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tice of C. Alectus, his familiar friend, who then usurped the empire, as Carausius had done before; and, understanding that Constantius was coming over with a great power, he resolved to meet him upon the sea, and impede his landing; for which purpose he lay with his navy upon the coast of the isle Vectis; but, his hopes failing him, by reason the Romans, in a thick mist, did recover the laud, before he could discover them, he prepared his forces to encounter them in a set battle near the shore. Constantius, having determined to try the utmost of his fortune, to take away from his soldiers all hope of return, did first set his ships on fire, and afterwards gave the charge upon Alectus, whose army was, for the most part, composed of mercenary men, consisting of Britons, Francs, Germans, and divers other nations, who fought not all with like courage; for, after the first encounter, some of them turned their backs, forsaking their commander, who escaped the fury of the battle by flight, though he was shortly after taken and slain by Asclepiodatus the præfectus Prætorio. The Francs that served under Alectus Red to the city of London, which, being weakly guarded, they rifted and sacked, though they did not long time enjoy the spoil; for part of the Roman army coming thither, rather by error in mistaking iheir way, than of set purpose, assailed them, took away their booties, and put the most part of them to the sword. This victory restored again to the Roman empire the province of Britain, which had been usurped about seven years by Carausius, and three years by Alectus.
Now began the storm of persecution for the Christian religion to arise under Dioclesian, who commanded, that, throughout the dominions of the empire, the people should offer sacrifice only to the gods of the Emperors, and that such as refused so to do, should be punished with divers kinds of cruel death. Hereupon the Christians, bem ing then dispersed in divers parts of the world, not fearing any torments that tyranny could devise, made publick profession of their faith, which they constantly maintained, and willingly sealed with their blood. Amongst many others that died in Britain for that cause, Alban, an inhabitant of the famous free city Verulamium, is especially remembered as the first British martyr, who, being yet but a pagan, received into his house a Christian, one of the clergy, that fled from his persecutors; and, observing his devotion in watching, fasting, and praying, became, in the end, a follower of his faith and virtue. And, to the end that his guest might escape the hands of those that pursued him, he put on his garments, offering himself to the soldiers that were sent to search his house, and, in that habit, was presented to the judge, before whom he made confession of his faith, reproving the profane rites of heathenish superstition: whereupon he was committed to the tormentors to be whipped, and, persisting in his constancy, was afterwards beheaded on the top of an high hill near the city. It is reported, that the tormentor, who was first appointed to behead him, perceiving a miracle wrought by him, as he went to the place of execution, refused to do his office, casting the sword out of his hand; and, prostrating himself at St. Alban's feet, desired earnestly that he might either die for him, or with him, rather than live to be the minister of his death; whereupon, as a professor of that faith, whereof he had been long time
a persecutor, he drank of the same cup with St. Alban; and, instead of the sacramental sign of baptism, was washed in the bath of his own blood. It is also written of St. Alban's executioner, that his eyes fell out of his head at the very instant that the martyr's head (being severed from the body) fell to the ground: but, whether it were the pleasure of God, in the first planting of his truth here, to approve the same by miracles, or whether the incredulity of that age might give writers occasion to report more than the truth, I will not take upon me to censure. There suffered also in Legecestria, about the same time, and for the same cause, Aaron and Julius; and, in sundry other places of this island, many others, as well women as men, who gave testimony of their patience in praying for their persecutors; and also of their piety, by doing things miraculous, which moved the pagan princes at last to cease from their tyranny; as being rather wearied with afflicting the Christians, than the Christians themselves with enduring the affliction : such power hath man, being assisted with Divine grace, to do, and suffer, even above, and against nature itself. The manner of St. Alban's death, being engraven upon a marble stone, was set up within the city, for a terror to the Christians, who afterwards erected a temple in that place, which was accounted venerable for many ages after the destrụction of Verulamium, out of whose ruins another town was raised, continuing the name and memory of St. Alhan the martyr, even to this day. But, Dioclesian and Maximianus resigning their authority, Constantius Chlorus staid the persecution in Britain, and afterwards went thither himself, reinforcing the garisons, both within the province, and upon the borders, and establishing a general peace throughout the island; which done, he repaired to York, and there fell sick of a languishing disease. In the mean time, Constantinus, his son, being left at Rome, as his father's pledge, escaped from his keepers, and houghing the post-horses, as he passed the countries, that he might not be overtaken by pursuit, came, at length, into Britain, where he was received with great joy by Constantius, his father, who, being then past hope of life, signified, in the presence of his counsellors and captains, That he willingly and gladly embraced his death, since he should leave a memorable monument of himself in the life of his son, who, he hoped, should succeed him in the government, to protect the innocent from oppression, and to wipe away the tears from the Christians eyes; for therein, above all other things, he accounted himself most happy.' Thus died Constantius Cæsar, a wise and virtuous prince, as being not subject to those vices which commonly accompany the highest fortunes. He was first called from the degree of a senator to be a Cæsar ; not affecting the title for ambition, nor refusing it respect of the danger. Helena, his wife, the mother of Constantine the Great, was, as some have written, the daughter of Coil, a British King, though by others it is otherwise reported. But, of what country or kindred soever she was, it appeareth, by consent of all writers, that she was a wise and virtuous lady, worthy to be the wife of such a husband, and the mother of such a son. She was an earnest professor of Christianity, and, upon religious zeal, travelled to Jerusalem, where she found out the manger, wherein Christ was laid at the time of his birth, and the cross whereon
he was nailed when he suffered. By this cross many diseases were cured, and strange miracles wrought, if credit may be given to such as have written thereof. Her constant desire to advance the Christian faith first moved Constantius, her husband, to favour the Christians; who, having in times of danger hidden themselves, for the most part, in desarts and dens, did then come abroad again into the view of the world, re-edified their old churches, founded new, instituted holy days to be celebrated in honour of their martyrs, and exercised religion freely and peaceably, as being licensed so to do by publick edicts. In all virtues, becoming a prince, there were few of his degree, either before his time, or since, that might worthily be compared with Constantius, who, in the administration of justice in civil causes, carried so even a hand, that he never used to make difference of persons, or to be misled by affection. He was no wasteful spender of his subjects treasure; no greedy hoarder up of his own; for he esteemed money only as a thing to be used, not kept: and he would oftentimes say, that it was more necessary for the commonwealth, that the wealth of the land should be dispersed in subjects hands, than barred up in princes coffers. For glorious apparel, and other outward ornaments, wherewith princes use to dazzle the eyes of the common people, he was more meanly furnished than became the greatness of his estate. His diet was neither çurious nor costly; and, when he feasted his friends, he borrowed his silver vessels, supposing it a thing unnecessary to have any of his own; and considering, perhaps, that the metal, whereof they were made, might be converted to a better use. In times of war he was diligent and industrious; yet not using force, where policy might prevail : for he so much esteemed the life of a man, that he would never hazard it in desperate attempts for his own glory; which won him great reputation among his soldiers, who, for the love they bore him, did, presently after his death, elect Constantine, his sòn, to succeed him; other nations supposing this our island most happy, in first seeing him saluted Emperor.
Then Constantine, although he seemed at the first unwilling to accept the imperial title, and protested openly against it; yet, when the senate had confirmed the election, he took upon him the government af those provinces which his father had held in the west parts, and, with an arıny of Britons and other nations, he subdued first Maxentius, Maximian's son, then usurping the empire in Italy, and afterwards Licinius, his associate, who persecuted the professors of Christianity in the east parts of the world. By which means Constantine alone enjoyed the empire, and, for his many and glorious conquests, was worthily sirnamed the Great. In this time the form of government in Britain, both for civil and martial causes, was altered, and new laws established. The civil government of the province there he committed to Pacatianus, who ordered the same as deputy to the Præfectus Prætorio of Gallia, an officer newly instituted by him. Then Constantine intending to make war in Persia, either to defend or enlarge the limits of the east empire, removed the imperial seat from Rome to the city Byzantium, which he re-edified, and caused the same to be called after his own name Constantinople: drawing thither the legions in Germany that
guarded the frontiers of the Western Empire, which was thereby laid open to the incursions of those barbarous people that afterwards assailed it, and in the end possessed the greatest part thereof. The borders also of the province in Britain were weakened, by removing the garisons there into other cities and towns, which, being pestered with soldiers, for the most part unruly guests, were abandoned by the ancient inhabitants.
After the death of Constantine the Great, Constantinus his eldest son enjoyed Britain as a portion of his dominion, till, making some attempts upon his brother Constans for the enlarging of it, he was by him slain. Then was the empire divided between Constans and Constantius, the two younger brethren. Constans seized upon the provinces which Constantinus his brother had held, and made a voyage into Britain, where Gratianus had then charge of the army. This Gratianus was sirnamed Funarius, for that, being a young man, he was able, as it is written of him, to hold a rope in his hand against the force of five soldiers essaying to pull it from him. But Constans, afterwards following ill counsel, the ready way to princes ruins, and giving himself over to all kinds of viee, was slain by Magnentius Taporus, the son of a Briton, who then invaded the empire, usurping the government of Gallia and Britain till, after three years war with Constantius, finding himself unable any longer to uphold his greatness, he murdered himself. Then was Martinus, an aged man, made deputy of Britain, when Paulus, a Spaniard, sirnamed Catena, (a name well sorting with his nature) was sent thither as a commissioner, to enquire of such as had conspired with Magnentius; but, under colour of his authority, he called in question such as were not faulty, either upon false information, or private displeasure, and sometimes to make a gain of those that were accused; which course Martinus the deputy disliking, intreated him, that such as had been no actors in the rebellion, might be no partners in punishment with offenders. Whereupon Paulus, charging the deputy himself as a favourer of traitors, and privy to the conspiracy, did so far forth incense Marti. nus, that, being cither impatient of reproaches, or, perhaps, not altogether guiltless, he struck at Paulus with his sword, intending to have killed him; but, failing in the execution, he presently thrust the sword into his own body. Gratianus Funarius, though he was not specially bound by oath to the Emperor, as some others had been; yet, for that he had received Magnentius into his house, was adjudged to forfeit all his goods; the rest of the accused persons being fettered, and presented to the Emperor, were condemned, some to death, and some to exile.
Now was the government of Gallia and Britain assigned to Julianus, commonly called the Apostate, whom Constantius had made a Cæsar. Then Lupicinus, master of the armour to the Emperour, a good soldier, but notorious for his pride, covetousness, and cruelty, and after him Alipius, were sent into Britain, to repress the barbarous people that had invaded the province there, while Julianus himself remained in Gal. lia, not daring to pass into the island, both for that he feared the Gauls, who were ready, upon the least occasion, to revolt, and also doubted the Germans, who were then up in arms, After the death of Constan
tius, Julianus possessing the empire, which he had usurped in the life-time of Constantius, banished Palladius, an honourable person, into Britain, and sent Alipius to repair the walls of Jerusalem, in which attempt God, discovering his wrath by terrifying the builders with thunder and lightening, and killing many thousand Jews, gave an apparent testimony how vain a thing it is for the power of a man to oppose itself against his immutable decree.
- Jovinian succeeded Julianus in the empire, which he held but few months. About this time, the Picts, Saxons, Scots, and Attacots, invaded the Roman province in Britain, Valentinianus, the first of that náme, then governing the empire, together with Valens his brother. These Picts and Scots, as some writers report, came first out of Scythia, though it is not improbable, that the Picts were very Britons tbemselves, which, being either born in the northern promontory of the island, or flying thither out of the south parts, entered into confede racy with the Scots, and retained for a time their ancient name of Picts, as being so called by the Romans, in respect of the old custom of painting their bodies, to distinguish them from the Britons then dwelling in the province. These Picts, increasing in number, did afterwards inhabit the isles of the Orcades, and, being for the most part rude and savage, as the Scots then were, became, in the end, as it were, one people with them, oftentimes harrassing the borders, and grievously annoying their civil countrymen; there being, commonly, no greater hatred, than that which is bred and nourished among the people of one nation, when they are severed cach from other by difference of manners and customs. That the Scots had their original from the Scythians, their very name may seem in some sort to discover; howbeit, divers stories affirm, that they travelled first into Cantabria, in Spain, where, perhaps disliking that barren soil, they continued not long, but sailed into Ireland; and from thence a great number of them came over into Britain, seating themselves in the north parts of the island; where, being now armed with foreign power, they assailed the Britons - both by sea and land, killing Nectaridius, the admiral of the British fleet; and surprising Bulchobaudes, one of their chief captains, the mutiny at that time in the Roman camp giving them opportunity and boldness to do, in a manner, what they listed. For the legionary soldiers refused to obey their leaders, and the deputies themselves, complaining of the Emperor's partiality, in punishing the least oftence of the common soldiers, and winking at the great abuses of commanders and officers. Hereupon, a warlike troop of Germans was sent over, under the conduct of Fraomarius their King, who exercised there the authority of a tribunc. Severus, the steward of the Emperor's houshold, and Jovinius, were appointed to second him, with certain auxiliary forces out of Galhia. By this means the fury of those barbarous nations was somewhat restrained, till the coming of Theodosius, who first appeased the mutiny among the soldiers, and afterwards prosecuted the war with such good success, that he restored the decayed towns, strengthened the borders, appointed night-watches to be kept there, and in the end recovered the province, which was then contented to admit of governors, as in former times, and, as a new-conquered state, had a new name given it; for,