Puslapio vaizdai
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Timidity is driven to it; for, as Mucianus said, Confugiendum est ad imperium."* Friendship suggests it; for a man gratifies his friends when he advances himself. And generally all objects which a man has at heart, however much apart from self-interest, are in some degree connected with the pushing of his fortunes.

All those things which are supplements of ambition in case of defect, are aggravations in case of excess; which is the more common case. Excess of ambition arises, sometimes from a lively imagination confounding the future with the present, or a weakness of mind sacrificing the future to the present; and less frequently from deliberate miscalculation as to the sources of permanent happiness. Few men deliberately conclude with themselves that happiness in life is to be best promoted by accomplishing the objects of ambition; and their better judgment

* Tacitus, Hist., ii. 76.

notwithstanding, most men will make their election of those objects. Do they not then desire to be happy? An answer which should negative this desire would seem to be almost a contradiction in terms; and the true answer is, that in such cases the thing desired and elected is for the immediate happiness of the party, and is contrary only to his happiness in the long-run. A young man of a weak body and a nervous temperament shall be eager to obtain a seat in the House of Commons, although he be deliberately convinced in his judgment that parliamentary labours and a life of political vicissitude will destroy his health and with it his happiness. For the seat in parliament is an advancement in life, and that is always pleasant when it takes place, although the enjoyment soon passes off, and nothing but a constant succession of advancements could keep it up. It is thus that for the pleasure of the transition (which is a real pleasure so long as it lasts) we sacrifice the state.

The world will commonly end by making men that which it thinks them. If a man could be satisfied that the world was convinced that he was indifferent to the objects of ambition, then he might more easily be actually indifferent to them; but as the world must always be understood to assume that a man is aiming at such objects, the non-attainment of them seems to place him in a position of defeat. This is more distinctly the case when a man has made a first step towards the acquisition; and the circumstance that with every succeeding step a man more and more convicts himself of ambitious aims in the eyes of the world, thereby staking more of manifest discomfiture upon the issues, may have some share in explaining the growing nature of the passion.

CHAPTER XX.

CONCERNING RANK AS A QUALIFICATION FOR

HIGH OFFICE.

It may be thought that the function would carry the rank. If this were so, still social and extrinsic rank would be desirable, as coming in aid of official. But it is not so always. For it often happens that the functions of statesmanship are performed by one who has neither social nor much of official rank. The evil of this is that parties who transact business with him do not feel the value of his time, and a considerable part of the public property invested in his labour is lost.

Such a person, through the want of better titles, will commonly obtain that of a "Jack in "office;" and his insolence and presumption

will be contrasted with the natural courtesy of a man of high rank and station. The truth is, however, that the one, being scrupulously approached and charily occupied, can afford to be courteous; whereas, if the other were to be equally so, it must be at the cost, not only of his personal convenience, but of his duty and essential utility as a public servant. No suitors tread timorously in his approaches; none sit upon thorns in his presence, pricked by the consciousness that they are stealing the golden minutes. He is understood to be active and influential in the transaction of business, and every stranger, therefore, who has any thing to solicit, knocks hardily at his door, not reflecting that his influence and activity depend upon his shutting himself up and applying himself uninterruptedly to his business. His remedy is to be cold, dry or harsh, not for his personal relief, but in order that he may be allowed to do his duty to the public. His reward is to be

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