Perfidy And Slander

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         What has an individual gained by losing his own self-
10    respect? or what has he lost when, retaining his own,
         he loses the homage of fools, or the pretentious praise of
         hypocrites, false to themselves as to others?

         Shakespeare, the immortal lexicographer of mortals,
         writes: —

15    To thine own self be true,
         And it must follow, as the night the day,
         Thou canst not then be false to any man.

         When Aristotle was asked what a person could gain
         by uttering a falsehood, he replied, “Not to be credited
20    when he shall tell the truth.”

         The character of a liar and hypocrite is so contempti-
         ble, that even of those who have lost their honor it might
         be expected that from the violation of truth they should
         be restrained by their pride.

25    Perfidy of an inferior quality, such as manages to evade
         the law, and which dignified natures cannot stoop to
         notice, except legally, disgraces human nature more than
         do most vices.

         Slander is a midnight robber; the red-tongued assas-
30    sin of radical worth; the conservative swindler, who

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         sells himself in a traffic by which he can gain nothing [1].
         It can retire for forgiveness to no fraternity where its
         crime may stand in the place of a virtue; but must at
         length be given up to the hisses of the multitude, with-
5      out friend and without apologist.

         Law has found it necessary to offer to the innocent,
         security from slanderers — those pests of society — when
         their crime comes within its jurisdiction. Thus, to evade
         the penalty of law, and yet with malice aforethought to
10    extend their evil intent, is the nice distinction by which
         they endeavor to get their weighty stuff into the hands
         of gossip! Some uncharitable one may give it a forward
         move, and, ere that one himself become aware, find
         himself responsible for kind (?) endeavors.

15    Would that my pen or pity could raise these weak,
         pitifully poor objects from their choice of self-degrada-
         tion to the nobler purposes and wider aims of a life made
         honest: a life in which the fresh flowers of feeling blos-
         som, and, like the camomile, the more trampled upon,
20    the sweeter the odor they send forth to benefit mankind;
         a life wherein calm, self-respected thoughts abide in
         tabernacles of their own, dwelling upon a holy hill, speak-
         ing the truth in the heart; a life wherein the mind can
         rest in green pastures, beside the still waters, on isles
25    of sweet refreshment. The sublime summary of an
         honest life satisfies the mind craving a higher good, and
         bathes it in the cool waters of peace on earth; till it
         grows into the full stature of wisdom, reckoning its
         own by the amount of happiness it has bestowed upon
30    others.

         Not to avenge one’s self upon one’s enemies, is the
         command of almighty wisdom; and we take this to be

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1      a safer guide than the promptings of human nature.
         To know that a deception dark as it is base has been
         practised upon thee, — by those deemed at least indebted
         friends whose welfare thou hast promoted, — and yet
5      not to avenge thyself, is to do good to thyself; is to take
         a new standpoint whence to look upward; is to be calm
         amid excitement, just amid lawlessness, and pure amid

         To be a great man or woman, to have a name whose
10    odor fills the world with its fragrance, is to bear with
         patience the buffetings of envy or malice — even while
         seeking to raise those barren natures to a capacity for a
         higher life. We should look with pitying eye on the
         momentary success of all villainies, on mad ambition
15    and low revenge. This will bring us also to look on a
         kind, true, and just person, faithful to conscience and
         honest beyond reproach, as the only suitable fabric out
         of which to weave an existence fit for earth and

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Love is the liberator.