Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/498

This page has been validated.

cinnati 21·92 per cent of their total population live in dwellings containing more than 20 persons. The per cent of population in Chicago living in dwellings with more than 20 persons to a dwelling is 16·63 per cent, in St. Louis 10·14 per cent, in Boston 13·93 per cent, in Buffalo 8·09 per cent, in Newark 10·25 per cent, and in Providence 7·49 per cent. In Philadelphia only 3·41 per cent and in Baltimore but 2·55 per cent of the population are contained in dwellings with more than 20 persons."



COMPLETE truthfulness is one of the rarest of virtues. Even those who regard themselves as absolutely truthful are daily guilty of over-statements and under-statements. Exaggeration is almost universal. The perpetual use of the word "very," where the occasion does not call for it, shows how widely diffused and confirmed is the habit of misrepresentation. And this habit sometimes goes along with the loudest denunciations of falsehood. After much vehement talk about "the veracities," will come utterly unveracious accounts of things and people—accounts made unveracious by the use of emphatic words where ordinary words alone are warranted: pictures of which the outlines are correct but the lights and shades and colors are doubly and trebly as strong as they should be.

Here, among the countless deviations of statement from fact, we are concerned only with those in which form is wrong as well as color those in which the statement is not merely a perversion of the fact but, practically, an inversion of it. Chiefly, too, we have to deal with cases in which personal interests of one or other kind are the prompters to falsehood:—now the desire to inflict injury, as by false witness; now the desire to gain a material advantage; now the desire to escape a punishment or other threatened evil; now the desire to get favor by saying that which pleases. For in mankind at large, the love of truth for truth's sake, irrespective of ends, is but little exemplified.

Here let us contemplate some of the illustrations of veracity and unveracity—chiefly unveracity—furnished by various human races.

The members of wild tribes in different parts of the world, who, as hunters or as nomads, are more or less hostile to their neigh-

  1. From The Principles of Ethics, vol. i, by Herbert Spencer. New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1892.