Delany is willing to think that Swift's mind was not much tainted with this gross corruption before his long visit to Pope. He does not consider how he degrades his hero, by making him at fifty-nine the pupil of turpitude, and liable to the malignant influence of an ascendant mind.
The sudden change of his conduct, the astonishing mixture of imbecility and presumption, of moral turpitude and frantic extravagance, which he afterwards evinced; such as rolling himself over heaps of gold, his treatment of his horse Incitatus, and his design of making him consul, seem to justify a suspicion that his brain had actually been affected, either by the potion, said to have been given him by his wife Caesonia, or otherwise.
And in that hour of danger, though a unanimity was displayed on the part of the senate that was surprising, on the part of all Italy surpassing belief, and of all the loyalists unparalleled, in standing forth in my defence, I will not say what happened for the blame attaches to many, and is of various shades of turpitude I will only say briefly that it was not the rank and file, but the leaders, that played me false.
No, the Protestant League may consider itself to be an earnest and active body, but I can never look upon its efforts as anything but lukewarm, standing, as I do, with the light of other days around me. As a child, whatever I might question, I never doubted the turpitude of Rome.
The horror with which an idealistic youth at first views the truculence of nature and the turpitude of worldly life is capable of being softened by experience.
Never did some of the Roslyn boys, to their dying day, forget the deep, intolerable, unfathomable flood of moral turpitude and iniquity which he bore with him; a flood, which seemed so irresistible, and the influence of such boys as Montagu and Owen to stay its onrush seemed as futile as the weight of a feather to bar the fury of a mountain stream.
I may add, that if any thing could make the plan more heinous if any shade than blackest can be blacker this extra turpitude is seen in the true consideration, that the promise to Grace of her father's safety would be entirely futile as Jennings knew full well; the crown was prosecutor, not he: and circumstantial evidence alone would be sufficient to condemn.
Those of us who remember the fifties will recall how tightly revolvers clung to the name of their patentee, and the sort of moral turpitude that attached to their use. They were regarded as giving a mean advantage to murderers; who otherwise, if they murdered fair, and were respectably hanged, merely filled rôles necessary to History and the Drama.
Your labors will be their own reward; but if you desire any other, that I can add, you may depend upon it. I am glad that you perceive the indecency and turpitude of those of your 'Commensaux', who disgrace and foul themselves with dirty w s and scoundrel gamesters. And the light in which, I am sure, you see all reasonable and decent people consider them, will be a good warning to you. Adieu.
Stealing, among the civilized nations of the world, may well be considered as denoting a character deeply stained with moral turpitude: with avarice, unrestrained by the known rules of right; and with profligacy, producing extreme indigence, and neglecting the means of relieving it.
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