'Honesty is the best policy' has a literal meaning which encourages the populace to tell the truth and avoid crime.

The expression "Honesty is the best policy" is often attributed to Benjamin Franklin, an American statesman who lived in the 1700s (1706-1790). However, the phrase first found in the writings of Sir Edwin Sandys, the English politician and colonial entrepreneur, who was prominent in the Virginia company which founded the first English settlement in America, at Jamestown, Virginia. In Europal Speculum,1599, Sandys wrote: "our grosse conceipts, who think honestie the best policie'". While the quote "Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom " is attributed to Thomas Jefferson, as used in a letter to Nathaniel Macon.

Many people think that this phrase originated from Shakespeare's writings. They put the quote as " Honesty is the best policy. If I lose my honor, I lose myself." While the phrase did originate during Shakespeare's lifetime, he did not write it. Shakespeare did write, " If I lose my honor, I lose myself." Antony says it in Scene IV of Antony and Cleopatra. However, it is not preceded by the phrase, " Honesty is the best policy."

April 30 is national Honesty day in the United States.

More Info: en.wikipedia.org