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yet writing it is an art confined to very few. The
perfon, therefore, who relates or recites, can only
communicate his relation or recital to thofe who are
prefent with him at the time, and thefe can only
tranfmit it to their correfpondents, if fome one a-
mong them can write it down from the mouth of
the reciter. Such was not the cafe about the middle
of the late century, when the attention of Govern-
ment was firfl particularly called to the cultivation
of that country, or even before the feven years war,
when the exertions of individuals were ftrongly
pointed to the fame object Such attention and ex-
ertions were directed to attainments much more im-
portant indeed, but in their nature unfavourable to
a regard for, or prefervation of the ancient poetry of
the Highlands. Before thofe periods, the recitation
of that poetry was the univerfal amufement of every
winter fire-fide, and almoft every perfon, either of a
ftudious difpofition or with any tolerable opportu-
nity of inftru&ion, was in the practice of reading
and writing Gaelic.
Befides this difficulty, which every one at all con-
verfant with the Highlands had anticipated, the
Committee met with others which it had not fo eafi-
ly forefeen. Perfons in thofe remote fituations, and
in that rank of life in which muft neceffarily be
found the greater number of thofe to whom the
Committee was to apply for information on this fub-
ject, do not eafily comprehend the nature of evi-
dence, particularly on matters which themfelves have
always implicitly believed. Dr Johnfon has fome-

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