RAMSGATE, 19th Aug. 1817.
I owe you a great many thanks for your letter of the 1st current, and for the instruction therein contained. I am also much indebted to you for your obliging answers to my queries and memoranda.
It certainly is not worth the trouble to search for M'Leod's tracts, which, like others of the same sort, are probably without the names of printer and bookseller, and even year.
A short history of Scotland, printed in 1509, at Edinburgh, would be a great curiosity. But I suspect what was contained in your Diary of M. Sharpe, 1737, was merely the Aberdeen Breviary, with some historical notes, like those we see sometimes in the old almanacks.
The extract respecting Lady Argyle's death I would give the world for a sight of. It would come very naturally into my Life of Queen Mary. I have some notes about her marriage from the records, and her marriage "tocher." It was a sort of subscription purse, from all her brothers who had been provided for.
Your present work of Mr. R. Law's Memoirs is a most desirable publication, much more than the high declaimed works that ever came from the pens of Buchanan or Babington. We want, from such original works in MS., the facts of the history, before we can philosophize or adjust periods. Happy! if I could be of any use to you: when I can, you may freely command my high services. As to the tracts about the barbarous burning of the supposed witch at Pittenweem, printed 1705, I doubt if I have them: some search has been made for them among my numerous tracts, an additional search shall be continued, and if found shall be sent to you. I have a good many tracts on witchcraft and witches. Some of these might be useful to you, in your notion of an historical view of this curious subject. You have got, no doubt, K. James's "Demonologie," 1597, and Sinclair's "Satan's Invisible World," 1697.
I have hopes you will print every scrap of Fountainhall. What we have of him is very interesting.
I shall print Brodie's Diary, such as it is, and send you a copy.
Yes, I have long been collecting materials for a Life of the Scotch queen who was so horribly persecuted while she lived, and still more since her murder. I thank you much for what you say of her pictures, on which I am pretty strong. A little leisure and exertion would bring this life to the press. It will be in two such 4to vols. as Sir W. Forbes's "Beattie," and much ornamented. The first vol. will contain a very long introductory dissertation on the calumnies of M. Stewart, from her cradle to her grave. This will be followed by four memoirs: 1. of Francis II.; 2. of Darnley; 3. of Bothwell; and last, though not least, a very minute one of the Bastard Mummy. This vol. will contain my controversy. The 2d. vol. will be the Life of Mary herself. Such is my plan. Happy if I had her fairly before the world. I have from the records here and at Edinburgh obtained very many papers, entirely new, tending to her vindication, and to the illustration of many obscure points in her history.
Any letters or papers to me, you may easily send up to me, at Whitehall, by putting my packet under cover to Lord Viscount Chetwynd, Whitehall, London, whose frank will carry any weight of paper, being clerk of the Council in waiting. This is the safest and easiest mode possible. And in this way you may send any letters of your own, to be sent out by my messengers.
Accept, Dear sir, of my best wishes for your health and success, as so many tributes of my perfect esteem, being
your faithfull and obedient servant,