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found out the place he inquired after, without giving offence to any party. Sir Roger generally closes this narrative with reflections on the mischief that

parties do in the country; how they spoil good 5 neighborhood, and make honest gentlemen hate one

another; besides that they manifestly tend to the prejudice of the land-tax, and the destruction of the game.

There cannot a greater judgment befall a country 10 than such a dreadful spirit of division as rends a

government into two distinct people, and makes them greater strangers and more averse to one another, than if they were actually two different

nations. The effects of such a division are perni15 cious to the last degree, not only with regard to

those advantages which they give the common enemy, but to those private evils which they produce in the heart of almost every particular person.

This influence is very fatal both to men's morals and 20 their understandings; it sinks the virtue of a nation, and not only so, but destroys even common sense.

A furious party spirit, when it rages in its full violence, exerts itself in civil war and bloodshed;

and when it is under its greatest restraints naturally 25 breaks out in falsehood, detraction, calumny, and

a partial administration of justice. In a word, it fills a nation with spleen and rancor, and extinguishes all the seeds of good-nature, compassion, and humanity.

Plutarcho says, very finely, “that a man should not allow himself to hate even his enemies, because,” says he, “if you indulge this passion in some occasions, it will rise of itself in others; if you hate your enemies, you will contract such a vicious habit of 5 mind, as by 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 10 object) answers to that great rule which was dictated to the world about an hundred years before this philosopher wrote; 4 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 15 with party-principles, and alienated from one 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 20 the 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 25 pamphlet cried up, and sometimes a noble piece depreciated, by those who are of a different principle from the author. One 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. 5 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 par

ticular manner from this strange prejudice, which 10 at present prevails 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 15 their respective parties. Books are valued upon

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 20 sides, and that is the taking any scandalous story

that has 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 25 refuted, are the ordinary postulatums of these

infamous scribblers, upon which they proceed 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 foun

dations of scurrility, it is no wonder that their superstructure is every way answerable to them. If this shameless practice of the present age endures much longer, praise and reproach will cease to be motives of action in good men.

5 There are certain periods of time in all governments when this inhuman spirit prevails. Italy was long torn in pieces by the Guelphs and Ghibellines, and France by those who were for and against the league: but it is very unhappy for a man to be 10 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 specious concern for their country. How many honest minds 15 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 honor and esteem, if, instead of considering them as they 20 are represented, they knew them as they are? Thus are persons of the greatest 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 25 the famous Spanish proverb, "If there were neither fools nor knaves in the world, all people would be of one 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 endeavors of those whom they ought to look upon as their com

mon enemies, whatsoever side they may belong to. 5 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 10 to their faction. We should then single every crim

inal 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 15 ridicule, envy or defamation. In 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.

No. 24. Party Spirit — Continued SPECTATOR No. 126. Wednesday, July 25, 1711

Tros Rutulusve fuat, nullo discrimine habebo.!

Virg. Æn. x. 108.

In my yesterday's paper I proposed, that the 20 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

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