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delegate are deemed to be reserved The Irish Act of Union was palpato it; that every power in the State bly violated in 1869 by the Act draws its authority, whether directly disestablishing the Irish Church, like the House of Representatives, or but no one has ever dreamed of in the second degree like the President and Senate, or in the third degree questioning the validity of the leglike the Federal judiciary, from the islation of 1869 on that ground: people, and is legally responsible to The Long Parliament of 1641 dethe people and not to any one of the clared itself perpetual in disregard other powers. The second principle, of the electors ;-in 1716 a Parliaitself a consequence of this first one, ment elected under a Triennial Act is the distrust of the various organs prolonged its own existence and and agents of Government. States are carefully safeguarded that of all its successors to seven against aggression by the central Gov. years, regardless of the electors; ernment. So are the individual citi- and it is impossible, in the face of zens. Each organ of Government—the those instances, to say that the conexecutive, the legislative, the judiciary stitutional or legal authority of any -is made a jealous observer and re- single Parliament is limited by its strainer of the others.”

being either a trustee for, or agent The agents of the people are trust or delegate of, the constituent body. ed as little as possible; each agent Then what cannot Parliament do is subjected to the oversight of with private rights? It is just as other agents, who will harass and omnipotent in regard to them as it check him if he attempts to over- is with regard to the distribution stėp his instructions.

of power. Men have been sent to The way to understand, in con- the scaffold by Acts of Attainder. trast to the American system, the It may confiscate private property, enormous power which can now be as every Irish landlord knows to wielded in England by a chance his cost in quite recent times. It majority of electors, or will here

can grant privileges, impose duties, after be wielded as soon as the confer rights, relieve from legal liaperfection of the caucus system bilities, alter rights under private has destroyed the last vestiges contract, alter personal status by of the independence of members, divorce or declaration of illegitiis to fix the attention upon the macy, and abolish or restrict rights one dominant characteristic of the of property. Whatever it enacts British constitution—the absolute must at once be carried into effect omnipotence of Parliament. There by decrees of courts of law; whatare no limitations whatever to its ever courts of law decree must at power. No authority exists which

once be carried into effect by the can impose limitations. There is executive power, Over this desno process by which any one Parlia- potic engine of government there ment can, in the smallest particular, is no control at all except that of limit the absolute freedom and public opinion; that which arises power of action of any succeed- from the fear of resistance; and ing Parliament. Even Acts which, that which arises from the internal like the Acts of Union with difficulty of setting it in motion Scotland and Ireland, were founded –that is, getting an Act passed. on what were practically treaties Practically, the knowledge of every between two nations, and were evi- member of the most powerful dently intended to be perpetual, Kouse that he will have sooner or cannot be guarded from change, later to account to his constituents, and have not, in fact, escaped it. has acted as a restraining force.


A majority of the electors, on the that it is only under exceptional other hand, know no restraint, circumstances that it can but can dominate the House of be concentrated. The democratic Commons, which in turn domin- power, so far from being, as in ates the Parliament. The singular England, capable of being exercised part of the arrangement is, that on a broad and sweeping scale, the electors have legally no con- through an engine of government trolling power. Legally they can constructed, as the British Parliaonly vote for their representa- ment was, for quite different purtives. As soon as they have done poses and under a quite different so they have exhausted their legal order of ideas, is fettered and powers. The Parliament is consti- hampered upon all sides to such tuted and is absolute. There is no an extent that it can seldom be method known to the English con- brought into play; and professional stitution of submitting, during the politicians themselves are the first continuance of a Parliament, any to shrink from springing great specific bill or any specific question issues before the public, partly for approval or disapproval by the from the difficulty of making party electors. Nor would it be any ob- capital out of them, and partly jection to the legal validity of an from the uncertainty as to the Act of Parliament if it were shown consequences which would result to be unanimously disapproved of from these to their own position by the electors. While it lasted, and interests. One result is, that the courts would be bound to give the proportion of first-rate ability effect to it, and would have -no drawn into public life is much less power to disregard its provisions in America than in England. The The electorate has no legal control habits and methods of Congress over Parliament. But it has prac- and of public life give fewer optically usurped a control, and is portunities for personal distinction. fast reducing Parliament to the When it comes to a question of position of a mere agent of its will, the Presidency, the less eminent as it may happen to be expressed the candidate, the less assailable at a general election. The change he is on personal grounds, and has been effected in the same way in that respect he is the more as the change in the spirit of our

desirable as

a candidate. The Cabinet system. In law the Min- ordinary American voter does not isters derive authority from the object to mediocrity. Public men Crown; in reality they are a com are not in the habit of impressing mittee of leaders of the majority, the popular imagination by senexercising the combined executive sational measures, for which the and legislative powers which we American institutions afford little have drifted into placing in the facility, and there being no supply, hands of that majority.

there is no demand; while with us The moment we pass across the the demand for sensational measAtlantic the scene is changed, and ures grows by what it feeds on. instead of a system which places The American conditions of public uncontrolled power in the hands life are nevertheless not entirely of a few men, as the prize of their favourable. A man may be known successful electoral contests with to be well fitted in every way to their rivals, we have a system make an excellent President; but under which power is subdivided party exigencies prevent that being and distributed in such a way taken into consideration. The


question with party managers is, of the results which a dim and Will he make a good candidate ? distant future will develop. and that depends upon a host of

The speed with which, by succonsiderations, in which personal cessive Reform Bills following one qualification for the post sought another with unnecessary rapidfigures very slightly.

ity, we have installed democracy One striking result of the dif in power, on the ruins of a system ference in the position of party which still nominally exists—that leaders in this country as of government by the Sovereign pared with America, is the readi- and the Estates of the realmness which they exhibit here to shows the facility with which raise momentous political issues great political changes can be for party purposes. The struggle effected in this country. The cry here is for the possession of power has several times been raised alupon a vast scale; there it is for ready-of abolishing the second a place, a seat in the House or chamber. The Sovereign has long Senate, or at the most for the ceased personally to exercise any Presidential chair-that is, for a legislative authority, and retains fragment of subdivided power, as personally very little real execucompared with the direction of tive power. The House of Comthe vast authority intrusted to a mons is 'tending every year to British Parliament. The prizes become more and more a house wou in the game of English poli- of delegates rather than repretics are greater than in America. sentatives of the people. Its inSensational measures, especially dependence is weakened, too, by those which touch the constitution the menacing attitude within its of the country, are those which doors of dissatisfied minorities most readily attest a statesman's abusing its procedure, and by the power, and form a firm foundation increasing pressure of the caucuses for his authority. The conse from without. A great change quence is, that whilst, as recent has within the memory of living centenary celebrations in America men passed over the whole arena remind us, their commonwealth of politics. The meaning of it is has entered upon a second century that democracy has been estabof existence, practically unaltered, lished in power, and is converting our own has passed through, in to its use that absolute despotic a perfectly constitutional manner, uncontrolled authority which, since a period of revolutionary change the days of the Stuarts, has been To crown all, the integrity of the possessed in this country by the empire has become a party ques- well - ordered and well · balanced tion—the greatest of all the ques Estates of the realm in Parliament tions 'which in our day has been assembled. The result is that the thrown into the caldron of party leaders of that democracy wield a politics. Public and party men very wide extent of authority, its are not satisfied unless they have possession is the prize in the game before them schenies of enormous of politics, and its exercise on a magnitude and far-reaching conse- large scale in the way of inaugquences to deal with, make plat- urating great changes becomes a forms of, connect indissolubly with necessity of the position. The last their public career, manipulate in proposal, that which now agiiates any way which will achieve a pro party politicians, is a stupendous sent political success, regardless one, put forward by å great

statesman, towards the close of which it waged, the hage debt it his career, in desperation at find- piled up, and its one-sided legislar ing the ground sinking from be- tion. But its acts on all occasions neath his feet. In broad terms resulted from the conflict of nuit aims at breaking up the empire merous interests, its debates were into its several portions, with in public, and the grounds upon reference either to geographical or which every member voted were national considerations, or both, or might be known. Parliament and on the ruins of the dissolved at the present day exercises the unity of the kingdom to establish same despotic authority as fora. federal union of self-governing merly, but it has surrendered, or and independent States. It was is gradually surrendering, its freeput forward by its author in a dom of action, and is placing itself spirit of considerable recklessness under the orders of a democracy and levity, after imploring the con- which votes in secret, whose voice stituencies to save him from the is as mysterious as a Delphic temptation to irreparable mischief oracle, and whose decision and the by giving him a majority which grounds on which it proceeds baffle would render it unnecessary in a all the conjectures of the most exparty view. But the fact that it perienced politicians. We think, is put forvard shows the wide then, that the American guaranreach of authority which English tees against political disorder are public men feel that they possess greater than any which we possess and can exercise when they like. in England, and that the problem It is a dangerous degree of power of how to limit the tyranny of a to intrust to them. Such a ques- majority has been solved in Amertion as that now raised is big with ica, while it is being abandoned in the issues of civil war in Ireland, England. It seems that, although and it might even be in Scotland our monarchical form of governand England. Yet it is one which, ment and our social gradation of when raised, must be committed classes show that the passion for for decision to the perils and equality does not exist here in tumult of any chance dissolution, anything like the same extent that and then perhaps irrevocably de- it does there, yet the restraints in cided by multitudes with no time this country upon the exercise of for reflection and with no adequate downright tyranny by the majority, knowledge of the subject. The the securities against democratic only check is that means exist instability and haste and their disof securing reconsideration by a astrous consequences, aro few and second general election. The de- feeble as compared with those mocracy is a power without

any which: exist in America, and are sufficient checks, counterpoises, or by the Americans scrupulously limitations. While monarchical maintained. It is not too much power governed the country, it to say that the democracy of was limited on all sides by the co the United States is the exact ordinate authority of the Estates opposite of the democracy of the of the realm. Democracy has the United Kingdom, and that all power wichout the limitations, for the forces which are conservative it. exercises the unrestricted auth- in their energy and influence, ority of Parliament. The absolute and the limitations' which kupremacy of Parliament was tol 80 essential upon democratic arerable, notwithstanding the wars bitrariness, exist in. far greater



degree in America than in Great momentous interest, than those Britain.

which animate political struggles This difference is easily account in England. On the other hand, ed for. We have drifted into our system is best fitted for the being a democracy, borne along on establishment of empire and for the current of events, sliding down the purpose of bringing all the a decline along which our party power of the State into action. leaders have raced to see which But as regards the future, as reshould get to the bottom first. The gards the development of our own Americans established their de- constitution, the retention of a mocracy with the aid of the best second chamber, the preservation and wisest men whom they pos- of any existing checks on demosessed, pressing into their service cratic instability and haste, the dethe utmost forethought and pre- velopment of any which may lie cautions which the experience of dormant in our constitution, it is those men suggested. So far from worth while to take stock of our creating the condition of absolute position as it results from a compower, and then confiding it to a parison of our own and the Amerimajority, to any one institution or can system. If we continue to combination of institutions, they confide such absolute power as we recognised it as existing only in the do to a bare majority of electors aggregate of individuals who com from time to time, and still more, posed the nation. With us there if we continue to diminish the are no limits whatever to what checks upon its exercise, may be effected by a bare major- politics will continue to be those ity through a single Act of Par- of agitation and unrest; for the liament. The democracy of this system seems designed to encourage country, or its leader for the time a reckless spirit in politics, and to being, wields a single instrument stimulate profligacy in statesmanof concentrated power.; American ship. democracy can only act through a Although the parliamentary series of instruments all of limiied system of which we have experiauthority, placed in jealous and ence is open to the grave objections rival hands, and incapable of being to which we have drawn attention, set in motion by a single leader or and which, in view of the absurd any one set of motives or causes. proposals to abolish the second

It would involve us in too much chamber and repeal the Septennial detail to attempt to compare the Act, will have to be considered, practical working of the two sys- lest they should be, grave as they tems. It is sufficient to say that are now, rendered more so by such an extremely complex Govern- rash legislation-yet that system ment as that of America requires is the very life of the British for success absolute immunity from constitution and the source of the hostile attacks of neighbours, British power. Placed as we are immense

space wherein the energies in the midst of the Old World, of its subjects may expend them with its vast armaments and interselves in industrial enterprise. It national jealousies, at the head of is a system under which party a vast empire by land and sea, in politics need not absorb the best a position where, in some possible intellect of the country. Its prizes turn of events, our very food-supare of less importance, the issues plies might depend on the vigour capable of being raised are of less of the executive, to subdivide


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