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    I know that most men think differently from myself; but those whose lives are by profession devoted to the study of these or kindred subjects, content me as little as any.  Statesmen and legislators, standing so completely within the institution, never distinctly and nakedly behold it.  They speak of moving society, but have no resting-place without it.  They may be men of a certain experience and discrimination, and have no doubt invented ingenious and even useful systems, for which we sincerely thank them; but all their wit and usefulness lie within certain not very wide limits. They are wont to forget that the world is not governed by policy and expediency.  Webster never goes behind government, and so cannot speak with authority about it.  His words are wisdom to those legislators who contemplate no essential reform in the existing government; but for thinkers, and those who legislate for all time, he never once glances at the subject.  I know of those whose serene and wise speculations on this theme would soon reveal the limits of his mind's range and hospitality.  Yet, compared with the cheap professions of most reformers, and the still cheaper wisdom and eloquence of politicians in general, his are almost the only sensible and valuable words, and we thank Heaven for him. Comparatively, he is always strong, original, and, above all, practical.  Still, his quality is not wisdom, but prudence.  The lawyer's truth is not truth, but consistency or a consistent expediency.  Truth is always in harmony with herself, and is not concerned chiefly to reveal the justice that may consist with wrong-doing.  He well deserves to be called, as he has been called, the Defender of the Constitution.  There are really no blows to be given by him but defensive ones.  He is not a leader, but a follower.  His leaders are the men of '87.  "I have never made an effort," he says, "and never propose to make an effort; I have never countenanced an effort, and never mean to countenance an effort, to disturb the arrangement as originally made, by which the various States came into the Union."  Still thinking of the sanction which the Constitution gives to slavery, he says, "Because it was a part of the original compact -- let it stand."  Notwithstanding his special acuteness and ability, he is unable to take a fact out of its merely political relations, and behold it as it lies absolutely to be disposed of by the intellect -- what, for instance, it behooves a man to do here in America to-day with regard to slavery, but ventures, or is driven, to make some such desperate answer as the following, while professing to speak absolutely, and as a private man -- from which what new and singular code of social duties might be inferred?  "The manner," says he, "in which the governments of those States where slavery exists are to regulate it is for their own consideration, under their responsibility to their constituents, to the general laws of propriety, humanity, and justice, and to God.  Associations formed elsewhere, springing from a feeling of humanity, or any other cause, have nothing whatever to do with it.  They have never received any encouragement from me, and they never will."
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