george savile first marquis of halifax wrote these words in the character of a trimmer

just prior to 1700 ce

he was a byword for ease of address, wit, charm and political astuteness; he’s all over William and Mary like a dirty shirt. Enought background

 

IT must be more than an ordinary provocation that can tempt a Man to Write in an Age over-run with Scriblers, as Egypt was with Flyes and Locusts: That worst Vermin of swall Authours hath given the World such a Surfeit, that instead of desiring to Write, a Man would be more inclin’d to wish, for his own ease, that he could not Read; but there are some things which do so raise our Pas∣sions, that our Reason can make no Resistance; and when Madmen, in the two Extreams, shall agree to make common sense Treason, and joyn to fix an ill Character upon the only Men in the Nation who deserve a good one; I am no longer Master of my better Resolution to let the World alone, and must break loose from my more reasonalble Thoughts, to expose these false Coyners, who would make their Copper Wares pass upon us for good Payment.

Amongst all the Engines of Dissention, there hath been none more pow∣erful in all Times, than the fixing Names upon one another of Contu∣mely and Reproach, and the reason is plain, in respect of the People, who are generally uncapable of making a Syllogism or forming an Argu∣ment, yet they can pronounce a word; and that serves their turn to throw it with their due malice at the head of those they do not like; such things ever begin in just, and end in Blood, and the same word that maketh the Company merry, grows in time to a Military Signal to cut one anothers Throats.

These Mistakes are to be lamented, tho’ not easily cured, being sui∣table enough to the corrupted Nature of Mankind; but ’tis hard that Men will not only invent ill Names, but they will wrest and misinterpret good ones, so afraid some are even of a reconciling sound, that they raise another noise to keep it from being heard, lest it should set up and encourage a dangerous sorts of Men, who prefer Peace and Agreement, before Violence and Confusion.

Were it not for this, why, after we have play’d the Fool with throw∣ing Whig and Tory at one another, as Boys do Snow Balls, do we grow angry at a new Name, which by its true signification might do as much to put us into our Wits, as the other hath done to put us out of them?

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Allegra

Born 1958. Not dead yet.

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