Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/43

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13
Introduction.

missioned to edit the leagues, treaties, alliances, capitulations, and confederacies of the kingdom. The outcome of this was the celebrated collection known as Rymer's Fœdera Anglicana, of which the first volume was published in 1704, the twentieth and last in 1736.

This invaluable fund of authentic information was open to, and greatly made use of by, Lord Hailes in preparing his Annals. No Scotsman no one, indeed, who prizes the dignity of history can do too great honour to that writer for having dragged the story of his country out of the mire in which it had been suffered to sink, and, for the first time, moulded it into a trustworthy and lucid record. Sir Walter Scott paid him no exaggerated encomium, when, in the introduction to The Lord of the Isles, he said, " Lord Hailes was as well entitled to be called the restorer of Scottish history, as Bruce the restorer of Scottish monarchy."

The work begun by Rymer has not slumbered. Parliament has voted money freely to secure the services of the men best fitted to edit those papers which the permanent officials in the various public departments have been indefatigable in repairing, deciphering, aud arranging. Hence it has come to pass than an immense amount of fresh material has been placed at the disposal of those who care to make use of it. Much has been brought to light to which Lord Hailes had no access, and, though his work remains unshaken, it has been possible to elucidate certain points on which he was uncertain or misinformed.