Why do they lose it, why do they settle down on the lees of life, why do they snuggle down among comfortable opinions? Mostly, I am sure, out of a kind of indolence.
There was a twinkle occasionally in his eye, but that might have arisen from the pleasure with which he was discussing the viands placed before him, and Jack could not discover whether he approved or not of the doctrines which were being laid down. Still it was curious to find two persons of apparently different opinions so closely associated with each other, as it was evident was the case.
If he have not found his home in God, his manners, his forms of speech, the turn of his sentences, the build, shall I say, of all his opinions will involuntarily confess it, let him brave it out how he will. If he have found his centre, the Deity will shine through him, through all the disguises of ignorance, of ungenial temperament, of unfavorable circumstance.
To him they seemed opinions inherited, not formed, and in most cases were nothing more than the result of prejudice working upon ignorance. This particular question was one which he purposed to make the subject of his address as president of the Social Science Association, at its annual meeting in 1901. He never lived to complete what he had in mind.
The Duchess, delighted, clapped her hands, exclaiming: "Heavens! How charming and amusing they are, standing beside each other! Look, Monsieur de Musadieu, how much they resemble each other!" The two were compared, and two opinions were formed.
And in the next place he was by nature so incapable of affectation or concealment that he could not write otherwise than as he felt, and, to one person at least, could never refrain from writing all that he felt; so that we may read in his letters, as in a clear mirror, his opinions and inclinations, his hopes and affections, at every succeeding period of his existence.
Turn him in the track he stands in, as near as possible, and then back him. If he has it, one of these three ways will develop its symptoms. There are a great many opinions as to the soundness or unsoundness of an animal afflicted with this complaint. If I had now a good animal afflicted with it, the pain caused to my feelings by looking at it would be a serious drawback.
There are tolerably clear signs that it had materially modified the character of his opinions.
Besides, what is all this to the present purpose? It has nothing to do with the public lands, in regard to which the attack was begun; and it has nothing to do with those sentiments and opinions which, I have thought, tend to disunion and all of which the honorable member seems to have adopted himself, and undertaken to defend.
In deliberations on a subject of such importance, my lords, no man ought to content himself with conjecture, where certainty may, at whatsoever expense of labour, be attained; nor ought any man to neglect a careful and attentive examination of his notions, before he offers them in publick consultations; for if they were erroneous, and no man can he certain that he is in the right, who has never brought his own opinions to the test of inquiry, he exposes himself to be detected in ignorance or temerity, and to that contempt which such detection naturally and justly produces; or if his audience submit their reason to his authority, and neglect to examine his assertions, in confidence that he has sufficiently examined them himself, he may suffer what to an honest mind must be far more painful than any personal ignominy, he may languish under the consciousness of having influenced the publick counsels by false declarations, and having by his negligence betrayed his country to calamities which a closer attention might have enabled him to have foreseen.