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The White Hind and other Discoveries
Sir James Fergusson of Kilkerran
ISBN 9780902664951
Paperback  250 pages
Published January 2004    UK Price £14.95    US Price $21.95   

R.L.Stevensonís Kidnapped makes almost everyone aware, albeit with the outlines considerably distorted, of one of the most notorious trials in Scottish legal history.
Here, a penetrating examination of the Appin murder case of 1752 is based not only on the printed sources but on a number of unpublished contemporary letters.
Sir James Fergusson did not profess to have identified the true criminal, but he has established the place of the trial (hitherto disputed), offers evidence that the murderer was one of several conspirators, and suggests that the trial of James Stewart was not the travesty of justice which tradition and romance represent it to have been.

The appearance of a white hind in Coiriche Ba in Argyll in 1621 was reported to the King himself; but not even the despatch of special huntsmen from England availed to capture her.
Sir James took her story as symbolic of a number of explorations which he undertook down various by-ways of Scottish history from the sixteenth century to the nineteenth. In some he discovered the end of the story or the solution of the problem: in others his quarry proved as elusive as the white hind.

The materials have been found mostly in hitherto unpublished documents, either in family collections or among the public records of which, as Keeper of the Records of Scotland, Sir James had expert knowledge.
The subjects range from the Battle of Pinkie to a Maybole merchantís road-making activities - incidents in the lives of men which, rightly understood, often illuminate the history of their times with surprising vividness.

Originally published in 1963.


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