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2. Surely then, a story equally or stiil more improbable, is not to be implicitly received, merely on the ground that it is not miraculous; though in fact, as I have already shown from Hume's authority, it really is miraculous. The opposition to experience has been proved to be as complete in this case as in what are commonly called miracles; and the reasons assigned for that contrariety, by the defenders of them, cannot be pleaded in the present instance. If, then, philosophers who reject every wonderful story that is maintained by priests, are yet found ready to believe everything else, however improbable, they will surely lay themselves open to the accusation brought against them, of being unduly prejudiced against whatever relates to religion.
3. Is it then too much to demand of the wary academic a suspension of judgment as to the “life and adventures of Napoleon Bonaparte?" I do not pretend to decide positively that there is not, nor ever was, any such person; but merely to propose it as a doubtful point, and one the more deserving of careful investigation, from the very circumstance of its having hitherto been admitted without inquiry. Far less would I undertake to decide what is or has been, the real state of affairs. He who points out the improbability of the current story, is not bound to suggest an hypothesis of his own; though it may safely be affirmed, that it would be hard to invent any one more improbable than the received one. One may surely be allowed to hesitate in admitting the stories which the ancient poets tell, of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions being caused by imprisoned giants, without being called upon satisfactorily to account for those phenomena.
4. I call upon those, therefore, who profess themselves advocates of free inquiry- who disdain to be carried along with the stream of popular opinion, and who will listen to no testimony that runs counter to experience,- to follow up their own principles fairly and consistently. Let the same mode of argument be adopted in all cases alike, and then it can no longer be attributed to hostile prejudice, but to enlarged and philosophical views.
5. If they have already rejected some histories, on the ground of their being strange and marvelous -of their relating facts unprecedented, and at variance with the established course of nature,— let them not give credit to another history which lies open to the very same objections,—the extraordinary and romantic tale we have been just considering. If they have discredited the testimony of witnesses, who are said at least to have been disinterested, and to have braved persecutions and death in support of their assertions, ---can these philosophers consistently listen to and believe the testimony of those who avowedly get money by the tales they publish, and who do not even pretend that they incur any serious risk in case of being detected in falsehood ?
6. If, in other cases, they have refused to listen to an account which has passed through many intermediate hands before it reaches them, and which is defended by those who have an interest in maintaining it, let them consider through how many and what very suspicious hands this story has arrived to them, without the possibility, as I have shown, of tracing it back to any decidedly authentic source, after all, — to any better authority, according to their own showing, than that of an unnamed and unknown foreign correspondent ;and, likewise, how strong an interest, in every way, those who have hitherto imposed on them, have in keeping up the imposture. Let them, in short, show themselves as ready to detect the cheats and despise the fables of politicians as of priests.
7. But if they are still wedded to the popular belief in this point, let them be consistent enough to admit the same evidence in other cases, which they yield to in this. If, after all that has been said, they cannot bring themselves to doubt of the existence of Napoleon Bonaparte, they must at least acknowledge that they do not apply to that question the same plan of reasoning which they have made use of in others; and they are consequently bound in reason and in honesty to renounce it altogether.
LXXXVI.—THE CONQUEROR'S GRAVE.
WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT.
1. Within this lowly grave a conqueror lies ;
And yet the monument proclaims it not,
A simple name alone,
To the great world unknown,
graven here, and wild flowers rising round,
Lean lovingly against the humble stone.
2. Here, in the quiet earth, they laid apart
No man of iron mold and bloody hands,
Who sought to wreak upon the cowering lands
Gentlest in mien and mind
Of gentle womankind,
One in whose eyes the smile of kindness made
Its haunt, like flowers by sunny brooks in May; Yet at the thought of others' pain, a shade
Of sweeter sadness chased the smile away.
3. Nor deem that when the hand that molders here Was raised in menace, realms were chilled with fear,
And armies mustered at the sign as when
Gray captains leading bands of veteran men
Alone her task was wrought;
Alone the battle fought; Through that long strife her constant hope was staid On God alone, nor looked for other aid.
4. She met the hosts of sorrow with a look
That altered not beneath the frown they wore; And soon the lowering brood were tamed, and took
Meekly her gentle rule, and frowned no more. Her soft hand put aside the assaults of wrath,
And calmly broke in twain
The fiery shafts of pain,
By that victorious hand despair was slain.
Evil with good in her great Master's name.
5. Her glory is not of this shadowy state,
Glory that with the fleeting season dies ; But when she entered at the sapphire gate,
What joy was radiant in celestial eyes !
How heaven's bright depths with sounding welcomes rung,
And He who, long before,
Pain, scorn, and sorrow bore,
6. See, as I linger here, the sun grows low;
Cool airs are murmuring that the night is near.
Consoled, though sad, in hope, and yet in fear.
The warfare scarce begun;
Yet all may win the triumphs thou hast won;
The victors' names are yet too few to fill
LXXXVII.-INVECTIVE AGAINST CATILINE.
FROM CLEVELAND'S CLASSICAL LITERATURE.
1. How long, O Catiline, wilt thou abuse our patience ? How long shalt thou bafile justice in thy mad career ? To what extreme wilt thou carry thy audacity ? Art thou nothing daunted by the nightly watch posted to secure the Palatium ? Nothing by the city guards ? Nothing by the rally of all good citizens ? Nothing by the assembling of the senate in this fortified place ? Nothing by the averted looks