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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 36

That Constitution Ought in this Respect to be Changed

That Constitution Ought in this Respect to be Changed.

Can it be changed? That is the question, and there is but one answer. It must be done. No such word as fail should be allowed in the vocabulary of patriotism. But how? It can only be done by public opinion. Intelligence, conscience, and common sense are the foundations of sound public opinion; and they are the agencies which must be relied upon to effect the proposed change in the Constitution of the nation. It must be based upon the intelligent demand of three-fourths of the States in this Union. How can that public sentiment be created? First, there must be an intelligent apprehension of the extent of the evil to be remedied, and that the nation as such is concerned in it. Second, there must be a practical measure proposed, wise and just and efficient, upon which the efforts of the people can be concentrated. That measure must be radical in its nature, but it must not ignore existing rights nor violate the public faith, nor assail the personal character of those who are engaged in what the nation recognizes, and has recognized from the beginning, as a legitimate business and source of revenue to the coffers of the country. If the nation has traded in its own destruction it must itself wear the hood page 27 of shame. That measure can not destroy property rights vested in the public faith without compensation or without giving ample time for the diversion of capital to other and less pernicious industries.