How to send a message to Garcia
When war broke out between Spain and the United States it was very necessary to communicate quickly with the leader of the insurgents. Garcia was somewhere in the mountain vastness of Cuba- no one knew where. No mail nor telegraph message could reach him. The president must secure his cooperation, and quickly.
What to do!
Some one said to the president, “there’s a fellow by the name of rowan will find Garcia for you, if anybody can.”
Rowan was sent for and given a letter to be delivered to Garcia. How “the fellow by the name of rowan” took the letter, sealed it up in an oil-skin pouch, strapped it over his heart, in four days landed by night off the coast of Cuba from an open boat, disappeared into the jungle, and in three weeks came out on the other side of the island, having traversed a hostile country on foot, and delivered his letter to Garcia-are things I have no special desire now to tell in detail. The point that I wish to make is this: McKinley gave rowan a letter to be delivered to Garcia; rowan took the letter and did not ask: “where is he at?”
There is a man whose form should be cast in deathless bronze and the statue placed in every college of the land. It is not book-learning young men need, nor instruction about this and that, but a stiffening of the vertebrae which will cause them to be loyal to a trust, to act promptly, concentrate their energies: do the thing- “carry a message to Garcia!”
General Garcia is dead now, but there are other Garcias. No man who has endeavored to carry out an enterprise where many hands were needed, but has been well-nigh appalled at times by the imbecility of the average man-the inability or unwillingness to concentrate on a thing and do it.
Slipshod assistance, foolish inattention, dowdy indifference, and half-hearted work seem the rule; and no man succeeds, unless by hook or crook or threat he forces or bribes other men to assist him; or mayhap, god in his goodness performs s miracle, and sends him an angel of light for an assistant.
You put this matter to a test:
You are sitting now in your office- six clerks are all within call. Summon any one and make this request: “please look in the encyclopedia and make a brief memorandum for me concerning the life of Correggio.” Will the clerk quietly say, “yes, sir,” and go do the task?
On your life, he will not. He will look at you out of a fishy eye and ask one or more of the following questions:
Who was he? Which encyclopedia? Where is the encyclopedia? Was I hired for that? What’s the matter with George doing it? Is he dead? Is there any hurry? Shan’t I bring you the book and let you look it up yourself? What do you want to know for?
And I will lay you ten to one that after you have answered the questions, and explained how to find the information, and why you want it, the clerk will go off and get one of the other clerks to help him try to find Garcia- and then come back and tell you there is no such man. Of course I may lose the bet, but according to the law of average, I will not.
This incapacity for independent action, this moral stupidity, this infirmity of the will, this unwillingness to cheerfully catch hold and lift – these are the things that put pure socialism so far into the future. If men will not act for themselves, what will they do when the benefit of their effort is for all?
My heart goes out to the man who does his work when the “boss” is away, as well as when he is at home. And the man who, when given a letter for Garcia, quietly takes the mission, without asking any idiotic questions, and with no lurking intention of chucking it into the nearest sewer, or of doing aught else but deliver it, never gets “laid off” nor has to go on a strike for higher wages.
Anything such a man asks shall be granted. He is wanted in every city, town and village and in every office, shop, store and factory. The world cries out for such: he is needed and needed badly- the man who can “carry a message to Garcia”.