Chapter 16

 The Captain had now leisure to reflect on the predicament in which he had left Teague; and thinking he might have had what was sufficient to cure him of his folly, or at least restrain it, thought of making a visit to the house of employment, or sending to liberate the valet.

This thought running in his head, he naturally suggested it to a gentleman with whom he was, at this time, in conversation, on different subjects; the gentleman lodging at the same inn, or public house, and seeming to be a person of considerable shrewdness and discernment, not only of the affairs of men in general, but of the special spirit and character of these times.

Said the gentleman; The folly of your man has certainly been very great, to suppose, that he could be qualified to sustain the profession of an advocate, and to practice law: For, though in this, as in most other professions, “the race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong;” but the people that showeth favour; that is, take up an opinion of abilities, where there are none; yet your servant, having so little even of the semblance of qualification, it would be counting too much on the circumstance, to promise great success in his case. His prospect of advancement would be much more certain in the political career. You seem, by your account, to have discouraged him in taking a seat in the legislature; and would not wish now to contradict yourself: yet why not indulge him in taking a place in the executive of some government? As far as I see, with that ambition which is natural to him, you will find him but of little use, as a waiter: and you may as well let him do something for himself, as not. If appointed in the department of finance, he can use clerks; and, in a very short time, he may learn to write his name, so as to give his signature to any paper; and this, with the help of clerks to do the accountant business, would be sufficient: At least there have been those in these departments, who have been approved, and yet could do little more. Should he even become a governor; furnished with a secretary, he can be at no loss to compose his messages, or other communications, to individuals, or public bodies.

But what I would propose, and will suit him best, will be to go into the general government: and, under this, the diplomatic line will be eligible. He might be appointed consul to the port of Cork or Dublin; or the Barbary States; or other places: or he might go as ambassador to the grand Mogul; or envoy extraordinary to the king of England; or other princes or potentates in Europe.

If you should think of favouring him in his career, it will be necessary for him to appear at the levee of the president, that he may be introducted with a certain gradual etiquette of advancement.

What! said the Captain, introduce a ragged bog-trotter to the president of the United States!

Not ragged, said the gentleman; you can have a pair of breeches made for him; and put shoes upon his feet: a sword will be necessary; and some other articles of equipment. And when you bring this into view with his making his fortune, you will not consider it as advancing much for a person whom you wish to serve.

The Captain began to think there was weight in the observations of this gentleman; and that it might be proper to let the bog-trotter have a chance of doing what he could: Accordingly he wrote a note to the keeper of the house of employment to liberate him for the present.

The state of politics at this time, and the prospect of Teague’s advancement, we shall leave to the next book.