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ment did not fix them to one place. They removed from one heath to another, as suited best with their convenience or inclination. They were not therefore, improperly called, by their neighbours, Scuite, or the wandering nation; which is evidently the origin of the Roman name of Scoti.
On the other hand, the Caledonians, who por: fessed the east coast of Scotland, as the division of the country was plain and fertile, applied themselves to agriculture, and raising of corn.
It was from this, that the Galic name of the Piets proceeded; for they are called, in that language, Cruithnich, i. e. tbe wheat or corn-eaters. As the Picts lived in a country fo different in its nature from that possessed by the Scots, so their national character suffered a material change. Unobstructed by mountains,' or lakes, their communication with one another was free and frequent. Society, therefore, became sooner established among them, than among the Scots, and, consequently, they were much fooner governed by civil magistrates and laws. This, at laft, produced so great a difference in the manners of the two nations, that they began to forget their common origin, and almoft continual quarrels and animosities subsifted between them. These animosities, after some ages, ended in the fubversion of the Pictish kingdom, but not in the total extirpation of the nation, according to most of the Scots writers, who seemed
to think it more for the honour of their country· men to annihilaté, than reduce a rival people under
their obedience. It is certain, however, that the very name of the Picts was lost, and those that remained were so compleatly incorporated with their conquerors, that they foon lost all memory of their own origin.
The end of the Pictish government is placed so near that period, to which authentic annals reach, that it is matter of wonder, that we have no monuments of their language or history remaining. This favours the system I have laid down. Had they, originally been of a different race from the Scots, their language of course would be different, The contrary is the case. The names of places in the Pictish dominions, and the very names of their kings, which are handed down to us, are of Galic original, which is a convincing proof, that the two nations were, of old, one and the same, and only divided into two governments, by the effect which their situation had upon the genius of the people.
The name of Piąts was, perhaps, given by the Romans to the Caledonians, who possessed the east coast of Scotland, from their painting their bodies, This circumstance made fome imagine, that the Picts were of British extract, and a different race of men from the Scots. That more of the Britons, who fled northward from the tyranny of the Romans, settled in the low country of Scotland, than among the Scots of the mountains, may be easily imagined, from the very nature of the country, It was they who introduced painting among
the Picts. From this circumstance proceeded the
The Caledonians, most certainly, acquired a conGiderable knowledge in navigation, by their living on a coast intersected with many arms of the sea, and, in illands, divided, one from another, by wide and dangerous firths. It is, therefore, highly probable, that they, very early, found their way to the north of Ireland, which is within light of their own country. That Ireland was first peopled from Britain is certain. The vicinity of the two islands; the exact correspondence of the antient inhabitants of both, in point of manners and language, are fufficient proofs, even if we had not the testimony
Dio. Sic. of authors of undoubted veracity to confirm it. l. 5. The abettors of the most romantic systems of Irish antiquities allow it; but they place the colony from Britain in an improbable and remote æra. I shall easily admit, that the colony of the Firbolg, confessedly the Belge of Britain, settled in the south of Ireland, before the Caël, or Caledonians, discovered the north: but it is not at all likely, that the migration of the Firbolg to Ireland happened many centuries before the Chriftian æra.
Ossian, in the poem of Temora, throws con- Temora, fiderable light on this subject. His accounts agree fo well with what the antients have delivered, con
cerning the first population and inhabitants of Ireland, that every unbiaffed person will confess them more probable, than the legends handed down, by tradition, in that country. From him, it appears, that, in the days of Trathal, grandfather to Fingal, Ireland was possessed by two nations; the Firbolg or Belge of Britain, who inhabited the south, and the Caël, who passed over from Caledonia and the Hebrides to Ulster. The two nations, as is usual among an unpolished and lately settled people, were divided into small dynasties, subjeet to petty kings, or chiefs, independent of one another. In this situation, it is probable, they continued long, without any material revolution in the state of the island, until Crothar, Lord of Atha, a country in Connaught, the most potent chief of the Firbolg, carried away Conlama, the daughter of Cathmin, a chief of the Caël, who poffeffed Ulfter.
CONLAMA had been betrothed, some time before to Turloch, a chief of their own nation. Turloch resented the affront offered him by Crothar, made an irruption into Connaught, and killed Cormul, the brother of Crothar, who came to oppose his progress. Crothar himself then took arms, and either killed or expelled Turloch. The war, upon this, became general, between the two nations : and the Caël were reduced to the last extremity: In this situation, they applied, for aid, to Trathal king of Morven, who sent his brother Conar, already famous for his great exploits, to their relief,
Conar, upon his arrival in Ulster, was chosen king, by the unanimous consent of the Caledonian tribes, who possessed that country. The war was renewed with vigour and success; but the Firbolg appear to have been rather repelled than subdued. In fucceeding reigns, we learn from episodes in the fame poem, that the chiefs of Atha made several efforts to become monarchs of Ireland, and to expel the race of Conar.
To Conar succeeded his son Cormac, who ap- Book III. pears to have reigned long. In his latter days he seems to have been driven to the last extremity, by an insurrrection of the Firbolg, who fupported the pretensions of the chiefs of Atha to the Irish throne. Fingal, who then was very young, came to the aid of Cormac, totally defeated Colc-ulla, chief of Atha, and re-established Cormac in the fole. poffef- Book IV; sion of all Ireland. It was then he fell in love with, and took to wife, Ros-crana, the daughter of Cormac, who was the mother of Ollian.
CORMAC was succeeded in the Irish throne by his son, Cairbre ; Cairbre by Artho, his son, who was the father of that Cormac, in whose minority the invasion of Swaran happened, which is the subject of the poem of Fingal. The family of Atha, who had not relinquished their pretensions to the Irish throne, rebelled in the minority of Cormac, defeated his adherents, and murdered him in the
Book 1. palace of Temora. Cairbar, lord of Atha, upon this, mounted the throne. His usurpation soon