Truth lies at the bottom of the well.--Old Proverb

Candor looks with equal fairness at both sides of a subject.

--Noah Webster

Daylight and truth meet us with clear dawn.--Milton

Perfect openness is the only principle on which a free people can be

governed.--C. B. Yonge

There is no fear for any child who is frank with his father and


Candor and frankness are so closely akin to each other that we may

properly study them together. Each of these words has an interesting

origin. "Candor" comes from a Latin word meaning "_to be white_";

while "frankness" is derived from the name of the Franks, who were a

powerful German tribe honorably distinguished for their love of freedom

and their scorn of a lie. A candid man is one who is disposed to think

and judge according to truth and justice, and without partiality or

prejudice; while the one word _frank_ is used to express anything

that is generous, straightforward and free.

Candor is a virtue which is everywhere commended, though not quite so

prevalent in the world as might be expected. There are doctors who never

tell a patient they can make nothing of his case, or that it is one

which requires the attention of a specialist. There are lawyers who

never assure a client that it is hopeless for him to expect to gain his

suit. And so, in all trades and professions, candor is as rare as it is


The lack of a simple and straightforward statement of such facts as are

in our possession, often leads to serious misunderstanding and sometimes

to serious loss.

Frankness is a combination of truthfulness and courage. Its usefulness

depends largely on its association with other qualities and

circumstances; but to be frank is simply to dare to be truthful. There

are many men who would scorn to tell a lie, who are destitute of

frankness because they hesitate to face the consequences of perfect

openness of speech or conduct.

An Irishman, who had neglected to thatch his cottage, was one day asked

by a gentleman with whom he was conversing, "Did it rain yesterday?"

Instead of making a direct and candid reply, he sought to hide his

fault, which he supposed had been discovered; and the conversation

proceeded as follows. "Did it rain yesterday?" asked his friend. "Is it

yesterday you mean?" was the reply. "Yes, yesterday." "Please your

honor, I wasn't at the bog at all yesterday,--wasn't I after setting my

potatoes?" "My good friend, I don't know what you mean about the bog; I

only asked you whether it rained yesterday?" "Please your honor, I

couldn't get a car and horse any way, to draw home my little straw, or

I'd have the house thatched long ago." "Cannot you give me a plain

answer to this plain question--Did it rain yesterday?" "Oh sure, I

wouldn't go to tell your honor a lie about the matter. Sorrah much it

rained yesterday after twelve o'clock, barring a few showers." Of course

there will be no difficulty in seeing that such a conversation could not

be entirely satisfactory to either party.

The virtue we are now recommending is in daily and hourly demand, and of

high and priceless value. But here also we must beware of counterfeits.

A smooth outward manner, a countenance clothed with perpetual smiles,

and an address distinguished by gentleness and insinuation, may be

assumed for selfish ends. A truly candid man is neither carried away by

ungenerous suspicion, nor by a weak acceptance of the views of others;

and the whole constitution of his mind must be entirely changed before

he can become capable of deceit.

Frankness has often been counterfeited by mere _bluster_. A couple

of striking examples of this fact are brought into view in the recently

published "Life and Letters of Charles Darwin," in which, speaking of

his childhood, Mr. Darwin says: "One little event has fixed itself very

firmly in my mind, and I hope it has done so from my conscience having

been afterward sorely troubled by it. It is curious as showing that

apparently I was interested at this early age in the variability of

plants! I told another little boy that I could produce variously colored

primroses by watering them with certain colored fluids, which was of

course a monstrous fable, and has never been tried by me. I may here

also confess that as a little boy I was much given to inventing

deliberate falsehoods, and this was always done for the sake of causing

excitement. For instance, I once gathered much valuable fruit from my

father's trees and hid it in the shrubbery, and then ran in breathless

haste to spread the news that I had discovered a hoard of stolen fruit."

Mr. Darwin also relates the following incident, as illustrating the lack

of truthfulness and candor on the part of another: "I must have been a

very simple fellow when I first went to school. A boy of the name of

Garnett took me into a cake shop one day, and bought some cakes for

which he did not pay, as the shopman trusted him. When we came out I

asked him why he did not pay for them, and he instantly answered, 'Why,

do you not know that my uncle left a great sum of money to the town on

condition that every tradesman should give whatever was wanted without

payment to any one who wore his old hat and moved it in a particular

manner?' He then showed me how to move the hat, and said, 'Now, if you

would like to go yourself into that cake shop, I will lend you my hat,

and you can get whatever you like if you move the hat on your head

properly.' I gladly accepted the generous offer, and went in and asked

for some cakes, moved the old hat, and was walking out of the shop, when

the shopman made a rush at me; so I dropped the cakes and ran for dear

life, and was astonished by being greeted with shouts of laughter by my

false friend Garnett." The same truth is illustrated in the case of an

affected young lady who, on being asked, in a large company, if she had

read Shakespeare, assumed a look of astonishment and replied: "Read

Shakespeare! Of course I have! I read that when it first came out!"

Frankness and candor will always win respect and friendship, and will

always retain them; and the consciousness of having such a treasure, and

of being worthy of it, is more than wealth and honors. A man quickly

finds when he is unworthy of public respect or private friendship; and

the leaden weight he carries ever in his heart, cannot be lightened by

any success or any gratification he may secure. But the man of upright

character, and proper self-respect, will never meet with such trials as

can deprive him of that higher happiness which rests in his own breast.

True candor is manly and leads directly to the development of nobility

both of principle and conduct. The late Hon. William P. Fessenden once

made a remark which was understood as an insult to Mr. Seward. When

informed of it, and seeing such a meaning could be given to his words,

he instantly went to Mr. Seward, and said, "Mr. Seward, I have insulted

you: I am sorry for it. I did not mean it." This apology, so prompt,

frank, and perfect, so delighted Mr. Seward, that, grasping him by the

hand, he exclaimed, "God bless you, Fessenden! I wish you would insult

me again!" Such an exhibition of real manliness as this may well be

cited as worthy of the imitation of the youth of the land.


In "Tom Brown's Schooldays," that charming book, so dear to all

wide-awake boys, there is a scene in which little Arthur is introduced

in the act of kneeling beside his bed, on his first night at school, for

the purpose of saying his prayers according to the custom he had always

observed at his home. We are not so much concerned with the fact that he

was ridiculed and persecuted by the older boys, as with the further

factthat this boy Arthur is said to bear a remarkable resemblance to

Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, whose name is everywhere known as the late Dean

of Westminster Abbey, the most famous church in England, if not of the

world at large. Arthur Stanley was one of the first boys to go to Rugby

after the great Dr. Arnold took charge of the school, and an early

illustration of his candor and open-mindedness is shown in his immediate

and public appreciation of the splendid qualities of his master, at a

time when Dr. Arnold was so generally abused, and even branded as an

infidel. Dr. Arnold was indeed a noble teacher, and the very man to

develop the best faculties in young Arthur Stanley; for one of the

doctor's own strongest traits was this same open-mindedness.

The frankness and candor, the directness and fearlessness with which

Stanley ever gave expression to his views; the purity and "whiteness" of

his mind, and the sweetness and tenderness of his disposition,--all

these had a part in the building of his fame. But it was chiefly in his

power to free himself from prejudice and to look fairly at all sides of

the complex questions with which both he and the church to which he

belonged were so frequently brought face to face, that gave him his

great popular influence, and made him so great a champion of religious

liberty. Truth, simplicity and innocence are three jewels which many men

barter for worldly honor and success; but Stanley held to these as with

a grip of steel; and, through their influence, he succeeded where a

score of the great men of his day had already failed.

To tell of all that candor and frankness have done for humanity would be

to trace the beginnings of the overthrow of almost every wrong. Other

qualities are of course essential to all noble reformers--courage and

faith and enthusiasm; but open-mindedness, which grows out of candor and

frankness, is the one pioneer that recognizes the opportunity of the

hour and is willing to walk in the new light. Candor is the sign of a

noble mind. It is the pride of the true man, the charm of the noble

woman, the defeat and mockery of the hypocrite, and the rarest virtue of


[Footnote: An admirable sketch of the career of Dean Stanley will be

found in Johnson's Universal Cyclopedia, Vol. VII., p. 697. See also

"Life of Dean Stanley," by R. E. Prothero (London and New York, 1894).]

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