« AnteriorContinuar »
establishment of standing armies, which, however they may be decried, have afforded to the interior of each state greater security of property and
stronger encouragement to industry, has promoted the propagation and more advantageous employment of knowledge. At the present day, genuine practical philosophy, generally known and duly appreciated, makes glory consist in virtue : it decrees that we shall aggrandise our own being, by improving the means offered by the science we have embraced of doing good to our fellow-creatures. To love men is the first requisite for being capable of benefiting and worthy of governing them. To love and to benefit mankind is the principle of all the virtues, of generosity, of heroism ; it is the soul and end of the sciences, the spring of actions that lead to real and solid glory.
This high destination of the man who feels a vocation to concur in the great work of the advancement of his kind, and first of the community or nation to which he belongs, ought, above al, powerfully to stimulate a high-spirited, generous, enlightened youth, actuated by a noble and laudable ambition, by an ardent desire to acquire fortune and fame by honourable and legitimate means, who appreciates all the enjoyments and advantages aceruing to him from the industry, exertions, observations, and inventions of past ages, and who wishes for his part to acquit himself of this debt, and to bequeath a similar legacy to those that are to come after him.
XXIX. DESTINATION OF CERTAIN INDIVIDUALS-EMPLOYMENT
We have treated in the preceding chapter of the general destination of man, which is to do good to his fellow-creatures in order to ensure his own happiness. It likewise behoves us to examine the particular destination of certain individuals, and the art of employing men, which consists chiefly in making their destiny harmonise with their destination. The employment of men, one of the most important branches of the science of employing time, with which the employment of wealth also is connected,* cannot be well conducted unless by a judicious application of our law of proportions : all things are relative. Every man, in fact, may be fit for this or that particular purpose and for no other. We can
* The employment of time, the employment of men, and the employment of wealth, may be considered as the three great elements of the art of government
distinguish innate primitive dispositions, which it is the province of education, legislation, morality, and religion to develop, to direct, to modify, but which still retain considerable influence. Every person is likely to succeed in that which is analogous or relative to his organisation : the essential point is to be employed precisely in his proper sphere. The importance whịch every thing possesses in our estimation is always relative, either to our wants or to our dispositions : and it is in such pursuits only to which we attach importance hat we can succeed. The soldier, fired by the sentiment of honour, regards it as the bulwark of the country, and the noble instrument of its glory.
The farmer is the nursing father of the state. The judge maintains social order, by protecting property, which is its foundation. The lowest conditions are exalted and ennobled by the same principle. The shoemaker who would distinguish himself in his profession ought to take a decent pride in it, and even to entertain exaggerated notions of its utility. It is by his means that the intercourse between men has been facilitated, that greater activity has been given to commerce, that armies are enabled to traverse with rapidity vast regions. Every profession should be honourable in the eyes of those who
exercise it: and each ought, as far as possible, to embrace that profession which appears to him the most honourable and the most useful, because it has a conformity with his talents and inclinations.
Happy the man whose destiny permits him to fulfil bis destination! Too often, on the contrary, are these at mortal variance with each other. The former calls man to great and useful things in a career analogous to his propensities and disposition; the latter ties him down to occupations which he dislikes, and imposes on him trivial and servile duties, while he feels himself urged by an invincible power into a totally different sphere. The great Hector, dragged bleeding in the dust round the walls of Troy, is the melancholy but faithful image of these unfortunate persons, sacrificed for life to their cruel destiny, which frequently renders their better part useless, and paralyses and extinguishes all their faculties.* It
* How many illustrious persons, possessing superior merit, or adorned with the rarest virtues, neglected by their contemporaries, and betrayed by their destiny, have been plunged from affliction into affliction, in that very country which they were called to enlighten, to serve, and to defend! How many men, whose talents conferred honour on France and Europe, were cut off during the revolution, in the middle of their career, by the barbarous scythe of faction!
is, nevertheless, the interest of those whom contrary fate keeps aloof from the situation to which a kind of instinct seemed to summon them, to perform with zeal the duties attached to their functions. They ought to overcome the obstacles which they encounter in their career, nay, even to convert them, according to our general principle (Law of Obstacles), into means of success, that they may acquit themselves with honour of the obligatory employments imposed by their condition, and the optional employments with which they charm their leisure.
The science of employing men, and adapting their functions in the different classes of society to their respective professions, is essentially connected with the employment of time, considered in its relations with political economy, and may become an essential element of prosperity. Happy the nation, the majority of whose members are employed in functions consonant with their dispositions, and with the species and degree of their capacity !* As societies cannot exist and
* If a man capable of producing a value equal to one hundred in a post suited to his talents is chained to an employment in which he can have only a force or value equal to ten, there is, of course, a loss equal to the difference, or ninety, to the indi