When you need to get something done, who you know is, and has always been, important. Here's an example from FR's letter dated June 8th, 1847 at Bowness, Windermere in the Lake District:
"How much depends on seemingly trifling circumstances. Here am I in consequence of our decision that summer evening when I came to you so late to advise me whether to go to Hadley or Blackheath. At Blackheath I made acquaintance with Mrs. F___, of Grasmere Lake; through her I got my nephew ____ the curacy of Coniston Lake, and through that I thought of coming here myself. I have found an old Scarborough friend here already, and suppose, as usual, I shall know every body."