S. Austin Allibone, comp. Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay. 1880.
Be deaf unto the suggestions of tale-bearers, calumniators, pick-thank or malevolent delators, who, while quiet men sleep, sowing the tares of discord and division, distract the tranquillity of charity and all friendly society. These are the tongues that set the world on fire, cankers of reputation, and, like that of Jonas his gourd, wither a good name in a night.
[Queen] Mary had a way of interrupting tattle about elopements, duels, and play debts, by asking the tattlers, very quietly yet significantly, whether they had ever read her favourite sermon, Doctor Tillotsons, on Evil Speaking.
Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay: Hist. of Eng.: William and Mary, ch. xi.
It is a certain sign of an ill heart to be inclined to defamation. They who are harmless and innocent can have no gratification that way: but it ever arises from a neglect of what is laudable in a mans self, and an impatience of seeing it in another.
It is not good to speak evil of all whom we know bad; it is worse to judge evil of any who may prove good. To speak ill upon knowledge shows a want of charity; to speak ill upon suspicion shows a want of honesty. I will not speak so bad as I know of many; I will not speak worse than I know of any. To know evil by others, and not speak it, is sometimes discretion; to speak evil by others, and not know it, is always dishonesty. He may be evil himself who speaks good of others upon knowledge, but he can never be good himself who speaks ill of others upon suspicion.