by the gradual method of nature, when opinions exer-
rising less instant influence should slowly infuse themselves through the public mind into legislation; so that the English
constitution, though like all things else perpetually changing, changed like the style of architecture along the aisles of its own cathedrals, where the ponderous severity of the Norman age melts in the next, almost imperceptibly, into the more genial pointed arch and the seemingly lighter sheaf of columns, yet without sacrificing the stately majesty of the proportions or the massive durability of the pile.
knew this, and were boastfully conscious of it. As a people, they cared not to hear of the defects in the form of their constitution.
They looked out upon other states, and compared their own condition with that of the peoples on the continent, abjectly exposed to the sway of despots; they seemed to enjoy liberty in its perfection, and lost sight of the actual inadequacy of their system in their joy at its ideal purity.
They felt that they were great, not by restraining laws, not by monopoly, but by liberty and labor.
Liberty was the cry of the whole nation; and every opposition, from whatever selfish origin it might spring, took this type, always demanding more than even a liberal government would concede.
Liberty and industry gave England
its nationality and greatness.
As a consequence, they thought themselves superior to every other nation.
, and when away from it, longed to return to it, as the only country where life could be thoroughly enjoyed.
, in whom the sentiment of his native soil was enfeebled by its divisions into so many states and sovereignties, gained enlargement in his sphere of vision, and at home had