History, Gazeteer and directory of the County of Oxford, England
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The earliest writers inform Us that they found this kingdom peopled by a race called Gauls or Celts fully a thousand years before the Christian era; and our most celebrated historians agree that it was from Gaul that Britain actually derived its first inhabitants. The whole of the southern coast of this island appears to have been peopled before either its more northern, or the midland districts had been penetrated. As the descendants of the original settlers increased in number, and new bands of emigrants successively arrived from the mother country, the backwoods were gradually cleared, till at length the whole island became inhabited. Ireland too, is supposed to have been peopled during this interval, from the neighboring coasts of the west of England. Besides the testimony of ancient authorities, the position of the two countries (Gaul and Britain,) and the resemblance of manners and customs; we have the clear and strong testimony of language to prove the one people to have sprung from the other. The Celtic language, though in divided portions, is still known amongst us. One branch of it called the Gaelic, is spoken by the native Irish, by the Scottish Highlanders, and in the Isle of Man; the other was formerly current in the county of Cornwall, and is still spoken in Wales and Lower Britany. The Gaelic or Celtic race not only took possession of this kingdom, but actually overrun .the continent of Europe from the farthest shores of Ireland, to the banks of the Danube. It was to one of the bands of foreign invaders, who inhabited Ireland, that the epithet Scots was first applied. Different interpretations of this word have been given, but the most probable is the same, with the modern Gaelic term scuit or scaoit, signifying a "wandering horde." From Ireland a branch of the Scots, passed over into Scotland, and eventually gave their name to the country; though a part of Scotland had long before been peopled by the Caledonians or Cavilldaoin, that is "men of the woods." The Gauls who first inhabited Britain were distinguished, not only for their good natural capacity, but for their valour, and their pledged fidelity to aid each other against the attacks and incursions of all foreign powers. Their persons were tall, their clothing was untanned skins, and they painted the naked parts of their body with a blue colour, decorating the skin with figures of various objects, particularly the heavenly bodies, and they shaved all their beard except on the upper lip, which they suffered to grow to a great length. Their towns were a confused assemblage of huts, covered with turf or skins, little superior to the Kraals of the Hottentots, and for the sake of security, generally planted in the midst of woods and morasses, and surrounded with palisadoes of trees piled upon each other, like the fortification observed at this day among the New Zealanders.