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boast." Chamberlayne, in his Magne Britanniæ Notitia, nearly a century and a half ago, observed-" The soil in some places is so rich that after three years bearing saffron, it will bear good barley for almost twenty years together without dunging"-a description, we fear, that few of our modern farmers find borne out in practice. The good old itinerary must have been hoaxed, or have fallen in with some experimentalizing Piper of former days, who, like him of Colne Engaine, had the secret of growing five quarters of wheat per acre year after year without the aid of the muck cart or the plough. A recent practical writer (Mr. R. Baker, of Writtle,) describes the soil as resting in general on chalk as the substratum, which crops out at Saffron Walden on the north, and at Grays on the Thames on the south, at both of which places there are extensive lime works. The upper soil and subsoil consist of gravel, loam, clay, sand, &c. in admixture, many portions of which show that great disturbance by the action of water has taken place. About Chelmsford the soil is for the most part very good, and well adapted for the production of turnips as well as grain crops of every description. The Hundred of Dengie is a tenacious clay subsoil, difficult of cultivation, but in dry seasons wheat is

heavy crop, far exceeding that of any other district. Rochford Hundred possesses some of the finest land in the kingdom, being part of it unrivalled for productiveness. About Colchester and Tendring Hundred are fine turnip and corn lands. In the district of Braintree the soil is chalky clay, producing excellent wheat and barley. About the Hedinghams is a rich vale, partly devoted to the culture of the hop, which old surveys inform us was formerly grown about Chelmsford. The lower part of the Romford district, towards Brentwood, is rather inferior. Around Epping and Loughton there is a great deal of pasture; and towards the Thames is a rich tract of marsh land. The upper part of the county is principally devoted to market gardens, from which immense quantities of vegetables are sent into London. The axe of the woodman and the spade of the drainer have been busy for the last half century clearing its forest lands, of which 1,873 acres have recently been enclosed; and the extent to which agricultural drainage has been carried has greatly improved the healthfulness of the county and increased its produce. The coast is in many parts broken into a series of islets and peninsulas, cut in deeply by arms of the sea; and the oyster beds about Colchester, Mersea Island, Burnham, and other parts, render the shore and its waters as profitable as its most fertile tracts of land.

It has been said that the county is so overloaded with veal and wheat that it has no room for those objects that arrest the footsteps and employ the curiosity of those learned in the things of old. Barbarism, it is true, has sent the plough over many a spot hallowed by time and the associations connected with it; but it has still left many of the landmarks of former ages. Suckling, speaking of Essex, thus vindicates its character upon this point-" Few districts offer subjects of higher interest, and although I must admit the want of the beauties of a stately Cathedral, yet its remains of Roman constructions, its castellated and romantic ruins, its ecclesiastical and domestic structures, present in singularity of design and construction unparalleled examples of ancient art. The Roman works at Chesterford considered by some as the most entire in England,--the Castles of Colchester and Hedingham,-the Abbey of Waltham and the Priory of St. Botolph, both exceedingly curious specimens, the Round Church of Maplestead, and above all the wooden Church of Greenstead, perhaps a genuine instance of Anglo-Saxon architecture, the houses of Layer Marney and Audley End,-these and various others that might be justly adduced will, I think, bear me out in asserting that the county of Essex is not to be surpassed in the possession of those curious and interesting remains which constitute the riches of architectural antiquities."

Having thus glanced at the county in its present state, as compared with its aspect at the time of earliest record, when, it may almost be said "wild in the woods the noble savage ran," it may be necessary to go a step further back, and enquire whence came the people who had thus pitched their huts in the Essex woods, as elsewhere in the island, and appeared to possess the land as by right? The early epochs of most nations are lost in obscurity or clothed in fable. The poets were the first historians, and with the dim traditions of the people, they interwove the exaggerated and trustless legends of their craft. This nation, too, has its fabulous period. One story would persuade us that Brutus (whence the name of Briton), the grandson of Eneas, came here about 120 years after the destruction of Troy, and peopled the island; so that some of us may be descendants of the grim warriors whose exploits have been recorded in the deathless verse of Homer. Another tells us that thirty daughters of a King of Syria, led by one named Albina (giving the title of Albion) murdered their husbands on their wedding night, and escaping, floated in a vessel without sails or oars to these coasts, where they became acquainted with a peculiar class of spirits and bore a race of giants. It

is vain to enquire whether there be a spice of truth in these remnants of old romance. Trustworthy writers all assert that the ancient Britons were a tribe of the Gauls or Celts, who came over from the continent; and it is evident that the part on this side of the Thames was one of their earliest settlements, the inhabitants here being called Trinobantes or Trinovantes, which etymologists have traced to mean "the country beyond the stream." That this tribe was populous and of some importance is shown by the fact that its chief or king, Cassibellanus, was selected as the commander of the united British forces assembled to resist the invasion of Julius Cæsar. Prior to that event the people were free and independent. They were divided into principalities and states, and had a monarchical government, but enjoyed a large share of liberty. Indeed that stubborn character of independence which has manifested itself through ages appears to be indigenous to the soil, for we are told of these first inhabitants, They were at times fond of liberty almost to a degree of madness, and were then so tenacious of it as to yield up their lives a voluntary sacrifice rather than submit to what had to them only the appearance of slavery, which they so abhorred and detested." The poet has made Caractacus thus address the captives taken in the attack on Mona, and probably it expresses the British feeling even in those rude days


"Hear me, Romans, hear,
That you are captives is the chance of war;
Yet captives as ye are, in Britain's eye

Ye are not slaves. Barbarians tho' ye call us,
We know the native rights man clains from man,
And therefore never shall we gall your necks
With chains, or drag you at our scythed cars
In arrogance of triumph. Nor till taught
By Rome (what Britain sure should scorn to learn)
Her avarice, will we barter you for gold."

In times of peace the civil government was administered by the Druids, who, being also priests, by the influence of their religion exercised enormous power; for no species of superstitition, we are told, was ever more terrible. In Essex there are no monuments left to mark the spots where the tribes mustered, and the Druid, with his flowing vestments and hoary beard, performed his mysterious rites. In some other districts -at Stonehenge for instance-these are to be found; but the huge blocks of stone of which they consist were not obtainable in this part of the kingdom. Not a vestige therefore remains. But there is no doubt that in many a spot now familiar to us. Druidical altars have been raised, within the dark groves usually chosen for their sites, and that the earth about them has been wet with the life blood of the victim of human sacrifice.




T would seem that the Celts, as the original settlers, enjoyed the land in peace for some centuries. But there was an invasion prior to that of the Romans. The Belgæ, a tribe of the Teutonic race, came here about 350, B.C. with hostile views and intentions of conquest. They occupied a part of the Eastern district-by some they are supposed to have laid the original foundation of Colchester. From that time quarrels and contests followed; battles were frequent; as a natural consequence the warlike arts were cultivated, and a martial spirit prevailed; so that when Cæsar landed here in 55 B.C. with an army from Gaul, for the purpose of adding this island to the Roman empire, he found a people unwilling to submit to his yoke, and able to make a formidable stand even against the Imperial arms. They had a Senate and Council; factions and parties, the effect even then as now, of liberty, prevailed in their communities and villages; commerce began to develope itself, and foreign merchants had establishments on some parts of the coast, the Phoenicians, it is known, having from a very early age traded with this country for tin; and thus advanced, the Britons were not disposed to submit to the yoke of a new master. Their internal feuds were therefore hushed; a generalin-chief of the armies was appointed, Cassibellanus, the king of the Trinobantes, which included the Essex men, being selected for that office; and when the Romans appeared off the coast in the autumn of 55 they found the cliffs covered with armed natives ready to dispute their landing. The invaders it is known made good their footing, but on the whole could boast of little success in the first attempt. Their second expedition in the following year appears to have been more effective. Cassibellanus who must have commanded a numerous army, as it is stated he had 4,000 of their scythed chariots in the field, was defeated; and afterwards we find the natives agreeing to a tribute to the conqueror. At this time Essex had been divested of part of its wild character. The natives, instead of shifting their habitations as danger

threatened, or finer pastures for their cattle tempted them to removal, had begun to settle down, to cultivate the land, and to build strongholds. Cæsar describes this part of the country as containing "an infinite number of people, with houses very thick, and built after the manner of the Gauls." There is good reason to conclude that the place which afterwards became the Camulodunum of the Romans was at that period of some importance, and the seat of government. The site of that celebrated station has been a point of dispute between historians, Colchester and Maldon contending for this hoary honour of old antiquity. Camden gives it very decidedly in favour of the latter, but this must be taken rather as an individual opinion than as a verdict given on the examination of trustworthy evidence. Authority and circumstances decide the antiquarian suit in favour of Colchester. The word Camulodunum has been interpreted to mean "The town on a hill, at the winding of a river," and this would apply to either place; but at Maldon the pick-axe has brought to light only a few coins to confirm the title, or to show that it was at this time a Roman station at all, remarkable as it is in after history; while at Colchester the earth teems with traces of its once imperial masters, and remnants which prove it to have been a seat of their power. Morant speaking of Colchester saysAs to Roman coins and medals, immense numbers, nay bushels, have been found in and about this town; and amongst them many gold coins of the higher empire; even the richest cabinets in this nation have been furnished from hence." Cromwell adds-"Not only have fragments of the Supellex Romana, or Roman household utensils, of all kinds, been found whenever the earth has been disturbed within or near the circuit of the walls, but remains of that nation which comparatively occur but seldom, namely, of their buildings, are to be seen incorporated with, or rather forming the chief materials of, all the more ancient public edifices. The walls themselves, the castle, and the churches, are in great part reared with bricks and tiles of Roman manufacture. Nay, as though the Roman genius continued to reign in this place long after the extinction of their power, the pure forms of their architecture were preserved, in some instances, in the erection of the monastic edifices of Anglo-Norman times-a circumstance not a little remarkable, and as we believe not to be noticed elsewhere in buildings of a similar kind." Again, and this we take as decisive of the point -the old itineraries which have come down from the time of the Romans, describe Camulodunum as 52 miles from Londinium, the exact distance of Colchester, while Maldon is but 38.


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