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of the literary clubs, by the disinterment of hitherto unknown documents from the archives of the Vatican and of the English Record Office, and generally by the enlightened criticism with which statements have been sifted and facts verified.
Moreover, the attention drawn to Scotland in these last years has exhibited itself in the production of several complete Histories, such as those of Tytler, Grub, Cunningham, and Burton, while particular points and epochs in it have been elucidated with no ordinary care by such men as Skene, Stuart, E. W. Robertson, Hosack, Labanoff, Teulet, Cosmo Innes, Reeves, and above all by the late Joseph Robertson.
Moreover, the general advance in education has created the demand for a book a little less sketchy than the Tales of a Grandfather. In that work hardly any notice is taken of the earlier times; the archaeology of the country, in which Scott himself was so great a master, is very incidentally alluded to, and ancient authorities seldom speak for themselves. The present little volume has attempted to meet those wants.
But the most telling reason is, that since Scott's time a sounder treatment of history has gradually been asserting itself, in that the supernatural factors in history are being duly recognised, and the influences of the Church on civil institutions adequately estimated. It was not to be expected that men brought up under the indirect influence of the French Encyclopaedists, though hating their principles, should give a prominence to those powers in society, which in their own time had ceased to be such; and Scott himself, one of the most potent agents in the reaction, was not likely to feel that reaction in its full force. It is to Germany that we owe the turn of the tide in history. Voigt's Life of Gregory VII., and Hurler's Geschichte Pabst Innocenz III. und seiner Zeitgenossen (both Protestants, be it remembered), directed men's minds to the almost superhuman mental stature of these great Pontiffs, and to the religious principles which in their days told on politics and philosophy, while Gieseler, by presenting to the reader dry fects, and Pertz by collecting authentic documents, enable him to judge for himself. In France, Thierry, Guizot, and Ozanam, in Italy, Abate Tosti and Cesare Canti1, have carried on in their different measures the same line of thought; while in England the publications issued under the auspices of the Master of the Rolls, and the labours of such men as Professor Stubbs, Canon Raine, Mr. Freeman, the late Dr. Rock, and the lamented Arthur Haddan, have been invaluable in this respect . The last labour of Mr. Haddan, published since his death, was a contribution to the ecclesiastical history of Scotland of the greatest importance.
In no country was the Church so dominant for good or for evil as in Scotland. In its purity it was the most sanctifying influence, in its degradation the most corrupting. It was the solitary element of civilisation among the fierce tribes of the Picts and Dalriadic Scots, and it was the principal organ whereby Scotland in the eleventh and twelfth centuries was brought into the circle of European influence. But one result of its efforts for good was excessive endowment; and excessive endowment, among other causes, wrought first its corruption, and then its fall. 'Corruptio optimi est pessima,' and the glorious Church, without spot or wrinkle, of men like Guido of Lindores and St. Clement of Dunblane, became the scene of the vices of those degraded abbots and other religious persons who, to escape the discipline recommended by the last spasmodic efforts at reformation by the Council of Edinburgh in 1559, turned Protestant.
In the little History now presented to the reader it has been endeavoured to exhibit the history of Scotland in that light which is cast upon all human events by the action of the Catholic Church. An attempt has been made to give graphic pictures of the different events recorded, and conscientiously to state the truth. No writer, however judicial in his estimates of men and measures, however faithful in stating all the facts, can or ought to take a bloodless and passionless attitude with regard to human events. Sin and wrong-doing ought to excite indignation, virtue and nobility of soul extort their measures of praise. The historian is one of the most important of the teachers of men, and in the present time, when the current of popular opinion runs so strongly in the way of preference of ideas to facts, his office is doubly important. Among the causes of the false views of Philosophy and Religion which are now so lamentably prevalent, there is none so operative as the neglect of history. If, according to the Greek philosopher, the Supreme Being himself cannot make that not to have been which has been, the importance of History as the handmaid of these cannot be exaggerated, and therefore the supply of really sound text-books is one of the desiderata of modern education.
The present little work is an effort at meeting this want. The authoress has tried conscientiously to exhibit the truth irrespective of sentimental leanings, at the same time that she has not hesitated to hold up to praise or reprobation the conduct of the actors in the different scenes of Scottish history. She has sought to throw light on the greater events by illustrations taken from contemporary authorities, and to give as much local colouring as possible to the pictures of Scottish life. Above all, while never obtruding her own opinions as interpretations of the mysterious course of Divine Providence, she has never ignored the truth which lies at the bottom of all true reading of the lesson of history, that out of the mass of human sin and human sorrow the high behest of the Supreme is obeyed, and that through the disturbances caused by the depraved exercise of the free will of the creature, the ' Providence that shapes our ends' vindicates Its power and wisdom in bringing about such results as will only find their true explanation in the eternal world. 'Et nunc reges intelligite: Erudimini qui judicatis terram.'