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"Hence X, King Alfred, gathered these together, and commanded many of those to be written down which our forefathers observed-those which I liked,—and those which X did not like, by the advice of my Witan X threw aside. For I durst not venture to set down in writing over many of my own, since I knew not what among them would please those who should come after us. But those which X met with either of the days of me, my kinsman, or of Offa, king of Mercía, or of Aethelberht, who was the first of the English who received baptism,—those which appeared to me the justest,-X have here collected, and abandoned the others. Then X, Alfred, king of the West Saxons, showed these to all my CVitan, and they then said that they were all willing to observe them.”


Translated by R. PRICE, ESQ. (Not yet published.)

"Masters," quoth the cardinal, "unless it be the manner of your house, as of likelihood it is, by the mouth of your Speaker whom you have chosen for trusty and wise (as indeed he is), in such cases to utter your minds, here is without doubt a marvellous silence;" and thereupon he required answer of master Speaker. Who first reverently on his knees excusing the silence of the house, abashed at the presence of so noble a personage able to amaze the wisest and best learned in a realm, and after by many probable arguments proving that for them to make answer was neither expedient nor agreeable with the ancient liberty of the house; in conclusion for himself showed that though they had all with their voices trusted him, yet except every one of them could put into his one head all their several wits, he alone in so weighty a matter was unmeet to make his grace answer. Whereupon the cardinal, displeased with Sir Thomas More, that had not in this parliament in all things satisfied his desire, suddenly arose and departed."

Roper's Life of Sir Thomas More.

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THE following volume is a part of an experiment to ascertain how far the most necessary portions of historical knowledge may, even in an abridged narrative, be rendered acceptable to general readers. Neither my habitual relish for English history, nor the hazardous honor of acting with such fellow-laborers, has blinded me to the difficulties of the attempt, which experience has shown to be more considerable than I apprehended they would prove. I need not compare the convenience of abridgment with the merits of circumstantial recital: both these sorts of historical composition have their use, and they must both always continue to be written.

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On behalf of such sketches, I may venture to take it for granted that an outline may be useful as an introduction, and convenient as a remembrancer; that it is a particularly accessible manual for reference; and that it may contain all the information concerning the affairs of one people, which men of different pursuits, of little leisure, or of other countries, may think it necessary to have always within their reach.

The object at which I have aimed is, to lay before the reader a summary of the most memorable events in English history, in regular succession, together with an exposition of the nature and progress of our political institutions, clear enough for educated and thinking men, with as little reasoning or reflection as the latter part of the object to which I have just adverted will allow, and with no more than that occasional particularity which may be needed to characterize an age or nation-to lay open the workings of the minds who have guided their fellow-men—and, most of all, to strengthen the moral sentiments by the exercise of them on all the personages conspicuous in history.

I am fearful that I shall be thought to have said too much for one class of readers, and too little for another, on the history of our government and laws. I can only offer in excuse, that the characteristic quality of English history is, that it stands alone as the history of the progress of a great people towards liberty during six centuries; that it does not appear reasonable to lose sight of this extraordinary distinction, in any account of it, however compressed; that the statement offered here, short as it must be, may much facilitate the right understanding of more recent controversies and changes; and, lastly, that a writer, however much he is to curb his peculiarities and guard against his most frequent faults, must at the same time bear in mind that there are some parts of every extensive subject for which nature and habit have less unfitted him "than for others.


If in this case I have indulged my own taste too much while walking on a path by me before untrodden, I may reasonably hope that experience will enable me to avoid that excess in the sequel of my undertaking.

It is now apparent that the work cannot be confined within the limits first announced to the public. How far it may be found necessary to extend them, is a matter on which it will require the experience of at least another volume, to warrant me in venturing publicly on a more specific declaration.


SIR JAMES MACKINTOSH had proceeded to the 392d page of the first volume of his "History of England," when literature and his country were deprived of him by his lamented death. His manuscript breaks off with the section ending at the last line of the first column of the above-mentioned page in the presen volume.

The History will be continued with an entire concurrence in Sir James Mackintosh's developed principles and views: at the same time, with a full sense of the continuator's disadvantages, in coming after one whose capacity and reputation placed him so high. It will, however, be the study of the continuator to pursue the course of events with the same disposition to vindicate and advance the principles of religious and political freedom, promote civilization, and cultivate the sentiments of humanity, which have distinguished his predecessor.

The various manuscripts and memoranda left by Sir James Mackintosh relating to English history, among which may be especially mentioned a view of English affairs at the time of the Revolution of 1688, have been purchased by the proprietors of the Cyclopædia, and will be used as occasion shall require in the progress of the work.

B. C.

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Under Antoninus, another Wall is built farther North...



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State of Europe as described by the Ro. man Writers towards the Decline of the Empire; Gauls or Celts; their original Abodes; their Irruptions into Greece, Italy, and Asia Minor... Mixture and Confusion of Races in the Population of Greece and Italy; Phonician Colonies in the Mediterranean ib. Formation of mixed Languages by intercourse between the Conquerors and the conquered; Hindustanee and AngloNorman striking Illustrations at opposite Extremities of the Earth.... Distinction between the Term Race, as employed by Historians and by Naturalists..


367. The Empire declines, and Troops are withdrawn from Britain to protect the

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Teutonic or Germanic Race; contrasted Character of the Gauls and Germans; the Gauls somewhat civilized, but abjectly servile and superstitious; the Germans more rude, but of independent Spirit that Spirit qualified them to lay the Foundation of a better ordered Civilization than that of the Ancient or Eastern World...


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But the insular Position of England rendered their Progress very slow.. Armorica (since called Britanny); Source of its early Connexion with Britain: through that Connexion the legendary Tales of Britain were communicated to the Continent: King Arthur..... The limited Value of our early Traditions, as compared with the classical, arises from their Transmission through a Medium not purely national, that of Monks of foreign Origin and Studies, and Minstrels who implicitly followed them...




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The general Movement of the pastoral Tribes originated in that of the Huns from the North of the Wall of China to the Caspian.....


Successive Pulsations of this Movement

through other Tribes...


A. D.


Slow Progress of the Saxons in the Invasion of Britain..


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457- Establishment of the Jutes in Kent, and of the South Saxons on the Borders of Sussex.... Successes of Cerdic, at the Head of the West Saxons, against the West Britons ib. Principalities of Deira and Bernicia, formed by the Angles in the North... State of the Island during the Period called the Heptarchy...





36. Caligula threatens Britain; but ends by the insane Freak of loading his Troops with Shells........

43. Claudius seriously undertakes the Enterprise: his Generals employ Seven Years in reducing the Country south of the Thames.

50. Ostorius encounters the Silures of South Wales under Caractacus, who is defeated and sent Prisoner to Rome..... 59. Suetonius Paulinus attacks the sacred Seat of Druidism in Mona or Anglesey: he is called off by an Insurrection: Boadicea: dreadful Slaughter of the Britons ib. 71. Agricola, Governor of Britain under Vespasian; carries the Roman Arms to Scotland: joins by fortified Posts the Friths of Forth and Clyde; circumnavigates the Island....


120. Under Adrian, a second Wall is built from the Solway to the Mouth of the Tyne.. ib. I


St. Augustine and forty other Missionaries sent by Pope Gregory_to_convert the Saxons: they found both the Christian Religion and the British Language extinct in the Saxon Territory.. Miracles ascribed to St. Augustine: mistaken, but honest Enthusiasm may account for many Pretensions ascribed to wilful Imposture.. ib.

Ascendency of one Saxon State over the rest: Authority of Bretwalda; (800) Eg

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