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[248] just as every spire of grass is impearled by the dews
Chap. LVI.} 1776. Jan.
of heaven, and assists to reflect the morning sun. The many are more sagacious, more disinterested, more courageous than the few. Language was their spontaneous creation; the science of ethics, as the word implies, is deduced from the inspirations of their conscience; the greatest jurists have perceived that law itself is necessarily moulded and developed from their inward nature; the poet embodies in words their oracles and their litanies; the philosopher draws ideal thought from the storehouse of their mind; the national heart is the great reservoir of noble resolutions and of high, enduring designs. It was the common people, whose craving for the recognition of the unity of the universe and for a perfect mediator between themselves and the Infinite, bore the Christian religion to its triumph over every worldly influence; it was the public faith that, in the days of the reformation, sought abstract truth behind forms that had been abused, and outward acts that had lost their significance; and now the popular desire was once more the voice of the harbinger, crying in the wilderness. The people had grown weary of atrophied institutions, and longed to fathom the mystery of the life of the public life. Instead of continuing a superstitious reverence for the sceptre and the throne, as the symbols of order, they yearned for a nearer converse with the eternal rules of right as the generative principles of social peace.

The spirit of the people far outran conventions and congresses. Reid, among Scottish metaphysicians, and Chatham, the foremost of British statesmen, had discovered in common sense the criterion of

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