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ON THE GETTING AND KEEPING OF
It is of far greater importance to a statesman to make one friend who will hold out with him for twenty years, than to find twenty followers in each year, losing as many. For a statesman who stands upon a shifting ground of adherency, requires incessantly renewed calculation to inform him where he is as to means and powers; and perpetual management at the hooking and dropping of dependencies; and he must be always sacrificing his own unity of purpose, and the strength that he might derive from it, in order to avail himself of the varying support. But the qualities which will link on a score of loose followers, are more commonly found in
public life, than those which will attach one adherent; and that may be said of statesmen, which Dean Swift remarked of young ladies, "that "it would be well if fewer of them learnt to "make nets, and more to make cages.'
A superiority, intrinsic or adventitious, which maintains itself without being arrogated or even asserted, is the first thing needful to one who would form and lead a party; and with this there should be not only friendliness, but also strength and truthfulness of character. Cajolery does but effect the purpose of the moment, and runs in debt to the future; whereas frank refusals, with a kindness of language measured by the just claims of the follower and the real intentions of the leader, even if they do produce an unreasonable discontent at the moment of disappointment, will lead to an enduring confidence, and occasion no continued estrangement on the part of any man whom it is desirable to attach. Excess of profession evinces weakness,
and weakness never conciliates political adhesion. Willing to befriend an adherent, but prepared to do without him, is what a leader should appear to be; and this appearance is best maintained by a light cordiality of demeanor towards him, and a more careful and effective attention to his interests than he has been led by that demeanor to anticipate. Give one example of expectations exceeded, of performance outrunning profession, and hope and confidence will live upon little for the future. On the contrary, after an example of performance falling short of profession, hope of the future will be kept alive by nothing but solids. Moreover, he who is profuse of professions obtains less gratitude than others, even when he fulfils them to the letter. For the professions men are not thankful, because they distrust them; for the fulfilments they are less thankful than they might be, because he appears to do what is done, merely to get out of a difficulty in which the professions
have entangled him: he could not do less, it is said.
Every favour which is conferred upon a follower, should appear to be bestowed, though willingly, yet with deliberation. For deliberation does not more lend aggravation to an act of malice, than it heightens the complexion of a service rendered. Favours which seem to be dispensed upon an impulse, with an unthinking facility, are received like the liberalities of a spendthrift, and men thank God for them.
A statesman should know with what followers not to encumber himself, as well as how to conciliate and attach eligible adherents. He cannot, indeed, be nice or choice as to the men whom he will number amongst his political friends; but he may be careful not to encourage, on the part of some of them, that close adhesion which converts supporters into claimants. Or if it be indispensable to him to accept services which no very high-minded or creditable ad
herent could render, still he should be careful not to admit to personal intimacy those whom he thus employs; and he should teach them not to expect that they will be remunerated for low services with high offices. Shy and proud men (and shyness as well as pride is not infrequently to be found amongst English statesmen, little as it may seem to belong to their habits and station)—such men are more liable than any others to fall into the hands of parasites and creatures of low character. For in the intimacies which are formed by shy men, they do not choose, but are chosen. And as their shyness tends to distance men of high and delicate feelings, especially when the shyness is combined with power and results from pride, they generally fall a prey to gross and forward flatterers, whom they can despise sufficiently to be at their ease with them. Such is the pusillanimity of pride!
Even coldness of character, without pride or