of the oar, or the battle-axe, were ignorant of the art which could alone perpetuate the fame of their exploits; the Provincials, relapsing into barbarism, neglected to describe the ruin of their country; and the doubtful tradition was almost extinguished, before the missionaries of Rome restored the light of science and Christianity. The declamations of Gildas, the fragments, or fables, of Nennius, the obscure hints of the Saxon laws and chronicles, and the ecclesiastical tales of the venerable Bede (126), have been illustrated by the diligence, and sometimes embellished by the fancy, of succeeding writers, whose works I am not ambitious either to censure or to transcribe (127). Yet the

(125) The Code of the Visigoths, regularly divided into twelve books, has been correctly published by Dom Bouquet (in tom. iv. p. 273—460.). It has been treated by the president De Montesquieu (Esprit des Loix, 1. xxviii. c. 1.) with excessive severity. I dislike the style; I detest the superstition ; but I shall presume to think, that the civil jurisprudence displaysa more civilised and enlightened state of society, than that of the Burgundians, or even of the Lombards.

(126) Sec Gildas de Excidio Britanniae, c. 11—25. p. 4—9. edit. Gale. Nennius Hist. Britonum, c. 28.35—«5. p. 105—115. edit. Gale. Bede Hist. Ecclesiast. Gentis Anglorum, 1. i. c . 12—16. p. 49—53. c. 22. p. 58. edit. Smith. Chron. Saxonicum, p. 11—23, &c. edit. Gibson. The AngloSaxon laws were published by Wilkins, London, 1731, in folio; and the Leges Wallicae, by Wotton and Clarke, London, 1730, in folio.

(127) The laborious Mr. Carte, and the ingenious Mr. Whitaker, are the two modern writers to historian of the empire may be tempted to pursue the revolutions of a Roman province, till it vanishes from his sight; and an Eng- •lishman may curiously trace the establishment of the Barbarians, from whom he derives his name, his laws, and perhaps his origin.

About forty years after the dissolution of the Roman government, "J*TM"*Vortigern appears to have obtained the supreme, though precarious, A. D. 4*9.' command of the princes and cities of Britain. That unfortunate monarch has been almost unanimously condemned for the weak and mischievous policy of inviting (128) a formidable stranger, to repel the vexatious inroads of a domestic foe. His ambassadors are despatched, by the gravest historians, to the coast of Germany: they address a pathetic oration to the general assembly of the Saxons, and those warlike Barbarians resolve to assist with a fleet and army the suppliants of a distant and unknown island. If Britain had indeed been unknown to the Saxons, the measure of its calamities would have been less complete. But the strength of the Roman government could not always guard the maritime province against the pirates of Germany: the independent and divided states were exposed to their attacks; and the Saxons might sometimes join the Scots and the Picts, in a tacit, or express, confederacy of rapine and destruction. Vortigern could only balance the various perils, which assaulted on every side his throne and his people; and his policy may deserve either praise or excuse, if he preferred the alliance of those Barbarians, whose naval power rendered them the most dangerous enemies, and the most serviceable allies. Hengist and Horsa, as they ranged along the Eastern coast with three ships, were engaged, by the promise of an ample stipend, to embrace the defence of Britain; and their intrepid valour soon delivered the country from the Caledonian invaders. The Isle of Thanet, a secure and fertile district, was allotted for the residence of these German auxiliaries, and they were supplied, according to the treaty, with a plentiful allowance of clothing and provisions. This favourable reception encouraged five thousand warriors to embark with their families in seventeen vessels, and the infant power of Hengist was fortified by this strong and seasonable reinforcement. The crafty Barbarian suggested to Vortigern the obvious advantage of fixing, in the neighbourhood of the Picts, a colony of faithful al

wbom I am principally indebted. The particular historian of Manchester embraces, under that obscure title, a subject almost as extensive as the general history of England.*

(128) This invitation, which may derive some countenance from the loose expressions of Gildas and Bede, is framed into a regular story by Witikind, a Saxon monk of the tenth century (See Cousin, Hist. de l'Empire d'Occident, tom. ii. p. 356.). Rapin, and even Hume, have too freely used this suspicious evidence, without regarding the precise and probable testimony of Nennius : Interea venerunt Ires ChiulaB a Germania in exilio pulsa, in quibus erant Hors et Hengist.

* Add the Anglo-Saxon History of Mr. S. Turner; and Sir F. Palgrave's Sketeh of the " Early History of England."—M.

lies: a third fleet of forty ships, under the command of his son and nephew, sailed from Germany, ravaged the Orkneys, and disembarked a new army on the coast of Northumberland, or Lothian, at the opposite extremity of the devoted land. It was easy to foresee, but it was impossible to prevent, the impending evils. The two nations were soon divided and exasperated by mutual jealousies. The Saxons magnified all that they had done and suffered in the cause of an ungrateful people; while the Britons regretted the liberal rewards which could not satisfy the avarice of those haughty mercenaries. The causes of fear and hatred were inflamed into aa b> leeoncilable quarre1. The Saxons flew to arms; and, if they perpetrated a treacherous massacre during the security of a feast, they destroyed the reciprocal confidence which sustains the intercourse of peace and war (129). Establish- Heneist, who boldly aspired to the conquest of Britain, exhorted

mentofthe , . , . - „. . . ., , .

saxon his countrymen to embrace the glorious opportunity: he painted in heptarchy, coiours [ljg fertility of the soil, the wealth of the cities, the 455—582. pusillanimous temper of the natives, and the convenient situation of a spacious solitary island, accessible on all sides to the Saxon fleets. The successive colonies which issued, in the period of a century, from the mouths of the Elbe, the Weser, and the Rhine, were principally composed of three valiant tribes or nations of Germany; the Jutes, the old Saxons, and the Angles. The Jutes, who fought under the peculiar banner of Hengist, assumed the merit of leading their countrymen in the paths of glory, and of erecting, in Rent, the first independent kingdom. The fame of the enterprise was attributed to the primitive Saxons; and the common laws and language of the conquerors are described by the national appellation of a people, which, at the end of four hundred years, produced the first monarchs of South Britain. The Angles were distinguished by their numbers and their success; and they claimed the honour of fixing a perpetual name on the country, of which they occupied the most ample portion. The Barbarians, who fofe, lowed the hopes of rapine either on the land or sea, were insensibly blended with this triple confederacy; the Frisians, who had been tempted by their vicinity to the British shores, might balance, during a short space, the strength and reputation of the native Saxons; the Danes, the Prussians, the Rugians, are faintly described;

(129) Nennius imputes to the Saxons the murder of three hundred British chiefs; a crime not unsuitable to their savage manners. But wo are not obliged to believe {see Jeffrey of Monmouth, 1, viii. c. 9—12.), that Stonehenge is their monument, which the giants bad formerly transported from Africa to Ireland, and which was removed to Britain by the order of Aiubrosius, and the art of Merlin.*


* Sir F. Palgrave (Hist. of England, p. 36.) is essentially poetic, as to justify the rash attempt inclined to resolve the whole of these stories, as to embody them in an Epic Poem, called Samor,

riiebuhr the older Roman history, into poetry, commenced at Eton, and finished before he had To the editor they appeared, in early youth, so arrived at the maturcr taste of manhood.—*.


and some adventurous Huns, who had wandered as far as the Baltic, might embark on board the German vessels, for the conquest of a new world (130). But this arduous achievement was not prepared or executed by the union of national powers. Each intrepid chieftain, according to the measure of his fame and fortunes, as

i fleet of three, or perhaps of sixty, the place of the attack; and conducted his subsequent operations according to the events of the war, and the dictates of his private interest. In the invasion of Britain many heroes vanquished and fell; but only seven victorious leaders assumed, or at least maintained, the title of kings. Seven independent thrones, Heptarchy,* were founded by the conquerors, and seven one of which has been continued, by female succession, to our present sovereign, derived their equal and sacred lineage from Woden, the god of war. It has been pretended, that this re: of kings was moderated by a general council and a supreme But such an artificial scheme of policy is repugnant to and turbulent spirit of the Saxons: their laws are silent; and their imperfect annals afford only a dark and bloody prospect of intestine discord (131).

A monk, who, in the profound ignorance of human life, has pre- state of the


) AH these tribes are expressly enumerated by Bedo (1. i. c. 15. p. 52. 1 . v. e. 9. p. 190.); and though I have considered Mr. Whitaker's remarks (Hist. of Manchester, vo1. ii. p. 538—543.), I do not perceive the absurdity of supposing that the Frisians, &e. were mingled with the Anglo-Saxons.

(131) Bede has enumerated seven kings, two Saxons, a Jute, and four Angles, who successively acquired in the heptarchy an indefinite supremacy of power and renown. But their reign was the effect, not of law, but of conquest; and he observes, in similar terms, that one of them subdued the Isles of Man and Anglesey; and that another imposed a tribute on the Scots and Picts (Hist. Socles. 1. ii. c. 5. p. 83.).

(132) See Gildasde Excidio Britanniae, c. i. p. 1. edit. Gale.

(133) Mr. Whitaker (History of Manchester, vo1. ii. p. 503. 516.) has smartly exposed this glaring absurdity, which had passed unnoticed by the general historians, as they were hastening to more interesting and important events.

* This term (the Heptarchy) must be rejected, other. Palgrave, vo1. i. p. 46. Mr. Sharon Tot" because an idea is conveyed thereby which is nor has the merit of having first confuted the poong. At no one period were polar notion on this subject. Anglo-Saxon Wb

i period were polar notion on this subject. Anglo-Saxon B

there ever seven kingdoms independent of each tory, vo1. i. p. 302.—M.


power. The subjects of Honorius contemplated their new freedom with surprise and terror; they were left destitute of any civil or military constitution; and their uncertain rulers wanted either skill, or courage, or authority, to direct the public force against the common enemy. The introduction of the Saxons betrayed their internal weakness, and degraded the character both of the prince and people. Their consternation magnified the danger; the want of union diminished their resources; and the madness of civil factions was more solicitous to accuse, than to remedy, the evils, which they imputed to the misconduct of their adversaries. Yet the Britons were not ignorant, they could not be ignorant, of the manufacture or the use of arms: the successive and disorderly attacks of the Saxons allowed them to recover from their amazement, and the prosperous or adverse events of the war added discipline and experience to their native valour. While the continent of Europe and Africa yielded, without resist'ance, to the Barbarians, the British island, alone and unaided, maintained a long, a vigorous, though an unsuccessful, struggle, against the formidable pirates, who, almost at the same instant, assaulted the Northern, the Eastern, and the Southern coasts. The cities which had been fortified with skill, were defended with resolution ; the advantages of ground, hills, forests, and morasses, were diligently improved by the inhabitants; the conquest of each district was purchased with blood; and the defeats of the Saxons are strongly attested by the discreet silence of their annalist. Hengist might hope to achieve the conquest of Britain; but his ambition, in an active reign of thirty-five years, was confined to the possession of Kent; and the numerous colony which he had planted in the North, was extirpated by the sword of the Britons. The monarchy of the West-Saxons was laboriously founded by the persevering efforts of three martial generations. The life of Cerdic, one of the bravest of the children of Woden, was consumed in the conquest of Hampshire, and the Isle of Wight; and the loss which he sustained in the battle of Mount Badon, reduced him to a state of inglorious repose. Kenric, his valiant son, advanced into Wiltshire; besieged Salisbury, at that time seated on a commanding eminence; and vanquished an army which advanced to the relief of the city. In the subsequent battle of Marlborough (134), his British enemies displayed their military science. Their troops were formed in three lines; each line consisted of three distinct bodies, and the cavalry, the archers, and the pikemen were distributed according to the principles of Roman tacties. The Saxons charged in one weighty co

(134) At Beran-birig, or Barbury-castle, near Marlborough. The Saxon chronicle assigns the name and date. Camden (Britannia, vo1. i. p. 128.) ascertains the place; and Henry of Huntingdon (Scriptores post Bedam, p. 314.) relates the circumstances of this battle. They are probable and characteristic; and the historians of the twelfth century might consult some materials that no longer exist.

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