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than the direct, and so to say, personal agency of the
devil. Even the cool and cautious Eusebius speaks of
Satan in terms strictly applicable to a visible and living
enemy. Li the eleventh century, one of the most dis-
tinguished writers'' of his time fills a great part of liis
own history with examples of the presence of evil
spirits. But these actions of German's were merely
the prelude to the greater miracles which he performed
subsequently, and which we shall see were more closely
parallel with those of our Lord. It would seem they
were reserved to the time when he should have re-
ceived his Apostolic commission, and when contact

1 See Douglas, in Essay on Miracles, p. xxxv.
- Philipp. vi. 3 Guibertus Novingenti.

88 German's first MraACLES.

with paganism and heresy should require a more
special manifestation of divine power. And upon en-
quiry, it will be found perhaps that a great part of
those miracles which are considered the most w^onderful,
were done by men who had to convert nations, — St.
Martin, St. Patrick, St. Palladius, St. German.

Two more incidents may here be noticed before we
proceed to the more important events of German's life.
He was once travelling in winter. Oppressed with fa-
tigue and the effects of his long fasts, he retired towards
the evening with his attendants to a deserted ruin not
far from his road. The place was said to be infested
wath evil spirits ; and it was conspicuous for its wild
and rugged appearance. He was not however hin-
dered from taking up his abode there for the night.
His followers on arriving began to prepare their sup-
per, and sat down to eat. St. Gorman abstained
from all food. In the meantime, the Reader^ read
aloud some pious work, after the manner introduced
into monasteries, and which still is observed in reli-
gious houses. As he continued his task, German fell
into a deep sleep. Immediately a spectre appeared
before the Reader, and a violent sliower of stones
beat against the walls of the ruin. The young man
alarmed awoke the Bishop, who in the name of
Christ adjured the spectre to explain the cause of the
visit. The mysterious personage answered, that he,
witli another, had formerly been the perpetrator of
great crimes, for which after death they had remained
unburied, and had been deprived of the rest allowed to
other departed spirits. German having ascertained

' The Reader or Lector was one of the minor clergy in early

German's first miracles. 89

the spot where the bodies of these wretched men had
lain, assembled on the following morning the people of
the neighbourhood, and employed them in removing
the ruins. After much labour, they found two corpses
loaded with iron chains. " Then, we are informed, ac-
cording to the Christian custom of burial, a pit was
made, the chains taken off, linen garments thrown over-
them, and intercession offered up to obtain rest for the
departed and peace for the living." Henceforth the spot
was again inhabited and grew into a prosperous and
flourishing abode.

During the same journey he retired one evening to
the dwelling of some persons of humble condition.
Though he could command the attentions of the
wealthy and great, yet he often avoided them, and
frequented the lower ranks of life. AVhile he was thus
lodged, he passed the whole night in prayer, as was his
practice after our Lord's example. Day-light broke in,
and to his surprise the cock failed to herald in the
morning. He asked the reason, and learnt that an ob-
stinate taciturnity had succeeded to the usual cry.
Pleased at finding an opportunity of rewarding his
hosts, German took some wheat, blessed it, and gave it
to some of the birds to eat, whereby he restored their
natural faculties. A deed of this kind which might
have been forgotten by the rich, was likely to remain
fixed in the memory of the poor. The appreciation of
any action depends generally on the degree of utility
which it conveys to different people, and circumstances
which ajDpear trivial to some are important to others.
Thus could our Lord adapt His wonderful signs to the
wants of men, at one time turning water into wine, at
another multiplying the loaves, at another taking a fish
for a piece of money which it contained.

90 BRITAIN IX 429, A. D.


Britain i?i 42'J, a. d.

" About this time," says Constantius, " an embassy
came from Britain, which informed the Gallican Bish-
ops that the Pelagian heresy had widely spread among
the Britons ; for which reason, they were requested
to give their immediate assistance to the Catholic
Faith. Thereupon, a large synod was gathered, and
by the judgment of all present, German and Lupus
were unanimously entreated to defend the cause, as
lights of the Christian Church and bishops of Apos-
tolic character, who, though bound to earth by the
flesh, dwelt in heaven through their virtues. They,
like heroic champions, readily undertook the task,
heedless of the labours it involved, and forthwith pro-
ceeded to the work."

In this brief sketch of the causes Avhich occasioned
the visit of German to our island, there is much that
has exercised the ingenuity of the leai*ned, and still
more which requires illustration, to enable the general
reader to obtain a definite view of his mission. For
the first time, we are here introduced to the people of
Britain, in a somewhat abrupt manner. Nor are we
accustomed at present to the idea of our nation send-
ing for assistance to France ; and interference from
abroad in our religious controversies, is the last thing
which most men would welcome. Two things neces-
sarily demand explanation, — the nature of the Political
Union of Britain with the rest of the Roman Empire,
and the nature of that Religious Unity which bound

BRITAIN m 429, A. D. 91

together the difFei-ent parts, including Britain, of
Christendom. Both these, it is hoped, will appear, by
enquiring as briefly as may be into the state of Britain
in the fifth century, the rise and progress of the Pela-
gian heresy, and into the circumstances of the Council
which Constantius mentions. If the history of this
period of our history has been considered uninterest-
ing, it is for want of clearness and precision in our
popular sources of information. Antiquarian researches
are seldom read, and it requires some pat-ience to dis-
cern the truth, amid their discordant views. To sup-
ply partially the need of this trouble, without preten-
sions to original investigation, is the chief object of
the following pages.

Gildas, a writer who flourished not long alter the
events here related, tells us that Britain was situated
on the other side of the Ocean ;^ — there is nothing in
the fact but what we all know ; but it is worth the
while observing, that whereas the Atlantic, among the
ancients, received the name of Ocean, the Channel
which divides England and France was included under
that appellation. Amid the devastations which a civi-
lized age may be said to have spread thi'oughout this
rich country, there is still reason for all to admire its
beautiful pastures, its luxuriant woods, and green hills.
But in Gildas's time, it should seem that nature and
art were tempered in that happy manner, which at
once made the land habitable and fertile, while <it left
room for the poet or the hermit to indulge their love

' " Trans Oceanum." — Gildas Ed. Stevenson, 1838. p. 19.
Vid. etiam Bed. Ephemeris Oct. 1. and scriptores astat. passim.
Lucan. Pharsal. lib. iv.

92 BRITAIN IN 429, A. D.

for solitude. ' He tells us tliat by the mouths of the
Thames and the SeveiTi, the riches of foreign countries
were brought into Britain, and thence spread through the
land by many minor streams ; that Britain was adorned
with twenty-eight large cities, besides other fortified
places ; in all which there was a vast display of strong
walls, gates, towers, edifices some of which were
equally remarkable for their magnitude and their so-
lidity. Another author tells us the names of these
twenty-eight cities, and as there are many which the
reader may like to recognize, it will not be out of
place to give them in the original, as well as the
present idiom. It will be remarked the word Cair is
applied to all. In the British tongue it signified City ;
and as in the Roman lists of towns the word Civitas
was prefixed, so it happened with the British word

1" Cair Guorthigern (a town in Monmouthshire.)

2 " Cair Guiuntguic, Norwich in Norfolk, or Winwick in
Lancashire. =

3" Cair Mincip, Verulam, where the Church of St. Alban's
was built, and which was a Roman municipal city, according to

4" Cair Ligualid, Lugubalia, in Latin, Carlisle in Cumber-

5" Cair Meguaid (in Montgomeryshire) called by the
Romans ^lediolanum, or Milan.

6" Cair Colun, Colchester, called by the Romans Colonia.

7" Cair Ebrauc, this is the famous town of York, which in
Latin was Eboracum.

8" Cair Custoient, that is the town of Constantius.'' " Here,

' Gildas, p. 11 et p. 15. Vid. etiam Ranulph. Higden. Hist.
Brit. ed. Gale. p. 197.

- Nennius, p. 62, ed. 1838, Stevenson. Usher. Primord. p.
39, ed. 40. Vid. et Antonin. Itinerariam.
3 Nennius, p. 20.

BKITAIJSr IN 429, A. D. 93

says Nennius, Constantius the Emperor (the father probably of
Constantine the Great) died ; that is, near the town of Cair
Seo'eint, or Custoient, in Carnarvonshire." There was an in-
scription in Nennius's time left on his tomb, which bore witness
to his death. He had enriched the town greatly, insomuch that
there were no poor persons to be found in it. It was called by
the Romans Segentium, and also Minmanton.

9" Cair Caratauc, Salisbury.

10" Cair Granth, Cambridye, (in Gloucestershire, thinks
Usher, though others believe it to be the more famous Cam-

11" Cair Maranguid, called in Latin Mancunium, Man-

12" Cair Lundein, London, (Londinum) the metropolis of
the kingdom.

13" Cair Ceint, Canterbury (Cantuaria.)

14° Cair Guiragon, Worcester (Vignornia.)

15" Cair Peris, Forchester.

16" Cair Danu, called in Latin Danus, Doncaster.

17" Cair Legion, civitas Legiouum, Chester.

18° Cair Guricon, Warwick.

19° Cair Segeint, Silchester, near Reading in Berkshire, on
the Thames.

20" Cair I>egion guar Usic, Cair Leon, on the Usk, in Latin
Urbs Legionis ad Iscam.

21° Cair Guent, Winchester, called by the Romans Venta
Belgarum, (afterwards Wintonia.)

22" Cair Brithon, Bristol.

23° Cair Lerion, Leicester.

24" Cair Draitou, Drayton in Shropshire.

23° Cair Pensa vel Coyt, Exeter.

26° Cair Urnac, Wroxeter in Shropshire, called by the
Romans Uriconium.

27" Cair Celemion, in Somersetshire, Cumalet.

28" Cair Luit Coyt, Lincoln.

But these twenty-eight cities were by no means all
that could pretend to the rank of towns ; tliey were

94 BRITAIN IN 429, A. D.

probably the principal. Gibbon affirms,^ with appa-
rent truth, that there were ninety-two considerable
towns in Britain which had arisen under the protection
of the Romans, thirty-three of which were distin-
guished above the rest by superior privileges. And
in fact, Nennius esteemed the minor towns to be count-
less,^ and Bede speaks of twenty strong towns added
by Vespasian in one campaign to the rest of the Eoman
possessions, which implies that there were many be-
sides ; and we have the testimony of Gildas himself, a
contemporary, to an important town not mentioned in
the list given, namely Bath, which sustained a memo-
rable siege. On the other hand, while these cities
spread affluence around and encouraged the progress of
civilization, there were not wanting vast ranges of
uncultivated ground and woodland, with all the beauty
which nature alone can confer. It is almost proverbial
that ancient Britain was covered with forests, and the
easy growth of trees in this climate would confirm the
saying. AVith all the limitations then wliich the causes
of wealth assigned necessarily require, it is not difficult
to enter into the spirit of Gildas when he tells us,
" that Britain was also decorated with broad meadows
and plains, liills remarkable for their pleasant sites, and
adapted to the highest culture, mountains affording
ample pastures to all kinds of cattle, upon which
flowers grew of all colours, so as to present a rich pic-
ture to the traveller, who might think he beheld a
bride adorned with nuptial necklaces and bracelets.

' Vol. iv. p. 131. He quotes Richard of Cirencester. De
Situ. Brit. p. 36.

-' " Innumera,"Nenn. p. 6 — " Oppida," Bede de sex. Aetat.
4033 Ann. — " Badonicus mons." Gildas, p. 33.

BRITAIN IN 429, A. D. 95

The streams, lie continues, are lucid as crystal ; some-
times they wander about the land in abundant channels
and with grateful miu'muring ; sometimes, as they
glide slowly beneath the long shadowy banks, they
seem to fall into a deep slumber, forming themselves
into lakes of pure and icy water." England, then, in
Gildas's time, possessed the charms which it still owns.
Nor had it lost them in those of Bede. England was
still the beateous picture of Gildas. ^

On reading an account of St. German's deeds and mir-
acles in Britain, most men would naturally ask them-
selves such questions as the following : Were the Bri-
tons, as they are often represented, in such a state of igno-
rance and simplicity, that the grossest acts of deception
might be practised among them without fear of being
detected ? Had they nothing of that distrustful spirit
which wealth and soft living introduce ? Had they so
little correspondence with foreign nations, and were
they so ill acquainted with theu" faith, customs, and
life, as to receive any one as an apostle or a teacher
because he assumed these characters, and claimed defe-
rence and belief ? Or again, might the subseqvient
report and account of his deeds in Britain be so little
subject abroad to the criticism of experienced judges,
that any tale might be circulated without fear of expo-
sui'e, just as one at the present day might publish any
relation of regions in Africa unexplored by all biit
himself ? It is believed then that histoiy furnishes
an absolute negative to these questions. And before
historical evidence, there is this antecedent proba-
bility, that all ages of the world, especially those which

' " Et signis te picta Britannia texit." — Ephemeris Oct. 1.
Et Introd. Eccl. Hist.

96 BRITAIN IN 429, A. D.

have succeeded the preaching of the Gospel, have been
-much more on a level in intellectual and political ad-
vantages than is often supposed. Man is of an elastic
nature ; circumstances must be very untoward to check
its expansion. They were not such by any means in
the fifth century in Britain, as will be seen.

Britain in ancient times seems to have meant that
island which now consists of England, Scotland and
Wales. With less precision apparently it sometimes
included Hibemia or Ireland. Kennius^ gives the
names of four i-aces of inhabitants, the Scots, the Picts,
the Saxons, the Britons. Three islands among those
which are situated near the coast of Britain claimed
the highest importance, the Isle of Wight, then called
Inisgueith ; the Isle of Man, or Eubonia, or Manau ;
and the Orkney Islands to the north, which went by
the name of Ore. From these geographical statistics
it was usually said " that the governing power admin-
istered justice to Britain and its three Isles." ^ Without
stopping to enquire what truth there might be in the
statement that the Britons were descended from the
Trojans, like their neighbours the Gauls ;3 that is, by
the posterity of Eneas who settled at Alba Longa ; or
whether their name was derived from Brutus the
grandson of Ascanius : it is more to the present pur-
pose to show that in the fourth and fifth century
Britain was part of Gaul. The generic term Gaul, as
a portion of the Empire, included France, Great Bri-
tain, Spain and Portugal. It seems to be agreed by
learned men that the same language at this time was

' Nennius, p. 7. Ed. 1838.
Judicavit Britanniam cum tribus insulis." Ibid.
'■' Vid. Dubos, torn. i. ch. i.

BRITAIN IN 429, A. D. 97

spoken by the natives in Gaul Pi'oper and Britain.
The Pretorian Prefect of all Gaul had twenty-nine
provinces under him, seven in Spain, seventeen in
Gaul, strictly so called, and five in Britain, i There
was a Vicarius, or what we should call a Lieutenant-
Governor over each of these countries. The seat of
government in Britain was at London or York, some-
times the one, sometimes the other. Caer Leon in
Wales seems to have ranked next. ^

A residence of 400 years on the part of the Romans
had placed the nation on the same footing as the most
important provinces of the empire. Dacia, Scythia, or
Sarmatia, were only occasionally visited by Eoman ar-
mies, and though often ranked among tributary pro-
vinces, would feel in a small measure the influence of
Roman civilization. But Britain was a regular division
of the Empire, subject to an administration similar in all
respects to that of other parts. Legions to the number of
twelve had been kept there for the repression of exter-
nal as well as internal disturbance. ^ Every city had its
magistrates and civil codes like municipal towns else-
where. The imperial court itself had been often fixed
there. Julius Caesar entered the mouth of the Thames
three times, according to Nennius.* On the last occa-
sion he fixed his camp at Triuovantum 47 years before
Clu-ist. This of course was no regular settlement. But it
opened the way to one. Li the year 48 after Christ,
the emperor Claudius came and reigned several months

1 Valerius Not. Gall. p. 69. Buchanan, Cluverius, Camden.

Notitia imp. p. 13. ad Not. Dignitat. vid. quoque, p. 95.

- Stillingfleet, p. 199 and p. 220.

^ Alford An. ad an. 401. ubi Camden.

^ P. 17 and 18.


98 BRITAIN IX 429, A. D.

in Britain, ^ according to the same author and Bade,
and penetrated as far as the Orkney Islands, which he
made tributary. In tlie year 107, Lucius, a British
king, with the rest of the petty sovereigns, ^ received an
embassy from the Roman Emperor and Pope Eleuthe-
rius, whence it appears that the government of the
land was divided between the ancient kings of the
Britons and the Roman settlers. But in the year 208,
when Septimius Severus carried on the Caledonian
war, and afterwards under Caracalla his son,^ the Island
was definitively invested with all the privileges of a
Roman province, which it preserved till the time we
are engaged in.

Britain became a favoured country. Men often
rose first to importance among her downs and her
plains — sometimes gained the imperial diadem in her
defence ; and they loved to return to the cradle of
their glory. Septimius Severus died at York. Con-
stantius died in Wales. Constantine the Great was
born at York, and educated in the same country.
Afterwards usurpers issued from the Island or reigned
in it. With the exception of the continual aggressions
of the barbarians — the Scots, Picts and Saxons — every
thing tended to increase the prosperity of the nation.
During the period which elapsed from Claudius's reign
to that of Ilonorius in the fifth century, Whitaker, in
his learned History of jManchcster,'* tliinks the British
monarchs of several tribes continued to reign, though
with subordinate jurisdiction, and in spite of Gibbon,

' De Sex iEtat. 4007.
= " Rcguli."— Nennius, p. 18. Bede de sex ^t. 4132,
(not Eucharisto but Eleutherio.)

3 Gibbon vol. i. ■• Vol. i. p. 247-257.

BRITAIN IN 429, A. D. 99

" the public and private kings" of Gildas, ^ and passages
of Nennius,^ seem to favour the opinion. An iskxnd
under equal circumstances must always be favourable
to the effects of peace. The Romans brought thither
with them their luxuries, arts, and sciences, which
were essential to their existence, and the important
colony had become the exact copy of the mother coun-
try. What Calcutta is now to London, London or
York was to Rome. But the author just quoted wiU
best stand in the place of other evidence.^ " At
this signal period (that now under review), he says,
the five provinces in general of our country seem to
have advanced very high in the scale of political per-
fection. And they even seem to have attained a more
considerable degree of refinement, and to have actually
existed in a more flourishing condition than any of
them knew for many, very many centuries afterwards.
All the improvements of the Romans had necessarily
been introduced among us. Our mines were worked
with the greatest skill. And our towns were decorated
with baths, temples, market-places and porticos. Our
architects were even so remarkably numerous and good,
that a body of them was sent by Constantius into Gaul,
to rebuild the ruined Augustodunum with greater mag-
nificence. And so universally diffused were the riches
of the kingdom, that even after the lapse of many cen-
turies, and merely from the scatterings of negligence
or the concealments of fear, the sites of all the greater
provinces remain generally to the present times inex-
haustible mines of Roman wealth. So absolutely false
is the charge of barbarism against the Britons of this

Gildas, p. 33. - Nennius, p. 38.

* Tom. ii. p. 6. Hist, of Manchester.

100 BRITAIN IN 429, A. D.

period, whicli has been regularly transmitted from pen
to pen through a succession of 1200 years." ^ This
last sentence seems more particularly directed against
the early pages of Hume's history, which are very in-
accurate and insufficient, as he elsewhere shows.

However, that this prosperity of the Britons remained
unimpaired till the great invasion of the Saxons, which
was subsequent to St. German's time, is clear from the
nature of the devastations which these barbarians then
exercised ; for Gildas tells us their fury was spent
upon the monuments of Roman and British wealth,
their columns, towers, streets, high walls and fine
houses.^ And though towards the beginning of the
fifth century the Emperor was obliged to recall, as we
shall see, the legions that guarded Britain to protect
other portions of his dominions, yet it was not to be
expected that in twenty, or at most forty years, all
traces of Italian refinement would have been effaced.
Numerous alliances and permanent settlements of
foreigners, would have taken place during the long
period of the Roman connexion ; and as at this time
the natives of Gaul had almost merged their nation-
ality into the Latin citizenship,^ so this island, whicli
had been conquered by the same general was now as
much Roman as British. Furthermore, a passage of
Nennius, shows that in the later years of Vortigern,
that is, about 450, notwithstanding the many departures
for the defence of Rome, there was still a considerable
number of Romans,* who kept tliat tyrant in awe.

' See also Alforcl. Ann. ad an. 401. " Romani cum insulam
subjugarunt, &c.

- See Gildas, p. 15 and p. 32.
=> See Salvian Ue Gub. Dei. passim.
* P. 24. One IMS. adds, " Those that remained there." —
See Ed. 1838.

BRITAIN IN 429, A. D. 101

During those forty years wliich followed the retreat of
the Romans, Gibbon relates that the artificial fabric
of civil and miKtary government was dissolved,^ and
the independent country was ruled by the authority of
the clergy, the nobles, and the municipal towns. Zozi-
mus, he continues, very accurately observes, that the
letters of Honorius are addressed to the cities of Bri-
tain ; and he proceeds to give the description of this
government, which was essentially Roman in its forms,
and highly indicative of the advance of British civ-

K these inductions be true, it would follow as a mat-
ter of course that learning and literature were in a
flourishing condition in this land. And in fact we do
find the same state of things in this respect as in Gaul.^
Schools and colleges were instituted in all the chief
towns, and the usual rewards offered to professors and
persons who distinguished themselves. Hence it could
be said by a contemporary writer that the Britons were
consummate lawyers.^ Christianity, as elsewhere, in-
creased the ardour for intellectual pursuits, and learned
divines, as well as acute disputants, sprung up in the
island. Fastidius, Bishop of London, flourished about
this time. He has left some writings which are stiU
extant. Faustus, afterwards Bishop of Riez, one of the
most eminent writers of his day, was a native of Britain.
Pelagius, (no honour doubtless, but still a case in point,)
was also born and educated here. Thus the Bishops

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