But, again, if these are _not_ our divinest men, then evidently there always is hope, there always is possibility of help; and ruin never is quite inevitable, till we _have_ sifted out our
actually divinest ten, and set these to try their band at governing!--That this has been achieved; that these ten men are the most Herculean souls the English population held within it, is a proposition credible to no mortal. No, thank God; low as we are sunk in many ways, this is not yet credible! Evidently the reverse of this proposition is the fact. Ten much diviner men do certainly exist. By some conceivable, not forever impossible, method and methods, ten very much diviner men could be sifted out!--Courage; let us fix our eyes on that important fact, and strive all thitherward as towards a door of hope!
Parliaments, I think, have proved too well, in late years, that they are not the remedy. It is not Parliaments, reformed or other, that will ever send Herculean men to Downing Street, to reform Downing Street for us; to diffuse therefrom a light of Heavenly Order, instead of the murk of Stygian Anarchy, over this sad world of ours. That function does not lie in the capacities of Parliment. That is the function of a _King_,--if we could get such a priceless entity, which we cannot just now! Failing which, Statesmen, or Temporary Kings, and at the very lowest one real Statesman, to shape the dim tendencies of Parliament, and guide them wisely to the goal: he, I perceive, will be a primary condition, indispensable for any progress whatsoever.
One such, perhaps, might be attained; one such might prove discoverable among our Parliamentary populations? That one, in such an enterprise as this of Downing Street, might be invaluable! One noble man, at once of natural wisdom and practical experience; one Intellect still really human, and not red-tapish, owlish and pedantical, appearing there in that dim chaos, with word of command; to brandish Hercules-like the divine broom and shovel, and turn running water in upon the place, and say as with a fiat, "Here shall be truth, and real work, and talent to do it henceforth; I will seek for able men to work here, as for the elixir of life to this poor place and me:"--what might not one such man effect there!
Nay one such is not to be dispensed with anywhere. in the affairs of men. In every ship, I say, there must be a _seeing_ pilot, not a mere hearing one! It is evident you can never get your ship steered through the difficult straits by persons standing ashore, on this bank and that, and shouting _their_ confused directions to you: "'Ware that Colonial Sandbank!--Starboard now, the Nigger Question!--Larboard, _larboard_, the Suffrage Movement! Financial Reform, your Clothing-Colonels overboard! The Qualification Movement, 'Ware-re-re!--Helm-a-lee! Bear a hand there, will you! Hr-r-r, lubbers, imbeciles, fitter for a tailor's shopboard than a helm of Government, Hr-r-r!"--And so the ship wriggles and tumbles, and, on the whole, goes as wind and current drive. No ship was ever steered except to destruction in that manner. I deliberately say so: no ship of a State either. If you cannot get a real pilot on board, and put the helm into his hands, your ship is as good as a wreck. One real pilot on board may save you; all the bellowing from the banks that ever was, will not, and by the nature of things cannot. Nay your pilot will have to succeed, if he do succeed, very much in spite of said bellowing; he will hear all that, and regard very little of it,--in a patient mild-spoken wise manner, will regard all of it as what it is. And I never doubt but there is in Parliament itself, in spite of its vague palaverings which fill us with despair in these times, a dumb instinct of inarticulate sense and stubborn practical English insight and veracity, that would manfully support a Statesman who could take command with really manful notions of Reform, and as one deserving to be obeyed. Oh for one such; even one! More precious to us than all the bullion in the Bank, or perhaps that ever was in it, just now!
For it is Wisdom alone that can recognize wisdom: Folly or Imbecility never can; and that is the fatalest ban it labors under, dooming it to perpetual failure in all things. Failure which, in Downing Street and places of _command_ is especially accursed; cursing not one but hundreds of millions! Who is there that can recognize real intellect, and do reverence to it; and discriminate it well from sham intellect, which is so much more abundant, and deserves the reverse of reverence? He that himself has it!--One really human Intellect, invested with command, and charged to reform Downing Street for us, would continually attract real intellect to those regions, and with a divine magnetism search it out from the modest corners where it lies hid. And every new accession of intellect to Downing Street would bring to it benefit only, and would increase such divine attraction in it, the parent of all benefit there and elsewhere!
"What method, then; by what method?" ask many. Method, alas! To secure an increased supply of Human Intellect to Downing Street, there will evidently be no quite effectual "method" but that of increasing the supply of Human Intellect, otherwise definable as Human Worth, in Society generally; increasing the supply of sacred reverence for it, of loyalty to it, and of life-and-death desire and pursuit of it, among all classes,--if we but knew such a "method"! Alas, that were simply the method of making all classes Servants of Heaven; and except it be devout prayer to Heaven, I have never heard of any method! To increase the reverence for Human Intellect or God's Light, and the detestation of Human Stupidity or the Devil's Darkness, what method is there? No method,--except even this, that we should each of us "pray" for it, instead of praying for mere scrip and the like; that Heaven would please to vouchsafe us each a little of it, one by one! As perhaps Heaven, in its infinite bounty, by stern methods, gradually will? Perhaps Heaven has mercy too in these sore plagues that are oppressing us; and means to teach us reverence for Heroism and Human Intellect, by such baleful experience of what issue Imbecility and Parliamentary Eloquence lead to? Such reverence, I do hope, and even discover and observe, is silently yet extensively going on among us even in these sad years. In which small salutary fact there burns for us, in this black coil of universal baseness fast becoming universal wretchedness, an inextinguishable hope; far-off but sure, a divine "pillar of fire by night." Courage, courage!--
Meanwhile, that our one reforming Statesman may have free command of what Intellect there is among us, and room to try all means for awakening and inviting ever more of it, there has one small Project of Improvement been suggested; which finds a certain degree of favor wherever I hear it talked of, and which seems to merit much more consideration than it has yet received. Practical men themselves approve of it hitherto, so far as it goes; the one objection being that the world is not yet prepared to insist on it,--which of course the world can never be, till once the world consider it, and in the first place hear tell of it! I have, for my own part, a good opinion of this project. The old unreformed Parliament of rotten boroughs _had_ one advantage; but that is hereby, in a far more fruitful and effectual manner, secured to the new.