also refused to take part in the approaching war. However,

acquaintance networkdata2023-12-05 17:43:33 98 5826

The Age that admires talk so much can have little discernment for inarticulate work, or for anything that is deep and genuine. Nobody, or hardly anybody, having in himself an earnest sense for truth, how can anybody recognize an inarticulate Veracity, or Nature-fact of any kind; a Human _Doer_ especially, who is the most complex, profound, and inarticulate of all Nature's Facts? Nobody can recognize him: till once he is patented, get some public stamp of authenticity, and has been articulately proclaimed, and asserted to be a Doer. To the worshipper of talk, such a one is a sealed book. An excellent human soul, direct from Heaven,--how shall any excellence of man become recognizable to this unfortunate? Not except by announcing and placarding itself as excellent,--which, I reckon, it above other things will probably be in no great haste to do.

also refused to take part in the approaching war. However,

Wisdom, the divine message which every soul of man brings into this world; the divine prophecy of what the new man has got the new and peculiar capability to do, is intrinsically of silent nature. It cannot at once, or completely at all, be read off in words; for it is written in abstruse facts, of endowment, position, desire, opportunity, granted to the man;--interprets itself in presentiments, vague struggles, passionate endeavors and is only legible in whole when his work is _done_. Not by the noble monitions of Nature, but by the ignoble, is a man much tempted to publish the secret of his soul in words. Words, if he have a secret, will be forever inadequate to it. Words do but disturb the real answer of fact which could be given to it; disturb, obstruct, and will in the end abolish, and render impossible, said answer. No grand Doer in this world can be a copious speaker about his doings. William the Silent spoke himself best in a country liberated; Oliver Cromwell did not shine in rhetoric; Goethe, when he had but a book in view, found that he must say nothing even of that, if it was to succeed with him.

also refused to take part in the approaching war. However,

Then as to politeness, and breeding to business. An official man must be bred to business; of course he must: and not for essence only, but even for the manners of office he requires breeding. Besides his intrinsic faculty, whatever that may be, he must be cautious, vigilant, discreet,--above all things, he must be reticent, patient, polite. Certain of these qualities are by nature imposed upon men of station; and they are trained from birth to some exercise of them: this constitutes their one intrinsic qualification for office;--this is their one advantage in the New Downing Street projected for this New Era; and it will not go for much in that Institution. One advantage, or temporary advantage; against which there are so many counterbalances. It is the indispensable preliminary for office, but by no means the complete outfit,--a miserable outfit where there is nothing farther.

also refused to take part in the approaching war. However,

Will your Lordship give me leave to say that, practically, the intrinsic qualities will presuppose these preliminaries too, but by no means _vice versa_. That, on the whole, if you have got the intrinsic qualities, you have got everything, and the preliminaries will prove attainable; but that if you have got only the preliminaries, you have yet got nothing. A man of real dignity will not find it impossible to bear himself in a dignified manner; a man of real understanding and insight will get to know, as the fruit of his very first study, what the laws of his situation are, and will conform to these. Rough old Samuel Johnson, blustering Boreas and rugged Arctic Bear as he often was, defined himself, justly withal, as a polite man: a noble manful attitude of soul is his; a clear, true and loyal sense of what others are, and what he himself is, shines through the rugged coating of him; comes out as grave deep rhythmus when his King honors him, and he will not "bandy compliments with his King;"--is traceable too in his indignant trampling down of the Chesterfield patronages, tailor-made insolences, and contradictions of sinners; which may be called his _revolutionary_ movements, hard and peremptory by the law of them; these could not be soft like his _constitutional_ ones, when men and kings took him for somewhat like the thing he was. Given a noble man, I think your Lordship may expect by and by a polite man. No "politer" man was to be found in Britain than the rustic Robert Burns: high duchesses were captivated with the chivalrous ways of the man; recognized that here was the true chivalry, and divine nobleness of bearing,--as indeed they well might, now when the Peasant God and Norse Thor had come down among them again! Chivalry this, if not as they do chivalry in Drury Lane or West-End drawing-rooms, yet as they do it in Valhalla and the General Assembly of the Gods.

For indeed, who _invented_ chivalry, politeness, or anything that is noble and melodious and beautiful among us, except precisely the like of Johnson and of Burns? The select few who in the generations of this world were wise and valiant, they, in spite of all the tremendous majority of blockheads and slothful belly-worshippers, and noisy ugly persons, have devised whatsoever is noble in the manners of man to man. I expect they will learn to be polite, your Lordship, when you give them a chance!--Nor is it as a school of human culture, for this or for any other grace or gift, that Parliament will be found first-rate or indispensable. As experience in the river is indispensable to the ferryman, so is knowledge of his Parliament to the British Peel or Chatham;--so was knowledge of the OEil-de-Boeuf to the French Choiseul. Where and how said river, whether Parliament with Wilkeses, or OEil-de-Boeuf with Pompadours, can be waded, boated, swum; how the miscellaneous cargoes, "measures" so called, can be got across it, according to their kinds, and landed alive on the hither side as facts:--we have all of us our _ferries_ in this world; and must know the river and its ways, or get drowned some day! In that sense, practice in Parliament is indispensable to the British Statesman; but not in any other sense.

A school, too, of manners and of several other things, the Parliament will doubtless be to the aspirant Statesman; a school better or worse;--as the OEil-de-Boeuf likewise was, and as all scenes where men work or live are sure to be. Especially where many men work together, the very rubbing against one another will grind and polish off their angularities into roundness, into "politeness" after a sort; and the official man, place him how you may, will never want for schooling, of extremely various kinds. A first-rate school one cannot call this Parliament for him;--I fear to say what rate at present! In so far as it teaches him vigilance, patience, courage, toughness of lungs or of soul, and skill in any kind of swimming, it is a good school. In so far as it forces him to speak where Nature orders silence; and even, lest all the world should learn his secret (which often enough would kill his secret, and little profit the world), forces him to speak falsities, vague ambiguities, and the froth-dialect usual in Parliaments in these times, it may be considered one of the worst schools ever devised by man; and, I think, may almost challenge the OEil-de-Boeuf to match it in badness.

Parliament will train your men to the manners required of a statesman; but in a much less degree to the intrinsic functions of one. To these latter, it is capable of mistraining as nothing else can. Parliament will train you to talk; and above all things to hear, with patience, unlimited quantities of foolish talk. To tell a good story for yourself, and to make it _appear_ that you have done your work: this, especially in constitutional countries, is something;--and yet in all countries, constitutional ones too, it is intrinsically nothing, probably even less. For it is not the function of any mortal, in Downing Street or elsewhere here below, to wag the tongue of him, and make it appear that he has done work; but to wag some quite other organs of him, and to do work; there is no danger of his work's appearing by and by. Such an accomplishment, even in constitutional countries, I grieve to say, may become much less than nothing. Have you at all computed how much less? The human creature who has once given way to satisfying himself with "appearances," to seeking his salvation in "appearances," the moral life of such human creature is rapidly bleeding out of him. Depend upon it, Beelzebub, Satan, or however you may name the too authentic Genius of Eternal Death, has got that human creature in his claws. By and by you will have a dead parliamentary bagpipe, and your living man fled away without return!

Such parliamentary bagpipes I myself have heard play tunes, much to the satisfaction of the people. Every tune lies within their compass; and their mind (for they still call it _mind_) is ready as a hurdy-gurdy on turning of the handle: "My Lords, this question now before the House"--Ye Heavens, O ye divine Silences, was there in the womb of Chaos, then, such a product, liable to be evoked by human art, as that same? While the galleries were all applausive of heart, and the Fourth Estate looked with eyes enlightened, as if you had touched its lips with a staff dipped in honey,--I have sat with reflections too ghastly to be uttered. A poor human creature and learned friend, once possessed of many fine gifts, possessed of intellect, veracity, and manful conviction on a variety of objects, has he now lost all that;--converted all that into a glistering phosphorescence which can show itself on the outside; while within, all is dead, chaotic, dark; a painted sepulchre full of dead-men's bones! Discernment, knowledge, intellect, in the human sense of the words, this man has now none. His opinion you do not ask on any matter: on the _matter_ he has no opinion, judgment, or insight; only on what may be said about the matter, how it may be argued of, what tune may be played upon it to enlighten the eyes of the Fourth Estate.



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