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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 37



The constitution of every country is that which is unwritten; for the first enacted laws only mark the incipient abbreviations. When these accumulate, come reforms having reference to special wrongs. Constitutions cannot be propagated like trees by slips, nor like lettuces by seed. You may make drawings of a machine and construct another like it, but you cannot so fashion men. You may run metal into a mould, but you cannot cast a nation. It would be wiser, less foolish, and as judicious to substitute the language page 30 of one country for another, and as practicable too, as to replace the customs of the one by the constitution of another. Spain has been crushed by having foreign constitutions forced upon her. A Spanish lady, having heard the conversation of some Spanish "politicians," remarked after they had gone—" I do not see why we should do for a nation what it would be absurd to do in a family—for nations are only many families. If things went wrong in this house, I should have to put them in order—not to copy what next door had been done for some other purpose. What is good is good for itself, and I am a fool if I have to borrow it."