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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