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of Moray,” but in the annals of our country. The illustrious house of Gordon, by their eloquence in the Senate, have often swayed the Councils of State; and, in times of national peril, have, by their valour in the field, propped the stability of the Scottish throne, and kept the crown on the head” of their Sovereign.*
Repulsæ nescia sordidæ, Intaminatis fulget honoribus !” Nor have your Grace's family been more renowned for their patriotism and public services, than esteemed for the more amiable and conciliating virtues of private life. Where shall we find benevolence of heart and urbanity of manners, integrity of principle and inviolable honour, more eminently displayed than in the character of the Duke of Gordon !
That your Grace's valuable life may long be preserved to bear the honours and exhibit the virtues of your ancestors,—that the beneficence which has so long been the “exchequer of the poor,” and the condescending goodness which has so often patronized unbefriended merit, may long continue to diffuse their influence; and that your Grace may ever enjoy a degree of happiness proportionate to your virtues, is the humble and heart-felt prayer
of, MY LORD DUKE,
• See HISTORY, page 16.
The Author of this undertaking collected the materials of it at different times, and wrote them for his own amusement, without any design of offering them to the public. He perused descriptions of several Counties, but had not the good fortune to meet with any tolerable account of the Province of Moray: Wherefore, mindful of the observation,
Nescio qua natale solum dulcedine captos
Tenet, et immemores non sinit esse sui, He has arranged his Collections into the order in which they now appear.
The Geographical Part would be less entertaining, if it were not intermixed with a Genealogical Account of several Families of eminence and distinction : In this, his chief view was to give the true origin and antiquity of those families. It is generally agreed, that we had not fixed Sirnames in Scotland earlier than the eleventh century: Before that period, our Kings were named Patronimically, as, Malcolm M-Kennet, Kenneth M‘Alpin, &c. The Author has in his hands Manuscript Accounts of the Families treated of, from which entertaining Anecdotes might have been extracted; but this, he was afraid, would too much swell the Work. He has added the Armorial Bearings of Families. The Romans preserved the distinction of Families by the Jus Imaginis : They divided the people into Nobiles, Novi, et Ignobiles : He that had the Images or Statues of his Ancestors, who bore eminent offices, as Prætor, Edile, Consul, &c., was called NOBLE: He that had only his own Image or Statue, was Novus or an UPSTART; and he that had no Statue, was IGNOBLE. Those little Statues of Wood, Marble, Brass, &c., were carefully preserved and exposed at Funerals and other solemn occasions; and possibly from this came our Coats of Arms.
The Natural History, although it contains little to gratify the
In the Civil Part, there is such variety as cannot but be agreeable
The Military History is drawn up from the best writers the Author
The Ecclesiastical Part may appear to some Readers too long.
There is added an APPENDIX, containing a Number of Papers,
To this Preface by the Reverend Author, the Publisher of the present Edition has only to add,
The Publisher persuades himself, that he need scarcely offer any apology for omitting No. 53,