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Unformatted text preview: their government and princes, were well prepared for subjection to a foreign yoke; which Egbert, king of Wessex, finally imposed upon them. THE KINGDOM OF EAST-ANGLIA
The history of this kingdom contains nothing memorable, except the conversion of Earpwold, the fourth king, and great-grandson of Uffa, the founder of the monarchy. The authority of Edwin, king of Northumberland, on whom that prince entirely depended, engaged him to take this step: But soon after, his wife, who was an idolatress, brought him back to her religion; and he was found unable to resist those allurements, which have seduced the wisest of mankind. After his death, which was violent, like that of most of the Saxon princes, that did not early retire into monasteries, Sigebert, his successor, and half-brother, who had been educated in France, restored Christianity, and introduced learning among the East-Angles. Some pretend that he founded the university of Cambridge, or rather some schools in that place. It is almost impossible, and quite needless to be more particular in relating the transactions of the East-Angles. What instruction or entertainment can it give the reader to hear a long bead-roll of barbarous names, Egric, Annas, Ethelbert, Ethelwald, Aldulf, Elfwald, Beorne, Ethelred, Ethelbert, who successively murdered, expelled, or inherited from each other, and obscurely filled the throne of that kingdom. Ethelbert, the last of these princes was treacherously murdered by Offa, king of Mercia, in the year 792, and his state was thenceforth united with that of Offa, as we shall relate presently. THE KINGDOM OF MERCIA
Mercia, the largest, if not the most powerful kingdom of the Heptarchy, comprehended all the middle counties of England; and as its frontiers extended to those of all the other six kingdoms, as well as to Wales, it received its name from that circumstance. Wibba, the son of Crida, founder of the monarchy, being placed on the throne by Ethelbert, king of Kent, governed his paternal dominions by a precarious authority; and after his death, Ceorl, his kinsman, was, by the influence of the Kentish monarch, preferred to his son, Penda, whose turbulent character appeared dangerous to that prince. Penda was thus fifty years of age before he mounted the throne; and his temerity and restless disposition were found nowise abated by time, experience, or reflection. He engaged in continual hostilities against all the neighbouring states; and, PLL v5 (generated January 22, 2010) 45 http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/695 Online Library of Liberty: The History of England, vol. 1 by his injustice and violence, rendered himself equally odious to his own subjects and to strangers. Sigebert, Egric, and Annas, three kings of East-Anglia, perished successively in battle against him; as did also Edwin and Oswald, the two greatest princes that had reigned over Northumberland. At last, Oswy, brother to Oswald, having defeated and slain him in a decisive battle, freed the world from this sanguinary tyrant. Peada, his son, mounted the throne of Mercia in 655, and lived under the prote...
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- Spring '08