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Though this anachronifm quite deftroys the authority of the
bards with refped to Fingal ; yet their defire to make him their
countryman fliews how famous he was in Ireland as well as in the
north of Scotland.
Had the Senachies of Ireland been as well acquainted with the
antiquities of their nation as they pretended, they might derive as
much honour from Fingal!s being a Caledonian, as if he had been
an Irifliman ; for both nations were alnioft the fame people in the
days of that hero. The Celta?, who inhabited Britain and Ireland
before the invafion of the Romans, though they were divided into
numerous tribes, yet, as the fame language and cuftoms, and the me-
mory of their common origin remained among them, they confidered
themfelves as one nation. After South Britain became a province of
Rome, and its inhabitants begun to adopt the language and cuftoms
of their conquerors, the Celts beyond the pale of the empire, con-
fidered them as a diftindl people, and confequently treated them as
enemies. On the other hand, the ftridefl amity fubfifted between
the Irifli and Scots Celtje for many ages, and the cuftoms and an-
cient language of both ftill remaining, leave no room to doubt that
they were of old one and the lame nation.
It was at firft intended to prefix to Offian's poems a difcourfe con-
cerning the ancient inhabitants of Britain ; but as a gentleman, in
the north of Scotland, who has thoroughly examined the antiquities
of this ifland, and is perfe6lly acquainted with all the branches of the
Celtic tongue, is juft now preparing for the prefs a work on that
fubjed, the curious are referred to it.

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