The longer I live, the more I feel the importance of adhering to the rules which I have laid down for myself in relation to such matters.
1st To hear as little as possible what is to the prejudice of others.
2nd To believe nothing of the kind till I am absolutely forced to it.
3rd Never to drink into the spirit of one who circulates an ill report.
4th Always to moderate, as far as I can, the unkindness which is expressed toward others.
5th Always to believe, that if the other side were heard, a very different account would be given of the matter....
The more prominent any person's character is, the more likely he is to suffer in this way; there being in the heart of every man, unless greatly subdued by grace, a pleasure in hearing anything which may sink others to his level, or lower them in the estimation of the world. We seem to ourselves elevated in proportion as others are depressed.