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the importance of truth to the interests of society, and of the mischief which they experience from lying, though few, comparatively, think the practice of the one, and avoidance of the other, binding either on the christian or the moralist, when they are acting in the busy scenes of the world. Nor, can I wonder at this inconsistency, when boys and girls, as I have before remarked, however they may be taught to speak the truth at home, are so often tempted into the tolerated commission of falsehood as soon as they set their foot into a public school.

But we must wonder still less at the little shame which attaches to what is called WHITE LYING, when we see it sanctioned in the highest assemblies in this kingdom.

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It is with fear and humility that I venture to blame a custom prevalent in our legislative meetings; which, as christianity is declared to be part and parcel of the law of the land," ought to be christian as well as wise; and where every member, feeling it binding on him individually to act according to the legal oath, should speak the truth, and nothing but the truth. Yet, what is the real state of things there on some occasions ?

In the heat, (the pardonable heat, perhaps,) of political debates, and from the excitement produced by collision of wits, a noble lord, or an honourable commoner, is betrayed into severe personal comment on his antagonist. The unavoidable consequence, as it is thought, is apology, or duel.

But as these assemblies are called christian, even the warriors present deem apology a more proper proceeding than duel. Yet, how is apology. to be made consistent with the dignity and dictates of worldly honour? And how can the necessity of

duel, that savage heathenish disgrace to a civilized and christian land, be at once obviated? Oh! the method is easy enough. "It is as easy as lying," and lying is the remedy. A noble lord, or an honourable member gets up, and says, that undoubtedly his noble or honourable friend used such and such words; but, no doubt, that by those words he did not mean what those words usually mean; but he meant so and so. Some one on the other side immediately rises on behalf of the of fended, and says, that if the offender will say that by so and so, he did not mean so and so, the offended will be perfectly satisfied. On which the offender rises, declares that by black he did not mean black, but white; in short, that black is white, and white black; the offended says, enough; -I am satisfied! the honourable house is satisfied also that life is put out of peril, and what is called honour is satisfied by the sacrifice ONLY of truth.

I must beg leave to state, that no one can rejoice more fervently than myself when these disputes terminate without duels; but must there be a victim? and must that victim be truth? As there is no intention to deceive on these occasions, nor wish, nor expectation to do so, the soul, the essence of lying, is not in the transaction on the side of the offender. But the offended is forced to say that he is satisfied, when he certainly can not be so. He knows that the offender meant, at the moment, what he said; therefore, he is not satisfied when he is told, in order to return his halfdrawn sword to the scabbard, or his pistol to the holster, that black means white, and white means black.

However, he has his resource; he may ultimately tell the truth, declare himself, when out of the house, unsatisfied; and may (horrible alterna

tive!) peril his life, or that of his opponent. But is there no other course which can be pursued by him who gave the offence? Must apology to satisfy be made in the language of falsehood ? Could it not be made in the touching and impressive language of truth? Might not the perhaps already penitent offender say "no; I will not be guilty of the meanness of subterfuge. By the words which I uttered, I meant at the moment what those words conveyed, and nothing else. But then saw through the medium of passion; I spoke in the heat of resentment; and I now scruple not to say that I am sorry for what I said, and entreat the pardon of him whom I offended. If he be not satisfied, I know the consequences, and must take the responsibility."

Surely an apology like this would satisfy any one, however offended ; and if the adversary were not contented, the noble or honourable house would undoubtedly deem his resentment brutal, and he would be constrained to pardon the offender in order to avoid disgrace.

But I am not contented with the conclusion of the apology which I have put into the mouth of the offending party; for I have made him willing, if necessary, to comply with the requirings of worldly honour. Instead of ending his apology in that unholy manner, should have wished to end it thus:-"But if this heart-felt apology be not suf ficient to appease the anger of him whom I have offended, and he expects me, in order to expiate my fault, to meet him in the lawless warfare of single combat, I solemnly declare that I will not so meet him; that not even the dread of being accused of cowardice, and being frowned on by those whose respect I value, shall induce me to put in peril either his life or my own."

If he and his opponent be married men, and, above all, if he be indeed a christian, he might add, "I will not, for any personal considerations, run the risk of making his wife and mine a widow, and his children and my own fatherless. I will not run the risk of disappointing that confiding tenderness which looks up to us for happiness and protection, by any rash and selfish action of mine. But, I am not actuated to this refusal by this consideration alone; I am withheld by one more binding and more powerful still. For I remember the precepts taught in the Bible, and confirmed in the New Testament; and I cannot, will not, dare not, enter into single and deadly combat, in opposition to that awful conmand, thou shalt not kill!" "

Would any one, however narrow and worldly in his conceptions, venture to condemn as a coward, meanly shrinking from the responsibility he had incurred, the man that could dare to put forth sentiments like these, regardless of that fearful thing, "the world's dread laugh ?"

There might be some among his hearers by whom this truly noble daring could not possibly be appreciated. But, though in both houses of parliament, there might be heroes present, whose heads are even bowed down by the weight of their laurels; men whose courage has often paled the cheek of their enemies in battle, and brought the loftiest low; still, (I must venture to assert) he who can dare, for the sake of conscience, to speak and act counter to the prejudices and pas sions of the world, at the risk of losing his standing in society, such a man is a hero in the best sense of the word; his is courage of the most difficult kind; that moral courage, founded in

deed on fear, but a fear that tramples firmly on every fear of man; for it is that holy fear, the FEAR OF GOD.

CHAPTER XIII.

LYING THE MOST COMMON OF ALL VICES.

I HAVE observed in the preceding chapter, and elsewhere, that all persons, in theory, consider lying as a most odious, mean, and pernicious practice. It is also one which is more than almost any other reproved, if not punished, both in servants and children ;-for parents, those excepted, whose moral sense has been rendered utterly callous, or who never possessed any, mourn over the slightest deviation from truth in their offspring, and visit it with instant punishment. Who has not frequently heard masters and mistresses of families declaring that some of their servants were such liars that they could keep them no longer? Yet, trying and painful as intercourse with liars is universally allowed to be, since confidence, that necessary guardian of domestic peace, cannot exist where they are; lying is undoubtedly, THE MOST COMMON OF ALL VICES. A friend of mine was once told by a confessor, that it was the one most frequently confessed to him; and I am sure that if we enter society with eyes open to detect this propensity, we shall soon be convinced, that there are few, if any, of our acquaintance, however distinguished for virtue, who are not, on some occasions, led by good and sufficient motives, in their own opinion

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