Only extraordinary circumstances can give the appearance of dishonesty to an honest man. Usually, not to seem honest, is not tobe so. The quality must not be doubtful like twilight, lingering between night and day and taking hues from both; it must be day-light, clear, and effulgent. This is the doctrine of the Bible: Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men. In general it may be said that no one has honesty without dross, until he has honesty without suspicion.
We are passing through times upon which the seeds of dishonesty have been sown broadcast, and they have brought forth a hundred-fold. These times will pass away; but like ones will come again. As physicians study the causes and record the phenomena of plagues and pestilences, to draw from them an antidote against their recurrence, so should we leave to another generation a history of moral plagues, as the best antidote to their recurring malignity.
Upon a land,—capacious beyond measure, whose prodigal soil rewards labor with an unharvestable abundance of exuberant fruits, occupied by a people signalized by enterprise and industry—there came a summer of prosperity which lingered so long and shone so brightly, that men forgot that winter could ever come. Each day grew brighter. No reins were put upon the imagination. Its dreams passed for realities. Even sober men, touched with wildness, seemed to expect a realization of oriental tales. Upon this bright day came sudden frosts, storms, and blight. Men awoke from gorgeous dreams in the midst of desolation. The harvests of years were swept away in a day. The strongest firms were rent as easily as the oak by lightning. Speculating companies were dispersed as seared leaves from a tree in autumn. Merchants were ruined by thousands; clerks turned adrift by ten thousands. Mechanics were left in idleness. Farmers sighed over flocks and wheat as useless as the stones and dirt. The wide sea of commerce was stagnant; upon the realm of Industry settled down a sullen lethargy.