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Life of Sir George Grey: Governor, High commissioner, and Premier. An Historical Biography.

His Constructiveness

His Constructiveness.

Flowering out of this high faculty arose another of a still higher type—the grand power that Kant named the architectonic faculty, and which Herbert Spencer claimed as one of his distinctive attributes. It was strikingly shown so early as 1851, in an address to the New Zealand Society that was worthy of Guizot, when he sketched a lofty programme for the historians of New Zealand, who should study its history as "tending to illustrate and clear up the history of the entire human race, and of all time, considered as one harmonious whole." It was effectively shown in the drafting of a political and of an ecclesiastical constitution, and in the imaginative construction of two or three great federations. Such efforts demand high, almost the highest, powers of the human mind. Not all who essay them succeed. The formation of political constitutions has often tempted the thinker. Locke drew up a constitution for Carolina that proved unworkable and was transitory.

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Rousseau drafted a constitution for Corsica, and Bentham one for Russia, neither of which was ever brought into operation or treated seriously. It was far otherwise with Grey's constructive efforts. The constitution that he drew up for New Zealand was, with amendments, which he regarded as mutilations, sanctioned by the British Parliament, and remained for twenty years in successful operation. The constitution he drew up for the Church of England in New Zealand laid the basis of the constitution by which that Church has ever since been governed. He schemed a confederation of the South Sea Islands which might well have been effected. He planned a confederation of the South African States such as is on the eve of realisation. "Dotham's dreamer dreamed anew," and he dreamt of a federation of all English-speaking peoples, which the twentieth century may see realised. Evidently, he possessed the architectonic faculty in a high degree. A not infelicitous parallel with Herbert Spencer might be traced. The philosopher who organized the sciences of life and mind, society and morals, and who meditated the reconciliation of antagonist philosophies in a synthetic system, was the complementary half of the colonial Governor who first gave a constitutional framework to a colony and a church, and who sought to bring many diverse races under one political system.