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an injury to the party deceived and as such apt to arouse sympathetic resentment, but it is an object of disinterested, moral resentment also because it is intrinsically antipathetic. Lying is a cheap and cowardly method of gaining an undue advantage, and is consequently despised where courage is respected. It is the weapon of the weak, the woman, and the slave. Fraud, says Cicero, is the property of a fox, force that of a lion ; “both are utterly repugnant to society, but fraud is the more detestable. “ To lie is servile,” says Plutarch, “and most hateful in all men, hardly to be pardoned even in poor slaves." On account of its cowardliness, lying was incompatible with Teutonic and knightly notions of manly honour ; and among ourselves the epithets

« liar and · coward” are equally disgraceful to a man. “ All

.. in the rank and station of gentlemen,” Sir Walter Scott observes, “are forcibly called upon to remember that they must resent the imputation of a voluntary falsehood as the most gross injury.” 6 Fichte asks, “ Whence comes that internal shame for one's self which manifests itself even stronger in the case of lie than in the case of any other violation of conscience ?” And his answer is, that the lie is accompanied by cowardice, and that nothing so much dishonours us in our own eyes as want of courage. According to Kant, “a lie is the abandonment, and, as it were, the annihilation, of the dignity of a man.

I C. Schopenhauer, Die Grundlage Brethren, i. 16 [Iroquois). Hearne, der Moral, § 17 (Sämmtliche Werke, Journey to the Northern Ocean, p. 307 vi. 250); Grote, Treatise on the Moral sy. (Northern Indians). Lyon, Pri. Ideais, p. 254.

vate Journal, p. 349 [Eskimo of Igloo. 2 Women are commonly said to be par- lik). Dalager, Grønlandske Relationer, ticularly addicted to falsehood (Schopen- p. 69; Cranz, History of Greenland, i. hauer, Parerga und Parali pomena, ii. 175) 497 54. Galton, Inquiries into Human

3 See infra, p. 129 sy. Faculty, p. 56 sig. Krauss, Sitte und 4 Cicero, De officiis, i. 13. Brauch der Sudslaven, pp. 508, 514. 6 Plutarch, De educutione puerorum, Maurer, Bekehrung des Norwegischen Stammes, i. 159 [ancient Scandi- 6 Scott, “Essay on Chivalry,' in navians). Döllinger, The Gentile and Miscellancous Prose Works, vi. 58. the Juw, ii. 234 [ancient Greeks). 7 Fichte, Das System der Sittenlehre, Lane, Arabian Society in the Middle p. 370 ; English translation, p. 302 sq. Azr5, p. 219. Le Bon, La civilisa- 8 Kant, Metaphysische Anfangungstion des Arabes, p. 433.

Loskiel, grinde der Tugendlehre, p. 84. History of the Mission of the United

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But a lie may also be judged of from a very different point of view. It may be not only a sign of cowardice, but a sign of cleverness. Hence a successful lie may excite admiration, a disinterested kindly feeling towards the liar, genuine moral approval ; whereas to be detected in a lie is considered shameful. And not only is the clever liar an object of admiration, but the person whom he deceives is an object of ridicule. To the mind of a West African native, Miss Kingsley observes, there is no intrinsic harm in lying, “ because a man is a fool who believes another man on an important matter unless he puts on the oath.” 1 A Syrian proverb says, “ Lying is the salt (goodness) of men, and shameful only to one who believes." 2

The duties of sincerity and good faith are also to some extent, and in certain cases principally, founded on prudential considerations. Although, as the Märchen tells us, it happens every day in the world that the fraudulent is successful, there is a widespread notion that, after all, honesty is the best policy.” “Nothing that is false can

“ be lasting,” says Cicero.4 “The liar is short-lived ” (that is, soon detected), say the Arabs. According to a Wolof proverb, “ lies, however numerous, will be caught by truth when it rises up. The Basutos have a saying that “cunning devours its master. It has been remarked that “if there were no such thing as honesty, it would be a good speculation to invent it, as a means of making one's fortune."8

Moreover, lying is attended not only with social disadvantages, but with supernatural danger. The West African Fjort have a tale about a fisherman who every day used to catch and smuggle into his house great quantities of fish,

Kingsley, West African Studies, Schneiderlein,' &c. p. 414. Cf. Sommerville, “Ethnogr. * Cicero, De officiis, ii. 12. Notes in New Georgia,' Jour. Anthr. 5 Burckhardt, Arabic Proverbs, p. Inst. xxvi. 394.

2 Burton and Drake, Unexplored 6 Burton, Wit and Wisdom from Syria, i. 275. See also Burckhardt, West Africa, p. 15. Árabic Proverbs, p. 44 sq.

7 Casalis, Basutos, p. 307. 3 Grimm, Kinder und Hausmärchen, 8 Quoted by Bentham, Theory of Katze und Maus in Gesellschaft,' Legislation, p. 64 Die drei Spinnerinnen,' 'Das tapfere

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but denied to his brother and relatives that he had caught anything. All this time the fetish Sunga was watching, and was grieved to hear him lie thus. The fetish punished him by depriving him of the power of speech, that he might lie no more, and so for the future he could only make his wants known by signs.' In another instance, the Fjort

? tell us, the earth-spirit turned into a pillar of clay a woman who said that she had no peas for sale, when she had her basket full of them. The Nandi of the Uganda Protectorate believe that “God punishes lying by striking the untruthful

person with lightning.' The Dyaks of Borneo think that the lightning-god is made angry even by the most nonsensical untruth, such as the statement that a man has a cat for his mother or that vermin can dance. 4 In Aneiteum, of the New Hebrides, the belief prevailed that liars would be punished in the life to come ;' according to the Banks Islanders, they were excluded from the true Panoi or Paradise after death. We have already noticed the emphasis which some of the higher religions lay on veracity and good faith, and other statements may be added testifying the interest which gods of a more civilised type take in the fulfilment of these duties. In ancient Egypt Amon Ra, “the chief of all the gods,” was invoked as “Lord of Truth”;' and Maā, sometimes represented as his daughter, was the goddess of truth and righteousness. In a Babylonian hymn the moon god is appealed to as the guardian of truth. The Vedic gods are described as "true" and “not deceitful,” as friends of honesty and righteousness ; 1' and Agni was the lord of vows. 11 10



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? Dennett, Folklore of the Fjort, p. 88 sq.

lution des idées morales dans l'Égyple Ancienne, pp. 182, 188, 251.

? Ibid. p. 5.

* Johnston, Uganda Protectorate, ii. 879.

• Selenka, Sonnige Welten, p. 4 .
5 Turner, Samoa, p. 326.
$ Codrington, Melanesians, p. 274.

i Wiedemann, Religion of the Ancient Egyptians, p.

Cf. Brugsch, Die Aegyptologie, pp. 49, 91, 92, 97; Amélineau, Essai sur l'évo.

Wiedemann, Maā, déesse de la vérité,' in Annales du Musée Guimet, x. 561 599. Amélineau, op. cit. p. 187.

Mürdter-Delitzsch, Geschichte Babyloniens und Assyriens, p. 37: 10 Bergaigne, La religion védique, iii. 199. Macdonell, Vedic Mythology, 11 Satapatha-Brahmana, iii. 2 2. 24.

I 12.

p. 18.



Zoroastrian Mithra was a protector of truth, fidelity, and covenants ;) and Rashnu Razista, “ the truest true,” was the genius of truth. According to the Iliad, Zeus is “no abettor of falsehoods ” ; 8 according to Plato, a lie is hateful not only to men but to gods. Among the Romans Jupiter

.* and Dius Fidius were gods of treaties, and Fides was worshipped as the deity of faithfulness. How shall we explain this connection between religious beliefs and the duties of veracity and fidelity to promises ?

Apart from the circumstances which in some cases make gods vindicators of the moral law in general, as conceived of by their worshippers, there are quite special reasons for their disapproval of insincerity and bad faith. Here again we notice the influence of magic beliefs on the religious sanction of morality.

There is something uncanny in the untrue word itself. As Professor Stanley Hall points out, children not infrequently regard every deviation from the most painfully literal truth as alike heinous, with no perspective or degrees of difference between the most barefaced intended and unintended lies. In some children this fear of telling an untruth becomes so neurotic that to every statement, even to yes or no, a“ perhaps ” or “I think” is added mentally, whispered, or aloud. One boy had a long period of fear that, like Ananias and Sapphira, he might some moment drop down dead for a chance and perhaps unconscious lie.? On the other hand, an acted lie is felt to be much less harmful than a spoken one ; to point the wrong way when asked where some one is gone is less objectionable than to speak wrongly, to nod is less sinful than to say yes. Indeed, acted lies are for the most part easily gotten away with, whereas some mysterious baneful energy seems to be attributed to the spoken untruth. That its evil influence is looked upon as quite mechanical appears from the palliatives used for it. Many American children are of opinion that a lie may be reversed by putting the left hand on the right shoulder, and that even an oath may be neutralised or taken in an opposite sense by raising the left instead of the right hand.' Among children in New York “it was sufficient to cross the fingers, elbows, or legs, though the act might not be noticed by the companion accosted, and under such circumstances no blame attached to a falsehood.” 2 To think “I do not mean it,” or to attach to a statement a meaning quite different from the current one, is a form of reservation which is repeatedly found in children. Nor are feelings and ideas of this kind restricted to the young ; they are fairly common among grown-up people, and have even found expression in ethical doctrines. They lie at the root of the Jesuit theory of mental reservations. According to Thomas Aquinas, again, though it is wrong to tell a lie for the purpose of delivering another from any danger whatever, it is lawful “ to hide the truth prudently under some dissimulation, as Augustine says.

1 Darmesteter, Ormazd et Ahriman, Period of the Republic, pp. 141, 229 sq. p. 78. Geiger, Civilization of the " Cicero, De officiis, iii. 29. Idem, Eastern Iranians, pp. lvii., 164. De natura deorum, ii. 23; iii. 18. Spiegel, Erânische Allerthumskunde, Idem, De legibus, ii. 8, II. Dionysius ii. 685.

of Halicarnassus, Antiquitates Rou 2 Darmesteter, in Sacred Books of the mana, ii. 75. East, xxii. 168.

7 Stanley Hall, Children's Lies,' 3 Iliad, iv. 235

in American Journal of Psychology, iii. 4 Plato, Respublica, ii. 382.

59 sq. 5 Fowler, Roman festivals of the

It is not uncommonly argued that in defence of a secret we may not “ lie,” that is, produce directly beliefs contrary to facts ; but that we may “ turn a question aside,” that is, produce indirectly, by natural inference from our answer, negatively false belief; or that we may “throw the

“ inquirer on a wrong scent,” that is, produce similarly a positively false belief. This extreme formalism may no doubt to some extent be traced to the influence of early training. From the day we learned to speak, the duty of telling the truth has been strenuously enjoined upon us, and the word “ lie” has been associated with sin of the

Stanley Hall, Children's Lies,' 3 Stanley Hall, loc. cit. p. 68. in American Journal of Psychology, iii. 4 Thomas Aquinas, Summa theo.


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logica, ii.-ii. 110. 3. 4. * Bergen and Newell,

5 See Sidgwick, Methods of Ethics, Superstitions,' in Journal of Ameriran Folk-Lore, ii. 111.

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p. 317.

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