LICULA, in botany, a genus of the Appendix Palmx. Natural order of Palms. Essential character : flowers all hermaphrodite ; calyx and corolla three parted ; nectary sertiform ; drupe. There is but one species, viz- L. spinosa, a native of Macassar and Celebes, where the inhabitants make much use of the narrow leaves for tobacco pipes, and broad ones for wrapping up fruit, &c. ; the wood is of little use, not being dura ble.
LIE, in morals, denotes a criminal breach of veracity. Br. Paley, in treat ing of this subject, observes, that there are falsehoods which are not lies; that is, which are not criminal : and there are lies which are not literally and directly false.
I. Cases of the first class are those : I. Where no one is deceived ; as, for in stance, in parables, fables, novels, jests, tales to create mirth, or ludicrous em bellishments of a story, in which the de clared design of the speaker is not to inform, but to divert ; compliments in the subscription of a letter ; a prisoner's pleading not guilty; an advocate assert ing the justice, or his belief of the justice of his client's cause. In such instances no confidence is destroyed, because none was reposed ; no promise to speak the truth is violated, because none was given, or understood to be given. 2. Where the person you speak to has no right to know the truth, or, more properly, where little or no inconveniency results from the want of confidence in such .cases ; as where you tell a falsehood to a madman for his own advantage ; to a robber, to conceal your property ; to an assassin, to defeat or to divert him from his purpose. It is upon this principle, that, by the laws of war, it is allowed to deceive an enemy by feints, false colours, spies, false intel ligence, and the like ; but by no means in treaties, truces, signals of capitulation, or surrender : and the differ6me is, that. the former suppose hostilitiesto continue, the latter are calculated to terminate or . suspend them. Many people indulge in serious discourse a habit of fiction and exaggeration, in the accounts they give of themselves, of their acquaintance, or of the extraordinary things which they have seen or heard; and so long as the facts they relate are indifferent, and their narratives, though false, are inoffensive, it may seem a superstitious regard to truth to censure them merely for truth's sake.
Yet the practice ought to be checked : for, in the first place, it is almost impossi ble to pronounce beforehand with cer tainty concerning any lie, that it is inof fensive, or to say what ill consequences may result from a lie apparently inoffen sive: and, in the next place, the habit, when once formed, is easily extended to serve the designs of malice or interest; like all habits, it spreads indeed of itself. Pious frauds, as they are improperly enough called, pretended inspirations, forged books, counterfeit miracles, are impositions of a more serious nature. It is possible that they may sometimes, though seldom, have been set up and en couraged with a design to do good ; but the good they aim at requires that the belief of them should be perpetual, which is hardly possible ; and the detection of the fraud is sure to disparage the credit of all pretensions of the same nature. Christianity has suffered more injury from this cause than from all other causes put together.
As there may be falsehoods which are not lies, so there may be lies without literal or direct falsehood. An opening is always left for this species of prevari cation, when the literal and grammatical signification of a sentence is different from the popular and customary mean ing. It is the wilful deceit that makes the lie ; and we wilfully deceive when our expressions are not true in the sense in which we believe the hearer appre hends them. Besides, it is absurd to contend for any sense of words in oppo sition to usage ; for all senses of all words are founded upon usage, and upon no thing else. Or a man mayiact a he ; as by pointing his finger in a wrong direction when a traveller inquires of him his road, or when a tradesman shuts up his win dows to induce his creditors to believe that he is abroad; for to all moral purposes, and therefore as to veracity, speech and action are the same ; speech being only a mode of action. See Paley's Moral Phi losophy.