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THE history of remote ages," says Hume, " is always much involved in obscurity uncertainty, and contradiction. Ingenious men, possessed of leisure, are apt to push their researches beyond the period in which literary monuments are framed or preserved, without reflecting that the history of past events is immediately lost or disfigured, when entrusted to memory and oral tradition."

This observation of our philosophical historian is strikingly applicable to the early history of our counties, cities, and boroughs. The wild hypotheses, conjectures, and contradictions of antiquarians; misled in some instances by the deceitful analogy of names,


and in others, by a desire to perpetuate and give a "local habitation and a name" to their own overweening fancies and conceits, -and the strange improbable traditions they have connected with our ancient topographical annals, have thrown an air of doubt and difficulty over this interesting branch of study almost insuperable to minds of ordinary nerve and comprehension. If we presume, with unhallowed hand to discard these cobwebs of the schools, it is far from being our intention, as it would, with every intelligent reader, be fatal to our interests, to disparage the learning, talents, and research of those eminent men who like Leland, Camden, or Speed, have illustrated so largely the local history of their country; but, from a conviction that such conjectural narratives, however plausible, are, in reality, but ingenious trifles, and that we will best study the gratification of our readers by condensing the details of remote historians and chroniclers, and presenting them with the form and pressure of a more modern and popular feeling stamped upon them. For this reason,

some unimportant circumstances related in former histories are here omitted; and a vast quantity of new and original matter has been brought to bear upon the various departments of our work, enhancing its value, and rendering it, we would hope, more generally interesting and complete.

It is universally acknowledged, that Huntingdonshire formed part of that extensive tract of land possessed by the Iceni, a tribe of the original British, formidable for their numbers and martial prowess. Shortly' after the invasion of Julius Cæsar they formed an alliance with the Romans; but indignant at the oppressions inflicted 'during the proprætorship of Ostorius in the time of Claudius, they flew to arms, and in conjunction with some of the neighbouring states, took the field in great force. Vanquished by the Romans, a peace ensued; but, after suffering fresh indignities from the conquerors, the

+ Numerous etymological derivations of this name are given by Camden, but the most rational seems to be that which deduces it from Cyn, signifying first-a-head, or foremost. Y-Cyni, the first or most forward.

For a

Iceni again had recourse to arms. time they proved eminently successful; but, hazarding a battle with Suetonius Paulinus, the celebrated Roman General, they were totally defeated, and eighty-thousand of the British are said to have perished on the field. Boadicea, their Queen, who commanded in person, rather than fall into the hands of the enraged victor, put an end to her life by poison.†

This decisive event took place in the reign of Nero A. D. 59. The fate of the Iceni, as an independent tribe, was determined by this action. They became tributary to the Romans, and their territories were included in the Roman district, Flavia Cæsariensis. Having experienced how unequal their own force was to resist that of the Romans, the conquered Iceni acquiesced in the dominion of their masters, and were incorporated, like

Tacitus. Dio asserts, that Boadicea died of illness; but the death assigned to her by Tacitus is more accordant with the gloomy grandeur of the times, and the heroic, though unavailing natriotism by which Boadicea was

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