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decree was folemnly promulgated by the head of the Court corps, the Earl of Bute himself, in a speech which he made, in the year 1766, against the then Administration, the only Administra. tion which he has ever been known directly and publicly to oppose.
It is indeed in no way wonderful, that such perfons should make such declarations. That Connexion and Faction are equivalent terms, is an opinion which has been carefully inculcated at all tirnes by unconstitutional Statesmen. The reason is evident. Whilst men are linked together, they easily and speedily communicate the alarm of any evil design. They are enabled to fathom it with common counsel, and to oppose it with united strength. Whereas, when they lie dispersed, without concert, order, or discipline, communication is uncertain, counsel difficult, and resistance impracticable. Where inen are not acquainted with each other's principles, nor experienced in each other's talents, nor at all practised in their mutual habitudes and dispositions by joint efforts in business; no personal confidence, , no friendship, no common interest, subsisting among them; it is evidently impofsible that they can act a public part with uniformity, perfeverance, or efficacy. In a connexion, the most inconsiderable man, by adding to the weight of the whole, has his value, and his use; out of it, the greatest talents are wholly unserviceable to the publick. No man, who is not inflamed by vain-glory into enthusiasm, can Aatter himself that his single, unsupported, desultory, unsyste
matic endeavours are of power to defeat the subtle designs and united Cabals of ambitious citizens. When bad men combine, the good muft associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.
It is not enough in a situation of trust in the commonwealth, that a man means well to his country; it is not enough that in his single person he never did an evil act, but always voted according to his conscience, and even harangued against every design which he apprehended to be prejudicial to the interests of his country. This innoxious and ineffectual character, that seems formed upon a plan of apology and disculpation, falls miserably short of the mark of public duty. That duty demands and requires, that what is right should not only be made known, but made prevalent; that what is evil should not only be detected, but defeated. When the public man omits to put himself in a situation of doing his 'duty with effect, it is an omifsion that frustrates the purposes of his trust almost as much as if he had formally betrayed it. It is surely no very rational account of a man's life, that he has always aćted right; but has taken special care, to act in such a manner that his endeavours could not possibly be productive of any consequence.
I do not wonder that the behaviour of many parties should have made persons of tender and fcrupulous virtue somewhat out of humour with all sorts of connexion in politicks. I admit that
people frequently acquire in such confederacies . a narrow, bigotted, and proscriptive spirit ; that
they are apt to sink the idea of the general good in this circumscribed and partial interest. But, where duty renders a critical situation a necessary one, it is our business to keep free from the evils attendant upon it; and not to fly from the fituation itself. If a fortress is seated in an unwholesome air, an officer of the garrison is obliged to be attentive to his health, but he must not desert his station. Every profession, not excepting the glorious one of a soldier, or the sacred one of a priest, is liable to its own particular vices; which, however, form no argument against those ways of life; nor are the vices themselves inevitable to every individual in those professions. Of such a nature are connexions in politicks; essentially necessary for the full performance of our public duty, accidentally liable to degenerate into faction. Commonwealths are made of families, free commonwealths of parties also; and we may as well affirm, that our natural regards and ties of blood tend inevitably to make men bad citizens, as that the bonds of our party weaken those by which we are held to our country.
Some legislators went so far as to make neutrality in party a crime against the State. I do not know whether this might not have been rather to overstrain the principle. Certain it is, the best patriots in the greatest commonwealths have always commended and promoted such connexions. Idem fentire de republica, was with them a principal ground of friendship and attachment; nor do I know any other capable of forming firmer, dearer, more pleasing, more honourable, and
more virtuous habitudes. The Romans carried this principle a great way. Even the holding of offices together, the disposition of which arose from chance not selection, gave rise to a relation which continued for life. It was called necesitudo fortis; and it was looked upon with a sacred reverence. Breaches of any of these kinds of civil relation were considered as acts of the most distinguished turpitude. The whole people was distributed into political societies, in which they acted in support of such interests in the State as they severally affected. For it was then thought no crime, to endeavour by every honest means to advance to superiority and power those of your own sentiments and opinions. This wise people was far from imagining that those connexions had no tie, and obliged to no duty ; but that men might quit them without shame, upon every call of interest. They believed private honour to be the great foundation of public trust; that friendship was no mean step towards patriotism; that he who, in the common intercourse of life, shewed he regarded fomebody besides himself, when he came to act in a public situation, might probably confult some other interest than his own. Never may we become plus fages que les fages, as the French comedian has happily expressed it, wiser than all the wise and good men who have lived before us. It was their wish, to see public and private virtues, not diffonant and jarring, and mutually destructive, but harmoniously combined, growing out of one another in a noble and orderly
gradation, reciprocally supporting and supported. In one of the most fortunate periods of our history this country was governed by a connexion ; I mean the great connexion of Whigs in the reign of Q. Anne. They were complimented upon the principle of this connexion by a poet who was in high esteem with them. Addison, who knew their lentiments, could not praise them for what they considered as no proper subject of commendation. As a poet who knew his businefs, he could not applaud them for a thing which in general estimation was not highly reputable. Addressing himself to Britain,
Thy favourites grow not up by fortune's Sport,
Or from the crimes or follies of a court. .. On the firm basis of desert they rise,
From long-try'd faith, and friendship’s holy ties.
The Whigs of those days believed that the only proper method of rising into power was through hard essays of practised friendship and experimented fidelity. At that time it was not imagined, that patriotism was a bloody idol, which required the sacrifice of children and parents, or dearest connexions in private life, and of all the virtues that rise from those relations. They were not of that ingenious paradoxical morality, to imagine that a spirit of moderation was properly shewn in patiently bearing the sufferings of your friends į or that disinterestedness was clearly manifested at the expence of other peoples fortune, They believed that no men could act with effect, who did not act in concert;