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Clever Statesmen








However great talents may command the admiration of the world, they do
not generally best fit a man for the discharge of social duties. Swift
remarks that "Men of great parts are often unfortunate in the management
of public business, because they are apt to go out of the common road
by the quickness of their imagination. This I once said to my Lord
Bolingbroke, and desired he would observe, that the clerk in his office
used a sort of ivory knife, with a blunt edge, to divide a sheet of
paper, which never failed to cut it even, only by requiring a steady
hand; whereas, if he should make one of a sharp penknife, the sharpness
would make it go often out of the crease, and disfigure the paper."

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