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A STATESMAN'S MOST PREGNANT FUNCTION LIES
IN THE CHOICE AND USE OF INSTRUMENTS.
THE most important qualification of one who is high in the service of the state is his fitness for acting through others; since the importance of his operations vicariously effected ought, if he knows how to make use of his power, to predominate greatly over the importance which can attach to any man's direct and individual activity. The discovery and use of instruments implies, indeed, activity as well as judgment, because it implies that judgment which only activity in affairs can give. But it is a snare into which active statesmen are apt to fall, to lose, in the importance which they attach to the immediate and direct effects of their activity, the
sense of that much greater importance which they might impart to it if they applied themselves to make their powers operate through the most effective and the widest instrumentality. The vanity of a statesman is more flattered in the contemplation of what he does than of what he causes to be done; although any man whose civil station is high ought to know that his causative might be, beyond all calculation, wider than his active sphere, and more important.
Therefore no man who contemplates a public career should fail to begin early, and persist always, in cultivating the society of able men, of whatsoever classes or opinions they may be, provided only they be honest. In every walk of life it were well that such men should associate themselves together, in order that combination may give increased effect to their lives; and in some of the middle walks of life the association does to a certain degree take place; but amongst those who are destined for a civil
career, or are born to such a station in life as is likely to lead them into that career, the paramount importance of the object appears to be overlooked. Men in early life, seeking for enjoyment in society and for agreeable qualities only in their associates, their appetite for power yet unawakened, or their juvenile ambition anticipating the pleasures of power without foreseeing its wants, get themselves surrounded by companions who, though not perhaps unadorned with talents, are yet fit for no purposes in life but that of pleasing. At the entrance upon a public career, and in the first stages of it, the aspirant is not seasonably apprised by circumstances that this is against him, and that in his ascent and advancement, as he comes to have more and more scope and use for instruments, hardly anything would be of so much. moment to him as the number and serviceable quality of his associates, or of those with whom he has such intermediate connection as
may serve for requisite knowledge. This, which early experience will not suggest, later will not teach in time (for the character of a man's associates will commonly be determined at the outset of life), and it is therefore a matter to be attempted by precept.
In associating with able men, we are to bear in mind that every man of that kind may probably indicate a vein of the material lying n the line of his connections. Blood relationship, we know, is but an uncertain index; yet it offers a sufficient probability of congenial talents to invite inquiry from the statesman who is duly eager in his search. And the chosen friends and companions of an able man are still more likely than his born relatives to be found endowed with similar gifts.
In order to realize his knowledge of instruments (otherwise soon dissipated in the hurry of his life), a statesman would do well to keep lists, inventories, or descriptive catalogues; one
of men ascertained to have certain aptitudes for business, another of probable men. He is more especially bound to keep lists of men whose services in any public capacity deservedly attract his attention in the course of business. Such services, not continuously rendered perhaps, and only casually observed, will, if not registered for reference, be either presently forgotten, or not remembered at the moment when the want of the man presents itself. In short, no easy opportunity should be omitted of trying and proving men, and of recording the result. But so little is this somewhat obvious truth recognised, or such is the indifference of some statesmen to every thing but what is forced upon their attention, that men have been at the head of departments of the state, who might have had Bacon and Hooker in their service without knowing it.
With regard to the choice of instruments, a statesman, if he would have his judgment of