More charity

this regret borders on chagrin when we find that Men of abilities—zealous patriots—having the same general objects in view, and the same up-right intentions to prosecute them, will not exercise more charity in deciding on the opinions, & actions of one another.

George Washington, in a letter to Hamilton, 1792

Here are the two paragraphs from which this quote comes:

“Differences in political opinions are as unavoidable as, to a certain point, they may perhaps be necessary; but it is to be regretted, exceedingly, that subjects cannot be discussed with temper on the one hand, or decisions submitted to without having the motives which led to them, improperly implicated on the other: and this regret borders on chagrin when we find that Men of abilities—zealous patriots—having the same general objects in view, and the same up-right intentions to prosecute them, will not exercise more charity in deciding on the opinions, & actions of one another. When matters get to such lengths, the natural inference is, that both sides have strained the cords beyond their bearing—and that a middle course would be found the best, until experience shall have pointed out the right mode—or, which is not to be expected, because it is denied to mortals—there shall be some infallible rule by which we could fore judge events.

“Having premised these things, I would fain hope that liberal allowances will be made for the political opinions of one another; and instead of those wounding suspicions, and irritating charges with which some of our Gazettes are so strongly impregnated, & cannot fail if persevered in, of pushing matters to extremity, & thereby tare the Machine asunder, that there might be mutual forbearances and temporising yieldings on all sides. Without these I do not see how the Reins of Government are to be managed, or how the Union of the States can be much longer preserved.”

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