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Annals of Scottish Printing
From the Introduction of the Art in 1507 to the beginning of the seventeenth century by Robert Dickson L.R.C.S.E and John Philip Edmund


Preface

IT appears necessary to offer a few words of explanation, showing to what extent the authors of this work are respectively responsible. In 1876-78 Dr. Dickson contributed to "The Printers' Register" a series of articles under the title of "Early Scottish Typography," but failing health brought them to an abrupt termination. These articles have been incorporated with that part of the present work which extends from the commencement to the end of Chapter XX. It was Dr. Dickson's intention to use the articles in some such way as the present, and, in order to illustrate the subject, he caused photo-type blocks of facsimiles of the early printing to be prepared, and these, together with such notes as he had gathered for the continuation of the work, were placed at my disposal when I undertook to carry out this larger design.

In 1881 Dr. Dickson published a tract, entitled "Who was Scotland's First Printer?" and in 1885 a book on the same subject, under the title of "Introduction of the Art of Printing into Scotland." The ground traversed in those two books has been necessarily retraced in this work, and extracts from them find a place here for it appeared desirable to retain Dr. Dickson's account of our earliest Scottish printers, rather than attempt to treat the subject anew.

My work on the first twenty chapters has been mainly editorial. I have used every effort to ensure accuracy by checking the collations, and, where defective, rewriting the descriptions of the books. This particularly applies to such books as Dr. Dickson had no opportunity of examining. Where more recent information had been obtained the sentence, paragraph, or chapter affected thereby was recast or rewritten, but in no case has this been done without good cause and the consent of Dr. Dickson. For the second part of the work, extending from Chapter XXI. to Chapter XXXVIII., I am wholly responsible. Dr. Dickson's notes necessarily formed a useful basis of operation, but the descriptions are entirely new, and in nearly every case taken directly from the books themselves. Where this could not be effected, the descriptions appear as mere quotations from previous writers on the subject, and as such are duly acknowledged. I feel deeply conscious of many defects in the present work, and that it should be free from typographical errors is scarcely to be expected, but I must leave these to the kind indulgence of my readers. The work has been conducted amid many interruptions and distractions, and the printing has been spread over a long time, delays occurring which made progress impossible. The period at which I have closed the work may appear arbitrary, but my reasons for doing so are as follows. The year 1600 was considered at first suitable for a break, but on examination it was found that to adopt a hard and fast rule would exclude certain works of three printers. It was then decided to include all printers who exercised their craft in Scotland before 1601, and by this means it was possible to embrace within our limits Robert Charteris, whose productions are of interest and rarity, and whose succession to his father was of necessity treated of in an earlier part of the work.

In conclusion, we most cordially thank many kind friends for assistance during the progress of the work. To Mr. William Blades we are indebted in a very special manner for the description printed at pages 36-42 ; to the late Mr. Samuel Christie Miller for his courtesy in bringing to London for inspection some of the rare treasures in which the library at Britwell Court is so rich; to Mr. Alfred H. Huth for permitting an examination of several volumes of great interest and rarity; to the Right Hon. the Earl of Erroll for allowing an examination of the interesting library at Slains Castle; to the Very Rev. the President of St. Mary's College, Blairs, for permission to collate the very scarce early Scotch books in his keeping; to the officials of the British Museum and the Public Record Office for their unwearied efforts to assist in researches in the great national collections; to the librarians of the Society of Antiquaries, the Bodleian, Cambridge University, Trinity College, Cambridge, the Faculty of Advocates, the Universities of St. Andrews, Aberdeen, and Edinburgh, —to all these gentlemen thanks are due for valuable assistance, and for permission to examine the books under their care. We are also indebted for welcome suggestions and information to Principal Geddes, Aberdeen University, Mr. F. Jenkinson, Trinity College, Cambridge, Mr. E. Gordon Duff, Wadham College, Oxford, the Rev. W. D. Macray, Oxford, Dr. Thomas Dickson, H. M. General Register House, and many other kind friends.

J. P. EDMOND.

102 Percy Road, W.
8th November, 1889.

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