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THE INVASION OF JULIUS CÆSAR TO THE DEATH OF GEORGE
BY DR. GOLDSMITH;
AND CONTINUED, BY AN EMINENT WRITER, TO THE PEACE
OF AMIENS, IN THE YEAR 1802.
STEREOTYPED BY ANDREW WILSON,
LACKINGTON, ALLEN AND CO., J. NUNN, AND R. LEA.
Printed by W. Wilson, St. John's Square.
OF BRITAIN, From the Invasion of Julius Cæsar to the Abdication of the
Romans. BRITAIN was but very little known to the rest of the
world before the time of the Romans. The coasts 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, possessed themselves of all the maritime places where they had at first been permitted 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 possessors of the soil. These avoided all correspondence with the new-comers, whom they consiJered 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 chase. What clothes 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, was left naked, and those parts were usually painted blue. Their hair, which was long, dowed 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 inspire 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 consent, 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 consisted chiefly of foot, and yet they could bring a considerable number of horse into the field upon great occasions. They likewise used chariots in battle, which, with short scythes fastened to the ends of the axle-trees, inflicted terrible wounds, spreading terror and devastation wheresoever they drove. Nor while the chariots were thus destroying, were the warriors who conducted them unemployed; these darted their javelins against the enemy, ran along the beam, leaped on the ground, resumed their seat, stopped or turned their horses at full speed, and sometimes cunningly retreated, to draw the 'enemy into confusion.
The religion of the Britons was one of the most considerable parts of their government; and the Druids, who were the guardians of it, possessed great authority among them. No species of superstition was ever more terrible than theirs : besides the severe penalties which they were permitted to inAict 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 simplicity 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 almost 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 independent state, 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 set sail 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 Cassibelaunus for their commander in chief; but the petty princes under his command, either desiring his station, or suspecting his fidelity, threw off their allegiance. Some of them fled with their forces into the internal parts of the kingdom, others submitted to Cæsar, till at length Cassibelaunus himself, weakened by so many desertions, resolved upon making what terms he was able, while he yet had power to keep the field. The conditions offered by Cæsar, and accepted by him, were, that he should send to the Continent double the number of hostages at first demanded, and that he should acknowledge subjection to the Romans. Cæsar, however, was obliged to return once more to compel the Britons to complete their stipulated treaty.
Upon the accession of Augustus, that emperor had formed a design of visiting Britain, but was diverted from it by an unexpected revolt of the Pannonians.
Tiberius, wisely judging the empire already too extensive, made no attempt upon Britain. From that time the natives began to improve in all the arts which contribute to the advancement of human nature.
The wild extravagancies of Caligula, by which he threatened Britain with an invasion, served rather to expose him to ridicule than the island to danger. At length, the Romans, in the reign of Claudius, began
to think seriously of reducing them under their dominion. The expedition for this purpose was conducted in the beginning by Plautius, and other com