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The Scottish Parliament Before the Union of the Crowns

Robert S. Rait

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .English student quite decisive in favour of a "constitutional" point of view. But the history of institutions cannot be written from their own records. If we possessed, as material for the constitutional history of Scotland, only the "Acts" of the Scottish Parliament, our conclusions would be more radically false than if there remained to us only the narratives of the chroniclers and the more strictly political documents. The "Acts" are written in cipher and we have to find the key. An important part, for example, of the records of the revolutions of 1560 and 1640 is to be found in the volumes which contain the parliamentary proceedings; but, as we shall have occasion to notice, the explanation lies elsewhere. It is a further illustration[5] of our contention, that so few contemporary writers were sufficiently impressed by the Parliament to give any space to the story of its growth. No man knew the powers of his time better than did John Knox; and in Knox's History. . . Read More