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In this short History of England the writer has endeavoured to convey a broad and full impression of its great Epochs, and to develop with care, but in subordination to the rest of the narrative, the growth of Law and of the Constitution. This he could attain within the limits prescribed only by confining himself to the mere summarizing of events of minor importance— none of which, however, have been left unnoticed. Where illustrious characters were to be brought into relief, or where the story of some great achievement merited a full narration, he has occupied more space than the length of the history might seem to justify; for it is his belief that a mere narration of the Deeds of England in her struggles for liberty and for a high place among the nations of the world, is more fertile in instruction to youth and more stimulating to a healthy and laudable ambition than any other mode of treating our past. Advanced students may dwell with great advantage on the details of constitutional and legal history, and on the progress of manners or of what may be called Domestic Civilisation. But by minds not yet formed, the great and leading idea of an epoch can alone
be received with advantage, while the moral effects of the study of history can alone be gained through an acquaintance with the distinguished men who adorn our annals, and with all that exemplifies the energy, the enterprise, and the greatness of our race. With such views of the value of history to those for whom this book is especially written, it is scarcely necessary for the author to apologize for the occasional introduction of well-known passages from our great dramatist, where these happen to be apt, illustrative, and in accordance with fact.
Recent events have been treated with more than usual fulness, as being those under the influence of which our youth are rising into manhood, and out of which must flow that history, in the formation of which they, as citizens, must bear a part.
As the book is intended chiefly for the senior classes of schools, and for the junior students of our Training Colleges, comprehensive questions have been appended to each chapter, not for the use of the teacher, but to enable the student to test his own knowledge.
LONDON, Jan. 1, 1859.
EPOCHS AND SOVEREIGNS.
INTRODUCTION.-Roman invasion and occupation of Britain, embracing
The Saxon and Danish invasions, and their divided rule until ter-
minated by the invasion of the Normans, 440 to 1066. This
Epoch is marked by the introduction of Christianity,
union of the Saxon Heptarchies into one kingdom; and by the reign
of England's great law-giver and greatest king, the Saxon Alfred.
Sovereigns.-Egbert, 800-836. Ethelwolf, 836-858. Ethelbald, 858-860. Ethel-
bert, 860-866. Ethelred I., 866-871. Alfred the Great, 871-901. Edward I., or
Edmund II., or Ironside, 1016-1017.
Ethelred II., or the Unready, 978-1016.
Harold 1., or Harefoot, 1035-1040. Hardicanute, 1040-1042. Edward III., or
Harold II., 1066.
The Norman and Plantagenet dynasties, from William the Conqueror
as the period of the institution of Feudalism; of Magna Charta,
wrested by the Barons from John; of the rise of a representative
Parliament out of the old Witenagemote, under Henry II.; of the
conquest of Wales, and the Scottish wars,
Sovereigns.-William the Conqueror, 1066-1087. William Rufus, 1087-1100.
The hundred years' war with France provoked by Edward in. assum-
ing the title of king of that country, and which was terminated by
the expulsion of the English in 1453. Progress of Parliament-
Adoption of the Saxon tongue in the courts of law,
[During this Epoch flourished Chaucer the father of English
Sovereigns.-Edward III. (of Windsor), 1327-1377. Richard 11., 1377-1399.
(House of Lancaster).—Henry IV. of Bolingbroke, 1399-1413. Henry v. (of Mon-
The Wars of the Roses, arising out of the rival claims of the Houses of
York and Lancaster, began under Henry vi. (1453). They brought
about the destruction of the power of the nobles, and with it, of the
feudal system. With Henry vII.'s reign begins what is properly
[This Epoch is distinguished as the period of the revival of
letters, the invention of printing, and the discovery of America.]
Sovereigns.-(House of York)-Edward Iv., 1461-1483. Edward v., 1483.