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foundation for future study, or desire to refresh their memories upon the old, or who think a moderate share of history sufficient for the purposes of life, recourse has been had only to those authors which are best known, and those facts only have been selected, which are allowed on all hands to be true. Were an epitome of history the field for displaying erudition, the author could shew that he has read many books which others have neglected, and that he also could advance many anecdotes which are at present very little known. But it must be remembered that all these minute particulars could be inserted only to the exclusion of more material facts, which it would be unpardonable to omit. He foregoes, therefore, the petty ambition of being thought a reader of forgotten books; his aim being not to add to our present stock of history, but to contract it.

The books which have been used in this abridgment are chiefly Rapin, Carte, Smollett, and Hume. They have each their peculiar admirers, in proportion as the reader is studious of historical antiquities, fond of minute anecdotes, a warm partizan, or a deliberate reasoner. Of these I have particularly taken Hume for my guide, as far as he goes; and it is but justice to say, that wherever I was obliged to

abridge his work I did it with reluctance, as I scarce cut out a line that did not contain a beauty.

But though I must warmly subscribe to the learning, elegance, and depth of Mr. Hume's history, yet I cannot entirely ac quiesce in his principles. With regard to religion, he seems desirous to of playing a double part, of appearing to some readers as if he reverenced, and to others as if he ridiculed it. He seems sensible of the political necessity of religion in every state; but at the same time he would every where insinuate, that it owes its authority to no higher an origin. Thus he weakens its influence, while he contends for its utility, and vainly hopes that while free-thinkers shall applaud his scepticism, real believers will reverence him for his zeal..

In his opinions respecting government, perhaps, also, he may be sometimes reprehensible; but in a country like ours, where mutual contention contributes to the security of the constitution, it will be impossible for an historian, who attempts to have any opinion, to satisfy all parties. It is not yet decided in politics, whether the diminution of kingly power in England tends to encrease the happiness, or the freedom of the people. For my own part, from seeing the bad effects of the tyranny

country was called Brith, and which served to distinguish them from those strangers who came among them for the purpose of trade or alliance.

The Britons were but very little known to the rest of the world before the time of the Romans. The coasts opposite Gaul indeed 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 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. Their houses were scattered all ouer the country, without observance of order or distance, being placed at smaller or greater intervals as they were invited by the fertility of the soil, or the convenience of wood and water. They lived mostly upon milk, or flesh procured by the chase. 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 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.

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The commodities exported from Britain were chiefly hides and tin. This metal was then thought peculiar to the island, and was in much request abroad, both in nearer and remoter regions. Some silver mines were also known, but not in common use, as the inhabitants had but little knowledge how to dig, refine, or improve them. Pearls also were frequently found on their shores, but neither clear nor coloured like the oriental; and therefore, in no great esteem among strangers. They had but little iron; and what they had, was used either for arms, or for rings, which was a sort of money current among them. They had brass money also but this was all brought from abroad.

Their language, customs, religion, and government, were generally the same with those of the Gauls, their neighbours of the Continent. 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 is acquainted, and deduced from the natural privileges of paternal authority. Whether these small principalities descended by succession or were elected in consequence of the advantages of age, wisdom, or valour in the families of the princes, is not recorded. Upon great, or 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 In the choice of a person of such power, it is easy to suppose, that unanimity could not always be found; whence it often happened, that the separate tribes were defeated one after the other before they could unite under a single leader for their mutual safety.

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 axletrees, 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, leapt on the ground, resumed their seat, stopt, or turned their horses at full speed, and sometimes cunningly retreated, to draw the enemy into confusion. Nothing can be more terrible than the idea of a charioteer thus driving furiously in the midst of dangers; but these machines seem to have been more dreadful than dangerous, for they were quickly laid aside, when this warlike people was instructed in the more regular arts of war.

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. These endeavoured to impress the minds of the people with an opinion of their skill in the arts of divination ; they offered sacrifices in public and private, and pretended to explain the immediate will of Heaven. No species of superstition 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 toge ther. The female druids plunged their knives into the breasts of the prisoners taken in war, and prophesied from the manner in which the blood happened to stream from the wound. Their altars consisted of four broad stones, three set edge-ways, and the fourth at top, many of which remain to this

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