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A Critical Inquiry into the Scottish Language
With the view of illustrating the Rise and Progress of Civilisation in Scotland by Francisque-Michel (1882) (pdf)

THE close political and social ties that bound Scotland to France form a very striking feature in the history of both countries, especially in that of the former. The Ancient League, traditionally dating from the days of King Achaius and the Emperor Charlemagne, became in the fourteenth century an undoubted fact, when both countries had a common interest in resisting the ambition of the Plantagenet kings. The frequent royal alliances, the steady intercourse, and the consequent mutual change of ideas between the two kingdoms during the Stuart era, could not fail to leave recognisable marks upon both nations. On Scotland, as the more backward of the two countries, French influence made a deep impression. Scottish early civilisation was cast mainly in a French mould; its Universities drew their constitution almost wholly from French sources; its municipal institutions were largely copied from French examples; its religion at the Reformation elected to be guided by French rather than by German rites; its language, its social customs, its business, its pastimes,—were all more or less modified by the French conviction. To thoroughly understand Scottish civilisation, we must seek for most of its more important germs in French sources. We must recall the steady tide of intercourse flowing between the two countries ; the crowds of Scotsmen flocking to France for study or for military service, and coming back to imbue their students and their tenants with their own experience; the French courtiers and men-at-arms who came to Scotland in the train of each royal alliance; the scholars of the Reformation who strove to introduce the principles and forms of the Huguenots; the Jacobite emissary of a later century full of French sympathies and French ideas; and the French followers who often accompanied the “Scot abroad” back to his own country.

The present volume is an attempt to illustrate the extent to which this French influence pervaded the life of the Scottish people. Exception may be taken to some of the lines on which our research has proceeded, and some of our conclusions will perhaps prove subject of controversy. For this we are prepared. Our object is achieved when we have shown the part that French influence exercised in Scottish progress finding its way into every rank and into every walk of life. The book is not set forth as a complete exposition, but rather as an opening up of a question of much general interest in the history of British culture. Such as it is, it is now after much labour submitted to the learned of the two countries that have always shown such goodwill to each other. It is now high time to gratefully acknowledge a debt which has been running on for upwards of two years. The Rev. Walter Gregor, minister of Pitsligo,—one of those scholars whose learning cannot be confined within the quiet bounds of a Scottish manse, and whose abilities are perhaps better known to savants in other countries than his own, — has given me assistance without which the book could not have been what it is. In suggesting, revising, correcting, modifying views, and supplying illustrations, Mr Gregor has indeed been indefatigable; and gratitude is due from the public as well as from myself to him for his arduous labours.

The author cannot close without acknowledging with thanks the zeal and talent evinced by Messrs William Blackwood & Sons during the progress of this book through the press.

Paris, 13 Rue de l’Ancienne Comedie,
January 1882.

A Critical Inquiry into the Scottish Language
With the view of illustrating the Rise and Progress of Civilisation in
Scotland by Francisque-Michel (1882) (pdf)

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