Page images


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

The pieces composing this volume relate to an important period of our national history, which, after all that has been written on it, still admits of farther illustration.

The Memoirs of Mr. William Veitch are printed from a MS. belonging to David Constable, Esq. advocate, who very obligingly put it into my hands with a view to publication. - Itbears to have been written and carefully coilàted with the original, Aug. 11, 1997.". In the Advocates Library is a copy of a Diary, chiefly religious, written by Mrs. Veitch, which confirms and throws light on several passages of her husband's Memoirs. The original of this is in the possession of W. Henderson Somerville of Fingask and Whitecroft, Esq: a descendant of Mr. Veitch, to whom I am indebted for the use of several documents relating to the family. Others were communicated by Mr. Short, Town Clerk of Dumfries. I have also to acknowledge the kindness of the Reverend Dr. Duncan of Dumfries, and the Reverend Mr. Somerville of Drumelzier, in furnishing me with extracts from the church-records in their bounds, which were very useful to me in drawing up the Supplement to Veitch's Memoirs.

The Memoirs of George Brysson are printed from a MS. belonging to Mr. Robert Whyte, Edinburgh, who is married to a lineal descendant of the author. As the preceding article includes a curious account of the escape of the Earl of Argyle after his condemnation, so the reader will find in this article a no less interesting account of, the expedition which issued in the capture and executiorr.of.that public-spirited but unfortunate nobleman. To make the account of this expedition more complete, I have introduced distinctly,

in the forma of extract: and of abridgement, such parts of Sir Patrick Hume's Narrative aş state, facts which did not fall under the personal obser-, vation of Brysson, or which he has omitted.

Colonel Wallace's Narrative of the Rising suppressed at Pentland is taken from a MS. in the College Library of Edinburgh, which is rather

strangely entitled “ Rump Parliament,” but which contains a history of the affairs of Scotland, chiefly ecclesiastical, from the year 1659 to 1675. It is evident that Mr. Kirkton had consulted it, when he composed his History; but a narrative of that affair, drawn up by the individual who commanded the Presbyterian forces, appeared to me to merit publication.

The collection is closed with a Narrative of the Rising suppressed at Bothwel Bridge, written by James Ure of Shargarton, a gentleman who acted a prominent part on that occasion. It is preserved in the Advocates Library, and may be viewed as an appropriate accompaniment to the preceding narrative. The circumstance of its having been composed by one who took the moderate side in the disputes which divided those who had recourse to arms at this time, was an additional inducement to publish it; as all the separate accounts of this affair already before the public, were written by persons attached to the opposite party.

Biographical notices of the writers of the two last articles are prefixed to their respective narratives. The object proposed in the notes was to illustrate the text, not to indulge in reflections on the facts which it details. In collecting mate

rials for these, I derived much assistance from Mr. Meek, on whose accuracy in making extracts I could always rely, and who often discovered facts additional to those which he was instructed to search for.

Some may be of opinion that unnecessary pains has been taken in the editing of the work; but having undertaken to superintend the publication of these memorials, and considering them to be valuable, I reckoned it incumbent on me to do them as much justice as possible. With a little more labour a connected history of the period might have been produced, but I am persuaded that no account which I could draw up would present so graphic a picture of the men and measures of that time, as is exhibited in the following historical pieces. The reader has an opportunity of listening to persons who describe scenes which they witnessed, and in which they bore a part, more or less distinguished. Agreeing in their religious and political sentiments, they were placed in very different situations : one of them being an ecclesiastic, another a military man, a third a private gentleman, and a fourth a farmer and a merchant at different periods of his life. Their style of writing is of course various; but all the

« PreviousContinue »