History weighs the social institutions of men in the scale of Humanity. Time, slowly but surely, accumulates the evidence which relates to their materials. It calmly but firmly unveils the statues which men erect as their principles, and with that retributive justice which God has implanted in our very acts, as a conscience more sacred than the fatalism of the ancients, lays bare the secret springs of action which have prompted the deeds of heroism or baseness, of virtue or crime.
Nations are political institutions, and like the system of nature, which is governed by positive and fixed laws, so they likewise are swayed and directed by mysterious forces, and influenced and moulded into form by those external circumstances which are greatly within the control of man. Their rise and decadence is in direct ratio to the nature and integrity of their customs, the structure of their social fabrics, the vigor of the spirit of independence which animates their thoughts, or the strength of the despotism which consumes their vitals. Liberty brings benedictions in spite of nature, and in defiance of the same nature tyranny brings maledictions. Slavery has always produced only villany, vice, and misery. Men cannot perpetuate a creed or a system that is not founded on the eternal principles of justice and virtue, no more than they can control the elements no more than they can remove or obliterate those geographical boundaries, beyond which the human races cannot pass in pursuit of the forms of wealth or the dreams of ambition.
The Belgian, who has studied so long and so faithfully the laws of metaphysics, exclaims, All those things which appear to be left to the free will, the passions, or the degree of intelligence of men, are regulated by laws as fixed, immutable, and eternal as those which govern the phenomena of the natural world!