Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub
[blocks in formation]

AND CONTINUED BY AN EMINENT WRITER

TO THE PRESENT TIME,

the seventu EDITIOTAITEIRO/)

DUBLIN:

[ocr errors]

Printed by Pat. Wogan, No. 23, Old-Bridge,

1797,

however

it is not given

Love obcrates every difficulty and lins death, putt als upset level

wifest of

Wigeloni id

the we

given to

to Luke, and to be wise

man,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

estarusi, to Loret mere

[ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

OF BRITAIN, FROM THE INVASION OF
JULIUS CÆSAR TO THE ABDICA-

TION OF THE ROMANS.

BRITAIN was but very little known to the rest of the world before the time of the Romans. The coats opposite Gaul were frequented by merchants who traded thither for such commodities as the natives were able to produce. These, it is thought, after a time poflessed themselves of all the maritime places where they had at first been permita. ted to reside. There, finding the country fertile, and commodiously situated for trade, they settled upon the sea-side, and introduced the practice of agriculture. But it was very different with the inland inhabitants of the country, who considered themselves as the lawful poffeffors of the foil: These avoided all correspondence with the new comers,

В

whom

whom they considered as intruders upon their property.

The inland inhabitants are represented as extremely numerous, living in cottages thatched with straw, and feeding large herds of cattle. They lived mostly upon milk, or flesh procured by the chace. What cloaths they wore to cover any part of their bodies, were usually the skins of beasts; but much of their bodies, as the arms, legs, and thighs, were left naked, and those parts were usually painted blue. Their hair, which was long, flowed down upon their backs and shoulders, while their beards were kept close shaven, except upon the upper lip, where it was suffered to grow. The.dress of savage nations is every where pretty much the same, being calculated rather to infpire terror than to excite love or respect.

As to their government, it consisted of several small principalities, each under its respective leader; and this seems to be the earliest mode of dominion with which mankind are acquainted, and deduced from the natural privileges of paternal authority. Upon great and uncommon dangers, a commander in chief was chosen by common confent, in a general assembly; and to him was committed the conduct of the general interest, the power of making peace, or leading to war.

Their forces chiefly consisted of foot, and yet they could bring a considerable number of horse into the field upon great occafions. They likewise used chariots in Battle, which, with short fcythes fastened to the ends of the axle-trees, inflicted terrible wounds, fpreading terror and devastation wherefoever they drove. Nor while the chariots were thus destroying, were the warriors who conducted them unemployed; thefe darted their javelins against the enemy, ran along the beam, leaped on the ground, refumed their feat, stopt, or turned their horses at full speed, and sometiines cunningly retreated, to draw the enemy into confusion.

fome.

The religion of the Britons was one of the most considerable parts of their government; and the Druids, who were the guardians of it, poflefled great authority among them. No species of fuperftition was ever more terrible than theirs; besides the severe penalties which they were permitted to inflict in this world, they inculcated the eternal transmigration of souls, and thus extended their authority as far as the fears of their votaries. They sacrificed human victims, which they burned in large wicker idols, made so capacious as to contain a multitude of persons at once, who were thus consumed together. To these rites, tending to impress ignorance with awe, they added the austerity of their manners, and the fim plicity of their lives. They lived in woods, caves, and hollow trees; their food was acorns and berries, and their drink water; by these arts, they were not only respected, but almolt adored by the people. It

may be easily supposed, that the manners of the people took a tincture from the discipline of their teachers. Their lives were simple, but they were marked with cruelty and fierceness; their courage was great, but neither dignified by mercy nor perseverance.

The Britons had long remained in this rude but indépendent ftate, when Cæsar having over-run Gaul with his victories, and willing still farther to extend his fame, determined upon the conquest of a country that seemed to promise an easy triumph. When the troops destined for the expedition were embarked, he ser fail for Britain about midnight, and the next morning arrived on the coast near Dover, where he saw the rocks and cliffs covered with armed men to oppose his landing.

The Britons had chosen Caffibelaunus for their comunander in chief; but the petty princes under

his

[ocr errors]

B 2

« ПредишнаНапред »