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arms, but the third and last was not of any weight or account in their public councils. It was very natural for the plebeians, oppressed by debt, or apprehension of injuries, to implore the protection of some powerful chief, who acquired over their persons and property the same absolute right as, among the Greeks and Romans, a master exercised over his slaves.' The greatest part of the nation was gradually reduced into a state of servitude; compelled to perpetual labour on the estates of the Gallic nobles, and confined to the soil, either by the real weight of fetters, or by the no less cruel and forcible restraints of the laws. During the long series of troubles which agitated Gaul, from the reign of Gallienus to that of Diocletian, the condition of these servile peasants was peculiarly miserable; and they experienced at once the complicated tyranny of their masters, of the barbarians, of the soldiers, and of the officers of the revenue.1 Their re- Their patience was at last provoked into debeiiion, Spair. On every side they rose in multitudes, armed with rustic weapons and with irresistible fury. The ploughman became a foot-soldier, the shepherd mounted on horseback, the deserted villages and open towns were abandoned to the flames, and the ravages of the peasants equalled those of the fiercest barbarians." They asserted the natural rights of men, but they asserted those rights with the most savage cruelty. The Gallic nobles, justly dreading their revenge, either took refuge in the fortified cities, or fled from the wild scene of anarchy. The peasants reigned without control; and two of their most daring leaders had the folly and a- rashness to assume the imperial ornaments." Their power soon expired at the approach of the legions. The strength of union and discipline obtained an easy victory over a licentious and divided multitude/ A severe retaliation was inflicted on the peasants who were found in arms; the affrighted remnant returned to their respective habitations; and their unsuccessful effort for freedom served only to confirm their slavery. So strong and uniform is the current of popular passions, that we might almost venture, from very scanty materials to relate the particulars of this war; but we are not disposed to believe that the principal leaders, j9Elianus and Amandus, were Christians :z or to insinuate, that the rebellion, as it happened in the time of Luther, was occasioned by the abuse of those benevolent principles of Christianity, which inculcate the natural freedom of mankind.
• Caesar de Bell. Gallic. 6.13. Orgetorii, the Helvetian, could arm for his defence a body of ten thousand slaves.
1 Their oppression and misery are acknowledged by Eumenius, (Panegyr. 6. 8.) Gallias afferatus injuriis. "Panegyr. Vet. 2. 4. Aurelius Victor.
1 JElianas and Amandus. We have medals coined by them. Colt/ ins in Thes. R. A. p. 117.181.
A. D. aar. Maximian had no sooner recovered Gaul from Revolt of the nands of the peasants, than he lost Britain
Carausius " *'
in Britain. by the usurpation of Carausms. Ever since the rash but successful enterprise of the Franks under the reign of Probus, their daring countrymen had constructed squadrons of light brigantines, in which they incessantly ravaged the provinces adjacent to the ocean." To repel these desultory incursions, it was found necessary to create a naval power; and the judicious measure was prosecuted with prudence and vigour. Gessoriacum, or Boulogne, in the straits of the British channel, was chosen by the emperor for the station of the Roman fleet; aad the command of it was intrusted to Carausius, a Menapian of the meanest origin,b but who had long signalized his skill as a pilot, and his valour as a soldier. The integrity of the new admiral corresponded not with his abilities. When the German pirates sailed from their own harbours, he connived at their passage, but he diligently intercepted their return, and appropriated to his own use an ample share of the spoil which they had acquired. The wealth of Carausius was, on this occasion, very justly considered as an evidence of his guilt; and Maximian had already given orders for his death. But the crafty Menapian foresaw and prevented the severity of the emperor. By his liberality he had attached to his fortunes the fleet which he commanded, and secured the barbarians in his interest. From the port of Boulogne he sailed over to Britain, persuaded the legion, and the auxiliaries which guarded that island, to embrace his party; and boldly assuming, with the imperial purple, the title of Augustus, defied the justice and the arms of his injured sovereign.0
y Levibns proeliis domuit. Eutrop. 9.20.
* The fact rests indeed on very slight authority, a life of St. Babolinus, which is probably of the seventh century. See Duchesne Scriptures Rer. Francicur. tom. 1. p. 662.
• Aurelius Victor calls them Germans. Eutropius (9. 21.) gives them the name of Saxons. But Eutropius lived in the ensuing century, and seems to use the language of his own times.
b The three expressions of Eutropius, Aurelius Victor, and Eumenius, "vilissime status," " Bataviae alumnus," and " Menapiae civis," give us a very doubtful account of the birth of Carausius. Dr.Stukely, however, (Hist. of Carausius,p 62.) chooses to make him a native of St. David's, and a prince of the blood-royal of Britain. The former idea he had found in Richard of Cirenccster, p. 44.
When Britain was thus dismembered from the empire, its importance was sensibly felt, and its loss sincerely lamented. The Romans celebrated, and perhaps magnified, the extent of that noble island, provided on every side with convenient harbours; the temperature of the climate, and the fertility of the soil, alike adapted for the production of corn or of vines; the valuable minerals with which it abounded; its rich pastures covered with innumerable flocks, and its woods free from wild beasts or venomous serpents. Above all, they regretted the large amount of the revenue of Britain, whilst they confessed, that such a province well deserved to become the seat of an independent monarchy.*1 Power of During the space of seven years, it was posCarausius. sessed by Carausius; and fortune continued propitious to a rebellion, supported with courage and ability. The British emperor defended the frontiers of his do» minions against the Caledonians of the north; invited, from the continent, a great number of skilful artists; and displayed, on a variety of coins that are still extant, his taste and opulence. Born on the confines of the Franks, he courted the friendship of that formidable people, by the flattering imitation of their dress and manners. The bravest of their youth he enlisted among his land or sea forces; and, in return for their useful alliance, he communicated to the barbarians the dangerous knowledge of military and naval arts. Carausius still preserved the possession of Boulogne and the adjacent country. His fleets rode triumphant in the channel, commanded the mouths of the Seine and of the Rhine, ravaged the coasts of the ocean, and diffused beyond the columns of Hercules the terror of his name. Under his command, Britain, destined in a future age to obtain the empire of the sea, already assumed its natural and respectable station of a maritime power." A.d 439 Bv seizing the fleet of Boulogne, Carausius - had deprived his master of the means of pursuit and revenge. And when, after a vast expense of emperor*> time and labour, a new armament was launched into the water/ the imperial troops, unaccustomed to that element, were easily baffled and defeated by the veteran sailors of the usurper. This disappointed effort was soon productive of a treaty of peace. Diocletian and his colleague, who justly dreaded the enterprising spirit of Carausius, resigned to him the sovereignty of Britain, and reluctantly admitted their perfidious servant to a participation of the imperial honours.* But the adoption of the two Caesars restored new vigour to the Roman arms; and while the Rhine was guarded by the presence of Maximian, his brave associate Constantius assumed the conduct of the British war. His first enterprise was against the important place of Boulogne. A stupendous mole, raised across the entrance of the harbour, intercepted all hopes of relief. The town surrendered after an obstinate defence; and a considerable part of the naval strength of Carausius fell into the hands of the besiegers. During the three years which Constantius employed in preparing a fleet adequate to the conquest of Britain, he secured the coast of Gaul, invaded the country of the Franks, and deprived the usurper of the assistance of those powerful allies. A.D.294. Before the preparations were finished, ConHUdeath. stantius received the intelligence of the tyrant's death, and it was considered as a sure presage of the approaching victory. The servants of Carausius imitated the example of treason which he had given. He was murdered by his first minister Allectus, and the assassin succeeded to his power and to his danger. But he possessed not equal abilities, either to exercise the one, or to repel the other. He beheld, with anxious terror, the opposite shores of the continent, already filled with arms, with troops, and with vessels; for Constantius had very prudently divided his forces, that he might likewise divide the attention and resistance of the enemy. A. D. 296. The attack was at length made by the principal Recovery squadron, which, under the command of the pre
c Panegyr. 5.12. Britain at this time was secure, and slightly guarded. 4 Panegrr. Vet. 5.11. 7. 9. The orator Eumenius wished to exalt the glory of the hero (Constantins) with the importance of the conquest. Notwithstanding our laudable partiality for our native country, it is difficult to conceive, that in the beginning of the fourth century, England deserved all these commendations. A century and a half before, ft hardly paid its own establishment. See Appian in Procem.
• A great number of medals of Carausius are still preserved, he is become a very favourite object of antiquarian curiosity, and every circumstance of his life and action! have been investigated with sagacious accuracy. Dr. Stukely, in particular, has devoted a large volume to the British emperor. I have used his materials, and rejected most of his fanciful conjectures
rWhenMamertinus pronounced his first panegyric, the naval preparations of Maximian were completed; and the orator presaged an assured victory. His silence in the second panegyric might alone inform us, that the expedition had not succeeded.
of Bntam *' . *"
by Con- feet Asclepiodatus, an officer of distinguished merit, had been assembled in the mouth of the Seine. So imperfect in those times was the art of navigation, that orators have celebrated the daring courage
( Aurelius Victor, Eutropius, and the medals (Pax Aug.), inform us of this temporary reconciliation, though I will not presume (as Dr. Stukely has done, Medallic History of Carausius, p. 86, &c.) to insert the identical articles of the treaty.