Page:The Scholar in a Republic.djvu/37

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NOTES.



 

Note 1.—Page 6.

"Read me any thing but history, for history must be false."—Sir Robert Walpole.

"The records of the past are not complete enough to enable the most diligent historian to give a connected narrative in which there shall not be many parts resting on guesses or inferences or unauthenticated rumors. He may guess himself, or he may report other people's guesses; but guesses there must be."—Spedding, Life of Bacon, vol. vi. p. 76.

 

Note 2.—Page 25.

For George William Curtis, the leader of the civil-service reform, I have the most sincere respect. His place as statesman, scholar, and reformer is such, and so universally recognized, that praise from me would be almost impertinence. But a large proportion of the party in New York, and a still larger proportion of its adherents in Massachusetts, justify all I have said of it and them.

My plan of civil-service reform would be the opposite of what they propose. I should seek a remedy for the evils they describe in a wholly different direction from theirs,—in fearless recourse to a further extension of the democratic principles of our institutions.

Let each district choose its own postmaster and custom-house officials. This course would appeal to the best sense and sober second thought of each district. Responsibility would purify and elevate the masses, while government would be relieved from that mass of patronage which debauches it.

Their plan is impracticable, and ought to be; for it contravenes the fundamental idea of our institutions, and contemplates a coterie of men kept long in office,—largely independent of the people,—a miniature aristocracy, filled with a dangerous esprit de corps. The liberal party in England has long felt the dead weight and obstructive