The treasury of history: comprising a general introductory outline …, Volume



The republication of this valuable work has .been undertaken partly on account of the high favour with which it has been received in England, but chiefly in consideration of its intrinsic value, arising from the felicitous adaptation of the plan to a want that has been long and generally felt, and from the judgment and fidelity manifested in its execution. The idea of giving in a single work, of no very formidable dimensions, and at a price which brings it within the reach of very moderate circumstances, a sufficient outline of the world’s whole history, and similar outlines of the history of every nation, is so obviously judicious and appropriate as ‘j roquire’n’J e\ilogiumV. Every person who cares at all for the acquisition of usefui knowledge, >rruBt desire to possess such a general knowledge of paat B.VT>n>s, not only in his own country but in all countries, as shall enable him to understand the perpetually recurring allusions that are found in ^lmosl any course of general reading; because for want of such ur.cerstchding there is always a serious diminution both of pleasure and profit, even in the perusal of such works as are designed chiefly for amusement. For instance, most of Sir Walter Scott’s novels are founded upon history, and abound with references to historical events and personages, a want of some acquaintance with which detracts seriously from the interest and delight they are so well qualified to awaken; and so of most other works belonging to the better class of what is called light literature. But the difficulty has been to obtain this general knowledge without going through many books, requiring a greater expenditure of time and money than most persons are able or willing to afford; and to obviate such difficulty has been the purpose of Mr. Maunder.

His plan has the merit of completeness, and is undoubtedly the best that could have been desired. He gives first a general sketch of ancient and modern history—a rapid and comprehensive bird’s-eye view, as it were, of the rise and progress of nations, the most important incidents of their career, and their relations to each other; and after this he takes up the nations separately, furnishing a concise digest of all that it is important or desirable to know concerning each, and thus affording a sort of key to the changes and events that were more briefly indicated, rather by their results than by their incidents, in the general sketch or outline. Thus the salient points of history are brought within a manageable compass, and an excellent foundation is laid for more thorough and extensive reading in reference to any portion of the world or any epoch of which a complete knowledge may be desired.

In the execution of this plan the author has been very successful. His notices of historical events, though brief, are lucid and satisfactory; and he traces the connection of effect and cause with singular acumen and generally with most commendable freedom from partiality or bias; thus supplying a very good idea of the philosophy of history as well as of •the facts which history records.

Upon the portion devoted to American History particular attention has been bestowed in this edition, in order to supply a deficiency which has long been felt regarding the events which have transpired since the war of the RevolutionWhile most historians have deemed that the reader and student need to be particularly well informed with respect to every engagement which has occurred, in our struggle for liberty, they have almost entirely overlooked the equally important measures and events which have transpired in cabinet and in council. To remedy this neglect has been aimed at in this history, and consequently the editor has contented himself with a recapitulation of the battles of the Revolution, which will be found sufficiently minute for the general reades^’an.*davfjteti himsetfrmpre fully to an account of the political history pf*thV.Jiat^V”lce.$c.’close of the war, thus supplying a narrative, which/.thougli-icwifj.wanted, has never yet been given in a connected and disUnfC foi4i(/:3rCl; word, the work will be found invaluable to the general-teadar, andjt.very, useful help to

the student. V .•: .v. :




CHAPTER I.—Of the Origin of the World, and the Primitive Condition of

Mankind 33

CHAPTER II.—From the Deluge to the Settlement of the Jews in Canaan . 35

CHAPTER IH.—The Fabulous and Heroic Ages, to the institution of the

Olympic Games 37

CHAPTER IV.—From the institution of the Olympic Games, to the death of

Cyrus 38

CHAPTER V.—From the erection of the Persian Empire, to the division of

the Grecian Empire after the Death of Alexander . . . .40

CHAPTER VI.—From the Wars of Rome and Carthage, to the Birth of Christ 41

CHAPTER VII.—From the beginning of the Christian era, to the appearance

of Mahomet 43

CHAPTER VIII.—From the rise of Mahomet, to the commencement of the

Crusades , 45

CHAPTER IX.—From the first Crusade, to the Death of Saladin … 48

CHAPTER X.—From tho Death of Saladin, to the end of the Crusades . . 52

CHAPTER XI.—From the time of Genghis Khan, to that of Tamerlane . 54

CHAPTER XII.—From tho time of Tamerlane, to the Sixteenth Century . 55

CHAPTER XIII.—The Reformation, and progress of events during the Six-

teenth Century .16
CHAPTER XIV.—From me commencement of llie Seventeenth Centnry, to

the Peace of Westphalia … 59

CHAPTER XV.—From the Civil War in England, to the Peace of Ryswick . 61

CHAPTER XVI.—Commencement of the Eighteenth Century, to the Peace

of Utrecht . 64

CHAPTER XVII.—The Age of Charles XII. of Sweden, and Peter the Great

of Russia 68

CHAPTER XVIII.—The Affairs of Europe, from the establishment of the

Hanoverian Succession in England, to the year 1740 . . . . 71

CHAPTER XIX.—From the accession of the Empress Theresa, of Austria, to

the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle 72

CHAPTER XX.—Progress of events during the Seven Years’ War in Europe,

America, and the East Indies 75

CHAPTER XXI.—From the conclusion of the Seven Years’ War, to the final

partition of Poland 79

CHAPTER XXII.—From the commencement of the American War, to the

recognition of the Independence of tho United States . . . .81

CHAPTER XXIII.—From the commencement of the French Revolution, to

the death of Robespierre 82

CHAPTER XXIV.—From the establishment of the French Directory, to the

Peace of Amiens 35

CHAPTER XXV.—From the recommencement of Hostilities, to the treaty of

Tilsit .’ 88

CHAPTER XXVI.—The French Invasion of Spain, and subsequent Peninsu-

lar War 89

CHAPTER XXVII.—From the Invasion of Russia by the French, to the res-

toration of the Bourbons 90

CHAPTER XXVIII.—From the return of Bonaparte from Elba, to the Gen-

eral Peace 92





CHAPTER I.—The British and Roman Period, to the Subjugation of the Is-
land by the Saxons 97


CHAPTER n.—The Heptarchy, or the seven Kingdoms of the Saxons in

Britain 107
CHAPTER HI.—The Heptarchy (continued) ‘. 113

CHAPTER IV.—The Heptarchy (concluded) 116


i N 0 I. 0-S A X 0 X XINQS.

CHAPTER Y.—The Anglo-Saxons after the Dissolution of tho Heptarchy.—

Reigns of Egbert, Ethel wolf, and Ethelbald 119

CHAPTER VI.—The reigns of Ethelbert and Ethelred . . . .123

CHAPTER VII.—The reign of Alfred the Great 125

CHAPTER VIII.—History of the Anglo-Saxons, from the Death of Alfred

the Great to the reign of Edward the Martyr 134

CHAPTER IX.—From the accession of Edward the Martyr to tho death of

Canute 146

CHAPTER X—The reigns of Harold and Hardicanute …. 155

CHAPTER XI.—The reign of Edward tho Confessor 157

CHAPTER XII.—The reign of Harold the Second 163


CHAPTER XIII.—The reign of William I., usually styled “William the Con-

queror” 167

CHAPTER XIV.—The reign of William I. (continued) . . . .175

CHAPTER XV.—The reign of W:iliam II 185

CHAPTER XVI.—The reign of Henry 1 192

CHAPTER XVII.—The reign of Stephen . .202


CHAPTER XVIII.—The reign of Henry II.; preceded by Observations on

the right of the English to territory in France 209

CHAPTER XIX.—The reign of Henry II. (continued) . . . .219

CHAPTER XX.—The reign of Henry II. (concluded) . . . .229

CHAPTER XXI.—The reign of Richard I .234

CHAPTER XXII.—The reign of John 248

CHAPTER XXIII.—The reign of Henry III 265

CHAPTER XXIV.—The reign of Edward 1 278

CHAPTER XXV.—The reign of Edward II. . 396

CHAPTER XXVI.—The reign of Edward III 307

CHAPTER XXVII.—The reign of Richard II 326


CHAPTER XXVIII.—The reign of Henry IV 342

CHAPTER XXIX.—The reign of Henry V. . …. 349

CHAPTER XXX.—The reign of Henry VI 359

CHAPTER XXXI.—The reign of Henry VI. (continued) . . . .870

CHAPTER XXXII.—The reign of Henry VI. (concluded) . . . .381



CHAPTER XXXni.—The reign of Edward IV 392

CHAPTER XXXIV.—The reign of Edward V. . . . ‘ . .105

CHAPTER XXXV.—The reign of Richard III 412


CHAPTER XXXVI.—The reign of Henry VII 416

CHAPTER XXXVII.—The reign of Henry VII. (continued) . . 424

CHAPTER XXXVIII.—The reign of Henry VII. (concluded) . . .432

CHAPTER XXXIX.—The reign of Henry VIH 438

CHAPTER XL.—The reign of Henry VIII. (continued) . . . .443

CHAPTER XLI.—Tho reign of Henry VIII. (concluded) . . . .453

CHAPTER XLII.—The reign of Edward VI 470

CHAPTER XLIII.—Tho reign of Edward VI. (concluded) . . . .479

CHAPTER XLIV.—The reign of Mary 405

CHAPTER XLV.—The reign of Mary (concluded) 498

CHAPTER XLVI.—The reign of Elizabeth 509

CHAPTER XLVII.—Tho reign of Elizabeth (concluded) . . . .538


CHAPTER XLVIII.—The reign of James 1 547

CHAPTER XLIX.—The reign of James I. (concluded) . . . .553

CHAPTER L.—The reign of Charles 1 567

CHAPTER LI.—The reign of Charles I. (contained) 572

CHAPTER ML—The reign of Charles L (concluded) 586


CHAPTER LIII.—The Commonwealth … … 593


CHAPTER LIV.—The reign of Charles II 605

CHAPTER LV.—The reign of James VL. 616

CHAPTER LVL—The reign of William IH. 623

CHAPTER LVU.—The reign of Anne 628


CHAPTER LVIII.—The Reign of George 1 634

CHAPTER LIX.—The reign.of George U 640
CHAPTER LX.—The reign of George III. 652



” It is not without reason,” says Rollin, ” that History has always been considered as the light of ages, the depository of events, the faithful evidence of truth, the source of prudence and good counsel, and the rule of conduct and manners. Confined without it to the bounds of the age and country wherein we live, and shut up within the narrow circle of such branches of knowledge as are peculiar to us, and the limits of our own private reflections, we continue in a kind of infancy, which leaves us strangers to the rest of the world, and profoundly ignorant of all that has preceded, or even now surrounds us. What is the small number of years that make up the longest life, or what the extent of country which we are able to progress or travel over, but an imperceptible point in comparison to the vast regions of the universe, and the long series of ages which have succeeded one another since the creation of the world t And yet all we are capable of knowing must be limited to this imperceptible point, unless we call in the study of History to our assistance, which opens to us every age and every country, keeps up a correspondence between us and the great men of antiquity, sets all their actions, all their achievements, virtues and faults before our eyes; and, by the prudent reflections it either presents, or gives us an opportunity of making, soon teaches us to be wise before our time, and is in a manner far superior to all the lessons of the greatest masters. * * • It is History which fixes the seal of immortality upon actions truly great, and sets a mark of infamy on vices which no after age can ever obliterate. It is by History that mistaken merit and oppressed virtue, appeal to the incorruptible tribunal of posterity, which renders them the justice their own age has sometimes refused them, and without respect of persons, and the fear of a power which subsists no more, condemns the unjust abuse of authority with inexorable rigour. • * • * Thus History, when it is well taught, becomes a school of morality for all mankind. It condemns vice, throws off the mask from false virtues, lays open popular errors and prejudices, dispels the delusive charms of riches, and all the vain pomp which dazzles the imagination, and shews, by a thousand examples, that are more availing than all reasonings whatsoever, that nothing is great and commendable but honour and probity.” The foregoing exordium is as just as it is eloquent—as apposite as it is complete.

It has been very truly remarked, that the love of fame, and a desire to communicate information, have influenced men in almost every age and every nation, to leave behind them some memorials of their existence, actions and discoveries. In the earliest ages of the world, the mode of ‘conveying to posterity an account of important facts was very vague and uncertain: the most obvious and easy was first resorted to. Thus, when Joshua led the twelve tribes of Israel over the river Jordan, in a miraculous manner, he set up twelve stones for a memorial; but it was necessary for tradition to explain the circumstances which gave rise to it; ana he said accordingly, “When your children shall ask their fathers, in time to come, what mean these stones ? Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land.” (Joshua, c. iv., v. 21.) Poets who sung to the harp the praises of deceased warriors at the tables of kings, are mentioned by Homer: the Scandinavians, Gauls, and Germans, had their bards; and the savages of America preserved similar memorials in the wild strains of their country. To supply the defects of such oral tradition as this, founders of states and leaders of colonies gave their own names to cities and kingdoms; and national festivals and games were exhibited to commemorate extraordinary events.

From such imperfect attempts to rescue the past from the ravages of time and oblivion, the progress to inscriptions of various kinds was made soon after the invention of letters. The Babylonians recorded their first astronomical observations upon bricks; and the most ancient monuments of Chinese literature were inscribed upon tables of stone. In Greece and Rome very similar methods were sometimes adopted; two very curious monuments of which are .still extant—the Arundelian marbles, upon which are inscribed, in Greek capital letters, some records of the early history of Greece; and the names of the consuls registered upon the Capitoline marbles at Rome. Such was the rude commencement of annals and historical records. But when, in succeeding times, nations became more civilized, and the various branches of literature were cultivated, persons employed themselves in recording the actions of their contemporaries, or their ancestors; and history by degrees assumed its proper form and character. At length ” the great masters of the art arose, and after repeated essays, produced the harmonious light and shade, the glowing colours and animated groups of a perfect picture.”

” AH history,” says Dryden, ” is only the precepts of moral philosophy, reduced into examples.” He also observes, ” the laws of history in general are truth of matter, method, and clearness of expression. The first property is necessary, to keep our understanding from the impositions of falsehood, for history is an argument framed from many particular examples or inductions: if these examples are not true, then those measures of life which we take from them, will be false, and deceive us in their consequences. The second is grounded on the former; for if the method be confused, if the words or expressions of thought be obscure, then the ideas which we receive must be imperfect, and if such, we are not taught by them what to elect, or what to shun. Truth, therefore, is required as the foundation of history, to inform us; disposition and perspicuity, as the manner to inform us plainly.”

The manner in which History ought to be studied is the next important consideration. To draw the line of proper distinction, says a judicious writer on this subject, is the first object of the discerning reader. Let him not burden his memory with events that ought perhaps to pass for fables; let him not fatigue his attention with the progress of empires, or the succession of kings, which are thrown back into the most remote ages. He will find that little dependence is to be placed upon the relations of those affairs in the Pagan world, which preceded the invention of letters, and were built upon mere oral tradition. Let him leave the dynasties of the Egyptian kings, the expeditions of Sesostris, Bacchus, and Jason, and the exploits of Hercules and Theseus, for poets to embellish, or chronologists to arrange. The fabulous accounts of these heroes of antiquity may remind him of the sandy deserts, lofty mounttins, and frozen oceans, which are laid down in the maps of the ancient

–ographers, to conceal their ignorance of remote countries. Let him •ten to firm ground, where he may safely stand, and behold the strikevents and memorable actions which the light of authentic record

displays to his view. They alone are amply sufficient to enrich his memory, and to point out to him well-attested examples of all that is magnanimous, as well as all that is vile;—of all that has debased, and all that has ennobled mankind.


Considered with respect to the nature of its subjects, History may be divided into General and Particular; and with respect to time, into Ancient and Modern.

Ancient History commences with the creation, and ends in the year of Christ 476, with the destruction of the Roman empire in the West. Modern History commences from the fall of that empire, and extends to the present time. Ancient History is divided into two parts, or ages; the fabulous and the historic. The Fabulous Age begins with the first empires, about 2000 years before the birth of Christ, and closes with the foundation of Rome : a period which comprehends 1246 years.

The Historic Age had its beginning at the foundation of Rome, 753 years before Christ, and terminated with ancient history. The foundation of Rome is chosen for the commencement of this important division, because at that time the clouds which were spread over the historic page began to dissipate daily ; and because this period, in the end, has served as an era for all the West, and also a part of the East. This age presents us with the grandest revolutions in Europe and Asia. In the latter, the entire destruction of the Assyrian empire, and the foundation of three celebrated monarchies upon its ruins. In Europe, the establishment of the principal republics of Greece, the astonishing progress of legislation, and the successful cultivation of the fine arts. This division embraces 1230 years.

GENERAL HISTORY OF MODERN EUROPE. The history of Modern Europe commences with the fall of the Ro

man empire in the West, and continues to the present time: it embraces nine remarkable periods, the epochs of which are:— A.d. A.d.

1. The fall of the Western Empire 476 to 800

2. The re-establishment of that empire by Charlemagne . 800 ” 962 3- The translation of the Empire to Germany, by Otho

the Great 962 ” 1074

4. The accession of Henry IV. to the imperial crown, and

the Crusades 1074 ” 1273

5. The elevation of Rodolph of Hapsburg to the imperial

throne 1273 ” 1453

6. The fall of the Empire of the East 1453 ” 1648

7. The peace of Westphalia 1648 ” 1713

8. The peace of Utrecht 1713 ” 1789

9. The French Revolution to the present time …. 1789 ”

First Period-—(476—800.) In the fifth century many of the modern monarchies of Europe had their commencement: the empire of the East having been, about that period, brought to the very verge of ruin by the innumerable hosts of barbarians from the north, which poured in upon it, and, at length, subdued it in the year 476. The Vandals, the Suevi, and the Alans, were the first adventurers. These were soon followed by the Visigoths, the Burgundians, the Germans, the Franks, the Lombards, the Angles, the Saxons, and the Huns. These depredators taking different routes, armed with fire and sword, soon subjected to their yoke the terrified victims of their ferocity, and erected their conquests into kingdoms.

The Visigoths, after having driven out the Vandals, destroyed the Alans, subdued the Suevi, and founded a new kingdom in Spain.

The Angels and the Saxons made a conquest of Britain from the Romans and natives, and formed the Heptarchy, or seven kingdoms.

The Huns established themselves in Pannonia, and the Germans on the banks of the Danube. The Heruli, after having destroyed the Western empire, founded a state in Italy, which continued but a short time, being driven out by the Ostrogoths. Justinian retook Italy from the Ostrogoths. The greater part of Italy soon after fell under the power of the Lombards, who formed it into a kingdom. The exarchate of Ravenna, raised, by them, to the empire of the East, enjoyed it but a short time. The exarchate being conquered by Charlemagne, was settled, by him, on the Pope, which may be properly styled the epoch of the temporal grandeur of the Roman pontiffs, and of the real commencement of the combination of church and state.

Numerous bodies of people, from various countries, having taken possession of Gaul, founded therein several kingdoms, which were, at length, united by the Franks, under the name of France. Pharamond was its first monarch; and under Clovis it arrived at considerable eminence. Pepin le Bref (the Short) expelled, in the person of Childeric III., the race of Pharamond (called the Merovingian) from the throne, and assumed the government. His son, Charlemagne, the greatest prince of his time, retrieved the honour of France, destroyed the Lombardian monarchy, and renewed the empire of the West, being himself crowned emperor at Rome.

About the middle of this period, Mohammed, styling himself a prophet, by successful imposture and the force of arms, laid the foundation of a considerable empire, the Fast, out of the ruins of which are formed the greater part of the present existing monarchies in western Asia. Period.—(800—962.)

Under Charlemagne, France was the most powerful kingdom of Europe ; and the title of Roman emperor was renewed by one of the descendants of the destroyers of that empire; the other monarchies, hardly formed, were eclipsed by the lustre of this new kingdom.

Spain was subdued by the Saracens, who formed a new kingdom in the mountains of Asturias. The Moors and Christians arming against each other, laid waste this beautiful country.

The seven Saxon kingdoms, which formed the Heptarchy, were united by Egbert, who became the first king of England: but the incursions of the Danes prevented that power from making any considerable figure among the states of Europe. The North was yet plunged in barbarism’, without laws, knowing even but very little of the arts of the first necessity.

The French monarchy, which had risen to such a high pitch of grandeur under Charlemagne, became weak under his successors. The empire was transferred to the kings of Italy; which event was followed by civil and foreign wars in France, in Germany, in Italy; while the Hungarians, from Tartary, augmented the troubles. Otho the Great subdued Italy, which he united to Germany with the dignity of emperor, and shewed to a barbarous age, the talents of a hero and the wisdom of a great legislator.

THIRD PERIOD.— (962—1074.)

The German empire during this period reached the summit of its grandeur under Otho the Great. Conrad II. joined the kingdom of Burgundy to his possessions; and his son, Henry HI., added a part of Hun ‘ gary. This empire arrived at a high degree of power; but was soon after brought into a state of decay by the influence of its nobles, and by the feudal government.

Spain, although desolated by the continual wars between the Visigoths and the Saracens, was again divided by the differences of worship of those two rival nations. In France the Carlovingian kings were deposed by the usurpation of Hugh Capet, chief of the third or Capetian’race of kings.

The Danes ravaged England, and now became masters of it under Canute the Great, who conciliated the love of his new subjects. Edward the Confessor succeeded the Danish princes. He was succeeded by Harold II., a virtuous prince slain in battle by William duke of Normandy, who made a conquest of England. At the same time the Normans established themselves in Sicily, and laid the foundation of a new kingdom.

Italy, oppressed by little tyrants, or devoted to anarchy, offered nothing of interest, if we except Venice, which was every day extending its commerce. The other states of Europe did not furnish any important event, being at this period plunged in obscurity and barbarity.

FOURTH PERtOD.— (1074—1273.)

The quarrels between the emperors and the popes diminished the grandeur and power of the empire : the discords which began under the emperor, Henry IV., agitated Germany and Italy during several centuries; the factions of the Guelphs and the Ghibelines (the one partisans of the popes, and the other of the emperors) were alternately destroying each other. Frederic I. and Frederic II. endeavored to uphold the majesty of the empire; but the house of Hohenstauffen at length yielded: they were despoiled of their possessions, and driven from the throne. The empire was much weakened by the incapacity of its chiefs, the disunion of its members, and the authority of the popes, ever aiming at their further aggrandizement. The Crusades commenced: a part of Asia Minor, Syria and Palestine, were presently wrested from the infidels; and the banner of the cross was planted on Mount Sion. In the meantime the crusaders established a kingdom in Jerusalem, which was of short duration. It was during the time of the crusades, that the Greek empire, sapped to its foundation, passed to the Latin* Michael Paleologus, emperor of Nice, retook Constantinople. The Crusades finsihed in 1231. It is said, that to them was owing the origin of armorial bearings, military orders, and tournaments.

Spain continued to be the theatre of wars between the Christian kings and the Moors. The kings of Castile, Arragon, and Navarre signalized themselves by their conquests over the Saracens.

In France, the number of great vassals was somewhat diminished; but the continental wars with the English exhausted it both of men and money.

The power of England increased considerably; the navy became puissant; and, in consequence of the civil wars between the king and the people, the royal authority became more weakened, and a preponderance was given to democratical institutions.

The provinces of Naples and Sicily were erected into a kingdom. Roger, prince of Normandy, was the first king; and his family possessed the crown till 1194. It them passed into the house of Hohenstauffen, which house was dispossessed by that of Anjou.

Denmark increased in power under Walidemar II., but the influence of Sweden seemed to be of little weight in the European system.

Russia groaned under the yoke of the Tartars, who also made incursions into Poland. Bohemia, and the island of Sardinia, were erected into kingdoms. Genoa and Venice were increasing in power: by the strength of their navies, they supported an extensive commerce. Venice became possessed of Dalmatia, and a part of the Islands in the Archipelago.

Fifth Period.—(1273—1453.)

The states of Europe enjoyed an equality or equilibrium during this period. Rome alone seemed to possess superior power at first, but this power very soon diminished considerably: it laboured without effect to drive the Ghibelines out of Italy, and to reunite the Greeks to the church.

The empire of Germany, confined to its own limits, underwent some changes. Its chaotic government was rendered somewhat more clear; and emperors of different houses successively occupied the throne. At the death of Sigismund, Albert II., of the house of Hapsburg, or Austria, was elected ; from which time to the present day, this family, with little exception, have possessed the imperial crown.

France was considerably agitated by intestine feuds, but became more powerful by the expulsion of the English. Legislation and police were beginning to be understood, which served to soften the manners of the people, and promote the tranquillity of the nation.

Edward III. rendered England the terror of its neighbours: he held at the same time three kings prisoners; and France was reduced, by his prowess, to the condition of an humble supplicant. The factions of the red and white roses, (the first as the supporters of the title of the house of Lancaster, and the latter that of York,) were deluging their native land with the blood of each other at the close of this period.

Spain continued to enrich itself with the spoils of the Saracens; who, notwithstanding the efforts of the Spaniards, were yet masters of all the southern parts. In Portugal, the legitimate descendants of Henry became extinct, and an illegitimate prince of the same house ascended the throne. Sicily was taken by Peter of Arragon, of the house of Anjou, who also held the kingdom of Naples. Margaret, queen of Denmark, the Semiramis of the north, united in her person the three crowns of Denmark, Sweden and Norway. This union, made at Calmar, continued but a short time. The Swedes broke the treaty, and choose for themselves a king.

Russia, (hitherto under the yjoke of the Tartars) was delivered from slavery and obscurity. In Poland, the royal dignity began to have permanency. In Hungary, the house of Anjou mounted the throne; the crown of which, as well as that of Bohemia, soon after passed to the house of Austria.

Othman, sultan of the Turks, erected a monarchy, which arrived to great power under Mohammed II. This prince took Constantinople, and put an end to the empire of the East. The consequence resulting from the capture of this fine city, was a reflux of letters from the East to the West, which contributed to the establishment of the arts. Printing, engraving of prints, papermaking, painting in oil, gunpowder, and the mariner’s compass, were the principal, among many other useful inventions.

Sixth Period.—(1453—1648.) The history of Europe during this period becomes very interesting. The discovery of the East Indies and America, and the great changes brought about in religious opinions by the successful endeavours of Luther, Calvin, and others, gave a new appearance to many states in this quarter of the world.

The house of Austria increased in territorial possessions. Europe appeared like a vast republic, the balance of power therein being at this time on a better fooling than it was in Ancient Greece.

Almost every stale in Europe underwent important revolutions. Germany was considerably improved in its legislation under Maximilian I.; the Imperial Chamber and Aulic Council were established. The religious disputes brought on a succession of cruel and destructive wars; they were, however, terminated by the treaty of Passau, the peace of 1555, and that of Westphalia.

In France, the feudal government was at length destroyed by Charles. VII. and Louis II. The wars against England succeeded those of Italy; and those were followed by intestine wars against the Huguenots, or Protestants, which were terminated by the reduction of Rochelle, and the expulsion of the Protestants. In Spain, the three Christian kingdoms were united. This monarchy, founded by Ferdinand V., surnamed the Catholic, arrived at its zenith of power under his grandson, Charles V. It lost a part of its splendour under Philip III. and Philip IV., princes without genius, valour or resources.

Portugal became formidable under Emanuel; but grew weak after the death of Sebastian. The kingdom submitted to the Spanish yoke: which it shook off in 1610, when the house of Braganza, by an unexpected revolution, ascended the throne.

England gained strengtli under Henry VII., and became, from time to time, more powerful under his successors, the Tudors, by its policy and its commerce, and particularly so during the reign of queen Elizabeth. After the death of Elizabeth, James VI., king of Scotland, ascended the English throne, and took the title of James I., king of Great Britain; but neither himself, nor his successors, possessed the genius or the activity of that celebrated princess.

Italy was divided into many small states. Tuscany, Parma and Placentia, heretofore cities of the kingdom of Italy, were raised to the dignity of dukedoms. The princes of Florence encouraged the progress of the arts and sciences by honours and rewards. Venice was less considerable for its commerce than formerly ; the discovery of the compass enabling other nations to partake with the Venetians in the profits arising from navigation. Genoa also experienced a considerable diminution of commerce from the same cause.

The seven United Provinces, viz. Holland, &c. threw off the Spanish yoke, and became free; while the Swiss, in the centre of their rocky fastnesses, formed governments for the protection of their liberty.

Denmark, under the kings of the house of Oldenburg, now began to make a figure among the powers of Europe. The Swedes threw off the Danish yoke, and e) cted Gustavus Vasa for their king, who redeemed the lustre of the nation. Gustavus Adolphus added considerably to its power by his valour and his victories. Russia also assumed a new face, lwan Basilowitz delivered his country from the Tartarian yoke. Iwan Basilowitz II. extended the empire. The house of Romanof ascended the throne, and commenced those grand schemes which the genius and perseverance of Peter the Great afterwards executed.

Poland flourished under the Jagellon race of princes; but these becoming extinct, foreigners were introduced to-the throne. Hungary and Bohemia, after having had kings of different nations fell to the house of Austria.

The Ottoman empire augmented its grandeur and power under Solyman 11. After his death, the government falling into the hands of indolent and effeminate princes, became considerably weakened, and the unbridled power of the Janissaries now arrived at its highest pitch.

SEVENTH PERIOD.—(1648—1714.)

The political system of Europe experienced a change at the commencement of this period. France extended its territory, and became

very powerful under Louis XIV.; but the wars carried on by this prince against Spain, Holland, and the empire, exhausted the resources of the kingdom.

Germany presented some interesting changes. Leopold established a ninth electorate in favour of the house of Hanover. Augustus, elector of Saxony, was elected king of Poland; and George, elector of Hanover, ascended the throne of Great Britain. Prussia was erected into a kingdom under Frederic, the third elector of Brandenburg, who took the title of Frederic I.

Spain lost power under the latter princes of Austria, and was dismembered by the ” succession” war, which terminated in favour of the house of Bourbon.

Alphonsus VI., king of Portugal, was deposed and the kingdom declared independent of Spain by the peace of Lisbon.

In England, Charles I. was beheaded, and the monarchy abolished. Oliver Cromwell was declared protector of the Commonwealth, which lasted but a short time alter his death. The Stuart family were established again on the throne. James II. abdicated. William, stadtholder of the United Provinces, was elected king, and secured the succession of the house of Hanover at the death of AnneItaly underwent an almost entire change by the peace of Utrecht; the house of Austria was put in possession of its most fertile countries. At the same time the house of Savoy, profiting both by the war and the pace, increased its possessions in Italy, and thereby raised its influence in Europe.

The United Provinces increased in riches and power: their independence was secured by the peace of Westphalia; but they engaged in wars which drained them of their treasures, without augmenting their power.

The republics of Switzerland and of Venice appeared to be of less consequence among the European states than heretofore; but the former continued to be happy in its mountains; the latter tranquil among its lakes.

Sweden, whose power was prodigious under Charles X. and Charles XII., lost much of its grandeur after the defeat of the latter prince at Pultowa. Russia became almost on a sudden enlightened and powerful, under the auspices of Peter the Great. Poland, unfortunate under John Casimir, was made respectable under John Sobieski. Hungary was desolated by continual intestine war, and deluged with the blood of its own inhabitants.

The Ottoman empire continued weak u::ilor princes incapable of governing, who placed the sceptre in the hands of ministers altogether as weak and incapable as themselves.

EIGHTH PERIOD.—(1714—1789.)

This period was replete in negotiation, in treaties, and in wars. The balance of power, intended systematically to produce perpetual peace, had, on the contrary, been the means of exciting continual war. The peace of Utrecht, signed by almost all the powers of Europe, failed to reconcile the emperor and the king of Spain. Philip V. commenced war. The English and Dutch procured the treaty of Vienna, in 1731, which put an end to that calamity ; but a new war commenced on the election of a king of Poland. France declared war against the emperor, which terminated by the peace of Vienna. The death of Charles VI., 1740, produced a new war, more important than the former was, and of longer duration. France took the part of the elector of Bavaria, as a competitor for imperial dignity against the house of Austria. The success of the arms of the French and Bavarians, induced the queen of Hungary to detach the king of Prussia from the alliance. The defection of this prince changed the face of affairs; and the subsequent victories of marshal Saxe obliged the belligerent powers to conclude the peace of Aix-le-Chapelle, which afforded but a short calm to ensanguined Europe. The houses of Bourbon and Austria, so long enemies and rivals, now united their efforts to maintain the balance of power. But the English and French soon found pretext for new disagreements, and war was again declared. The king of Prussia took part with the English, and the king of Spain with the French. This war terminated much in favour of the English, and peace was concluded in 1763. In Italy the houses of Austria and Bourbon had the principal sway. Savoy, assisted by England, augmented its power: the island of Sardinia was given in exchange for Sicily. Charles Emanuel

III. joined a small part of the Milanese to this territory, aud Corsica became a province to France. In Holland, William IV., prince of Orange, was declared stadtholder of the Seven United Provinces.

Sweden, after the death of Charles XII., underwent an entire change : the house of Holstein-Eutin ascended the throne. Gustavus III., the second king of this family, seized upon the liberties of his people, and became a despot. In Russia the four princesses who had held the sceptre since the death of Peter the Great, rendered the empire worthy of the great genius who may be styled its founder. Poland was dismembered by its three powerful neighbours, Russia, Austria and Prussia.

Prussia, which had not ceased to aggrandize itself since the elector of Brandenburg received the title of king, was raised to the height of grandeur and power under the wise government of that celebrated hero and philosopher, Frederic II.

In Turkey, Achmet III. was obliged to surrender his crown to his nephew, Mo-hammed V. Mustapha III. espoused the cause of the Poles against the Russians, and sustained great losses. His successor, Achmet

IV. put an end to this unfortunate war by a peace, to gain which he made great sacrifices.

The English colonies in America revolted from the mother country, threw off its yoke, and declared themselves independent. France, Spain and Holland, declared in their favour; when after a war of eight years, it was terminated by in 1783 by a peace, whereby they were acknowledged as an independent nation.

KINTH PERIOD.—(1789—1815.)

This period was ushered in by one of the greatest revolutions that ever happened in Europe, or the world. The French, so long habituated to despotism, threw off, as it were in a moment, the yoke imposed upon them and their forefathers for many ages. Their king, Louis XVI., apparently joined in the effort, but at length, wanting firmness for so trying an occasion, prevaricated, and attempted to fly ; lie was seized, tried, iniquitously condemned and executed. His queen, Antoinette of Austria, suffered also under the guillotine. The powers of Europe, headed by the emperor and the king of Prussia, coalesced together to crush the revolutionary spirit of France. Great Britain, Spain, Russia, Holland, Sardinia, Naples, the Pope, and a variety of inferior powers, joined the confederacy: to this was added a powerful party in the interior, and the flames of civil war spread far and wide. Massacre, rapine and horror, stalked through the land; notwithstanding which, the Convention formed a constitution, levied numerous armies, and conquered Holland, the Netherlands, and all the country west of the Rhine. Italy submitted also to the Gallic republicans : and Germany was penetrated to its centre.

Several changes took place in the government Buonaparte conquered Egypt: and, in his absence, France lost great part of his conquests in Italy. He returned, and assuming the government under the title of first consul, reconquered Italy. Soon after, he established the Italian republic ; was himself constituted president; and made peace with England, which lasted but a short time. A new war commenced. Buonaparte was elected emperor of the French.

Great Britain, notwithstanding the part it took in the confederate war, pushed its commerce and manufactures to an extent heretofore unknown. It made several conquests, nearly annihilated the French navy, and obliged their army to evacuate Egypt. Peace was restored, but was of short duration. War again commenced: a military spirit showed itself throughout the nation, and tremendous efforts were made. French impetuosity and British valour were for years witnessed in the Spanish peninsula. Russia was invaded by a powerful host under Napoleon Buonaparte but the invaders were utterly annihilated. The crowning act of the war was the ever-memorable battle of Waterloo, whereby the overthrow of Napoleon was effected, and the peace of the world restored, after gigantic efforts and sacrifices, on all sides, which have no parallel in history.


Comparatively speaking, the science of Chronology is but of recent origin ; for many ages elapsed before the mode of computing time, or even of giving dates to important events, was at all regarded : nay, after the value of historical writings was felt and acknowledged, Chronology long remained imperfect; the most ancient historians leaving the precise periods they record undetermined. When Homer and Herodotus wrote, and for centuries afterwards, there was no regular distribution of time into such parts as months, weeks, and hours; nor any reference to clocks, dials, or other instruments, by which the perpetual current of time was subdivided. The divisions of time which are considered in Chronology, relate either to the different methods of computing days, months, and years, or the remarkable eras or epochs from which any year receives its name, and by means of which the date of any event is fixed. The choice of these epochs is for the most part arbitrary, each nation preferring its most remarkable revolution as the standard by which to regulate its measurement of time. Thus, the Greeks have their Argonautic expedition, their siege of Troy, their arrival of Cecrops in Attica, and their Olympic Games. The Romans reckoned from the foundation of their city; but in their annals they also frequently advert to their various civil appointments and external conquests. The modern Jews reckon from the Creation; and the Christians from the Birth of our Saviour. From this we count our years backward towards the beginning of time, and forward to the present day. But it was not till the year 532 that this plan was introduced; and even then the abb6 Dionysius, who invented it, erred in his calculations: nor was his error discovered for upwards of six centuries afterwards, when it was found to be deficient four years of the true period. But as an alteration of a system which had been adopted by nearly all Europe, would have occasioned incalculable inconveniences in civil and ecclesiastical affairs, the error was, by general’consent, suffered to. remain, and we continue to reckou from what is called the ” vulgar era,” which wants four years and six days of the real Christian epoch.

It cannot be denied that there are many difficulties in the way of fixing a correct Chronology; but still there are four data from which satisfactory conclusions relative to certain events may be drawn; and, by ascertaining whether others occurred before or after them, we may in general arrange the most remote transactions with a degree of regularity that at the first view might have appeared hopeless. These are, 1. Astronomical observations, particularly of the eclipses of the sun and moon, combined with the calculations of the years and eras ol particular nations. 2. The testimonies of credible authors. 3. Those epochs in history which are so well attested and determined as never to have been controverted. 4. Ancient medals, coins, monuments and inscriptions. We have also some artificial distinctions of time, which nevertheless depend on astronomical calculations; such are the Solar and Lunar Cycles, the Roman Indiction, the Feast of Easter, the Bissextile or Leap-Year, the Jubilees and Sabbatic Years of the Israelites, the Olympiads of the Greeks, the Hegira of the Mohammedans, &c. But it must be borne in mind, that the study of Chronology, though so useful to the clear understanding of historical records, is a distinct science, and requires to be studied methodically.— Onr purpose in this place is merely to point to it as one of ” the eyes of history.”


Bv Geography is understood a description of the Earth. It is divided into Physical or Natural Geography, and Civil and Political Geography. The first, or Physical Geography, refers to the surface of the earth, its divisions, and their relative situations; the climate and soil; the face of the country; and its productions, animal, vegetable and mineral. The second, or Civil Geography, includes the various nations of the earth, as divided into empires, kingdoms, republics, provinces, &c., and the origin, language, religion, government, political power, commerce, education and manners and customs of those nations.

The form of the earth is very nearly spherical; the polar axis being only about 38 miles shorter than the equatorial; and as the diameter is nearly 8000 miles, so slight a difference in a globular body would be imperceptible.

In the study of Geography, maps and globes are indispensable; but, owing to their form, globes give a better idea of the relative sizes and situations of countries than can be learned from maps.

The earth has an annual and a diurnal motion ; it moves completely round the sun in about 365 days, 6 hours; and turns completely round, as if on an axis or spindle, from west to east, in about 24 hours: an imaginary line, therefore, passing through its centre, is called its Axis. The extremities of the axis are called Poles—North and South—the one nearest to the country we inhabit being the North Pole.

A line drawn round a globe is obviously a circle; and as various circles are described on artificial globes, for reasons hereafter mentioned, we speak of them as though they were really so delineated on the earth’s surface.

The principal circles on the globe are the Equator, the Ecliptic, the Tropic of Cancer, the Tropic of Capricorn, and the Arctic and Antarctic circles. All circles are considered as divisible into 360 equal parts, called degrees; each degree into 60 minutes, and each minute into 60 seconds : a degree is thus marked °, a minute thus’, and a second thus so that 28° 52′ 36″ means 28 degrees, 52 minutes, 36 seconds. And as a whole circle contains 360 degrees, a semi-circle (or half a circle) will con tain 180°, and a quadrant (or quarter of a circle) 90°.

That circle on the surface of the globe which is everywhere equally distant from each pole, is called the Equator; and it divides the globe into two equal parts or Hemispheres, the Northern and Southern. The appellation Equator, or Equinoctial (nodes cequantur), is given to it, because, when the sun, through the annual motion of the earth, is seen in this circle, the days and nights are equal in every part of the world.

The Ecliptic is so called, because, all eclipses of the sun or moon can only take place when the moon is in or near that circle. This circle is described on the terrestrial globe solely for the purpose of performing a greater number of problems.

The Tropics are two parallels to the equator, drawn through the ecliptic, at those points where the ecliptic is at the greatest distance from the equator; which is about 23° 2(y from the equator, on either side. When the sun is opposite to one of the tropics, those people who are as far from the corresponding pole as the tropic is from the equator, see the sun for more than twenty-four hours. This is the case with every part nearer to the poles, but never with any part farther from them. To point out this peculiarity, a circle is described on the globe, 234° from each pole. One of these Polar Circles is called the Arctic, the other the Antarctic; signifying the north, and that which is opposite to the north.

The Zones (so called from a Greek word signifying belts or girdles) denote those spaces between the several principal circles before described. Thus between the poles and polar circles are the two frigid zones, between the two frigid zones and the tropics are the two temperate zones, and between the two tropics the torrid zone; deriving these appellations from the temperature of the atmosphere.

The Latitude of a place is its distance from the equator. It is measured by the number of degrees, &c., in the arc of the meridian, between the place and the equator: and is called North or South, according as the place is north or south of the equator.

Longitude is the distance of any place from a given spot, generally the capital of the country, measured in a direction east or xoest, either along the equator or any circle parallel to it. The English measure their longitude east and west of Greenwich, the French east and west of Paris, &c.

Meridians, or circles of longitudes, are so called from meridies, or midday; because, as the earth makes one complete revolution round its own axis in twenty-four hours, every part of its surface must in the courso of that time be directly opposite to the sun. The sun, therefore, at that point, will appear at its greatest altitude, or, in other words, it will be mid-day or noon.

Divisions Of The Earth.

It was usual until the present century to speak of the great divisions of the Earth as the Four Quarters of the World, viz; Europe, Asia, Africa, and America. But a more scientific distribution has since been generally adopted; and the chief terrestrial divisions of the earth’s surface are now thus enumerated: Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America, Australia, and Polynesia. Of these, Europe, Asia, and Africa, form the Eastern Hemisphere, (or the Old World); and America the Western Hemisphere, which, from its not being known to Europeans till the close of the 15th century, is called the New World. Australia includes that extensive region called New-Holland, together with New-Zealand and adjacent isles; and Polynesia comprehends the numerous groups of volcanic and coraline islands m the Pacific Ocean, extending eastward to the Philippine Islands and from New-Guinea to the coast of America.

The Ocean occupies about two thirds of the earth’s surface; and its waters are constantly encroaching upon the land in some places, and receding from it in others. To this cause may be attributed the formation of many islands in different parts of the world. The greatest depth of the ocean which has been ascertained, is about 900 fathoms; its mean depth is estimated at about 200 fathoms. Near the tropics it is extremely salt, but the saltness considerably diminishes towards the poles.

This immense expanse of water is divided into smaller oceans or seas, gulfs, bays, &c., limited partly by real, partly by imaginary boundaries. The Pacific Ocean, which covers nearly one third of the earth’s surface,

and is about 10,000 miles in breadth, lies between the eastern coast of Asia and Australia, and the western coast of America. The Atlantic Ocean lies between Europe and Africa on the east, and America on the west. The Pacific and Atlantic Oceans are each distinguished into North and South. The Indian Ocean is bounded by Asia, Africa, and Australia. The Arctic or Frozen Ocean, lies to the north of Europe, Asia, and part of America. The Southern Ocean lies south of all the continents.

In this condensed Work which we now submit to the public, it will not be expected that the yanifold uses and advantages of a knowledge of History could be discussed, or that many facts and reasonings which might elucidate obscure or controverted passages could be brought forward; but we trust it will generally be found that the materials we have made use of have been derived from the most accurate sources of historical information ; that while a great mass of matter has been brought together, it may, at the same time, appear, that judgment and circumspection have been used in proportion to the importance and difficulty of the task; and, moreover, that truth and impartiality have been regarded beyond all other considerations. Upon events which have recently occurred, or are in progress at the present moment, we know that different opinions will prevail ; and therefore, in relating such transactions, an honest and fearless regard for truth and the good of society is the bounden duty of every one who presumes to narrate them. By this golden rule we have endeavoured to abide, and humbly hope we have succeeded.

The idea of making the Treasury Op History extend to another volume was at first entertained; and, in truth, no small portion of it was prepared under an impression that such was inevitable. If, therefore, it should appear that some of the Histories have not due space allotted to them, this fact is offered as our most valid reason for such apparent inequality r but it is by no means intended as an excuse for the length of the History of England; for it is almost impossible to speak of any great events which have occurred among civilized nations—especially within the last century—that do not, directly or indirectly, bear on British interests, and which consequently, come within our province to notice.

It seems, however, that a few words of an explanatory or apologetic nature are still neccessary. To be brief, then:—A uniform method of spelling foreign proper names has not always been rigidly adhered to; or, it may be, such names are spelt differently in other works. For instance, we have written Genghis-Khan, as the most usual orthography; but we have found it elsewhere written Zingis Khan, Cingis Khan, and Jenghis Khan. The name of Mahomet, or Mohammed, is written both ways, and each has its advocates, though modern custom, we think, is in favour of the latter method. Many others might, of course, be mentioned; but in none are so many variations to be found as in the Chinese names. It may also happen that the transactions of one country may appear to be given more fully than necessary in the history of another; and vice versa. The necessity of avoiding needless repetitions, in a work so condensed, and the desire at the same time to omit nothing of importance, must plead our excuse for such faults; while the too frequent absence of a vigorous or elegant style of composition, may be thought to require a similar apology. We are, indeed, fully sensible that, with all our care, many imperfections will be found, and that we must rely chiefly upon the candour and liberality of that public, whose kind support and encouragement on former occasions we have felt and gratefully acknowledged.








History, beyond all other studies, is calculated to enlighten the judgment and enlarge the understanding. Every page conveys some useful lesson, every sentence has its moral; and its range is as boundless as its matter is various’. It is accordingly admitted, as an indisputable axiom, that there is no species of literary composition to which the faculties of the mind can be more laudably directed, or from which more useful information may be derived. While it imparts to us a knowledge of man in his social relations, and thereby enables us to divest ourselves of many errors and prejudices, it tends to strengthen our abhorrence of vice, and creates an honourable ambition for the attainment of true greatness and solid glory. Nay, if considered as a mere source of rational amusement, History will still be found infinitely superior to the extravagant fictions of romance, or the distorted pictures of living manners ; for by the habitual perusal of these, however polished their style or quaint their humour, the intellect is frequently debilitated, and the heart too often corrupted.

In all the records of ancient history there is a mixture of poetical fable : nor is it wholly to the historian’s immaturity of reason, or to the general superstition that prevailed in remote ages, that we are to ascribe this predilection for marvellous and wild narration. It has with great truth been said that the first transactions of men, were bold and extravagant—their ambition being more to astonish their fellow-creatures by the vastness of their designs, and the difficulties they could overcome, than by any rational and extensive plan of public utility.

Modern history, however, claims our more particular regard. In that is described those actions and events which have a necessary connection with the times in which we live, and which have a direct influence upon the government and constitution of our country. It unfolds the secret wheels of political intrigue, the artifices of diplomacy, and all those complications of interest which arise from national rivalship; while at the same time it lays before us the causes and consequences of great events, and edifies us by examples which come home to our understandings, and are congenial with our habits and feelings. But we will not take up more of the reader’s time in expatiating on the relative merits of ancient and modern history; trusting that sufficient has been said to induce him to accompany us while we attempt to describe the rise, progress and subversion of empires, and the causes of their prosperity or decay.

As speculations upon the origin and formation of the world belong rather to philosophy than history, we should deem it supererogatory to notice the subject, however slightly, were it not probable that its entire omission might be considered an unnecessary deviation from an almost universal practice, inasmuch as it has been sanctioned by the example of the most eminent writers of ancient and modern times. On these and other questions, alike uncertain, the most opposite opinions have been promulgated, and the most irreconcilable hypotheses advanced in their support; we shall, however, not stop to inquire into the relative merits of the various and discordant theories which have so long and so uselessly occupied the attention of philosophers, naturalists, and theologians.

That the earth has undergone many violent revolutions, no possible doubt can exist in the mind of any one who has paid even the most superficial attention to the discoveries in geological science during the last and present centuries; but the mighty process by which our globe was originally formed is a mystery quite as unfathomable now as it was in the darkest periods of human existence. Let us, then, be content with the sublime exordium of the great Jewish lawgiver; and we Bhall find that the account he gives of the creation, though eloquently brief, is neitherallegorical nor mystical, but corresponds, in its bold outline, with the phenomena which is exhibited to us in the great book of nature. It is true that there is nothing in the writings of Moses either calculated or intended to satisfy curiosity ; his object was simply to declare that the whole was the work of an Almighty architect, who as the Creator and Sovereign of the Universe, was alone to be worshipped.

With regard to the primitive condition of mankind, two very opposite opinions prevail. Some represent a golden age of innocence and bliss ; others a state of wild and savage barbarism. The former of these is found not only in the inspired writings of the Jews, but in the books esteemed sacred by various oriental nations, as the Chinese, Indians, Persians, Babylonians, and Egyptians. The latter began their history with dynasties of gods and heroes, who were said to have assumed human form, and to have dwelt among men. The golden age of the Hindoos, and their numerous avatars of the gods, are fictions of a similar character, as well as their two royal dynasties descended from the sun and moon, with which we find a remarkable coincidence in the traditions of Peru. According to the other doctrine, the human race was originally in the lowest state of culture; and gradually, but slowly, attained perfection. It is in vain, however, for us to look to the traditionary tales of antiquity; for with the exception of the Mosaic history, as contained in the first six chapters of Genesis, we can find none which does not either abound with the grossest absurdities, or lead us into absolute darkness.

“Commentators,” says Anquetil, “have amplified by their reveries the simple, natural, and affecting narrative of Moses. That historian has informed us, in a few words, what was the origin of various customs and arts, and recorded the names of their inventors. Lantech, the son of Cain, gave the first example of polygamy. Cain himself, built the first city, and introduced weights and measures. One of his grandsons ‘ was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle.’ Jubal invented music, Tabul-Cain the arts of forging iron, and casting brass; and a female named Naamah, those of spinning and weaving.”

That the antediluvians led a pastoral and agricultural life, forming one vast community, without any of those divisions into different nations which have since taken place, seems fully evident. But the most material part of their history is, that having once began to transgress the divine commands, they followed the allurements of passion and sensuality, and proceeded in their career of wickedness, till at length the universal corruption and impiety of the world had reached its zenith, and the Almighty Creator revealed to Noah his purpose of destroying the whole human race except himself and his family, by a general deluge; commanding him to prepare an ark, or suuable vessel, for the preservation of the»just from the impending judgment, as well as for the reception of animals destined to reproduce their several species.



After the Flood had prevailed upon the earth a hundred and fifty days, and had decreased for an equal time, Noah became convinced, by the return of a dove with an olive branch, that the land had again emerged. The time when this great event took place was, according to the common computation, in the 1656th year of the world ; though other dates have been assigned by different chronologists. Many other nations, in the mythological part of their history, narrate circumstances attending a vast inundation, or universal deluge, which in their essential particulars, correspond with the scriptural account, and are supposed to owe their origin to it. The Chaldeans describe a universal deluge, in which all mankind was destroyed, except Xisuthrus and his family. According to the traditionary history of the Greeks, the inhabitants of the earth all perished by a flood except Deucalion, and his wife Pyrrha. By the Hindoos it is believed that a similar catastrophe occurred, and that their king, Satyavrata, with seven patriarchs, was preserved in a ship from the universal destruction. Even the American Indians have a tradition of a similar deluge, and a renewal of the human race from the family of one individual. But these accounts being unsupported by historic evidence, it would be an unprofitable occupation of the reader’s time to comment on them. We shall therefore merely observe, that many ingenious theories have occupied the attention of distinguished men in their endeavours to account for this universal catastrophe. The Mosaic account simply tells us, that the windows of heaven were opened and the fountains of the deep were broken up, and that as the flood decreased the waters returned from off the face of the earth. That there is nothing unnatural in this, geological science furnishes ample evidence ; in short, distinct proofs of the deluge are to be found in the dislocations of the regular strata, and in the phenomena connected with alluvial depositions—which can only be attributed to the agency of vast torrents everywhere flowing over and disorganizing the surface of the earth.

According to the narration of the inspired writer, the individuals preserved from the deluge were Noah and his wife, and his three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japhet, with their wives; in all, eight persons. We are informed that the ark rested on mount Ararat (in Armenia); but whether Noah and his sons remained long in that neighbourhood must be left to mere conjecture. We merely learn that the greatest portion of the human race were some time afterwards assembled on the plains of Shinar, where they engaged in building a tower, with the foolish and impious intention of reaching the skies, or, in the language of Scripture, ” whose top may reach unto heaven.*’ But this attempt, we are informed, was frustrated by the Almighty, who confounded their language, so that they no longer understood each other’s speech. The scene of this abortive undertaking is supposed to have been upon the Euphrates, where Babylon was built, not far from which arc extensive masses of ruins; and the remains of a large mound, called by the Arabs the Bursi Ninirod, or Nimrods tower, is generally believed to be the foundation of the tower of Babel.

In endeavouring to account in a natural way, and not as the effect of a miracle,for the confusion of languages and the dispersion of mankind, Dr. Shuckford comes to the following rational conclusion: “I imagine that


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