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consider, and to which a provident economy is to be adjusted. This law of connection, this communism of Nature, is the starting-point of political thought.

In these days, on the contrary, a certain maxim has been set up as the sum of all political wisdom: every man is the best guardian of his own interests. The maxim is flagrantly untrue, and would not be available as a foundation in politics if it were true; it is but a clumsy attempt at the statement of a very different fact: the best that the community can do is to leave to every man the protection of such interests as appertain to him individually. That many a man guards them very ill, and is the worst enemy of his own weal, is as true as it is lamentable. This evil, however, must be suffered that worse may be avoided. But though the maxim were incontrovertible, it would have no political value. Could it be said that every man has a deep sense of the universality and long transmission of effect, — that every man recognizes clearly and dutifully the natural connection of all, that every man has the breadth of sympathy which should place him en rapport with national interests, and the foresight which should enable him to act wisely in view of results to follow only when his work on the earth has been finished, then, indeed, somewhat were said to the purpose intended in the current use made of that bungling commonplace. "One's own interests:" if this refer to those affairs which concern the individual only, it is to be said that a healthy public system is a prerequisite condition to most private interests. The smith and carpenter would have high wages, the merchant large profits; but without an established public morale, there would be neither smith nor carpenter nor merchant; while, as the health of the public economy is less, the value of wages and profits diminishes.

On the other hand, if by "interests" is meant that about which one feels concern, it should be said that such interests are not to be placed on a par, as if no distinction were to be made between them. One man concerns himself only about the gratification of the day or the hour; another is solicitous about the welfare of a nation and of generations yet unborn.

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The statesman who refuses to distinguish between these different kinds of interests, and welcomes all alike as of equal political value,-what sort of statesman is he? In either sense, private interest, taken without qualification, is not the stuff out of which the public order is made. In the one signification of the term, such interests come into existence for the most part only by favor of a public order precedent to them; in the other signification, they are helpful or pernicious, fit to be accepted and utilized, or fit only to be condemned and restrained, according to their quality.

Political thought must get out of that slough of atoms to find secure foothold. Its true ground is that law of connec tion which so often cuts across individual interest, compelling one, sorely against his will, to suffer the consequences of action in which he has had no part. And this primary law will do little else than inflict suffering until it is fully recognized, and a system based upon it to make it productive of welfare and exclusive of injury. No rubbing of sands together will make mortar; no compounding of private desires make the binding law of life. Another element must be brought in to induce chemical combination. Meanwhile it may be well to remember that, as not even the addition of lime will make mortar of mud, so will no kind of mixing make political virtue of egotism and ignorance. Nature connects, but without selection, indifferently communicating the effect of wisdom or folly; it is for the provident thought of man at once to adopt her system and to qualify it by means of a just selection.

In truth, Rousseau's individual, fully constituted in advance of political society, is an imaginary being, -imaginary and impossible. All that honorably distinguishes humanity grows only in the broad bosom of humanity, and implies a moral order answering to Nature's law of connection. Those who would effect a compromise between extreme individualism and social law are wont to say that each man has need of others in order to a more perfect supply of his wants. This, however, is but the lesser half of the truth. The wants of civilized men are created by civilization. Those wants which

are fully experienced by the isolated man are such only as tend to constrain and depress, indistinguishable in kind and in effect from the necessities of brutes. Elevated and liberalizing desires, such as at once distinguish and ennoble human nature, come into existence only in community, and only under the shelter of a humanizing public system. As fire may be kindled by the friction of like materials, so thought and morality, all the bright affluence of the human spirit, are evoked by sympathetic contact. Thus we must assume community in order to obtain the condition precedent to the existence of the individual man-if, that is, the word man is to signify more than the genus homo of natural history. This truth it is which reduces to extreme absurdity every attempt to derive the genius of the State from a ground of mere individualism. It is to take an effect for the initial fact. As if one should hold that gravitation is caused by the falling of stones! Whoever, therefore, would fix the outlines of a political science, should begin where Nature begins, with a public law, comprehending the community in its wholeness. A breadth of view comparable to that of the astronomer, who also contemplates a system strictly public, is the first condition of political discovery; and he who will begin only with individuals as such, seeking from the concourse of inclinations to compound a public system, is hopelessly astray from the start.


THE minds of most thoughtful and inquiring men are usually vibrating between extremes of opinion. It is only those who trust mainly to their moral and spiritual instincts, who are found in the moderate or middle way, where truth commonly resides. At any given time, it is likely to be a safe assumption, fuat the most active and earnest thinkers, whether in politics or religion, in social speculation, in scientific and literary pursuits, are not safe guides. They are admirable

and quite indispensable propellers of thought, and invaluable for their stimulating and tonic properties. They throw flashes of light over an unknown territory, and make brilliant reconnoissances into the enemy's country. But they are rarely sober and sensible engineers and graders of the road over which Humanity is to make its progressive way. Here and there, in the very highest class of minds, you have genius balanced with common sense, intellect married with affection, courage, and prudence, the love of what is new without the hatred of what is old; hope toward the future without irreverence for the past; the use of logic with the consciousness of what superior value belongs to intuition and common instincts; aspiration and humility; an equal sense of the worth of the abstract and the concrete, the universal and the particular. And it is only in this rare combination that you find men who lead reforms without making revolutions; advance society without disturbing its foundations; and purge, requicken, and simplify the theology of the Church without imperilling the faith and piety of Christian believers. We are not on this account, however, to disparage the services of that inferior class who gain their motion, not by the equal flapping of their wings, but, like a millwheel, by a continued fall of water on one side. The want of balance is the cause of most motion, and therefore the minds that stir the stagnant pool of common thought are usually out of equilibrium, and propelled by this very cause, like a pith figure loaded with a leaden foot, to spring with impatient, yet effective, force, in some providentially prescribed direction. The superstitions, the social errors, the political defects, the outgrown or outworn usages of Humanity, are assailed and removed commonly by a class of persons whose qualifications are the preponderance of special qualities, tastes, or passions, which, though deformities in themselves, are weapons and tools in the hands of Divine Providence. It is not wisdom or truth or charity or piety by which, in ordinary cases, the world is scourged or ridiculed or piqued into progress. But audacity, or conceit, or impudence, or ill-nature, or an excited imagination, or a morbidly intensi

fied will, or a cold heart united with a clear head, or a sagacious guess running for luck, and hitting the gate-way of new truth, -it is these that are seized upon by Him who maketh the wrath of man to praise him, and who out of evil is constantly educing good, to effect the changes or qualifications or improvements which the balanced and modest, the humble and true, rarely undertake, except when they chance to be of the very highest grade of genius: the rare products of centuries, not the growth of every generation.

Upon no subject has the human mind swung to and fro between extremes, in a more instructive manner, than in regard to man's possible acquaintance with his Creator, its sources and its kind and degree. These two extremes are 1. The utter impossibility of any knowledge of God, excepting that derived from Revelation; and, 2. The perfect adequacy of our moral and spiritual intuitions as grounds of faith and worship. To begin with the first, it is asserted, that it is in the very nature of things impossible for the finite, which is man, to understand the infinite, which is God; and that all our conceptions and ideas of our Creator, partaking of the infirmity and ignorance of our limited faculties, are essentially worthless and untrue! "What," says this seemingly humble and reverential spirit, " can man know or understand of Him, 'whose ways are not as our ways, whose thoughts are not as our thoughts'?" Is not the meanest insect better acquainted with the human being, who in passing unconsciously crushes it out of existence, than man, a worm himself, with the Creator of this vast, unexplored, and various universe, - the possible and probable home of angels and archangels; of rational, moral, and spiritual creatures, with faculties or senses as far transcending ours as ours transcend the intelligence of birds and beasts, or even fishes and insects? What does it become man to do, but in lowly fear and prostrate homage to bow his head in unreasoning adoration and unquestioning submission before this awful, unknowable Power, called God?

The only resort which minds, with too much instructive piety to abandon faith and worship altogether, have under

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