{391} March, 1870. Since the date of these Essays facts have been published, bearing upon the apparent miracle wrought in favour of the African confessors in the Vandal persecution, which have led me, in my "Apologia" (p. 306, ed. 2), to write as follows:

"Their tongues were cut out by the Arian tyrant, and yet they spoke as before. I insisted [Note] on this fact as being strictly miraculous. Among other remarks (referring to the instances adduced by Middleton and others in disparagement of the miracle, viz., of 'A girl born without a tongue, who yet talked as distinctly and easily as if she had enjoyed the full benefit of that organ,' and of a boy who lost his tongue at the age of eight or nine, yet retained his speech, whether perfectly or not,) I said, 'Does Middleton mean to say that, if a certain number of men lost their tongues at the command of a tyrant, for the sake of their religion, and then spoke as plainly as before, nay, if only one person was so mutilated and so gifted, it would not be a miracle?'—p. 210. And I enlarged upon the minute details of the fact as reported to us by eyewitnesses and contemporaries.

"However, a few years ago an article appeared in Notes and Queries (No. for May 22, 1858), in which various evidence was adduced to show that the tongue is not necessary for articulate speech.

"1. Colonel Churchill, in his 'Lebanon,' speaking of the cruelties of Djezzar Pacha, in extracting to the root the {392} tongues of some Emirs, adds, 'It is a curious fact, however, that the tongues grow again sufficiently for the purposes of speech.'

"2. Sir John Malcolm, in his 'Sketches of Persia,' speaking of Zāb, Khan of Khisht, who was condemned to lose his tongue, 'This mandate,' he says, 'was imperfectly executed, and the loss of half this member deprived him of speech. Being afterwards persuaded that its being cut close to the root would enable him to speak so as to be understood, he submitted to the operation and the effect has been that his voice, though indistinct and thick, is yet intelligible to persons accustomed to converse with him ... I am not an anatomist, and I cannot therefore give a reason why a man, who could not articulate with half a tongue, should speak when he had none at all; but the facts are as stated.'

"3. And Sir John McNeil says, 'In answer to your inquiries about the powers of speech retained by persons who have had their tongues cut out, I can state from personal observation that several persons whom I knew in Persia, who had been subjected to that punishment, spoke so intelligibly as to be able to transact important business ... The conviction in Persia is universal, that the power of speech is destroyed by merely cutting off the tip of the tongue; and is to a useful extent restored by cutting off another portion as far back as a perpendicular section can be made of the portion that is free from attachment at the lower surface … I never had to meet with a person who had suffered this punishment, who could not speak so as to be quite intelligible to his familiar associates.' So far these writers.

"I should not, however, be honest, if I professed to be simply converted by their testimony, to the belief that there was nothing miraculous in the case of the African confessors. It is quite as fair to be sceptical on one side of the question {393} as on the other; and if Gibbon is considered worthy of praise for his 'stubborn incredulity' in receiving the evidence for the miracle, I do not see why I am to be blamed, if I wish to be quite sure of the full appositeness of the recent evidence which is brought to its disadvantage. Questions of fact cannot be disproved by analogies or presumptions; the inquiry must be made into the particular case in all its parts, as it comes before us. Meanwhile, I fully allow that the points of evidence brought in disparagement of the miracle are primā facie of such cogency, that, till they are proved to be irrelevant, Catholics are prevented from appealing to it for controversial purposes."

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That is, in my Second Essay, as supr. Ch. v. Sec. 9, especially at p. 383.
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