WHEN I several years ago
commenced to write this book, voices were not wanting advising me to
abandon the idea, chiefly on account of the vast area from which the
material had to be gathered and the almost total want of preparatory
inquiry into this particular branch of Scottish History.
When I nevertheless
persevered in my task, though experiencing to the full the truth of those
Cassandra voices, it was owing not only to an interest which warmed with
the increasing difficulties, but to the very kind and active help that
friends of historical research both in Scotland and in Germany have
afforded me in supplying copies of records or other sources of
information, or in reading proofs, or in acting as guides through the
labyrinths of their libraries. It would be too long to mention their
names; my thanks are due to them all, in particular to the librarians and
keepers of records in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, St Andrews, Fort
Augustus, Dundee, and in half a hundred places in Sweden, Germany and
That notwithstanding this
kind co-operation the present book is still far from complete, I am only
too painfully aware.
There is more than enough
of material to be found among the Records of Konigsberg and Danzig alone
for a contemplated second volume, to be devoted to the Scottish
settlements in Prussia only, of which we have given a sketch in the First
Part of the present work. Such a volume ought to be written.
Perhaps some Society like
the Scottish History Society or the Society of Antiquaries would think it
worth its while to originate and stimulate research in this direction. So
old barrows have been ransacked, so many old
Ogham stones been read, so many old Charter Chests been examined at their
expense and instigation. Here then is a new field; quite as interesting to
the Scottish historian, a field altogether neglected hitherto, but full of
the promise of the most interesting and surprising results!
It must be left to the
future with more or less confidence to point out and smooth the way
towards the happy consummation of a task, towards which the present volume
only forms a contribution.
I regret very much that my
search for the portraits of Alesius and Dune has hitherto proved
To the courtesy of Baron
Johnston in Silesia, of the "Historische Verein" at Hanau, and of the Rev.
King Hewison at Rothesay I am indebted for the three portraits reproduced.
In conclusion, let me say
that I am still collecting the likenesses of famous Scots in Germany and
that I shall be grateful for the direct communication of any criticisms or
alterations concerning the form or the substance of the present, as well
as for any suggestion or help towards the writing of the contemplated
20 SOUTH FREDERICK STREET,
EDINBURGH, February 1902.