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WEST OF SCOTLAND IN HISTORY:
Events, Family Traditions, Topography, and
PREFATORY matter, or “Fore-words," as now sometimes used by scholars, better befits the language of explanation than apology. Over two centuries since a famous Episcopal Puritan, Archbishop Tillotson by designation, wrote of his once popular Sermons, “I shall neither trouble the reader, nor myself, with any apology for publishing of these Sermons, for if they be in any measure truly serviceable to the end for which they are designed, I do not see what apology is necessary; and if they be not so, I am sure none can be sufficient.” Explanation in such a case may be made in terms equally brief. The slight desultory Sketches making up the following pages have for the most part already appeared in print, as prepared in the hurry of journalistic work for publication in the “Glasgow Herald,” daily or weekly, and “Evening Times.” The writer is not unconscious that in their imperfect form, and for which he is alone responsible, the Sketches only touch the edge of the subject—the mere hem of what is historical, and can in no sense be considered exhaustive. A certain picture, Goldsmith wrote, would have been better had the artist taken more pains. So of these Sketches; more and better may follow, should what is written meet with any moderate acceptance of public favour. Reference having occasion to be made from time to time in the articles as originally written to events of a passing or ephemeral nature, these in the following pages have been either omitted altogether, or explained, it is hoped with sufficient fulness, by the use of dates within brackets. Being rather Notes on History than History itself, the writer did not at first contemplate publication in a separate form, and even now only yields to the frequently expressed wish of a few friends that the Sketches might be placed in a handier and more permanent form than could be secured through their appearance in any newspaper of the day, however popular and widely circulated.