Page images
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]


In laying this Work before the Public, my object has been to give as luminous a view as my limits would permit, of the causes of the various enterprises narrated in these volumes.

It is necessary to observe, that in the ac«count of the Assassination of James I., I have followed the document inserted in the first volume of Pinkerton's History, which that historian has himself used. The death of James III. cannot be well understood, without giving a brief sketch of his eventful reign; and although I have perhaps dwelt longer on it than was absolutely necessary, as it is a very important period of our national history, it could not be avoided, without making any account of the lamentable end of that monarch imperfect. It has no other pretensions than that of being a compilation of facts; yet history, after all, must of necessity be a compilation.


The Conspiracy of Fiesco against Genoa, is reprinted. As I have prepared an introductory notice in its proper place, it is unnecessary to repeat my observations here.

The Death of Don Carlos is a mere sketch, compiled from various sources, of an affair so involved, that it is extremely difficult to separate truth from fable. It has been variously treated by the friends and enemies of Philip, and has afforded a theme for the inventions of poets and romancers. But, in whatever light it is viewed it will never be forgotten, that the fate of that Prince is the groundwork of one of Schiller's Tragedies, of one of Otway's great efforts, and of one of the finest pieces of historical romance by the Abbé St Real.

The Gowrie Conspiracy is certainly one of the most mysterious events recorded in history, and to it I would beg the attention of the reader. I have taken, doubtless, a peculiar view of it, as connected with the events of that period; but such subjects are now open to discussion, and every individual is entitled to hold his own opinion. Fortunately, all doubt as to the reality of the Conspiracy is ended, by the recent discovery

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

of the Original Letters of Logan of Restalrig, in the Register-Office, Edinburgh. To ROBERT PITCAIRN, Esq., the able Editor of the Criminal Trials, I am under very great obligations, for having put into my hands a mass of interesting documents connected with this Conspiracy, hitherto unpublished, and of which I have made as much use as my limits would permit. Indeed the latter part of the narrative is almost wholly prepared from these documents, and from the subsequent proceedings of the government contained in that splendid work, “ The Acts of the Parliament of Scotland" recently printed by the command of his present Majesty.

The second volume must speak for itself. It is not too much to say, that its contents will be found perhaps more interesting than the first; and it is hoped, that, altogether, these portions of history-in which human character and adventure are brought so conspicuously before the reader, as illustrative of what men have hazarded for the accomplishment of ambitious projects, or to gratify revenge-will not be unacceptable to the Public.

J. P. L. EDINBURGH, July 1829.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »