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Collection and Avridgement
FROM A. D. 1536 to 1784.
HISTORICAL AND CRITICAL REMARKS.
HUGO ARNOT, ESQ. ADVOCATE.
Quae scelerum facies, O virgo, effare, quibusve
PRINTED BY A. NAPIER, 43, TRONGATE.
THE Criminal Records of a Country are an historical monument of the ideas of a People, of their manners and jurisprudence: and in the days of ignorance and barbarism, they exhibit a striking, but hideous picture of human nature. The records of Scotland, in parti: cular, preseat such a frequent display of the extrava. gance of the human mind, as amuses the fincy after the wearisome detail of form, and the disgusting re. presentation of guilt.
While those materials gratify curiosity, they also afford useful information. They show what bitter fruits are produced under the gloomy climate of a tyrannical Government, and a superstitious Priesthood; and they afford us ample ground of consolation, when we compare those bitter fruits with the blessings which we enjoy under a free government, and in an enlightened age.
To present these Trials unabridged, would be to fa. tigue the reader with tedious rubbish; and to deliver them without illustration or remark, would be to de. prive them of that fund of entertainment and inforın.
ation which they ought to possess: But the manner in which I thought it adviseable to publish them has laid me under certain disadvantages, viz.. the necessity of delivering my own opinion upon a variety of difficult and important cases; and of undergoing no inconsiderable degree of labour.
In the course however of my search, into volumin. ous, obscure, and mutilated Records, I derived great benefit and satisfaction, from the polite and cheerful assistance afforded me by the Gentlemen in all the Public Offices which I had occasion to consult; and in particular from that of Mr. Norris, Depute Clerk of Justiciary, and of the Messrs. ROBERTSONS, Keepers of the Records in the General Register, whose judicious and liberal aid greatly alleviated the trouble of my work, And if it shall be honoured with the public approbation, Ishall think myself amply recompensed for the toil of a long and laborious research.
EDINBURGH, 2 Ist Aug. 1785.J