Jane Austen (16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817) was an outstanding British novelist (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jane_Austen and Gideon Polya, “Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History. Colonial rapacity, holocaust denial and the crisis in biological sustainability”: http://janeaustenand.blogspot.com/ ).
1. Jane Austen (brilliant English novelist) had a sceptical attitude to the “official version” e.g. that Richard III had murdered the Princes in the Tower of London (1791): “...I am rather inclined to suppose him a very respectable Man;...but it also has been declared that he did not kill his two Nephews, which I am inclined to believe true; & if this is the case, it may also be that he did not kill his wife...” .
2. Jane Austen has also posed a germane series of questions that are directly relevant to this problem of public honesty. In her novel “Northanger Abbey” the heroine, Miss Catherine Morland, affected by the somewhat Gothic atmosphere of the Tilney family home and the romantic horrors of Mrs Radcliffe's Gothic novels, conceives the fantasy that General Tilney (the father of her beloved, Henry Tilney) has done away with the late Mrs Tilney. Henry reproves Catherine as follows (1803) :
"If I understand you rightly, you have formed a surmise of such horror as I have hardly words to -. Dear Miss Morland, consider the dreadful nature of the suspicions you have entertained. What have you been judging from? Remember the country and the age in which we live. Remember that we are English, that we are Christians. Consult your own understanding, your own sense of the probable, your own observation of what is passing around you. Does our education prepare us for such atrocities? Do our laws connive at them? Could they be perpetrated without being known, in a country like this, where social and literary intercourse is on such a footing, where every man is surrounded by a neighbourhood of voluntary spies, and where roads and newspapers lay everything open?”" .
The answers to Henry Tilney's questions are surely “Yes! Yes! Yes!”
. Jane Austen on Richard III in her Juvenilia writing “The History of England”, 1791).
. Jane Austen, “Northanger Abbey”, published posthumously, 1818.