Historic Doubts Relative to Napoleon Buonaparte

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G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1819 - 88 pagine
 

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Pagina 44 - That no testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavours to establish.
Pagina 32 - It appears, then, that those on whose testimony the existence and actions of Buonaparte are generally believed, fail in all the most essential points on which the credibility of witnesses depends : first, we have no assurance that they have access to correct information ; secondly, they have an apparent interest in propagating falsehood ; and, thirdly, they palpably contradict each other in the most important points.
Pagina 54 - I desire any one to lay his hand upon his heart, and, after a serious consideration, declare, whether he thinks that the falsehood of such a book, supported by such a testimony, would be more extraordinary and miraculous than all the miracles it relates ; which is, however, necessary to make it be received, according to the measures of probability above established.
Pagina 31 - We entertain a suspicion concerning any matter of fact, when the witnesses contradict each other ; when they are but few, or of a doubtful character; when they have an interest in what they affirm; when they deliver their testimony with hesitation, or on the contrary, with too violent asseverations.
Pagina 23 - I need not mention the difficulty of detecting a falsehood in any private or even public history, at the place, where it is said to happen ; much more when , the scene is removed to ever so small a distance. Even a court of judicature, with all the authority, accuracy, and judgement, which they can employ, find themselves often at a loss to distinguish between truth and falsehood in the most recent actions.
Pagina 49 - A religionist may be an enthusiast, and imagine he sees what has no reality : he may know his narrative to be false, and yet persevere in it, with...
Pagina 45 - When any one tells me that he saw a dead man restored to life, I immediately consider with myself whether it be more probable that this person should either deceive or be deceived, or that the fact which lie relates should really have happened.
Pagina 40 - ... scapes," — empires subverted in a few days; everything happening in defiance of political calculation, and in opposition to the experience of past times; everything upon that grand scale, so common in epic poetry, so rare in real life; and, thus, calculated to strike the imagination of the vulgar, and to remind the sober-thinking few of the Arabian Nights. Every event, too, has that roundness and completeness which is so characteristic of fiction ; nothing is done by halves; we have complete...
Pagina 39 - Suppose, for instance, that the fact which the testimony endeavours to establish partakes of the extraordinary and the marvellous ; in that case the evidence resulting from the testimony admits of a diminution, greater or less, in proportion as the fact is more or less unusual.
Pagina 17 - With what greediness are the miraculous accounts of travellers received, their descriptions of sea and land monsters, their relations of wonderful adventures, strange men, and uncouth manners? But if the spirit of religion join itself to the love of wonder, there is an end of common sense; and human testimony, in these circumstances, loses all pretensions to authority. A religionist may be an...

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