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arable valleys of the Highlands, but are obliged, year after year, in increasing numbers, to seek another home farther west, in the new world beyond the Atlantic? But, viewing the matter as it regards enlightenment and civilization, no charge can be reasonably brought against the Norwegians or Northmen, for having co-operated in Scotland to expel a people whose brethren and kinsmen had in every country which they occupied shown themselves incapable of adopting the new and milder manners of Christianity; and who, once before subdued by the Romans, had been compelled to yield to the fresher and more powerful Teutonic tribes of the Franks and Anglo-Saxon.
No small portion of the present population of Scotland, both in the Lowlands and on the remotest coasts and isles of the Highlands, is undoubtedly descended from the Northmen, and particularly from the Norwegians. Both the Norwegians and Danes, wherever they established themselves, introduced their Scandinavian customs, and preserved, in all circumstances, the fundamental traits of their national character. It becomes, therefore, probable that the Norwegian settlers in Scotland must, in certain districts at least, have exercised a vast influence on the development of the more modern life of the Scotch people, and on their national character. This is indeed actually and visibly the case. Yet, although the Norwegian kingdoms on the coasts of Scotland subsisted long after the downfall of the Danish power in England, still the effects of the Norwegian conquests in Scotland were far from being so great, or so universally felt there, as the results of the Danish conquests were in England. The Norwegian language was completely supplanted in the Hebrides by old Celtic or Gaelic; and on the Shetland Isles, the Orkneys, and the north coast of Scotland, by English. The Norwegian laws and institutions either entirely disappeared in these parts, or were formed anew after quite different models. Not even in the purely Norwegian Orkneys and Shetland Isles, though they remained united with Norway and Denmark until far in the fifteenth century, could the inhabitants maintain the ancient freedom which they had inherited from their forefathers. The free tenure of land, or right of “Udal,” was, for the most part, annihilated by the most shameful oppression. Established on many small, poor, and widely-separated islands, the Norwegians in Scotland could neither obtain such influence for their laws and institutions, nor concert so united and powerful a resistance against oppression, as their more fortunate Danish kinsmen in the open, rich, and densely-peopled plains of northern England.
In spite of the acknowledged fact that the Norwegians were the most numerous of all the Scandinavian colonists in Scotland, we constantly hear Norwegian achievements and Norwegian memorials referred to “the Danes.” Under this common appellation are also generally included, as in England, Norwegians and Swedes. The causes of this must probably be sought in the long dominion of Denmark over Norway, in the brisker and more uninterrupted communication which Scotland maintained with Denmark, in comparison with any other part of the North, and lastly, in the reciprocal marriages between the ancient Scotch and Danish royal families, which in former times contributed, in no small degree, to bind the Scotch and Danish people together. But the preponderance of the Danish name must also be attributed to the pre-eminent power of the Danes in ancient times, and in the early middle ages; and, of course, more particularly to that supreme dominion which they had so gloriously won for themselves in the neighbouring country-England.
The Lowlands. - Population.—Language.—Norwegian Danish
Names of Places.
The boundaries between Scotland and England were anciently very unsettled. After the time of the Romans, the Anglo-Saxon and Danish kings speedily extended their dominion over the Cheviot Hills, and frequently to the Firths of Clyde and Forth ; whilst considerable tracts of the north of England, particularly in the north-western districts, were sometimes united with the Scotch Lowlands, or with kingdoms which existed there. Until England and Scotland were at length united under one crown, the north of England was almost uninterruptedly the theatre of the bitterest border warfare. The blood of many thousands of bold warriors has been spilt on that land which now teems with the blessings of wealth and peace.
Part of this old border land, or the most southern part of the present Scotland, from the Cheviot Hills to the narrow neck of land between the Firths of Clyde and Forth,
-a tract of about sixty English miles --has not a much more mountainous character than the north of England.
The hills undulate in the same gentle forms; and it is only here and there that a single rugged mountain shows its heath-covered or bare and peaked top. Large and well-cultivated plains alternate with charming valleys, which are frequently narrow, and so fertile that in some places creeping plants, bushes, and trees, almost entirely conceal the rivulets that wind through them.
The Highlands extend themselves from the Firth of Clyde to the north-west and north ; whilst the Lowlands take a direction from the Firth of Forth along the eastern border of the Highlands, and by the coasts of the North Sea. To the Firth of Tay, and northwards to the Grampian Hills, the Lowlands are not very broad or extensive, whilst the Highland mountains nearly approach the seashore. It is not till we have crossed the Grampian Hills that those large level plains open upon us which comprehend the north-easternmost part of Scotland, particularly the present Aberdeenshire. From these less-wooded plains we turn towards the north-west into the fertile and wellwooded Moray; whence a transition again takes place to the Highlands, which begin in the adjoining shire of Inverness. At this extreme point the Lowlands have, as it were, exhausted all their splendour and abundance. Down towards the coast the land is filled with gentlysloping hills, and intersected by rivers, whose rapid currents remind one of the neighbourhood of the mountains. At a distance from the coast the land rises, the tops of the mountains become barer and sharper, the valleys have a greater depth, and the roaring of the streams over fragments of rock is heard more distinctly. The mountains, as they rise from the Lowlands to the Highlands, afford in a still higher degree than the more southern border mountains, the most enchanting prospects over the coasts and sea. It is with difficulty that the spectator tears himself from the view of the charms of the Lowlands, to bury himself in the dark mountains that rise so solemn and menacing before him.
Throughout the Lowlands, the people, both in personal appearance and character, very much resemble the inhabitants of the north of England. This is particularly the case with the inhabitants of the southern borders, between the Cheviot Hills and the Firths of Clyde and Forth. The same light-coloured hair and the same frame of body, which, in the north of England, remind us of the people's descent from the Scandinavians, indicate here also considerable immigrations of that people into the southern part of Scotland, and thence farther up along the east coast. According to a very common saying here, even the language of the Lowlands is so much like that of Scandinavia, that Lowland seamen wrecked on the coasts of Jutland and Norway have been able to converse without diffi
culty in their mother tongue with the common people there. This is undoubtedly a great exaggeration; but this much is certain, that the popular language in the Lowlands contains a still greater number of Scandinavian words and phrases than even the dialect of the north of England. We must not unhesitatingly believe that the Saxon language did not extend itself from the north of England to the Scotch Lowlands till after it had been mixed with Danish; although the remote situation of the latter, so high towards the north, was certainly far more adapted to preserve the old Danish forms of words than that of north England, which was more exposed to the operation of newer fashions. But the Danish or Scandinavian elements in the popular language of the Lowlands are too considerable to admit of such a supposition, not to speak of the Scandinavian appearance of the inhabitants. These necessarily indicate Scandinavian immigrations; and, to judge from the present popular language, we might be easily tempted to believe that a far greater number of Northmen had settled in the Scottish Lowlands than in the middle and northern districts of England. We might, consequently, also expect to meet with a proportionately greater number of Scandinavian names of places in the Lowlands than in England.
But this is very far from being the case. Extremely few places with Scandinavian names are to be found in the Scotch Lowlands; and even those few are confined, almost without exception, to the old border land between the Cheviot Hills and the Firths of Clyde and Forth, and to the counties nearest the English border. Dumfriesshire, lying directly north of Cumberland and the Solway Firth, forms the central point of such places. Northumberland and Durham, the two north-easternmost counties of England, contain but a scanty number of them; and consequently must have possessed, in early times at least, no very numerous Scandinavian population. Cumberland, on the contrary, was early remarkable for such a population ;