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By Sir Walter Scott, Bart. with a supplementary chapter of recent events by Mayo W. Hazeltine in two volumes


THE Author was invited to undertake this general Sketch of Scottish History in connection with a similar abridgment of English History by Sir James Mackintosh, and a History of Ireland by Thomas Moore, Esquire. There are few literary persons who would not have been willing to incur much labor and risk of reputation for the privilege of publishing in such society. On the present occasion, the task, though perhaps still a rash one, was rendered more easy by the Author having so lately been employed on the volumes called Tales of a Grandfather, transferred from the History of Scotland, for the benefit of a young relation. Yet the object and tenor of these two works are extremely different. In the Tales taken from Scottish history, the author, throwing into the shade, or rather omitting all that could embarrass the understanding or tire the attention of his juvenile reader, was desirous only to lay before him what was best adapted to interest his imagination, and, confining himself to facts, to postpone to a later period an investigation of the principles out of which those facts arose.

It is hoped, on the contrary, that the present history may, in some degree, supply to the reader of more advanced age truths with which he ought to be acquainted, not merely as relating to one small kingdom, but as forming a chapter in the general history of man. The object of the two works being so different, their contents, though drawn from the same sources, will be found so distinct from each other, that the young student, as his appetite for knowledge increases, may peruse with advantage this graver publication, after being familiar with that designed for an earlier age; and the adult, familiar with the general facts of Scottish history, as far as conveyed in these volumes, may yet find pleasure in reading those Tales which contain its more light and fanciful details.

November 1, 1820.

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