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ROYAN AND ANGLO-SAXON DOMINATION.
Obscure origin of States. — Aborigines of Britain. Roman Inva
sion. — Condition of the Natives. — Benefits from Roman Dominion. - Origin of the Anglo-Saxons ; Changes under the New Mastery. - Proportion of Villeins, Cottars, and Slaves. — Celtic traces in Language and Usages. - Roman Civilisation preserved. — AngloSaron Laws and Institutions ; Laws of Alfred. -- Each Subjugation tended to National Improvement. — Antiquities of the Ante-Norman Period. Erroneous Ascription of Stonehenge and the Round Tourers.
The origin of most communities is necessarily obscure. They have generally commenced with an untutored race; but savages can have no history any more than an adult of his earliest childhood. The essentials of history are monuments, records, tradition or oral testimony; but these form elements of civilisation found only in nations who have made some advance in the arts of life, by which the memory of their acts and attainments is preserved and transmitted. Tribes of people that are apparently
indigenous, or little advanced from the natural state, do not command such requisites ; they may exist for ages, and then disappear, leaving no trace of their ephemeral passage any more than the wild animal with which they have been associated. In this way it is likely that for a long course of time prior to the historic age all the great continents and islands of the earth were peopled by successive flights of inhabitants, the strongest overpowering or extirpating their weaker predecessors. But the result is different with more recent states, that spring from colonies planted by civilised ancestors, and which, from the outset, commence with the accumulated acquisitions of the mother country. The earliest social developments of these offer no unrecorded blank, but the narrative of their progress is complete from the beginning of their career.
In Britain the first, or aboriginal, settlers appear to have been in the former or non-historical stage of development; and little reliable evidence can be collected by whom, or when, or how, the island came to be inhabited. The most probable conjecture is that it was peopled from the adjacent continent, and the earliest visitors were of the Celtic race. This race had immemorially occupied the entire of Central and Western Europe, the northern and eastern parts being peopled by the Teutones or Gothic nations, and who at a later period possessed themselves of the south and southeastern parts of Britain by driving inland their Celtic predecessors.
Similar ties in language, manners, superstitions, and government attest the Celtic derivation of the early Britons. The topographical nomenclature of the country is generally Celtic, especially the names of the more unchangeable parts of nature, as of rivers, mountains, and lakes. The Saxons, who subverted and tried to change
ABORIGINES OF BRITAIN,
everything, gave new names to the towns and villages; but the geographical names which are usually founded on less variable physical characteristics of the objects to which they are applied mostly survived this compulsory vicissitude.
Julius Cæsar, who made the first descent on the island B. C. 53, found the Britons barbarous, but not in the savage state. They were divided into forty nations or tribes, who were often at war, but who united their forces to resist a common enemy. Those occupying the inland and northern parts of the island were the least cultivated, clothing themselves with the skins of beasts, and living chiefly on the spontaneous fruits of the earth and by the pasturing of cattle. The occupants of the south and south-eastern coast are conjectured to have been immigrants from Belgic Gaul, and were more civilised, and apparently on a similar level of social advancement with the existing Kaffirs and other semi-barbarous races of Africa. Their dress was of their own manufacture, and consisted of a square mantle, covering a vest and trowsers, encircled with a belt. Their houses were built of wood, covered with straw ; some had stone foundations, with a conical roof pierced in the centre, for the twofold. purpose of admitting the light and letting out the smoke.
It does not appear that the Britons had any assemblage of houses deserving the name of a town. “What they call a town," says Cæsar, “is a tract of woody country surrounded by a vallum or high bank and a ditch, for the security of themselves and cattle against the incursions of their enemies ;” and Strabo remarks, " The forests of the Britons are their cities, for when they have enclosed 3 very large circuit with felled trees, they build within it houses for themselves and hovels for their cattle. These buildings are very slight, and not designed for long dura