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seem to suggest that the Britons must have retired en masse westward, and have left nearly the whole of the country now known as England to the English. It is all but certain, however, that many of the Saxon states were not without considerable admixtures of British blood. It is difficult to suppose that the keels of the Saxon freebooters brought settlers, and settlers of both sexes, in sufficient numbers to warrant such an opinion. Greatly more was done upon the soil, and in a very short time, than can be explained on the supposition that there were none but Saxon hands to do it. That a large admixture of this kind took place along the border lands is unquestionable. Along the east and south, where the enervating influence of the Roman ascendancy had been most felt, the Saxon found the portion of the natives most prepared for submission. The more energetic no doubt sought a new home westward or northward, rather than take the yoke of these new masters upon them, but the more passive would often cling to the soil on any tolerable conditions.
Concerning language, too, the difference between the Celt and the Saxon has perhaps been somewhat exaggerated. According to Cæsar, Britain was largely peopled from Belgic Gaul, and Sir Francis insists that one-third of the vocabulary of the Cymric tongue consists of words derived from roots common to it and to the Belgic. Now there is no doubt that in as far as the ancient Belgic is known to us, we find in it something like the basis of the Saxon; and these alleged affinities between the Cymric and the Saxon, if existing in anything like the degree which Sir Francis maintains, are enough to suggest that it may not be easy to say how far the one may be said to have superseded the other. That in England the Welsh has been to a large extent superseded by the Saxon, so that the one language has seemed to come entirely into the place of the other, is undeniable, but the change may be greater in appearance than in reality, and may not be such as to warrant the notion that very few of the Britons continued to dwell in the countries subdued by the Saxons. It should be remembered that considerable spaces intervened between the establishment of one Saxon state and another, so that what the natives might expect from submission would be pretty well known when the later states were formed.
So late as the year 900, the Britons of the west, -that is, of the counties of Somerset, Wilts, Dorset, Devon, and Cornwall, joined their forces with the Danes against Egbert. Their princes were then finally prostrated, and the chief authority in Those parts passed into the hands of the West-Saxon Thanes. But the name of Weal-cynne, by which those counties were designated in the will of Alfred, shows that the population
Distributions of Race in Anglo-Saxon Britain.
remained for the most part British. Even so late as the time of Athelstan, Exeter, the capital of Damnonia from times preceding the conquest by the Romans, was garrisoned by the joint authority of Britons and Saxons. But subsequently to the age of Athelstan, the independent power of the Britons in the west was confined to Cornwall, where the old Celtic has been the vernacular language of a portion of the people almost to our own time. The names of the leading men in the above counties, as preserved in Doomsday Book, are none of them British, and the English law had then become common to them all at the same time,' says Sir Francis, it is certain that the English speech was still unknown to the main body of the people.*
Along the eastern coast we discover few or no traces of the British. The population in those regions is more purely Saxon than in any other part of Saxon Britain, down to the time of the Danish invasions. Concerning the footing retained by the Britons along the Welsh side of the Bristol channel, through Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, and Shropshire, into Cheshire, we need not speak. The dialect of Lancashire shows that the British element which remained there must have been considerable ; and Cumberland continued to be the almost undisturbed home of the Cumri until about the middle of the tenth century.
The Angles were stubbornly resisted in their attempts to possess themselves of the ample territory between the Humber and the Forth. The population spread over that territory embraced Angles, Britons, Picts, and Scots. The Britons, the Picts, and the Scots were all governed by their own princes, and their tribute to the Angles was paid only at such times as the latter were strong enough to enforce it. These people were often subdued by the Angles, but never more than partially displaced by them. In the northern half of the kingdom of Northumbria, the Picts and Scots continued to be the most numerous people. On the eastern side of the Cumberland and Yorkshire hills the English blood was dominant, on the western side the British prevailed until the Northmen began to make their inroads upon Cumberland. Until that time the old British tongue was heard along the whole line from the rock of Dumbarton to Mount St. Michael. Even the power of Athelstan was not sufficient to awe the Cumri of Cumberland into subjection. They fought against him at Brunanberg--showing in that instance, as the Britons generally did, a greater disposition to side with the Danes than with the Saxons. But from the
* Palgrave's English Commonwealth, i. 410, 411. Illustrations, 243, 244.
mountains of Wales, the descendants of the ancient Cumri have seen their kinsmen in the west of England and in her northern counties gradually pass away in the great stream of mingling populations, while they have themselves retained in their own mountain home, their old Celtic speech, and their old features of Celtic nationality.
So much for the work of the Saxon in relation to the Britonbut what of the Dane? In 876 Halfdane the Northman divided Northumbria among his followers, who soon began to cultivate the soil which had so fallen to them. East Anglia embraced Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridge, the Isle of Ely, a portion of Bedfordshire, and some parts adjacent. The whole of that country was ceded by Alfred to Guthrum the Dane, to be holden by him and his descendants in subordination to Wessex. Mercia was overrun by these invaders. In that kingdom, the five Danish Burghs, as they were called-Lincoln, Nottingham, Derby, Leicester, and Stamford were their places of strength. Some make these 'burgs' to have been seven, reckoning York and Chester. But in this manner some three-fourths of AngloSaxon Britain came to be in a political sense, and for a time, Danish, the ruling power over that large surface of country having passed into the hands of that people. The Angles, the Britons, and the Scots in those territories were much more numerous than the Danes, but the Northmen had been sufficiently strong to subdue them. The policy of Alfred, when he had saved Wessex, was' to cede to the Danes, upon conditions, the territories they had won, and to do all that might be done towards amalgamating the different races into one people.
Through all these influences it came to pass that the Danish blood was found to be most prevalent, relatively to the population, in East Anglia ; next along the Eastern coast between the Humber and the Forth ; and next in the midland counties of Mercia. In the west the admixture was between the Saxon and the British. In all the lands of the north and north-west it consisted in a large displacement of the British element by the Anglo-Saxon and the Danish.
We should add here, that during the latter half of the tenth century a powerful Norwegian migration appears to have set in, with little noise, but with much steadiness and effect, on Cumberland and the parts adjacent. We have reason to suppose that this migration did not come across the Yorkshire hills from the eastward, so much as by means of the Irish sea, and through the Isle of Man, westward. But so considerable was this movement at the time mentioned, that the traces of the Celtic population in those parts in the times which follow, are few and faint, while the
Distributions of Race in Anglo-Saxon Britain.
traces of the Scandinavian settlers, as preserved in the names of places, and in other remains, are still everywhere present. The link which had connected the Celts of the hill country of Wales with those of the hill country of Scotland, was thus broken, and the blood of the Saxon or the Northman became the dominant blood along the whole of the lowlands between the Mersey and the Clyde. Names ending in thwaite-by-thorp are common over that district, and these are all Scandinavian ; but then these names are mingled freely with others ending in ton --ham-worth, and these are all of Saxon origin. Thwaite is Norwegian. It denotes a 'clearing,' and as the ending of a local name, it marked the place which a family or tribe had cleared, and where they had fixed their home. There are about a hundred places in Cumberland and its neighbourhood where this name occurs. It is found also in Yorkshire, but ceases altogether when we approach the more purely Danish district of Lincoln. In many instances this name and its prefix have been transplanted from Norway, much as the names of our English cities and towns come up again in the United States. By, is a termination denoting a dwelling place or home, and is more Danish than Norwegian; and the same may be said of Thorp, which denotes a village. Over a great part of England, names with those different terminations are mingled more or less together, and the prevalence of the one or the other may be taken as bespeaking the prevalence of the Norwegian, the Dane, or the Saxon.*
All the preceding facts, it must be remembered, relate to the position of the Danes in England before the accession of Canute. The formidable invasions which immediately preceded that event, and the event itself, of course added much, in the way both of numbers and influence, to the position of the Danes in England before the Conquest.
Such, then, were the distributions of race in this island before the Conquest. The next question of interest is—what was the condition of these races at that time in regard to civilization ? The men of Wessex who drew their bows at Hastings, must have
* The Northmen of Cumberland and Westmoreland. By Robert Ferguson. 1856. The Celts of this district appear to have retired into Wales. There is nothing Celtic among its present population.
The Northmen who made their descent on Cumberland from the Solway were probably of the same stock with those who had secured a footing about the same time in Pembrokeshire. The names Milford and Haverford can hardly have been of Saxon origin. The localities do not answer to the Saxon ford, as denoting the crossing-place of a stream or river. But they are localities which are truly described by the Norse word förd, which denotes an arm of the sea. The word holm, too, applied to the Plat-holm and the Steep-holm in the Bristol Channel, is not the Saxon, nor the British, but the Norwegian name for island. Ibid. 9, 10.
been at least as brave as the Normans—what were they in comparison with them in other respects ?. The Danes—what change had come over them? The descendants of the old Celtic tribes what had they retained of that Roman civilization once familiar to their fathers ?
It has been said that when the inhabitants of Britain first became known to the Syrian mariners, they were little superior to the natives of the Sandwich Islands.'* But this rhetorical statement is not in accordance with the evidence. Cæsar's first landing in Kent was a virtual failure. On his second invasion he appeared at the head of five legions, including together probably not less than 20,000 infantry, besides 2000 cavalry, and a large supply of military engines. This armament was transported in a fleet of more than 800 vessels. Even this costly undertaking, with the greatest general of the age at its head, was only partially successful. The final subjugation of Britain was not accomplished until nearly a century and a half later. Great was the price, both in blood and treasure, which was paid for this conquest. The legionaries and auxiliaries engaged in prosecuting this object amounted at times to more than 50,000. Something like that number of men, indeed, are said to have perished in one expedition—that conducted by the Emperor Severus for the purpose of subduing revolt in the country stretching beyond the Solway and the Tyne to the Clyde and Forth. The country retained at such costs must surely have been deemed of some value. In the most tranquil times the Roman army in Britain amounted to 20,000 men. The people who could sustain the cost of such a force, and that of the alien and rapacious government upheld by it, must have been at no slight remove from barbarism. It may be true of Britain, as Mr. Macaulay says, that of the western pro'vinces which obeyed the Cæsars, she was the last that was
conquered, and the first that was flung away. But the explanation is patent. From her position, when Rome was strong, Britain was the most difficult to reach, and when Rome became weak she was, for the same reason, the most difficult to retain. But the Roman sway in Britain extends through an interval as great as that which separates between the reign of Victoria and the accession of Henry VIII. One Emperor was called to the purple in York; two breathed their last in that city; more than one Governor of Britain deemed himself powerful enough to win that position by the sword; and the names of three imperial personages-Antoninus, Hadrian, and Severus-are associated with stupendous works raised by them to protect the northern boun
Macaulay's England, i. 4, 5.