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parishes, and the history of notable men and families; in each of which divisions we are constantly coming across the same set of facts. It is, to use a geological metaphor, like being asked to walk over a tract of country in which three separate rock-systems are to be observed, and finding when done that we have but passed three times over different outcrops of one and the same system, varying only in degree of exposure or angle of stratification. There are, moreover, no foot-notes, no cross-references except the tantalising * given at length elsewhere,' and no index to speak of for this large book of a thousand pages, bristling with the names of places and persons. These defects might have been largely avoided by a better initial arrangement.
But the chief drawback of the book is due less perhaps to the author's method than to his manner. This is to be found in the rashness with which he takes up and disposes of difficult questions on which it is obvious he is not too well informed; the heedlessness with which he makes important historical affirmations without a sufficient basis of fact; added to which is the want of courtesy displayed towards other writers who may cross his path. In his preface he tells us the book “ claims to be a more or less care'ful compilation by a man of business, rather than a . literary effort by a man of letters.' But the modesty of this claim is apt to be doubted when we find him in his very first chapter openly sneering at Sir Walter Scott; questioning his knowledge of ancient Scottish usages, and his literary taste in the matter of ballads; affirming that his explanation of a certain historical difficulty is of course absurd;' declaring, later on, that his version of another affair is ‘ preposterous,' and of a third that it is an exploded * assumption ;' speaking of Cosmo Innes's opinion on a disputed question of record evidence as 'too preposterous,' and of a passage from Sir Thomas Dick Lauder's delightful • Scottish Rivers,' as 'a characteristic bit of bathos; ' referring to Dr. Robert Chambers as “the credulous compiler
of the “ Picture of Scotland,”' and to the Ettrick Shepherd too often in a tone of contempt, citing a certain set of verses as probabiy one of Hogg's own crude produc*tions,' and seldom quoting a statement from him without throwing painful doubts on his veracity. To living writers he is in general civil, and at times even complimentary; but almost the only dead authors on whom he finds himself able to bestow unqualified commendation are John
Gibson Lockhart, Dr. John Brown, William Shakespeare, and the Apostle Paul. It might not have been amiss if Mr. Craig-Brown, writing as a man of business,' had treated with the usual degree of deference the names of those who hold a place of acknowledged eminence as ' men of letters.'
It is with feelings of regret that we point out these blemishes, as we are not disposed to treat books of this kind in a censorious spirit; far otherwise. We are aware that the author of such a book has, as a rule, no pecuniary or other adequate return for his self-imposed labours; and are of opinion, further, that anyone who, like Mr. CraigBrown, at his own time and cost, gathers together and prints in a handsome form the muniments of his county, lays the people of that county, and historical students generally, under a great debt of gratitude to him. On the other hand, care must be taken that historical accuracy is observed, as a big book is apt to be taken by many for a big authority, and those who follow it without sufficient knowledge to apprehend and rectify its mistakes may thus unintentionally propagate serious historical error.
Leaving the subject of the opening chapter of Mr. Craig-Brown's book, the ' Poetry of Selkirkshire,' for after notice, we find in his second chapter one or two things calling for attention. That chapter, which may be said to begin the History proper, follows the course of events from the time of the Roman invasion down to 1000 A.D. The historical materials for this period are necessarily scanty. It is, moreover, always a task of some difficulty and delicacy to reconstruct the past out of the mutilated fragments collected from the débris of those long-lost centuries—a task that can only be approached after careful preparation, and even then not without serious misgivings. But Mr. Craig-Brown, in advancing to the task, has, we are afraid, made little or no preparation, and, consequently perhaps, he has no misgivings.
It is as certain,' he says, “as inference can make anything, that when the Roman army marched north from Tynedale, Selkirkshire was tenanted by Celtic tribesnien. Savages they were, pure and simple—little, if at all, in advance of Zulus in the present day. For dwellings they dug holes in the ground. The earth taken out was placed round the edge to form a little rampart, and overhead they stretched a framework of branches plastered with mud. With stone weapons they fought and hunted. No doubt they used the skins of wild animals to shelter themselves from winter's icy breath ; but their habit of body-painting proves that clothes were often dispensed with,
ir battle at all events. . . . There is no evidence that they even kept flocks of sheep or herds of cattle, while there is the strongest presumption that of agriculture they were absolutely ignorant.' (Vol. i. p. 30.)
Whence this amazing conception of human life in Britain at the time referred to has been derived, it is difficult to say. No authorities are named; but we are told it is got by letting go the hand of History’and leaning upon Philo• logy or Archæology,'—a peculiarly hazardous experiment. It would have been much better had the author leant upon Cæsar and Tacitus; and in so doing there might have been safety, if not novelty. From these historians, not to speak of other early writers, we learn that the Iron Age was not simply .commencing' in the sixth century after Christ, as Mr. Craig-Brown says (p. 51), but that iron was in use among the Britons long before the advent of the Romans. Their oppida, or fortified woods, have also been described to us, with their huts, bee-hive in shape, surrounded by ramparts of hewn trees. A Greek traveller, four hundred years before the time of which we speak, saw wheat growing abundantly in Britain ; and stone querns, or hand-mills for grinding corn, are found in earth-houses' in Scotland among the shells, bones, and other food-deposits belonging to a people as far back as the Neolithic Age. Another early writer gives the name of a drink made by the natives from barley, which name, curiously enough, is still the word used in Wales for beer. Those of the tribes that were pastoral had large flocks and herds; and the necessity of moving about in search of fresh pasture rendered these tribes partially nomadic in their habits. A hundred and fifty years before Christ, there was a native gold coinage in circulation in South Britain, specimens of which are still extant; and one of the native coins has been found as far north as Dumfries-shire. To paint, therefore, the Brito-Celtic tribes of the first century as something resembling troglodytic savages of the Palæolithic type, is to do violence to all historical and archæological evidence on the subject.
This ethnological confusion is further cognosced when we find these early Celtic tribesmen spoken of (p. 33) as . aborigines. If there is one thing that modern investigators are agreed upon, it is, that these Celts were not the aboriginal inhabitants of the country. Who the races were whom the Celts superseded is not yet determined; but it may be mentioned in passing that Professor Rhys, agreeing in this with Dr. Skene, thinks they were Iberians of the Neolithic Age; while Mr. Elton is of opinion that they were a Finnish people of the Bronze Age. But whichever view we adopt, and however distant antecedently to the Christian era the Celtic invasion may be placed, it is an obvious reflection that these fierce and masterful Celts, who could force their way through Europe from their far-away home in the heart of Asia, cross the seas to Britain, and subdue its inhabitants, almost to obliteration, must even then have been a people vastly superior in civilisation, and the resources of civilisation, to the ignominious and degraded savages above described. The fact alone that it took Agricola six years, and as many successive campaigns, to reduce the tribes between the Cheviots and the Grampians to a state of but partial and intermittent subjection, is sufficient to indicate the hardy and heroic nature of the race who then inhabited what is now called the Lowlands of Scotland. Something higher than 'stone weapons,' and the culture of 'savages pure and
simple,' was required to beat back, time and again, army after army of the first soldiers in the world. The Romans themselves constantly acknowledge the bravery and warlike conduct of these natives of Northern Britain.*
The root-stock of a people who have occupied so prominent a place in our national life as the Borderers have always done, must have been a strong one: so strong, that not all the subsequent admixture of Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian blood was sufficient to dilute its essential qualities of energy and courage. From the one of these intrusive elements, the Angles, the Borderers received their language, and from the Scandinavians, perhaps, their highly poetical temperament; but their character for hardihood and courage is traceable to a much older derivation. In the first century their ancestors formed part of the great nation of the Brigantes, reputed by Tacitus to have been the most populous state in the whole province.' The Romans and they were long at war, and it was not till the summer of A.D. 79 or 80 that Agricola
* That Mr. Craig-Brown should have so mistaken the character of the early Celtic tribes is rendered the more surprising when we find him making (vol. i. p. 56) a quotation from Mr. Grant Allen's · Anglo• Saxon Britain,' in the first page of which book we are told that the Celts, even before they wandered from their Aryan home, were a people
long past the state of aboriginal savagery, and possessed of a considerable degree of primitive culture;' and that, though mainly ' pastoral in habit, they were acquainted with tillage, and grew for
themselves at least one kind of grain.' Professor Rhys further tells us that the art of making cloth of some sort was known even to the earliest of the Celts who ever landed here.'
succeeded in gaining a footing in that part of their country north of the Solway. In order to reclaim the natives from the rude and unsettled state which prompted them to war, Agricola spent the first winter and succeeding seasons in teaching them to build temples, courts of justice, and dwelling-houses, doubtless of stone. He was also attentive,' says Tacitus, to provide a liberal education for the sons of • their chieftains, preferring the natural genius of the Bri• tons to the attainments of the Gauls.' And so rapidly did they acquire the Roman language and Roman manners that the historian goes on to deplore the state of effeminate luxury into which they shortly fell. A moment's reflection is sufficient to show that men who could so quickly absorb the Roman culture could not have been, but a year or two previous, living like wild animals, in holes dug in the * ground. They were splendid barbarians, not debased savages.
As a relief from the thankless task of proving what these British tribes were by what they were not, let us take a passage on the early settlers in the district from the second book on our list, ' A Short Border History,' by Mr. Groome. This little book, it may be said in passing, is an admirable compendium of Border history, written in a popular style, yet showing everywhere marks of good scholarship, extensive reading, and exact knowledge, with many passages of refined literary beauty. Referring to the fact that all the people in the Scottish Border speak English, with the exception of a few new-comers, who speak Gaelic or Welsh, and whose language to the Borderers of to-day is an unknown tongue, Mr. Groome points out the relation of these three languages to one another, and adds :
• We know now that ages and ages ago, long before Christ was born, the ancestors, not only of English, Welsh, Irish, and Highlanders, but of Romans, Greeks, Germans, and Russians, of Persians and Hindoos, dwelt all together somewhere in Central Asia. They formed a one people, the Aryan ; and they spoke a common language, the motherspeech of Latin, Greek, English, etc., as Latin itself is the mother of French and Italian. Then they broke up, and wandered most of them westward, following, perhaps, the course of the sun in the heavens. The first to reach Britain were the Celts, and the first of the Celts were the Gaels, who were followed by the Cymri, or Welsh, and by them driven onwards to Ireland, Galloway, and the Scottish Highlands. Englishmen there were none, as neither was there a Border, then or for fully a thousand years after the dawn of history. If to-day in New York one meets a Red Indian, one feels sure that he is not a native of the city, though his forefathers once may have camped on the