Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/42

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12
Introduction.

such later writers as Hector Boece and George Buchanan to be got rid of. Truly did David Laing, in observing that these two only, of all the Latin historians of Scotland, had been translated previously to 1870, remark in addition that "they are the very two who ought to have been consigned to the deepest obscurity."

The fact is, that between Wyntoun in the fourteenth century, and Lord Hailes in the eighteenth, all the history written in Scotland was worse than worthless. Lord Hailes made a splendid redemption, which only required the materials, now at the disposal of everybody, to be complete.

It now remains to be explained what are these materials. Previous to the English Civil War of the seventeenth century, all State papers were jealously guarded, and withheld from public scrutiny. Even historians were not permitted to consult the archives in order to verify their statements. But during the said war, the leaders on either side being anxious to obtain intelligent popular support, fell into the habit of appealing to the people by the publication of correspondence, addresses, and minutes of negotiations. Between the Restoration and the Revolution of 1688, all public treaties entered into by Great Britain were printed by authority. About the same time, various collections of treaties began to be published in France, Germany, and Austria, which were eagerly bought up as fast as they could be produced. Great Britain followed in 1692, when Thomas Rymer, having been appointed Historiographer Royal in succession to Shadwell, was com-