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organs of Government, dissimilar in character, chosen at different times, for different periods, with different duties, by electorates differently constructed, each justly claiming to be the choice of the people. There is no constitutional reason why the President, the Senate and the House of Representatives should co-operate to carry out any common policy; and it is easy to imagine cases in which they would be reluctant to do so. If these were to occur when unity and rapidity of national action were required, the country would have to trust to the political genius of its people rather than to the formal machinery provided for it by the constitution.

The weaknesses of the British constitution are of a very different character. Whatever be its faults, it certainly does not suffer from too elaborate a system of checks and balances. The House of Commons need not keep a Government in office a day longer than it likes. But if the majority decide to keep it, evidently they have every inducement to provide the money and pass the laws which the policy of that Government requires. They form part of a co-operative system, they are an element in an interdependent whole; and if we look at that whole from Bagehot's point of view, from the point of view of the business man contemplating the two-Party system, and asking himself how the business of the community can be carried on through so unwieldy a body as the British Parliament, the British form of Cabinet Government seems simple and effective.

In considering a constitution whose changes have

so often been of the silent sort, unmarked either by revolutionary violence or dramatic legislation, we are apt to lose our way for want of chronological landmarks, and our sense of proportion for want of political standards. To my thinking at least, the gradual growth and final establishment of the Cabinet system has been of greater importance than anything in our constitutional history since the Revolution settlement,-greater, for instance, than the series of Reform Bills which began in 1832. It never became a Party watchword; it was never clamoured for by a mob; it has never been recognized by statute; nor can any man tell us exactly when it became fully effective. But now that it is embedded in the very centre of constitutional practice we can see that it involves two or three familiar consequences. The first is that as between the Houses of Parliament the House on which all Governments depend for their existence must be the House which leads. The second is that the House which leads, if it is to do its work, must be an organized body, not a mob. The third is that, so far as we know, the only kind of organization natural to a free assembly, and sufficiently flexible to be in touch with public opinion, is organization by Party. The first of these doctrines must obviously affect our views on the House of Lords; the second and third, less obviously, but as I think in a much more important fashion, ought greatly to influence our views on the modern position of the Crown. To these topics I now turn.


It might perhaps be thought that after his brilliant analysis of Cabinet Government there was little for Bagehot to say about the British Constitution except by way of epilogue. He had made a resolute effort to penetrate the legal forms and ceremonial trappings which cluster round ancient institutions till he reached the core of our national administration. He had insistently inquired how we—a selfgoverning community-did in fact govern ourselves; and to all seeming he had found the answer. We govern ourselves through a Cabinet, selected from the legislature, presided over by a Prime Minister, and entirely dependent on a House of Commons which we ourselves have chosen. What more is there to be said? It is true that we have a Second Chamber; but it plays, and in modern times has always played, a secondary part. It is true that we have a Monarchy; but what, under the Cabinet system, can the Monarch have to do but act on the advice of his Ministers, take the supreme part on great ceremonial occasions, and assist works of general beneficence by his sympathy and patronage? Or (to translate these questions into Bagehot's peculiar terminology) since the 'efficient parts' of the constitution work so well, why trouble much about the parts which are predominantly 'dignified'?

To this question Bagehot would, I think, have replied in the first place that in the case both of the House of Lords and the Monarchy there are 'efficient' as well as 'dignified' elements to be taken into account. And no doubt he is right. During the

last 140 years or so in which the making of constitutions has greatly occupied the Western World, the need for a Second Chamber has rarely been successfully disputed; and the House of Lords, though not the invention of constitution-makers, has long and honourably filled that position. It has never striven for domination. It has never been corrupt. Its errors, or what we now deem to have been its errors, were shared by great bodies of enlightened contemporary opinion. Its debates have been distinguished. Quite apart from controversial politics it has done, and is doing, excellent work in Private Bill legislation, and (when time permits) non-party revision of Measures sent up to it from the House of Commons. It is, I suppose, richer in eminent specialists than the other House, and it certainly provides them with much fuller opportunities for expressing their views in Parliamentary debate.'

Bagehot, in his chapter on the House of Lords, seems, I think, to have committed (I admit in very good company) a theoretical error which is not without importance. He talks as if the creation of Peers by the Crown was the 'remedy' provided by the Constitution for a deadlock between Lords and Commons. But this is really misleading. When there is a difference of opinion between the President of the U.S.A. and Congress about a piece of legislation which the latter has passed and the former has declined to sanction, the difficulty may be got over by Congress passing it again with a two-thirds majority. This really is a constitutional remedy; for it solves the immediate problem, and leaves the constitution unaltered. We cannot say as much for the ad hoc creation of Peers. It is true that on the only occasion on which the Royal prerogative was thus used or mis-used the change in the House of Lords was small. Twelve new Tory Peers were sufficient to sanction what Bagehot in

Whether in addition to these functions it can in these days, with its present constitution, efficiently perform the duties of 'delay and revision' assigned to it by Bagehot is another matter. I do not propose to discuss this subject here, partly because it would take me on to ground more controversial than befits this peaceful preface, partly because the space at my command will be better occupied with the reflections suggested by Bagehot's treatment of the third characteristic element in our Constitution,-I mean the Monarchy.

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Here also Bagehot found elements which belonged to the 'efficient' rather than to the 'dignified' parts of our Constitution. He held (most rightly) that, quite apart from forms and ceremonies, a Monarch of experience and capacity, fully informed on public affairs, and in close personal touch with his Ministers, would always be a most valuable element in the body politic. He thought the post of 'Sovereign 'over an intelligent and political people was the post 'which a wise man would choose above any other (p. 66). And, since he was certainly a wise man, who, in spite of not infrequent gibes, regarded the English as a 'political and intelligent people', we may assume that he would have been well pleased had his essay on Bolingbroke called 'a mean peace effected by desertion'. But cases might easily be imagined in which one or two applications of this 'constitutional remedy' under modern conditions would practically destroy the historic Constitution so far as a Second Chamber is concerned. I am not arguing, be it observed, that this operation would necessarily be wrong. That is not my business. I am only observing that it should be called by its right name. It should not be a remedy but a revolution.

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