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had occafion to inquire into fuch fubjefts, under
fuch difad vantages, with an anxiety perfectly to un-
derftand, and fcrupuloufly to report the meaning of
their correfpondents.
In conducting this inquiry, the Committee wifhed
to be guided not only by the ftricteft impartiality,
but by a feeling of fcrupulous delicacy towards every
perfon whofe name or character was in any de-
gree implicated in the fubject. The Committee
wifhed to conduct its inquiries, and to frame its re-
port, in a manner as impersonal as poffible. It has
been, however, under the abfolute neceffity of men-
tioning the names of fome individuals, and of pro-
ducing fome documents relative to the character and
difpofition, as well as the fituation of Mr James Mac-
pherfon, and of a few other perfons intimately con-
nected with the matter of its inveftigation. The Com-
mittee hopes, that in fuch unavoidable notice of indivi-
duals, it has obferved every poffible delicacy. The
Committee feels it a duty to fpeak of every one, with
moderation and with diffidence, but efpecially of
thofe who are no more ; although " de mortuis nil
nifi bonum" is a falfe maxim in criticifm, as well as
in hiftory ; yet it is fafe, as well as candid, to fpeak
with caution of the actions and motives of thofe who
cannot now be queflioned as to their actions or mo-
tives ; who cannot now explain what is doubtful, or
account for what feems contradictory.
' The Committee prefumes it may aflume as uAdif-
puted, that a traditionary hiftory of a great hero or
chief, called Fion, Fion na Gael, or, as it is modern-

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