history of england_david hume

Their barbarous manner of life rendered them much

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Unformatted text preview: that neither Bede nor Gildas are Caesars or Tacituses; but such as they are, they remain the sole testimony on the subject, and therefore must be relied on for want of better: Happily, the frivolousness of the question corresponds to the weakness of the authorities. Not to PLL v5 (generated January 22, 2010) 328 http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/695 Online Library of Liberty: The History of England, vol. 1 mention, that, if any part of the traditional history of a barbarous people can be relied on, it is the genealogy of nations, and even sometimes that of families. It is in vain to argue against these facts from the supposed warlike disposition of the Highlanders and unwarlike of the ancient Irish. Those arguments are still much weaker than the authorities. Nations change very quickly in these particulars. The Britons were unable to resist the Picts and Scots, and invited over the Saxons for their defence, who repelled those invaders: Yet the same Britons valiantly resisted for 150 years not only this victorious band of Saxons, but infinite numbers more, who poured in upon them from all quarters. Robert Bruce in 1322 made a peace, in which England, after many defeats, was constrained to acknowledge the independance of his country: Yet in no more distant period than ten years after, Scotland was totally subdued by a small handful of English, led by a few private noblemen. All history is full of such events. The Irish Scots, in the course of two or three centuries, might find time and opportunities sufficient to settle in North Britain, though we can neither assign the period nor causes of that revolution. Their barbarous manner of life rendered them much fitter than the Romans for subduing these mountaineers. And in a word, it is clear, from the language of the two countries, that the Highlanders and the Irish are the same people, and that the one are a colony from the other. We have positive evidence, which, though from neutral persons, is not perhaps the best that may be wished for, that the former, in the third or fourth century, sprang from the latter: We have no evidence at all that the latter sprang from the former. I shall add, that the name of Erse or Irish, given by the low-country Scots to the language of the Scotch Highlanders, is a certain proof of the traditional opinion, delivered from father to son, that the latter people came originally from Ireland. [p]Gildas, Bede, lib. 1. cap. 12. Paull. Diacon. [q]Bede, lib. 1. cap. 12. [r]Ibid. [s]Gildas, Bede, lib. 1. Ann Beverl. p. 45. [t]Gildas, Bede, lib. 1. cap. 13. Malmesbury, lib. 1. cap. 1. Ann. Beverl. p. 45. [u]Chron. Sax. p. 11. Edit. 1692. [w]Ann. Beverl. p. 45. [x]Gildas, Bede, lib.1. cap. 14. [y]Gildas, Usher Ant. Brit. p. 248, 347. [z]Gildas, Bede, lib. 1. cap. 17. Constant. in vita Germ. [a]Gildas, Gul. Malm. p. 8. [b]Caesar, lib. 6. Tacit. de Mor. Germ. PLL v5 (generated January 22, 2010) 329 http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/695 Online Library of Liberty: The History of England,...
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