Puslapio vaizdai

RULE I. A fact, which is perceived by one or more senses of the body, must be attested in the first place, by witnesses who have observed it. Hence a fact, for instance, which supposes ocular demonstration, is not to be admitted, if eye-witnesses cannot be assigned who saw it.

23. RULE II. Examine whether the first witnesses were competent to judge correctly of the fact related; what were their means and opportunity for obtaining correct information; and, if you find that the witnesses were incompetent to judge, or were destitute of proper means of information, their statement cannot be received.


RULE III. Learn the number of witnesses who did, or do, relate the fact; if they are few, the fact cannot be admitted as certain, unless some extraordinary circumstances concur to show a moral impossibility, that the witnesses would or could deceive, or have been themselves deceived, according to the following rules:

25. RULE IV. Ascertain whether it is proba

By whom may a fact be attested, which is perceived by the senses? Give the first rule.

(23.) Assign the second rule, concerning the necessary qualities of witnesses.

(24.) What is the third rule, concerning the number of wit


ble that the witnesses would deceive, on account of some private motive; or whether they are, or were, persons of undoubted integrity. If the witnesses are, or were, persons of a doubtful character; and either have, or had, some private motive to subserve by such a statement, their testimony cannot be accepted.

26. RULE V.

Inquire when, where, before whom, the first witnesses related the fact; whether there were persons who could, and would have refuted their statement if false; and whether they did so, or not. If the fact has been denied by competent persons, unless their denial is refuted, the fact remains at least doubtful; and therefore cannot be received as a part of history.

27. THIRD PARTICULAR CRITERION, CONCERNING THE EXISTENCE OF A FACT, OR SERIES OF FACTS, WHICH ARE NOT COEVAL WITH THE HISTORIAN.When a fact, or facts, are not coeval with a historian, and their knowledge is transmitted to him by a series of witnesses, in a

(25.) What is the integrity required in witnesses? Give the fourth rule.

(26.) Point out the fifth rule. Before whom must a fact be related?

What, if it be denied by competent persons?

(27.) To what does the third particular criterion relate?

What is tradition?

Who are traditional witnesses?

lineal descent, through one or more generations; such a transmission of the knowledge of a fact, or series of facts, is called tradition; and the witnesses who transmit it, are called traditional witnesses.


Concerning tradition, the following criterion must be used: "No tradition is to be received as a good authority of the existence of a fact, or series of facts, which has once been interrupted."

29. Because in this case, the information cannot be traced to its original source; which it is necessary to do, before a fact can be admitted. Hence,

30. RULE. In regard to traditional witnesses; beside using the rules before given, under the second particular criterion, inquire if the series of traditional witnesses has ever been interrupted. If so, the facts related cannot be admitted, unless supported by other external documents of contemporaneous science or art.

31. We shall close this part of the criterions

(28.) What is the criterion for traditions? (29.) Assign a reason for that criterion. (30.) What rule must, then, be followed, in judging of the authority of traditional witnesses?

(31.) Beside the foregoing criterions and rules, for the guidance of the historian, is there any other more general principle, and rule?

for the historian, with one general principle and rule, which should be invariably observed.

32. GENERAL PRINCIPLE.-"A historian, who does not assume, or presume infallibility, must not suppose that the belief of posterity, in regard to the facts related by him, is to be based upon his authority alone; but principally, on the evidence found and discussed by him, in support of those facts." The historian must bear in mind, that he is like a committee, appointed to inquire and report about the existence of a certain fact; and that, it belongs to the public to examine and receive the report of the historian, according to the evidence submitted by him. Hence,

33. GENERAL RULE.—Either at the commencement or end, or in the course of his narrative, the historian must indicate, by appropriate notes, the sources from which he has derived his information; making, if necessary, proper comments on the same.

34. When the historian has carefully collected, and tried by rigid criticism, all the facts of his history; he will divide them in a suitable or

(32.) Mention the general principle.

To what is a historian like?

(33.) Give, now, the general rule, concerning historical docu


(34.) What must a historian do, when he has collected, and thoroughly investigated, all the facts?

der, according to the directions before given; and, finally, he will relate them in a clear and terse style.



1. History being of so great importance to human society, as we have above stated; we deem it proper to offer here a few criterions for the guidance of the reader.

2. FIRST CRITERION." Before admitting a history, ascertain first its immediate authority, namely, who is the writer."

3. In order that a writer of history may constitute a good authority, two qualities are indispensable in him; competency and veracity.

4. The competency of a writer is ascertained by using Rule 2, under No. 23, in the same manner as for witnesses.

5. His veracity is found by Rules 4th and 5th, under Nos. 25 and 26, in the same part.

(2.) What is the first criterion, for the reader of history?
(3.) What qualities are indispensable in a historian?
(4.) How is the competency of a historian ascertained?
(5.) How is his veracity ascertained?

[ocr errors]
« AnkstesnisTęsti »