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This is a transcript of the original work by Sir William Hope

To the Right Honourable
W I L L I A M
Earl Marischal,
Lord Keith and Altire, Great Marischal of the Kingdom of Scotland, and Heretable Keeper of the Regalia of That Kingdom, &c.

MY LORD,

HAVING of late discovered the Short and Easy Method of Fencing, contained in the following sheets, and which I am perswaded, will be found by practice, to be as useful as it is New; I was not long a making choice of your Lordship, as the person to whom I ought in Justice to offer it.

For not to mention, at present, your Lordship's many Personal Endowments, which I the more willingly forbear, lest I should be thought too much interested therein, not only upon account of that great but just esteem, which I have always had for your Lordship, but also (and which is indeed my greatest honour) with respect to my near concern in, and relation to, your Lordship's most ancient and noble Family.

Therefore, not to insist upon these, which are already so well known; there are Two motives, which chiefly induced me to present to your Lordship this small Essay; which I dare Boldly affirm, contains the Greatest and most Useful improvement, that ever was made in the Art of the Sword

The first is, A Generous and Publick Spirit, whereby your Lordship always endeavours to assert the Rights and Priviledges of the subject, as well as to promote the Publick Good and Wellfare of your country; For which, your Lordship has the approbation, and general applause, of all truely good country-men; Which, when your Lordship is gone, will add an everlasting Lustre to the already most Noble and Illustrious Family of the KEITHS.

The second is, The most Honourable Office of Great Marischal of Scotland, of which your Lordship's worthy Ancestors, were thought so deserving in former ages, that it has now been Hereditary to your Lordship's Family for above these Seven Hundred Years.

And what Family could so well deserve it, as that which has upon all Occasions, not only Asserted and Defended the Rights and Liberties of the people, but even in the last Great Rebellion, did after a wonderful manner Preserve the Honours and Regalia of the Sovereign? For which the Convention of Estates in the Year 1661, ordered their thanks fo be given to your Lordship's uncle, Earl William of worthy memory, declaring, that the Preservation of the Crown and Scepter were owing to him; and have orders that it should be so insert in the Records of Parliament, as an Everlasting Evidence of your Family's Loyalty

For whatever some Nice and Narrow Spirited politicians may pretend, certainly the Power and Prerogative of the Prince, and Right and Priviledge of the People, are Reciprocal; so that the Once cannot possibly subsist long, and in safety, without a reasonable condescendence to, and Allowance, of the Other.

And, My Lord, allow me to say it, without the least flattery, your Lordship's Family hath signalized itself as to Both: For by Preserving the Regalia, it declared itself sufficiently Loyal, and beyond all exception Monarchical; and by asserting the Rights and Priviledges of the subject, of which your Lordship gives daily singular instances, it proves it self to be abundantly for the Good and Prosperity of its Country, and the Liberty and Prosperity of the People: So that the Subject matter in this Essay corresponding so naturally with these two Extraordinary Characters, the one of your Lordship's Person, and the other of your Eminent Office, you are certainly, My Lord, (all other considerations laid aside), the most proper Patron I could possibly make choice of. For,

First the Art it self being a material Branch of Honour and Chivalry, falls most naturally under your Lordship's Jusrisdiction and Protection; because as Lord High Marischal, all debates about, and decisions of points of Honour, come under your Lordship's Cognizance, and are determined by your Lordship's sentence when in judgement. And,

Secondly, the chief design of this New Method of Fencing, being for the Safety and Preservation of men's Honour and Lives, tends certainly so far to the advancement of the Publick Good, as it lays down a Rational and Easy Method for that end: And This alone I know is sufficient to recommend it, and make it acceptable to your Lordship, who I know have always taken such a great deal of Pleasure and Satisfaction, in such Gentlemanny and Useful Exercises. So that, both a man's Honour and Reputation, which are indeed all his Regalia, and in place of a Crown to him, being hereby Preserved; and his Life, which is his Right and Property as a Subject, being Protected and Defended: It could not, My Lord, have possibly thrown itself under the Protection of a more Proper, as well as Generous, Patron.

Having thus given your Lordship a short Account of the Reasons, which prevail'd with me to give you this Trouble; I humbly lay it before your Lordship. And as according to your Lordships Just and Virtuous Devise, VERITAS VINCIT, Truth and Sincerity does always hold Foot, and at last Vanquish and Triumph: So I am perswaded, that the Extraordinary Improvements contain'd in this Piece, will sufficiently Convince your Lordship of my Sincerity in Writing it, and the good Effects it will have hereafter upon the Gentry, of This Nation for their more certain Defence, give your Lordship and evident Demonstration of the Truth of all I have advanced in it.

And I do further ingenuously declare, That I had no other aim in Publishing of it, next to the Safety and Preservation of my Country-mens Honour and Lives, by rectifying in it many Imperfections, which have crept into the Art as commonly Taught, than to give my self an opportunity, wherein I might discover to your Lordship and the World, the great Respect and Esteem I have for your Lordship's Person and Family.

That therefore the most Noble and Ancient Family of the KEITHS may be Preserved and Flourish, not only for Seven Hundred, but seventy times Seven Hundred Years; nay even to the CONSUMMATION of all things, is the most sincere Wish, and hearty and most frevent desire of,

My Lord,
Your Lordships,
Obedient and most,
Humble Servant,
Will. Hope.

Back to Index. Utmost thanks to J. Miller.

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