Contradiction

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CONTRADICTION. The incompatibility, contrariety, and evident opposition of two ideas, which are the subject of one and the same proposition.
     2. In general, when a party accused of a crime contradicts himself, it is presumed he does so because he is guilty for truth does not contradict itself, and is always consistent, whereas falsehood is in general inconsistent and the truth of some known facts will contradict the falsehood of those which are falsely alleged to be true. But there must still be much caution used by the judge, as there may be sometimes apparent contradictions which arise either from the timidity, the ignorance, or the inability of the party to explain himself, when in fact he tells the truth.
    3. When a witness contradicts himself as to something which is important in the case, his testimony will be much weakened, or it may be entirely discredited and when he relates a story of facts which he alleges passed only in his presence, and he is contradicted as to other facts which are known to others, his credit will be much impaired.
     4. When two witnesses, or other persons, state things directly opposed to each other, it is the duty of the judge or jury to reconcile these apparent contradictions; but when this cannot be done, the more improbable statement must be rejected; or, if both are entitled to the same credit, then the matter is as if no proof had been given. See Circumstances.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in classic literature ?
"It is enough, for the present, that we trusted to an Indian guide to take us by a nearer, though blinder path, and that we are deceived in his knowledge.
The first had been delivered over the knuckles, and though 'twas a glancing stroke it well nigh broke Robin's fingers, so that he could not easily raise his staff again.
Here she set up the same trade she had followed in Ireland, in which she soon, by her admirable management and good tongue, arrived to the height which I have already described, and indeed began to be rich, though her trade fell off again afterwards, as I have hinted before.
She smiled sweetly in her sleep, and stretched out her arms softly, as though to enfold the dear head of her lover.
I should say to my children: "For your father you need not pray; but for his Excellency, I bid you pray until your lives shall end." Yes, dear one--I tell you this in all solemnity, so hearken well unto my words--that though, during these cruel days of our adversity, I have nearly died of distress of soul at the sight of you and your poverty, as well as at the sight of myself and my abasement and helplessness, I yet care less for the hundred roubles which his Excellency has given me than for the fact that he was good enough to take the hand of a wretched drunkard in his own and press it.
But it was a matter of great consolation to her, that what brought evil to herself would bring good to her sister; and Elinor, on the other hand, suspecting that it would not be in her power to avoid Edward entirely, comforted herself by thinking, that though their longer stay would therefore militate against her own happiness, it would be better for Marianne than an immediate return into Devonshire.
As my bricks had been in a chimney before, though I did not read the name of Nebuchadnezzar on them, I picked out its many fireplace bricks as I could find, to save work and waste, and I filled the spaces between the bricks about the fireplace with stones from the pond shore, and also made my mortar with the white sand from the same place.
Though by the twentieth of August nearly all the Rostovs' acquaintances had left Moscow, and though everybody tried to persuade the countess to get away as quickly as possible, she would not bear of leaving before her treasure, her adored Petya, returned.
Who saw thee on that bridal day, When that deep blush would come o'er thee, Though happiness around thee lay, The world all love before thee.
But to return to Mrs Wilkins, who, having executed her commission with great dispatch, though at fifteen miles distance, brought back such a confirmation of the schoolmaster's guilt, that Mr Allworthy determined to send for the criminal, and examine him viva voce .
Here at least We shall be free; th' Almighty hath not built Here for his envy, will not drive us hence: Here we may reign secure, and in my choyce To reign is worth ambition though in Hell: Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heav'n.
Elizabeth listened with delight to the happy, though modest hopes which Jane entertained of Mr.