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eminently either respectable, or amiable, or use ful, who is not distinguished for the frankness and candour of his manners. . He that is not conspicuously sincere, either very little partakes of the passion of doing good, or is pitiably ignorant of the means by which the objects of true benevolence are to be effected." The writer proceeds to discuss the mode of excluding visiters, and it is done in so powerful a manner, that I must avail myself of the aid which it affords me.

"Let us then, according to the well-known axiom of MORALITY, put ourselves in the place of that man upon whom is imposed this ungracious task. Is there any of us that would be contented to perform it in person, and to say that our father and brother was not at home, when they were really in the house? Should we not feel ourselves contaminated by the PLEBEIAN LIE? Can we thus be justified in requiring that from another which we should shrink from as an act of dishonour in ourselves?" I must here beg leave to state that, generally speaking, masters and mistresses only command their servants to tell a lie which they would be very willing to tell themselves. I have heard wives deny their husbands, husbands their wives, children their parents, and parents their children, with as much unblushing effrontery at if there were no such thing as truth, or its obligations; but I respect his question on this subject, envy him his ignorance, and admire his epi


But then, I think that all lies are plebeian. Was it not a king of France, a captive in his kingdom, who said, (with an honourable consciousness, that a sovereign is entitled to set a high example to his people,) if honour be driven from every other

spot, it should always inhabit the breast of kings!" and if truth be banished from every other description of persons, it ought more especially to be found on the lips of those whom rank and fortune have placed above the reach of strong temptation to falsehood.

But, while I think that, however exalted be the rank of the person who utters a lie, that person suffers by his deceit a worse than plebeian degradation, I also assert, that the humblest plebeian, who is known to be incapable of falsehood, and to utter, on all occasions, spontaneous truth, is raised far above the mendacious patrician in the scale of real respectability; and in comparison, the plebeian becomes patrician, and the patrician plebeian.

I shall conclude my references, with extracts from two modern Scotch philosophers of considerable and deserved reputation, Dr. Reid, and Dr. Thomas Browne.*

"Without fidelity and trust, there can be no human society. There never was a society even of savages, nay, even of robbers and pirates, in which there was not a great degree of veracity and fidelity amongst themselves. Every man thinks himself injured and ill-used when he is imposed upon. Every man takes it as a reproach when falsehood is imputed to him. There are the clearest evidences that all men disapprove of falsehood, when their judgment is not biassed."Reid's Essays on the Power of the Human Mind, chap. vi. "On the Nature of a Contract."

* This latter gentleman, with whom I had the pleasure of being personally acquainted, bas, by his early death, left a chasm in the world of literature, and in the domestic circle in which he moved, which cannot easily be filled up.

"The next duty of which we have to treat, is that of veracity, which relates to the knowledge or belief of others, as capable of being affected by the meanings, true or false, which our words or our conduct may convey; and consists in the faithful conformity of our language, or of our conduct, when it is intended tacitly to supply the place of language to the truth which we profess to deliver; or, at least, to that which is at the time believed by us to be true. So much of the happiness of social life is derived from the use of language, and so profitless would the mere power of language be, but for the truth which dictates it, that the abuse of the confidence which is placed in our declarations may not merely be in the highest degree injurious to the individual deceived, but would tend, if general, to throw back the whole race of mankind into that barbarism from which they have emerged, and ascended through still purer air, and still brighter sunshine, to that noble height which they have reached. It is not wonderful, therefore, that veracity, so important to the happiness of all, and yet subject to so many temptations of personal interest in the violation of it, should, in all nations, have had a high place assigned to it among the virtues "-Dr. Thomas Browne's Lectures on the Philosophy of the Human Mind, vol. iv. p. 225.

It may be asked why I have taken the trouble to quote from so many authors, in order to prove what no one ever doubted; namely, the importance and necessity of speaking the truth, and the meanness and mischief of uttering falsehood. But I have added authority to authority, in order renewedly to force on the attention of my readers that not one of these writers mentions any allow

ed exception to the general rule, that truth is always to be spoken; no mental reservation is pointed out as permitted on special occasions; no individual is authorized to be the judge of right or wrong in his own case, and to set his own opinion of the propriety and necessity of lying, in particular instances, against the positive precept to abstain from lying; an injunction which is so commonly enforced in the page of the moralist, that it becomes a sort of imperative command. Still, in spite of the universally-acknowledged conviction of mankind, that truth is virtue, and falsehood vice, I scarcely know an individual who does not occasionally shrink from acting up to his conviction on this point, and is not, at times, irresistibly impelled to qualify that conviction, by saying, that on " ALMOST all occasions the truth is to be spoken, and never to be withheld." Or they may, perhaps, quote the well-known proverb, that "truth is not to be spoken at all times." But the real meaning of that proverb appears to me to be simply this: that we are never officiously or gratuitously to utter offensive truths; not that truth, when required, is ever to be withheld. The principle of truth is an immutable principle, or it is of no use as a guard, nor safe as the foundation of morals. A moral law on which it is dangerous to act to the uttermost, is, however admirable, no better than Harlequin's horse, which was the very best and finest of all horses, and worthy of the admiration of the whole world; but, unfortunately, the horse was DEAD; and if the law to tell the truth inviolably, is not to be strictly adhered to, without any regard to consequences, it is, however admirable, as useless as the merits of Harlequin's dead horse. King Theodoric, when advised by his courtiers to debase the

coin, declared, "that nothing which bore his image should ever lie." Happy would it be for the interests of society, if, having as much proper self-respect as this good monarch had, we could resolve never to allow our looks or words to bear any impress, but that of the strict truth; and were as reluctant to give a false impression of ourselves, in any way, as to circulate light sovereigns and forged banknotes. Oh! that the day may come when it shall be thought as dishonourable to commit the slightest breach of veracity, as to pass counterfeit shillings; and when both shall be deemed equally detrimental to the safety and prosperity of the community.

I intend in a future work to make some observations on several collateral descendants from the large family of lies. Such as INACCURACY IN RELATION; PROMISE-BREAKING ; ENGAGEMENT-BREAKING, and WANT OF PUNCTUALITY. Perhaps PROCRASTINATION Comes in a degree under the head of lying; at least procrastinators lie to themselves; they say "I will do so and so to-morrow," and as they believe their own assertions, they are guilty of self-deception, the most dangerous of all deceptions. But those who are enabled by constant watchfulness never to deceive others, will at last learn never to deceive themselves; for truth being their constant aim in all their dealings they will not shrink from that most effective of all means to acquire it, SELF-EXAMINATION.

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