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The History of Scotland since her Union with the Kingdom of England, being little else than a detail of those machinations by which the enemies of Civil and Religious Liberty have attempted, first, to prevent the accession of your MAJESTY'S illustrious House, and, latterly, to eject it from the Throne of Britain—that Throne which you now occupy with so much honour to yourself, and satisfaction to your People --seems, if written with candour and truth, most naturally to claim
your MAJESTY'S protection. How far these attributes characterize the following work, it is not for me to say. I can, however, truly affirm, that in composing it I have unweariedly endeavoured to exercise the former, and fearlessly to follow the latter. Such as it is, I beg leave to lay it at your Majesty's feet, humbly hoping that it will be accepted as a small tribute of respectful loyalty, from
Your most devoted Subject,
and humble Servant,
16, Monteith Row, Glasgow, Feb. Isr, 1928.
For this attempt to illustrate a neglected portion of Scotish history, it is presumed that no apology will be necessary; and for the manner in which it is executed, should it be found remarkably defective, it is probable none would be accepted. Waving, therefore, every thing like prefatory remark, the author begs leave merely to state, that his great object throughout has been to unite perspicuity with impartiality, which he regards as the principal excellency of historical composition. He does not, however, pretend to that kind of impartiality which consists in having no opinion even upon the most important subjects of investigation. He who is unable to form, or who fears to express an opinion upon the characters and the events that pass in review before him, ought, in the one case from ignorance, and in the other from timidity, to be considered totally disqualified for a historian. The impartiality aimed at in the following pages, it is hoped, will be found in full and fair statements, with regard both to men and measures; and with regard to bodies of men, whether in a civil or ecclesiastic capacity, these statements have been made as much as possible in their own words, thus affording to the reader every facility for judging at once of the men and of their measures, as well as of the accuracy of those views which have been adopted by the author respecting them. If in any instance his statements shall be found defective or erroneous, he shall be ready to acknowledge and correct them when pointed out; and if, in detailing the conflicts of party, he shall be found to have caught somewhat of a party spirit, and to have uttered any sentiment inconsistent with Christian charity, he begs it may be set down as an error of the judgment, not as a settled feeling of the heart.