Page:Historical Lectures and Addresses.djvu/335

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what we call his policy. The policy of a statesman is frequently the historian's summary of the general results which survived out of the many things which he did or attempted—it is sometimes doubtful if this so-called policy was prominently present in the consciousness of him to whom it was attributed.

I recently came across a remark—that any political reputation which survives for one hundred years survives because it is a peg on which historians hang their theories. This does not detract from a man's real greatness; for what higher position could he hope to fill than that of serving as a milestone in the great track of the world's progress? If that position be secured, the direction of the way, and the points between which he marks the distance, may be left for perpetual readjustment. We may measure progress by different standards in material attainments; but civilisation in its noblest form depends upon moral advance, and we look to a time when this will be more and more recognised.

Just as law advances by reported cases as much as by new enactments, so will civilisation advance by our judgments of men of the past as much as by the achievements of men in the present or the future. Therefore, I am of opinion that we should be careful in the selection of heroes for our admiration. We should recognise in their selection the full weight of moral considerations; we should remember that if we palliate their misdeeds, we are so far setting a bad example to their would-be successors. Great opportunities are always accompanied by great responsibilities. We do not by becoming more democratic