350 POLITICAL SCIENCE.
create, but not execute ; give birth, and life, but not properly
of itself live.
An institution, then, depends on the will or consent of the
community for its existence, but yet has a lasting indepen-
dent life of its own; it is capable of growth and expansion •
if national, it may perhaps acquire such a separate power of
its own that law, that even force, cannot easily overthrow ,
In this way we may define an institution as looked at in an
Their political im- agG when laW» in the SenSG °f Positive Cnact-
portance. ment, controls the whole political life of a nation.
But an institution of the early times bore just the resemblance
to one of the present age, which custom before positive law bore
to positive law. It grew up as personal habits grow up, with-
out any distinct intention on the part of the individual, or as
usages grow up in a community without the aim of making
innovations. The habit, the usage, acquired a sway over the
individual or in the society, before it was noticed and recog-
nized. And it answered to a political or social want to such
a degree that it entered into the thoughts and habits of a
people, it became easier for them to discharge political duties
in this way than in any other, it thus was perpetuated without
any conscious attempt to perpetuate it; nay, if perchance
attacked, it would rally multitudes in its defence, as a national
tune or dish which a tyrant strove to prohibit would seem
very much more precious than before, more precious than
many things of far greater importance.
The growth of such institutions is one of their most remark-
able qualities. In a later age there is very little
Thar growth. ? .. * . /
of this characteristic pertaining to institutions
which are founded entirely by positive law, without being
copies of antique ones. They stay where they are put, they
do not spread their roots around by an inward life of their,
own, but are as closely confined within their own limits as are,
laws themselves apart from the expansive power of judicial-
precedents. The institutions of early times have no such ftfc-'
ters on them, but form themselves into something larger, an<|: