“I see that you have in your house hunting-dogs and a number of pedigree cocks. Have you ever considered something about their unions and procreations?”
“What?” he said.
“In the first place,” I said, “among these themselves, although they are a select breed, do not some prove better than the rest?”
“They do,” [he said.]
“Do you then breed from all indiscriminately, or are you careful to breed from the best?”
“From the best,” [he replied.]
“And, again, do you breed from the youngest or the oldest, or, so far as may be, from those in their prime?”
“From those in their prime,” [he replied.]
“And if they are not thus bred, you expect, do you not, that your birds and hounds will greatly degenerate?”
“I do,” he said.
“And what of horses and other animals?” I said; “is it otherwise with them?”
“It would be strange if it were,” said he.
“Gracious,” said I, “dear friend, how imperative, then, is our need of the highest skill in our rulers, if the principle holds also for mankind.”