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The attention of Great Britain has hitherto been constantly awake to expand her commerce. She has been vigilant to explore every region with which it might be her interest to trade. One of the principal branches of her commerce is with the colonies. These colonies, as they are now settled and peopled, have been the work of near two centuries. They are blessed with every advantage of soil, climate, and situation. They have advanced with an almost incredible rapidity. It is, therefore, an egregious piece of absurdity to affirm, that the loss of our trade would be felt for a time (which must only signify for a short time). No new schemes could be pursued that would not require, at least, as much time to repair the loss of our trade, as was spent in bringing it to its present degree of perfection, which is near two centuries. Nor can it be reasonably imagined, that the total and sudden loss of so extensive and lucrative a branch would not produce the most violent effects to a nation that subsists entirely upon its commerce.

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Thus I have fully examined that argument, which is esteemed the bulwark of the doctrine of parliamentary supremacy, and, I flatter myself, clearly refuted it. The main pillar being now broken down, the whole structure may easily be demolished. I shall, therefore, proceed with alacrity in the completion of the work. But it is worthy of observation that a cause must be extremely weak which admits of no better supports.

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Your next argument (if it deserve the name) is this: “Legislation is not an inherent right in the colonies; many colonies have been established and subsisted long without it. The Roman colonies had no legislative authority. It was not till the latter period of their republic that the privileges of Roman citizens, among which that of voting in assemblies of the people at Rome was the principal one, were extended to the inhabitants of Italy. All the laws of the empire were enacted at Rome. Neither their colonies nor conquered countries had any thing to do with legislation.”

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That part of which was first published, professes to treat of the political effects of Democracy: the second is devoted to its influence on society in the widest sense; on the relations of private life, on intellect, morals, and the habits and modes of feeling which constitute national character. The last is both a newer and a more difficult subject of inquiry than the first; there are fewer who are competent, or who will even think themselves competent, to judge M. de Tocqueville’s conclusions. But, we believe, no one, in the least entitled to an opinion, will refuse to him the praise of having probed the subject to a depth which had never before been sounded; of having carried forward the controversy into a wider and a loftier region of thought; and pointed out many questions essential to the subject which had not been before attended to: questions which he may or may not have solved, but of which, in any case, he has greatly facilitated the solution.

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M. de Tocqueville has endeavoured to ascertain and discriminate the various properties and tendencies of Democracy, the separate relations in which it stands towards the different interests of society, and the different moral and social requisites of human nature. In the investigation he has and much which will be better done by those who come after him, and build upon his foundations. But he has earned the double honour of being the first to make the attempt, and of having done more towards the success of it than probably will ever again be done by any one individual. His method is, as that of a philosopher on such a subject must be—a combination of deduction with induction: his evidences are, laws of human nature, on the one hand; the example of America, and France, and other modern nations, so far as applicable, on the other. His conclusions never rest on either species of evidence alone, whatever he classes as an effect of Democracy, he has both ascertained to exist in those countries in which the state of society is democratic, and has also succeeded in connecting with Democracy by deductions that such would naturally be its influences upon beings constituted as mankind are, and placed in a world such as we know ours to be. If this be not the true Baconian and Newtonian method applied to society and government; if any better, or even any other be possible, M. de Tocqueville would be the first to say, if not, he is entitled to say to political theorists, whether calling themselves philosophers or practical men,

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

The importance of M. de Tocqueville’s speculations is not to be estimated by the opinions which he has adopted, be these true or false. The value of his work is less in the conclusions, than in the mode of arriving at them. He has applied to the greatest question in the art and science of government, those principles and methods of philosophizing to which mankind are indebted for all the advances made by modern times in the other branches of the study of nature. It is not risking too much to affirm of these volumes, that they contain the first analytical inquiry into the . For the first time, that phenomenon is treated of as something which, being a reality in nature, and no mere mathematical or metaphysical abstraction, manifests itself by innumerable properties, not by some one only; and must be looked at in many aspects before it can be made the subject even of that modest and conjectural judgment, which is alone attainable respecting a fact at once so great and so new. Its consequences are by no means to be comprehended in one single description, nor in one summary verdict of approval or condemnation. So complicated and endless are their ramifications, that he who sees furthest into them will longest hesitate before finally pronouncing whether the good or the evil of its influence, on the whole, preponderates.