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would be to go out of the way fion of quarrelling. But excessive avarice in a general is, I think, the greatest defect he can be liable to, next to the want of courage and conduct, and may be attended with the most ruinous consequences, as it was in Crasus, who to that vice alone owed the destruction of himself and his army, It is the same thing in praising mens excellencies; which are more or less valuable, as the person you commend hath occafion to employ them. A man may perhaps mean honestly; yet if he be not able to spell
, he shall never have my vote to be a secretary. Another may have wit and learning in a post where honesty with plain common sense are of much more use. You may praise a soldier for his skill at chess, because it is said to be a military game, and the emblem of drawing up an army; but this to a treasurer would be no more a compliment, than if you called him a gamester, or a jockey. P.S. I have received a letter relating
to Mr. Greenfields; the person that sent it may know, that I will say something to it in the next paper.
NUM. NUMBER XXX. .
Thursday, February 22, 1710.
Quae enim domus tam stabilis, quae tam
firma civitas eft, quae non odiis atque diffidiis funditùs possit everti?
F we examine what focieties of men are I
in closest union among themselves, we shall find them either to be those, who are engaged in some evil design, or who labour
under one common misfortune. Thus the troops of banditti in several countries abroad, the knots of highwaymen in our own nation, the several tribes of sarpers, thieves, and pick-pockets, with many others, are so firmly knit together, that nothing is more difficult than to break or diffolve their several gangs : so likewise those, who are fellow-sufferers under any misfortune, whether it be in reality or opinion, are usually contracted into a very strict union; as we may observe in the papists throughout this kingdom under those real difficulties, which are justly put on them; and in the several schisms of presbyterians, and other sects, under that grievous persecution of the modern kind, called want of power. And the reason why such confederacies are kept so sacred and inviolable, is very plain; because in each of those cases I have mentioned, the whole body is moved by one spirit in pursuit of one general end, and the interest of individuals is not crossed by each other, or by the whole.
Now both these motives are joined to unite the high-flying whigs at present : they have been always engaged in an evil design, and of late they are fast, or rivetted by that terrible calamity, the loss of power. So that whatever design a mischievous crew of dark confederates may possibly entertain, who will stop at no means to compass them, may be justly apprehended from these.
On the other side, those who wish well to the publick, and would gladly contribute to its service, are apt to differ in their opinions about the methods of promoting it; and when their party flourishes, are fometimes envious at those in power; ready to over-value their own merit, and be impatient until it be rewarded by the mea
sure they have prescribed for themselves. There is a farther topick of contention, which a ruling party is apt to fall into in relation to retrospections, and enquiry into past miscarriages; wherein some are thought too warm and zealous, others too cool and remiss; while in the mean time these divisions are industriously fomented by the discarded faction; which, although it be an old practice, hath been much improved in the schools of the jesuits, who, when they despaired of perverting this nation to popery by arguments or plots against the state, fent their emissaries to subdivide us into schisms. And this expedient is now with great propriety taken up by our men of incensed moderation; because they suppose themselves able to attack the strongest of our subdivisions, and to subdue us one after another. Nothing better resembles this proceeding, than that famous combat between the Horatii and Curiatii ; where two of the former being killed, the third, who remained entire and untouched, was able to kill his three wounded adversaries, after he had divided them by a stratagem. I well know with how tender a hand all this should be touched; yet at the same time I think it my duty to warn the friends, as well as expose the enemies of the publick weal; and to begin preaching up union upon the first suspicion, that any steps are made to disturb it.
But the two chief subjects of discontent, which upon most great changes in the management of publick affairs are apt to breed differences among those who are in possession, are what I have just now mentioned; a desire of punishing the corruption of former managers; and the rewarding merit among those who have been any way instrumental or consenting to the change. The first of these is a point so nice, that I shall purposely wave it: but the latter I take to fall properly within my district. By merit I here understand that value, which every manputs upon his own deservings from the publick. And I believe, there could not be a more difficult employment found out, than that of paymaster-general to this sort of merit; or a more noisy, crowded place, than a court of judicature erected to settle and adjust every man's claim upon that article. I