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Scottish Diaries and Memoirs 1550 - 1746
Arranged and Edited by J. G. Fyfe, M.A. (1927)


THIS volume has a two-fold aim firstly, to interest the general reader in the Scotland of yesterday; and secondly, to give intimate glimpses of life in Scotland during the period from 1550 to 1746, and to shed the light of contemporary observation and knowledge on certain historical personages and events.

Many passages of great historical value have been omitted simply because they are entirely lacking in general interest; but, on the other hand, I have inserted several paragraphs for the very selfish reason that a turn of phrase or a peculiar point of view has appealed to my sense of humour. Perhaps, indeed, personal considerations have affected my choice rather too often, but I hope that part at least of what has attracted me will interest and amuse every reader.

The arrangement of the book has been determined by the periods of time covered by the extracts from the various authors. In several instances, however, the advisability of keeping in close proximity passages dealing with the same subject has necessitated slight departures from strict chronological order.

Though the spelling of a few of the earlier authors has been modernised, there are many extracts in Scots dialect. These will present little difficulty, however, for obscure words are annotated, and when a seemingly unknown word is encountered an attempt at phonetic pronunciation will generally solve the problem.

Several narrations of events and criticisms of men have been given from different points of view. The more important of such passages are linked by cross-references, but the index must be the guide to what the book contains on any particular subject.

I wish to acknowledge my gratitude to Professor Rait, not only for writing a delightful introduction, but also for the invaluable help and kindly encouragement which he has given me. I have also to record my thanks to the Hon. Evan Charteris for permitting me to quote from his edition of Lord Elcho's Short Account of the Affairs of Scotland in the years 1744, 1745, and 1746; to Captain M. J. Erskine-Wemyss for placing at my disposal the manuscript of the Journal of the 2nd Earl of Wemyss; to Dr. George Pratt Insh ior allowing me to make extracts from two journals in his volume of Darien Papers: and to the Scottish History Society for permitting me to make use of its texts of Lauder of Fountainhall's Journal, the Diary of Erskine of Carnock, the Diary of Clerk of Penicuik, The Darien Papers, and The Lyon in Mourning.

For permission to reproduce the illustrations in this volume, I am indebted to The Church of Scotland, The Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Messrs. John Swain & Son, Ltd., and Messrs. T. & R. Annan & Son.

J. G. F.

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