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up in hundreds by the fishermen from the descendants, isolated among the fastsurface of the Dogger-Bank.
nesses of the Pyrenees by the advance of Such were the denizens of southern younger tribes. Traces of his former England when man made his first appear- presence in Britain bave been conjectured ance there. It seems not unlikely that he to be recognizable in the small, dark came some time before the close of the Welshmen, and the short, swarthy Irishlong ice age. He may have been tempo- men of the west of Ireland. rarily driven out of the country by the When the earliest neolithic men ap. returning cold periods, but would find his peared in this region, Britain may still way back as the climate ameliorated. have been united to the Continent. But Much ingenuity has been expended in the connection was eventually broken. It tracing a succession of civilization in this is obvious that no event in the geological primeval human population of Britain. history of Britain can have had a more Among the records of its presence there powerful influence on its human history have been supposed to be traces of an than the separation of the country as a earlier race of hunters of a low order, group of islands cut off by a considerable furnished with the rudest possible stone channel from direct cominunication with implements; and a later people, who, out the mainland of Europe. Let us consider of the bones of the animals they, cap. for a moment how the disconnection was tured, supplied themselves with deftly- probably brought about. made, and even artistically decorated There can be no doubt that at the time weapons. All that seems safely deduci- when Britain became an island, the genble from the evidence, however, may be eral contour of the country was on the summed up in saying that the palæolithic whole what it is still. The same groups men, or men of the older stone period, of mountains rose above the same plains who hunted over the plains, and fished in and valleys, which were traversed by the the rivers, and lived in the caves of this same winding rivers. We know that in country, have left behind them imple. the glacial and later periods considerable ments, rude indeed, but no doubt quite oscillations of level took place; for, on suitable for their purpose; and likewise the one hand, beds of sea-shell are found other weapons and tools of a more fin. at heights of twelve or thirteen hundred ished kind, which bear a close relation- feet above the present sea-level; and on ship to the implements still in use among the other hand, ancient forest-covered the modern Eskimos. It has been sug- soils are now seen below tide-mark. It gested that the Eskimos are their direct was doubtless mainly subsidence that descendants, driven into the inhospitable produced the isolation of Britain. The north by the pressure of more warlike whole area slowly sank, until the lower
tracts were submerged, the last low ridge The rude hunter and dweller in caves connecting the land with France was passed away before the advent of the overflowed, and Britain became a group farmer and herdsman of the neolithic or of islands. But unquestionably the isolater stone period. We know much more lation was helped by the ceaseless wear of him than of his predecessors. He was and tear of the superficial agencies which short of stature, with an oblong head, and are still busy at the same task. The slow probably a dark skin and dark, curly hair. but sure washing of descending rain, the His implements of stone were often artis. erosion of watercourses, and the gnawing tically fashioned and polished. Though of sea-waves all told in the long degradastill á hunter and fisher, he knew also how tion. And thus, foundering from want of to farm. He had flocks and herds of do- support below, and eaten away by attacks mestic animals; he was acquainted with above, the low lands gradually dimin. the arts of spinning, could make a rude ished, and disappeared beneath the sea. kind of pottery, and excavate boles and Now, in this process of separation, subterranean galleries in the chalk for the Ireland unfortunately became detached extraction of Hints for his weapons and from Britain. We have had ample occa. tools. That he had some notion of a sion in recent years to observe how much future state may be inferred from arrow. this geological change has affected our heads, pottery, and implements of various domestic history. That the isolation of kinds which are found in his graves, evi. Ireland took place before Britain had dently placed there for the use of the been separated from the Continent, may departed. He has been regarded as prob. be inferred from a comparison of the dis. ably of a non-Aryan race, of which per tribution of living plants and animals. haps the modern Basques are lineall Of course, the interval which had thes
elapsed since the submergences and ice-the strong tides which pour alternately sheets of the glacial period must have up and down the strait must have helped been of prodigious duration, if measured also to deepen the Channel. And yet, in by ordinary human standards. Yet it spite of the subsidence and this constant was too short to enable the plants and erosion, the depression remains so shalanimals of central Europe completely to low that its deepest parts are less than possess themselves of ihe British area. one hundred and eighty feet below the Generation after generation they were surface. As has often been remarked, if moving westward, but long before they St. Paul's Cathedral could be shifted from could all reach the north-western sea- the heart of London to the middle of the board, Ireland had become an island, so Straits of Dover, more than half of it that their further march in that direction would rise above water. was arrested, and before the subsequent At what relative tine in the human ocadvancing bands had come as far as Brit- cupation of the region this channel was ain, it too had been separated by a sea finally opened cannot be determined. At channel which finally barred their prog. first the strait was doubtless much narress. Comparing the total land mam- rower than it has since become, so that it mals of the west of Europe, we find that would not oppose the same obstacle to while Germany has ninety'species, Britain free intercourse which it now does, and
forty, and Ireland only twenty-two. neolithic man may have readily traversed The reptiles and amphibia of Germany it in his light coracle of skins. Be this number twenty-two, those of Britain thir- as it may, there can be no doubt that the teen, and those of Ireland four. Again, old Basque or Iberian stock had for many even among the winged tribes, where the ages inhabited Britain before the succeedcapacity for dispersal is so much greater, ing wave of human migration advanced to Britain possesses twelve species of bats, overflow and efface it. The next invaders while Ireland has no more than seven, - the first advance.guard of the great and one hundred and thirty land-birds to Aryan family – were Celts, whose deone hundred and ten in Ireland. The scendants still form a considerable part same discrepancy is traceable in the flora, of the population of the British Isles. for while the total number of species of The Celt differed in many respects from flowering plants and ferns found in Brit. the small, swarthy Iberian whom he sup: ain amounts to fourteen hundred and planted. He was tall, round-headed, and twenty-five, those of Ireland number nine fair-skinned, with red or brown hair. hundred and seventy
about two-thirds Endowed with greater bodily strength of the British flora. Such facts as these and pugnacity, he drove before him the are not explicable by any difference of older and smaller race of short, oblongclimate rendering Ireland less fit for the headed men, gradually extirpating them, reception of more varied vegetation and or leaving here and there, in less attracanimal life; for the climate of Ireland is tive portions of the country, small islandreally more equable and genial than that like remnants of them which insensibly of the regions lying to the east of it. mingled with their conquerors, though, as They receive a natural and consistent I liave already remarked, traces of these interpretation on the assumption of the remnants are perhaps partially recognizagradual separation of the British Islands ble in the characteristic Iberian-like lineaduring a continuous north-westward mi- ments of some districts of the country gration of the present flora and fauna even at the present day. from central Europe.
The Celts, as we now find them in The last neck of land which united Britain, belong to two distinct divisions Britain to the mainland was probably that of the race, the Irish or Gaelic, and the through which the Strait of Dover now Welsh or Cymric. Soine difference of runs. Apart from the general subsidence opinion has arisen as to which of these of the whole North Sea area, which is at. branches appeared in the country first. tested by submerged forests on both It seems to me that if the question is sides, it is not difficult to perceive how discussed on the evidence of geological greatly the widening of the channel has analogy, the unquestionable priority been aided by waves and tidal currents. should be assigned to the Gaels. There The cliffs of Kent on the one side and of can be no doubt that the Celts came from the Boulonnais on the other, ceaselessly the east. They had already overspread battered by the sea, and sapped by the Gaul and Belgium before they invaded trichle of percolating springs, are crum. Britain. The tribe which is found on the bling before our very eyes. The scour of most northerly and westerly tracts must
have crossed on its way the regions lying after crossing it by some of the deep val. to the east, while on the other hand, the leys by which it is trenched, they would race occupying the eastern tracts should find themselves in the wide plains of the be of later origin. We ought to judge of Eden and the Solway. Still pushing their the spread of the human population as we way northward, and driving the Gaels do of that of the fora and fauna. Had before them, they would naturally follow England been already occupied by the the valley of the Nith, leaving on the left Welsh, Cymric, or British branch, it is hand' the wild mountainous region of Gal. inconceivable that the Irish or Gaelic loway, or “country of the Gael,” to which branch could have marched through the the conquered tribe retired, and on the territory so occupied, and have estab- right the high moorlands about the head lished itself in Scotland and Ireland. of Clydesdale and Tweeddale. Emerging The Gaels were, no doubt, the first to at last upon the lowlands of Ayrshire and arrive. Finding the country inhabited by lower Clydesdale they would spread over the little neolithic folk they dispossessed them until their further march was arthem, and spread by degrees over the rested by the great line of the Highland whole of the islands. At a later time the mountains. Into these fastnesses, stoutly Cynry arose. We are not here concerned defended by the Pictish Gaels, they seem with the question whether these originated never to have penetrated. But they built, by a gradual bifurcation in the develop- as their northern outpost, the city and ment of the Celtic race after its settlement castle of Alcluyd, where the picturesque within Britain, or came as a later Celtic rock of Dumbarton, or " fort of the Britwave of migration from the Continent. It ons,” towers above the Clyde. is enough to notice that they are found at At one time, therefore, the Cymry exthe beginning of the_bistorical period to tended from the mouth of the Clyde to the be in possession of England, Wales, and south of England. One language -the south of Scotland up to the estuary Welsh and its dialects — appears to have of the Clyde. It is improbable that the been spoken throughout that territory. Gaels, who must once have occupied the Hence the battles of King Arthur same attractive region, would have will- which, from the evidence of the ancient ingly quitted it for the more inhospitable Welsh poems, appear to have been moors of Scotland and the distant bogs fought, not in the south-west of England and fenlands of Ireland. It is much as is usually supposed, but in the middle more likely that they were driven forcibly of Scotland, against the fierce Gwyddyl out of it. Possibly the traditions they Ffichti or Picts of the north and the carried with them of the greater fertility heathen swarming from beyond the sea of England may have instigated the were sung all the way down into Wales numerous inroads which from early Ro- and Devon, and across the Channel man times downwards they made to re. among the vales of Brittany, whence, becover the lands of their forefathers. coming with every generation more mysCrossing from Ireland they repossessed tical and marvellous, they grew into favor. theinselves of the west of Wales, and ite themes of the romantic poetry of Eusweeping down from the Scottish High- rope. lands they repeatedly burst across the The Roman occupation affected chiefly Roinan wall, carrying pillage and rapine the lowlands of England and Scotland, far into the province where their Cymric where the more recent geological formacousins had begun to learn some of the tions extend in broad plains or plateaux. arts and the effeminacy of Roman civiliza- Numerous towns were built there, between tion.
which splendid roads extended across the Looking at the territory occupied by country. The British inhabitants of these the Cymry at the time of their greatest lowlands were not extirpated, but contin. extension, we can see how their course ued to live on the lands which they had northward was influenced by geological tilled of old, more or less affected by the structure. As they advanced along the Roman civilization, with which, for some plains which lay on the west side of the four centuries or more, they were brought great Pennine chain of the centre and in contact. But the regions occupied by north of England, they encountered the the more ancient rocks, rising into rugged, range of sells which connects the mountain forest - covered mountains, offered an group of Cumberland and Westmoreland effective barrier to the march of the Rowith the uplands of Yorkshire and Dur. man legions, and afforded a shelter within ham. This would probably be for some which the natives could preserve their an time a barrier to their progress. But I cient manners and language with but little change. The Romans occupied the broad who had gradually pushed their way westcentral lowland region of Scotland, which ward up the valley of the Thames, found is formed by the old red sandstone and themselves on the edge of the Cotswold carboniferous strata, extending up to the plateau, looking down upon the rich and base of the Highlands. But though they long settled plains of the Severn. Deinflicted severe defeats upon the wild bar- scending froin these heights they fought barians who issued from the dark glens, in 577 the decisive battle of Deorham, and though they seem to have been led by which had the effect of giving them pos. Severus round by the Aberdeenshire low session of the Severn valley, and thus of grounds to the shores of the Moray Firth, isolating the Britons of Devon and Corn. and to have returned through the heart of wall from the rest of their kinsmen. the Highlands, they were never able per- Driven thus into the south-west corner of manently to bring any part of the moun. England upon ancient Devonian and grantainous area of crystalline rocks under ite rocks, poorer in soil, but rich in wealth their rule.
of tin and copper, these Britons mainThe same geological influences which tained their individuality for many centuguided the progress of the Roman armies ries. Though they have now gradually may be traced in the subsequent Teutonic been fused into the surrounding Englishinvasions of Angles, Saxons, Jutes, and speaking people, it was only about the Norwegians. Arriving from the east and middle of last century that they ceased to north-east, these hordes found level low- use their ancient Celtic tongue. lands open to their attack. Where no Still more important was the advance impenetrable thicket, forest, fenland, or of the Angles on the north side of Wales. mountainous barrier impeded their ad- The older palæozoic rocks of the princivance, they rapidly pushed inland, utterly pality form a mass of high grounds which, extirpating the British population, and Aanked with a belt of coal-bearing strata, driving its remnants steadily westward. descend into the plains of Cheshire. By the end of the sixth century the Brit. Younger formations of soft red triassic ons had disappeared from the eastern half marl and sandstone stretch northward, to of the island south of the Firth of Forth. the base of the carboniferous and Silurian Their frontier, everywhere obstinately hills of north Lancashire. This strip of defended, was very unequal in its capabil. level and fertile ground, bounded on the ities of defence. In the north, where they eastern side by high desert moors and imhad been driven across bare moors and penetrable forests, connected the Britons bleak uplands, they found these inhos- of Wales with those of the Cumbrian pitable tracts for a time a barrier to the uplands, and, for nearly two hundred further advance of the enemy; but where years after the Romans had left Britain, they stood face to face with their foe in was subject to no foreign invasion, save the plains they could not permanently perhaps occasional piratical descents from resist his advance. This difference in the Irish coasts. But at last, in the year physical contour and geological structure 607, the Angles, who had overspread the led to the final disruption of the Cymric whole regions from the Firth of Forth to tract of country by the two most memora- the south of Suffolk, crossed the fastness ble battles in the early history of En- of the Pennine chain and burst upon the gland.
inhabitants of the plains of the Dee. A Between the Britons of south Wales great battle was fought at Chester in and those of Devon and Cornwall lay the which the Britons were routed. The Anrich vale of the Severn. Across this gles obtained permanent possession of plain there once spread, in ancient geo- these lowlands, and thus the Welsh were logical times, a thick sheet of Jurassic effectually cut off from the Britons of strata of which the bold escarpment of the Cumbria and Strathclyde. The latter Cotswold Hills forms a remnant. The have gradually mingled with their Teuvalley has been in the course of ages hol. tonic neighbors, though the names of lowed out of these rocks, the depth of many a hill and river bear witness to their which is only partly represented by the former sway. The Welsh, on the other height of the Cotswold plateau. The Ro. hand, driven into their hilly and mountain. mans had found their way into this fertile ous tracts of ancient palæozoic rocks, plain, and, attracted by the hot springs have maintained their separate language which still rise there, had built the vener. and customs down to the present day. able city of Bath and other towns. One Turning now to the conflict between hundred and seven years after the Ro- the Celtic and Teutonic races in Scotland, mans quitted Britain, the West Saxons, we notice in how marked a manner it was
directed by the geological structure of the races, it still serves to define the re. the country. The level secondary forma. spective areas of the Gaelic-speaking and tions which underlie the plains, and form English-speaking populations. On the so notable a feature in the scenery of En- old red sandstone we hear only English, gland, are almost wholly absent from often with a northern accent, and even Scotland. The palæozoic rocks of the with not a few northern words that seem latter kingdom have been so crumpled and to remind us of the Norse blood which broken, so invaded by intrusions of igne. Aows in the veins of these hardy fisherous matter from below, and over two- folk and farmers. We meet with groups thirds of the country rendered so crystal. of villages and towns; the houses, though line and massive, that they stand up for often poor and dirty, are for the most part the most part as high tablelands, deeply solidly built of hewn stone and mortar, trenched by narrow valleys. Only along with well-made roofs of thatch, slate, or the central counties, between the base of flagstone. The fuel in ordinary use is the Highlands on the one side and the coal, brought by sea from the south. But southern uplands on the other, where no sooner do we penetrate within the area younger palæozoic formations occur, are of the crystalline rocks than all appears there any considerable tracts of lowland ; changed. Gaelic is now the vernacular and even these are everywhere interrupted tongue. There are few or no villages. by protrusions of igneous rock, forming The houses are built of boulders gathminor groups of bills, or isolated crags, ered from the soil and held together with like those that forın so characteristic a mere clay or earth, and are covered with feature in the landscapes around Edin. frail roofs of ferns, straw, or heather, kept bury!). In old times dense forests and down by stone-weighted ropes of the same impenetrable morasses covered much of materials. Fireplaces and chimneys are the land. A country fashioned and not always present, and the pungent blue clothed in this manner is much more suit smoke from fires of peat or turf finds its able for defence than for attack. The way out by door and window, or beneath high mountainous interior of the north, the begrimed rafters. The geological composed of the more ancient crystalline contrast of structure and scenery which rocks, which had sheltered the Caledo. allowed the Teutonic invaders to drive nian tribes from the well-ordered advance the older Celtic people from the coastof the Roman légions, now equally pro: line, but prevented them from advancing tected them from the sudden swoop of inland, has sufficed during all the subseSaxon and Scandinavian sea-pirates. quent centuries to keep the two races Neither Roman nor Teuton ever made apart. any lasting conquest of that territory. It On the north-western coasts of the isl. has remained in the hands of its Celtic and there are none of the fringes of more conquerors till the present time.
recent formations which have bad so But the case has been otherwise with marked an influence on the east side. the tracts where the younger palæozoic From the north of Sutherland to the head. deposits spread out from the base of the lands of Argyle the more ancient rocks Highland mountains. These strata have of the country rise steep and rugged out not partaken of the violent corrugations of the sea, projecting in long, bare promand marked crystallization to which the ontories, forever washed by the restless older rocks have been subjected. On the surge of the Atlantic. Here and there contrary, they extend in gentle undula. the coast-line sinks into a sheltered bay, tions forming level plains, and strips of or is interrupted by some long, winding lowland between the foot of the more an inlet that admits the ebb and flow of the cient hills and the margin of the sea. It ocean tides far into tlie heart of the moun. was on these platforms of undisturbed tains. Only in such depressions could a strata that invaders could most success. seafaring people find safe harbors and fix fully establish themselves. So dominant their settlements. When the Norsemen has been this geological influence, that sailed round the north-west of Scotland the line of boundary between the crystal. they found there the counterpart of the line rocks and the old red sandstone, country they had left behind – the same from the north of Caithness to the coast type of bare, rocky, island-fringed coastof Kincardineshire, was almost precisely line sweeping up into bleak mountains, that of the frontier established between winding into long sea-lochs or fjords be. the old Celtic natives and the later bordes neath the shadow of sombre pine forests, of Danes and Northinen. To this day, and westward the familiar sweep of the in spite of the inevitable commingling of same wide, blue ocean. So striking even