And Now Touching This War Which Had Broken Out Between The North
And South Before I Left England.
I would wish to explain what my
feelings were; or rather what I believe the general feelings of
England to have been before I found myself among the people by whom
it was being waged.
It is very difficult for the people of any one
nation to realize the political relations of another, and to chew
the cud and digest the bearings of those external politics. But it
is unjust in the one to decide upon the political aspirations and
doings of that other without such understanding. Constantly as the
name of France is in our mouths, comparatively few Englishmen
understand the way in which France is governed; that is, how far
absolute despotism prevails, and how far the power of the one ruler
is tempered, or, as it may be, hampered by the voices and influence
of others. And as regards England, how seldom is it that in common
society a foreigner is met who comprehends the nature of her
political arrangements! To a Frenchman - I do not of course include
great men who have made the subject a study, - but to the ordinary
intelligent Frenchman the thing is altogether incomprehensible.
Language, it may be said, has much to do with that. But an
American speaks English; and how often is an American met who has
combined in his mind the idea of a monarch, so called, with that of
a republic, properly so named - a combination of ideas which I take
to be necessary to the understanding of English politics!
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Words from 1660 to 1929