Sunday, November 07, 2004


Smollett on Current Events

Tobias Smollett, The Expedition of Humphry Clinker (1771).

On political parties (June 2):
Considering the temper of the times, it is a wonder to see any institution whatsoever established for the benefit of the Public. The spirit of party is risen to a kind of phrenzy, unknown to former ages, or rather degenerated to a total extinction of honesty and candour.
On campaigning (June 2):
When I see a man of birth, education, and fortune, put himself on a level with the dregs of the people, mingle with low mechanics, feed with them at the same board, and drink with them in the same cup, flatter their prejudices, harangue in praise of their virtues, expose themselves to the belchings of their beer, the fumes of their tobacco, the grossness of their familiarity, and the impertinence of their conversation, I cannot help despising him, as a man guilty of the vilest prostitution, in order to effect a purpose equally selfish and illiberal.
On voting (May 19):
The truth is, I look upon both candidates in the same light; and should think myself a traitor to the constitution of my country, if I voted for either.

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