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res of his condust misrepresented; as is well known to many hundreds of perfons of credit, both in England and in Scotland. Without fuch a detail of fasts, it would be difficult to explain to the reader, what motives could induce a man to deviate, as much as Mr. Shaw will appear to have done, not only from truth, but from his own former written, printed, and published declarations. The fact is , that he himself had the folly to declare to feveral perfons, That, as there was no fale for Gaelic literature, he would write fomething against that literature, which he was certain would fell; and that fo he would receive from the prejudices of the English, what the generofity of his countrymen the Scotch had denied. This cir- cumstance, joined to the vanity of being patronifed by Dr. Johnson, whose inveteracy to the translator of Offian’s poems is unconquerable, ied our worthy clergyman aftray from the direst track of truth, to the devious paths of malignant fićtion and unauthorifed romance.
Having premised thefe fasts, I shall now proceed to the investigation and detestion of the various falfehoods, fcattered up and down through Mr. Shaw's pamphlet. In almoft every
page, he gives us a piece of intelligence, which might have been delivered once for all, viz.
public, by giving his own compositions in English as translations from the Gaelic language: –
That the Highlanders of every denomination endeavoured to fupport the impofition:
That the principal men of charaćter and learn
ing in the Highlands had figned their names to a falfehood, and got Dr. Blair to write in defence of it: and That every Scotchman loves his country better than truth.
. In place of taking up the reader's time with an ostentatious display of argument, or a critical minutenefs in tracing out the contradictions in this pamphlet, concerning the translations from theo Gaelic published by Mr. Macpherfon; I shall simply narrate, what confifts with my own personal knowledge on this fub.
The epic poems of Fingal and Temora I
have never heard rehearfed by any single High
lander, in the fame arrangement, in which Mr.
Macpherfon has published them. By different
persons I have frequently heard almost every
- |- paffa*
passage in thefe two poems, with no more dif: ference from the translation, than what the genius of the language required ; and not near fo much , as there is between the different editions of thefe poems in the different parts of the Highlands. This variation was well accounted for by Mr. Shaw himself, before he thought it his intereft to disguife the truth.
The Highlanders, who rehearfe these poems at prefent, divide them into as many different pieces, as Mr. Macpherfon has divided them into books. - As his fearch after ancient poetry has been many years prior to mine, he might have found perfons, who could rehearfe more of these two poems, than I have : or, whether he has found manuscripts containing thein, or introduced the epifodes from different pieces of Gaelic compofition, I fhall not pretend to fay. But this I can aver, that they are familiar to the Highlanders, although not in the direćł arrangement, in which he has placed them. He might, however, have collested them from dif. ferent perfons, and exercifed his own judgment afterwards in joining them, without being either branded with the appellation of a forger himself, or thofe, who gave their testimony to - - *** ( c ) s * , what
what they knew to be true, ftigmatized with collufion and imposture.
From thefe circumftances, however, our inquirer has taken the liberty of drawing very unwarrantable inferences. Although he uniformly pronounces every paragraph, not only of Mr. Macpherfon, but of every other translator from the Gaelic, to be an impofition : yet the poems of Fingal . and Temora are thofe, which he feems particularly to strike at. Mr. Shaw fays, “Many were the thorough fceptics, as to the “poems of Fingal and Temora,” p. 2. “Offian, “who was a real charaster, although not the “author of Mr. Macpherfon's Fingal and Temo“ra,” p. 61. “Were I to call upon him (Mr. “Smith) to produce the Gaelic of any forty li“nes, in either Fingal or Temora, he could “not produce them,” p. 42.
The variation, we have fpoken of, în the arrangement of thefe two poems, is all the foundation, Mr. Shaw had for the prefent publication. How far it can operate towards a to- “ tal annihilation of the Gaelic poetry now exfifting in the Highlands, fhall be left to the publie to determine.
Had our author attacked Mr. Macpherfon in a proper manner, and where he was really liable to fome degree of cenfure, he would have met with my most hearty concurrence. Had he informed the public of what he has often acknowledged to me in private, that the translator of Ostian has really curtailed and left out a great part of thofe poems, which he has introduced as episodes: he would then have spoken the language of an honest man, and asferted, what he well knows himself, and a thoufand others can prove. The Maid of Creca, for example, an episode in Fingal, in my pof: felfion, is a large complete poem of itself, and extends to fome hundred lines, all which are omitted in the translation.
- So much did Mr. Shaw lament the curtailing of thefe poems, that he preffed me to print proposals for a general collestion of them as well as of others, and to arrange the whole, simply as they are rehearfed by the people, without making them up into epic pieces; which accordingly I did. The originals and transla-, tions were to have been published in feparate volumes. Mr. Shaw himself, with the greatest enthufiafin , voluntarily undertook to procure (c) 4 * * fub