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POLITICAL  CHANdKS.                             593
been gradually gaining strength, and shows a moderation un-
usual for France. As the royal and the imperial lines of as-
pirants to the throne cannot be united and are both losing
ground, as the parties have concurred in establishing a sec-
ond house or senate, and as political experience is now more
valued than theory, the prospects of France fur a permanent
form of polity are better than they have been for a long time*
And yet there are elements of instability there, such as the
want of an intelligent, well educated body of small landhold-
ers, capable of forming an independent judgment, and not
passive in political affairs, together with the concentration of
opinion, ready to use force if necessary, in large towns—above
all, in Paris,—which make it doubtful whether the nation that
is so ambitious to govern itself is equal to the task.
We may inquire in this place, how are revolutions to be
can revolutions be Hizulc fewer or prevented for the future ? When
prevented, andhow?Arjstotlc    discusscd    lhjs   pojnt he   had   a harder
problem to solve than is presented in modern civilised and
Christian society. In many Greek city-states the factions
were like hostile camps watching one another ; excited feel-
ing rushed to the execution of a plan and worked vast evil
before time for reflection came on. Suspicion, fear, fraud,
reports of secret dealings with foreign allies, made an out-
break sometimes a relief from the tension of the present, lu
large modern states such causes, if they exist, cannot be so
quick in their operation, and, as we have remarked, the pros-
pect that reforms can be effected in a constitutional way re-
tards revolutionary feeling or diverts it from making use of
force. The police systems of modern societies put govern-
ments in possession of the reigning opinion throughout a
nation, A free press, where it is allowed, does the same
office, and however violent or reckless it may be, generally
gives \varning of what is in the mind of the factions. The
danger to the stability of state institutions comes, it is true,
not so much from opinion exploding into action, as from slow,
unperceived changes in opinion, Yet these slow, changes are
more within the reach of estimation than they were a century
VOL. II,—38