Gentleman Who Scorned My Wife For Hugging Her Chains Had Certainly
Not Done So, And Yet He Conceived That He Had Studied The Subject.
The Matter Is One Most Difficult Of Comprehension.
Englishmen have failed to understand accurately their own
constitution, or the true bearing of their own politics!
this knowledge has been attained, it has generally been filtered
into the mind slowly, and has come from the unconscious study of
many years. An Englishman handles a newspaper for a quarter of an
hour daily, and daily exchanges some few words in politics with
those around him, till drop by drop the pleasant springs of his
liberty creep into his mind and water his heart; and thus, earlier
or later in life, according to the nature of his intelligence, he
understands why it is that he is at all points a free man. But if
this be so of our own politics; if it be so rare a thing to find a
foreigner who understands them in all their niceties, why is it
that we are so confident in our remarks on all the niceties of
those of other nations?
I hope that I may not be misunderstood as saying that we should not
discuss foreign politics in our press, our parliament, our public
meetings, or our private houses. No man could be mad enough to
preach such a doctrine. As regards our parliament, that is
probably the best British school of foreign politics, seeing that
the subject is not there often taken up by men who are absolutely
ignorant, and that mistakes when made are subject to a correction
which is both rough and ready.
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