Classic History Books

The History of England by A. E. Pollard

incorrigible, and capricious. Weakness, moreover, is the parent of panic, and panic brings cruelty in its
train. So long as the state was weak, it was cruel; and the hideous treason-laws of Tudor times were due

to fear. The weak cannot afford to be tolerant any more than the poor can afford to be generous. Cecil

thought that the state could not afford to tolerate two forms of religion; to-day it tolerates hundreds, and

it laughs at treason because it is strong. We are humanitarian, not because we are so much better than our

ancestors, but because we can afford the luxury of dissent and conscientious objections so much better

than they could. Political liberty and religious freedom depend upon the power of the state, inspired,

controlled, and guided by the mind of the community.

Last of all, through this power man has acquired faith, not in miraculous intervention, but in his capacity
to work out his own destinies by means of the weapons placed in his hands and the dominion put under

his feet. He no longer believes that the weakest must go to the wall, and the helpless be trampled under

foot in the march of civilization; nature is no longer a mass of inscrutable, iron decrees, but a treasury of

forces to be tamed and used in the redemption of mankind by man; and mankind is no longer a mob of

blind victims to panic and passion, but a more or less orderly host marching on to more or less definite

goals. The individual, however, can do little by himself; he needs the strength of union for his herculean

tasks; and he has found that union in the state. It is not an engine of tyranny, but the lever of social

morality; and the function of English government is not merely to embody the organized might and the

executive brain of England, but also to enforce its collective and coordinating conscience.



B.C. 55. Julius Caesar's first invasion of Britain.
A.D. 43-110. Roman occupation of Britain.

410-577. Period of Anglo-Saxon colonization and conquest.

597-664. Conversion of the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity.

617-685. Northumbrian supremacy.

685-825. Mercian supremacy.

8O2-839. Ecgberht establishes West Saxon supremacy.

855. Danes first winter in England.

878. Peace of Wedmore between Alfred and the Danes.

900 (?). Death of Alfred.

9OO (?)-975. Edward the Elder, Athelstan, and Edgar. Reconquest of the


978-1013. Ethelred the Unready. Return of the Danes.

1016. Edmund Ironside.

1016-1035. Canute.

1042.-1060. Edward the Confessor and the growth of Norman Influence.

1066. Harold and the Battle of Hastings. WILLIAM I.

1066-1071. The Norman Conquest. Submergence of the Anglo-Saxons.

1085-1086. Domesday Book. The Salisbury Oath.

1087-1100. WILLIAM II.

1100-1135. HENRY I and the beginnings of an administrative system. The

Exchequer and Curia Regis.

1135-1154. STEPHEN and Matilda. The period of baronial independence,


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