Britannia, by William Camden


Preamble to SCOTLAND.

Small N NOW I am bound for Scotland, whither I go with a willing mind: but I shall pass it over lightly, and with gentle touches; not forgetting that saying, Minus notis minus diu insistendum, the less we know things, the less we are to dwell upon them, and that advice of the Grecian Greek, Greek Greek.Be not too busie, where thou art not acquainted. For it would be great imprudence, to pretend to speak copiously, where our notices have been but few. But since this Country is also honour’d with the name of BRITAIN; I will take the liberty, with all due respect to the Scottish Nation, in pursuance of my bold Design of illustrating Britain, to prosecute that Undertaking; and, drawing aside the Veil of dark Antiquity, to point out, as far as I am able, the Places of ancient note. For this, I assure my self of pardon, both from the good nature of the People themselves, and in regard of the extraordinary Happiness of† So said, ann. 1607.our Times, when, by divine Providence, That is fallen into our hands, which we durst hardly hope for, and which our Ancestors so often and so earnestly wish’d to see; namely, That Britain, which for so many Ages had been divided in it self, and been a kind of unsociable Island, should (like one uniform City,) be joined in one entire Body, under * * K. James, the 6th of Scotland, and first of most August Monarch, the founder of an everlasting Peace. Who, being through the propitious goodness of Almighty God, appointed, and born, and preserved, for the common good of both Nations, and a Prince of singular wisdom, and fatherly affection to all his Subjects; * * Doth, C.did so cut-off all occasions of fear, hope, revenge, and complaint, that the fatal Discord, which† Hath, C.had so long engaged these Nations, otherwise invincible, in mutual Wars, * * Is, C.was now stifled, and suppressed for ever; and Concord exceedingly† Rejoyces, C.rejoyc’d, and even * * Triumphs, C.Triumph’d; because, as the Poet sings,

Jam cuncti Gens una sumus,

Now all one Nation, we’re united fast.

To which we answer by way of Chorus.

——Et simus in ævum.

And may that Union for ever last.

But before I enter upon Scotland, I think it not amiss to advertise the Reader, that I leave the first Original of the Scottish Nation, and the Etymology of the Name (discarding all Conjectures of others, which, as well in former Ages as in these our days, have ow’d their birth either to Credulity, or Supineness) to be discussed by their own Historians, and the Learned of that Nation. And, following the same method that I took in England, I shall first say something in short touching ⌈Scotland in general, with⌉ the Division of it; as also of the States of the Kingdom, and the Courts of Justice; and shall then briefly touch upon the Situation and Commodities of every particular County; shewing, which are the Places of greatest Note, and what Families are most eminent, and have flourish’d with the title and honour of ⌈Dukes,⌉ Earls, ⌈Viscounts,⌉ and Barons of Parliament, so far as by reading and enquiry I could possibly procure information. And this I shall do very cautiously, taking all imaginable care, by an ingenuous and sincere regard to truth, not to give the least offence to the most Censorious and Critical; and, by a compendious brevity, not to prevent the curious diligence of those, who may possibly attempt all this in a more full, polite, and elegant way.


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