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PRINTED FOR T. CADELL; F. C. AND J. RIVINGTON; J. CUTHELL; J. NUNN ;
J. AND W. T. CLARKE ; LONGMAN, HURST, REES, ORME, AND BROWN; E. JEF-
AND T. GRAY; JOHN RICHARDSON; J. M. RICHARDSON;
TIE FIRST EDITION.
DELIVER this book to the world with all the
diffidence and anxiety natural to an author on publishing his first performance. The time I have employed, and the pains I have taken, in order to render it worthy of the public approbation, it is, perhaps, prudent to conceal, until it be known whether that approbation shall ever be bestowed
But as I have departed, in many instances, from former historians, as I have placed facts in a different light, and have drawn characters with new colours, I ought to account for this conduct to my readers; and to produce the evidence on which, at the distance of two centuries, I presume to contradict the testimony of less remote, or even of contemporary historians.
The transactions in Mary's reign gave rise to two parties, which were animated against each other with the fiercest political hatred embittered by religious zeal. Each of these produced historians of considerable merit, who adopted all their sentiments and defended all their actions. Truth was not the
sole object of these authors. Blinded by prejudices, and heated by the part which they themselves had acted in the scenes they describe, they wrote an apology for a faction, rather than the history of their country. Succeeding historians have followed these guides almost implicitly, and have repeated their errors and misrepresentations. But as the same passions which inflamed parties in that age have descended to their posterity; as almost every event in Mary's reign has become the object of doubt or of dispute; the eager spirit of controversy soon discovered, that without some evidence more authentic and more impartial than that of such historians, none of the points in question could be decided with certainty. Records have therefore been searched, original papers have been produced, and public archives, as well as the repositories of private men, have been ransacked by the zeal and curiosity of writers of different parties. The attention of Cecil to collect whatever related to that period, in which he acted so conspicuous a part, hath provided such an immense store of original papers for illustrating this part of the English and Scottish history, as are almost sufficient to satisfy the utmost avidity of an antiquary. Sir Robert Cotton (whose library is now the property of the Public) made great and valuable additions to Cecil's collection; and from this magazine, Digges, the compilers of the Caballa, Anderson, Keith, Haynes, Forbes, have drawn most of the papers which they have printed. No History of Scotland, that merits any degree of attention, has appeared since these Collections were published. By consulting them,