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Unformatted text preview: . Meeting there with a people of similar manners, they were readily received among them; and they soon stimulated the natives to concur in enterprizes, which both promised revenge on the haughty conqueror, and afforded subsistence to those numerous inhabitants, with which the northern countries were now overburthened.g They invaded the provinces of France, which were exposed by the degeneracy and dissentions of Charlemagne’s posterity; and being there known under the general name of Normans, which they received from their northern situation, they became the terror of all the maritime and even of the inland countries. They were also tempted to visit England in their frequent excursions; and being able, by sudden inroads, to make great progress over a people, who were not defended by any naval force, who had relaxed their military institutions, and who were sunk into a superstition, which had become odious to the Danes and ancient Saxons, they made no distinction in their hostilities between the French and English kingdoms. Their first appearance in this island was in the year 787,h when PLL v5 (generated January 22, 2010) 55 http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/695 Online Library of Liberty: The History of England, vol. 1 Brithric reigned in Wessex. A small body of them landed in that kingdom, with a view of learning the state of the country; and when the magistrate of the place questioned them concerning their enterprize, and summoned them to appear before the king, and account for their intentions, they killed him, and flying to their ships, escaped into their own country. The next alarm was given to Northumberland in the year 794;i when a body of these pirates pillaged a monastery; but their ships being much damaged by a storm, and their leader slain in a skirmish, they were at last defeated by the inhabitants, and the remainder of them put to the sword. Five years after Egbert had established his monarchy over 832. England, the Danes landed in the Isle of Shepey, and having pillaged it, escaped with impunity.k They were not so fortunate in their next year’s enterprize, when they disembarked from thirty-five ships, and were encountered by Egbert, at Charmouth in Dorsetshire. The battle was bloody; but though the Danes lost great numbers, they maintained the post, which they had taken, and thence made good their retreat to their ships.l Having learned by experience, that they must expect a vigorous resistance from this warlike prince, they entered into an alliance with the Britons of Cornwal; and landing two years after in that country, made an inroad with their confederates into the county of Devon; but were met at Hengesdown by Egbert, and totally defeated.m While England remained in this state of anxiety, and defended itself more by temporary expedients than by any regular plan of administration, Egbert, who alone was able to provide effectually against this new evil, unfortunately died; and left the government to his son, Ethelwolf. 838. ETHELWOLF
This prince had neither the abilities nor the vigour of his father; and was better qualified for governing a convent than a kingdom.n He began his reign with making a partition of his dominions, and d...
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