THERE are three views in
which the history of the Ancient Scots has been considered. The first is
the fabulous; the second, confounding them and the Picts; and the third,
what may be called the "dark age" of the Scots. Those who have looked no
farther than the last, fancied the nation to have been just then
emerging from barbarism; and they might have been heard comparing their
ancestors with the native races of America. As this History comes not
down to that unfavourable era, no notice shall be taken of the dim light
in which the Scots appeared from the sixteenth century to the Union, a
period of about two hundred years. It is not necessary to speak of the
fabulous history, the writers of which have been fully exposed by Innes.
Had they looked to the great nation of whom they were descended, they
needed not to have sought elsewhere for higher antiquity.
The confused state in which the Scots and the Picts have been
represented, may not be so easily described in tracing the origin of the
Scots, since writers that should have known better, differ, and the
least favourable account has been adopted by some eminent authors.
All that is stated in Part Second will admit of no dispute, as the
history of the nation is simply narrated, with the lives of the kings
who governed during the space of five centuries; and what relates to
this period, but could not be conveniently inserted in the History, is
given in Part Third.
March 3, 1858.
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The History of the Ancient Scots