From the Eʃtabliʃhment of that Monarchy, under FERGUS, the Son of ERTH, to the Death of KENNETH MACALPIN, in 855.
NENNIUS the oldeʃt and moʃt unexceptionable hiʃtorian of Britiʃh affairs, as confined to this iʃland, gives ʃuʃʃicient evidence that the Iriʃh and the Britiʃh Scots were a diʃtinct people, while the iʃland was under the power of the Romans; and this, we think, admits of no doubt. The teʃtimonies produced by the Scots for their antiquities as high as the year of our Lord 400 (though falling far ʃhort of their pretended antiquity) are full and ʃtrong, becauʃe they are taken from records which time has providentially preʃerved from the ravages which their archives underwent from Edward the firʃt of England. From them it appears, that ʃuch a perʃon as Fergus, the ʃon of Erth, was king of the Scots at the period I have mentioned; but who this Fergus was, or what was the extent of his dominions, are matters of hiʃtorical diʃquiʃition; nor can they be cleared up but by probable deductions.
Maximus, whom I have already mentioned, having aʃʃumed the imperial purple in Britain, grew ʃo popular by the checks which he gave to the Scots and Picts, that he carried over with him to the continent a conʃiderable army of Britons, with which he ʃubdued and killed Gratian. Were I to hazard a conjecture, I ʃhould be of opinion, that Maximus found means to tranʃport with him a large body of the Scots, who were then confeʃʃedly the moʃt warlike part of the inhabitants of Caledonia; and that this gave riʃe to the ʃuppoʃed evacuation of Britain by the Scots, at this time. Be that as it may, it ʃeems to be certain, that upon Maximus’ leaving the iʃland, the northern inhabitants renewed their incurʃions, and again the prætentures, about the time that Theodoʃius defeated Maximus. When the latter was dead, the Britons who ʃerved under him diʃperʃed themʃelves, and the bulk of them ʃettled in Armorica in France, now called, from them, Britany. Thoʃe facts being eʃtabliʃhed, we can ʃee no manner of abʃurdity in ʃuppoʃing, that the Scots, who ʃerved under Maximus, ʃeparated themʃelves from the Southern Britons, and returned to the iʃland. The oldeʃt monument we now have, previous to the deʃtruction of their archives by Edward the firʃt, expreʃsly mentions Fergus as reigning in Argyleʃhire; and from his time, the ʃucceʃʃion of the Scotch kings is uninterrupted. We ʃhall, however, conʃiʃtently with our plan, relate his hiʃtory, as given by Scotch writers.
We have already ʃeen how the Scots were expelled the iʃland at the inʃtigation of the Picts; but we are told by their hiʃtorians, that Maximus would willingly have protected them, which is a ʃtrong confirmation of our conjecture that he carried numbers of them over to the continent. Upon the death of Alaric, Galla Placidia, ʃiʃter to the emperor Honorius, perʃuaded Adaulphus, who had ʃucceeded Alaric, to ʃend Fergus with a body of troops to Britain; and he accordingly arrived there in 421. He was immediately joined by the Picts, who being now ʃenʃible of their impolitic animoʃities againʃt the Scots, joined with them in attacking the Britons: and in this the Scotch hiʃtory is ʃupported by the Roman. The younger Theodoʃius having left his empire to his ʃons Arcadius and Honorius, Britain fell under the dominion of the latter, who employed the famous Stilico as his general; by whoʃe means the Scots and Picts were driven to the north of the prætentures. Some have thought that Stilico never was in Britain; but I am inclined to the oppoʃite opinion; tho’ it is certain, that in his time Nictorinus likewiʃe commanded there. The following paʃʃage, in Claudian, gives ʃome countenance to the Scots landing in Argyle from Ireland:
“Me quoque vicinis pereuntem gentibus, inquit
Munivit Stilico, totam quum Scotus Hybernem
Movit, et infeʃto ʃpumavit remige Thetis:
Illius effectum curis, ne bella timerem
Scotica, nec Pictum timerem, nec littore toto
Proʃpicerem dubiis venientem Saxona ventis.”
“Me when of peace a barbarous foe bereav’d,
His cares protected, and his courage ʃav’d:
Propp’d by his hand, when Ireland’s hoʃtile tide
Bore all her youth to wound my ʃenceleʃs ʃide;
Fearleʃs, the ʃight of Scots and Picts I bore,
And all the ʃwarms of Saxons on my ʃhore.”
This tranquility of Britain was of no long continuance; for the progreʃs which the Goths made in Italy obliged Stilico to recal the Roman troops, who had repelled the Scots and Picts. No ʃooner were thoʃe orders executed than the ʃame incurʃions were renewed; and we learn from Zoʃimus the hiʃtorian, that the emperor Honorius wrote a letter to the provinciated Britons, exhorting them to exert their own courage in repelling the northern invaders. The Britons, on receiving this letter, conʃidered it as their emancipation from the Roman government, and immediately raiʃed one Marcus to the ʃovereignty. Marcus being in a ʃhort time put to death, was ʃucceeded by Gratian, who experiencing the like fate, Conʃtantine, a brave able general, aʃʃumed the purple. This prince carried an army of Britons over to the continent; but he was put to death in the year 411. In the mean while, the Britons being deʃerted by their new-raiʃed emperor, returned to their duty under Honorius, and humbly applied to him for aʃʃiʃtance againʃt the Scots and Picts. A legion was accordingly ʃent them about the year 414, who ʃupported the Roman intereʃt till the year 419, and then they were recalled. Thoʃe events bring our hiʃtory near the time fixed by the Scots for the eʃtablishment of their monarchy, under Fergus, the ʃon of Erth. The Roman government was, at that time, ʃo preʃʃed by the Goths and other barbarous nations, that the emperors could not conveniently afford the Britons farther ʃuccours; but they exhorted them to repair, and garriʃon the prætentures. Theʃe were but feeble barriers againʃt the Scots, who were furniʃhed with ʃmall ʃhips, in which they made frequent deʃcents on South Britain. Again the Britons made the moʃt lamentable complaints to the Roman emperor, and Gallio, of Ravenna, was ʃent to their relief. This general adviʃed them to give up to the Scots all the territory to the north of Adrian’s wall; and after giving them directions how to fortify it, the Romans took their final leave of the iʃland. We are therefore to return to the Scotch hiʃtorians.
One Graham, or Græme, is aʃʃigned as the general and father-in-law of Fergus, and is ʃaid to have been by birth a Dane. I take the name to be the common deʃignation of the northern tribes, who lived in tents without any fixed habitation; and the Græmes are, even in the reign of Edward the ʃixth, mentioned in the Engliʃh records as a people who lived between the two prætentures. All our writers agree that Graham was a profeʃt enemy to the provinciated Britons, and demoliʃhed great part of one of the prætentures, which, from him, is called Graham’s Dike. Three independent kings are mentioned as reigning at this time in Britain: Fergus, king of the Scots; Durʃtus, king of the Picts; and Dioneth, a Britiʃh prince. The two former are ʃaid to have fallen in battle, againʃt the Romans, in 430, about five years before the Romans evacuated the iʃland. In all this narrative, there is no ʃtriking incongruity between the Roman and Scotch hiʃtorians.
Fergus left behind him three ʃons, Eugene, Dongard, and Conʃtantius, who, being minors, were put under the guardianʃhip of Graham. This nobleman retaining his implacable enmity to the Britons, brought into the field all the Scots who were capable of bearing arms; and the Britons were ʃo much diʃtreʃt, that they applied to Ætius the Roman general in Gaul, for aʃʃiʃtance. Their complaints were extremely pathetic. They repreʃented that their diʃtreʃʃes were brought upon them by the aids they had ʃent to the Romans upon the continent, which had ʃo greatly impoveriʃhed their country, and occaʃioned ʃuch a ʃcarcity of hands, that they were then afflicted by a famine. “The barbarians (ʃay they, in their letter to Ætius) drive us to the ʃea; the ʃea repels us upon the barbarians: thus, we have the alternative of two deaths, either of being put to the ʃword, or periʃhing in the waves, without any proʃpect of relief.” Ætius gave them no ʃuccour; but they obtained a ʃhort reʃpite from the famine and mortality which then reigned among their enemies, as well as themʃelves. The truth is, the Romans had kept the Britons, for ʃome years before their departure out of the iʃland, in ʃuch a ʃtate of ʃubjection, that they were ignorant of all the arts of life, and even of agriculture. Whether their enemies were leʃs barbarous, admits of diʃpute; but they certainly were more brave. They carried with them hooks and grappling-irons, with which they pulled the unhappy Britons from their walls, part of which they thirled or perforated. By this time Eugene, the eldest son of Fergus the ʃecond (as the Scots commonly call him) having, in conjunction with the king of the Picts, reduced the Britons to the moʃt deplorable condition, granted them peace upon the following terms: “That they ʃhould not ʃerd for any Roman or other foreign army to aʃʃiʃt them; that they ʃhould not admit them, if they came voluntarily or unʃolicited, nor allow them to march through their country; that the enemies of the Scots and Picts ʃhould be theirs alʃo; that, without their permiʃʃion, they ʃhould not make peace or war, nor ʃend aid to any who deʃired it; that the limits of their kingdom ʃhould be the river Humber; that they ʃhould alʃo make preʃent payment of a certain ʃum of money, by way of mulct, to be divided among the ʃoldiers, which alʃo was to be paid yearly by them; and that they ʃhould give an hundred hoʃtages, ʃuch as the confederate kings ʃhould approve of.”
Upon Eugene’s return to his own country, a great revolution happened in the ʃouthern part of Britain. A number of petty tyrants ʃet up for themʃelves; of whom Vortigern proved the moʃt fortunate. Being a puʃillanimous, tyrannical prince, and finding himʃelf threatened with a freʃh invaʃion from the North, he invited the Saxons to his aʃʃiʃtance. The hiʃtory of the Saxons, who afterwards ʃubdued all England, is foreign to this work. It is ʃufficient to ʃay here, that they were attended by the Jutes and the Angles, two Daniʃh tribes, from the latter of whom England has her name. This happened in the year 458, and the fact is recorded by Bede, who lived in 677; but the hiʃtory of Vortigern is confuʃed and uncertain. There is reaʃon to believe that the Scots and Picts had made, at that time, a great progreʃs in South Britain; and that a battle was fought between theʃe nations on the one ʃide, and the Saxons and Britons on the other, near Stamford, in Lincolnʃhire. The Scots were armed with darts and lances, and their enemies with axes and ʃcymetars, by which the latter obtained the victory. As to Eugene, it is uncertain whether he was drowned in the Humber, or died a natural death; but it is univerʃally allowed that he was a moʃt excellent prince, and reigned thirty years.
Eugene was ʃucceeded by his brother Dongard, a prince likewiʃe of great merit, who endeavoured to propagate the Chriʃtian religion in his dominions, when they were invaded by the Britons in the fifth year of his reign. According to ʃome hiʃtorians, he and his allies, the Picts, fought a great battle on the banks of the Humber with the Britons, in which the latter loʃt ʃixteen thouʃand men, and the former fourteen thouʃand, together with their king Dongard. Buchanan makes no mention of this battle, and Fordun leaves it uncertain. It ʃeems to be an undoubted fact, that Vortigern the Britiʃh prince was perʃuaded to call in an additional ʃupply of Saxons to his aid; and that they made a deʃcent upon Scotland, and afterwards ʃettled in Northumberland, from whence they drove the Scots. Hengiʃt the Saxon leader, being preʃʃed by the Britons under Vortimer, ʃon to Vortigern, clapped up a peace with the Scots and Picts, and by their aʃʃiʃtance fought a bloody, but indeciʃive battle, with the Britons, in Kent, of which we find Hengiʃt king in 458. Next year another battle was fought near Folkʃtone, and ʃoon after Vortimer died. It does not appear from the Saxon Chronicle (the moʃt authentic record we have of that age) that the Scots and Picts were preʃent at the battle of Folkʃtone; but it gives us room to think that the Britons were defeated in both engagements; and we are told by the Engliʃh eccleʃiaʃtical hiʃtorians, that the Picts had joined the Saxons, and were preʃent at the battle in which the latter were defeated by the Britons under biʃhop Germanus. The death of Dongard is fixed to the year 465. At this time Ambroʃius was king of the Southern Britons; but we learn from hiʃtory, that the Scots and the Picts now purʃued oppoʃite intereʃts. The former were the allies of the Britons, as the latter were of the Saxons. Ochta, Hengiʃt’s ʃon, and Abiʃa, his nephew, brought from Germany the new recruits who peopled the northern parts of England, and were, at one time, in poʃʃeʃʃion of all the country of the Meatæ between the prætentures. Thus this new colony ʃerved for a barrier to prevent the Scots from penetrating to the aʃʃiʃtance of the Britons. Though we are ignorant as to the particulars, yet it is certain, that, at the time we now treat of, the Meatæ had formed themʃelves into a kingdom, the capital of which was Alcluyd or Areclud, now Dumbarton. This kingdom was called Regnum Cambrenʃe, or Cumbrenʃe, but the frequent ravages of the Picts, Scots, Caledonians, and Britons, ʃeem to have rendered their territory a ʃcene of deʃolation, and they were perpetually changing their maʃters. It is not improbable, that they at laʃt found their ʃafety in uniting under a leader, whom they called their king; and that they maintained a kind of independence, both upon the Picts, Britons, and Saxons, ʃo late as the time of the Norman invaʃion of England. Many chartularies and lives of ʃaints, written before that time, mention the names of their kings, with a few incidents of their reigns; and that the people were Britons appears from their being called, in the year 875, Strath-clyde Welch. We ʃhall have an opportunity of mentioning the time and manner in which they became ʃubject to the Scots.
Dongard was ʃucceeded by his brother, Conʃtantine the firʃt; and here it is ʃafest for us to rely upon the Britiʃh and Saxon hiʃtorians. Ambroʃius was well ʃerved by the Scots, to whom he gave a ʃettlement between the two prætentures. It is highly probable, and it appears indeed almoʃt confirmed by hiʃtory, that the Southern Britons beheld this ʃettlement with a jealous eye, and thought it an encroachment upon their countrymen the Strath-clyde Welch, who were pent up in Dumbarton, and the weʃtern parts. They accordingly preʃented ʃeveral remonʃtrances to Ambroʃius, who was, at laʃt, obliged to re-demand the lands he had granted; but the Scots were ʃo far from yielding to this requiʃition, that they prepared to maintain their ʃettlement by force of arms; and the terror of the Saxons, then intimately connected with the Picts, had ʃuch an influence on Ambroʃius and the Britons, that they confirmed their grant of the diʃputable lands to the Scots, and entered into a freʃh league with them, which continued till the Saxons eʃtabliʃhed their heptarchy in South Britain. We are told by the ʃame authorities, that the Scots proved of infinite ʃervice to the Britons on this occaʃion; for being lightly armed, they were more quick, both in their attacks and retreats, than the Saxons, whoʃe armour was heavy. All the aʃʃiʃtance which the Scots afforded to their allies could not, however, prevent the latter from being at laʃt ruined, by the freʃh ʃhoals of Saxons which every day poured in from the continent. As to Conʃtantine, his perʃonal hiʃtory is very doubtful, Buchanan, after Boece, repreʃents him as a degenerated prịnce, and that his ʃubjects rebelled againʃt him, for having abandoned himʃelf to every ʃpecies of luʃt and vice. They alʃo cenʃure him for making some ceʃʃions to the Britons; and it is not improbable that he might give up part of his territory upon the re-eʃtabliʃhment of the late peace. Boece particularly mentions ʃeveral caʃtles ʃtanding upon the river Humber; and ʃays, that one Dougal of Galloway, who was undoubtedly a nobleman of the Meatæ, preʃerved Conʃtantine from the rage of his ʃubjects; but that he was afterwards killed by a chief of the Ebudæ Iʃles, whoʃe daughter he had debauched. Fordun, whoʃe authority is preferable to Boece and Buchanan, takes no notice of Conʃtantine’s vicious courʃe of life, and intimates that he died in peace in 479, after reigning twenty-two years.
We are told that Congal, ʃon of Dongard, who ʃucceeded Conʃtantine, was the true heir to the crown; that he ratified the peace with the Britons; and in conjunction with them carried on war againʃt the Picts. He conquered the latter, but the former were vanquiʃhed by the Saxons, notwithʃtanding the moʃt vigorous efforts of the Scots to ʃupport them. The incidents related of this prince by Boece, are deʃtitute of all foundation in contemporary hiʃtories; neither is it ʃafe to adopt the fabulous accounts of ʃome author’s concerning the famous Britiʃh worthy king Arthur. If that hero actually invaded the Scotch territories, and penetrated as far as Edinburgh (which we have ʃome reaʃon to believe he did) it was, probably, in purʃuit of the Picts, or their Saxon allies, whom he defeated more than once in Lincolnʃhire: but the moʃt ancient hiʃtorians give no countenance to an invaʃion of Scotland by Arthur; on the contrary, both William of Malmʃbury, as well as the venerable Bede, mention the Britons and Scots as making war upon the Saxons and Picts. Upon the death of Congal, in 501, he was ʃucceeded by his brother Gonran, who had commanded a body of Scots againʃt the Saxons. In his time Uther Pendragon is ʃaid to have reigned over the Britons. According to Fordun, this prince attempted to take Weʃtmoreland from the Scots; but was at laʃt compelled, by the incurʃions of the Saxons, to renew the ancient league with Gonran, who proved a virtuous prince, as well as great juʃticiary, and had credit enough to perʃuade the king of the Picts (named Lothus) to break his league with the Saxons, who were now become too formidable to all the inhabitants of Britain. If we may believe the Scotch writers, king Arthur, the ʃucceʃʃor of Uther Pendragon, owed his principal victories to Gonran, who was murdered, with his chief juʃticiary Tonʃet, at Lochaber (Fordun ʃays, Innerlochy) by a Highland chief, whom he had exaʃperated by his too great ʃeverity. Contemporary with Gonran was Gildas the Briton, ʃon to the king of the Meatæ, and born at Dumbarton. His father’s name is ʃaid, by ʃome writers, to have been Caunus, and by others Navus; and he was ʃucceeded by his ʃon Hoel. The Scotch have, therefore, conʃidered him as their countryman, though, I think, with little propriety, unleʃs they can prove his father and brother to have been Scotchmen, which I apprehend to be impoʃʃible. Gonran’s death is fixed to the year 535, being the thirty-fifth of his reign. He was buried with his predeceʃʃors in the iʃland of Hy, now called Icolmkill, and, according to Fordun, within the church of St. Oran, or Owran.
Eugene, the third ʃon to Congal, ʃucceeded his uncle Gonran. Though he was preʃʃed by his nobles to revenge his uncle’s death, he not only neglected their advice, but even took the aʃʃaʃʃin into his ʃervice and favour, which occaʃioned his people to ʃuʃpect him of being privy to the murder. It is ʃurprizing, that neither Boece or Buchanan take any notice of Fordun’s account of this reign. The laʃt-mentioned hiʃtorian tells us plainly, that Gonran was murdered by Eugene, or Eothod Hebdir, his nephew, who ʃucceeded him; and that Gonran’s wife fled to Ireland, with her two ʃons, Rogenan and Aidan, where ʃhe remained during the reigns of Eugene and his brother. Eugene, like his predecessors, aʃʃiʃted Arthur and the Britons againʃt the Saxons; but could never be perʃuaded to encounter them in a pitched battle. The hiʃtories of Scotland, at this period, teem with the exploits of Arthur, and other Britiʃh kings; but they are ʃo confuʃed and interlarded with the fictions of Geoffrey of Monmouth, that we can aʃʃign them a very inconʃiderable degree of credit; tho’ there is ʃufficient foundation for the friendʃhip we have recorded between the Britons and the Scots. Eugene the third is reported to have died in 568, in the thirty-third year of his reign, and is commended for many excellent civil inʃtitutions which he introduced into Scotland. The famous St. Mungo, or Kentigern, ʃo highly celebrated in the eccleʃiaʃtical hiʃtories of that time, is thought to have been a natural ʃon of Eugene, by a princeʃs, daughter to Lothus, king of the Picts.
Eugene the third was ʃucceeded by his brother Conval, who is extolled at the mirror of all princely qualities, chiefly, perhaps, on account of his extravagant liberality to St. Columba, and other prelates, who attended him from Ireland to Scotland. He died in 578, in the tenth year of his reign, and was ʃucceeded by his brother Kinnatil, who poʃʃeʃʃed a ʃimilar character. As this prince did not reign much above a year, ʃome of the old hiʃtorians, according to Buchanan, have not admitted him into the liʃt of kings, and ʃuppoʃe that Conval was succeeded by Aydan.
This prince appears with diʃtinguiʃhed luʃtre in hiʃtory, his actions being recorded by the Saxons, as well as Scots. The reader may remember that upon the death of Gonran, his wife fled to Ireland with his two ʃons, of whom this Aydan was the youngeʃt. The hiʃtory of his acceʃʃion to the throne would be too ridiculous and trifling, was it not a pregnant inʃtance of the impoʃtures practiʃed by the churchmen of thoʃe days in matters of ʃtate. St. Columba, whom we have already mentioned, was not only the apoʃtle of the Weʃtern Scots, but the firʃt miniʃter of their kings. Upon Aydan’s return to Scotland, he put himʃelf under the tuition of the pious Columba, and reʃided in the Iʃle of Hy; but as Aydan had an elder brother, Rogenan, a miraculous interpoʃition was neceʃʃary to aʃcertain Aydan’s right to the crown. An angel accordingly appeared with a pellucid book in his hand, in which Columba read an order to himʃelf that he ʃhould inaugurate Aydan in the throne. The ʃaint offering ʃome objections in favour of Rogenan, the angel cut him with a whip, the mark of which was viʃible all his life. Columba continuing refractory, the flagellation was repeated for two nights. At laʃt the ʃmart overcame his obʃtinacy; he went over to Hy, where he ordained Aydan king, by benediction and impoʃition of hands. Columba could not have made a more fortunate choice. Malgo, by some called Magoclunus, being then king of the Britons, renewed the ancient league between his people and the Scots; in conʃequence of which, Aydan committed the command of a body of auxiliaries, who were to join Malgo, to his ʃon Griffin, and his nephew, Brendin, king of Man. Being joined by a body of Northern Britons, whom I ʃuʃpect to have been the Cumbri, or the Meatæ, they were attacked on their route by Cutha, ʃon of Ceaulin the Saxon king, whom they defeated; but were, in their turn, conquered by Ceaulin, who was marching againʃt them with another body of troops. This victory obliging the Britons to retire croʃs the river Severn, the Saxons took poʃʃeʃʃion of great part of their dominions.
Cadwallo, Malgo’s ʃucceʃsor, encouraged by the diʃʃenʃions which began to prevail among the Saxon princes, to oppoʃe Ceaulin, was joined by Ethelbert, king of Kent. Aydan being required by Cadwallo to furniʃh his quota, marched with an army to join him, which he did at Cheʃter. The Saxons, deʃpiʃing an enemy whom they had ʃo lately repulʃed, attacked them at Wodenʃburg, a small town in Wiltʃhire, where they were completely defeated, and Ceaulin loʃt not only the battle, but his crown. Of the Scots, we are told, no more than three hundred and three were killed.
Edelfrid, king of the Northumbrian Saxons, eʃpouʃed the cauʃe of his Southern countrymen againʃt the Scots and Britons. Eleven years after the defeat of Ceaulin, Aydan, jealous of the growing power of this prince, invaded Northumberland; but while his troops were intent upon plunder they were attacked at Degʃaʃtan, by the Saxons, and after a bloody battle received ʃuch a complete overthrow, as diʃabled them from giving any diʃturbance to the Saxons for many years after. Thus far the Scotch hiʃtory is in general corroborated by Bede, and other Saxon authors. The more modern Scotch hiʃtorians, however, have introduced a number of other particulars, unnoticed even by Fordun. They tell us (and their account is partly confirmed by the Saxon writers) that a quarrel happened at a hunting-match between the Scots and Picts, which was accommodated by Columba; but that Brude, king of the Picts, aʃʃiʃted Edelfrid with his troops at the battle of Degʃaʃtan, where it is certain, the Saxon king loʃt his brother Theobald. Next year Edelfrid, in conjunction with the Picts, invaded Galloway, the inhabitants of which were, from being allies, now become ʃubjects, to the Scotch kings. Aydan marched to their aʃʃiʃtance, and repelled the invaders; but, after ʃome other hoʃtilities, a truce of eleven years was concluded. As ʃome of thoʃe accounts carry marks of confuʃion and modern impoʃture, it is moʃt prudent to follow Fordun, Bede, and the Saxon hiʃtorians. According to Fordun, Aydan was ʃo deeply affected by his defeat at Degʃaʃtan, that he died of grief at Kintire, when he was almoʃt eighty years of age.
The Scots, Northumbrians, and Britons, ʃeem to have been ʃo greatly weakened at this period, that they gave each other no diʃturbance during the ʃhort reign of Kenneth Kere, ʃon to Conval, and the succeʃʃor of Aydan, who is ʃaid by Fordun to have reigned only three months. On his demiʃe, in 606, Eugene the fourth, or Ethod Buyd, aʃcended the throne. The elevation of this prince affords another proof of Columba’s influence in the affairs of government; for, according to the above-mentioned author, he was choʃen king by the ʃaint, though he was Kenneth’s fourth ʃon, during the life-time of his elder brothers, who were killed ʃoon after in battle. Before we take our leave of Aydan’s family, we think it neceʃʃary to obʃerve, that an ingenious critic has combated the chronology of Fordun, becauʃe he fixes the beginning of the reign of Fergus, ʃon of Erth, to the year 403; and he endeavours to prove from records written before the year 1291, now extant, that the ʃettlement of Fergus was a hundred years later than the before-mentioned writer has placed it. The reader in the notes will find his reaʃons.1 Upon the whole, the reign of Aydan, and the time of his death, as we have fixed it, forms and unqueʃtionable period in the Scottiʃh hiʃtory. We cannot diʃmiʃs this doubtful part of the Scottiʃh annals without obʃerving, what has been omitted by the antiquaries of that nation, that Nennius, the oldeʃt of the Britiʃh hiʃtorians, who has been confounded with Gildas himʃelf, has informed us, that he compiled his hiʃtory from the Roman annals, the Chronicles of the Holy Fathers, the writings of the Scots and Engliʃh, and from the tradition of the antient Britons, which had been reduced to writing by many learned men and librarians, and were then become very ʃcarce, either thro’ frequent deaths, or the devaʃtations of war.2 This confirms my ʃuʃpicion, that the Scots (for it will be proved hereafter that Nennius does not here mean the Iriʃh) had certain records from whence they tranʃcribed their high antiquities, the veracity of which, however, I pretend not to aʃcertain. If we may credit Buchanan, who copies from the Black Book of Paiʃley, one of the beʃt Scotch records, Eugene the fourth was a very warlike prince; and Fordun ʃays, that he harraʃʃed the Saxons and Picts with perpetual incurʃions; that he was ʃevere to all who reʃiʃted him; but meek, merciful, and forgiving to thoʃe he ʃubdued. Boece, on the contrary, tells us that he lived in peace, by cheriʃhing the diviʃions among his enemies. It is, however, agreed by all the oldeʃt hiʃtorians that after Edelfrid was defeated and killed by Redwald, his two ʃons, Oʃwald and Oʃwy, fled to Scotland; and Fordun aʃʃerts, that no fewer than ʃeven of Edelfrid’s ʃons, with a daughter, as well as many of the nobility, took refuge at the Scotch court, where they were affectionately received by Eugene. This prince, when on his death-bed, ordered, that after his deceaʃe his right hand ʃhould be ʃeparated from his body, and buried with his ʃword and armorial bearings in the ʃouthern parts of his dominions, as a kind of charm againʃt the invaʃions of their enemies. He died after a reign of ʃixteen years, in the year 622, leaving his crown and dominions to his ʃon.
Ferchard the firʃt, who reigned ten years, and had the misfortune to entertain ʃome ʃingular notions in matters of religion (having been educated in a monaʃtery under Conan biʃhop of the Iʃle of Man) for which his memory has ʃuffered among the clergy. We are even told that his ʃubjects committed him to priʃon for favouring the Pelagian hereʃy; and that after having conʃulted together on the moʃt proper methods to ʃupply his place, they at laʃt reʃolved to invite Fiacre, his brother, who led a recluʃe life in France, to fill the throne. Meʃʃengers were accordingly diʃpatched to Fiacre’s hermitage, where they found him a leper, as well as totally unqualified for the affairs of government. That ʃuch a perʃon as Fiacre, a brother, or very near relation to the king of Scotland, lived at that time, and that he likewiʃe received ʃuch an invitation, appears from unqueʃtionable authority; but the writers of his life have abʃurdly aʃcribed his leproʃy to the effect of his fervent prayers to God, that it might protect him from being compelled to quit his ʃanctimonious retirement. Perhaps the real cauʃe of Ferchard’s confinement may be imputed to the partiality this unhappy monarch diʃcovered in favour of Pelagius (who probably was of Britiʃh extraction, and a Cumbrian) and the Britiʃh clergy, who compoʃed the major part of his followers, which might diʃguʃt his ʃubjects, from an apprehenʃion that thoʃe foreign favourites would ʃeduce the king into ʃome unconʃtitutional meaʃures. Whatever truth there may be in this conjecture, Ferchard is ʃaid to have put an end to his own life in the fourteenth year of his reign, and in the year of our Lord 632.
The ʃeat of the Scotch government ʃeems, at this time, to have been ʃtill confined to Argyleʃhire, and the weʃtern parts, where their leaders met and elected Donald the third ʃon of their late king Eugene, to fill the throne. This prince was likewiʃe a favourite of St. Columba, who (according to Fordun) had foretold his elevation to royalty, when he was but a boy, with the additional, and almoʃt wonderful, circumʃtance, that he would die a natural death. Edwin, then king of Northumberland, was univerʃally acknowledged to be the moʃt powerful prince in the iʃland. His greatneʃs, however, giving offence to Cadwallo, or Ceadwallo, king of the Britons, and Penda, of the Mercians, they joined their arms againʃt him; and a bloody battle being fought between them at Hatfield, in Yorkʃhire, in which Edwin and his ʃon were killed, Cadwallo gave a looʃe to all his innate hatred of the Saxons, and, though a Chriʃtian, behaved far more barbarouʃly than Penda, who was ʃtill a heathen. Anfred, ʃon of Edelfrid, whom we have already mentioned, with other Saxon noblemen of the old royal blood, continued to be protected by the kings of the Scots; but they no ʃooner received intelligence of Edwin’s overthrow, than they petitioned Donald to aʃʃiʃt them in recovering their rights. Donald accordingly complied with their requeʃt; though with an expreʃs reʃtriction, that the troops he lent them ʃhould not be employed againʃt Cadwallo, or the Britons, who were Chriʃtians, and the ancient allies of his crown. Northumberland was at this time divided into two provinces, or kingdoms; one called Deira, and the other Bernicia; the latter fell to Anfred; and Oʃric, who was related to Edwin, ʃucceeded to the former. Both princes, however, renounced Chriʃtianity, in which they had been carefully educated. That this great revolution was effected by the aʃʃiʃtance of Donald, ʃeems indiʃputable; though Bede is ʃilent as to the particulars. Cadwallo was then at York, where he was beʃieged by Oʃric, who was afterwards defeated and killed in a ʃally made by the Britons. Anfred, upon this, ʃurrendered himʃelf to Cadwallo, who ungenerouʃly put him to death. Such was the fate of thoʃe apoʃtate princes! Anfred’s brother Oʃwald was ʃtill alive, and continued to profeʃs the Chriʃtian religion, having been baptized in Scotland. This prince claimed his brother’s crown, and collecting a handful of men, all Chriʃtians, and many of them, probably, Scots, he attacked Cadwallo, who had now rendered himʃelf deteʃtable by his cruelties, at Cockley, or, according to Fordun, at Thirlwall, near the Roman prætenture, where Cadwallo, though at the head of a numerous, well-disciplined army, was defeated, and killed; upon which Oʃwald ʃucceeded peaceably to the united kingdoms of Northumberland. The ʃame hiʃtorian informs us, from Bede, that Oʃwald ʃent to Scotland for prieʃts; and that St. Aydan, who was the firʃt biʃhop of Lindiʃfarn, arrived ʃoon after at the Northumbrian court. Unfortunately this pious prelate did not underʃtand the Saxon tongue; but this loʃs was ʃupplied by Oʃwald himʃelf, whoʃe long reʃidence in Scotland had rendered him a perfect maʃter of the language of that country. Aydan, however, was afterwards biʃhop of all Northumberland. As to Donald, we are told, that he was educated in the Iʃle of Man, which I perceive was, at that time, in the poʃʃeʃʃion of Edwin, king of Northumberland; and that Conan, biʃhop of that iʃland, tranʃported him from thence to Scotland. Being afterwards drowned in Loch Tay, in the fifteenth year of his reign, and of our Lord 646, he was ʃucceeded by his nephew, Ferchard the ʃecond, ʃon to Ferchard the firʃt. This prince is ʃtigmatized by Boece and Buchanan, as a monʃter of impurity and tyranny; tho’ Fordun aʃʃures us, that he reigned fourteen years in perfect tranquillity. He is ʃaid to have been wounded by a wolf; to have been excommunicated by his ʃubject, St. Colman; and to have died a miʃerable death.
Malduin, the ʃon of Donald, next ʃucceeded to the throne of Scotland, in 664, and lived on very bad terms with his Saxon neighbours, though there never was any formal declaration of war between the two nations. The Scots and Picts were the only people, we are told, that eʃcaped a peʃtilence, which, at this time, deʃolated all the reʃt of Europe. Malduin proved a prince of great piety and ʃpirit, and quelled a civil war which broke out, in his reign, between the inhabitants of Argyle and Lenox; the former being ʃupported by the iʃlanders, and the latter by the Gallovidians. We meet with few particulars concerning this prince’s reign, except what is related by Boece and Buchanan, who aʃʃert, that when Malduin was upon the eve of a war with the Saxons, he was ʃtrangled by his wife, in a fit of jealouʃy; and being afterwards apprehended, with her accomplices, ʃhe was burnt alive, in the year 684.
The hiʃtory of Eugene the fifth (called, in old chronicles, Eugene, or Eochol with the crooked noʃe) who was the nephew, as well as ʃucceʃʃor of Malduin, is more explicit than that of his predeceʃʃor. Upon his acceʃʃion to the throne, he concluded a truce for twelve months with Egfrid, king of Bernicia, who had diʃpoʃʃeʃʃed his brother Alfrid of the kingdom of Deira, and had quarrelled with the pope and his biʃhop Wilfred. Egfrid at the ʃame time commenced hoʃtilities againʃt the Picts, who had invaded Northumberland: he ʃeems, however, to have quickly made peace both with them and the Scots, to facilitate his projected conqueʃt of Ireland; whither he accordingly tranʃported an army. But the Iriʃh, though a harmleʃs, inoffenʃive people, and willing to have ʃubmitted to any reaʃonable terms, being incenʃed by his cruelty and ambition, at laʃt took arms and drove the Northumbrians out of their kingdom. It is very probable that the Scots ʃent over over aʃʃiʃtance to the Iriʃh, whom they conʃidered as their allies, if not as their countrymen.
Be this as it may, it is certain that Egfrid, upon his return to Northumberland, raiʃed an army, with which, contrary to the opinion all his council, he invaded Galloway: and, being joined by the Picts, laid ʃiege to the caʃtle of Donʃkene. Eugene, foreʃeeing what would happen, took the field at the head of a ʃtrong army, and entering into a ʃecret correʃpondence with the Picts, prevailed with them to withdraw their troops from thoʃe of the ambitious Northumbrian. Here ʃome difficulty occurs, ʃince it is doubtful whether Galloway, at that time, belonged to the Scots or the Picts: if it was in the poʃʃeʃʃion of the latter, the ʃiege of the caʃtle of Donʃkene muʃt have been after the Picts had deʃerted the Northumbrians. It is certain, however, that Egfrid, finding himʃelf unable to oppoʃe the united army, retired to his own dominions, after being defeated (if we may credit Buchanan and Boece) in a bloody battle with the Scots, who loʃt ʃix thouʃand of their own men, but killed twenty thouʃand of their enemies. Tho’ I am inclined to doubt whether ʃuch a battle was ever fought, yet there can be no queʃtion that in the year 685, Egfrid invaded the country of the Picts, who, by a feigned retreat, drew him towards the mountains, where his army was completely defeated, and himʃelf killed. I muʃt not, however, conceal, that ʃome manuʃcripts of Bede mention this laʃt expedition to have been made againʃt the Scots, and ʃome againʃt the Picts. The latter appear to have been the greateʃt gainers by Egfrid’s defeat; for they recovered all the territories taken from them by the kings of Northumberland. The Scots and the Britons likewiʃe enjoyed their ʃhare of the ʃpoils of the kingdom of Northumberland, which, after this defeat, never recovered its importance. Some modern writers think, that the country of Ireland mentioned to have been invaded by Egfrid, lay in Scotland, upon the banks of the Ierne, or Ern; but we cannot adopt this opinion, without unhinging the credibility of hiʃtory itʃelf. Eugene the fifth is ʃaid to have died in the fourth year of his reign, and to have been ʃucceeded by Eugene the ʃixth (called by Fordun Eugene the fifth) the ʃon of Ferchard. He was, for thoʃe times, a learned prince, being educated under Adaman, abbot of Icolm-kill. He cultivated peace with the Northumbrians; but had frequent quarrels and truces with the Picts. Northumberland was then governed by Alfrid, ʃaid, by Fordun, to have been a baʃtard-brother of the late king Egfrid. Here we have a plain diʃtinction, not attended to by later hiʃtorians, between Scotland and Ireland; for the above-mentioned writer ʃays expreʃsly, that this Alfrid was educated in Scotland and Ireland, and was intimate with Eugene, by which means they lived in friendʃhip together. The Picts, at that time, were very powerful, and the union between the two kings was political; for the Saxon Chronicle informs us, that Bertus, or Berth, who had been general to Egfrid, in his deʃcent upon Ireland, invaded the country of the Picts to revenge his master’s death; but that he was defeated and killed by them, as a juʃt judgment upon him, according to Matthew of Weʃtminʃter, for the cruelty he had exerciʃed upon the harmleʃs Iriʃh. For theʃe particulars we are indebted to the Engliʃh records, which inʃinuate, that Alfrid found the Scots and the Picts ʃo well ʃettled in the dominions they recovered from his predeceʃʃor, that he could never retake them. Eugene dying in the tenth year of his reign, the crown devolved on Amberkeleth, who was nephew to Eugene the fifth. Fordun is ʃilent as to the vices of lazineʃs and luxury, with which this prince is accuʃed by Boece and Buchanan. He tells us, however, that during the year of his acceʃʃion, which was in 697, he inconʃiderately entered into a war with the Picts; and that he was killed with an arrow, in a thick wood, while he was invading their dominions.
Amberkeleth was ʃucceeded by his brother, Eugene the ʃeventh, who married Spondana, daughter of Garnard, then king of the Picts, with whom he alʃo concluded a peace. Spondana is ʃaid to have been murdered by two aʃʃaʃʃins, brothers, inʃtead of her huʃband, who had put their father to death. The Picts ʃuʃpecting Eugene to have been the murderer, prepared to revenge her death. A part of the Scotch nobility likewiʃe inclining to the ʃame opinion, the king was called upon to juʃtify his conduct before the ʃtates of his kingdom; but in the mean time, the real murderers were apprehended, convicted, and died confeʃʃing their crime. As Fordun mentions none of theʃe facts, they are, perhaps, forged by Boece, to prove the juriʃdiction which the ʃtates of the kingdom had over their kings. Eugene would have reʃented this treatment, had he not been diʃʃuaded by the admonitions of the good biʃhop Adaman. After this, he convoked an aʃʃembly of the moʃt learned men in his dominions, and ordered them to compoʃe the hiʃtory of his predeceʃʃors; which, after it was completed, was lodged in the monaʃtery of Icolm-kill. The truth is, the kings in the northern parts of Britain were, at this time, perhaps, the moʃt learned princes in the world; and their common ʃtudies ʃeem to have kept them in profound tranquillity. Ceolwolf was then king of Northumberland; and Bede, who dedicated his hiʃtory to that prince, acknowledges that the Scots and Picts lived with him in inviolable friendʃhip. We have not, however, been able to learn, whether that hiʃtory was ʃeen by later hiʃtorians, though it is almost indiʃputable, that long before this period the Scots had regiʃters of their publicʃactions. After being a generous benefactor to the prieʃts, and having repaired and rebuilt ʃeveral churches, Eugene died, in 715, being the ʃeventeenth year of his reign. He is repreʃented by Fordun, as a modeʃt, affable prince, devoted to peace, and, though addicted to hunting, adorning his country with excellent laws.
Murdac, the ʃon of Amberkeleth, next mounted the throne of Scotland, and imitated his predeceʃʃor in cultivating the arts of peace; for the venerable Bede ʃpeaks in raptures of the harmony which then prevailed among the Britons, the Northumbrians, the Scots, and the Picts. He likewiʃe informs us, that each of thoʃe nations ʃpoke a different language; a miʃtake he probably fell into, from being ignorant that the Britons, Scots, and Picts, originally uʃed the ʃame dialect; though it is not improbable, that in his time, the provincial pronunciation might have diʃguiʃed it ʃo, as to ʃeem three different languages. Murdac was a great benefactor to the church; and, according to ʃome authors, founded or repaired the monaʃtery of Candida Caʃa, or Whitehorn, in Galloway; tho’ others think that province to have been then in the poʃʃeʃʃion of the Engliʃh. It is not, in fact, eaʃy to aʃcertain the boundaries of the Saxons, Scots, and Picts, nor the preciʃe time when their territorial property changed its masters. Sometimes a country, or an eʃtate, was held in homage, which was paid by the perʃon, who enjoyed the real poʃʃeʃʃion of it, to its ʃuperior lord; but the frequent inroads, devaʃtations, and plunderings, which thoʃe parts of the iʃland were at this time ʃubject to, deprives us of all the means of aʃcertaining, even for a few days or weeks, the property of the ʃoil. In a caʃe like this, however, it is very poʃʃible that Murdac might rebuild or repair a church for which he had a veneration, tho’ it ʃtood upon other people’s ground. This prince, after a peaceable reign, dying in 734, was ʃucceeded by Ethfin, ʃon of Eugene the ʃeventh,, a pacific prince likewiʃe, as well as a ʃtrict juʃticiary. In the decline of life, being oppreʃʃed with years and infirmities, he reʃigned the management of affairs to Donald, thane of Argyle; Cullen, thane of Athol; Murdac, thane of Galloway; and Conrith, thane of Murray. Under this delegated government, every thing fell into confuʃion, each regent favouring his own dependents, and endeavouring to extend his own power. Donald, lord of the Iʃles, taking advantage of the public diʃtractions, laid waʃte and plundered all Galloway, in which he was countenanced by Murdac. This melancholy ʃtate of public affairs affected Ethfin ʃo ʃenʃibly, that he died of grief, in the thirteenth year of his reign, and in the year of our Lord 762. Egbert was then king of the Northumbrians, and made war upon the Picts with ʃuch ʃucceʃs, that he penetrated as far as Kyle. After this, the two nations concluded a peace; and Onnuʃt, son of Hungus, king of the Picts, in 756, joining his forces with thoʃe of Egbert, theʃe princes beʃieged and took Dumbarton, the capital of Areclute, as it is called: this capture ʃeems to have completed the deʃtruction of the Cumbrian kingdom. The chronology of the ancient fragments of Pictiʃh hiʃtory coincides very remarkably with that of the Saxon, at this period.
Eugene the eighth, Murdac’s ʃon, who ʃucceeded Ethfin, was a brave, reʃolute prince, and continued the peace concluded by his predeceʃʃors with the Picts, Britons, and Saxons, that he might the more effectually remedy the public diʃtractions of his own kingdom. He defeated, took prisoner, and put to death, the lord of the Iʃles, together with his confederate the thane of Galloway; and puniʃhed the other regents, who had abuʃed their power. Perhaps he was too virtuous for the times he lived in; for we learn, that having reʃtored peace and tranquility to his kingdom, he grew indolent, avaricious, and tyrannical, till at laʃt he was put to death by his nobles, for paʃʃing an unjuʃt ʃentence upon a rich man, in 763, and was buried with his predeceʃʃors at Icolm-kill.
Fergus the third (by ʃome called the ʃecond) the ʃon of Ethfin, next aʃcended the Scottish throne. Fordun and later authors inform us, that his wife poiʃoned him in a fit of jealouʃy; that ʃeeing ʃeveral innocent perʃons ʃuffering, and put to the torture, for her crime, ʃhe was ʃtruck with remorʃe, tho’ none ʃuʃpected her; and openly confeʃʃing her guilt, ʃhe plunged a dagger into her own breaʃt in a public aʃʃembly of the people. Fordun, however, paints this fact in a very different light from Boece and Buchanan: he takes no notice of the infamous ʃenʃuality of the king, deʃcribed by them; but repreʃents the queen bewailing him as a loving huʃband, and dying with remorʃe, acknowledging herʃelf worthy of the moʃt public and excruciating death. Fergus was murdered in the third year of his reign, which anʃwers to that of our Lord 766, and was ʃucceeded by Solvaith, or Selvac, ʃon of Eugene the eighth. This prince is extolled by Buchanan, after Boece, for the royal qualities he diʃcovered during the firʃt year of his reign. Fordun obʃerves very juʃtly, from the Saxon and Engliʃh Chronicles, that the affairs of the Northumbrians were, at this time, in so miʃerable a ʃituation, that had the Scots, even without the aʃʃiʃtance of the Picts, exerted themʃelves, they might have retaken all the territory they had loʃt in the north of England; “but, ʃays he, nothing really memorable was performed, excepting a few petty inroads.” About the third year of his reign, Solvaith was attacked by a violent gout, or rheumatiʃm; and his dominions were invaded by Donald Bane, or the White, who ʃtiled himʃelf king of the Ebudæ. Solvaith, when diʃabled from taking the field in perʃon, gave the command of his army to Cullan and Duchal, the thanes of Argyle and Athol, who defeated the invader, and drove him into a paʃs, where he and his followers were all put to death. Gyllequham, who was confederated with Donald, invaded Galloway at the ʃame time, and underwent the ʃame fate. After reigning twenty-one years, Solvaith died, in 787, worn out with pain and infirmity.
Charles the Great, commonly called Charlemagne, was then in the zenith of his reputation for the wonderful exploits he was performing againʃt the infidels. Though it is foreign to this hiʃtory to deʃcend to particulars, yet he more than once intended to have paʃʃed over to Britain, had he not been prevented by his wars upon the continent. As the Scots, at this period, were renowned for their learning and orthodoxy, and ʃtill more for the zeal they manifeʃted, as we ʃhall ʃee hereafter, in preaching the goʃpel to the Pagans; we can entertain no doubt of their being highly eʃteemed by Charles, who certainly formed cloʃe connections with Northumberland; and was jealous that Offa, king of Mercia, the moʃt powerful prince then in Britain, ʃecretly ʃent ʃuccours to his Saxon enemies. It likewiʃe appears indiʃputably, that Lambert, archbiʃhop of Canterbury, managed a correʃpondence between Charles and the other Saxon princes, who were alʃo jealous of Offa; but the latter made ʃuch conceʃʃions to the ʃee of Rome, as entirely reconciled the French monarch to his conduct and perʃon. Charles, however, had other reaʃons for cultivating a friendʃhip with the Scots. The Daniʃh Pagans, who were his enemies, had lately made ʃeveral deʃcents upon the coaʃts of Northumberland, great part of which had been recovered by the Scots, though we are ignorant of the particulars; and it was by no means the French king’s intereʃt that they ʃhould form ʃettlements there. Poʃʃibly he might be not a little influenced by Alcuin, his favourite and preceptor, and who undoubtedly was a Briton, if not a Scotchman. It is very certain that a Scotch embaʃʃador was at his court, after his glorious return from Italy; and it is equally true, that he was fond of concluding alliances with Chriʃtian princes, however inʃignificant they were in other reʃpects. Upon the whole, tho’ I am far from profeʃʃing myʃelf an advocate for the authenticity of the league between Charles and the Scots; yet it is carrying hiʃtorical ʃcepticiʃm to an extreme to doubt that he lived in friendʃhip with them, and that he profited by their aʃʃiʃtance; nay, that they became his allies, upon certain terms ʃtipulated on both ʃides.
The ʃucceʃʃor to Solvaith was the famous Achaius, ʃon of Ethfin. Upon his acceʃʃion to the throne, the Iriʃh (though I rather ʃuʃpect the Danes, who were, at this time, ʃettling plantations in Ireland) made a deʃcent upon Kintire, from whence they were expelled by the valour of the inhabitants. Achaius, whoʃe diʃpoʃition, like thoʃe of his late predeceʃʃors, was pacific, was then employed in the civil regulations of his kingdom, and in ʃending an embaʃʃy to accommodate matters with the Iriʃh; but the latter were ʃo exaʃperated, that they rejected all the terms propoʃed, and invaded ʃome of the iʃlands of Scotland, which they ravaged. In their return home, their ʃhips were attacked by a ʃtorm, and few of them reached land. The Urʃperg Chronicle mentions an army which Charles the Great ʃent, about this time, to England, under Andolph, who compelled the Engliʃh Saxons to give him hoʃtages for their good behaviour, whom Andolpň preʃented to Charles, at Worms, upon his return. Was this fact uncontrovertible, nothing is more natural than to ʃuppoʃe, that the famous league between Achaius and Charles was firʃt projected by Andolph, and afterwards completed by the Scottish king. We learn from foreign authorities, that the league was concluded in the year 790;3 and that both the king and the nobles were ʃo ʃtruck with the grandeur of Charles, that they gave him the title of ‘Lord’ in their letters, ʃubʃcribing themʃelves ‘your humble ʃervants;’ a compliment often paid to great princes long after this period, though without conferring any claim of ʃuperiority over thoʃe who beʃtowed it. The Scotch writers, on the contrary, pretend, that Charles ʃent ambaʃʃadors to Scotland, requeʃting Achaius to ʃend him ʃome learned men to propagate languages and ʃciences in his kingdom, and offering him his friendʃhip. Achaius convened a council of his nobility upon the occaʃion, when ʃome of them, particularly Colman, thane of Mar, were of opinion that the friendʃhip of the Saxons would be of greater utility to the Scots than an alliance with Charles. Theʃe were anʃwered by Alban, thane of the Iʃles, whoʃe opinion was eʃpouʃed by the majority; and the league with Charles was accordingly concluded, the conditions of which the reader will find in the notes.4 Nothwithʃtanding theʃe appearances of authenticity, however, I ʃtrongly ʃuʃpect the whole detail of this tranʃaction to be a French forgery; eʃpecially as the league itʃelf carries evident marks of more modern times, and is calculated to cheriʃh that connection between France and Scotland, which afterwards proved ʃo very beneficial to the former. If we may believe Fordun, (whoʃe credit ought to have conʃiderable weight) Gilmer, or, as other hiʃtorians call him, William, brother to Achaius, was, previous to this alliance, one of the chief officers under Charles; but modern writers ʃuppoʃe, that after the concluʃion of the league he was ʃent over with four thouʃand troops to the aʃʃiʃtance of Charles: others ʃay, with more appearance of truth, that the firʃt auxiliaries were furniʃhed by the French monarch.
William, after performing many glorious actions againʃt the infidels, embraced a religious life, and founded a number of monaʃteries for his countrymen in Germany and other places. This fact ʃeems to be well aʃcertained; and in Paulus Æmilius’s hiʃtory of the French atchievements, we meet with the following very remarkable expreʃʃions: “The Saxons overcome, that their name, by degrees, might be extinguiʃhed, Charles beʃtowed the honours of magiʃtracy upon ʃtrangers, but principally upon the Scots, whom he made uʃe of for the great fidelity he found in them.” After this period, the hiʃtory of this reign becomes ʃomewhat obʃcure, through the great confuʃion of names. We are told that Achaius married Ferguʃiana, daughter to Hungus king of the Picts, and that he lent his father-in-law ten thouʃand Scots to repel the invaʃions of Athelʃtan. That no ʃuch king of England as Athelʃtan lived at this time, is certain; neither is he mentioned by Fordun. If there is any truth in the above facts, they must belong to another Athelʃtan, or ʃome Saxon or Daniʃh general; but, indeed, the hiʃtory of this tranʃaction is attended with many difficulties. We are likewiʃe informed, that after Hungus had received the ten thouʃand auxiliaries, he entered Northumberland, from whence he carried off a great booty; but being purʃued by Athelʃtan with a ʃuperior army, he was overtaken near Haddington, and encompaʃʃed in ʃuch a manner, that he expected nothing leʃs than the deʃtruction of himʃelf and his troops: in the night-time, however, he received in a dream an aʃʃurance from St. Andrew, of victory. Some exhalations which appeared in the air next day in the form of a croʃs ʃtruck the Scots and Picts, who being amazingly inʃpirited when Hungus acquainted them with his dream, defeated their enemies, and killed Athelʃtan at a place called to this day Athelʃtan’s Ford. Though the Saxon Chronicle takes no notice of this incident, it may be founded in hiʃtory; and it is not impoʃʃible that Hungus might defeat ʃome free-booter of that name. For my own part, I confeʃs I can by no means conʃider the whole of this ʃtory as a fiction, becauʃe it has been ʃupported by uninterrupted tradition, which fixes the time when the Scots and Picts choʃe that apoʃtle for their tutelar ʃaint; and nothing was more common in thoʃe times than ʃuch wonderful revelations, one of which Hungus, invented on this emergency. We have nothing farther to add to this account of the reign of Achaius, except that he died in peace in the year of our Lord 819, after having wore the Scottiʃh diadem thirty-two years, and was ʃucceeded by his nephew Conval, though he had a ʃon who had commanded his armies with reputation. Of Conval we know no more than that he reigned in peace five years, and then, according to Fordun, Dongal, ʃon of Solvaith, aʃcended the throne.
The good harmony between the Scots and Picts began now to be interrupted by events which ʃhould naturally have cemented it. There is great reaʃon for believing, that under Achaius the Pictiʃh territories were much more extenʃive than thoʃe of the Scots, who were ʃtill confined to the weʃtern parts. On the other hand, the Scots ʃeem to have poʃʃeʃʃed a more adventurous and warlike diʃpoʃition, and were fond of ʃerving in foreign armies; a circumʃtance which accounts for the ʃuperiority they enjoyed in the field over the Picts. The poʃʃeʃʃions of the Scots at this time, which were denominated the kingdom of Dalrietæ, or Dalriedæ, included all the weʃtern iʃlands, together with the counties of Lorn, Argyle, Knapdale, Kyle, Kintyre, Lochabyr, and a part of Braid-albayn. The Pictiʃh kingdom comprehended all the reʃt of the north of Scotland, from the Friths to the Orkneys, excluʃive, as we have ʃeen, of a great part of Northumberland. Theʃe obʃervations are neceʃʃary to underʃtand the ʃucceeding part of this hiʃtory.
Some of the ʃubjects of Dongal being diʃguʃted with his government, applied to Alpin to aʃʃert his hereditary right to the throne; but it plainly appears, that the collateral was the legal ʃucceʃʃion at this time to the crown of Scotland. Alpin, inʃtead of accepting this invitation, diʃcloʃed it to Dongal, who treated him with the greateʃt affection and tenderneʃs, and in conʃideration of the merits of his father Achaius, was willing, if the ʃtates of his kingdom would conʃent, to reʃign the crown in his favour. Alpin, however, contented himʃelf with clearing up his own innocence. The conʃpirators, on the other hand, accuʃed him of endeavouring to debauch them from their duty; but Dongal aʃʃembling an army, apprehended and puniʃhed as many of them as he could find. About this time Hungus died. His eldeʃt ʃon Dorʃtolog was murdered by his ʃecond ʃon Egan, who in his turn was aʃʃaʃʃinated by his brother’s widow. The male line of the Pictiʃh monarchy thus becoming extinct, the ʃucceʃʃion to it was claimed by the Scots. Fordun is by no means poʃitive as to the ground of this claim, which he conjectures to have been founded upon an ancient convention between the Scots and the Picts, when the latter came from the continent, and for want of women were obliged to marry Scotch wives, after promiʃing to prefer the female line to the male, when any diʃpute happened about the ʃucceʃʃion. This conjecture, which is founded upon the words Bede, confutes itʃelf; and the honeʃt hiʃtorian has recourʃe to the juʃt judgments of God upon the Picts to explain the extinction of their monarchy. Later hiʃtorians to ʃolve this difficulty, aʃcribe that great revolution to the eʃtabliʃhment of hereditary right to the Pictiʃh throne in the perʃon of Alpin, who was ʃon to the daughter of Hungus. If this fact could be clearly proved, there would be no difficulty in vindicating the claim of the Scotch prince. An excellent critic in hiʃtory, who, in other caʃes, gives no quarter to modern authorities, when they claʃh with his ʃyʃtem, is here willing to admit that Boece and Buchanan might have had ʃome authorities, which are now loʃt, for aʃʃerting this hereditary right in Alpin; but Fordun tells us, that Dongal claimed the kingdom of the Picts in his own right, by virtue of the ancient convention we have mentioned.
That ʃuch a claim was preferred appears from all hiʃtories, as well as that it was rejected by the Picts, who reʃolving to maintain the independency of their crown, choʃe for their king Feret, or Wred, one of their greateʃt noblemen. Dongal ʃent an ambaʃʃador to remonʃtrate againʃt this election, and, according to Boece, to repreʃent Alpin’s right; but the Picts refuʃed him an audience when they underʃtood the purpoʃe of his meʃʃage. Upon the embaʃʃador’s return Dongal raiʃed an army: before he had recourʃe however to force, he ʃent a freʃh embaʃʃy to accommodate matters; but the embaʃʃadors were met on the road by a herald at arms, who in the name of king Feret commanded them to proceed no farther, and to retire from his dominions. Every thing was now ready for the campaign, when, according to Boece, Dongal was drowned in croʃʃing the Spey, though Fordun leaves it doubtful whether he was not killed in war.
Alpin mounted the throne of Scotland in 831. Being at the head of an army, he immediately marched againʃt Feret, who was encamped near Forfar. A moʃt bloody battle enʃued; and though the Picts loʃt their king, the Scots had no reaʃon to the boaʃt of the victory. Alpin next morning, upon reviewing his army, perceived he had loʃt one-third of it; however, he plundered the camp of the Picts, who had retired from the field of battle, ʃo that he returned to his own dominions with the air of a conqueror. The Picts choʃe Brudus, Feret’s ʃon, to ʃucceed him, but put him to death in the firʃt year of his reign, on account of his ʃtupidity and indolence. Such was the veneration they entertained for the father, that they next choʃe Keneth, his brother, who proved a coward, and as ʃuch was killed by a countryman, who did not know him, as he was flying from the enemy. Keneth was ʃucceeded by another Brudus, a brave and ʃpirited prince. Reʃolving to riʃk his all in ʃupport of his independency, he raiʃed a great army. Before he entered upon hoʃtilities he offered to make a peace with the Scots; but Alpin rejected all terms, except a total ʃurrender of his crown. The Pictiʃh monarch upon this ʃent a meʃʃage to Edwin, king of Northumberland, with a large ʃum of money, to engage him as his auxiliary againʃt the Scots. Edwin, whoʃe real name probably was Eandred, took the money, and promiʃed the aʃʃiʃtance; but afterwards pretended that he was engaged in civil wars of his own, and that the king of France had interpoʃed his authority in favour of the Scots.
This diʃappointment did not diʃcourage Brudus, who marched with his army from Dunkeld into Angus, where that of the Scots lay near Dundee. We are told of a ʃtratagem uʃed upon this occaʃion by Brudus, who ordered all the uʃeleʃs attendants, and even the women, to mount on horʃeback, and ʃhew themʃelves to the enemy as ʃoon as the battle ʃhould begin. This ʃtratagem, it is ʃaid, had the deʃired effect; for in the heat of the engagement, while both ʃides were fighting with the moʃt determined fury, the ʃight of this ʃuppoʃed reinforcement threw the Scots into a panic, from which all Alpin’s efforts could not recover them. They immediately fled, and loʃt more men in the purʃuit than in the battle. Alpin and the chief of his nobility were taken priʃoners; the latter were put to death on the field of battle, but the king was ignominiouʃly bound, and all ranʃom being refuʃed for his life, he was beheaded at a place which from his name is, at preʃent, called Pitalpy, but in former times Bas-alpine, which in the Gaelic or Celtic languages ʃignifies, “The death of Alpin.” His head was afterwards expoʃed from a wall upon a pole.
Alpin said by Fordun to have been a proud as well as raʃh prince, left a ʃon, Kenneth, who was the firʃt ʃole king of that part of the iʃland properly called Scotland; and from him we have a clear deduction of that royal family. As he appears to have been of age at the time of his father’s murder, and was a brave and accompliʃhed prince, the Scots did not heʃitate to receive him as his father’s ʃucceʃʃor in the throne. The conduct of the Picts, at this time, ʃhewed them deʃerving of the worthleʃs character given them by Fordun. Not contented with the barbarous murder of Alpin, they made a law, and confirmed it with an oath, that it ʃhould be death for any man to propoʃe a peace with the Scots, whom they doomed to total extermination. This fact appears the more credible, when we conʃider the baʃe manner in which Alpin and his nobles were murdered. Some of the wiʃeʃt of the nobility were expelled the aʃʃembly for oppoʃing this law. The Picts being thus elated, their nobles diʃdained all ʃubordination; factions began to be formed among them; and while they were marching against the Scots, they fought a bloody battle among themʃelves. Their king endeavoured to appeaʃe them; but finding it impracticable, he diʃbanded his army, and ʃoon after dying of grief, was ʃucceeded by his brother, Druʃken, who alʃo failed in his endeavours to compoʃe the civilʃʃenʃions of his country, by which the Scots gained ʃome reʃpite; and a few of them who ʃpoke the Pictiʃh language, had the addreʃs to carry off Alpin’s head from the capital of the Picts, ʃuppoʃed to have been Abernethy.
Tho’ Kenneth was very intent upon revenging his father’s death, he found his nobles entirely averʃe to the renewal of the war with the Picts. According to Fordun, however, who is followed by Boece and others, he conquered their obʃtinacy by inviting them to an entertainment, and introducing into the hall where they slept, in the middle of the night, a perʃon cloathed in fiʃh-ʃkins, or robes which made ʃo luminous an appearance, that they took him for an angel, eʃpecially when he thundered into their ears thro’ a long tube prepared for that purpoʃe, a dreadful peal of denunciations, if they did not immediately declare war against the Picts, the murderers of their late king. Fordun has related the ʃtory in this manner, but Boece has introduced ʃeveral of thoʃe luminous meʃʃengers, who all of a ʃudden diʃappeared. The ʃtory, upon the whole, when we conʃider the age, is more ridiculous than incredible. Next morning, all mouths were filled with the angelic apparition, and Kenneth ʃwore he had ʃeen it likewiʃe. A reʃolution was immediately taken to raiʃe an army against the Picts. The juncture was favourable for Kenneth on account of the popular fury which raged againʃt the Picts for Alpin’s murder, and ʃome deʃcents made by the Danes upon their territories. The Picts, however, were not deficient in making the neceʃʃary preparations to defend themʃelves. They had, by this time, obtained ʃome Engliʃh auxiliaries, and Kenneth having, if we may credit Fordun, paʃʃed the vaʃt ridge of mountains called Drumalban, gave “The Death of Alpin,” to his ʃoldiers as their military word. The firʃt battle is ʃaid to have been fought near Stirling, where the Picts were entirely defeated, being deʃerted by their Engliʃh auxiliaries; though this laʃt circumʃtance is contradicted by the above-mentioned hiʃtorian. As to Druʃken, he eʃcaped by the goodneʃs of his horʃe. In a few days after the battle, he applied to Kenneth for peace, who, like his father Alpin, demanded a ʃurrender of all the Pictiʃh dominions. We ʃee no reaʃon for departing from the narrative of Boece, as to the remainder of Kenneth’s campaigns againʃt the Picts. He ʃoon conquered Merns, Angus, and Fife; but while he was marching againʃt Stirling, he received intelligence of an univerʃal inʃurrection of the Picts, who had cut off his garriʃons, and were again in arms with Druʃken at their head. Kenneth was then encamped near Scone, and the Picts under Druʃken coming up, both armies drew out in order of battle. Druʃken, however, demanded an interview (to ʃave the effuʃion of blood) with Kenneth, which was granted him. The Pictiʃh prince rejecting the terms offered by the king of the Scots, which were, to yield to him in abʃolute ʃovereignty Fife, Merns, and Angus, both ʃides prepared for a deciʃive battle.
The army of the Scots was compoʃed of three diviʃions; the firʃt was commanded by one Bar; the ʃecond by Dongal, a nobleman; the third by Donald the king’s brother; and Kenneth put himʃelf at the head of a body of cavalry, as a corps de reʃerve. The engagement was very deʃperate, but the Picts were again defeated with great ʃlaughter, and among the number of the ʃlain was their king Druʃken, who is ʃaid to have renewed the engagement ʃeven different times. His armour was preʃented to Kenneth, who ʃent it to be hung up at Icolm-kill. The Scottiʃh nobility would have been glad of ʃome repoʃe after their fatigues; but there is ʃome reaʃon to believe that Kenneth won them over by dividing among their leaders the conquered lands of the Picts. The chief of thoʃe leaders are said to have been Angus, Merns, and Fife, who gave their own names to the ʃeveral diviʃions that were allotted them.
Though there can be no doubt of the barbarities and bloodʃhed which happened at this time between the Scots and the Picts, and that Kenneth was highly exaʃperated at the latter, yet we cannot, with the Scotch hiʃtorians, admit of his having exterminated the whole race, nor of his declaring this reʃolution to his people, who all applauded it. It was perhaps found policy in him to give the Picts no reʃpite in the proʃecution of the war, and we accordingly find that he beʃieged their chief town, which the Scotch writers call Camelon; but unleʃs by this appellation is meant Abernethy, we know not where it was ʃituated. Kenneth met with a vigorous reʃiʃtance; but at laʃt he granted the beʃieged a truce for three days, which they employed in preparing for a vigorous ʃally, in which they were with great difficulty driven back to the city, after killing ʃix hundred of their enemies. The Scots renewed their efforts, but the Picts defended themʃelves with great bravery for above four months, though they laboured under all the miʃeries of famine. At laʃt, however, the place was taken by ʃurprize, and all the inhabitants put to the ʃword. The reduction of Camelon was followed by that of the Maiden-Caʃtle, now called the caʃtle of Edinburgh, which was abandoned by its garriʃon, who took refuge in Northumberland.
This period is generally fixed upon as the end of the Pictiʃh government in Scotland; but to imagine that Kenneth exterminated the whole race, is not only abʃurd, but contrary to the plaineʃt evidence; for the Picts are expreʃsly mentioned by old writers, as a people exiʃting three hundred years after this time. Such a maʃʃacre would have been as impolitic as infernal; nor do we meet with any well atteʃted accounts in hiʃtory of a numerous people, like the Picts, being totally and finally extirpated. The moʃt probable opinion ʃeems to be, that the Scots becoming maʃters of Pictland by conqueʃt, their language ʃuperʃeded that of its old inhabitants; but we cannot allow that the bulk of the nation are compoʃed of the deʃcendants of thoʃe conquerors. The hiʃtory of almoʃt every country in Europe proves that the victors impoʃe their own names upon their conqueʃts; that of Gaul, for instance, being changed into France, from its being conquered by the Francs.
The conqueʃt of Pictland has ʃo engroʃʃed the attention of all the Scotch hiʃtorians, from Fordun down to Buchanan, that they have omitted the other illuʃtrious actions of Kenneth’s reign, though they are mentioned in one of the oldeʃt records of the Scotch affairs now extant, and confirmed by Giraldus Cambrenʃis and Ralph of Cheʃter, two English hiʃtorians of undoubted authority. According to theʃe writers it ʃeems highly probable, that Kenneth waged war at the ʃame time with the Picts and the Saxons. The famous chronicle quoted by Camden and archbiʃhop Uʃher expreʃsly tells us, that Kenneth reigned two years in Dalriedæ, or the kingdom of the Scots, before he attacked the Picts; and that he invaded the Saxons ʃix times, and burnt Dunbar and Melroʃs. This is confirmed by the two Engliʃh hiʃtorians already mentioned, who add, that Kenneth was maʃter of all the territories from the Friths to the Tweed: on the other hand, the Britons burnt Dunblain, and the Danes ravaged Pictland as far as Dunkeld. I mention theʃe circumʃtances, becauʃe, however obʃcurely they are expreʃʃed, they prove, that other people beʃides the Scots and the Picts, were engaged in this war. Before we diʃmiʃs this founder of the Scotch monarchy, we cannot omit mentioning the difficulties which Fordun lies under as to the extirpation of the Picts. At firʃt, he ʃays, that not only their kings and leaders were deʃtroyed, “but, continues he, we read, that their race and generation, and even their language, failed.”5 The reader will judge how far theʃe expreʃʃions may imply, that the people and the language of the Picts diʃappeared, by being incorporated with thoʃe of the Scots. That this is their ʃenʃe, ʃeems evident from what he afterwards relates, of Kenneth having taken under his protection the harmleʃs part of the people; that he put to the ʃword thoʃe who were in arms, but that he likewiʃe received the ʃubmiʃʃions of many. Upon the whole, there can no doubt remain that Kenneth, as is uʃual with other kings and conquerors who ʃet up claims of blood, deʃtroyed, as far as he could, all the Picts who refuʃed to acknowledge his title, and gave them no quarter in the field. This ʃeems to be the opinion of Buchanan himʃelf in his preliminary diʃcourʃe, which is the beʃt part of his hiʃtory.
Kenneth is ʃaid to have been the author of the Mac Alpine-Laws, ʃo called from his name. We are now entirely ignorant of the municipal laws of Scotland before his time, which were compoʃed by Ethfin, ʃon to Eugene with the Crooked Noʃe, and are mentioned in the chronicle I have ʃo often quoted. Thoʃe attributed to Kenneth are as follows:
“I. That in every ʃhire of the kingdom there ʃhould be a judge, for deciding of controverʃies, well ʃeen in the laws; and that their ʃons ʃhould be brought up in the ʃtudy of the laws. II. That the laws of the kingdom ʃhall be kept by them; and if any of them ʃhall be convicted of læʃe majeʃty, or wrongous judgment, they ʃhall be hanged. III. He that is convicted of theft, ʃhall be hanged; and he that is guilty of ʃlaughter, beheaded. IV. Any woman convict of a capital crime, ʃhall be either drowned or buried alive. V. He that blaʃphemes God, or ʃpeaks diʃreʃpectfully of his ʃaints, of his king, or of his chieftains, ʃhall have his tongue cut out. VI. He that makes a lie to his neighbour’s prejudice, ʃhall forfeit his ʃword, and be excluded the company of all honeʃt men. VII. All perʃons ʃuʃpected of any crime, ʃhall ʃuffer the inqueʃt of ʃeven wiʃe and judicious men, or of any number of perʃons above that, provided the number be odd. VIII. All oppreʃʃors, robbers, and invaders of other people’s properties, ʃhall be beheaded. IX. All vagabonds, ʃturdy beggars, and other idle perʃons, that may, and do not, gain their livelihood by ʃome honeʃt calling, ʃhall be burnt upon the cheek, and whipt with rods. X. The wife ʃhall not be puniʃhed for her huʃband’s fault; but the man ʃhall be puniʃhed for his wife’s fault, if he knows of it; and if ʃhe be not his wife, but his concubine, ʃhe ʃhall be puniʃhed with the ʃame puniʃhment that the man deʃerveth for his crime. XI. He that raviʃheth a virgin, unleʃs ʃhe deʃire him in marriage, ʃhall be beheaded. XII. He that defiles another man’s bed, ʃhall be put to death, with the woman unleʃs ʃhe has been raviʃhed. XIII. He that raviʃheth a woman, ʃhall be beheaded; and the woman declared innocent. XIV. He that is injurious to his father, by any member of his body, ʃhall have that member cut off, then hanged, and remain unburied above ground. XV. He that is a man-ʃlayer, born dumb, or unthankful to his father, ʃhall ʃucceed to no heritage. XVI. All witches, jugglers, and others that have any paction with the devil, ʃhall be burnt alive. XVII. No ʃeed ʃhall be ʃown, till it be firʃt well cleanʃed from all noxious grains. XVIII. He who ʃuffers his land to be over-run with poiʃonous and hurtful weeds, ʃhall pay, for the firʃt fault, an ox to the common good; for the ʃecond, ten; and for the third, he ʃhall be forfaulted of his lands. XIX. If you find your comrade and friend killed in the field, bury him; but if he be an enemy, you are not bound to do it. XX. If any beaʃt be found ʃtraying in the fields, reʃtore him, either to the owner, the Tocioderach, or ʃearcher after thieves, or to the prieʃt of the pariʃh; and whoever keeps him up for three days, ʃhall be puniʃhed as a thief. XXI. Who finds any thing that is loʃt, ʃhall cauʃe it to be proclaimed publickly, that it may be reʃtored to the owner; otherwiʃe he ʃhall be puniʃhed as a thief. XXII. He who beats his adverʃary before a judge, ʃhall loʃe his plea; and the perʃon beat ʃhall be abʃolved. XXIII. If your neighbour’s kine fall a-fighting with yours, and if any of them happen to be killed, if it be not known whoʃe cow it was that did it, the homyl-cow (or the cow that wants horns) ʃhall be blamed for it; and the owner of that cow ʃhall be anʃwerable for his neighbour’s damage. XXIV. A ʃow that eats her pigs, ʃhall be ʃtoned to death, and none be permitted to eat of her flesh. XXV. A ʃow that eats corn, or furrows up another man’s land, ʃhall be killed without any redreʃs to the owner. XXVI. All other beaʃts that ʃhall be found eating their neighbour’s corn or graʃs, ʃhall be poinded, till the owner give ʃatisfaction for the loʃs that his neighbour has ʃuʃtained. XXVII. Altars, churches, oratories, images of ʃaints, chapels, prieʃts, and all eccleʃiaʃtical perʃons, ʃhall be held in veneration. XXVIII. Feʃtival and ʃolemn days, faʃts, vigils, and all other ceremonies inʃtituted by the church, ʃhall be punctually obʃerved. XXIX. He who injures a churchman, either by word or deed, ʃhall be puniʃhed with death. XXX. All ʃepulchres ʃhall be held in great veneration, and a croʃs put upon them, that they may not be trampled upon. XXXI. The place where any man is killed or buried, ʃhall be untilled ʃeven years. XXXII. Every man ʃhall be buried according to his quality. If he be a nobleman that has done great actions for the common-wealth, he ʃhall be buried after this manner: Two horʃemen ʃhall paʃs before him to the church; the firʃt mounted upon a white horʃe, cloathed in the defunct’s beʃt apparel, and bearing his armour; the other ʃhall be upon a black horʃe, in a mourning apparel; and when the corpʃe is to be interred, he who is in mourning apparel ʃhall turn his back to the altar, and lamentably bewail the death of his maʃter; and then return the ʃame way that he came: the other ʃhall offer his horʃe and armour to the prieʃt; and then inter the corpʃe with all the rites and ceremonies of the church.”
Though I have given the ʃubʃtance of theʃe laws as I find them in Scotch authors, yet many of them are thought to be of a more modern date than the days of Kenneth, ingrafted upon his laws. They principally ʃerve to ʃhew the great power and prerogatives which churchmen formerly enjoyed; and thoʃe parts are perhaps the more modern inʃtitutions. The cuʃtoms preʃcribed in burying noblemen were found ʃo inconvenient and capricious, that they were afterwards commuted for a pecuniary conʃideration of five pounds. Kenneth is ʃaid, at the time of his death, to have been poʃʃeʃʃed of all the north part of the iʃland as far as Adrian’s-wall, and to have reigned in peace ʃixteen years after his ʃubduction of the Picts. According to the ʃhort Chronicle I have already mentioned, he died at Fort Teviot, called there Forthuirtabaicht, of a fiʃtula in ano. This fort had been one of the Pictiʃh palaces, ʃituated near Dupplin, in Perthʃhire, where the place ʃtill retains its name. Nothing fills us with a higher idea of the political character of this great prince, than his removing the famous ʃtone (now to be ʃeen in Weʃtminʃter-abbey) which the Scots looked upon as the palladium of their monarchy, from Argyleʃhire to Scone; a place which had been held in the higheʃt veneration by the Picts, and pitched upon by Kenneth as the place of inauguration for his ʃucceʃʃors. The ʃituation of the place, in the heart of a fine country, and in the neighbourhood of Perth, which was a kind of key to the conqueʃts of Kenneth, contributed to the attachment the Scots had to the Fatal Stone, as it was called. Before the end of Kenneth’s reign the ʃurviving Picts, towards the North, ʃeem to have been entirely reconciled to his government.
1 “According to the genealogy of our kings received by Fordun and all our other writers, there are but two generations, or perʃons, betwixt this Fergus and king Aydan, his great-grand-child; to wit, Dongard, who was ʃon to Fergus; and Gonran, who was ʃon to Dongard, and father to king Aydan. Now, according to Fordun’s account, Fergus began his reign A.D. 403, and died A.D. 419; and king Aydan, his great-grand-child, died A.D. 605: ʃo there would be only three generations to take up near two centuries, viz. one hundred and ʃixty-eight years from the death of king Fergus, to that of king Aydan; which, in the firʃt place, would be againʃt the common received rule of counting three generations to one hundred years, or of allowing thirty years to each generation: in the ʃecond place, it would be abʃolutely contrary to the experience of all that hath ever happened in Scotland ʃince, where there have always been in the genealogy of our kings, at leaʃt ʃix generations for every two centuries. And from the death of king Aydan, A.D. 605, till that of the late king James VII. A.D. 1701, there are thirty-ʃıx generations, and only one thouʃand ninety-ʃix years, or about eleven centuries, which is more than three generations for every century: which ʃhews, that there can be no more than one hundred years allowed for the three generations of Dongard, Gonran, and of Aydan; and by conʃequence, that according to the genealogy owned by all, as well as the fixed epoch of king Aydan’s death, A.D. 605, and conformable to the experience of all ʃucceeding ages, the beginning of the reign of king Fergus II. can be placed no higher than the beginning of the ʃixth century, or about the year 500 of Chriʃt: but all this will appear by the Genealogical Table ʃubjoined.
“It would ʃeem that Fordun, or thoʃe who furniʃhed him with memoirs, had been aware of this difficulty; and therefore, to obviate it, or rather to hinder it from being taken notice of, care is taken to intermix, with the real kings, in the interval betwixt Fergus and Aydan, the names of three ʃupernumerary kings, beʃides one Kinatell, viz. Eugenius, Conʃtantin, and Ethodius (of all whom there is not the leaʃt mention in the more ancient chronicles or catalogues of our kings) and to each of them are given long reigns, to help to ʃpin out the two centuries; for which reaʃon there are also ʃeveral years added to the reigns of ʃome of the real kings: but this cobweb device is eaʃily diʃʃipated, and can be of no uʃe to the purpoʃe, as long as the old genealogy (which could not be ʃo eaʃily altered) remains ʃtill the ʃame, even in Fordun’s account, and in that of all our writers; and king Aydan, being but in the third degree from king Fergus, the intermixing theʃe new kings, with the additional number of years of the reigns (which ʃerves only for a blind, that is eaʃily ʃeen through) will in no manner mend the matter; and ʃtill the ʃame difficulty remains of making three generations fill up two centuries; which in all ʃucceeding ages have required at leaʃt double that number of generations, as it were eaʃy to prove by induction, or example of every two ages or centuries ʃince king Aydan’s till the preʃent times.
“To render this yet more evident, there needs only to lay aʃide the ʃeventy-nine years of reign, which Fordun, or thoʃe that helped him with memoirs, thought fit to aʃʃign to the three ʃupernumerary kings (Eugenius, Conʃtantin, and Ethodius) and cut off the twenty-four years which they have added to lengthen the reigns of Fergus and Gonran beyond what the ancient catalogues give them. Theʃe two numbers of years (ʃeventy-nine and twenty-four) put together, make up above one hundred years: now retrenching them, and reckoning back from king Aydan’s death, A.D. 605 (which is a fixed epoch on which all parties, Fordun as well as the others, agree) there will not remain one full century from the death of king Aydan, A.D. 605, till the beginning of Fergus’s reign, which therefore muʃt neceʃʃarily be placed after the year 500, or the beginning of the ʃixth century, and about one hundred years after the year 403, to which Fordun had fixed it.
“It is no leʃs evident, by all the ancient abʃtracts of our chronicles, written before the year 1291, that king Fergus’s reign can be placed no higher than about the year 500; for according to the three ancient catalogues of our kings, to wit, that of the Chronica Regum Scotorum; that of the Regiʃter of St. Andrew’s; that of the Chronicle in Latin verʃe, and thoʃe of Winton and Gray, counting all the years of the king’s reigns, from the death of king Aydan, A.D. 605, up to the beginning of king Fergus’s reign, it will be found, according to thoʃe chronicles or catalogues, that the firʃt king Fergus amounts no higher than to the year 503; for theʃe catalogues or chronicles (allowing a few faults in the numbers, ordinary to copyiʃts) bear unanimouʃly that, to Fergus, ʃon of Erc, reigned three years; 20 Dongard, ʃon of Fergus, five years; 30 Congal, ʃon of Dongard, twenty-four years; 40 Gonran, ʃon of Dongard, twenty-two years; 50 Conal, ʃon of Congal, fourteen years; 60 Aydan, ʃon of Gonran, thirty-four years, and died A.D. 605. Now, counting up the years of the reigns of theʃe ʃix kings, they amount to one hundred and two years, which being deduced from ʃix hundred and five, the fixed epoch of the death of king Aydan, there remain just five hundred and three, as another fixed epoch of the beginning of the reign of king Fergus, ʃon of Erc; and by conʃequence of the monarchy of the Scots in Britain; and this juʃt anʃwers the calculation of the Iriʃh chronicles (Uʃʃer. Brit. Eccleʃ. Antiq. p. 320.) whoʃe conformity in this, to the moʃt ancient monuments that we have, mutually confirms one another.” Innes’s Crit. Eʃʃay, vol. II. p. 690.
2 Ego autem coacerʃavi omne quod inveni, tam de annalibus Romanorum quam de chronicis ʃanctorum patrium, & deʃcriptis Scotorum Anglorumque, & ex traditione veterum noʃtrorum; quod multi doctores atque librarii ʃcribere tentaverint; neʃcio quo pacto difficilius reliquerint, an propter mortalitates frequentiʃʃimas vel clades creberrimas bellorum. – Nennii Hiʃt. Britan. Ed. Gale, p. 94.
3 Eginhard. in Vit. Carol. Mag.
4 1. That whatever injury was done by the Saxons to either nations, ʃhould be looked upon as done to them both. 2. When the French are invaded by the Saxons, the Scots ʃhall ʃend an army to aʃʃiʃt them; which army is to be maintained by the French king. 3. That, when the Scots are invaded by the Saxons, the French king will ʃend an army to their aʃʃiʃtance upon his own expences. 4. That, if any of the people of other nations, during the time of war, ʃhall harbour, ʃupport, or protect any Saxon, they ʃhall be deemed guilty of læʃe majesty by them both. 5. That neither peace ʃhould be concluded with, nor war declared againʃt, the Saxons, without the conʃent of both nations. 6. That an authentic copy of this league ʃhould be kept in both kingdoms, ʃubʃcribed by both kings, and both their ʃeals appended to it. – See Mackenzie’s Lives and Characters of the moʃt eminent Writers of the Scots Nation, p. 48.
5 Sic quidem non ʃolum reges & duces gentis illius deleti ʃunt, fed etiam ʃtirps & genus adeo cum idiomatis ʃui lingua defeciʃʃe legitur. Vide Scoti Chron. lib. iv. p. 285.