The Worship of Force

We are informed that one of the other tribes of Central Asia stuck a naked sabre hilt-downwards into the earth, and then gathered round to adore it. It is impossible not to feel some respect for this honest avowal of the worship of Force. More than one great nation of modern Europe secretly worships a piece of field-artillery while professing to place its whole trust and confidence in some completely different Divine Ruler.

——Hodgkin, Italy and Her Invaders, Book II, Chapter 1.

On Prefaces (and Other Things)

’Tis hard, methinks, that a Man cannot Publish a Book, but he must presently give the World a Reason for’t; when yet there’s not One Book of Twenty that will bear a Reason; not One Man of a Hundred, perhaps, that is able to Give One; nor One Reason of a Thousand (when they are given) that was the True Reason of Doing it. The True Reason (I say:) For there’s a great Difference, many times, betwixt a Good Reason, for the doing of a thing, and the True Reason why the thing was done. The Service of God is a very Good Reason for a Man’s going to Church; and yet the meeting of a Mistress There, may, perchance, be the True Reason of his Going. And so likewise in Other Cases, where we cover our Passions and our Interests under the Semblances of Virtue, and Duty.

——Sir R. L’Estrange, Preface to Tully’s Offices.