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Recurrence to war.

religious organization, and yet disallow all the necessary conditions. It is clear that society would be condemned to a perpetuity of the intellectual anarchy which characterizes it at present if it were to be for ever made up of minds which admit the want of a theological régime on the one hand, while on the other they reject its principal conditions of existence; and those who thus acknowledge them

2 selves incapable have no right to discredit the only rational way to reorganization which remains open, and by which every other order of human conceptions has been happily retrieved and established. The social application of the positive philosophy remains as the resource, and the only resource, after the failure of both the preceding systems. In its temporal application the inconsistency of the metaphysical

doctrine is as conspicuous as in the spiritual. It

strives to preserve, if not the feudal, at least the military spirit, in which the feudal had its origin. The French nation did, it is true, in their revolutionary enthusiasm, proscribe war from that time forward: but when the armed coalition of the retrograde forces of Europe brought out an immense amount of energy for self-defence, for the sake of the progressive movement, the sentiment, which was grounded on no principle, soon disappeared, and France was distinguished by the most conspicuous military activity, invested with its most oppressive characteristics. The military spirit is in fact so congenial with the critical doctrine that any pretext will serve for its indulgence: as for instance, when it is proposed to regulate by war the action of the more advanced nations upon the less advanced. The true logical consequence of this would be a universal uproar ; but, happily, the nature of modern civilization saves us from the danger. The tendency of the critical régime in this respect is shown by the perpetual endeavours of the various sections of the revolutionary school to reinstate the memory of the man who, of all others, strove for political retrogradation, by wasting an enormous amount of power in the restoration of the military and theological system.

Before quitting the subject of the inconsistencies of this school, I Principle of

must, in justice, point out one more contradiction Political Cen- which, as being of a progressive character, is honour

able to those most advanced minds which entertain it, and which alone understand its necessity, opposed as it is to the dogmas of independence and isolation which constitute the spirit of the critical school. I refer to the principle of political centralization. The two parties seem here to have changed sides. The retrograde doctrine, notwithstanding its proud pretensions to order and unity, preaches the distribution of political centres, in the secret hope of preserving the old system yet a while longer among the most backward of the populations, by keeping them aloof from the

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tralization,

SOCIAL OSCILLATIONS.

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general centres of civilization ; while the revolutionary policy, on the other hand, proud of having withstood, in France, the coalition of the old powers, discards its own maxims to recommend the subordination of the secondary to the principal centres by which such a noble stand has already been made, and which must become a most valuable auxiliary of reorganization. Thus alone can the reorganization be, in the first place, restricted to a choice population. In brief, the revolutionary school alone has understood that the increasing anarchy of the time, intellectual and moral, requires, to prevent a complete dislocation of society, a growing concentration of political action, properly so called.

Thus, after three centuries, employed in the necessary demolition of the ancient régime, the critical doctrine shows itself as incapable of other application, and as inconsistent as we have now seen it to be. It is no more fit to secure Progress than the old doctrine to maintain Order. But, feeble as they are apart, they actually sustain each other by their very antagonism. It is universally understood that neither can ever again achieve a permanent triumph : but so strong is the apprehension of even the temporary preponderance of either, that the general mind, for want of a more rational point of support, employs each doctrine in turn to restrain the encroachments of the other. This miserable oscillation of our social life must proceed till a real doctrine, as truly organic as progressive, shall reconcile for us the two aspects of the great political problem. Then, at last, the two opposite doctrines will disappear for ever in the new conception that will be seen to be completely adapted to fulfil the destination of both. Often has each party, blinded by some temporary success, believed that it had annihilated the other; and never has the event failed to mock the ignorant exultation. The critical doctrine seemed to have humbled for ever the Catholic-feudal school; but that school arose again. Napoleon thought he had accomplished a retrograde reaction ; but the very energy of his efforts caused a reaction in favour of revolutionary principles. And thus society continues to vibrate between conflicting influences; and those influences continue to exist only by their mutual neutralization. For that purpose only, indeed, are they now ever applied. Neither could be spared before the advent of the state which is to succeed them. Without the one, we should lose the sentiment of Order, and without the other, that of Progress : and the keeping alive this sentiment, on either hand, is the only practical efficacy which now remains to them. Feeble as the conception must be, in the absence of any principle which unites the two requisites, it is preserved by the presence of the two decaying systems, and they keep before the minds of both philosophers and the public the true conditions of social reorganization, which otherwise our feeble nature might misconceive or lose sight of. Having the two types before us, we see the solution of the great problem to be, to form a doctrine which shall be more organic than the theological, and more progressive than the metaphysical.

The old political system can be no pattern for a régime suitable to a widely different civilization ; but we are not under the less obligation to study it, in order to learn what are the essential attributes of all social organization, which must reappear in an improved state in the future. The general conception of the theological and military system even seems to me to have passed too much out of sight. And, as to the Critical system, there can be no question of its affording, by its progressive character, and its exposure of the preceding régime, a most valuable stimulus to society to seek for something better than mere modifications of systems that have failed. The common complaint that it renders all government impossible, is a mere avowal of impotence on the part of those who utter it. Whatever are its imperfections, it fulfilled for a time one of the two requisites : its abolition would in no way assist the reestablishment of Order ; and no declamations against the revolutionary philosophy will affect the instinctive attachment of society to principles which have directed its political progress for three centuries past, and which are believed to represent the indispensable conditions of its future development. Each of its dogmas affords an indication of how the improvement is to be effected. Each expresses the political aspect of certain high moral obligations which the retrograde school, with all its pretensions, was compelled to ignore, because its system had lost all power to fulfil them. In this way, the dogma of Free Inquiry decides that the spiritual reorganization must result from purely intellectual action, providing for a final voluntary and unanimous assent, without the disturbing intervention of any heterogeneous power. Again, the dogmas of Equality and the Sovereignty of the people devolve on the new powers and classes of society the duty of a public-spirited social conduct, instead of working the many for the interests of the few. The old system practised these moralities in its best days; but they are now maintained only by the revolutionary doctrine, which it would be fatal to part with till we have some substitute in these particular respects; for the effect would be that we should be delivered over to the dark despotism of the old system ;-to the restorers of religions, for instance, who, if proselytism failed, would have recourse to tyranny to compel unity, if once the principle of free inquiry were lost from among us.

It is useless to declaim against the critical philosophy, and to deplore, in the name of social order, the dissolving energy of the spirit of analysis and inquiry. It is only by their use that we can obtain materials for reorganization; materials which shall have been thoroughly tested by free discussion, carried on till general conviction is secured. The philosophy which will arise out of this

STAGE OF INDECISION.

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satisfaction of the public reason will then assign the rational limits which must obviate the abuse of the analytical spirit, by establishing that distinction in social matters, between the field of reasoning and that of pure observation, which we have found already marked out in regard to every other kind of science.

Though consigned, by the course of events, to a negative doctrine for a while, society has never renounced the laws of human reason: and when the proper time arrives, society will use the rights of this reason to organize itself anew, on principles which will then have been ascertained and estimated. T'he existing state of no-government seems necessary at present, in order to that ascertainment of principles; but it does not at all follow, as some eccentric individuals seem to think, that the right of inquiry imposes the duty of never deciding. The prolonged indecision proves merely that the principles which are to close the deliberation are not yet sufficiently established. In the same way, because society claims the right of choosing and varying its institutions and governing powers, it by no means follows that the right is for ever to be used in choosing and varying, when its indefinite use shall have become injurious. When the right conditions shall have been ascertained, society will submit its choice to the rules which will secure its efficacy ; and in the interval, nothing can be more favourable to future order than that the political course should be kept open, to admit of the free rise of the new social system. As it happens, the peoples have, thus far, erred on the side of too hasty a desire for reorganization, and a too generous confidence in every promise of social order, instead of having shown the systematic distrust attributed to the revolutionary doctrine by those whose worn-out claims will not bear discussion. There is more promise of political reorganization in the revolutionary doctrine than in the retrograde, though it is the supreme claim of the latter to be the safeguard of social Order.

Such is the vicious circle in which we are at present confined. We have seen what is the antagonism of two doctrines

The Stationary that are powerless apart, and have no operation but in neutralizing each other. They have lost their activity as preponderating influences, and are seen now in the form of political debate, which they daily direct by the one furnishing all the essential ideas of government, and the other the principles of opposition. At shorter and shorter intervals, a partial and transient superiority is allowed to the one or the other, when its antagonist threatens danger. Out of these oscillations a third opinion has arisen, which is constructed out of their ruins, and takes its station between them. I suppose we must give the name of Doctrine to this intermediate opinion, bastard and inconsistent as is its character; for it is presented by very earnest doctors, who urge it upon us as a type of the final political philosophy. We must call it the Stationary Doctrine; and we see it, in virtue of that quality, occupying the

doctrine.

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scene of politics, among the most advanced people, for above a quarter of a century. Essentially provisional as it is, the Stationary school naturally serves as a guide to society in preserving the material order, without which a true doctrine could not have its free growth. It may be necessary for our weakness that the leaders of this school should suppose that they have a doctrine which is destined to triumph ; but whatever benefits arise from their action are much impaired by the mistake of supposing our miserable transition state a permanent type of the social condition. The stationary polity not only contains inconsistencies, but it is itself inconsistency erected into a principle. It acknowledges the essential principles of the other systems, but prevents their action. Disdainful of Utopias, it proposes the wildest of them all ;-that of fixing society for ever in a contradictory position between retrogradation and regeneration. The theory serves to keep in check the other two philosophies; and this may be a good : but, on the other hand, it helps to keep them alive; and it is, in so far, an obstacle to reorganization. When I present my historical review of society, I shall explain the special assemblage of social conditions which gave England her parliamentary monarchy, so lauded by the school of mixed doctrine, but, in fact, an exceptional institution, whose inevitable end cannot be very far off. When we enter

, upon that analysis, we shall see how great is the error of philosophers and statesmen when they have taken up a singular and transient case as the solution of the revolutionary crisis of modern societies, and have endeavoured to transplant on the European continent a purely local system, which would be deprived in the process of its very roots : for it is an organized Protestantism which is its main spiritual basis in England. The expectation attached to this single specious aspect of the stationary doctrine will make a future examination of it important; and we shall then see how hopeless is the constitutional metaphysics of the balance of powers, judged by that instance which serves as the common ground of such social fictions. After all the vast efforts made to nationalize elsewhere the stationary compromise, it has never succeeded anywhere but in its native land; and this proves its powerlessness in regard to the great social problem. The only possible result is that the mischief should pass from the acute to the chronic state, becoming incurable by the recognition as a principle of the transient antagonism which is its chief symptom. *Its principal merit is that it admits the double aspect of the social problem, and the necessity of reconciling Order and Progress : but it introduces no new idea; and its recognition amounts therefore to nothing more than an equal sacrifice, when necessary, of the one and the other. The order that it protects is a merely material order; and it therefore fails in that function precisely in crises when it is most wanted. On the other hand, this function continues to be attributed to

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