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Page:Hine (1912) Letters from an old railway official.djvu/58

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Letters From A Railway Official.

the work without any one knowing the difference. In a larger enterprise there has to be an understudy in charge when the head is away.

You may have noticed that I use the word “rank” considerably. Rank is a practical necessity for the proper enforcement of authority. Rank makes its appearance as soon as society organizes for its own protection. Rank may be local, limited, changing and temporary as contra-distinguished from general, extensive, hereditary, or permanent, but it is rank just the same. The purest democracies clothe their chosen leaders with temporary rank. Before misconstruing the poetic aphorism of Robert Burns, “rank is but the guinea’s stamp,” remember that the guinea is only fluctuating bullion until the stamp of authority of government can be invoked.

Let me now enunciate a principle, which is this: “In modern organization the chief clerk as we now know him has no place. When the stage is reached that such a chief clerk seems to be needed, there should be another assistant this or that.” Mind you, I do not say assistant to, because that little word “to” may give a sent-for-and-couldn’t-come appearance. Nearly