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there was a coincidence of person and tranfaction in point of time, but not of place.
And, both of these Facts will be transmitted, as they deserve, to future ages, and embraced by them with almost the same degree of certainty, on the authority of sound and well authenticated TestimONY : in which case all coincidence of person and transaction, time and place, may be removed.
All Historical Facts derive their existence aš truths from Narration and Testimony, which are, therefore, to be regarded as their Principles, agreeing in one, which is the main, point of confideration, that they are both founded on the information and autho. rity of others : And, as the short space of man's life, to which Narration has a reference, bears so small a proportion to the extent of time within the reach of human tradition and record, TESTIMONY may be used, as it often is, to express the whole, as the General PRINCIPLE of all Historical truth,
Of Historical REASONING.
A S in all parts of knowledge in which 11 General Principles are concerned, Historical REASONING is, first to the Principle, and then from the Principle.
How, then, is the credit and authority of TESTIMONY, on which all History depends, established and confirmed?
Historical Facts are all particular and individual in their existence ; and, by their nature, removed from the Evidence of the External Senfes : And, as all general Principles are formed by an Induction of particulars, there must be some other native Evidence as a first Principle, by which a number of these particular Facts are estimated and their truth confirmned, sufficient to ensure the authoriry, and to warrant the general truth, of the Secondary Principle of Testimony.
The Senses are, indeed, the first informers, but MEMORY is the register and storehouse, of the mind, in which all the facts which they have witnessed, and all the truths which are otherwise obtained, are lodged and recorded with as much fidelity, as is consistent with the condition of imperfect creatures : and, so far as relates to its retention, communication and tradition, it is recognized and acknowledged as a First Principle of truth.
The Memory of fallible men is not, indeed, infallible. It is subject to similar infirmities and defects with those of the External Senses; and capable of being regulated and adjusted, by an act of Reason, in a similar manner. After comparing it with itself exerted at different times and in different inftances, and after examining whether, in the instance under consideration, it is uniform and consistent with its other acts, Reason confirms its fidelity so far established, and ensures it still farther, by comparing it with other Memories acting collaterally with it in the same instance.
But MEMORY, however faithful it may be found, is not sufficient of itself to establish and erect Testimony into a general Prin, ple of reasoning, since what it records is liable to be betrayed, disguised, or fallified in the act of utterance; was it not sufficiently guarded and secured by another native and powerful dictate of the mind The Love of truth, which, as a collateral Principle, comes in to the aid and support of Memory.
Convinced of the existence of both these Principles from our own consciousness and internal feeling, presuming that all men are formed of the same materials cast in the same mould, and observing them to operate in the minds of all, to whom that observation can extend, we conclude, by a strong Analogy and Induction, that they are Universal. And we are convinced from an experience that does honour to human nature, that whenever interest, or any other evil and finister motive, influences an individual or combination of men to counteract these native dictates, to reject the truth and to espouse and
propagate propagate a lye, the lye is detested and contradicted as soon as found, and the truth is justified, vindicated and avenged, by the public voice : which truth, in opposition to the lye, strengthened and supported by a self-approbation and native sense of right in its asserter, will be sure to prevail at last.
Upon the ground of these two First Principles, the one a native faculty, and the other a sublime affection, of the mind, operating in conjunction, the credit of all History is originally founded. From the particular instances which are innumerable, and incerfantly occur, in which they are observed to act together in strict and faithful union, we derive, by a familiar and almost insensible INDUCTION, the authority and truth of TESTIMONY; which, as it is not only the general vehicle or channel of all Historical facts of whatever kind, but the univerfal fountain from which they flow, has a right to be claffed among the SECONDARY PRINCIPLES of truth. Teitimony is, indeed, of such great variety and extent, and of such frequent occurrence and vast importance in