Clarence Darrow's examination of William Jennings Bryan at the 1925 Scopes trial

Darrow: 'Where have you lived all your life?'
Bryan: 'Not near you'

 

Judge--Do you want Mr. Bryan sworn?



Darrow--No.



Bryan--I can make affirmation; I can say "So help me God, I will tell the truth."



Darrow--No, I take it you will tell the truth, Mr. Bryan. You have given considerable study to the Bible, haven't you, Mr. Bryan?



Bryan--Yes, sir, I have tried to.

Darrow--Then you have made a general study of it?

Bryan--Yes, I have; I have studied the Bible for about 50 years, or sometime more than that, but, of course, I have studied it more as I have become older than when I was but a boy.

Darrow--You claim that everything in the Bible should be literally interpreted?

Bryan--I believe everything in the Bible should be accepted as it is given there: some of the Bible is given illustratively. For instance: "Ye are the salt of the earth." I would not insist that man was actually salt, or that he had flesh of salt, but it is used in the sense of salt as saving God's people.

Darrow--But when you read that Jonah swallowed the whale--or that the whale swallowed Jonah--excuse me please--how do you literally interpret that?

Bryan--When I read that a "big fish" swallowed Jonah--it does not say whale. That is my recollection of it. A big fish, and I believe it, and I believe in a God who can make a whale and can make a man and make both what He pleases.

Darrow--Now, you say, the big fish swallowed Jonah, and he there remained how long--three days--and then he spewed him upon the land. You believe that the big fish was made to swallow Jonah?

Bryan--I am not prepared to say that; the Bible merely says it was done.

Darrow--You don't know whether it was the ordinary run of fish, or made for that purpose?

Bryan--You may guess; you evolutionists guess...

Darrow--You are not prepared to say whether that fish was made especially to swallow a man or not?

Bryan--The Bible doesn't say, so I am not prepared to say.

Darrow--But do you believe He made them--that He made such a fish and that it was big enough to swallow Jonah?

Bryan--Yes, sir. Let me add: One miracle is just as easy to believe as another.

Darrow--Just as hard?

Bryan--It is hard to believe for you, but easy for me. A miracle is a thing performed beyond what man can perform. When you get within the realm of miracles; and it is just as easy to believe the miracle of Jonah as any other miracle in the Bible.

Darrow--Perfectly easy to believe that Jonah swallowed the whale?

Bryan--If the Bible said so; the Bible doesn't make as extreme statements as evolutionists do.

Darrow--The Bible says Joshua commanded the sun to stand still for the purpose of lengthening the day, doesn't it, and you believe it.

Bryan--I do.

Darrow--Do you believe at that time the entire sun went around the earth?

Bryan--No, I believe that the earth goes around the sun.

Darrow--Do you believe that the men who wrote it thought that the day could be lengthened or that the sun could be stopped?

Bryan--I don't know what they thought.

Darrow--You don't know?

Bryan--I think they wrote the fact without expressing their own thoughts.

Darrow--Have you an opinion as to whether or not the men who wrote that thought--

Thomas Stewart (a prosecution lawyer)--I want to object, your honor. It has gone beyond the pale of any issue that could possibly be injected into this lawsuit, except by imagination. I do not think the defendant has a right to conduct the examination any further and I ask your honor to exclude it.

Bryan--It seems to me it would be too exacting to confine the defense to the facts. If they are not allowed to get away from the facts, what have they to deal with?

Judge--Mr. Bryan is willing to be examined. Go ahead.

Continued on page 2: »

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