Essays in Betrayal 2

'An Historical Essay on Scotland as Imperial and Independent.  (Published 1705)

‘An Historical Essay on Scotland as Imperial and Independent.
(Published 1705)

An early blog – how I hate that ugly word – promised to post selected passages from the 1705 book I rescued from auction, existing still, a gem bound in leather of Scotland’s political struggles to secure autonomy once and for all against the belligerence and territorial ambitions of its more powerful neighbour, a book explaining how …

“The Crown and Kingdom of Scotland is Imperial and Independent.”

Smart readers will note the book was published less than two years before the Act of Union, an historical insight extant of feelings and intellect expressed at the moment the people of Scotland faced the loss of their country racing towards them.

It’s taking a laborious amount of time to get through it because chapters are in old Scots and Latin. Excuses aside, here’s an example of the old Scots it’s printed in with spelling, capital letters, and liberal sprinkling of commas, but without the old font type:

From the Preface

“To Appear in Print, in this Mannerly Age, without De’dication or Preface, may be thought Unbecoming. For Dedication, I must own, The performance is so small and mean, that it made me unwilling, to offer any trouble to a Patron; And I presume The Independency I maintain, has for the Patrons, all true SCOTS-MEN, yea all Sincere well-wishers, of the peace and quiet of Britain. Being thus, I hope any failures in the performance will be more easily pardoned; especially when my only aim, is, to use my endeavours in the service of my Countrey.

OUR Independence hath of late not only been attack’d first in Historical Treatises, but also we are insulted by a querulous reviling Pamphlet, set forth under the title of “Select Fables.” And beside there’s very lately published a plagiary Treatise of the Account of Scotland. This obliges Us, by the necessity of self defence, after repeated attempts upon the Sovereignty of our Crown, to vindicate our just right of Independency, and to lay open the unbecoming artifices, that have been used in the Claim of Homage.

The design of this Treatise, is to evince, that the Crown and Kingdom of Scotland, is Imperial, and Independent; and that the pretences for the Homage Claim’d by England from Scotland, are chiefly founded upon Forgeries, vitiated or patcht up Laws, Fables, and extorted acknowledgments: which are the very signs of England’s bad cause.

I throw myself upon the civility of the Reader; what I have Essay’d for the service of my Countrey; Is with my Heart and Hand, without any by-end: and I have cloath’d my thoughts with such expressions as my low attainments did suggest to make them intelligible, which is all I desire.

To enforce my positions, I have brought testimonies from some of the best English Historians; or else have vouched them by Charters, Seals and Records, and for illustration have placed them in Appendix; being for the most part taken from the Originals; and if the Transcribing of ancient deeds wherein the Sillabication is different from what is now used there may be any mistakes, especially in the Letters, I hope to be excused.”

[“Sillabication” – the act or process of forming or dividing words into syllables.]

The book and the evidence it amasses are the work of James Anderson, writer to Her Majesty’s Signet. (See photograph above.)

What is astonishing is how similar much of what we endure now was thrown at Scotland’s ambitions then, lies, disinformation, forged documents, phony pamphlets, (many thanks to Daniel Defoe) false claims, and black propaganda.

Notable is the sacrifice Anderson makes in the cause of liberty for his own countrymen and women, and without any angst-ridden self-flagellation as to whether he is Scottish, British, half-Anglo, Celtic, or perhaps a born-again Vegetarian.

Essay 3, an extrapolation of the book’s first chapter, will follow shortly…

(See Essays in Betrayal 1 and 3)

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