M. (Paul) Rapin de Thoyras.

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As for the particular Hiftory of England, to which I intend to
confine myfelf, I will venture to fay, it contains as great Va-
riety, with as many entertaining and remarkable Events, as
moft Hiftories hitherto extant. It is true indeed, it has its
dry and barren Places, efpecially in the Beginning ; but this
is an Imperfection common to it with the Hiftories of
France, Spain, and all the reft of the Kingdoms founded
by the Northern Nations. As there were but few Men
of Letters among the Nations, that, like a Deluge, over-ran
the Roman Empire, there were confequently but few Wri-
ters who took care to tranfmit to Pofterity, Memori-
als of their Hiftories. This Hiftory, like moft others,
may be compared to a River which fwells in proportion to
its Diftance from the Fountain-Head, and grows immenfely
great where it falls into the Ocean. But as England is
a Part, and That the moft confiderable of Great-Britain,
it will not be improper to prefix to the Hiftory of that
Kingdom, a general Account of the Ifland, of the firft In-
habitants, their Cuftorns, Manners, Government and Re-

The Island of Albion or Britain was fcarcc
known to the Romans till the Time of their Emperors.
Julius Cafar was properly the firft that difcover'd it to them,
by carrying thither the Roman Eagles, and by the Account
of his two Britijl) Expeditions, the Particulars whereof he

(0 _ Well may the Eigltjh be called Lords of the Britijh Seas, fince the Royal Navy of England confiit-, of 7 Men of War of 100 Guns, 13 of 90,

» ? 8o ' 23 ot 7 °> '9 of 6o » 47 «f 5°) (that is, 125 of the Line of Battlel befides 23 of 40, 9 of ;o, and ij ol 20 : In all iSi. !•■■■ Bit
rrej, to bit Hijlorj,




Dio. (- iffi
1. 39 .

1:?.-, given in his Commentaries. He fays, it is an Ifland in
tilt; Shape of a Triangle: He fets down the Length of each
Side, and tells us, the whole Circuit of the Ifle meafures
about fifteen hundred Miles, or five hundred French Leagues.
After fuel) a Defciiption, one cannot but wonder at what
Tac. Life cf Tacitus feems to afiert, and Dion Cajffius pofitively affirms,
that Britain was not difcovered to be an Ifland till the Go-
vernment of Julius Agricola, that is, in the Reign of Vefpa-
fian, Titus, or Donutian. Was it poffible for Cesfar's Com-
mentaries to be unknown to thefe Hiftorians? (i)
Zxt, Great-Britain, as Cafar obferved, being almoft Trian-

Creat Bri- „ U \ M jf ; t be confidered as bounded by three Right-lines,
forming a perfect Triangle, the three Sides together may
be rcckon'd about fifteen hundred Miles. But allowing
for the Windings of the Coaft, they are found to make
about eighteen hundred Miles, or fix hundred French
c * mi ' Leagues in Compafs. The fhorteft Side, which looks to-
wards France, and reaches from the North-Foreland in
Kent {-) to the Land's-End (3) in Cornwall, contains about
three hundred Miles. The-Weftern Side, over againft
irelard, from the Land's-End to the northermoft Point of
Scotland, may be about eight hundred Miles in length, and
the third or Eaftern Side about feven hundred.
Efyn 1 .,,. ,- The Names of Albion and Britain, by which this Ifle
•"• Wwi has been known, are both of fo antient a Date, that their
Albion. Origin is not tobetrae'd. To Conjecture only, recourfe has
been had in this Cafe. The firft of thefe Names, fay
fome, was received from a certain Giant, Son of Nep-
tune. Others derive the Name Albion from the Greek
Word Alphon, fignifying White, becaufe the Coafts, when
viewed at a diftance, look of that Colour. Some again
imagine Albion comes from the Celtick Word Alp or High,
the Land appearing fo as you approach it from the Conti-
nent (4),


As for the Origin of the Name Britain, we find, a-
'ir'.'d ' mong the Antiquaries, variety of Opinions or Conjee -

£lja I V -f

: ;:> "


the Principal of which are thefe Four. The firft,
that the Name of Britain was given to the Ifland by Bru-

Somncr. tus, a Trojan Prince. The fecond is Somtufs a learned
Englijhman, who fuppofes that becaufe of the violent Mo-
tion of the Sea which wa&es the Coafts of Great-Britain,
this Name may come from the Britifli Word Brydio or
Rage. The third, efpoufed by Camden, Sir William Tem-
ple, and others, is founded upon the Word Brith, fignify-
ing in the Britifli Tongue, IVoad, becaufe the ancient Bri-

I hart in tons ufed to dye their Skins blue with that Plant. The

c naan. f ourt h is Bochart\ : That famous Antiquary believed, the
Phoenicians coming to buy Tin in the Ifland of Albion, gave
it the Name of Barat-Anac, that is, the Land or Country
of Tin, which being by the Greeks mollified into Britan-

Strabo, }.z.,iia (5) was adopted by the Romans. This Etymology feems
to be confirmed by the Gracious calling the Hies of Scilly,
Cajfiterides, which fignifies in Greek the fame as Barat-
Anac in Phanician.

, If I may be allowed to fpeak my Opinion of thefe four

r Etymologies, the Firft feems to be founded altogether
-• upon a Fable. The Second, deriving the Name, Britain
from a Britifli Word fignifying Rage, is, I think, un-
warrantable ; becaufe the Ifland receiving this Name from
Foreigners, as will be fliown prefently, it is not likely they
fhould take it from the Britifli Language, of which pro-
bably they were ignorant : Befides, it is not Fact that the
Sea rages more on the Coaft of Great-Britain than in other
Places. Cunfequently its Motion not being uncommon,
could not give occafion to derive this Name from a Word
fio-nifying Rage. The Third, deriving the Name from
the Word Brith or Woad, is the moft generally received.
But however, it is liable to one Objection, which thofe
that embrace it, ought to remove : and that is, the Name
of Britain was certainly given to the Ifland by Foreigners.
This is evident from the Natives never ftiling their
Country Britain, or themfelves Britons. Their true
Name is Cumrl or Cumbri, from whence Cambria, the
Name of Wales to this Day among the Welfli. Now it is
by no means probable, that Foreigners fhould make ufe of
a Britifli Word to form the Name of this Ifland. So, the
Fourth Opinion, viz. Bocbart's, feems to me the moft na-
tural. It can't be faid to be unlikely that the Phoenicians,
the firft Traders to this Ifland, fhould give it the Name of
Baratanac, or the Land of Tin. Suppofing this, it is pro-
bable the Name palling from the Phoenicians to die Grecians,

and from thefe laft to the Romans, was changed into Thar
of Britannia (6). However this be, we have nothing to truft
to in this Matter but very doubtful Conjectures. The
late Inltances of the Names given to new-found Land,
are fo many Demonftrations, that Caprice has as great a fhare
as Reafon in coining thefe new Names. A Saint's Day,
the Name of a Leader or Pilot, the firft Object that
chanced to prefent itfelf to view, an Accident happening at
the Time of the Difcovery of thefe new Lands, have
ufually ferved for Foundation to the Names affigned them.
So that perhaps the Conjectures of Camden and Bochart are
as little to the Purpofe with refpect to Britain, as Ours
would be, if ignorant of die Occafion of the Names given
to the feveral Parts of America, we fhould endeavour to trace
them from the Language, Cuftom, or Commerce of the

We are as much in the Dark concerning the Origin of Origin of
the firft Inhabitants of the Ifland of Albion, for in all likeli-' /j ' ^ ritor - ''
hood it was peopled by Colonies from different Places, and
at different Times. Endeavours therefore have been ufed Ca?fjr.
to give us fome light into this Matter from their Cuftoms, 1 ' acilus <
Manners, Religion, and Form of Government. But be-
fore 1 proceed to what has been conjectured on this Head,
it will be neceffary juft to touch upon the Fabulous Story of
Brutus, publifhed by Geoffrey of Monmouth, a Writer of
the Xllth Century. Not that it deferves Notice ; but be-
ing mentioned by almoft all tile Englifli Hiftorians, it feems
hardly pardonable to nafs it over in Silence. Befides, it is
the part of a good Hiitorian not only to relate Matters of
Fact, but alfo to guard his Readers againft the Fictions "ob-
truded upon the World 1 for Truths.

Geoffrey of Monmouth, a Bencdietin Monk, penned in
Latin a Hiltory of Britain, and dedicated it to Robert Earl
of Glocejler, natural Son of Henry I. King of England. In
this pretended Hiftory Britain is faid to receive her Name
from Brutus, the Firft of her Kings. What the Hiftorian
relates is as follows :

Brutus, Son of Sylvius, Grandfon of /Eneas, had the Tic Story
Misfortune to kill his Father as he was fhooting at a Deer. r 'f B rmu>.
As he could not or would not, after tin's fatal Accident, ftay
any longer in Italy, he retires into Greece, where gathering
together the Defendants of the Trojans that were brought
thither after the Deftruction of their City, he puts to Sea
with them, and after long wandering on the Mediterranean,
enters the Atlantick Ocean, and performs Wonders in fe-
veral Places, particularly in Gaul againft Goffarius King
of Aquitain. At length, guided by an Oracle, he comes
and lands in the Ifland of Albion, at a Place where Totnefs
now ftands in the County of Devon. The Ifland was at
that time inhabited by Giants cf the Race of Cham, whofe
Chief or King was Gog-Magog. Brutus and his Compa-
nions, though few in Number, not only keep their
ground, but root out the Giants and get poileflion of the
Ifland, which Brutus from his own Name called Britain.
Before his Death, he divided his Dominions among his
three Sons. Locrin or Loegrin had for his Share Loegria lo
called from him, the fame with England now, exclulive of
IVales, which was the Share of Camber, Brutus's fecond Son,
and from him named Cambria. Albanacl the youngeft, had
the Country fince called Scotland, to which he gave the
Name of Albania. (7)

Having laid thefe Foundations, the Author continues his
Hiftory, giving an Account of the various Revolutions that
happened in the Ifland, under the Kings Succeffors of
Brutus, whofe Names he relates with fome of their Ac-
tions. But as to the Time of their Reigns he is not fo
exact, fetting down neither when they began, nor how
long they lafted. He is contented with faying, Brutus's
Arrival in Albion was twelve hundred Years after the Flood,
and fixty-fix after the Deftruction of Troy. This Hiftory,
publifhed in fo dark an Age, was greedily received, par-
ticularly by the Welfli, the Poftcrity of the antient Britons.
But it brings with it fo many Marks of Forgery, that it
is looked upon by all that have eramined it with any At-
tention, as a Fiction of Getffrey himfelf, or Come other Au-
thor, whom he has too implicitly followed.

After rejecting this Fable, I wifh it were in my Power
to give a fatisfactory Account of the Origin of the Britoiy.
But that is impoflible. We muft be fati-.fied with the
Conjectures of Cafar, Tacitus, and fomemore modern Au-
thors :. The moft probable Account feems to be this :

(1) Tacitus fays, Hanc oram noviffimi maris, tunc pr-.mum Romana Claffis circumveaa. tnfulam die Biiti 11 niam afi i Words tunc |

ess appears by tic Context, mujl reft: G .■eminent of Agricola. This is Rafin's Obfervation. But aftei all Tacitai migl

tixn Cafar's Commentaries. For in & rime Britain was only fuppofed to be an Ifland, but not known to b i bj thi .'..■- , till A 1:.

iail'd round it. Dion Cajjr.is liv'd about a hundred Years after Tacitus ; in the latter end ot the ad, and the beginning of the jd Century.

(2) Call'd by the Romans. Centittm.

(3) Belcrium.

(4.) Alfm in the Phanician Tongue fignifics a High Mountain ; and Alien in the fame Language f.enif,. White. The Derivation from Allen feems to
be countenanced by the Britifli Poets, who call Britain, Inif-itien, i.e. the fVhitc-Ijland. See Sclden's Note: on f'o/j ..' .. p. 20.

(5) The Termination —tania, fignifying in Greek, Region, mows, according to Camden, that thisWord was formed h\ the Greeks, juft as Mauritania,
lufitania, Aouitania, &c. Rafir.. It is a queftion whether there is any fuch CrcckVJovi as —lani a Egni (

(6) A modem Author gives the following Derivation. The Phoenicians having pancd the Streights, ma with no Ifland in the Ocean comparable to thefe
now called the Britip l/lcs. Thefe therefore by way of Eminence they called Britban, that is, ( . r. II inds in the Outer-Sea, in Oppofition to

the Mediterranean, which they called the Inner-Sea. From Briihan, Britannia naturally flows. T.e Clerc.

trl The Name t f Loegria is loft ; Cambria is retained by the tFelJh, as Albany is by the- Seat, But this is 10 Pncf el the Origin of thefe Kami
fiich as Geoffrey of Monmouth related, Rapr.,



That Great- Britain was peopled by the Celt a or Gauls,
defcended from Gomer Son of 'Japhet, is univerfally ac-
knowledged. Of This the Name Cumri (i), by which the
JVelJh call thenilclves ftill in their Language, and feveral
other Reafons, will not fufFerus to doubt. Befides, the nu-
merous fwarms of Gauls that over-ran fo great a Part of
Europe and Afea, make it credible, they neglected not to
fend Colonies into Great-Britain which lay i'o near them.
Camden. The Affinity, taken notice of by Antiquaries, between the
Brit. p. xv. Q au j s am j ft r it om with refpect to Religion, is a farther
Confirmation of this Opinion. It is true indeed, the
Bclgct are {kid by fome Writers to fettle in the Eajlertt, the
Spaniards in the Jf^cjicrn, and the Hibernians or Irijb in the
Northern Parts of Great-Bntain. But this is not incon-
fiitent with the common Opinion. The Beiges were no
other than Gauls, and the Spaniards, as well as the Irijh
or Scots, were, according to fome Writers, Colonies of the
Celtiberian-Gauls that inhabited along the IVe/lern Coafts of
Spain. But fuppofing it were not very certain, that thefe
Spaniards were Celtiberians, it can't be denied, that the
Southern Part, now called England, was peopled by the
Gauls. This is the molt probable Account of the Origin
of the Britons.
Matam and As for their Manners, Cuftoms, Religion, and Govern-
fcBrito ment, though mentioned by Ceefar in his Commentaries,
Cefar Com. fhould we confine ourfelves to what he has faid, our Know-
!• v. ledge would be but very imperfect. A fuller Difcovery of

AErico"'" tne ' e tn ' n o s mu ft De drawn chiefly from the Authors who
writ after the Romans were become Mailers of Britain. As
the Britons did not at once, but by degrees, alter their Cu-
ftoms and Manners, what thefe. Authors fay of the Britons
of thofe Days, may be prefumed to agree in many refpects
with the antient Inhabitants of the Ifland.

The Britons were generally tall and well-made, and,
like mod of the Irijb at this Day, yellow-hair'd. Their
Conilitution was fo good, that, according to Plutarch,
they frequently liv'd a hundred and twenty Years. This
length of Days was probably owing to their Sobriety and
Temperance as much or more than to the Wholfomnefs of
the Air. The ufe of Cloaths was fcarce known in the
Ifland. None but the Inhabitants of the Southern Coafts
covcr'd their Nakednefs with the Skins of wild Beafts care-
lefly thrown over them, not fo much to defend themfelves
againft the Cold, as to avoid giving Offence to the Strangers
Solinus that came to traffick with them. They were wont by
Plin. Hift. wav f Ornament to make Incifions in their Bodies in the
Nat. 1. xxii. gh a p e Q f F] owerS; Trees and Animals, which with the
Juice of JVoad they painted of a Sky-colour that never
wore out. Thefe Scars are by Tertullian tcrm'd Britanno-
rum Stigmata.

They liv'd in Woods, in Hutts cover'd over with Skins,
Boughs or Turf. There are People now in the North of
Scotland that arc faid to have no other Houfes. I remem-
ber alio to have feen in Ireland poor People living in a Hutt
cover'd only with green Turf, and not above three or four
times bigger than their Body. I was told , they liv'd
quietly in thefe Habitations, without ftirring abroad unlefs to
provide for their Subfiftence, and, contented with Milk and
Potatoes, gave themfelves no farther trouble. This may ferve
to give us an Idea of the way of living as well among the
antient Britons, as, perhaps, among many other Nations.
Their ufual Food was Milk, and Flefh got by Hunting, their
Woods and Plains being well ftock'd with Game. As for
domeftick Fowls, Hens and Geefe, if they bred any, it
\lvas for their pleafure, being ftrictly forbid by their Religion
Celir Com. to eat them, as Ceefar exprefly obferves. Neither did
i' v > they eat any Fifh, though the Rivers and the Sea that

furrounded them, were plentifully ftor'd with them. Their
Towns or rather Villages were only a confus'd parcel of
Hutts plac'd at a little diftance from each other, without any
Order or Diftinction of Streets. They generally flood in
the Middle of a Wood, the Avenues whereof were defend-
ed with flight Ramparts of Earth, or with the Trees that

were fell'd to clear the Ground. Notwithflanding this their
plain and funple Manner of living, fo remote from the
Luxury of other Nations, they were as quick of Appre-
Iienfion as their Neighbours the Gauls, and, if Tacitus may
be credited, of greater Penetration. Diodorus Siculus does
not fcruple to prefer their Honefty and Integrity before
That of the Romans. One Cuitom however they had that
feem'd deteflable to other Nations, though for their part
they thought it very innocent : And that was, for ten or a
dozen Brothers or Friends to live all together and have their
Wives in common. This Cuitom continued a long time
among them, though in other refpedls they were grown
very civiliz'd by their Commerce with the Romans, when
Matters of this Ifland. A Britijh Lady being upbraided
one day by Julia, Severus's Emprefs, with a Cuitom lb
contrary to the Practice of other Nations, is faid, by an
Hiftori v iii, to return this bold Anfwer, The Roman Ladies Dio.lJxxvW
have little Reafon to reproach us upon this Account, fence we
do publickly with the btji of our Men no more that what they do
privately with the ivorjl of Theirs, Freedmcn and Slaves. The
Britons, without doubt, difFer'd from more civiliz'd Nati-
ons in many other Cuftoms (2). But their Country being
little frequented by Foreigners, we know but few Particu-
lars about them, efpecially with regard to the Time before
the Arrival of the Romans. We muft therefore be fatisfied
with what we find (cattered here and there in Authors, who
it may be, for the moft part, knew but little of the Matter.

Ceefar gives a great Character of the Valour of the Bri- The Briton*
tons, and their going to Battle with undaunted Bravery, rnmncrtf
But it is hard to underftand his Defcription of their wav of ^"T

F,. 1. tt r 1 r . *- J Lienr Com,

lghting. He fays, they fought for the moft part in 1. iv.

Chariots, from whence, furioufly driving among their Ene-
mies, they flung their Darts: but when they had to deal with
the Horfe, they left their Chariots to fight on Foot with
Advantage. Now this feems very ftrange. For my part, I
own I can't conceive what Advantage they could have to en-
gage the Horfe rather on foot than in their Chariots.

As well fituated for Trade as die Britons were, we don't Tbdr Trade,
find they had any large VefTels, or ventur'd to Sea beyond
the Coafts of Gaul. Their chief Commerce was with
the Phoenician Merchants (3), who, after the Difcovery of
the Ifland, exported every Year great Quantities of Tin,
with which they drove a very gainful Trade with diitant
Nations. But notwithftanding all their Care to conce.il
the Fountain-Head, the Greeks (4) difcovered it at length,
and came and traded alfo to the fame Place.

This Commerce being carried on in the furtheft Parts of 77 '" Rl '•'"
Cornwal only, Foreign Merchants had no Opportunity to s '""'
know exactly the State of the Ifland. For which reafon
we are ignorant at this day, of many Particulars, concern-
ing the Religion and Government of the Britons, that pro-
bably would have been tranfmitted down to us, if other
Nations had met with Information. A full account there-
fore muft not be expected of thefe Matters, fince Here, as
well as in many other Cafes, Conjectures only are all we
have to go upon. Thus much however is known, that the
Britons had in a manner the fame Gods with the Gauls.
For Inftance, Dis and Samothes were Deities equally wor-
fhipped by both Nations. But the Britons had a very parti-
cular Veneration for Andate, Goddefs of Victory, to whom
they facrificed their Prifoners of War.

We know moreover the Druids, as well among the The Druid?,
Britons as Gauls, had the Care and Direction of all Religi
ous Matters (5). The Name Druid comes from the Word c.'^
Deru, fignifying in the Britijh or Celtic Language, an
Oak, like Drus in the Greek (6). For the Mifletoe that
grows on the Oak was looked upon by them as a moft
facred Thing, and the greateft Bleffing from Heaven (7).
The Druids were held in fuch Veneration by the People,
that their Authority was almoft abfolute. No publick Af-
fairs were tranfacted without their Approbation : not fo
much as a Malefactor could be put to death without their
Confent. Religion not only afforded them a Pretence to

Carfar, 1-
Pliny, 1. xvi.

(1) That is, Indigents, or the firft and moft antient Inhabitants of Britain, in Oppofition to thofe that came over from Belgium. Mag. Brit. p. 8.

(2) Another Cuitom they had, •viz. If a Wife was fuund acceffary to her Huiband's death, Ihe was proceeded againft with Fire, Hence, fays dke,
our prefent Law of burning Women that have kill'd their Hulhands.

(3) The Phoenician, firft came to Britain before the Trojan War. Sam. Brit. p. 47.

(4) The Greeks came hither 160 Years before Julius Co-jar. Sam. Brit. p. 74.

(5) Et vos, Barbaricos ritus moremque finiftrum Sacrorum, Druidse, pofitis rcpetiftis ab armis. Solis noffe dcor, Sec. Lutan.

The Druids, now, while Arms are heard no more, And other Bodies in new Worlds they find.

Old Myfteries and barb'rous Rites reftore : Thus Life for ever runs its cndlefs Race,

A Tribe who fingular Religion love, And like a Line, Death but divides the Space j

And haunt the lonely Coverts of the Grove. A Stop which can but for a Moment laft,

To thefe, and thefe of all Mankind alone, A Point between the Future and the Paft.

The Gods are fure reveal'd, or fure unknown* Thrice happy they beneath their Northern Skies,

If dying Mortals Doom they fing aright, Who that worft Fear, the Fear of Death dclpife ;

No Ghofts defcend to dwell in dreadful Night : Hence they no Cares for this frail Being feel,

No parting Souls to grilly Pluto go, But rufli undaunted on the pointed Steel;

Nor feek the dreary filent Shades below : Provoke approaching Fate, and bravely feern,

But forth they fly Immortal in their Kind, To fpare that Lite which muft fo foon return. Lucan.

(6) Father Pezron, in his Book of the Original of the Celtic Language, will have both Greek and Latin to come from Celtic. If fo, the Greek Word Drus
muft come from the Celtic Deru. Rapin.

(7) Ad y-.jcum Druidte, Druidx cantare jolehant. Ovid. They called the Mifletoe, as they ftill call it in fome Part of Wales, the Pren-Atvyr.
Thefe Groves where they worfhipped were called Llnuyn, thence probably the Word Llan fignifying now in IVcljh a Church. Thefe Groves were lncloiermnrj
of fpreading Oaks, ever furrounding their facred Places. In which were 1. Gorjeddau, or Hillocks where they fat and pronounced their Decrees, and fpoke
"Orations to the People. 2. Camedde, or Heaps of Stones on which they had a peculiar Mode of Wor/hip. 3. Crwileche, or Altars en which they pcrtorm'd
the Solemnities of Sacrifices. Rtnviand, p. 69.

Vol. I. B concern



concern themfelves in the Government, but authorized The Moon is a Sovereign Remedy for All things, as its name

them as they pretended, to intermeddle in private Af- in Celtic implies.

fails.' Under colour that there is hardly any Cafe but Let the Dijobedient be excommunicated ; let him be depriv'd

where Religion maybe concem'd, they claim'd a Power cf the Benefit of the Law; let him be avoided by All, anlren-

to exclude from the Sacrifices all fuch as refilled to fubmit der'd incapable of any Employ.

to their Determinations. By that means they became very All Mafia's of Families are Kings in their own Houfes, they

formidable, this fort of Excommunication being deemed fo have a Power of Life and Death over their Wives, Children

infamous, that the Perfon on whom it was pronounced, and Slaves.

was avoided by All. The Chrijlian Clergy in this Point

have but too clofely imitated the antient Druids. The Thefe Articles may ferve to give us a Specimen of the

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