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and place, is absolutely required; and the evidence of the EXTERNAL Senses of those, who were the immediate witnesses, is the first and last credential.
That, on friday the 13th day of the last month," the University and City of Oxford expressed their loyalty and affection to a most amiable and illustrious Sovereign, the FATHER OF HIS COUNTRY, and the FRIEND OF ALL MEN, and testified an univeral and unbounded joy for his recovery from a long and dangerous fickness, and his resumption of the throne of these kingdoms, by a general Illumination, is a Fact of which we who were present were 'rejoiced to be convinced: and of which conviction the evidence of one of the most familiar of the Senses was the adequate and sufficient cause. Here was a full coincidence of all the particulars which are requisite to evince and establish the truth of Facts.
• March 1789.
Of REASONING in regard to Facts.
CO far from being the consequences and a conclusions of any process of Reason, Facts result immediately from the Senses, and convince the mind, without its considering or attending to their physical or other causes, and become themselves as First Principles of Reasoning.
As truths, each of them stands on its seo parate and independent bottom, terminating and concluding in itself: so that all direct comparisons and judgments between one Fact and another, or between a Fact and any thing else, is irrelevant to their truth, and all Inductive Reasoning of course excluded. For moral and political purposes they are often, indeed, generalized and ranged into classes ; but as truths they want no General Propoptions
from which they are to be deduced as confequences : And, if they admit of no Secondary Principles, all Reasoning by Syllogism or Superinduction is of course totally fuperceded.
But though Reason has no proper or direct concern with Facts, under the high privilege of First Principles, it is never better or more essentially employed, than when it examines, and enquires about, them. The Method which it pursues may, indeed, be very different from those we have been tracing both in Mathematics and in Physics, (for, give it fair play, and Reason will, some way or other, adapt itself to every thing ;) it is not, however, to be rejected or discarded here. This useful office it performs, by examining whether the External Senfes, the first and final evidence of Facts, are in a found and healthy state ; whether they are well and sufficiently informed ; and whether they are subject to no impediment from nature, no imposition from art, nor fallacy from accident. In this exercise, it does not prefume to change
or to correct the verdict of the Senses, by any preconceived notion, or factitious determination, of its own. Sensible of the superior dignity and exclusive privilege of First Principles, it forbears to compare them with any thing else, and to judge of them by any medium but themselves. All that it presumes to do, is, by indirect and collateral comparisons, to rectify and ascertain the evidence of Sense by the evidence of Sense; that is, to judge of it by itself.
Thus, if, on viewing any object with care and circumspection, what appears to one eye, appears the same to others which see it at the same time and place ; or, if what appears to one eye at a certain time and place, has uniformly appeared the same at all other times and places; we conclude, from these comparisons and judgments, which is an indire&t mode of REASONING and a species of ANALOGY, that the Sense is fuffi. ciently perfect and well-informed. And, what contributes both to facilitate and to ensure the conclusion, is, that Facts are truths in which we are bred and conversant
from infancy; so that hourly experience of them in ourselves, confirmed by the express, and perhaps inore by the tacit, acknowledgement of the fame in others, would immediately detect and expose any impediment, deception, or fallacy in the Senses, and thus effectually secure the judgment from mistake and error.
Of the Truth of Facts.
THOUGH derived from the same First
1 Principle of knowledge with Mathematical and Physical truth, logically viewed that of Facts is essentially different both from the demonstrations of the one, and from the deductions of the other; as it differs froin them, both in its nature and constitution, and in the mode of reasoning employed about it. This species of Truth enjoys the pecu