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CONNECTION WITH ROME.
York and London, known to him probably as the Roman capitals, as the seats of two archbishops, each of whom was to have under him twelve suffragans. The division was clearly imperfect; the Pope had thought of England as an island no larger than Sicily;1 and did not know that York was only the metropolis of a third of the country. Other circumstances
interfered with the execution of the scheme: the English kings took a pride in attaching bishops as chaplains to their court; and thus dioceses grew up irregularly with only the general feature of large boundaries. Down to the time of the Danish wars, there were only seventeen in all: and out of these, only four in the northern archiepiscopate. Again, Canterbury, as the residence of the first Christian king, supplanted London; and sharing the fortunes of the Saxon monarchies, usurped the whole of the country south of the Humber. But if in little matters of detail Gregory's plan was not carried out, there can yet be no doubt that the Anglo-Saxon church looked up to Rome as its original, and as its ultimate court of appeal. In troublesome times communication might be suspended; the whole connection was perhaps regarded as settled by custom, which no one cared to dispute, rather than as matter of abstract right. In fact, it would be easier to prove the devotion of the Saxons to Rome than their dependence upon it, though the latter no doubt was real. There is one instance on record, where the primate adhered to the fortunes of a fallen pope, and did not attempt to conciliate his more fortunate rival. But the pilgrimages of Anglo-Saxon kings, and a nameless number of the people, to Rome; the dues self-imposed to support a hospice there; the fierce zeal of Boniface for the papal claims, are all proofs of a filial sentiment to the august mother of their faith.
One point remains to be noticed. It is remarkable that in every instance the Anglo-Saxon king and court were converted
1 Stanley's Canterbury, pp. 29, 30.
2 Kemble's Saxons in England, vol. ii., p. 362.
3 The instance of Stigand, the last Saxon archbishop of Canterbury.
ARISTOCRATIC CHARACTER OF THE CHURCH.
before the people. This had not been the case in the south, where the movement had spread upwards from the lower ranks. The explanation is to be found in the thoroughly aristocratic character of society in the Germanic tribes: the same fact holds good of every country that became Protestant in the sixteenth century. It followed naturally, that while the Christian priesthood in Gaul had been the stronghold of the oppressed Romanic nationality, its highest offices in England were from the first coveted and obtained by the Anglo-Saxon nobility. A close connection of church and state was one consequence of this: nowhere else was the priest so good a citizen as in England. But neither was the tendency to turn church endowments into private property so early manifested in any other country.
1 Simeon Dunelm, M. B., p. 658.
STRUGGLE OF ANGLES AND SAXONS FOR SUPREMACY.-KENT, NORTHUMBRIA, AND MERCIA.-GROWTH OF THE WEST-SAXON NATIONALITY.—OFFA'S CHARACTER AND CRIMES. HIS POLICY PROVINCIAL RATHER THAN NATIONAL. -CHARLEMAGNE'S RELATIONS WITH ENGLAND.-FORTUNES OF OFFA'S
By the beginning of the seventh century, the Angles and Saxons had no longer anything to dread from the Britons of the north and the west. That nationality was still strong enough to be useful in alliances, or formidable in rebellions; but its hopes of restoration to power were only sustained by prophecies which the events of the last century and a half had refuted. The conquerors, therefore, were no longer bound together by the necessity of concerted action in the field. Their method of conquest had been by a series of small expeditions, in which the chief, if victorious, carved out a local sovereignty for himself; and if hard pressed, was sustained by his countrymen in the rear. England had thus been broken up into a number of little kingdoms, each of which recognized the chief potentate of the district as lord- paramount. It was natural that the suzerain should try to assert unconditional sovereignty over his vassals; either taking advantage of their misgovernment to depose them, or dispossessing them of their lands by the law of the sword. As the people's conception of kingly government widened with the necessities of the times and advancing civilization, the land could not bear the burden of two petty sovereigns in a single province such as Kent. Hence the history of the Anglo-Saxons during the seventh and eighth centuries represents little more than the
1 Kemble's Saxons in England, vol. ii., p. 361.
ANGLES AND SAXONS.
absorption of counties into provinces, and of provinces into kingdoms. But another subtler and deeper principle than the mere ambition of princes divided England against itself. Two great races of Teutonic origin had conquered the island from the cities and the tribes. The Angles entered chiefly on the north and east; the Saxons struggled inwards from the south. It shows the permanence of the old system, that when chaos gave way to order, and the dukedoms were swallowed up in kingdoms, the Roman divisions were pretty accurately preserved in the limits of the three great sovereignties which successively rose and fell in England. The Anglian province of Northumbria and the Saxon of Wessex, after it had absorbed Kent, are the Maxima and Britannia Prima of the Romans. The midland and eastern counties, making up the Roman province of Flavia Cæsariensis, were united under Offa in the Mercian kingdom. This union had been carried out by force and fraud against the will of the people, and was not destined to endure. The Jutes of Kent were too few and isolated to resist their Saxon neighbours. But the Angles of the north and east lay more compactly. They spoke a different dialect from the Saxons; their literature, to be currently understood, required translation into the Saxon idiom; the greater distinction of ranks in Northumbria points to different conditions of society; and the early Christianity and high literary eminence of the northern province may induce us to regard
1 So I infer from the many differences noticed in Mr. Garnett's paper.—Philolog. Trans., vol. ii., p. 27. See also Rask's A.S. Grammar, s. 469; and Innes's Scotland in the Middle Ages, p. 251.
2 The were of the West Saxon king to the thane was as six to one; of the thane to the ceorl as four to one. The were of the Northumbrian king to the thane was as seven and a half to one; of the thane to the ceorl, roughly as fifteen to one.-Ine's Laws, 19. 51: Of Wér-gilds; A. S. Laws, vol. i., pp. 115, 135, 186, 191. But this question of weres is very difficult. I have followed Mr. Allen in assuming that the were paid for Mul's murder by the men of Kent was 30,000 sceattas, and not shillings or pounds. But I do not feel sure that in Wessex as in Mercia the thane did not stand to the ceorl as six to one; the tariff for neglect of the fyrd may have been something exceptional.-Allen's Royal Prerogative, pp. 177, 178.
the Angles as at first the more civilized people of the two. The war between Angles and Saxons for the sovereignty of England, is therefore as clearly marked and as important as the earlier war of the two united races against the Britons. It was less bloody and bitter; it was not envenomed by the contempt of a strong for a weak race; in its beginnings, it was scarcely more than the trial of strength which would certainly have taken place had all the invading people been of one stem. But it lasted till the coming of the Danes; it explains why the Danes were able to plant themselves with a hearty acceptance from the people in the Anglian districts; it is the secret of the weakness of England under every sovereign, till the strong Norman yoke and the superimposed Norman nobility crushed Angle and Dane and Saxon into Englishmen.
The crests of a few leaders emerge here and there from the conflict of nationalities; its incidents are only "the battles of kites and crows," which Milton disdained to record. While the Saxons were still struggling in the west with the whole power of the British name, the Angles had occupied parts of the country in which the people, once subdued, had no neighbours on whom they could call for support. A king of Kent is therefore the first supereminent king in England, and he is succeeded by the kings of Northumbria. The adoption of Roman ensigns by Edwin,' shows that he was well disposed to establish himself as imperator if fortune should favour him. The attempt by a gesith of Cuichelm, king of Wessex, to murder the Northumbrian monarch, failed, as it deserved, and the forces of Wessex were crushed, with the loss of five of their princes, 626 A.D. But before long the new power of Mercia was consolidated under a fierce warrior, Penda. The Saxons of Mercia and Wessex united with the Welsh under Cadwallan, and defeated and slew Edwin in a great battle at Heathfield, 633 A.D. For two-and-twenty years, Penda continued to make war against the Anglian name, as though he, like Cadwallan, designed to root it out. It is probable that
Bede, H.E., lib. ii., c. 9.