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The Gaél, who had before this time been so little known, even to many of the more Southern Lowlanders, leaving their native hills, dif fused a more intimate knowledge of themselves and their country, and by their abilities displayed in the various situations of life, have shown themselves equal to the natives of any portion of the kingdom, and worthy of the respectable station which they have acquired in society. With the loss of much of their distinctive character, they have had but too many opportunities of showing that their military arder and prowess are yet unimpaired. All Europe has admired the achievements of the Scots’ troops, and in the late war they covered themselves with glory. The history and antiquities of so Singular a people opened a copious source of speculation and literary discussion, and the subject could not fail to be generally interesting. The publication of several works gave a stimulus to research, and excited the critical acumen of many writers. The proud and high-minded Highlanders repelled with indignation the slights they received, and the attacks that were so unceremoniously made upon almost every thing which they valued as national. Unfortu hately, an acrimonious spirit in which some writers indulged begat an animosity but ill suited to calm inquiry. Abuse and recrimination took the place of serious investigation. The elucidation of historical truth was either altogether put aside, or made subservient to the defeat of an Opponent, by turning his cause into ridicule; and thus both parties have sacrificed much of the weight that would otherwise have attached to their arguments. While facts were obscured or perverted, error and fiction accumulated, and impartial judgment and unbiassed decision were thereby prevented. Those works were more fitted for the perusal of the antiquary than the amusement of the general reader; but a pow erful stimulus to the curiosity concerning Scotland has been given by the writings of Sir Walter Scott, one Ofthe most illustrious of her sons.
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