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"Etenim si incertam vocem det tuba, quis parabit se ad bellum?"
Epistola Pauli ad Corinthios, prima: cap. xiv. vers. viii.

BOSTON:

LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY.

1881.

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DEDICATED IN HOMAGE

TO THE

SOVEREIGN:

WHOEVER HE, SHE, OR THEY,

MAY BE.

INTRODUCTION.

THE remark is attributed to Paley that it is much. harder to make men see a difficulty than to make them understand the explanation of it. Mr. Walter Bagehot, a writer on the English Constitution, in referring to this as a shrewd observation adds: "The key to the difficulties of most discussed and unsettled questions is commonly in their undiscussed parts. They are like the background of a picture, which looks obvious, easy, just what any one might have painted; but which in fact sets the figures in their right position, chastens them, and makes them what they are."

Mr. Bagehot applies this to the difficulty of understanding parliamentary government, especially in England. I think the observation is equally applicable to the discussion of political questions in America. The disputes which have been going on here, ever since the formation of a government independent in respect to the rest of the world, may be due to our failure to bear in mind some circumstances attending all political existence, which must precede, in the order of being, those which we ordinarily consider both fundamental and peculiar to ourselves.

If this is the case with us, I should state the inquiry of which the discussion had been omitted as this: How do we know our political existence to be a fact?

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