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THK i..v.iT OF THE l)itLlD«.



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ANCIENT ENGLAND AND THE ROMANS. O

TlieBc Druida buih great Temples and altars, open to the
aky, fragoieiits of some of whidi are jet remaining. Stone*
beage, on Salisbur}' Plaia, in Wiltshire, is the most extraor*
diaary of these. Three curious stones, called Kits Coty
House, on Bluebell Hill, near Maidstone, in Kent, form an-*
other. We know, from examination of the great blocks of
which such buildings are made, that they could not have been
nused without the aid of some ingenious machines, which are
common now, but which the ancient Britons certainly did not
use in making their own uneomfoitable houses. I i^iould not
wonder if tbe Druids, and their pupils who stayed with them
twent}' 3*ears, knowing more than the rest of the Britons, kept
the people out of sight while they made these buildings, and
then pr^ended that they built them by magic. Perhaps
they had a baad in the fortresses too ; at aU events, as they
were very powerful^ and v&ry much believed in, and as they
made and executed the laws, and paid no taxes, I don't won*
der that they liked their trade. And, as they persuaded the
people the more Druids there were, the better off the people
woold be, I don't wonder that there were a good many of
them. But it is pleasant to think that there are no Druids^
noWi who go on in that way, and pretend to carry Enchanters^
Wands aad Serpents' £ggs — and of com'se there is nothing
of the kind, anj'where*

Sudi was the ii^proved oonditioQ of the ancient Britons,
fifty-five years before the birth of Our Saviour, when the Ro^
Hums, QiHler Hieir grea^ Oeneral, Julius Caesar, were masters
of all the rest of the kaown woiid. JuUos Csesar had then just
conqqered Gaul ; and hearing, in Gaul, a good deal about the
opposite Island with the whit^ cliffs, and about the bravery
of the Britons who inhabited it — some of whom had been
fetched over to help the Gauls in the war against him — he re-
solved^ as he was so oear^ to come and conquer Britain next.

So, 4f Utts. C«esar came sailing over to Uus island of ours,
witheigh^ vessels- and twelve thousand men^ And he came
ftoa the French. coast between Calais and Boulogne) *' be-



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6 A CHILD'S HISTORY OF ENGLAND.

cause theaoe was the shcntest passage into BrHain ; " jast for
the same reason as oar steam-boats now take the same track,
every day. He expected to conquer Britain easily : but it
was not such easy work as he supposed — • for the boM Britons
fought most bravely ; and, what with not having his horse^
soldiers with him (fbr they had been driven back by a storm),
and what with having some of his vessels dashed to pieces by
a high tide after they were drawn ashore^ he ran great risk
of being totally defeated. However, for once that the bold
Britons beat him, he beat them twice ; though not so soundly
but that he was very glad to accept their proposals of peace,
and go away.

But, in the spring of the next year, he came back ; this
time, with eight hundred vessels and thirty thousand men.
The British tribes chose, as thehr general^in-ohief^ a Briton,
whom the Romans in their Latin language called Cassivel*
LAUNus, but whose British name is supposed to have been
Caswallon. a brave general he was, and well he and his
soldiers fought the Roman army I 80 well, that whenever in
that war the Roman soldiers saw a great cloud of dust, and
heard the rattle of the rapid British chariots, they trembled
in their hearts. Besides a number of smaller battles, there
was a battle fought near Canterbury, in Kent ; there was a
battle fought near Chertse}', in Surrey ; tiiere was a battle
fought near a marshy little town in a wood, the ciq>italof that
part of Britain which belonged to Casmvellaumos, and which
was probably near what is now St. Albans, in Hertfordshire.
Howevei*, brave CAssiVELLAimus had the worst of it, on the
whole ; thougli he and his men always fought like lions. As
the other British chiefs were jealous of him, and were alwa3r9
quarrelling with him, and with one another, he gave up, and
proposed peace. Julius Csssar was very glad to grant peace
easily, and to go away again with all his remaining ships and
men. He had expected to find pearls in Britain, and he may
have found a few fof anything I know ; but, at all events, he
found delicious 03'slers, and I am sure he found tough Brilono



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ANCIENT ENGLAND AND THt ROMANS. 7

— of ivfcom, I dare saj, he madef tiie Bune complaint as Na*
poleon Boflaparte the great French General did, eighteen
hundred years aH^rwards, when he said the}' were such un-
reasonable fellows that they never knew when they were
beaten. They nerer did know, I believe, and never will*

Nearly a hundred years passed on, and all that time there
was i)eaee in Britain. The Britons imprc^ved their towns and
mode of life : becaaae more civilised, travelled, and learnt a
great deal firom the Oauls and Romans. At last, the Roman
Emperor, Clandins^ sent Aulus Plautius, a skiUhl genei'al,
with a mighty force, to subdue the Island, and ^oortly after-
wards arrived himself. Thej* dkl little ; and Ostorius Scap-
ula, another general, came. Some of the Bi'itish Chiefs of
Tribes snbmitted. Others resolved to fight to the death.
Of these brave men, the^bravest was Carac^tacus or Caradoc,
who gave battle to the Romans^ with his army, among the
nountains of North Wales. '^ This day^' said he to his sol-
diCTSt " decides the flite of Britiun I Your liberty, or your
eternal slavery^ dates At>m this hoUr. Remember your brave
ancestors, who drove the great Cassar himself a(n*oss the sea I "
On hearing these words, his men, with a great shout, rushed
iipoB the Romans. Bot the strong Roman swords and armor
were too mnch for the weaker British weapons in close eon-
fiiet. The Britons lost the day. The Wile and daughter of
the brave Cabactacus were taken prisoners ; his brothers de-
lirered themselves up \ he himself was betrayed into the hands
of tiie Romans by his false and base stepmother ; and they
tarried hioi, and aU his Damily, m triumph to Rome.

Bot a great man; will be great in misfortune, great in prison,
great in chains. His noble air, and dignified endurance of
distress, so touched the Roman people who thronged the
Btreets to »ee him, that he and his family were restored to
freedom. Na one knows whether his great heart broke, and
^ thed in Rome^ or whether he ever returned to his own
<ltar ooQirtiyi Eo^ieth oaha have grown up from acorns, and
witfae9i9ed airaj, when they were hundreds of years okl-^ and



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8 A CHILD'S HISTORY OF ENGLAND.

Other oaks have sprung up in their places, and died too, very
aged — since the rest of the history of the brave Cabaotacus
was foi*gotten.

Still, the Britons would not yiekl. They rose again and
again, and died by thousands, sword in hand. They rose,
on every possible occasion. Suetonius, another Roman
general, came, and stormed the Island of Anglesey (then
called Mona) which was supposed to be sacred, and he burnt
the Druids in their own wicker cages, by their own fires.
But, even while he was in Britain, with his victorious troops,
the Bbitons rose. Because Boadicea^ a British queen, the
widow of the King of the Norfolk and Suffolk people, resisted
the plundering of her property hy the Romans who were set^
tied id England, she was scourged, b}' order of Catus, a Ro-
man officer ; and her two daughters were shamefully insulted
in her presence, and her husband's relations were made slaves.
To avenge t^is injury, the Britons rose, with all their might
and rage. They drove Catus into Gaul ; they laid the Roman
possessions waste ; the}* foi'ced the Romans out of London,
then a i)oor little town, but a ti*ading place ; they hanged,
burnt, crucified, and slew by the sword, seventy thousand
Romans in a few da3's. Suetonius strengthened his army,
and advanced to give them battle. They strengthened their
army, and des|)eratel3' attacked his, on the field where it was
strongly posted. Before the first charge of the Britons was
made, Boadicea, in a war-chariot, with her fair hair stream^
ing in the wind, and her injured daughters lying at her feet,
drove among the troops, and cried to them for vengeance on
their oppressors, the licentious Romans. The Britons fought
to the last ; but they were ^^anquished with gi^at slaughter,
and the unhappy queen took poison.

Still, the spirit of the Britons was not broken. When
Suetonius left the country, they fell upon his troops, and re*
took the Island of Anglesey^ Aqbicola came, fifteen or
twenty years afterwards, and retook it onoe more, and de«-
voted seven A-ears to snb<luing the country, especially tiuit



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ANCIENT ENGLAND AND THE ROMANS. 9

part of it which is now caHed Scotland ; bat its people, the
Caledonians, resisted him at ever}- inch of ground. They
fought the bloodiest battles with him ; the}- killed their very
wives and children, to prevent his making prisoners of them ;
they fell, fighting, in such great numbers that certain hills in
Scotland are j^et supposed to be vast heaps of stones piled up
above their graves. Hadrian came thirty 3'ears afterwards,
and still they resisted him. Severus came, nearly a hundi-ed
years afterwards, and they worried bis great army like dogs,
and rejoiced to see them die, by thousands, in the bogs and
swamps. Caracalla, the son and successor of Severus,
did the most to conquer them, for a time ; but not by force
of arms. He knew how little that would do. He yielded up
a quantity of land to the Caledonians, and gave the Britons
the same privil^es as the Romans possessed. There was
peace, after this, fbr sevent}' years.

Then new enemies arose. They were the Saxons, a fierce,
seafaring people fWim the countries to the North of the Rhine,
the great river of Germany on the banks of whidi the best
grapes grow to make the Grerman wine. Thej' began to come,
in pirate ships, to the sea^coast of Gaul and Britain, and to
plunder them. They weref repulsed by Carausius, a native
either of Belgium or of Britain, who was appointed by the
Romans to the command, and tinder whom the Britons first
began to fight upon the sea. But, after this time, they re-
newed their ravages. A ftew years more, and the Scots
(whidi was then the name for the people of Ireland), and
the Picts, a northern people, began to make frequent plunder-
mg incursions into the South of Britain. All these attacks
were repeated, at intervals, during two hundred years, and
through a long succession of Roman Emperors and Chiefs;
daring all which length of time, the Britons rose against the
Homims, over and over again. At last in the days of the
Boman Honortus, when the Roman power all over the world
was &st declining, and when Rome wanted all her soldiers at
home, the Romans abandoned all hope of conquering Britain,



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10 A CHILD'S HISTORY OF ENGLAND.

ftnd went away.. A^id still, at last, as at first, the Britons
rose against tbeo), in their old brave niannei*; for, a very
Uttlc while before, they had turned away the Roman magis-
trates, and declared themselves an inde|>endent people.

Five hundred years bad passed, since Jutins Ciesar's first
invasion of the Ish»nd, when the Romans departed from it for
ever. In the coiu*se of that time, although they hod been
the cause of tearible fi^tiug and bloodshed, they had done
much to improve the condition of the Britons. They bad
made great military mads; they had built torts; they had
taught them how to di'egs, and arm tbemselves, much better
than they had ever known bow to do before ; they had refined
the whole British way of livii^. Agrioola had built a great
wall of earth, more than seventy miles long, extending 0rom
Newcastle to beyond Carlisle, for the purpose of keeping out
the Picts and Scots ; Hadrian had strengthened it ; 6>£ve«i;s,
finding it much in want of repair, had built it aA'esh of stope.
Above ail, it was in the Roman tia»e, and by means of Roma^
ships, that the Christian Religion was ^t brought into Brit-
ain, and its pec^le first taught the great lesson that, to be
good in the sight of God, they must love their neighbors as
tliemselves, and do unto ^hers as they would be done by.
The Pruids declared tliat it was \ery wicked to believe in any
sudi thing, and cursed all the peo|)le who did believe it very
heaitilj'. But, when the people ibiwd that they were 4Kme
the better for the lUessings of the Druids, and none the worse
for tlie curses of the Druids, but, that the sun shone and tbe
rain fell without consulting the Druids at all, they just ,b^an
to think that the Druids were mere men, and that it signified
very little whether they cursed or blessed. After which, the
pupils of tlie Druids fell off greatly in numbers, and tbe
Druids took to oUier trades.

Thus I have come to the end of the Roman time in England.
It is but little that is kuown of those five hundi*ed j'ears ; but
some i*emains of them are still fo^ind. Often, when laborers
are digging up the grouuc^ to moke foundations for houses



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ANaiEfiTT £NGL^ND AND THK SDMAITS. 11

or dmrches, the}* light on rusty money that once belonged to
the Romans. Fragments of plates from which they ate, of
goblets from which they drank, and of pavement on which
they trod, are discovered among the earth that is broken by
the ploagb, or the dust that is crumbled by the gardener's
spade. Wells that the Bomj^]B sunk, still yield water ; roads
that the Romans made, form part of our highways. In some
old battle-fields, British sp^Bar-heads and Roman AHOor have
been found, mingled togetlier in decay, as they fell in the
thidc prosrare of the fight. Traces of fiomaa 'eaA4>s over-
grown with grass, and of mounds thal^ are the buru»l<i)laoes
of heaps of Britons, are to be seen in almost all parts of the
oooatry* Aciosb the Uaak moors of Northumberland, the
wall of Seveiws, overrun with uoss and weeds, still stretches,
a strong ruiu ; and tbe she^^berds Aiid their dogs lie sieepijig
on it in tiie aammer me^Htef. Oa Salisbury Plain, Stonehenge
jet stands : a moiMiffient ot the eadier time when ithe Bomaa
name wbb vmlmowm m Bntaiii^ wd vhen tt» Druids, with
their beat jna^ wands, fiould n0t have vritteft it m the sands
of the wild a»H9hQKu



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12 A CHILD'S HISTORY OF ENGLAND



CHAPTER n.

ANaENT ENGLAND UNDER THE EARLY SAXONS.

The Romans had scarcely gone away from Britain^ when
the Britons began to wish they had never left it. For, the
Roman soldiers being gone, and the Britons being much re-
duced in numbers by their long wars, the Picts and Scots
came pouriifg in, orer the broken and unguarded wall of
Sbverus, in swarms. They plundered the richest towns, and
killed the people ; and came back so often for more booty and '
more slaughter, that the unfortunate Britons lived a life <»r
terror. As if the Picts and Scots wece not bad enough on •
land, the Saxons attacked the islanders by sea ; and, as if
something more were still wanting to make them miserable^
they quarrelled bitterl}^ among themselves as to what prayers
thej' ought to say, and how they ought to say them. The
priests, being very angty with one another on these questions,
cursed one another in the heartiest manner ; and (uncommonly
like the old Druids) cursed all the i^eople whom the}' could
not persuade. So, altogether, the Britons were very badly
off, you ma}' l>elieve.

They were in such distress, in short, that they sent a letter
to Rome entreating help — which they caUed the Groans of
the Britons; and in which tliey said, ''The barbarians chase
us into the sea, the sea throws us back upon the barbarians,
and we have only the hanl choice left; us of perishing by the
sword, or peiishing by the waves." But the Romans could
not help them, even if they were so inclined ; for they had
enough to do to defend themselves agahist their own enemies,
who were then veiy fiei'ce and strong. At last, the Britons,



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AXCIEXT ENGLAND UNDER THE EARLY SAXONS. 13

unable to bear their hard condition any longer, resolved to
make peace with the Saxons, and to invite the Saxons to
come into their country, and help tbem to keep out the Picts
and Scots.

It was a British Prince named Vortigern who took this
resolution, and who made a treaty of ftnendship with Hengist
and HoRSA, two Saxon ehieft. Both of these names, in the
old Saxon language, signif}- Horse ; for the Saxons, like
many other nations in a rough state, were fond of giving men
the names of animals, as Horse, Wolf, Bear, Hound. The
Indians of North America, — a very inferior people to the
Saxons, though — do tiie same to this day.

Hengist and Horsa drove out the Picts and Scots ; and
VoRTiGERN, being gratetbl to them for that 8er^ice, made no
opposition to their settling themselves in that part of England
which is called the Isle of Thanet, or to their inviting over
more of their countrymen to join them. But Hengist had a
beautifiil daughter named Rowena ; and, when at a feast,
she filled a golden goblet to the brim with wine, and gave it
to VoRTioERN, saving in a sweet voice, *' Dear King, thy
health ! " the King fell in love with her. My opinion is, that
the canning Hengist meant him to do so, in order that the
Saxons might have greater influence with him ; and that the
fair Rowena came to that feast, golden goblet and all, on
purpose.

At any rate, they were married ; and, long afterwards,
whenever the King was angry with the Saxons, or jealous of
their encroachments, Rowena would put her beautifbl arms
round his neck, and softly sa}', *' Dear King, they arc my
people ! Be favorable to them, as you loved that Saxon girl
who gave 3*ou the golden goblet of wine at the feast ! " And,
real]}', I don't see how the King could help himself.

Ah ! We must all die ! In the course of 3'eare, Vortigern
died — he was detlironed, and put in prison, fii-st, I am
afVatd ; and Rowena died ; and generations of Saxons and
Britons died ; and events that happened during a long, long



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14 A CHILD'S HISTORY OF ENGLAND.

time, would have been quite forgotten but for the tales and
Bongs of the old Bards, who used to go about from feast to
feast, with their white beards, recounting the deeds of their
forefathers. Among the histories of which they sang and
talked, there was a famous one, concerning the bravery and
\irtues of King Arthur, supposed to have been a British
Piince in those old times. But, whether such a person really
lived, or whether there were several pei*sons whose histories
came to be confused together under that one name, or whether
all about him was invention, no one knows.

I will tell you, shortly ,what is most interesting in the early
Saxon times, as they are described in these songs and stories
of the Bards.

In, and long after, the days of Vortigern, fresh bodies of
Saxons, under various chiefs, came pouring into Britain.
One body, conquering the Britons in the East, and settling
there, called their kingdom Essex ; another body settled in
the West and called their kingdom Wessex ; the Northfolk,
or Norfolk people, established themselves in one place ; the
Southfolk, or Suffolk people established themselves in an-
other; and gradually seven kingdoms or states arose in
England, which were called the Saxon Heptarchy. The poor
Britons, falling back before tliese crowds of fighting men
whom they had innocently invited over as friends, retired into
Wales and the adjacent country' ; into Devonshire, and into
Cornwall. Those parts of England long remained uncon-
quered. And in Cornwall now — where the sea-coast is very
gloomy, steep, and rugged — where, in the dark winter-time,
ships have often been wrecked close to the land, and every
soul on lK)ard has perished — where the winds and waves
howl drearil}^ and split tlie solid rocks into arches and cav-
erns — there are ver}' ancient ruins, which the |>eople call the
ruins of King Arthur's Castle.

Kent is the most famous of the seven Saxon kingdoms,
because the Christian religion was preached to tlie Saxons
there (who domineei^ed over the Britons too much, to care for



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ANCIENT ENGLAND UNDER THE EARLY SAXONS. 15

what they said about their religion, or anything else) by
AuousnxB, a monk from Rome. Kino Etbelbert, of
Kent, was soon converted ; and the moment he said he was
a Christian, his courtiers all said the^ were Christians ; after
which, ten thousand of his subjects said they were Chris-
tians too. Augustine built a little church, close to this
King's palace, on the ground now occupied by the beautiAil
cathedral of Canterbury. Sebebt, the King's nephew, built
on a muddj' marshy place near London, where there had
been a temple to Apollo, a church dedicated to Saint Peter,
which is now Westminster Abbey. And, in London itself,
on the foundation of a temple to Diana, he built another
little church, which has risen up, since that old thne, to be
St Paul's.

After the death of finiELBERT, Edwin, King of Northum*
bria, who was such a good king that it was said a woman or
child might openly carry a purse of gold, in his reign, with-
out fear, allowed his diild to be baptized, and held a great
council to consider whether he and his people should all be
Christians or not. It was decided that they should be. Coifi,
the chief priest of the old religion, made a great speech on
the occasion. In this discourse, he told the people that he
had found out the old gods to be im|x>8tor8. ^^ I am quite
satisfied of it," he said. '' Look at me ! I have been serv-
ing them all my life, and they^ have done nothing for me ;
whereas, if they had been reall}' powerful, they could not
have decently done less, in return for all I have done for
them, than make my fortune. A^ they have never made ro}'
fortune, I am quite convinced they are impostors ! " When
this singular priest had finished speaking, he hastily armed
himself with sword and lance, mounted a war-horse, rode at
a furious gallop in sight of all the pieople to the temple, and
flung Ins lance against it as an insult. From that time, Uie
Christian religion spread itself among the Saxons, and be-
came their faith.
The ne;si very flamous prince was Egbskt. He lived about



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16 A CHILD'S HISTORY OF ENGLANa

a hundred and fifty years afterwards, and olaimed to have a
better right to the throne of Wessex than Beortrio, another
Saxon prince who was at the head of tliat kingdom, and wlio
married Edburga, the daugliter of Opfa, king of another of
the seven kingdoms. This Queen Edburga was a handsome
murderess, who poisoned people when tiiey offended her.
One day, she mixed a cup of poison for a certain noble be*
longing to the court ; but her husband drank of it too, by
mistake, and died. Upon this, the people revolted, in great
crowds ; and running to the palace, and thundering at the
gates, cried, '^Down with the wldced qtieen, who poisons
men ! " They drove her out of the country, and abolished
the title she had disgraced. When years had passed away,
some travellers came home from Italy, and said that in the
town of Pavia they had seen a ragged beggar-woman, who
had once been handsome, but was then shrivelled, bent, and
yellow, wanderuig about the streets, crying fbr bread ; and
that this beggar-woman was the poisoning English queen.
It was, indeed, Edburoa ; and so she died, witlioat a shelter
for her wretched head.

EoBEjrr, not considering himself safe in England, in con-
sequence of his having daimed the crown of Wessex (for
he thought his rival might take him prisoner and put him to



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