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I HAVE known great ministers, distinguished for wit and learning, who preferred none but dunces.
Princes usually make wiser choices than the servants won they trust for the disposal of places. I have known a prince more than once chuse an able minister'; but I never observed that minister to use his credit in the disposal of an employment to a person whom he thought the fittest for it. One of the greatest in this age owned and excused the matrer from the violence of parties and the unreasonableness of friends.
SWIFT. Thoughts on Various Subjects : Works, vol. v. NOTWITHSTANDING the common complaint of the knavery of men in power, I have known no great ministers or men of parts in business so wicked as their inferiors; their sense and knowledge preserve them from a hundred common rogueries, and when they become bad, it is generally more from a necessity of their situation, than from a natural bent to evil.
A MAN coming to the water side is surrounded by all the crew; every one is officious, every one making applications, every one offering his services; the whole bustle of the place seems only for him. The same man going from the water side, no noise is made about him, no creature takes notice of him, ali let him pass with utter neglect ! the picture of a minister when he comes into power and when he goes out.
Ib. vol, vi. p. 196.
Art thou a statesman,
Don Sebastian, act. ii. [STATESMEN are] The workmanship of inconsiderate favour : The creatures of rash love : one of those meteors Which monarchs raise from earth; And people, wondering how they came so high, Fear from their influence plagues, wars, and famine.
Idem. Secret Love, act iia
OH! what a mine of mischief is a statesman! Ye furies, whirlwinds, and ye treach'rous rocks, Ye ministers of death, devouring fire, Convulsive earthquake, and plague tainted air, All you are merciful and mild to him.
Cristiern (King) Your observation's just, I see
it, Trollio : Men are machines with all their boasted freedom; Their
movements turn upon some favourite passion; Let art but find the latent foible out, We touch the spring, and wind them at our
pleasure. Trollio (his minister) Let heaven spy out for virtue, and then starve it :
But vice and frailty are the statesman's quarry, The objects of our search and of our science, Mark'd by our smiles and cherish'd by our bounty. 'Tis hence you lord it o'er your servile 'senates ; How low the slaves will stoop to gorge their lusts When aptly baited.
Gustavus Vasa, act iv. You have not, as good patriots should do,
THE great instrument of all these changes, and what infuses a peculiar venom into all of them, is party. It is of no consequence what the principles of any party, or what their pretensions are; the spirit which actuates all parties is the same; the spirit of ambition, of self-interest, of oppression, and treachery. This spirit entirely reverses all the principles which a benevolent nature has erected within us; all honesty, all equal justice, and even the ties of natural society, the natural affections. In a word, we have all seen, and if any outward considerations were worthy the lasting concern of a wise man, we have some of us felt, such oppressions from party government as no other tyranny can parallel. We behold daily the most important rights, rights upon which all the others depend, we behold all these rights determined in the last resort, without the least attention even to the appearance or colour of justice ; we vehold this without emotion, because we have grown up in the constant view of such practices; and we are not surprised to hear a man requested
to be a knave and a traitor, with as much indifference as if the most ordinary favour were asked ; and we hear this request refused, not because it is a most unjust and unreasonable desire, but that this Wortly has already engaged his injustice to another. These and many more points I am far from spreading to their full extent. You are sensible thar I do not put forth half my strength; and you cannot be at a loss for the reason. A man is allowed sufficient freedom of thought, provided he knows how to chuse his subject properly. You may cri
criticise freely upon the Chinese constitution, and observe with as much severity as you please upon the absurd tricks, or destructive bio gotry of the bonzecs. But the scene is changed as you come homeward, and atheism or treason may be the names given in Britain, to what would be reason and truth if asserted of China. 'I submit to the condition, and though I have a notorious advantage before me I wave the pursuir. For else, it is very obvious what a picture might be drawn of the excesses of party even in our own nation. I could show, that the same faction has in one reign promoted popular seditions, and in the next been a patron of tyranny; I could show, that they have all of them betrayed the public safety at all times, and have very frequently with equal perfidy made a market of their own cause, and their own associates. I could show how vehemently they have contended for names, and how silently they have passed over things of the last importance.