Sunday, December 16, 2007

Origin of "Honesty is the Best Policy"

Just read a long biographical essay/review by John Updike about Benjamin Franklin -- worth reading in its own right -- and ran across this interesting tidbit:

Among the assertions of Poor Richard is not "Honesty is the best policy;" this saying dates from the sixteenth century and appears in the "Apophthegms" [sic] of Archbishop Whately of Dublin, with an interesting second thought: "Honesty is the best policy; but he who is governed by the maxim is not an honest man."
--From "Many Bens," by John Updike, The New Yorker, February 22, 1988.

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