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lation no more need be said than that care has been taken to make it, in the first instance, faithful; and that the extracts from important documents have been for the most part given from the original English, and, in many instances, more at length than in the German.
History of England, to the beginning of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth.
THE Gauls and Belgae are mentioned as the oldest inhabitants of England, but nothing is known either of the period or the cause of their arrival, or whence they came. The island was probably visited by Phoenician, as well as Greek navigators, but they established no fixed colonies, and did but little to polish the rude manners of the natives. The consequences of the landing of Julius Caesar were equally transient; and it was not till ninety years afterwards, (about A.D. 55,) that the Roman dominion was established in the south-eastern part of the island, by Plautius, and, chiefly through the ability and activity of Agricola, gradually extended to Caledonia, and, during the period of 400 years, exercised a very great influence on the laws, manners, customs, and civilisation of the inhabitants. In the year 448, the Romans were compelled, by VOL. I. B
the weakness of their declining Empire, to withdraw all their military forces from the island, and the inhabitants called in the Saxons, under Hengist and Horsa, who at first aided them in repelling the incursions of the Picts and Scots, but afterwards quarrelling with the Britons, established seven small kingdoms, which were united under one government, by Egbert, in 827. King Alfred (871–901,) was the most celebrated sovereign of this new monarchy; it was, however, frequently and cruelly oppressed by the Danes, and conquered by William the Norman, in 1066. Under him many of the Saxon Laws were abolished and the feudal system introduced. Eighty-eight years after the conquest the male branch of the Norman line became extinct, and Henry Count of Anjou, son of Matilda, grand-daughter of the Conqueror, ascended the throne in 1154. His fruitless contests with the popes, and the perpetual wars of his successors, were far less important in their influence on succeeding times, than the Magna Charta, granted by King John, in 1215, and the summoning to parliament of deputies from the boroughs, which has continued, without interruption, since the time of Edward I., 1295. It was most fortunate for both countries that, notwithstanding many brilliant victories, the attempt to conquer France was finally unsuccessful; on the other hand it was a great calamity for England that questions, difficult to be solved, arose on the right of succession, which led to civil wars between the nearly related houses of York and Lancaster, which continued, with scarcely any interruption, for sixty-four years, and were terminated only by the death of Richard III. in 1485. Henry VII., the victor, was proclaimed King on the battle-field of Bosworth, though his claims were by no means free from all objections. Though the new dynasty received the name of Tudor, he derived no right whatever from his father, Edmund Tudor, Earl of Richmond; and his mother Margaret, although a descendant of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, was not so by a legal marriage; besides which, Richard II. on the outlawry of his grandfather John Duke of Somerset, had entirely excluded his descendants from the succession to the crown. Henry VII., however, chiefly founded his claim on his being a member of the house of Lancaster, and made use of his right as derived from conquest, merely as an argument when the former was insufficient. Under such circumstances the recognition of his right by the parliament was doubly important to him, and it was not till this recognition had been made, and the coronation performed, that he married Elizabeth of York, the daughter of Edward IV. For had he recognised her as the real heiress to the throne, she would have been in fact the Sovereign, and he might, after her death, have been compelled to retire into a private station.
Indifferent, however, to the origin or measure of his right, the nation rejoiced at the reconciliation of the contending families by this marriage, and that, after their long desolating wars, order and tran– quillity were at length restored, under an able and powerful monarch. These disastrous times had, in truth, greatly diminished the population: flocks now grazed among the former habitations of men, and only eight and twenty temporal Lords were summoned to the first parliament of the new Monarch, so much had their numbers and their power lessened. Judicious laws were enacted for the preservation of farms, and permission was granted to the Nobles to divide and sell their estates, which had been hitherto inalienable. The fixing the price of labour, of cloth, and hats; the prohibition to export wool, &c., were measures, far less effective and enlightened. No King had for ages governed with such unlimited power has Henry VII.; a consequence partly of his personal influence, and partly of the circumstances of the times. This was manifested chiefly in the severity, nay, arbitrary rigour and injustice, with which taxes were imposed and exacted. He who is prodigal, said the Chancellor Morton, proves that he has much and can afford to give; so also the miser. Under the subsequent Ministers of Finance, Empson and Dudley, the King did not indeed order any general levy of