Page images

ments relating to the family. Others were communicated by Mr. Short, Town Clerk of Dumfries. I have also to acknowledge the kindness of the Reverend Dr. Duncan of Dumfries, and the Reverend Mr. Somerville of Drumelzier, in furnishing me with extracts from the church-records in their bounds, which were very useful to me in drawing up the Supplement to Veitch's Memoirs.

The Memoirs of George Brysson are printed from a MS. belonging to Mr. Robert Whyte, : Edinburgh, who is married to a lineal descendant

of the author. As the preceding article includes a curious account of the escape of the Earl of Argyle after his condemnation, so the reader will find in this article a no less interesting account of the expedition which issued in the capture and execution of that public-spirited but unfortunate nobleman. To make the account of this expedition more complete, I have introduced distinctly, in the form of extract and of abridgement, such parts of Sir Patrick Hume's Narrative as state facts which did not fall under the personal observation of Brysson, or which he has omitted.

Colonel Wallace's Narrative of the Rising suppressed at Pentland is taken from a MS. in the College Library of Edinburgh, which is rather


strangely entitled “ Rump Parliament,” but which contains a history of the affairs of Scotland, chiefly ecclesiastical, from the year 1659 to 1675. It is evident that Mr. Kirkton had consulted it, when he composed his History; but a narrative of that affair, drawn up by the individual who commanded the Presbyterian forces, appeared to me to merit publication.

The collection is closed with a Narrative of the Rising suppressed at Bothwel Bridge, written by James Ure of Shargarton, a gentleman who acted a prominent part on that occasion. It is

preserved in the Advocates Library, and may be viewed as an appropriate accompaniment to the preceding narrative. The circumstance of its having been composed by one who took the moderate side in the disputes which divided those who had recourse to arms at this time, was an additional inducement to publish it; as all the separate accounts of this affair already before the public, were written by persons attached to the opposite party.

Biographical notices of the writers of the two last articles are prefixed to their respective narratives. The object proposed in the notes was to illustrate the text, not to indulge in reflections on the facts which it details. In collecting mate

[ocr errors]

rials for these, I derived much assistance from Mr. Meek, on whose accuracy in making extracts I could always rely, and who often discovered facts additional to those which he was instructed to search for:

Some may be of opinion that unnecessary pains has been taken in the editing of the work; but having undertaken to superintend the publication of these memorials, and considering them to be valuable, I reckoned it incumbent on me to do them as much justice as possible. With a little more labour a connected history of the period might have been produced, but I am persuaded that no account which I could draw up would present so graphic a picture of the men and measures of that time, as is exhibited in the following historical pieces. The reader has an opportunity of listening to persons who describe scenes which they witnessed, and in which they bore a part, more or less distinguished. Agreeing in their religious and political sentiments, they were placed in very different situations : one of them being an ecclesiastic, another a military man, a third a private gentleman, and a fourth a farmer and a merchant at different periods of his life. Their style of writing is of course various; but all the

narratives have that pleasing character which marks the compositions of men who write on a subject with which they are familiarly acquainted, and in which they feel a deep interest. Brysson's Memoir is by far the best written of the whole ; and, indeed, it appears to me to be a masterpiece of the kind, for unaffected simplicity and the natural picturesque in historical description.

In the Appendix some papers are inserted which do not bear a very intimate relation to the narratives in the preceding part of the work, but which I thought worthy of being brought to light. Of this kind are the letters which contain a notification of the seizure of the registers of the Church of Scotland, and which give an account of the printing of Calderwood's History. It appears from these documents that the last-mentioned work, though in a form much more contracted than that in which it was originally compiled, was exactly printed from a manuscript which the author himself had carefully prepared for the press; and, consequently, it can no longer be viewed either as of doubtful authority or as an abridgement made by a different hand.

EDINBURGH, 16th May, 1825.

« PreviousContinue »