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WHAT FORM OF LAW IS BEST SUITED TO THE INDIVIDUAL AND SOCIAL NATURE OF MAN?
It seems to be a principle of our nature, that a person whom we love, or hate, for any one quality, should be loved or hated by us, not only in regard to that particular quality, but in respect to all that is essentially or accidentally related to him. Thus, that love for a fellow-being, which probably sprang from a single attribute in him, spreads itself over the whole character; his turn of thought, of feeling, of expression, nay, his person, features, gestures-even the commonest things which belong to him, and are for his daily use, soon become objects of our attachment.-Reverse this, and put hate,—and, because of some hastily spoken word, we come to detest a man, and all that is his; we begin to dislike his face, however well in itself; his grace is awkwardness to us; we hate him; we hate his very dog.
This springs from the activity of the mind, and its quickly associating processes. Nature, it is said, abhors a vacuum; and it may be as truly said, that the mind abhors a unit. And for the very reason that it does so, it delights in unity; and if in unity, then, in association. Destroy association and its result, Unity; separate any one part from the whole-the unit from the unity and it becomes a dead thing; its generating principle VOL. V. No. 17.
ceases, and the mind that fastens itself upon it gradually loses its life and the power of thought.
I have alluded to this principle of unity and association, because it is proposed to speak of two forms of Constitution, or Law; in the first place, of that which most resembles the constitution of the country from which we sprang, and next, of that form to which our own Constitution most nearly approaches. A further reason for alluding in the outset to this principle, is its being recognized throughout what is here said. If the associating principle spoken of acts upon us in relation to persons, so does it in relation to things, to modes and ceremonies, to forms of private connections, and to those enlarged and public forms of communities, called Governments.
A new people, for instance, without simply considering what form of Government would be best for them, would be likely to adopt that of the country from which they sprang, or the directly contrary to it, as love or hatred of the mother country might sway them. Had the Constitution of England, at the time of our revolution, been a democracy-had her mandates come from the multitudinous assemblies of the people, and not from the single-voiced throne; had her troops been the people's, and not the king's; might not the feeling of resentment at a rabble's insult and wrong have gathered us round a newly founded throne? Might not the hard, coarse oppression of the throng have refined us into a feeling of revolting against such an exhibition of power? And might we not have seen a glory around a single head, and decorum and grace and fair proportions in rank above rank? Might not a popular form have been offensive to our taste, and the thought of a ruling crowd have stirred in us a fastidious scorn and pride?
I am aware that the first answer to questions such as these, is likely to be only an incredulous, perhaps, a contemptuous smile. But after we have thought upon them a little, we may begin to hesitate, and next, to allow that there may be some meaning in what is asked. Nor do I at all doubt, that the more we look into our natures, the more strength we shall allow to the principle upon which these questions rest.
If this be so, it becomes important to us, that in graduating the relative merits of different forms of government, we recollect what was the form of government, in our war with which, we grew into an independent nation; and that we make full allowance, in forming our judgement, for our feelings of hostility at