Puslapio vaizdai
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are diverse and momentous, for a very susceptible conscience to be true to itself.

2d. As to the conscience becoming, from an exceeding tenderness as to acts and deeds, too insensible on the point of inaction or delay. It is very certain that there may be met with, in public life, a species of conscience which is all bridle and no spurs. A statesman whose conscience is of the finest texture as to every thing which he oes, will sometimes make no conscience of doing nothing. His conscience will be liable to become to him as a quagmire, in which the faculty of action shall stick fast at every step. And to this tendency of the conscience the worldly interests of a statesman will pander. Conscience is, in most men, an anticipation of the opinions of others; and whatever the moral responsibility may be, official responsibility is much less apt to be brought home to a statesman in cases of error by inaction, than in the contrary cases. What men

might have done is less known than what they have actually done, and the world thinks so much less of it, and with so much less definiteness and confidence of opinion, that the sins of omission are sins on the safe side as to this world's responsibilities.

Above all it is to be wished, that the conscience of a statesman should be an intelligent and perspicacious conscience—not the conscience of the heart only, but the conscience of the understanding—that wheresoever the understanding should be enabled to foresee distant consequences or comprehend wide ones, there the conscience should be 'enabled' to follow, not failing in quickness because the good or evil results in question are less palpable and perhaps less certain than in private life, are not seen with the eyes and heard with the ears, but only known through meditation and foresight. Many magnify in words the importance of public duties, but few appreciate them in feel

ing; and that, not so much for want of feeling, as for want of carrying it out to whatever results the understanding reaches. It is impossible that the feeling in regard to public objects should be proportionate to the feeling for private ones, because the human heart is not large enough; and it is too often found that when the conscience is not sustained by a sense of due proportion it gets thrown out altogether. It sometimes happens that he who would not hurt a fly will hurt a nation.

F

CHAPTER X.

CONCERNING THE AGE AT WHICH A STATESMAN

SHOULD MARRY, AND WHAT MANNER OF WO MAN HE SHOULD TAKE TO WIFE.

LIFE without marriage and its fruits, is to a statesman, as well as to men of other callings, a sad anti-climax. Let him not then, in the florid exordium of life, forget the peroration; which must fall flat indeed, if the likeness of his youth be not renewed and multiplied about him in the fruits of marriage. "When the Lord was with 66 me, when my children were about me" — in this co-presence consists the beatitude of age: and as it is the part of a statesman to be provident and far-seeing, he should remember in the season of his youth to provide that his age shall

be passed in this company. His profession throws some difficulties in his way; but so does every other; each presenting some obstacles and some facilities peculiar to itself.

His dilemma is, that whilst in office he has not leisure to range widely and choose his object discreetly, or sedulously to seek and pursue it: and when out of office he has less of worldly advantage for the pursuit.

Upon the whole he will do best to marry not indeed in primâ lanugine, since sobriety and perspicacity of judgment in such matters is not to be expected from a youth but nevertheless at an early period of manhood, and if possible before or very soon after the commencement of his public career. Whilst unmarried, he will be liable, in whatever conjuncture of affairs or exigency of business, to some amorous seizure, some accident of misplaced or ill-timed love, by which his mind will be taken away from his duties. Against these casualties,

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