Page 1085

1085 BARBARIAN ASCENDENCY-THE ANGLO-SAXON KINGDOMS.

signalized the first year of his reign by annexing to his dominions the province of Septimania, which for several years had been held

by the Saracens of Spain. In 753 he engaged

in a war with the Saxons, and compelled that

haughty race to acknowledge his supremacy,

to pay a tribute of three hundred horses, and

to give pledges that the Christian missionaries

within their borders should be distressed no

more.

From the days of Clovis friendly relations

were cultivated between the Frankish kings

and the bishops of 'Rome. After the defeat

of the Saxons, Pope Stephen III. made a visit

to France, and earnestly besought the aid of

Pepin against the barbarian Astolphus, king

of the Lombards. The Frank readily accepted

the invitation, and led an army into Italy.

Astolphus was besieged in Pavia, and soon

obliged to sue for peace. A favorable settlement was made by Pepin, who then retired to

his own capital; but no sooner was he beyond

the Alps than Astolphus violated the terms

of the treaty and threatened the capture of

Rome. In the year 755 Pepin feturned into Lombardy, overthrew Astolphus, conquered

the exarchate of Ravenna, and made a present of that principality to the Church.

Five years later the attention of Pepin was

demanded by the condition of affairs in Aquitaine. In that country a popular leader,

named Waifar, had arisen; and under his influence the province was declared independent.

For eight years the war continued with varying successes; nor was Pepin at the last able

to enforce submission until he had procured

the assassination of Waifar. In 768 the king

of the Franks returned to his capital, where

a few days afterwards he died at the age of

fifty-three. The kingdom descended to his

two sons, Carloman and Carolus, or Karl,

commonly known as Charles, or Karl the

Great, or still more generally by his French

name of Charlemagne. Such in brief is the

history of the Frankish kingdom from the

half-mythical and wholly barbarous times of

Meroveus to the coming of that great sovereign, who by his genius in war and peace

may be said to have laid the political foundations of both France and Germany.

CHAPTER LXXVL-THE ANGLO-SAXON KINGDOMS.

To people of the English speaking race, the story

of the Anglo-Saxons can never fail of interest. The hardy and adventurous stock transplanted from the stormy shores of the Baltic to the foggy island of Britain

has grown into imperishable renown, and the

rough accent of the old pirates of Jutland is

heard in all the harbors of the world.

The native seat of the Anglo-Saxons has

been already defined. From the river Scheldt

to the islands of the Jutes, and extending far

inland, lies a low and marshy country, through

which the rivers for want of fall can scarcely

make their way to the sea. The soil is a

sediment; the sky, a bed of thick mist and heavy clouds, pouring out their perpetual

rains. Ever and anon the storms roll in from

the North Sea, and the black waves plunge

and roar and bellow along the coast. From

the first, human life in this low and doleful

region has been an everlasting broil with

the ocean.

It was from these dreary regions that the

English race came forth in the middle of the

fifth century to plant themselves in Britain.

Nor was the natural scenery of the new

habitat shrouded in fogs and drenched with

rain, girdled with stormy oceans and clad in

sunless forests, better calculated than their

original seats to develop in our forefathers the

sentiments of tenderness and refinement. By

the banks of the muddy British rivers the

mixed tribes of Angles, Saxons, Jutes, and