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ment did not fix them to one place. They removed from one heath to another, as fuited beft 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 poffeffed the east coast of Scotland, as the divifion of the country was plain and fertile, applied themfelves to agriculture, and raising of corn. It was from this, that the Galic name of the Pits proceeded; for they are called, in that language, Cruithnich, i. e. the wheat or corn-eaters. As the Picts lived in a country fo different in its nature from that poffeffed by the Scots, fo their national character fuffered a material change. Unobstructed by mountains, or lakes, their communication with one another was free and frequent. Society, therefore, became fooner established among them, than among the Scots, and, confequently, they were much fooner governed by civil magiftrates and laws. This, at laft, produced fo great a difference in the manners of the two nations, that they began to forget their common origin, and almoft continual quarrels and animofities fubfifted between them. Thefe animofities, after fome ages, ended in the fubverfion of the Pictish kingdom,' but not in the total extirpation of the nation, according to most of the Scots writers, who feemed to think it more for the honour of their countrymen to annihilate, than reduce a rival people under A 4 their
their obedience. It is certain, however, that the very name of the Picts was loft, and those that remained were fo compleatly incorporated with their conquerors, that they foon loft all memory of their own origin.
THE end of the Pictish government is placed fo near that period, to which authentic annals reach, that it is matter of wonder, that we have no monuments of their language or hiftory remaining. This favours the fyftem 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 cafe. 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 fame, and only divided into two governments, by the effect which their fituation had upon the genius of the people.
THE name of Pits was, perhaps, given by the Romans to the Caledonians, who poffeffed the east coaft 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, fettled in the low country of Scotland, than among the Scots of the mountains, may be eafily imagined, from the very nature of the country, It was they who introduced painting among
the Picts. From this circumstance proceeded the name of the latter, to diftinguish them from the Scots, who never had that art among them, and from the Britons, who difcontinued it after the Roman conquest.
THE Caledonians, most certainly, acquired a conLiderable knowledge in navigation, by their living on a coaft interfected with many arms of the fea, and, in islands, 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 fight of their own country. That Ireland was first peopled from Britain is certain. The vicinity of the two iflands; the exact correfpondence of the antient inhabitants of both, in point of manners and language, are fufficient proofs, even if we had not the teftimony. of authors of undoubted veracity to confirm it.1.5. 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, confeffedly the Belge of Britain, fettled in the fouth 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 fubject. His accounts agree fo well with what the antients have delivered, con
cerning the first population and inhabitants of Ireland, that every unbiaffed perfon will confefs 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 poffeffed by two nations; the Firbolg or Belge of Britain, who inhabited the fouth, and the Caël, who paffed over from Caledonia and the Hebrides to Ulfter. The two nations, as is ufual among an unpolished and lately fettled people, were divided into small dynafties, fubject to petty kings, or chiefs, independent of one another. In this fituation, it is probable, they continued long, without any material revolution in the ftate 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, fome time before to Turloch, a chief of their own nation. Turloch refented the affront offered him by Crothar, made an irruption into Connaught, and killed Cormul, the brother of Crothar, who came to oppofe his progrefs. 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 fituation, they applied, for aid, to Trathal king of Morven, who fent his brother Conar, already famous for his great exploits, to their relief.
Conar, upon his arrival in Ulfter, was chosen king, by the unanimous confent of the Caledonian tribes, who poffeffed that country. The war was renewed with vigour and fuccefs; but the Firbolg appear to have been rather repelled than fubdued. In fucceeding reigns, we learn from episodes in the fame poem, that the chiefs of Atha made feveral efforts to become monarchs of Ireland, and to expel the race of Conar.
To Conar fucceeded his fon 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 infurrrection of the Firbolg, who fupported the pretenfions 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. fion 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 Offian.
CORMAC was fucceeded in the Irish throne by his fon, Cairbre; Cairbre by Artho, his fon, who was the father of that Cormac, in whofe 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 palace of Temora. Cairbar, lord of Atha, upon this, mounted the throne. His ufurpation foon ended