nce. Plausible conjecture is too frequently mistaken for positive proof. Undue significance is attached to what may be mere casual coincidences, and a minuteness of accuracy is professed in discriminating between the different elements in a narrative which cannot be attained by mere internal evidence. In all writings, but especially in the writings of an age when criticism was unknown, there will be repetitions, contradictions, inconsistencies and diversities of style which do not necessarily indicate different authorship or dates.
I have spoken of the uncertainty of the biographical element in history. It must, however, be said that when a historian is dealing with men who have played a very prominent part on the stage of life, the general acceptance of his judgment is a strong corroboration of its truth. It may be added that the later judgment of men is not unfrequently more true than the contemporary judgment. The wisdom of a teaching or of a policy is shown by its results, and these results are in
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