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their characters from their way of writing) do not a little encourage me in the prosecution of this my undertaking besides that my bookseller tells me, the demand for these my papers increases daily. It is at his instance that I shall continue my rural speculations to the end of this month; several having made up separate sets of them, as they have done before of those relating to wit, to operas, to points of morality, or subjects of humour.

I am not at all mortified, when sometimes I see my works thrown aside by men of no taste nor learning. There is a kind of heaviness and ignorance that hangs upon the minds of ordinary men, which is too thick for knowledge to break through: their souls are not to be enlightened.

Nox atra cava circumvolat umbra.1

To these I must apply the fable of the mole, that after having consulted many oculists for the bettering of his sight, was at last provided with a good pair of spectacles; but upon his endeavouring to make use of them, his mother told him very prudently, that spectacles, though they might help the eye of a man, could be of no use to a mole. It is not therefore for the benefit of moles that I publish these my daily essays.

But besides such as are moles through ignorance, there are others who are moles through envy. As it is said in the Latin proverb, that one man is a wolf to another'; so, generally speaking, one author is a mole to another author. It is impossible for them to discover beauties in one another's works; they have eyes only for spots and blemishes: they can

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indeed see the light, as it is said of the animals which are their namesakes, but the idea of it is painful to them; they immediately shut their eyes upon it, and withdraw themselves into a wilful obscurity. I have already caught two or three of these dark undermining vermin, and intend to make a string of them, in order to hang them up in one of my papers, as an example to all such voluntary moles. C.

No. 125.


Tuesday, July 24, 1711


Ne pueri, ne tanta animis assuescite bella:
Neu patriæ validis in viscera vertite vires.

VIR., Æn. vi. 832.

Y worthy friend Sir Roger, when we are talking of the malice of parties, very frequently tells us an accident that happened to him when he was a school-boy, which was at the time when the feuds ran high between the Roundheads and Cavaliers. This worthy knight being then but a stripling, had occasion to inquire which was the way to St. Anne's Lane,1 upon which the person whom he spoke to, instead of answering his question, called him a young popish cur, and asked him who had made Anne a saint? The boy being in some confusion, inquired of the next he met, which was the way to Anne's lane; but was called a prickeared cur for his pains, and instead of being shown the way, was told, that she had been a saint before he was born, and would be one after he was hanged.

1 Probably St. Anne's Lane, Great Peter Street, Westminster where Purcell lived.


'Upon this,' says Sir Roger, 'I did not think fit to repeat the former question, but going into every lane of the neighbourhood, asked what they called the name of that lane.' By which ingenious artifice he 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 neighbourhood, 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 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 pernicious 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 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 breaks out in falsehood, detraction, calumny, and a partial administration of justice. In a word, it fills a nation with spleen and rancour, and extin

1 Soon after this paper appeared Swift wrote to Esther Johnson: 'I met Pastoral Philips and Mr. Addison on the Mall to-day, and took a turn with them; but they looked terribly dry and cold. A curse on Party!'

guishes all the seeds of good nature, compassion, and humanity.

Plutarch 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 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 object) answers to that great rule 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 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 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 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 1 See Plutarch's De Inimicorum Utilitate,' passim. 2 Luke vi. 27-32.


different mediums, that appears 1 crooked or broken, however straight and entire it may be in itself. 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 a3 particular manner from this strange prejudice, which 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 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 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 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 foundations 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.

There are certain periods of time in all governments when this inhuman spirit prevails. Italy was

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2 Two characters altogether different and' (folio).

3A very' (folio).

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