Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 5.djvu/46

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


was solemnly necessary, at times, to appoint a dictator; a man who had the power of life and death over everything, who degraded men out of their places, ordered them to execution, and did whatever seemed to him good in the name of God above him. He was commanded to take care that the Republic suffer no detriment. And Machiavelli calculates that this was the thing which purified the social system from time to time, and enabled it to continue as it did. Probable enough, if you consider it. And an extremely proper function surely, this of a dictator, if the Republic was composed of little other than bad and tumultuous men, triumphing in general over the better, and all going the bad road, in fact. Well, Oliver Cromwell's protectorate, or dictatorate, if you will let me name it so, lasted for about ten years, and you will find that nothing which was contrary to the laws of heaven was allowed to live by Oliver.

One remark more about your reading. I do not know whether it has been sufficiently brought home to you that there are two kinds of books. When a man is reading on any kind of a subject, in most departments of books—in all books, if you take it in a wide sense—he will find that there is a division into good books and bad books. Everywhere a good kind of book and a bad kind of book. I am not to assume that you are unacquainted, or ill acquainted, with this plain fact; but I may remind you that it is becoming a very important consideration in our day. And