POLITICAL PARTIES. 557
own, will be a barrier—may they prove an effectual and
lasting barrier—to such a consolidation.
Whenever a matter of immediate interest is to be gained
by combination and discussion, the feelings
Violence of parties. *>
become intense, so that the most false, wide-
sweeping remarks in disparagement of the opposite party are
continually uttered. Political unions and important measures
alone do not excite the feelings more than questions between
religious parties excite them ; in both spheres, trivial matters
are enormously magnified. The violence of expression will be
in proportion to the general tone of manners; if that will not
endure vituperation and anger, the violence of party will be
under a restraint. In this excited state many things will be
said and done which men, those most concerned in them,
will regret afterwards.
But, after all, the violence is not so bad as the tone of char-
acter, the want of honor which admits cool-blooded misrep-
resentation and trickery among the means of injuring an
adversary. The violence injures those most who make the
most use of it, but the misrepresentations and tricks of parties
corrupt a whole people, and if one side resorts to them, the
other will be tempted in self-defense to do the same.
Parties must have some sort of moral cement to bind them
.Allegiance to par- together, and they need this the more if they
faes> allow base things to be done for the promotion
of party interests. The worse the parties are and the more
selfish, their one rule will more and more be to stick together.
Allegiance is broken if a man deserts his party, and the abuse
is so strong when individuals do this, that a vast amount of
moral courage is needed to make the change. Only, when
numbers go over together, they will keep each other in
countenance. This principle, which puts partisanship in the
room of patriotism and fear in that of conviction, only re-
tards the death of a party that is mortally wounded already.
But it debases character more than almost anything else.
The fear of public opinion in a free country, where character
and motives are discussed without reserve, is strong enpugh