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505 > Page 505 of Compromises of life : and other lectures and addresses, including some observations on certain downward tendencies of modern society / by Henry Watterson.

Appendix pretence that we have maligned anybody, or spoken outside the record, is a device of the guilty, and their newspaper apologists, to hide behind the self-respect- ing and the virtuous. It is of the essence of caste dis- tinction, where the rule is, touch one, touch all; a rule which, during the Reign of Terror, brought thousands of the inocent and the good along with the bad to the guillotine. Licentiousness, like revolution, goes not backward. The assumption of to-day becomes the claim of to- morrow. In a land where there are no patents of nobility, and where in some sort money must set the standards, the rich themselves, before all others, should look to it that their colleagues in good fortune do not disgrace the order-shall we say of the Golden Fleece -by their disregard of common rights and their indif- ference to public opinion. We do not need to institute any historic parallels; to take to ourselves any lessons from ancient Greece and Rome, or modern France, suggestive as these may be. He is but a poor observer of contemporary life, and no prophet at all, who does not see that the whole trend of public affairs is set toward an ultimate con- flict between the forces of Prerogative, on the one hand, and the forces of what the exclusive few delight to call the Great Unwashed on the other hand; be- tween Capital, too often avaricious and grasping, and Labor, grimy and passionate, and, left riderless, a monster without a head. It is beside the purpose to say that there are rich men humane, generous, chari- table. So are there poor men patient, wise, conserva- tive. It is with forces, not individuals, we shall have to deal; and, though temporizing may postpone the day, the day is surely coming when it is to be decided who owns the country, who controls the Government, the aggregations of wealth mainly piled up in a single 505