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scencled.* The back settlers, he observes, were quite a different race.
Some time before the Romans visited Britain, the Norwegians gained footing on the north-east parts of the island, and growing stronger by degrees, compelled the old possessors to take shelter in the Highlands, and western isles. Many likewise, on this occasion, emigrated to the northwest of Ireland. The poems of Ossian inform us, that these fugitives were led by Conar, the son of Trenmor, the great grandfather of the celebrated Fingal. Whatever connexion might formerly have subsisted between the two countries, this intrusion occasioned animosities and disputes, which soon broke out into open violence. The natives, who were more numerous, would soon have driven out these unwelcome come guests, had not Fingal supported his countrymen. After his death, the Irish succeeded at last in driving out the Scotch, who, landing in Argyleshire, as we are told by Bede, formed a distinct principality, which subsisted, till under the conduct of Kenneth, they, in their turn, overthrew the Picts, and gave their name to the whole of North Britain.
* As Pliny places a people called Britanni in Belgic Gaul, it is most probable they were amongst the first adventurers who passed into the island, and that from them it took the name of Britain.
Though the Chronicon Pidorum, and the register of St. Andrew, both attest this fact; yet Pinkerton, unwilling to own his favourite Picts conquered by a race of men, whom he takes every opportunity to asperse in the most vulgar terms,* pretends
that that Kenneth was of Pictish extraction, and only assumed the Scotish language and name, in gratitude for the service they had rendered in gaining the crown. With as little regard to truth, he tells us, that not an ancestor of the present Hebrideans existed there in the days of Fingal. To prove this strange hypothesis, he asserts, that the Scandinavians, three hundred years before the Christian aera, possessed . . C those
* The Celts are mere radical savages, not yet advanced even "to a state of barbarism; and if any foreigner doubts this, he "has only to step into the Celtic part of Wales, Ireland, and "Scotland, and look at them, for they are yet just as they were, "incapable of industry or civilization, even after half their blood "is Gothic," [a connexion not likely to meliorate them) " and re"main as marked by the ancients, fond of lies, and enemies to "truth."—Dessert, p. 77. "The Celtic, I will venture to "say, (though in another place he confesses little or no know"ledge of it) is, of all savage languages, the most confused, as
"the Celts are of all savages, the most deficient in understand"ing. Wisdom and ingenuity may be traced among the Sa". moieds, Laplanders, Negroes, 8cc. but among the Celts, none "of native growth. All etymology of names is folly; but Cel"tic etymology is their frenzy. Enough of Celtic etymology. "Let us leave it to candidates of bedlam."—Dissert, p. 102. "It is to the list of our Celtic neighbours that we are indebted "for the fables of English history down to within these thirty "years, and almost total perdition of the history of Scotland and "Ireland. Geoffrey of VIonmouth, most of the Irish historians, "and the Highland Bards, and Seanachies of Scotland, shew, "that falsehood is the natural product of the Celtic mind: and "the case is the same to this day. No reprobation can be too "severe for these frontless imposters; and to say that a writer is "a Celt, is to say he is a stranger to truth, modesty, and mo"rality." What a pity that a person,- who says he has read near, two thousand volumes before he began his Inquiry into the History of Scotland, did not peruse some short treatise that would' have taught him moderation and good manners!
those islands. Now we have every reason to believe, that no invaders from: those parts ever ventured so far at that early period. The arrival of Odin, who, by his conquests, forced the old natives of the north to molest their neighbours, did not, according to Snorro, take place till about seventy years before Christ. Eutropius, Bede, and others, inform us, that they made themselves masters of the Shetland and Orkney Islands; but this they could not do before the time we are speaking of. The Romans, it is true, found inhabitants there in the reign of Claudius. Tacitus farther relates, that they were conquered by the circum-navigators of AgriCola. This Pinkerton contradicts on the authority of Solinus; a writer of no estimation* whose Polt/histor is a wretched compilation of historical and geographical remarks upon various countries. He acquired the nickname of Pliny's ape, on account of his frequent extracts from that author. Yet this is the man whom Pinkerton prefers to Tacitus! But it is no unusual thing with him, to contradict the best authorities,
when when they oppose his favourite theory, and to call to his assistance the most contemptible, when it suits his purpose. Thus he occasionally quotes Fordun, though he stiles him " a weak and infamous falsifier, "and a forger in his historical facts."*
Bede and others, inform us, that the Scandinavians made themselves masters of the Shetland and Orkney islands—their language puts the matter beyond dispute.
At what time the Hebrides were first inhabited, cannot be said; but the language, dress, and manners of the people, evidently shew it was from Scotland. When the Norwegians drove the Lowlanders into the hills and isles, they received a great accession of population. There is no doubt but they excelled their invaders in knowledge, and had arrived at a much higher degree of civilization. The Welsh and Irish possess records of greater antiquity; but the Highlanders vie with them in mu
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* Vol. ii. page 103.