Owing to its invocation of supernatural sanction, perjury is considered the most heinous of all acts of falsehood." But it has a tendency to make even the ordinary lie or breach of faith a matter of religious concern. If a god is frequently appealed to in oaths, a general hatred of lying and unfaithfulness may become one of his attributes, as is suggested by various facts quoted above. There is every reason to believe that a god is not, in the first place, appealed to because he is looked upon as a guardian of veracity and good faith, but that he has come to be looked upon as a guardian of these duties because he has been frequently appealed to in connection with them.

It seems that sometimes the habit of oath-taking has, in another respect also, made it prudential for men to speak the simple truth in all circumstances. Sir W. H. Sleeman wrong to himself if perjury be com- the wrath of God (Stemann, Den mitted."

danske Retshistorie indtil Christian Among various peoples perjury is Vi's Lov, p. 645). In other cases, punished even by custom or law. again, no civil punishment is affixed to Thus among the Gaika tribe of the a false oath-for instance, among the Kafirs a person may be fined for taking Rejangs (Marsden, History of Sumatra, a false oath in a law case (Brownlee, p. 240) and Bataks of

Sumatra in Maclean, Compendium of Kafir (Glimpses of the Eastern Archipelago, Laws and Customs, p. 124). In Abys- p: 86), the Ossetes (Kovalewsky, sinia a man convicted of perjury Coutume contemporaine, p. 324), Per“would not only lose his reputation, sians (Polak, Persien, ii. 83), and, as and be for ever incapacitated from being it seems, the ancient Hebrews (Keil, witness even on the most trivial ques. Manual of Biblical Archæology, ii. tion, but he would likewise in all 348; Greenstone, ' Perjury,' in Jewish probability be bound and severely Encyclopedia, ix. 640), Greeks (Rohde, fined, and might indeed think himself Psyche,p. 245, note), and Teutonsin early fortunate if he got off with all his limbs times (Wilda, op. cit. p. 982 ; Brunner, in their proper places, or without his Deutsche Rechtsgeschichte, ii. 681). hide being scored” (Parkyns, Life in Cicero says (De legibus, ii. 9) that Abyssinia, ii. 258 sq.). The laws of 'the divine punishment of perjury is the Malays punish perjury (Crawfurd, destruction, the human punishment History of the Indian Archipelago, iii. infamy”; but though perjury per se was 90). In India, according to the Laws not punished in Rome, the law apof Manu (viii. 219 sq.), he who broke pears from very early times to have an agreement after swearing to it was contained provisions for punishing false to be banished, imprisoned, and fined. testimony (Hunter, Roman Law, p. Medizval law-books punished per. 1063; see also Mommsen, Römisches jurers with the loss of the right hand, Strafrecht, p. 681). However, the by which the oath was sworn (Wilda, fact that perjury is not treated as a Das Strafrecht der Germanen, p. 983 crime by no means implies that it is not sf. ; Pollock and Maitland, History of regarded as a sin. The punishment of English Law before the Time of Edward it is left to the offended deity ( Marsden, 1. ii. 541). In a Danish law of 1537 it op. cit. p. 219; Glimpses of the Eastern is said that the perjurer shall lose the Archipelago, p. 86 ; Crawfurd, op. cit. two offending fingers so as to appease iii. col Javanese]).



observes that among the woods and hills of India the cotton and other trees are supposed by the natives to be occupied by deities who are vested with a local superintendence over the affairs of a district, or perhaps of a single village. “ These,” he says, “are always in the view of the people, and every man knows that he is every moment liable to be taken to their court, and to be made to invoke their vengeance upon himself or those dear to him, if he has told a falsehood in what he has stated, or tells one in what he is about to state. Men so situated adhere habitually, and I may say religiously, to the truth ; and I have had before me hundreds of cases in which a man's property, liberty, or life, has depended upon his telling a lie, and he has refused to tell it to save either.” 1 On the other hand, there are peoples among whom a person's word can hardly be trusted unless confirmed by an oath. And one of the arguments adduced by the Quakers against the taking of oaths is that, if on any particular occasion a man swear in addition to his yea or no, in order to make it more obligatory or convincing, its force becomes comparatively weak at other times when it receives no such confirmation,

Modes of conduct which are recommended by prudence tend on that account in various ways to be regarded as morally compulsory or praiseworthy. This subject will be discussed in connection with duties and virtues which are called “self-regarding,” but in the present place it is necessary to remind ourselves of the share which early education has in making prudence a matter of moral consideration. Few duties owe so much to the training of parents and teachers as does veracity. Children easily resort to falsehood, in self-defence or otherwise, and truthfulness is therefore enjoined on them with particular emphasis.



1 Sleeman, op. cit. ii. sq.

2 See, besides supra, Kingsley, West African Studies, p. 414; Chanler, Through Jungle and Desert, p. 186 sq. (Wamsara).

3 Gurney, Views and Practices of the Society of Friends, p. 327.

4 Cf. Priestley, in « Essay III.' introductory to Hartley's Theory of the Human Mind, p. xlix. sq.


The moral ideas referring to truthfulness are, finally, much influenced by the force of habit. Where lying is frequent it is, other things being equal, more strenuously condemned, if condemned at all, than in communities which are strictly truthful. It is natural to speak the truth. Von Jhering's suggestion that man was originally a liar, and that veracity is the result of human progress, is not consistent with fačts. Language was not invented to disguise the truth, but to express it. As Hutcheson remarked long ago, “ truth is the natural production of the mind when it gets the capacity of communicating it, dissimulation and disguise are plainly artificial effects of design and reflection.”? It may be doubted whether there are any other mendacious creatures in the world than men.' It is said that “ lies are told, if not in speech yet in acts, by dogs ”; * but the instances reported of canine deceitfulness are hardly conclusive.

conclusive. As a cautious writer observes, the question is not whether there may be “ objective deceitfulness” in the dog's conduct, but whether the

, motive is deceit ; and “the deceitful intent is a piece, not of the observed fact, but of the observer's inference.” • Nor is the child, strictly speaking, a born liar. M. Compayré even goes so far as to say that, if the child has not been subjected to bad influences, or if a discipline of repression and constraint has not driven him to seek a refuge in dissimulation, he is usually frankness and sincerity itself.” Montaigne remarked that the falsehood of a child grows with its growth. According to M. Perez, useful dissimulations are practised by children already at the age

of two years, but generally it is only after they are three or four years old that fear of being scolded or punished will lead von Jhering, Zweck im Recht, ii.

Lloyd Morgan, Animal Life and 2 Hutcheson, System of Moral Intelligence, p. 400. Philosophy, ii. 28. Cf. Reid, op. cit. Compayré, L'evolution intellecvi. 24, p. 428 sqq. ; Dugald Stewart, tuelle et morale de l'enfant, p. 309. op. cit. ii. 333.




PP: 443, 444, 451.




See also Sully, Studies of Childhood, 3 Cf. Schopenhauer Essays, p. 145. p. 263 sz.

Spencer, Principles of Ethics, 8 Montaigne, Essais, i. 9 (@uvres,

i. 405.

p. 16).

$ Komanes, Animal Intelligence,



them into falsehood.1 We are even told that certain savages are too stupid or too ignorant to tell lies. A Hindu gentleman of the plains, in the valley of the Nerbudda, when asked what made the uncultured people of the woods to the north and south so truthful, replied, " They have not yet learned the value of a lie.". But as we know how readily truthful savages become liars when their social conditions change, we may conclude that their veracity was due rather to absence of temptation than to lack of intelligence. In a small community of savages

a living by themselves, there is no need for lying, nor much opportunity to practise it. There is little scope for those motives which most commonly induce people to practise falsehood-fear and love of gain, combined with a hope of success. Harmony and sympathy generally prevail between the members of the group, and deception is hardly possible since secrets do not exist.

The case is different when savages come in frequent contact with foreigners. To deceive a stranger is easy, and no scruple is made of doing so. On the contrary, as we have seen, he is regarded as a proper object of deception, and this opinion is only too often justified by his own behaviour. But when commonly practised in relation to strangers, falsehood easily becomes a habit which affects the general conduct of the man. Hamzé, the teacher of the Druses, said, “ When a man once gets into the way of speaking falsely, it is to be apprehended that, in spite of himself, and by the mere force of habit, he will get to speak falsely towards the brethren"; hence it is advisable to speak the truth at all times and before all men. There is indeed abundant evidence that intercourse with strangers, and especially with people of a different race, has had a destructive influence on savage veracity.

This has been noticed among many of the uncivilised tribes of India. “ Formerly,” says Mr. Mán, “a Sonthal, as a rule,

Perez, First Three Years of Child- Ceylon, iii. 43 (Veddahs). hood, pp. 87, 89.


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* Churchill, Mount Lebanon, iii. 225 ? Sleeman, op. cil. ii. 110. 3 Cf. Sarasin, Forschungen auf


disdained to tell a falsehood, but the influences of civilisation, transfused through the contagious ethics of his Bengali neighbours, have somewhat impaired his truthfulness. In the last four or five years a great change for the worse has become evident, although even now, as a people, they are glorious exceptions to the prevailing idiosyncrasy of the lower class of natives in Bengal. With the latter, speaking the truth has been always an accident; with the Sonthal it was a characteristic principle."i Indeed, the Santals in Singbhúm, who live much to themselves, are still described by Colonel Dalton as “a very simple-minded people, almost incapable of deception.”? The Tipperah, “where he is brought into contact with, or under the influence of the Bengallee, easily acquires their worst vices and superstitions, losing at the same time the leading characteristic of the primitive man-the love of truth.” 3 Other tribes, like the Garos and Bhúmij, have likewise been partly contaminated by their intercourse with Bengalis, and acquired from them a propensity to lie, which, in former days, was altogether foreign to them. The Kakhvens are at the present time lazy, thievish, and untrustworthy, “ whether their character has been deteriorated by knavish injustice on the part of Chinese traders, or high-handed extortion and wrong on the part of Burmese." 5 The Ladakhis are, in general, “frank,

, honest, and moral when not corrupted by communication with the dissolute Kashmiris.” 6 Of the Pahárias, who according to an earlier authority would sooner die than lie, it is now reported that “those who have most to do with them say they cannot rely on their word, and that they not only lie without scruple, but are scarcely annoyed at being detected." The Todas, whilst they call falsehood one of the worst vices and have a temple dedicated to Truth, seem nowadays only too often to forget both the temple and its object'; and we are told that the dissimulation they practise in their dealings with Europeans has been brought about by the habit of paying them for every insignificant item of information.10 According to an

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Dalton, Ethnology of Bengal, op. cit. p. 217.


? Shaw, quoted by Dalton, op. cit. p. 274.

* Lewin, Wild Races of SouthEastern India, p. 216. • Dalton, op. cit. pp. 68, 177.

Anderson, Mandalay to Momien, P. 151.

6 Moorcroft and Trebeck, Travels in the Himalayan Provinces of Hindustan,

8 Cumming, In the Himalayas, p. 404 sq.

9 Harkness, A Singular Aboriginal Race inhabiting the Neilgherry Hills,

10 Metz, Tribes inhabiting the Neilgherry Hills, p. 13.

P. 18.

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