Four years later, in 1831, the Introduction a l'histoire universelle showed a very different style, exhibiting no doubt the idiosyncrasy and literary power of the writer to greater advantage, but also displaying the peculiar visionary qualities which made Michelet the most stimulating, but the most untrustworthy (not in facts, which he never consciously falsifies, but in suggestion) of all historians.
He followed as his chief source the prose history of Myron of Priene, an untrustworthy writer, probably of the 2nd century B.C.; hence a good deal of his story must be regarded as fanciful, though we cannot distinguish accurately between the true and the fictitious.
Knox and others speak of a will of James V., forged by the cardinal, but the stories are inconsistent, and rest mainly on the untrustworthy evidence of Arran.
To this was appended a critical dissertation on the historians who had dealt with the period (Zur Kritik neuerer Geschichtschreiber), which, showing as it did how untrustworthy was much of traditional history, was to be for modern history as epoch-marking as the critical work of Niebuhr had been in ancient history.
Upon this matter there has been, it is true, some diversity of opinion among modern scholars, but it is now generally admitted, and can be abundantly shown, that he was not only diligent in gathering material, but also far more thorough-going than most writers of antiquity in discriminating between trustworthy and untrustworthy reports, frank in acknowledging his ignorance, scrupulous in indicating his authorities in doubtful cases, less credulous than most of his contemporaries, and unfailingly honest.
Fortunately we have the first-hand evidence of his autobiography, which is a surer guide than the lines written by untrustworthy disciples.
So far then, Midrash tends to include moralizing history, whether we call it narrative or romance, attached to names and events, and it is obviously exemplified whenever there are unmistakable signs of untrustworthy amplification and of some explicit religious or ethical aim colouring the narrative.
The valid or scientific but metaphysically untrustworthy knowledge, to which Kant shut us up, was knowledge of a mechanical universe.
But neither Charles nor Francis wished him to be a real gainer, and he himself was a most untrustworthy friend, for he was quite ready to turn against his ally if he seemed to be growing too powerful, and threatened to dominate all Europe; the complete success of either party would mean that England would sink once more into a secondrate power.
Down to the 3rd century it is proved by the contemporary Graeco-Roman annals to be utterly untrustworthy - but even for the times of Armenian Christianity it must be used far more cautiously than has been done, for example, by Gibbon.