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Wellington's life, may really have St. Bernard's success may be said to an officer who complained accounted for by his own extrato him that General Sherman had ordinary eloquence and reputation threatened to shoot him, exactly for sanctity ; by the motives he what the Duke said to an officer appealed to, and the rewards he who complained to him that General promised; and by the rumours of Picton had threatened to hang his miraculous powers. Any cures him: “I do not know anyone more he really effected may be unlikely to keep his word.”
hesitatingly classed with the re(15) “When a whimsical puerile sults always to be looked formiracle' is related as gravely, medical annals abound in them and supported as strongly, as - from excitement and imaginaothers in the same series which both tion. in character and results may cor- In this view we may record respond ever so well to our concep- the events as extraordinary, and tion of what a miracle ought to be, yet not miraculous. But if abnor& reductio ad absurdum is estab- mal conditions of excitement and lished, and the whole narrative, as imagination be classed as superfar (but only as far) as its natural, then their results may miraculous portions are concerned, fairly be designated as miraculous. is utterly incredible."
The necessity of escaping from (16) “ If there is a series of the Toulouse foods of 1875 commiracles not put out of court either pletely cured the paralysis of a by the unscientific credulity of the woman who had been bedridden witnesses or the intrinsic childish- for years. A physician of our own ness and absurdity of the events acquaintance was about to adthemselves, and if irresistible evi. minister an anæsthetic to a sensible dence has forced us to concede that middle-aged gentleman, who was one of them is really a miracle, then suffering such torture that the superhuman agency throughout the required operation could not be series is a vera causa, and not a performed, when the patient gratuitous hypothesis."
thinking, from the preparations, (17) “ But when there is the that it had already been given faintest shadow of possibility that suddenly lost all his pain, and every one of the results attributed expressed his grateful amazement to miraculous agency could have at its efficacy ; whereupon the been produced by what are termed medical man, at once recognising 'secondary causes,'' means,' agency the phenomenon, and knowing of a non-miraculous kind, we may that imagination had completely stoutly deny in toto the superhuman counterfeited the effects of the and the supernatural."
anæsthetic, proceeded with the Thus the evidence is complete operation, and performed it with for the instantaneous cure of perfect success. We have no right Pascal's niece in the Jansenist to ridicule such a power of the convent of Port Royal ; but all imagination as this ; we have but Ultramontanes and Jesuits agree to regret that we know so little with Protestants in as
asserting- of the laws of its working, and of without any facts at all to go the methods of its control. upon--that the whole thing must The rapid spread of Mormonism have been got up by a certain nun -in spite of its childish “sacred named Flavie Passart, who is history” and monstrous doctrines, known to have been an artful in spite of the martyrdom of its woman.
founder, and the sufferings,
miseries, and exile of the first Similarly there are two suspicious generations of Mormons—can only sentences in the ten eye-witnesses' be accounted for by a rough, off- account of St. Bernard's miracles. hand assertion that there is no Once they hint at a disappointlimit to the marvellous results of ment : • The crowds were religious imposture and religious tumultuous at his entrance into fanaticism ; of popular ignorance this city that the miraculous power and love of novelty ; of the did not exhibit itself abundantly, universal longing for an earthly though it was not altogether inparadise, and of female long
female long- active.” Again we read: “ He ing for sympathy and companion- touched many blind persons, some ship.
of whom were cured immediately, (18) “When the supposed super- while as to the others he felt perhuman agency sometimes fails, suaded that they would soon get under conditions of its
well." choosing, conditions under which If we grant an extraordinary it sometimes 'succeeds, or con- power in such a case, we ought ditions absolutely necessary in not to account it miracle, while order to preclude imposture; and so uncertain and limitary in its again when the superhuman results. agency be suppressed by (19) “ Since it was a matter of human opposition (not counting, probability that miracles should however, want of faith, since be attributed to every founder of faith'
be a condition of a religion, and to religious heroes success), there is clearly no miracle in general; since men destitute of in the higher sense of the word.” science so easily and honestly But this test is very difficult of make miracles out of marvels—as application, the question arising, is shown by the indiscriminate use in case of assertion of conditions of the two words (i.e., of their being identical on two separate equivalents in ancient languages) occasions, whether all the condi
up to a very recent date; since, in tions are fully known and under- short, our difficulty is that wellstood. There are scientific experi
attested miracles are so numerous, ments to which very delicately there ought to be a broad and unprepared conditions, as to waves deniable-not arbitrary and hairof light, temperature, electricity, drawn — distinction between the &c., &c., are a necessary preliminary evidence we reject and the evidence to success.
we accept. Moreover, the disWith regard to the miracles tinction must not consist in the of healing at the tomb of the orthodoxy or heterodoxy of the Abbé Paris, there is perhaps teaching supported by this or that no flaw in the positive evidence miracle." for the
that did take The Jesuits had no excuse for place. But some
sick persons doubting the reality of the Jansewent away disappointed; and, nist miracles. They were warranted above all, the king (Louis XIV.), by the same kind of evidence as all annoyed by the crowd and tumult, Roman Catholic miracles; and the closed the churchyard gates, to process of excluding them like which was soon after affixed the the process of separating the infamous pasquinade, a reductio ad fallible utterances of the Pope absurdum of the superstition: from those which cannot have been
De part du roi, défense à Dieu infallible simply because they have
sembles nothing so much lished fact, nor accept any statethreading the mazes of a laby- ment on evidence that equally warrinth, there being no conceivable rants another statement (equally reason for taking the path on which probable in itself) which he is lies the clue, except that (by the determined to reject. mere whim of the constructor) all But when no contradiction exists, the others bring you to a wrong
he must make a list of the reasons end. Knowing the clue to one for and against belief—the pros labyrinth is no help at all towards and cons; and then, if such cases threading the next. But the exist, a list of events, for which principles which solve one his- the pros and cons were the same, torical problem must hold good in but which have somehow been all similar problems; else they are verified. The odds in favour of not principles, canons demand- the fact under investigation will of ing universal assent, but course be furnished by the proporarbitrary rules, which any other tion of those events that were found person may take or leave as he to be true. Thus, to take a simple likes.
instance, our only reason for beYet it is not to be deemed that lieving various details in the life of there is a very great strain on the Agesilaus may be that they were private judgment of any historical mentioned by Plutarch. But the inquirer, however scientifically he same author gives in his life of may set to work. No two his- Alexander the Great many similar torical events are exactly alike, or details that can be tested by other rest upon exactly the same external evidence. And as these are true evidence and intrinsic probability. in (say) nine cases out of ten, we In investigating the credibility of can reckon the probability as nine any one alleged fact, we must to one in favour of everything, not apply, as best we can, the prin- impossible in itself, that he tells us ciples of logic in general, and the about Agesilaus. teachings of experience as to the But if our reasons for believing laws of human nature in the an event are not found in conjuncmatter of furnishing and using the tion elsewhere, then we must cal. materials of history. The most im- culate the separate value of each portant of these laws have been (i.e. the percentage of cases in mentioned or alluded to in the which it holds good), and combine course of this paper ; but we have them according to arithmetical not attempted to treat the subject rules. fully or systematically. It is a It is only a shallow objection to special study. It is a “vulgar the method that no historical inerror" to suppose that those great vestigator ever does figure out historical problems, which have a a thing in this way. Logic has practical interest to us all, can no wish to trespass on the doeasily be settled by any sensible main of conscience, or private man alike to his own satisfaction judgment, or common sense, or and to the satisfaction of every instinct. Everybody may form other sensible man.
his own opinion for any In this, as in every branch of sons he likes, and may put his knowledge, the "principle of con
upon those reasons, and tradiction ” will be of infinite ser- go about insisting that they are vice. The inquirer must not most convincing, or amply sufficient, believe any alleged fact which is or worthy of the most serious conreally inconsistent with any estab- sideration, or that they evidently defying the laws of thought comWe need not conclude without a mon to all mankind.
outweigh all the reasons advanced gleam of consolation for those who upon the other side ; these vague want to confute an opponent with. phrases are public property, and out the help of Vulgar Fractions. have a different meaning in every
When two articles differ considermouth. But logic is bound to ably in weight, there is no need to furnish standard weights and produce the scales; everybody who measures, such as will settle all takes up into his hands first one disputes as to the worth of any and then the other, will give the argument; and the only way to same verdict. Just so, one solu. get rid of the ambiguities of tion of a historical problem may language is to employ mathematical rest arguments so nearly symbols instead of words, and amounting to demonstration, and argue by means of geometrical 80 superior to all the counter diagrams, algebraical signs, or arguments, as to obtain the decisive arithmetical figures. One may feel approval of every educated reader. sure that one's belief about a his. And, as has been hinted more than torical event is more probable once already, we can often fall than another's, and perhaps, like back upon the argumentum ad Niebuhr, may by long practice hominem, and “ hoist the engineer have gained a faculty of historical with his own petard.” No two divination; but it can never be thus cases are exactly alike, yet the proved that the fact is so, or in difference may be manifestly unimany way but by representing each portant. And if an opponent argument for and against it as a believes here and disbelieves there, fraction—the correctness of figures we can convict him of inconsistency, being first established—and then that is, of violating his own laws adding, subtracting, multiplying, of thought, though we cannot conand dividing these fractions so as vict him of irrationality or illogito find the exact chances, the cality (to coin a word), that is, of mathematical probability.
THREE DAYS OUT OF HARNESS.
It is an axiom better known than that men will lay bare their breasts followed among the classes who to one, when the presence of a have opportunities of leisure and third would hopelessly arrest conluxury, that it is only the really fidences ? hard-working man who can truly I think that the most celebrated appreciate the beauty of a holiday. jaunts of history have been solitary; To none among the highly-placed witness the classic tour of Oliver ten thousand is given the magical Goldsmith, the “Rural Rides” of charm of leaving all labour behind Cobbett, and the walks of Elihu and starting with a light heart and Burritt - most accomplished of wallet, "on the tramp," through blacksmiths. One glowing July some lovely tracts of our beautiful afternoon, weary of work, I sudthough much neglected country. denly determined to set out for a
I think it is “ Patricius Walker” stroll through Surrey and Hamp(what a thousand pities that his shire; and, feeling the force of what charming “Rambles”
is represented in the preceding collected in some convenient form*), paragraphs, I settled to start the prince of pedestrians, who says alone. that the very first essential of a Leaving R
, my first stage walking tour is that it must be was Guildford, which I reached undertaken alone ; else it at once tha evening without adventure. and infallibly degenerates into a Not being a practical entomologist, mere protracted pic-nic. This I I sedulously shunned the attraccan, from personal experience, tions of a rather pretentious hosentirely endorse.
telry, where I remembered having I have had some very enjoyable once passed a night, not untincexpeditions in company with one tured with regret that the natural or more men, but I can always say investment of our species is enthat I have enjoyed the society of dowed with so much sensibility. the men rather than the scenery or One of the Guildford inns, by the surroundings.
had a narrow escape of Alone, one loiters at the wayside, entertaining that greatest of all one observes the flowers, gossips, Mr. Pepys. He says, in watches the habits of insects, of the celebrated Diary: "Aug. 7, birds, and of that even more in- 1688.-Came at night to Guildford, teresting and complex organ
where the Red Lion was so full of ism — MAN. When alone, one people, and a wedding, that the talks to the farmer concerning his master of the house did get us a crops, to the labourer about his lodging over the way, at a private grievances, domestic, personal, and house, his landlord's, mighty neat pecuniary. Who has not found and fine.”
* Is not a rambling form the convenient one for the essays of a rambler P To collect them from the stray places where they lie in periodicals would be to lose their desultory essence. Happy disconnected rambles would become serious business if prolonged into one extended round, and the book containing the combined holidays of a lifetime might prove rather heavy.-[Ed.]