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TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
WILLIAM TROTTER OF BALLENDIAN,
LORD PROVOST AND LORD LIEUTENANT
OF THE CITY OF EDINBURGH,
IS, BY HIS LORDSHIP'S PERMISSION,
MOST RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED.
EDINBURGH, 21st September 1826.
HE preliminary Introduction, Epistle, or Preface, had its rise with the earliest dawn of Modern Literature, and is now so fully established by universal custom, from the origin of printing to the present day, that a book without one would seem as defective as an army without pioneers, or a body corporate without its officer. Its usual office is either to deprecate censure, or solicit praise ; but as the compiler of the present volume, has upon this occasion little to fear from the one, and as little to expect from the other, he has perhaps little need for its services; well knowing that if his labours are found useful or amusing, the book will sell and be read; but on the contrary, if otherwise, it will remain as dead lumber upon the booksellers' shelves; and deeming this a sufficient reward or punishment, is willing to abide the issue.
In compliance bowever with custom, a due observance of which constitutes good manners, he may not be out of place in observing, that he has done the best his time and limits would permit ;. being nevertheless well aware, that his subject is capable of great and beneficial extension. The early history of the Constitution of Edinburgh is like a garden run wild, so overgrown with weeds and brambles, that it is quite impossible to trace with accuracy its original compartments; or like the town itself, so changed by the alterations and improvements of successive ages, that we can now only affirm with certainty, that it originally stood where a part of it still does, upon the ridge of a hill. In tracing its original features, he has endeavoured to make use of such land-marks as the all-devouring hand of time has yet left standing, and the occasional remarks of subsequent writers; but with all these helps, as will be seen, much is still left to be supplied by conjecture. In continuing its history, having no particular object in view, he has endeavoured to tell a plain tale in plain words ; narrating facts as far as he could come at them, in the regular order in which they occurred, rather in the style of a chronicle than a history, without bias to any one party or another; and if he has deviated from this principle in any