In 1819, as a riposte to David Hume’s skepticism of the Gospel historical past, Richard Whately revealed Historic Doubts Relative to Napoleon Bonaparte:
‘However what shall we embrace to the testimony of these many respectable individuals who went to Plymouth on function, and noticed Buonaparte with their very own eyes? should they not belief their senses?’ I might not disparage both the eyesight or the veracity of those gents. I’m prepared to permit that they went to Plymouth for the aim of seeing Buonaparte; nay, extra, that they really rowed out into the harbour in a ship, and got here alongside of a man-of-war, on whose deck they noticed a person in a cocked hat, who, they have been advised, was Buonaparte. That is the utmost level to which their testimony goes; how they ascertained that this man within the cocked hat had gone by way of all of the marvellous and romantic adventures with which we’ve so lengthy been amused, we aren’t advised.
“Let these, then, who fake to philosophical freedom of inquiry, who scorn to relaxation their opinions on widespread perception, and to shelter themselves below the instance of the unthinking multitude, contemplate fastidiously, each for himself, what’s the proof proposed to himself particularly, for the existence of such an individual as Napoleon Buonaparte: — I don’t imply, whether or not there ever was an individual bearing that title, for that could be a query of no consequence; however whether or not any such particular person ever carried out all of the great issues attributed to him; — let him then weigh nicely the objections to that proof, (of which I’ve given however a hasty and imperfect sketch,) and if he then finds it quantity to something greater than a likelihood, I’ve solely to congratulate him on his simple religion.”