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down limitation," is their call on the people, as it was the call of the courtiers on Louis the Fourteenth. Their advice resembles in politics that which is given on the tomb of Sardanapalus, regarding bodily intemperance: "Eat, drink and lust; the rest is nothing."2

We must the more energetically cling to our institutional government, and the more attentively avoid extremes. At the same time the question is fair whether other systems either avoid the danger or do not substitute greater evils for it; and, lastly, we must in this, as in all other cases, while honestly endeavoring to remedy or prevent evil, have an eye to the whole and see which yields the fairest results. Nothing, moreover, is more dangerous than to take single brilliant facts as representatives of systems. They prove general soundness as little as brilliant deeds necessarily prove their morality.

It is these dangers that give so great a value to constitutions, if conceived in the spirit of liberty. The office of a good constitution, besides that of pronouncing and guaranteeing the rights of the citizen, is that, as a fundamental law of the state, it so defines and limits the chief powers, that, each moving in its own orb, without jostling the others, it prevents jarring and grants harmonious protection to all the minor powers of the state.

2 "The epitaph inscribed upon the tomb of Sardanapalus, ‘Sardanapalus, the son of Anacyndaraxos, built Anchiola and Tarsos in one day: eat, drink and lust; the rest is nothing,' has been quoted for ages, and its antiquity is generally admitted." Layard's Nineveh, vol. ii. p. 478.

A constitution, whether it be an accumulative one, as that of Great Britain, or an enacted one, as ours is, is always of great importance, as indeed all law is important wherever there is human action; but, from what has been stated, it will be readily perIceived that constitutions are efficient toward the obtaining of their main ends, the liberty of the citizen, only in the same degree as they themselves consist of an aggregate of institutions; as, for instance, that of the United States consists of a distinct number of clearly devised and limited, as well as lifepossessing institutions, or as that of England, which consists of the aggregate of institutions considered by him who uses the term British Constitution as of fundamental and vital importance. It will, moreover, have appeared that these constitutions have a real being only if founded upon numerous wide-spread institutions, and feeding, as it were, upon a general institutional spirit. Without this, they will be little more than parchment; and, important as our constitutions are, it has already been seen that the institution of the Common Law, on which all of them are based, is still more important. It cannot be denied that occasional jarring takes place in a strongly institutional government. It is, as we have called it, of a co-operative character, and all co-operation may lead to conflict. There is, however, occasional jarring of interests or powers, wherever there are general rules of action. This jarring of laws, and especially of institutions, so much dreaded by the absolutists, whose beau ideal is uncompromising and unrelieved uniformity, is very frequently the means

of development, and of that average justice which constitutes a feature of all civil liberty. If there be anything instructive in the history of free nations, and of high interest to the student of civil liberty, it is these very conflicts, and the mean which has resulted from it. It must also be remembered that liberty is life, and life is often strife, in the social region as in that of nature. If, at times, institutions lead to real struggles, we have to decide between all the good of institutional liberty with this occasional inconvenience, and absolutism with all its evils and this occasional avoidance of conflicting interests. More than occasional this avoidance, even under an absolutism, cannot be called. What domestic conflicts have there not been in the history of Russia and Turkey!

The institution unquestionably partly results from, and in turn promotes, respect for that which has been established or grown. This leads occasionally to a love of effete institutions, even to fanaticism; but fanaticism which consists in carrying a truth or principle to undue length, irrespective of other truths and principles, equally important, besets man in all spheres. Has absolutism not its own bigotry and fanaticism ?3

3 I have expressed my view on this subject in an address to a graduating class. I copy the passage here, because I believe the truth it contains important:

"Remember how often I have endeavored to impress upon your minds the truth, that there is no great and working idea in history, no impulse which passes on through whole masses, like a heaving wave over the sea, no yearning and endeavor which gives a marking

When an institution has become effete; when nothing but the form is left; when its life is fledin one word, when the hull of an institution remains but when it has ceased to be a real institution, it is inconvenient, dangerous, or it may become seriously injurious. Nothing, indeed, is so convenient for despotism, as I stated before, than the remaining forms of an obsolete freedom, or forms of freedom pur


character to a period, and no new institution or new truth, which becomes the substantial addition that a certain age adds to the stock of progressive civilization—that has not its own caricature and distorted reflection along with it. No Luther rises with heroic purpose, without being caricatured in a Carlstadt. The miracle wrought by Him, to whom it was no miracle, is mimicked in toyish marvels for easy minds. The communists are to the dignity of labor what the hideous anabaptists were to the reformation, or tyrannical hypocrites in England to the idea of British liberty in a Pym` or Hampden. There was a truth of elementary importance conveyed in the saying of former ages, however irreverent it may appear to our taste, that Satan is the mimicking and grimacing clown of the Lord. will go farther, and say, that no great truth can be said to have fairly begun to work itself into practice, and to produce, like a vernal breath, a new growth of things, if we do not observe somewhere this historic caricature. Has christianity itself fared better? Was the first idea, which through a series of errors led to the anchorites and pillar saints, not a true and holy one? Does not all fanaticism consist in recklessly carrying a true idea to an extreme, irrespective of other equally true ones, which ought to be developed conjointly, and under the salutary influence of mutual modification? There is truth in the first idea whence the communist starts, as much so as there is truth in the idea which serves as a starting-post for the advocate of the ungodly theory of divine right; but both carry out their fundamental principle to madness, and, ultimately, often run a muck in sanguinary ferocity. Do not allow yourself, then, to be misled by these distortions, or to be driven into hopeless timidity, which would end in utter irresolution, and a misconception of the firmest truths."


posely invented to deceive. A nobility stripped of all independence, and being nothing but a set of court retainers, the Roman senate under the emperors, the court of peers under Henry the Eighth, representative houses without power or free action, courts-martial dictated to by a despot, elections without freedom, are tremendous engines of iniquity. They bear the responsibility, without free agency. They are in practice what syllogism is without truthfulness. But this is no reproach to the institution in general, nor any reason why we ought not to rely upon it. Many an old church has served as a den for robbers. Shall we build no churches? If the institution is effete, let it be destroyed, but do it, as Montesquieu says of laws in general, "with a trembling V hand," lest you destroy what only appeared to your onesided view as effete. Still more vigorously must the battering-ram be directed against institutions which from the beginning have been bad, or which plainly are hostile to a new state of things. There are institutions as inconsistent with the true aim of society, though few are as monstrous, as the regularly incorporated prostitutes of ancient Geneva were. They must be razed. All historical development contains conservatism, progress and revolution, as christianity itself is most conservative and most revolutionary. The vital question is, when? And from all that has been stated, it must have appeared that the institution greatly aids in the best progress of which society is capable, that which consists in organic changes, changes which lie in the very principles of continuity and conservatism themselves. VOL. II.-4

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