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degrees will break out upon those who are your friends, or those who are indifferent to you." I might here observe how admirably this precept of morality (which derives the malignity of hatred from the passion itself, and not from its object) answers to that great rule 5 which was dictated to the world about an hundred years before this philosopher wrote; but instead of that, I shall only take notice, with a real grief of heart, that the minds of many good men among us appear soured with party-principles, and alienated from one 10 another in such a manner, as seems to me altogether inconsistent with the dictates either of reason or religion. Zeal for a public cause is apt to breed passions in the hearts of virtuous persons, to which regard of their own private interest would never have betrayed them.
If this party-spirit has so ill an effect on our morals, it has likewise a very great one upon our judgments. We often hear a poor insipid paper or pamphlet cried up, and sometimes a noble piece depreciated, by those who are of a different principle from the author. One 20 who is actuated by this spirit is almost under an incapacity of discerning either real blemishes or beauties. A man of merit in a different principle, is like an object seen in two different mediums, that appears crooked or broken, however straight and entire it may be in itself. 25 For this reason there is scarce a person of any figure in England who does not go by two contrary characters, as opposite to one another as light and darkness. Knowledge and learning suffer in a particular manner from this strange prejudice, which at present prevails 30 amongst all ranks and degrees in the British nation. As
men formerly became eminent in learned societies by their parts and acquisitions, they now distinguish themselves by the warmth and violence with which they espouse their respective parties. Books are valued upon 5 the like considerations: an abusive scurrilous style passes for satire, and a dull scheme of party notions is called fine writing.
There is one piece of sophistry practised by both sides, and that is the taking any scandalous story, that has 10 been ever whispered or invented of a private man, for a known undoubted truth, and raising suitable speculations upon it. Calumnies that have been never proved, or have been often refuted, are the ordinary postulatums of these infamous scribblers, upon which they proceed 15 as upon first principles granted by all men, though in their hearts they know they are false, or at best very doubtful. When they have laid these foundations of scurrility, it is no wonder that their superstructure is every way answerable to them. If this shameless prac20 tice of the present age endures much longer, praise and reproach will cease to be motives of action in good men.
There are certain periods of time in all governments when this inhuman spirit prevails. Italy was long torn to pieces by the Guelfes and Gibellines, and France by 25 those who were for and against the League: but it is very unhappy for a man to be born in such a stormy and tempestuous season. It is the restless ambition of artful men, that thus breaks a people into factions, and draws several well-meaning persons to their interest by a spe30 cious concern for their country. How many honest minds are filled with uncharitable and barbarous notions,
out of their zeal for the public good? What cruelties and outrages would they not commit against men of an adverse party, whom they would honour and esteem, if instead of considering them as they are represented, they knew them as they are? Thus are persons of the great- 5 est probity seduced into shameful errors and prejudices, are made bad men even by that noblest of principles, the love of their country. I cannot here forbear mentioning the famous Spanish proverb, If there were neither fools nor knaves in the world all people would be of one 10 mind.
For my own part, I could heartily wish that all honest men would enter into an association, for the support of one another against the endeavours of those whom they ought to look upon as their common enemies, whatsoever 15 side they may belong to. Were there such an honest body of neutral forces, we should never see the worst of men in great figures of life, because they are useful to a party; nor the best unregarded, because they are above practising those methods which would be grateful to 20 their faction. We should then single every criminal out of the herd, and hunt him down however formidable and overgrown he might appear on the contrary, we should shelter distressed innocence, and defend virtue, however beset with contempt or ridicule, envy or defamation. In 25 short, we should not any longer regard our fellow-subjects as Whigs or Tories, but should make the man of merit our friend, and the villain our enemy.
SIR ROGER AND POLITICS. [ADDISON.]
No. 126. WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 1711.
TROS Rutulusve fuat, nullo discrimine habebo. - VIRG. ÆN. X. 108. RUTULIANS, Trojans, are the same to me.- DRYDEN.
IN my yesterday's paper I proposed, that the honest men of all parties should enter into a kind of association for the defence of one another, and the confusion of their common enemies. As it is designed this neutral 5 body should act with a regard to nothing but truth and equity, and divest themselves of the little heats and prepossessions that cleave to parties of all kinds, I have prepared for them the following form of an association, which may express their intentions in the most plain and 10 simple manner.
We whose names are hereunto subscribed, do solemnly declare, that we do in our consciences believe two and two make four; and that we shall adjudge any man whatsoever to be our enemy who endeavours to persuade us to 15 the contrary. We are likewise ready to maintain with the hazard of all that is near and dear to us, that six is less than seven in all times and all places; and that ten will not be more three years hence than it is at present. We do also firmly declare, that it is our resolution as long 20 as we live to call black black, and white white. And we shall upon all occasions oppose such persons that upon any
day of the year shall call black white, or white black, with the utmost peril of our lives and fortunes.
Were there such a combination of honest men, who without any regard to places would endeavour to extirpate all such furious zealots as would sacrifice one half of their country to the passion and interest of the other; as also such infamous hypocrites, that are for promoting their own advantage under colour of the public good; with all the profligate immoral retainers to each side, that have nothing to recommend them but an implicit ro submission to their leaders; we should soon see that furious party-spirit extinguished, which may in time expose us to the derision and contempt of all the nations about us.
A member of this society, that would thus carefully 15 employ himself in making room for merit, by throwing down the worthless and depraved part of mankind from those conspicuous stations of life to which they have been sometimes advanced, and all this without any regard to his private interest, would be no small benefactor 20 to his country.
I remember to have read in Diodorus Siculus an account of a very active little animal, which I think he calls the Ichneumon, that makes it the whole business of his life to break the eggs of the crocodile, which he is always 25 in search after. This instinct is the more remarkable, because the Ichneumon never feeds upon the eggs he has broken, nor any other way finds his account in them. Were it not for the incessant labours of this industrious animal, Egypt, says the historian, would be over-run with 30 crocodiles; for the Egyptians are so far from destroying