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tion also, which ought to change on the 24th of September, is sometimes ascribed to the whole of the current year. In addition to these sources of error, the historian must contend with the corruptions of manuscripts, the blunders of transcribers and of printers, the drowsiness of editors; and oftentimes the only result of his anxious labours will be a greater conviction of their unprofitableness and uncertainty.

The bulk of the massy folios, both in print and in manuscript, on paper and on vellum, in which the chronicles are comprized, may seem appalling; but, on examination of their contents, our annals anterior to the conquest will shrink into a narrow compass.

The information which has been transmitted to us respecting the Kingdoms of the Heptarchy, will be found to be distributed very unequally. Of the acts of the early kings of Northumbria, the inestimable history of Bede furnishes us with details which are equally authentic and interesting. But, after the termination of his narrative, the history of that state becomes extremely broken and obscure. With respect to Bernicia, and the states which it included, only a few details are preserved, and until we arrive at the cession, as it is termed, of the Lothians to the Scottish King, we have not a single notice concerning that extensive territory which then became finally separated from the English crown. Nor are the chronicles more ample with respect to the northern and western portions of the dominion subjected to Northumbria. Occasionally, we have notices of the Britons of Strathclyde and the Cumbrian kingdom; but before the reign of Edgar, we cannot give even the name of any Burgh, River or Mountain in the modern counties of Cumberland, Westmoreland or Lancaster. These tracts are blank spaces in the Saxon map as well as in the Saxon history. Legends and fables constitute the East Anglian annals. Of Essex some few events are mentioned; but the extent of the chronicles will be estimated by remarking that the period of the conquest of London by the Anglo-Saxons is entirely unknown; and from their silence on so important an event we may judge of their deficiencies. The earlier annals of Mercia do not form any connected series. Kent and Wessex offer the most complete succession. But even here we are interrupted by lamentable chasms; and a chronicle composed by the juxtaposition of all the facts which we possess and collected from every source would show that, in truth, mere wrecks and fragments of Anglo-Saxon history have been preserved.

Edwardi vicesimo finiente et vicesimo primo incipiente.-Fœdera, N. E. vol. i. p. 781. Although there is not the slightest pretence for asserting that the English monarchy was elective, still this practice shows that, according to the theory of the constitution, the title of the heir required the recognition of the Baronage.



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