The actual state of things.
2. In contracts, the parties are bound to toll the truth in their
dealings, and a deviation from it will generally avoid the contract; Newl. on
Contr. 352-3; 2 Burr. 1011; 3 Campb. 285; and even concealment, or suppressio
veri, will be considered fraudulent in the contract of insurance. 1 Marsh. on
Ins. 464; Peake~s N. P. C. 115; 3 Campb. 154, 506.
3. In giving his testimony, a witness is required to tell the truth, the
whole truth, and nothing but the truth; for the object in the examination of
matters of fact, is to ascertain truth.
4. When a defendant is sued civilly for slander or a libel, he may
justify by giving the truth in evidence; but when a criminal prosecution is
instituted by the commonwealth for a libel, he cannot generally justify by
giving the truth in evidence.
5. The constitutions of several of the United States have made special
provisions in favor of giving the truth in evidence in prosecutions for libels,
under particular circumstances. In the constitutions of Pennsylvania, Delaware,
Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, it is declared, that in
publications for libels on men in respect to their public official conduct, the
truth may be given in evidence, when the matter published was proper for public
information. The constitution of New York declares, that in all prosecutions or
indictments for libels, the truth may be given in evidence to the jury; and if
it shall appear to the jury that the matter charged as libelous, is true, and
was published with good motives and for justifiable ends, the party shall be
acquitted. By constitutional provision in Mississippi and Missouri, and by
legislative enactment in New Jersey, Arkansas, Tennessee, Act of 1805, c. 6:
and Vermont, Rev. Stat. tit. 11, c. 25, s. 68; the right to give the truth in
evidence has been more extended; it applies to all prosecutions or indictments
for libels, without any qualifications annexed in restraint of the privilege.
Cooke on Def. 61.
Source: Bouviers Law Dictionary 1856 Edition