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%niuala^h dkmirmk THIKD SERIES, No. XLIIL—OCTOBER, 1865. VLi/ ON THE RACE AND LANGUAGE OF THE PICTS. {Continued from p. 307.) The third source of information to which we may resort, is the topography of the districts which the Picts are known to have occupied; and we have now to inquire whether any light is thrown from this source on the race and language of the Picts. The etymology of the names of places in a country is either a very important element in fixing the 'ethno¬ logy of its inhabitants, or it is a snare and a delusion, just according as the subject is treated. When such names are analysed according to fixed laws based upon sound philological principles, and a comprehensive ob¬ servation of facts, they afford results both important and trustworthy; but if treated empirically, and based upon resemblance of sounds alone, they become a mere field for wild conjecture and fanciful etymologies lead¬ ing to no certain results. The latter is the ordinary process to which they are subjected. The natural tendency of the human mind is to a mere phonetic ety¬ mology of names both of persons and of places. It is this tendency which has given rise to what may be called " punning" etymologies, in which the king of Scot¬ land plays so facetious a part, when the first Guthrie had that name fixed upon him by the king, from his pro¬ posing, when asked how many fish should be prepared, 3rd see., vol. xi. 22