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NOTE I. p. 15.
D URNET, i. 178. Baillie, ii. 431. Cunningham's
Hist. of Britain, i. 13. The fact mentioned by Burnet, and confirmed by these writers, is preposterously questioned by Dr. Campbell. Biog. Brit. iii. 190. But Burnet's veracity, at least in Scottish affairs, is attested throughout by his coincidence with Wodrow's History and original materials; an immense mass of MSS. in the Advocates' Library, which I have carefully inspected. The coincidence is the more remarkable, as Wodrow, who published in 1721, 1722, had never seen Burnet’s History, published, the first volume in 1723, the second in 1734. In writing from memory, Burnet neither is, nor pretends to be, always correct in dates; and in his latter days he was undoubtedly credulous. But his narrative is neither to be rejected because the dates are displaced, nor are the glowing characters of nature to be discarded because they coincide not with the prejudices of party writers. If we compare his narrative and characters with those of Clarendon, and consider how superior they are to every cotemporary production, how frequently they have been silently transcribed by succeeding authors ; (Hume him
self, for instance, who blames them most,) and how imperfectly their loss would have been supplied by more recent memoirs, we shall discover the real value of Burnet as an historian.
NOTE II. p. 70.
In the last, and till Forbes was appointed president in the present century, it appears that frequent injustice was incurred from causes being called and decided irregularly, at the option of the president; that the presence, or the absence of particular judges might determine the question according to his mind. To correct this iniquity, the preceding parliament, in an act to regulate judicatures, had ordained: 1. That every cause to be heard in the inner house should be inrolled, and called according to the date of its registration : 2. That if a cause is called by anticipation out of its due course, neither party is bound to plead or to appear. It is declared a sufficient defence that the cause was called out of the order of the rolls; and although the parties should not object, the clerks are forbidden to engross or to extract the decision of the court. Parl. 1672, cap. 16.§ 5. 12. It is difficult to conceive a stronger prohibition ; but the parties, not aware of Lauderdale's intention, .had not at first objected; the cause was not inrolled, as required by the act; and when reported tothe inner house, it was not therefore called out of its due course in the rolls. On such miserable chicane does that great lawyer, lord Stair, place the judgment which he pronounced. Stair's Decisions, Feb. 5th, 1674,
NOTE III. p. 91.
The only historical facts are, the speech in March, the Archbishop's murder in May, the insurrection in June; circumstances of which the first and last are too remote to be received as cause and effect. The supposed effects of the speech are transcribed by North and Echard, from pamphlets written during the virulence of faction, which contain little else than the political lye of the party or of the day. Nothing is more common in faction than to ascribe the necessary effects of injustice and violence to those who have deprecated and foretold the event; thus the loss of America has been imputed to a speech of the late lord Chatham. But of those who have improved upon North and Echard, Sir John Dalrymple is the most extravagant. Shaftesbury, who, calling in the aid of war to that party, had maintained a long correspondence, of which not a trace exists, with the discontented Scots, first taught them to complain of the tyranny to which they had long submitted, then instructed the English to feel and resent their sufferings ; and lastly, by means of a few copies of an unprinted speech, roused eight thousand fanatical Scots to arms. Is this historical painting or the dreams of romance? Dalrymple's Memoirs, i. 266.
NOTE IV. p. III.
HUME considers Spreule’s as an extraordinary case. He was examined on the ordinary questions--was Sharp's death murder ? &c. and on an imaginary plot to blow up the palace together with the duke. Dalrymple infornis us that Wodrow had gained credit by appealing to the council records which he, sir John, had examined, but found no reason for the imputation that the duke attended when Spreule was tortured. In the first place, although the acts of council, in which its proceedings were neyer inserted, are still preserved, the council records from 1678 to August 1682, though inspected by Wodrow, have been ámissing from the public offices above fourscore years: Secondly, Wodrow does not appeal to the council record, but to the more unsuspicious testimony of Spreule himself, who was alive when he wrote. The council record is transcribed by Wodrow; but as the duke's attendance was voluntary, his name is not inserted in the committee appointed to superintend the torture. Dalrymple's Memoirs, i. 13. Wodrow's Hist. MS. Col. vol. iv. 8vo. .
The only instance which I have found, of an equivocal humanity in the duke's administration, it would be unjusť to suppress. Five young men were selected from the prisoners for the regiments in Flanders ; but their behaviour before the privy council was so intrepid or treason: able, that they were transferred to the justiciary court to be condemned and executed, and their heads to be exhis bited as usual on the city walls. Next day four more were produced, to be sent to Flanders ; but as they began in the same strain, the duke ordered them to be removed that they might not hang themselves with their own tongues. Fountainhall's Decisions, i. 158-60.
NOTE V. p. 145. This rude but affecting declaration may explain their calamities and the extent of their wrongs : “We do hereby “ testify that we utterly detest and abhor that hellish 66 maxim of killing all who differ in judgment from “ us. Yet we declare, that whosoever stretch forth “ their hands against us by shedding our blood, either by “ authoritative command, such as bloody counsellors, “ (bloody we say, insinuating thereby an open distinction “ between the cruel and blood thirsty and the more 'c sober and moderate,) justiciary generals, &c. all whò « make it their work to embrue their hands in our blood, “ or by obeying of such commands, as malicious soldiers,