his disadvantage had trusted the word of a liar. Towards the end of the Middle Ages and later, crimes against the Mint and the offence of counterfeiting seals, usually accompanied by that of forging letters or official documents, were extremely common in England ;? and false weights, false measures, and false pretences of all kinds were ordinary instruments of commerce.

In modern times, according to Mr. Pike, the Public Records testify a decrease of deception in England. Commercial honesty has improved, and those mean arts to which, during the reigns of the Tudors, even men in the highest positions frequently had recourse, have now, at any rate, descended to a lower grade of society. At present, in the civilised countries of the West, opinion as to what the duty of sincerity implies varies not only in different individuals, but among different classes or groups of people, as also among different nations. Duplicity is held more reprehensible in a gentleman than in a shopkeeper or a peasant. The notion which seems to be common in England, that an advocate is over-scrupulous who refuses to say what he knows to be false if he is instructed to say it,appears strange at least to some foreigners ;' and in certain countries it is regarded as blamable hypocrisy if a person ostensibly professes a religion in which he does not believe, say, by going to church. The Quakers deem all complimentary modes of speech, for instance in addressing people, to be objectionable as being inconsistent with truth.$ Certain philosophers have expressed the opinion that veracity is an unconditional duty, which is not to be limited by any expediency, but must be respected in all circumstances. According to Kant, it would be a crime to tell a falsehood to a murderer who asked us whether

i Pollock and Maitland, History of Paley, Principles of Moral and English Law before the Time of Political Philosophy, iii. 15 (Complete Edward 1. ii. 535 sq.

Works, ii. 117). The same view was 2 Pike, op. cit. i. 265, 269; ii. 392. expressed by Cicero (De officiis, ii. 14). 3 Ibia. i. 142 ; ii. 238.

See also Dymond, Essays on the * Ibid. i. 264. Cf. ibid. ii. 474. Principles of Morals, ii. 5, p. 50 sqm. Ibid, ü. 14 sq.

8 Gurney, Vicws and Practices of the 6 Sidgwick, Methods of Ethics, p. 316. Society of Friends, p. 401.

[ocr errors]

8 ܙܙ



our friend, of whom he was in pursuit, had taken refuge in our house. Fichte maintains that the defence of so-called necessary lies is “the most wicked argument possible amongst men.' Dymond says, “If I may tell a falsehood to a robber in order to save my property, I may commit parricide for the same purpose.

But this rigorous view is not shared by common sense, nor by orthodox Protestant theology. Jeremy Taylor asks, “ Who will not tell a harmless lie to save the life of his friend, of his child, of himself, of a good and brave man?5

Where deception is designed to benefit the person deceived, says Professor Sidgwick, “common sense seems to concede that it may sometimes be right : for example, most persons would not hesitate to speak falsely to an invalid, if this seemed the only way of concealing facts that might produce a dangerous shock: nor do I perceive that any one shrinks from telling fictions to children, on matters upon which it is thought well that they should not know the truth.” 0 In the case of grown-up people, however, this principle seems to require the modification made by Hutcheson, that there is no wrong in false speech when the party deceived himself does not consider it an injury to be deceived. Otherwise it might easily be supposed to give support to pious fraud,” which in its crudest form is nowadays generally disapproved of, but which in subtle disguise still has many advocates among religious partisans. It is argued that the most important truths of religion cannot be conveyed into the minds of ordinary men, except by being enclosed, as it were, in a shell of fiction, and that by relating such fictions as if they were facts we are really performing an act of substantial veracity.S But this argument seems chiefly to have been invented for the

[ocr errors]


1 Kant, Veber ein vermeintes Recht, aus Menschenliebe zu Lügen,' in Sämmtliche Werke, vii. 309.

Fichte, Das System der Sittenlehre, p. 371 ; English translation, p. 303 sq.

3 Dymond, op. cil. ij. 6, p. 57. 4 Reinhard, System der

Christ. lichen Moral, iii. 193 sqq. Martensen,

Christian Ethics, 'Individual Ethics,'
p. 216 sqq. Newman, Apologia pro
vita sua, p. 274.

☆ Taylor, Whole Works, xii. 162.
6 Sidgwick, op. cit. p. 316.

? Hutcheson, System of Moral Philosophy, ii. 32.

Sidgwick, op. cit. p. 316.


purpose of supporting a dilapidated structure of theological teaching, and can hardly be accepted by any person unprejudiced by religious bias. As a means of self-defence deviation from truth has been justified not only in the case of grosser injuries but in the case of illegitimate curiosity, as it seems unreasonable that a person should be obliged to supply another with information which he has no right to exact. The obligation of keeping a promise, again, is qualified in various ways. Thoughtful persons would commonly admit that such an obligation is relative to the promisee, and may be annulled by him.” A promise to do an immoral act is held not to be binding, because the prior obligation not to do the act is paramount. If, before the time comes to fulfil a promise, circumstances have altered so much that the effects of keeping it are quite different from those which were foreseen when it was made, all would agree that the promisee ought to release the promiser ; but if he declines to do so, some would say that the latter is in every case bound by his promise, whilst others would maintain that a considerable alteration of circumstances has removed the obligation. How far promises obtained by force or fraud are binding is a much disputed question. According to Hutcheson, for instance, no regard is due to a promise which has been extorted by unjust violence.“ Adam Smith, on the other hand, considers that whenever such a promise is violated, though for the most necessary reason, it is always with some degree of dishonour to the person who made it, and that “ a brave man ought to die rather than make a promise

1 Schopenhauer, Dic Grundlage der Moral, § 17 (Sämmtliche Werke, vi. 247 599.).

" Whewell, Elements of Morality, P. 156. Sidgwick, op. cit. p. 305.

110. 3. 5) that a person who does not do what he has promised is excused “if the conditions of persons and things are changed."

* Dymond, op. cit. ii. 6, p. 55. Whewell, op. cit. p. 156 sq. Sidgwick, op. cit. p. 305. This is also the opinion of Thomas Aquinas (op. cit. ii.-ii. 110. 3. 5).

Sidgwick, op. cit. p. 306 sq. Thomas Aquinas says (op. cit. ii.-ii,

5 Dymond, op. cit. ii. 6, p. 55 sq. Whewell, op. cit. pp. 155, 159 $99. Sidgwick, op. cit. p. 305 sq. Adam Smith, Theory of Moral Sentiments, p. 486 599.

6' Hutcheson, System O Moral Philosophy, ii. 34.

which he can neither keep without folly nor violate without ignominy."

In point of veracity and good faith the old distinction between duties which we owe to our fellow-countrymen and such as we owe to foreigners is still preserved in various cases.

It is particularly conspicuous in the relations between different states, in peace or war.

Stratagems and the employment of deceptive means necessary to procure intelligence respecting the enemy or the country are held allowable in warfare, independently of the question whether the war is defensive or aggressive.? Deceit has, in fact, often constituted a great share of the glory of the most celebrated commanders; and particularly in the eighteenth century it was a common opinion that successes gained through a spy are more creditable to the skill of a general than successes in regular battles. Lord Wolseley writes :—“ As a nation we are bred up to feel it a disgrace even to succeed by falsehood ; the word spy conveys something as repulsive as slave; we will keep hammering along with the conviction that ‘honesty is the best policy,' and that truth always wins in the long run. These pretty little sentences do well for a child's copy-book, but the man who acts upon them in war had better sheathe his sword for ever. At the same time, there are some exceptions to the general rule that deceit is permitted against an enemy.

Under the customs of war it has been agreed that particular acts and signs shall have a specific meaning in order that belligerents

[ocr errors]

| Adam Smith, op. cit. p. 489.

2 Conférence de Bruxelles, art. 14. Instructions for the Government of Armies of the United States in the Field, art. 16, 101. Conférence internationale de la paix, La Haye, 1899, ‘Règlement concernant les lois de la guerre sur terre,' art. 24, pt. i. p. 245. Roman Catholicism admits the employ. ment of stratagems in wars which are just (Gratian, op. cit. ii. 23. 2. 2; Ayala, De jure it officiis bellicis et disciplina militari, i. 8. I 59. ; Ferraris, quoted by Adds, Catholic Dictionary,

p. 945; Nys, Le droit de la guerre et
les précurseurs de Grotius, p. 128 sq.),
on the authority of St. Augustine, the
great advocate of general truthfulness
(Quæstiones in Jesum Nave, 10, ad Jos.
viii. 2 [Migne, op. cit. xxxiv. 781):-
“ Cum autem justum bellum susceperit,
utrum aperta pugna utrum insidiis
vincat, nihil ad justitiam interest ”).

3 Halleck, Liternational Law, i. 567. Maine, International Law, p. 149 549.

* Wolseley, Soldier's Pocket-Book for Field Service, p. 169.

may carry on certain necessary intercourse, and it is forbidden to employ such acts or signs in deceiving an enemy. Thus information must not be surreptitiously obtained under the shelter of a flag of truce ; buildings not used as hospitals must not be marked with an hospital flag ; and persons not covered by the provisions of the Geneva Convention must not be protected by its cross. A curious arbitrary rule affects one class of stratagems by forbidding certain permitted means of deception from the moment at which they cease to deceive. It is perfectly legitimate to use the distinctive emblems of an enemy in order to escape from him or to draw his forces into action ; but it is held that soldiers clothed in the uniforms of their enemy must put on a conspicuous mark by which they can be recognised before attacking, and that a vessel using the enemy's flag must hoist its own flag before firing with shot or shell.? Disobedience to this rule is considered to entail grave dishonour; for “in actual battle enemies are bound to combat loyally and are not free to ensure victory by putting on a mask of friendship.”3 But, as Mr. Hall observes, it is not easy to see why it is more disloyal to wear a disguise when it is obviously useless, than when it serves its purpose. Finally, it is universally agreed that promises given to the enemy ought to be kept ; 'this was admitted even by Machiavelli 6 and Bynkershoek," who did not in general burden belligerents with particularly heavy duties. But the restrictions which “ international law

[ocr errors]


1 Conférence de Bruxelles, art. 13 sq. 6 Machiavelli, Discorsi, iii. Instructions for the Government of (Opere, iii. 164); Armies of the United States in the Bynkershoek, Quastiones juris Field, art. 101, 114, 117. Manual of publici, i. I, p. 4. The maxim of the Laws of War on Land, prepared Canon Law, “Fides servanda hosti" by the Institute of International Law, (Gratian, Decretum, ii. 23. i. 3), how. art. 8 (d). Hall, Treatise on Inter. ever, was greatly impaired by the national Law, p. 537 sq.

principle, “ Juramentum contra utili? Hall, op. cit. p. 538 sq. Bluntschli, tatem ecclesia ticam praestitum non Droit international, $ 565, p. 328 sq. tenet (Gregory IX. Decrctales, ii.

3 Bluntschli, op. cit. $ 565, p. 329. 24, 27. See Nys, Le droit de la guerre * Hall, op. cit. p. 539.

et les précurseurs de Grotius, p. 126 5 Heffter, Das Europrische Völker- sq.). recht der Gegenwart, $ 125, p. 262,

« ͹˹Թõ