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Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.

NUMBER: 1571
AUTHOR: Silas Wright (1795–1847)
QUOTATION: The office should seek the man, not man the office.
ATTRIBUTION: Attributed to SILAS WRIGHT.—Edward Parsons Day, Day’s Collacon, p. 684 (1884). Unverified.

According to biographies, this is in character. Wright was a nineteenth century representative and senator from New York, and served as governor of New York. In 1844, he declined a Supreme Court appointment, refused to be considered for the presidential nomination and declined, when nominated, to be a candidate for the vice presidency.—Dictionary of American Biography, vol. 10, part 2, p. 556.
SUBJECTS: Public service