Since my Stay at Sir ROGER’S in the Country, I daily find more Instances of this narrow Party-Humour. Being upon a Bowling-green at a Neighbouring Market-Town the other Day, (for that is the Place where the Gentlemen of one Side meet once a Week) I observed a Stranger among them of a better Presence and genteeler Behaviour than ordinary; but was much surprised, that notwithstanding he was a very fair Bettor, no Body would take him up. But upon Enquiry I found, that he was one who had given a disagreeable Vote in a former Parliament, for which Reason there was not a Man upon that Bowling-green who would have so much Correspondence with him as to Win his Money of him.
Among other Instances of this Nature, I must not omit one which [concerns ] my self. Will. Wimble was the other Day relating several strange Stories that he had picked up no Body knows where of a certain great Man; and upon my staring at him, as one that was surprised to hear such things in the Country [which ] had never been so much as whispered in the Town, Will. stopped short in the Thread of his Discourse, and after Dinner asked my Friend Sir ROGER in his Ear if he was sure that I was not a Fanatick.
It gives me a serious Concern to see such a Spirit of Dissention in the Country; not only as it destroys Virtue and Common Sense, and renders us in a Manner Barbarians towards one another, but as it perpetuates our Animosities, widens our Breaches, and transmits our present Passions and Prejudices to our Posterity. For my own Part, I am sometimes afraid that I discover the Seeds of a Civil War in these our Divisions; and therefore cannot but bewail, as in their first Principles, the Miseries and Calamities of our Children.
[Footnote 1: Bibliothecae Historicae, Lib. i. Sec. 87.]
[Footnote 2: concerns to]
[Footnote 3: that]
* * * * *
No. 127. Thursday, July 26, 1711. Addison.
‘Quantum est in rebus Inane?’
It is our Custom at Sir ROGER’S, upon the coming in of the Post, to sit about a Pot of Coffee, and hear the old Knight read Dyer’s Letter; which he does with his Spectacles upon his Nose, and in an audible Voice, smiling very often at those little Strokes of Satyr which are so frequent in the Writings of that Author. I afterwards communicate to the Knight such Packets as I receive under the Quality of SPECTATOR. The following Letter chancing to please him more than ordinary, I shall publish it at his Request.