Unformatted text preview: blished form of government, were forward, on his first appearance, to send deputies, who submitted to his authority, and swore allegiance to him as their sovereign. Egbert, however, still allowed to Northumberland, as he had done to Mercia and East-Anglia, the power of electing a king, who paid him tribute, and was dependant on him. Thus were united all the kingdoms of the Heptarchy in one great state, near four hundred years after the first arrival of the Saxons in Britain; and the fortunate arms and prudent policy of Egbert at last effected what had been so often attempted in vain by so many princes.n Kent, Northumberland, and Mercia, which had successively aspired to general dominion, were now incorporated in his empire; and the other PLL v5 (generated January 22, 2010) 51 http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/695 Online Library of Liberty: The History of England, vol. 1 subordinate kingdoms seemed willingly to share the same fate. His territories were nearly of the same extent with what is now properly called England; and a favourable prospect was afforded to the Anglo-Saxons, of establishing a civilized monarchy, possessed of tranquillity within itself, and secure against foreign invasion. This great event happened in the year 827.o The Saxons, though they had been so long settled in the island, seem not as yet to have been much improved beyond their German ancestors, either in arts, civility, knowledge, humanity, justice, or obedience to the laws. Even Christianity, though it opened the way to connexions between them and the more polished states of Europe, had not hitherto been very effectual, in banishing their ignorance, or softening their barbarous manners. As they received that doctrine through the corrupted channels of Rome, it carried along with it a great mixture of credulity and superstition, equally destructive to the understanding and to morals. The reverence towards saints and reliques seems to have almost supplanted the adoration of the Supreme Being: Monastic observances were esteemed more meritorious than the active virtues: The knowledge of natural causes was neglected from the universal belief of miraculous interpositions and judgments: Bounty to the church atoned for every violence against society: And the remorses for cruelty, murder, treachery, assassination, and the more robust vices, were appeased, not by amendment of life, but by pennances, servility to the monks, and an abject and illiberal devotion.p The reverence for the clergy had been carried to such a height, that, wherever a person appeared in a sacerdotal habit, though on the highway, the people flocked around him; and showing him all marks of profound respect, received every word he uttered as the most sacred oracle.q Even the military virtues, so inherent in all the Saxon tribes, began to be neglected; and the nobility, preferring the security and sloth of the cloyster to the tumults and glory of war, valued themselves chiefly on endowing monasteries, of which they assumed the government.r The several kings too, being extremely impoverished by continual benefactions to the church, to which the states of their kingdoms had weakly assented, could bestow no rewards on valour or military services, and retaine...
View Full Document
This note was uploaded on 02/12/2011 for the course CHIN 101 taught by Professor Dr.yu during the Spring '08 term at University Of Southern Mississippi .
- Spring '08