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Constitutional History.




The first step in a history of the Institutions of the Origin of the

English English people is to determine the elements of the English nationality. It is not unusual to speak of the English as a mixed race formed out of the fusion of the Britons, the Anglo-Saxons, the Danes, and the Normans; but this form of expression is apt to convey an erroneous idea of the facts. No modern European nation is, indeed, of pure unmingled race; yet in all some one element has maintained a clear and decided predominance. In the English people this predominant element is the German or Teutonic. The Teutonic conquest of Britain was something more Teutonic than a mere conquest of the country: it was in all senses Britain,

conquest of a national occupation, a sustained immigration of a new A.D. 450

600. race, whose numbers, during a hundred and fifty years, were continually being augmented by fresh arrivals from the Fatherland.

Before the end of the 6th century, the Teutonic invaders had established a dominion in Britain, extending from the German Ocean to the Severn and from the English Channel to the Firth of Forth. The Britons were soon driven into the western parts of the island, where they maintained themselves for a time in several small states. The remnant of the country which they retained was indeed at first of


considerable extent, including not only modern Wales but the great kingdom of Strathclyde, stretching from Dumbarton to Chester, together with Cornwall, Devon, and part of Somerset. But the eastern boundary of this territory yielded more and more to the influence of the invaders; and it was only in the mountains of Wales and Cumbria

that the Britons preserved for any length of time their No general ever-decreasing independence. During the long-continued commixture of races ;

and peculiarly ferocious series of contests between the natives and invaders, vast numbers of the flower of the British race perished. Many Britons sought refuge in emigration to the Continent. :-Net a few of the less warlike doubtless remained as slaves to the conquerors, and a still greater infusion of the Celtic element may have been effected by the interniarriages of the victors with the women of the yanquished. But the Germanic element has always constituted the main stream of our race, absorbing in its coựrse and assimilating each of the other elements. It is the paternal element in our system natural and political: 2 Since the first immigration, each infusion of

1 This hypothesis is strengthened by the fact that the few words in our language which have been retained from the original Celtic (about thirty-two in number, excluding proper names) have all relation to inferior employments, and for the most part apply exclusively to articles of feminine use or to the domestic occupations of women. See a list by the late Rev. R. Garnett, in his Linguistic Essays. [But Pearson, Hist. Eng., Early and Middle Ages, 1867, I. 102, cites another list by Brandes, including lance, spear, &c.

For arguments in favour of a considerable Celtic influence, see, as to language, Vaughan, Revolutions of Eng. Hist., and Kennedy, Ethnological and Linguistic Essays, 1861, and as to law, Law Magasine and Review, No. cclviii., for Nov. 1885, art. by J. Williams, B.C.L., The Welsh Element in English Law.-E..]

? Stubbs, Select Charters, Introductory Sketch, p. 3. See also Archdeacon Squire, Anglo-Saxon Government in Germany and England (1745); Freeman, Norm. Conq. vol. i. ; and Stubbs, Const. Hist. vol. i.

The arguments in favour of the opposite theory, of the permanence of the British race, are very ably stated by Mr. L. O. Pike in his Origin of the English. [The late] Mr. Coote, in his Romans of Britain (1878), also maintains the permanence of the population of Britain, but then he affirms that the greater part of the island was occupied by a Belgic race, who began to settle here before the invasion of Julius Cæsar, and that these Belgians were Teutonic. [The late Dr. Guest, in the interesting posthumous collection of his various writings, Origines Celtica, 1885, treats the Belgæ as a Gaelic race, and akin to the Fir-Bolg of Ireland. Dr. Hyde Clarke argues for both an Iberian and a Belgic period of civilisation in Britain, in his Essay on The Iberian and

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