Returning from this short botanical digression, let me tell you that the position considered by some as the southern side of the fortification, but which I have described as the sinuous part of the western, has its ramparts of less height. Not so the eastern: on this, as being the most destitute of all natural defence, (for here there is no hill, and the eye ranges over an immense level tract, stopped only by distant woods,) is raised an agger, full forty-five feet in height, and, at a further distance, is added an outward trench nearly fifty feet wide, though in its present state not more than three feet deep, and now serving for a garden.
Such is the external appearance of this camp, which, seen from the sea, or on the approach either by the west or south, cannot fail to strike from the boldness of its position; but the effect of the interior is still more striking; for here, while on one side the horizon is lost in the immensity of the ocean, on the other two the view is narrowly circumscribed by the lofty bulwark, at whose feet are almost every where discernible the remains of the trenches I have already noticed, more than thirty feet in width. Nor is this the only remarkable circumstance; for it is still more unaccountable to observe, extending nearly across the encampment, the traces of an ancient fosse not less than one hundred and fifty feet wide, and, though in most places shallow, terminating towards the sea in a deep ravine. Internally the camp appears to have been also divided into three parts, in one of which it has been supposed, from a heap of stones which till lately remained, that there was originally a place of greater strength; while in another, distinguished by some irregular elevations, it is conjectured that there was a wall, the defence probably to the keep.
[Illustration: Plan of Caesar’s Camp, near Dieppe]
But I must tell you that these conjectures are none of my own, nor could I have had any opportunity of making them; the stones and the hillocks having disappeared before the operations of the plough. Such as they are, I have borrowed them from a dissertation by the Abbe de Fontenu, a copy of whose engraving of the place I insert. Indebted as I am to him for his hints, I can, however, by no means subscribe to his reasoning, by which he labors with great erudition to prove that, neither the popular tradition which ascribes this camp to Caesar, nor its name, evidently Roman, nor some coins and medals of the same nation that have been found here, are at all evidences of its Latin origin; but that, as we have no proof that Caesar was ever in the vicinity of Dieppe, as the whole is in such excellent preservation, (a point I beg leave to deny,) and as the vallum is full thrice the height of that of other Roman encampments in France, we are bound to infer it is a work of far more modern times, and probably was erected by Talbot, the Caesar of the English, while besieging Dieppe in the middle of the XVth century.