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GREEN, JOHN RICHARD, an English historian, born at Oxford, December 12 (?), 1837; died at Mentone, France, March 9, 1883. His delicate constitution prevented him from pursuing the usual educational course, and he studied mainly under private tutors until the age of eighteen, when he obtained a scholarship at Jesus College, Oxford. He did not compete for University honors, but devoted himself chiefly to historical study. While an undergraduate, he contributed to the Oxford Chronicle a series of papers upon
Oxford in the Eighteenth Century," which attracted the special notice of Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, then Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Oxford. Mr. Green took Holy Orders in 1860, and through the influence of Stanley was appointed curate of St. Barnabas's, a populous but poor parish in London. In 1862 he was presented to the vicarage of Stepney, a position which he held until 1869, when he resigned on account of feeble health, and was appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury Librarian at Lambeth, where he had ample opportunity for prosecuting historical labors. His first work was a Short History of the English People (1875), which was expanded into the History of the English People (1878–80.) This work, completed before the author had passed his forty-second year, is in many respects the best
complete history which has been produced of England, from the earliest times to the battle of Waterloo. He then began the composition of historical works involving more minute details. These are The Making of England, being the history of the period of the Saxon Heptarchy (1882), and The Conquest of England by the Normans (1884), the last pages of which were written while he was in daily expectation of death, which occurred before the work was published.
In 1877 Mr. Green married the daughter of Archdeacon Stopford, in conjunction with whom he wrote a Short Geography of the British Isles, and who has prepared a touching Memorial of her husband. Besides the important historical works already enumerated, Mr. Green put forth Readings from English History (1876); Stray Studies from England and Italy (1876), and edited a series of History and Literature Primers, written by several eminent English scholars.
THE ENGLISH FATHERLAND.
For the fatherland of the English race we must look far away from England itself. In the fifth century after the birth of Christ the one country which we know to have borne the name of Angeln, or “ England,” lay within the district which is now called Sleswick, a district in the heart of the peninsula that parts the Baltic from the Northern seas. Its pleasant pastures, its black-timbered homesteads, its prim little townships looking down on inlets of purple waters, were then but a wild waste of heather and sand, girt along the coast by a sunless woodland, broken here and there by meadows that crept down to the marshes and the sea. The dwellers in this district, however, seem to have been merely an outlying fragment of what was then called the Engle, or “ English " folk, the bulk of whom lay probably in what is now Lower Hanover and Oldenburg. On one side of them the Saxons of Westphalia held the land from the Weser to the Rhine ; on the other, the Eastphalian Saxons stretched away to the Elbe. North again of the fragment of the English folk in Sleswick lay another kindred tribe, the Jutes, whose name is still preserved in their district of Jutland. Engle, Saxon, and Jute all belonged to the same Low German branch of the Teutonic family; and at the moment when history discovers them they were being drawn together by the ties of a common blood, common speech, common social and political institutions. There is little ground indeed for believing that the three tribes looked on themselves as one people, or that we can as yet apply to them, save by anticipation, the common name of “Englishmen.” But each of them was destined to share in the conquest of the land in which we live ; and it is from the union of all of them when its conquest was complete that the English people has sprung.--History of the English People, $ 10.
THE ENGLISH EORL, CEORL, LÆT AND SLAVE. Of the temper and life of the folk in this Older England we know little. But from the glimpses that we catch of it when conquest had brought them to the shores of Britain, the political and social organization must have been that of the German race to which they belonged. In their villages lay ready formed the political and social life which is round us in the England of to-day. A belt of forest or waste parted each from its fellow-villages, and within this boundary, or “mark the township, as the village was then called, from the tun, or rough fence, that served as its simple fortification, formed a complete and independent body, though linked by ties which were strengthened every day to the townships about it and the tribe of which it formed a part. Its social centre was the homestead, where the Ætheling or Eorl, a descendant of the first English settlers in the waste, still handed down the blood and the traditions of his fathers. Around this homestead or
æthel, each in its little croft, stood the lowlier dwellings of Freelings or Ceorls, men sprung, it may be, from descendants of the earliest settlers who had in various ways forfeited their claim to a share in the original homestead, or more probably, from incomers into the village, who had since settled round it, and been admitted to a share in the land and freedom of the community.
The Eorl was distinguished from his fellow-villagers by his wealth and his noble blood ; he was held by them in a hereditary reverence; and it was from him and his fellow-Æthelings that "host-leaders," whether of the village or the tribe, were chosen in times of war.
But this claim to precedence rested simply on the free recognition of his fellow-villagers. Within the township every Freeman or Ceorl was equal. It was the Freeman who was the base of village society. He was the “free-necked man," whose long hair floated over a neck which had never bowed to a lord. He was the “ weaponed man,” who alone bore spear and sword, and who alone preserved that right of self-redress, or private war, which in such a state of society formed the main check upon lawless outrage.
Land, with the German race, seems at a very early time to have become everywhere the accompaniment of full freedom. The Freeman was strictly the free-holder, and the exercise of his full rights as a free member of the community to which he belonged became inseparable from the possession of his "holding" in it. But property had not as yet reached that stage of absolutely personal possession which the social philosophy of a later time falsely regarded as its earliest state. The wood-land and pasture-land of an English village were still undivided, and every free villager had the right of turning into it his cattle or swine. The meadow-land lay in like manner open and undivided from hay-harvest to spring. It was only when grass began to grow afresh that the common meadow was fenced off into grassfields, one for each household in the village ; and when the hay-harvest was over, fence and division were at an end again. The plough-land alone was permanently allotted in equal shares both of corn-land and fallow
land to the families of the Freeman, though even the plough-land was subject to fresh division as the number of claimants grew greater or less.
It was this sharing the common land which marked off the Ceorl or free-man from the Læt, the tiller of land which another owned. As the Ceorl was the descendant of settlers who, whether from their earlier arrival or from kinship with the original settlers of the village, had been admitted to a share in its land and its corporate life, so the Læt was a descendant of later comers to whom such a share was denied, or in some cases, perhaps, of earlier dwellers from whoin the land had been wrested by force of arms. In the modern sense of freedom the Læt was free enough. He had house and home of his own; his life and limb were secure as the Ceorl's, save as against his lord. It is probable, from what we see in later laws, that as time went on he was recognized among the three tribes as a member of the nation, summoned to the folk-moot, allowed equal right at law, and called like the full free-man to the husting. But he was unfree as regards law and land. He had neither part nor lot in the common land of the village. The ground which he had tilled he held of some free-man of the tribe to whom he paid rent in labor or in kind ; and this man was his lord. Whatever rights the unfree villager might gain in the general social life of his fellow-villagers, he had no rights as against his lord. He could leave neither land nor lord at his will. He was bound to render due service to his lord in tillage or in fight. So long, however, as these services were done, the land was his own. His lord could not take it from him ; and he was bound to give him aid and protection in exchange for his services.
Far different from the position of the Læt was that of the Slave, though there is no ground for believing that the slave class was other than a small one.
It was a class which sprang mainly from debt or crime. Famine drove men to “bend their heads in the evil days for meat ; "the debtor, unable to discharge his debt, flung on the ground his freeman's sword and spear, took up the laborer's mattock, and placed his head as a slave within a master's hands. The criminal whose kinfolk