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AMERICAN LAW REVIEW . .
INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM: THE GERM OF NATIONAL
PROGRESS AND PERMANENCE.)
You have done me high honor by your invitation to address the members of so distinguished and learned a society, in this renowned intellectual center. Not without misgiving have I ventured to come before you, trusting, nevertheless, that the strength of the text may sustain the weakness of the preacher, and that the force of simple truth, however imperfectly stated, and if only fragmentary, may yet enable me to assist in placing another stone in the great wall of good government, under an elevated and permanent civilization.
Never since the world was peopled has mankind stood in such anxious expectancy, awaiting the outcome of the immediate future, as in these closing years of the nineteenth century. Men are wistfully striving to peer through the portals of the year 1900 — marveling as the effect and forces of applied science are unfolded to our comprehension, and discovery moves on, each invention leading in another, in stately procession; we, all the while, rapt in wonder, are straining in hope and fear to catch the coming word, and to comprehend its import.
Never was speculation so rife, never was the field of human observation so unobstructed and expanded, nor the ascertain
1 An address delivered before the op November 7th, 1895. By the Hon. Edinburgh Philosophical Institution, Thomas F. Bayard. VOL. XXX.
ment and sifting of facts so facile. Never were opinions more diverse, nor was it ever so obviously important to detect and assert the philosophical principle, in recognition and obedience to which the lucidus ordo of human government may be preserved and kept in view, and the retrocession of mankind prevented.
At no stage of history was it more important to call to mind the great principle that government is a means, not an end, and is instituted to maintain those general liberties which are essential for human happiness and progress.
There is a deep movement of unrest in the breasts of men, and the forces of society move in strong and variant currents — the concentrated weight of armed repression and the upheavals of popular discontent are alike plainly discernible.
In some countries consolidation of empire progresses remarkably and impressively — in others disintegration is equally signified. Old dynasties, in sorrowful impotency, are drifting helplessly on the surface of events, or sinking palpably and hopelessly into the sea of time, which threatens soon to ingulf them, and even the memories of their unproductive civilization the roots of which have dried up and lost the principle of growth.
Other nations appear glowing with sanguine self-confidence, in lusty vigor and virility, springing forward and upward as though vivified by an elixir vitæ, which expels fear and feebleness, and sends strength and hope tingling through every fiber.
In some nations the hand of autocratic power and unequal privilege appears to tighten upon society; and if now and then it seems to relax its hold, it is only to extend and fasten more securely its grip upon the masses over whom it bears sway.
In others, the progress of the doctrine and spirit of democracy widens the base of power, and calls into political consultation the great body of the inhabitants, depositing the ultimate power of decision in a majority of numbers.
Never were the destructive forces of warfare marshaled in such impressive array as we see them to-day — never before did earth shake under the measured tread of so many men armed, and prepared to be armed -- never in history were weapons so lethal, missiles so mighty, and explosives so terrific and powerful,