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and implied general intemperance : when the common people were in the habit of carrying the bowl from house to house, in order to collect money: the materials which filled the bowl were spiced wine or ale, with roasted apples and sugar, mead or metheglin. A particular species of bread, called the wassel bread, was eaten with the above liquid, according to some antiquaries. - Mr. Douce, however, quotes a statute, 51 Hen. III. which appears to establish the fact, that the white bread well baked, so termed, was in use at all seasons ; and other reasons induce the same gentleman to suppose it was a kind of cake, or probably biscuit. There were also wassel songs sung at Christmas by itinerant minstrels. Drinking of healths, which is the only trace we have in London of the antient wassel, is but little practised at present; but in some parts of the country the custom bears a certain degree of resemblance to the original ceremony.
Very faint traces now exist of the antient practice of choosing Valentines ; indeed, it is confined to the silly compositions of young people in the form of letters, many of which are known to be highly offensive to morality and decency; though the majority, it must be confessed, are equally unmeaning and absurd, and perfectly innocent. Antiquaries are inclined to imagine that this custom was derived from our Roman invaders, who practised the ceremony of drawing the names of
young females by young men from a box-part of the rites of the Lupercalia, celebrated in the month of February, in honour of Juno and Pan, It has been farther supposed, that the early Christians continued the custom through motives of policy, and fixed upon the day dedicated to St, Valentine merely because it happened to suit the time. If this conjecture be correct, the term of valentines may be readily accounted for. During a long period, the day produced much interest amongst the unmarried part of the community.
The Northern inhabitants of England, the Scots and the Picts, were continually making incursions on the territories of the provincials, or those under the Roman government in their neighbourhood; who consequently requested protection, which the Mistress of the world was then nearly incapable of affording them, through the irruption of the Goths into Italy. Vortigern, Governor in Chief of the British provinces, hopeless of any other succour, sent to Germany for auxiliary troops, which, composed of Saxons, Angles, Jutes, and the natives of Friesland, poured in to his assistance ostensibly, but, treacherously, for their own immediate advantage; as the Romans soon perceived by their entering into a treaty with the Picts. Thus united, they turned their forces against the original intruders, and fairly forced themselves into the exclusive government of the country, or the Her
tarchy of England. Selden was inclined to think, that though these people appear to have consisted of several nations, “ yet, in very deed, they were all of them none other but Saxons; a name at that time of a large extent in Germany.” The arrival of this army was in the year 428.
We are in this period of our research to conjecture, that the manners of the oppressed Britons were, partly through force and partly through inclination, a compound of British, Roman, and Saxon. For this reason it will be necessary to give some of the leading features of the regulations of society amongst the latter people.
The infant Saxon was under the immediate care of its mother, till it had reached the seventh year of its age. Circumstances might occur, which rendered a nurse, or foster-mother, necessary ; and there cannot be a doubt that the transfer was allowed by the custom of their society. When the father of a child died, the mother received an allowance for its support ; and it is to be feared the barbarous practice of exposing children sometimes took place ; as Wilkins mentions the sumo allowed for rearing those unfortunate foundlings. Infant baptism by immersion was customary ; the names given to their children at this period of their life were derived from some expressive source descriptive of the expected qualities of the party, and sometimes from circumstances connected with the birth, or personal appearance of
the child. Surnames, or the appropriation of individuals to families or places, became absolutely necessary upon the increase of population : the Britons must have used them; we are certain the Romans did, and that the Saxons brought them into the country.
As to the general character of the Saxons, who invaded us through the folly already mentioned, it is said of them, that they were such adepts in the arts of plundering and devastation, that each individual possessed the qualities necessary for a chief or the common soldier; therefore, every man acting upon one principle of rapine, all their efforts were equally voluntary and irresistible, The ferocious courage which naturally attended a society thus constituted, has often been celebrated; and yet the Saxon disdained not to depredate in the night, and feast on his spoils by day: a conduct by no means consonant with the noble and manly form by which he was distinguished, and was anxious to preserve. The weapons used by them were long spears, or javelins, small shields, swords, and knives.
That the Military Lords were distinguished by manners most ferocious and cruel, seems to be establişhed beyond contradiction. In the reign of Edward the Confessor, two brothers, Earls Harold and Tosto, had an altercation at Windsor which terminated in blows. Tosto was beaten, and immediately retired to the Marches of Wales,
where Harold resided, determined on revenge. The Castle was then in a state of preparation to receive the King; and the servants, consequently, numerous; those he massacred, and, with the malice and barbarity of a modern savage of the South Seas, cut some of them into pieces, which he salted, and, steeping other fragments in myrrh and wine, informed his brother, by message, that he had provided him with powdered meats against the arrival of the Monarch !
The Saxons, according to the best writers, were divided into four different classes; chiefs, or nobles, freemen by birth-right, freemen by emancipation, and slaves. It may be necessary to define the state of slavery in which part of the community was held. It was incurred by individuals in several ways; through debt, capture as prisoners of
war, and by the commission of crimes. There were classes in servitude; the villans tilled their master's lands, and performed all the offices of agriculture, being, in every respect, subject to the mutation of those lands from one possessor to another: the domestic slaves did the work necessary in families, and executed, in many instances, mechanical employments. The only mitigation they appear to have experienced of their hard fate', originally depended upon two circumstances: if they were natives of the same country with their master, they could not be sent abroad; and if they were Christians, they could not be sold to a