From the French Dictionnaire Philosophique, translated by William F. Fleming. The Philosophical Dictionary is not a sustained work, but a compilation of articles contributed to Diderot's Encyclopédie. The quality of the articles bear witness to the great genius and intellect of François-Marie Arouet, more known as Voltaire.
te their reward; for the public to run to this spectacle as to a fair--all this requires that a crime merit this horrid punishment in the opinion of all well-governed nations, and, as we here treat of universal humanity, that it is necessary to the well-being of society. Above all, the actual perpetration should be demonstrated beyond contradiction. If against a hundred thousand probabilities that the accused be guilty there is a single one that he is innocent, that alone should balance all the rest.
Query: Are Two Witnesses Enough to Condemn a Man to be Hanged?
It has been for a long time imagined, and the proverb assures us, that two witnesses are enough to hang a man, with a safe conscience. Another ambiguity! The world, then, is to be governed by equivoques. It is said in St. Matthew that two or three witnesses will suffice to reconcile two divided friends; and after this text has criminal jurisprudence been regulated, so far as to decree that by divine law a citizen may be condemne