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THE ANNALES OF Scotland in some part continued from the time in which Holinshed left, being the yeare of our Lord 1571, vntill the yeare of our redemption 1586, by Francis Boteuile, commonlie called Thin.

_SOcrates (good reader) being demanded how a man might speake that which should be best and acceptable to all men, most wiselie (as one in all his life wholie giuen to serch and saie the truth in eue|rie thing) answered: That we then speake best & most to be allowed, when we speake nothing but that which we best and perfectlie know. For we know nothing excellentlie well, but such things as are often heard by vs from others, manie times repeated by our selues; and that which is com|monlie receiued, imbraced, approoued, and vsed by all men. Now those things are most vsed which concerne publike affaires, and such publike af|faires are most knowne when they end in publike action; & publike action, so farre foorth as it concerneth the thing doone, must needs be true that the same was so doone in that order, as it was openlie sene to be doone. Wherby might be concluded, that in chronicling and treating of publike affaires, we should speake that which is best, which is most acceptable, & most true: bicause we report things doone in the eies of all men. But how trulie that is performed in some new writers, it is well knowne to all men of iudgement. For such is the affection of our age, that some of malice, and some for flatterie, and euerie one to feed their owne disposition, doo so glose things publiklie doone, as with a certeine witcherie of words, they like Circes transforme the things doone in publike shew to be of other shapes than they were indeed. Whereby Socrates maie now seeme to be confuted, in saieng, that they speake best that speake things receiued of all men, and that be com|mon to the world: for so shall misreporting and flatterie, a thing commonlie knowne and vsed of all men, be the best speech; which in truth neither is nor can be. Now what I haue seene and knowne in that, as well of things at home as of things abroad, I forbeare to write; and for that cause also might most iustlie restraine my pen (wri|ting vpon the report of others) both now and hereafter from treating of such publike affaires, to the end my selfe should not run into the danger of a like falsifier or misreporter. But then on the contrarie part, when I fall to an other exposition of the same saieng of Socrates, that he speaketh best, that speaketh that which he best knoweth, and that we best know the things which are commonlie receiued, and that we receiue those for soundest which time trieth to be most true, and those things which be most true are such as are knowne to be publikelie doone; I suppose I shall speake best and most acceptablie in writing publike affaires; considering that I am not sworne to anie faction, nor carried with hate or loue, nor bewitched with promise of gaine or honour, nor inforced to turne to the right or left hand, but onelie left at libertie to make truth the daughter of time to be the common end, knowledge, and report of publike things: sith the end of labor, of contemplation of studie, & fruit of writing (as appeareth 2. Met. 4.) is the atteining of truth, and not that perpetuitie or mémorie of a famous name or report, a thing alwaies sought by me to be auoided, being onlie content in secrecie to relie my selfe vpon the recording of truth, which of all things (in my mind) is most pleasant, bicause the same is alwaie a conqueror. For as saith Ne|hemias, Truth is great and dooth mightilie preuaile. Wherefore, as I said, sith those things be most true & best knowne which are publikelie doone, and that they are publikelie doone that sort to anie action in the common|welth: we then conclude that we write best and most acceptablie, when we trulie set downe a common truth of common occurrents doone in the common-wealth; bicause that such things trulie reported, doo conclude with Socrates that we speake and write best in declaring a deed trulie doone, in that order (without ambages, gloses, or parcialities) as the same was most trulie performed touching the truth of that outward act.

Accept therfore (good reader) that which I doo suppose I haue best spoken (by this my argument grounded vp|on Socrates) in this my continuance of the Annales of Scotland vnwillinglie attempted, but by inforcement of others, whose commanding friendship it had beene sacrilege for me to haue gainesaid. And therefore rather carelesse to hazard the hard opinion of others, descanting vpon my sudden leaping into the printers shop (especi|allie at the first in a matter of such importance) than the losse of the long and assured friendship of those which laied this heauie charge vpon my weake shoulders, I haue like blind baiard boldlie run into this matter, vn|der the hope of thy fauourable acceptance. And though herein I shall not in euerie respect satisfie all mens minds and iudgements, that for fauour of persons, times, & actions, will like Proteus at their owne pleasure make black seeme white, alter euerie matter into euerie shape, & curiouslie carping at my barrennes in writing, bicause I omit manie things in this my continuance of the Annales of Scotland, & haue reported things in other formes than some mens humors would haue had me to doo: I must desire thee to consider for the first that the Scots themselues, besides manie others of our owne nation are the cause thereof, who either for feare durst not, or for prentended aduise and consultation in the matter would not, or for the restreint of others might not, impart to me such things as should both concerne the honour of the Scotish nation, and the substance of their owne cause. For the other matter, if I should bind my stile to the affections of some, I should breake the rule of Socrates, and not speake the best, sith I should then speake publike and common things, publikelie knowne to all men, con|trarie to that order, in which they were commonlie and publikelie seene to be doone of all men; and so by that meanes fall into the reproch of a disdeined reporter.

EEBO page image 406 Now, if thou which art the reader, thinke that I (vnacquainted with mattets of state, especiallie in an other countrie, better knowne to all men than to my selfe) am far vnable to breake the dangerous ice of such matters, and so more vnme [...] to enter into the bosome of princes (whose harts as Salomon saith are vnsearchable) should for my vnaduisednesse seeme worthie the punishment of Prometheus, that stale the fier from Iupiter, and caried it abrode into the world, bicause the affaires of princes are not to be made common, to be submitted to the cen|sure of their subiects, nor to be written vntill the ashes of all those whome the things concerne were vtterlie con|sumed: thou must yet remember that men haue escaped punishment in dealing with higher matters than with things of chronicles, or of such like which onelie touch the life of the bodie. And therefore in punishing there|of vpon Prometheus, Iupiter went beyond himselfe. For if the greater, that is for matters touching the soule, went not onelie free from punishment, but receiued eternall reward, as after shall appeare, how much more should Prometheus haue beene spared, that but onelie medled with the bodie? Now it is manifest that in diui|nitie and matters of the soule (a thing that so far exceedeth the bodie as the sunne dooth the moone, as angels doo inferior creatures, and as light dooth darkenesse) there be manie which haue lept into heauen, and by contem|plation placed their pen amongst the sonnes of God in writing, and laieng abrode to the world (as much as in them laie) the vnsearchable works of the Almightie, whereof we cannot comprehend the least cause, order or perfection, and haue therefore not onelie not receiued punishment, but eternall reward both in bodie and soule; as Enoch was translated to paradise; Elias taken vp in a fierie chariot; Paule rapt vp into the third heauen, with manie others. For which cause I saie, if they which lepped into matters farre beyond the reach of men, to ex|presse in the meanest degree of perfection, were not punished for medling therein, and writing thereof; much lesse ought I to be punished with Prometheus in medling with the discourse of matters vpon the earth, and such as concerne the actions of mortall creatures, as battels, mutations of kingdoms, death of princes, and such other earthlie accidents. Into which yet I would not haue so rashlie descended, or taken so hard a prouince in hand, had not (as before I said) the commandement of such as I durst not gainsaie, interponed it selfe as a shield to receiue and beat backe the sharpe darts of enuious toongs. For which cause sith I was bound to him by desart, and that he had better opinion of me than there was cause whie; I feared not (though I deemed it the part of him which doubted the iudgement and reproch of the wiser sort, not to haue hazarded his credit) to enter into this dangerous sea, being not so much furnished with hope to performe it well, as desirous to discharge the request of him, and to shew the hope I conceiued at the well acceptance thereof by thee. In which discourse I had rather good reader thou shouldest complaine of want of sufficiencie in me to performe so hard a thing: than that he should mislike of my goodwill in answering his desire. And should I feare to enter heereinto, being a thing meet onelie for great councellors and men priuie of matters of estate; as though there were no place for Greeke poets but onelie to Homer and Sophocles; and for Latine poets, but to Virgill, Ouid, and Horace? Did the singularitie and amplenesse of Platos knowledge in philosophie feare Aristotle to write in the like argument? Or hath Ari|stotle staied the pen of others? Shall no man be painters but Appelles or Zeuxis, or caruers or grauers but Phi|dias and Lysias? Shall no man be orators but Cicero, Quintilian, and Demosthenes? Shall none write histories but Caesar, Liuie, Sabellicus, Paulus Iouius, Comineus, Guicciardine, or such like? Or shall none deliuer their tra|uell to the world bicause they cannot write in English as did sir Thomas Moore, sir Iohn Checke, Roger Askam, Gefferie Fenton, or Iohn Lilie? Yes trulie, for when they haue doone their best, and written what they can, a man may yet imagine a far more excellent thing, euen of and in that wherein they haue best trauelled, written, pain|ted, or graued, and that euen by the selfe same thing which they haue doone. And more good reader thou canst not doo either vpon the basenes of my stile, the disorder of the matter, or the barrennesse of supplieng of things requisit for the furnishing and maiestie of an historie, than to suppose and saie that a better forme and method of writing, a more ample discourse for the matter, and a sweeter stile for the manner might haue beene had for the historie of Scotland, than that which I haue set downe. Wherefore if the best writers be subiect to these faults, that when they haue spent all their wit, eloquence, and art, there is yet somewhat to be desired in them, as well as in me the meanest writer, I am content to beare all speeches, and desire thee to thinke what I would doo, and not what I should doo; to excuse me by others, and not to condemne me with others; to accept this in that sort as I haue meant it, and rather with mildnesse to pardon my imperfections, than with malice to barke at my well meaning. Besides which, if thou shalt deeme this worke and continuation of mine for Scotland, ought to haue been consecrated to the fauourable acceptance, and honourable protection of him to whom the first volume was dedicated; I answer (besides that I am to him an estranger, and not to beg vndeserued fauour of anie person, and that the first patrone of this Scotish historie is now in the low countries beyond the seas) this is a thing by me so slenderlie doone, that it meriteth not his honourable iudgement, or the learned view or patronage of anie other of the nobilitie. For if it had, I would then haue bestowed the same vpon those to whom I haue alreadie consecra|ted my selfe, whatsoeuer I am, hauing long before this couenanted with my bodie, onelie to tie it vnto their good commandement. For hauing but one heart, I cannot dilate it to serue and offer it selfe to manie persons, considering that where is but one heart, there must needs be but one waie: and he that will bestowe one heart vpon manie persons, must diuide the same into manie portions, and so dismember it, that in the end it will be no heart at all; or els he must go to the shambles to prouide manie sheepes hearts, to bestow vpon those manie to whom he will bind his manie seruices: for which causes I may neither choose a new patrone, nor dedicate this to the old, but onelie to thee the fauourable reader. Now before I knit vp this exordium (which may seeme to thee in respect of the following historie, to be like the towne, the gates and entrance whereinto being verie great, oc|casioned Diogenes to will the inhabitants to shut those great gates, least that little towne did run out thereat) I am to admonish thee good reader, that in all my former additions to the historie of Scotland, I haue neither word for word, nor sentence for sentence, set downe the writings of Lesleus or Buchanan, but haue chosen out the matter as I thought best and apt to my desire. After which sort I haue likewise in this my continuation of the an|nales of that countrie, not set downe or deliuered things to the world in that sort and stile as I haue receiued intelligence thereof, but onelie culled foorth such matter as both the time wherein we liue, the matter whereof I intreat, and the method required therefore, may well beare and chalenge. Thus hauing laid before thee, that he writeth best that trulie writeth publike affaires, that I was commanded by my deere freends to enter into this sand: that I cannot discourse of this historie as I willinglie would: that I ought not to forbeare to write bicause I cannot in stile and matter equall the best: that they are to be pardoned that attempt high things: that I haue purposelie in generall dedicated this labour to the common reader, and not in particular to anie honourable person: and hoping that thou wilt pardon all imperfections, I sparinglie enter into the continuation of the an|nales of Scotland (being such as thou maist be content to read, and I am contented to write) in this sort as heere followeth, making my first entrance thereinto with the death of the earle of Lennox, with whome Holinshed finished his chronicle, and so to the matter, after this long and tedious deteining of thee from the same.

Francis Thin.

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