Equivocation

Evasion is unworthy of us, and is always the intimate of equivocation.

He that will live in this world must be endued with the three rare qualities of dissimulation, equivocation, and mental reservation.

A sudden lie may be sometimes only manslaughter upon truth; but by a carefully constructed equivocation, truth always is with malice a forethought deliberately murdered.

When thou are obliged to speak, be sure to speak the truth; for equivocation is half-way to lying, and lying is the whole way to hell.

The tone of good conversation is brilliant and natural; it is neither tedious nor frivolous; it is instructive without pedantry, gay without tumultuousness, polished without affectation, gallant without insipidity, waggish without equivocation.

Say what you mean to do… and take it for granted that you mean to do right. Never do a wrong thing to make a friend or keep one… you will wrong him and wrong yourself by equivocation of any kind.

There is no possible excuse for a guarded lie. Enthusiastic and impulsive people will sometimes falsify thoughtlessly, but equivocation is malice prepense.

A sudden lie may be sometimes only manslaughter upon truth; but by a carefully constructed equivocation, truth always is with malice a forethought deliberately murdered.

I must first clear up an ambiguity in the phrase 'doing evil that good may come'. We cannot ask whether e. g. Caesar's death was a good or bad thing to happen; there are various titles under which it may be called good or bad. One might very well say e. g. that a violent death was a bad thing to happen to a living organism but a good thing to happen to a man who claimed divine worship, and this would again leave it open whether doing Caesar to death was a good or bad thing to do for Brutus and the rest. Now when I speak of 'not doing evil that good may come', what I mean is that certain sorts of act are such bad things to do that they must never be done to secure any good or avoid any evil. For A to kill a man or cut off his arm is not necessarily a bad thing to do, though it is necessarily bad that such a thing should happen to a living organism. Only by a fallacy of equivocation can people argue that if you accept the principle of not doing evil that good may come, then you must be against capital punishment and surgical operations.