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of Holland or of the states-general as the principal agent of
the leading province.
One of the most beautiful instances of an institution that
can be found in all history is the rise and progress of the
English house of commons; but as we have considered this
in another place, it is needless to dwell on it here again.
We have seen that in the later stages of a country's prog-
ress, the power of founding new institutions no longer exists,
or, at least, is greatly abridged. But the benefits of institu-
tions still continue, one of which is the steadfastness of politi-
cal habits, which is the greatest of political blessings, above
all in times of revolution. Another is that the analogy of
tried institutions furnished a norm for new ones of the same
kind, but differently applied. A third is that an institution
is something, if it be indeed national, on which the interests
of a people can fasten. A country without them is like a land
without mountains ; it is these that awaken a perpetual joy in
the soul. Their general tendency is in favor of freedom,
although there may be despotic institutions. But despotism
generally dislikes institutions because they have an indepen-
dent existence, and thus resist arbitrary will.
§ 236.
Local government   and self-government.—Centralised and
distributed powers.
If the parts of a country or the parts of the world are to
have any intercourse with one another, there must be differ-
ences of production corresponding with soil, climate, acquired
skill, helps to industry, and differences in the distribution of
a people over the surface of a country. There will be ports
most accessible or safe, places most favorable for certain kinds
of labor, or convenient as entrepots and markets. Where the
soil and climate call to agriculture, only a few trades and oper-
ations besides that can find a support. Where ports or manu-
facturing towns, or entrepots exist, if they are large enough,