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them the trade in jewellery, gold and silver ornaments, and other such luxuries, because they have been excluded by the laws from almost every other occupation.

66 King Alfred kept up, in the latter part of his life, a yearly communication with Rome; and, as we learn from Asser, he corresponded with Abel, patriarch of Jerusalem, who sent him several valuable oriental commodities. His embassy to the Christians in India is mentioned, not only by Malmesbury and other authorities of the next age, but by the contemporary compiler of the Saxon Chronicle, who says that bishop Swithelm made his way to St Thomas and returned in safety. Malmesbury gives Sighelm as the name of the adventurous bishop of Sherborne, and relates that he brought back from India aromatic liquors and splendid jewels; some of the latter, Malmesbury says, were still remaining in the treasury of his church when he wrote in the twelfth century. Sighelm is stated to have left England in the year 883, and to have gone in the first instance to Rome, from which he probably sailed up the Mediterranean to Alexandria, and then made his way by Bassora to the Malabar coast, where it is certain that a colony of Syrian Christians who regarded St Thomas as their apostle, were settled from a very early period. Asser relates that he received on one occasion as a present from Alfred a robe of silk and as much incense as a strong man could carry these precious commodities must have been obtained from the East." Macpherson, in his Annals of Commerce, thinks it also not impossible that mines of the precious metals may have been wrought at this time in England, and part of the produce exported, although the existence of such mines in the island is unnoticed by any historian since the beginning of the Roman dominion, with the exception of Bede. It is certain that large sums in gold and silver were raised in the country on different occasions, and much coin or bullion repeatedly carried out of it; and it appears difficult to comprehend whence all this wealth could be obtained with so few manufactures and so little exportable produce of any kind. The early eminence of the Anglo-Saxons in the art of working gold and silver may be taken as another presumption that, whencesoever procured, there was no want of these metals in the island. "We have undoubted proof,' says Mr Macpherson, that the English jewellers and workers of gold and



(2) Pictorial History of England, vol. i, p. 266.

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silver were eminent in their professions, and that probably as early as the beginning of the seventh century. So great was the demand for highly-finished trinkets of gold and silver, that the most capital artists of Germany resorted to England; and moreover, the most precious specimens of foreign workmanship were imported by the merchants.' 3 On the other hand, articles in gold and silver seem to have been the chief description of manufactured goods exported from England in this period."

(3) Macpherson, i, 290.

(4) Pict. Hist. of England, i, 269.


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1. The original of this extraordinary race is said to be of the very highest antiquity.' The Danes, Goths, Scythians or Getæ,— for so they are variously denominated, are offshoots of that great primitive stock, which migrating westward, settled in the Scandinavian peninsula or in the Cimbrian chersonese (Jutland); and called this region Danemarck, from Dan, their first king. Another branch passed over from the coast of Asia Minor to the islands, and thence expatiated over the western continent. "By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations." GEN. X, 5. That the former branch originated from Northern Asia, there is a further proof, that the Danes, before they became known by this name, were called Cimbri; from the resemblance of which word to Cimmerian, we cannot doubt but that they sprang from the Cimmerian Scythians, whom the ancients place to the north of the Euxine and Caspian Seas.

2. But, not to dilate upon antiquarian ethnography—though this piratical nation was known to their Southern enemies by the (1) Hoc autem regnum est primum et vetustissimum regnum mundi. PET. OLAUS.


common appellation of Danes, their armaments were composed not merely of the natives of Denmark, but of all the tribes dwelling near the Baltic, and in Scandinavia. These predatory hordes were sometimes called also by the general term of Northmen, including all those numerous tribes, that issued, from time to time, from the north of Europe, whether Danes, Norwegians, Sweons, Jutes, Goths &c. Too populous for their own inhospitable clime, cultivating an ungrateful soil, destitute of arts, manufactures, and almost of commerce, they sought a home and sustenance in more favoured climes. Brigandage and piracy were their occupation, and as necessary to them, as carnage to wild beasts. Such adventurers, hardy, vigorous, brave, herculean in stature, and like their kindred the Saxons, having the same language, manners, habits, the same heathenish rites and superstitions, rude, cruel, indefatigable, and enterprising from necessity, would, under an able leader, prove indomitable; with the spirit of the old Romans, they were as numerous as the ancient Persians. For, how great soever their losses of life either by field or flood, yet, like the fabled hydra, they seemed to gain strength and courage from disaster and defeat; the warrior-sons of Thor and Woden were often vanquished, but never subdued. And in England, though they were, by the genius of Alfred, compelled to quit the kingdom (A. D. 879), after having been harassed, hunted, and almost exterminated by disease, famine, and the sword; yet in the reign of his successor, eleven years after, we find that " England was inhabited by an equal number of Saxons and Danes.""


A Danish writer, with a national vanity savouring more of romance and fiction than of truth and reality, gives a pompous enumeration of the regions and kingdoms subjugated by his warlike ancestors; these comprehend almost every part of the known world, even India, which is said to owe to one of their monarchs the blessing of Gospel light. But such fables deserve to be mentioned, only to be ridiculed. For, whatever passed in Denmark, prior to the Christian era, is unknown to us, if we except the famous expedition of the Cimbri and Teutones, into Gaul.‘ This incident affords but a faint ray of light, which for a moment


(2) Pet. Olaus, who wrote in the 16th century.
(3) Id.
(4) Mallet.

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