“This excellent person, (Sir James Balfour) of whom we shall have occasion to say more hereafter, was Lyon in Charles the First’s tyme; and one of the happiest collectors and preservers of the Scotish antiquities that ever lived.” – (p. 17.)
“A History of the Picts, supposed to be written by Henry Maul of Melgum, and by the author dedicated to Sir James Balfour. ‘All that gives authority to the conjecture of H. Maul’s being the compiler of this Pictish History, is the following copy of verses prefixed.
“Through the blind labyrinth of life’s meanders,
To guide our steps a thread a story renders;
It is the chiefest treasure – house of wit,
A shop wherein we may but danger sit;
And our estate as in a glass behold,
Matching the present with the times of old, &c.”
“This poem is design’d to my much honour’d and very worthy friend, Sir James Balfour, Lyon King of Arms; and subscrib’d, Henry Maul of Melgum. He has certainly written the Genealogy of the Right Honourable family of Panmure, whereof he was a branch. But whether this be his work, or Sir James’s, commended only by him, is uncertain. The hand-writing (of that in the Lawyer’s Library, which seems to be the original) is not Sir James’s own hand.” – (p. 23.)
“We have already seen, that a monk of Scone was one of the chief continuers of Fordun; and I have had the perusal of an abstract which Sir James Balfour made of this black book, and he professes that all those notes were taken ex Libro Manuscripto magni Mackulloche; which sufficiently shews that he knew it to be all one with the Scoto-Chronicon. – (p. 33.)
“Sir James Balfour (who was contemporary with this Drummond of Hawthornden, and his intimate acquaintance) wrote also the history of the two first James’s, which he dedicates to the Lords and Estaites of Parliament. This he was pleased to call – The short Annals of the Reigns and Lives of James the First and Second, two famous and worthy Princes; wherein, as in a mirrour, they may see the vicissitude of humane affairs, the downfall of great persons, the punishment of vice, and the cherishing of virtuous and worthy actions. The stile here is more copious and smooth than in Drummond’s, and the history more full. It’s probable Sir James saw what was done by his friend, and endeavoured to supply what he thought was onmitted by him. – (p. 55.)
“The monasteries of Scotland have had far less care taken of their histories and records than those in England. Sir William Dugdale could procure no more than the endowment charters of a few of ’em, communicated to him by Sir James Balfour, who has left behind him a small treatise of his own composure, which he was pleas’d to call Monasticon Scoticum; tho’ it looks more like an index to such a performance, than the complete work itself.” – (p. 77.)
Nicolson’s Historical Libraries, Edit. Lond. 1736. fol.