This is not the occasion to discourse of the Art of Lying in general. The subject is too wide for any essay, and the present writer can claim no special competence. Yet, contrary to much generally received opinion, mankind for the most part are extremely bad liars,—not for want of practice, but because of inherent deficiency. This proposition is accepted as axiomatic in the practice of law and in the science of history. Few witnesses can survive a really skilled crossexamination unless they are speaking the truth or a fairly close approximation to it, and the historical witness is in little better case. The difficulties inherent in testimony are immense, but deliberate untruthfulness seldom prevails.
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