I shall divide them into agricultural, mercantile, mechanical, and ecclesiastical lies; leaving those that are professional, social, and political for some other chapter.
First, then, I will speak of those that are more particularly agricultural. There is something in the perpetual presence of natural objects to make a man pure. The trees never issue “false stock.” Wheat-fields are always honest. Rye and oats never move out in the night, not paying for the place they have occupied. Corn shocks never make false assignments. Mountain brooks are always “current.” The gold on the grain is never counterfeit. The sunrise never flaunts in false colors. The dew sports only genuine diamonds.
Taking farmers as a class, I believe they are truthful, and fair in dealing, and kind-hearted. But the regions surrounding our cities do not always send this sort of men to our markets. Day by day there creak through our streets, and about the market-houses, farm wagons that have not an honest spoke in their wheels, or a truthful rivet from tongue to tail-board. During the last few years there have been times when domestic economy has foundered on the farmer’s firkin. Neither high taxes, nor the high price of dry-goods, nor the exorbitancy of labor, could excuse much that the city has witnessed in the behavior of the yeomanry. By the quiet firesides of Westchester and Bucks counties I hope there may be seasons of deep reflection and hearty repentance.
Rural districts are accustomed to rail at great cities as given up to fraud and every form of unrighteousness; but our cities do not absorb all the abominations. Our citizens have learned the importance of not always trusting to the size and style of apples in the top of a farmer’s barrel, as an indication of what may be found farther down. Many of our people are accustomed to watch to see how correctly a bushel of beets is measured; and there are not many honest milk-cans. Deceptions do not all cluster around city halls. When our cities sit down and weep over their sins, all the surrounding counties ought to come in and weep with them.
There is often hostility on the part of producers against traders, as though the man who raises the corn were necessarily more honorable than the grain dealer, who pours it into his mammoth bin. There ought to be no such hostility. The occupation of one is as necessary as that of the other. Yet producers often think it no wrong to snatch away from the trader; and they say to the bargain-maker, “You get your money easy.” Do they get it easy? Let those who in the quiet field and barn get their living exchange places with those who stand to-day amid the excitements of commercial life, and see if they find it so very easy. While the farmer goes to sleep with the assurance that his corn and barley will be growing all the night, moment by moment adding to his revenue, the merchant tries to go to sleep, conscious that that moment his cargo