Imatges de pÓgina

see that Scotland is the most northern part of the island, and that Wales is on the western side. Ireland, too, makes a part of our nation, but that, you will see, is a distinct island, lying across the sea, on the left-hand, or west of us so that, if you or I wanted to go to Scotland, or Wales, we should go in a stage-coach, but if we wanted to go to Ireland we should go in a ship.

France lies towards the south of us, across that part of the sea which is called the British Channel, within a few hours' sail. The French were formerly called Gauls, and the Roman emperor, Julius Cæsar, who was a great warrior more than eighteen hundred years ago, got possession of the greater part of France or Gaul; and, not content with that, he must needs send over his troops to take possession of our little island too. This was the beginning of the Roman power in England. The Britons were in those days, a very different sort of people from what they are now. They had nothing better for clothing than the skins of beasts; and such of their limbs as were not covered they painted blue. Some people may, perhaps, tell you that they were a very mild, and gentle, and harmless set

of people ;-but don't believe a word of it. These good dispositions do not come naturally; they come from right education, and true religion; and, as these people had neither, you may depend upon it that they were a very fierce and savage race.

But still they were a brave people, and the Romans, you may be sure, did not get possession of our island without a great deal of struggling and fighting; however they kept a sort of possession here for about four hundred years.

Then, after the Romans, came the Saxons, a people from Germany; and these people divided England into seven different kingdoms, which were called the Saxon Heptarchy. Things continued in this state for about four hundred years more, and then Egbert, the king of the West Saxons, united all the seven together, and made them one kingdom.

I shall now write down the names of the Saxon kings, that followed. It will be useful for you to try to remember these kings, though I do not mean to say much about them at present: we must be more particular in our account of those kings who lived in times nearer to our own.


1 Egbert.
2 Ethelwolf.
3 Ethelbald.

4 Ethelbert.

5 Ethelred I.

6 Alfred.

7 Edward I.

8 Athelstane.

9 Edmund I.

10 Edred.

11 Edwy.
12 Edgar.

13 Edward II.
14 Ethelred II.
15 Edmund II. (Ironside.)

During the reigns of all these Saxon kings, the Danes, a people inhabiting the north of Europe, kept making continual encroachments on the English, and there were a great number of bloody battles fought between them and the English. At length, during the reign of Edmund Ironside, the fifteenth of the Saxon kings, Canute, king of the Danes, was so successful, that he forced Edmund to give him half the kingdom; and, after the death of Edmund, Canute got the whole. After him his two sons reigned in succession. Thus we got three Danish kings.

1 Canute.

2 Harold.

3 Hardicanute.

The English were, however, soon tired of these

Danish kings, and were very glad to have one of the old Saxon race again. This was

Edward (the Confessor.)

He died without children, and then followed
Harold (the Second.)

Harold had no just title to the throne, but as at first there was no one to oppose him, he was quietly crowned king. He did not, however, reign long without interruption: his opponent was no less a person than William Duke of Normandy, who was afterwards called William the Conqueror.

Normandy, you perhaps know, is a province in France, and of this province William was Duke, and he had often entertained Edward the Confessor in his court, and he pretended that Edward had left the crown of England to him by his will. Be this however as it might, he thought proper to try a surer way of getting it. He raised an army and crossed the channel, and landed at Pevensey Bay, on the coast of Sussex, and there, after a bloody battle with Harold, near Hastings, he gained the victory. Harold was killed, and William then became king of England. This is called the conquest, and we trace all our race of

kings from William the Conqueror. The battle of Hastings was in the year 1066. You will do well to attend to this date, and to all such particulars as may now occur in the History of England.

It was about the beginning of the Saxon kings when the Christian religion was first brought to England. It is said that Gregory (who was afterwards a pope of Rome,) saw some beautiful children, set up for sale in the slave-market at Rome; and, having asked what country they came from, he was told that they were Angles, (English.) "They would," said he, “not be Angles, but Angels, if they were but Christians." From that time he was struck with a great desire to convert the heathen English to the religion of Christ; and he sent over several missionaries for the sake of accomplishing that Christian work. Since that time, there has always been a profession of Christianity in England:-may God grant that there may always be the power of it! We see many old Churches in existence now, which were built in the time of the Saxons. How thankful we ought to be that the knowledge of the Gospel, which is still kept from many na

« AnteriorContinua »