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SC O T L A N D
THE UNION OF THE CROWNS ON THE ACCESSION
OF JAMES VI. TO THE THRONE OF ENGLAND,
UNION OF THE KINGDOMS IN THE REIGN
OF QUEEN ANNE.
By MALCOLM LAING, Esq.
WITH TWO DISSERTATIONS, HISTORICAL AND CRITICAL,
ON THE GOWRIE CONSPIRACY, AND
IN TWO VOLUMES,
Printed by A. Straban, Printers Street,
The following work was chiefly undertaken, as a History of Scotland, from the Union of the Crowns to the Union of the Kingdoms, seemed to be still wanting to render its annals complete. The early history of Scotland is in other hands: the most important period has been executed by Dr. Robertson, with a fidelity equal at least to the elegance and the success of his work; but the domestic transactions of Scotland, from the Accession to the Union, have hitherto remained concealed in manuscripts, or buried in the obscure volumes of ecclefiaftical difputation. The most prominent events alone are occasionally recorded in English historians,; but the causes, consequences, and the whole train of subordinate incidents, are imperfectly known. It becomes not me to determine, hardly indeed to conjecture, how far, or whether I have succeeded in my design, to ive a just and impartial continuation of the History of Scotland down to the period when its History expires.
During the whole of the civil wars, it is impossible to separate the history of the two kingdoms. Without departing therefore from my professed
design, I have entered largely into the relative affairs of England, and omitted no opportunity to illustrate, concisely, the most disputed passages concerning the origin and continuance of the civil wars, the character and motives of Charles I. and the cause of his death. It is here, where the judgment is pre-occupied with some historical theory or political system, that I anticipate the principal objections to my work; but if I deviate from our recent historians, I approach the nearer to those original authorities which I have been the more careful to quote, and which they who dispute my conclusions are requested to consult.
The manuscript materials employed in this history are chiefly derived from the library of the Faculty of Advocates at Edinburgh, to which I enjoy a professional access. Calderwood's MS. cited wherever the printed abstract is defective, Matthew Crawford's, and some other manuscript histories, were procured from the records of the church of Scotland. The records of the justiciary court, and of the privy council, have been frequently examined'; but I am indebted for many
valuable materials, to the private repositories of gentlemen, whose friendship I am proud to acknowledge, Mr. Erskine of Mar communicated to me the correspondence of his ancestors, the earl of Mar and his brother lord Grange, without folicitation and without reserve.
Through the friendship of Mr. Clerk of Elden, whose Naval Tactics have contributed to our naval victories, I obtained full access to the historical writings of
his father, Sir John Clerk of Pennycuick, a commissioner at the Union; and from the honourable Mr. Maule 1 procured the transcripts of Fountain. hall's Memoirs, and of other MSS. preserved by his ancestor, Mr. Henry Maule.
Instead of extracting from these materials a collection of original papers, in which it would be difficult to separate historical facts from the fanaticism of the age, I have subjoined such Notes and Illustrations as were necessary to explain at length, and to confirm the most doubtful, or disputed passages in each volume.
On two occasions only I have departed from this plan. The forgery detected in Logan of Restalrig's supposed letters, might appear to discredit the whole Gowrie Conspiracy, which belongs to the preceding period of history ; but I have annexed, without scruple, to the first volume, an Historical Dissertation for which I am indebted to the friendship of Mr. Pinkerton, who, in my apprehension, has placed that obscure transaction in its genuine light. The other instance, in which I have deserted my accustomed mode of illustration, is the Dissertation annexed to the second volume, on the supposed Authenticity of Ossian's Poems. The prevailing belief of their authenticity, at home and abroad, will render it the less surprising, that, in a question concerning our literature and early history, I was desirous to vindicate to my countrymen that incredulity which I have freely and repeatedly ex, pressed. As a short note was found insufficient, I have entered, as concisely as poslible, into a 6