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Destiny placed him on the throne. With some naïveté he has indicated the sort of speech that on fitting occasions such a King might make to his Ministers. He would address them (it appears) somewhat as follows:

"The responsibility of these measures is upon you. Whatever you think best must be done. Whatever you think best shall have my full and effectual support. But you will observe that for this reason and that reason what you propose to do is bad; for this reason and that reason what you do not propose is better. I do not oppose, it is my duty not to oppose; but observe that I warn' (p. 67).

There is a certain unintended humour in this sketch of an imaginary address by an imaginary Monarch to imaginary Ministers on the problems raised by an imaginary crisis. Its object, however, is clear enough, and no one need criticize its substance. It is at any rate in perfect harmony with Bagehot's view that constitutional Kings, if they possess character, ability, and industry, may even in matters of pure policy do very valuable service to the State.

But he was haunted by the ‘if'. He argued that no long hereditary line, be it of Kings or be it of peasants, can maintain a steady level of excellence through many generations. In a Royal line there would doubtless be Queen Victorias and Prince Alberts. But there would also be George the Thirds and George the Fourths;-in other words, there would be men of character and industry but little ability; there would also be men of some ability but no character and little industry. Both these varieties, and others that could easily be imagined,

must, even at the best, make an occasional appearance. When that happened we should have a 'bad Monarch', and (says Bagehot) while 'the benefits of 'a good monarch are almost invaluable, the evils of 'a bad monarch are almost irreparable' (p. 78).

Presumably this (surely somewhat excessive) estimate of Royal influence refers rather to social than to political affairs, and is therefore scarcely within the compass of a discussion on the Constitution. Let us then turn to politics proper, and consider his views on the Monarchy regarded as representing the 'dignified' side of our institutions. They are easily summarized. He thought it a national necessity, but a necessity born of our national weaknesses. On both these points his opinions were expressed with all his usual vigour. As regards necessity, he tells us, for example, that the 'use of the Queen (Victoria) in a dignified capa'city is incalculable'; that 'without her in England 'the English Government would fail and pass away' (p. 30); and that ‘the “efficient” part (i.e. the Cabinet 'system) depends upon the "dignified" part for the 'power which the "efficient” part requires but cannot 'itself produce'. As regards the national weaknesses which produced the necessity, he is quite as uncompromising; but his theories here require a commentary which I cannot omit, yet cannot compress into a few paragraphs.

Bagehot, it appears, was profoundly impressed by the inequalities he observed in the mental equipment of different sections of the community. He tells us that 'the lower orders, the middle orders, are 'still, when tried by the standard of the educated

""ten thousand", narrow-minded, unintelligent, 'incurious'. And, he adds a little farther on, ‘a 'philosophy which does not ceaselessly remember, 'which does not continually obtrude, the palpable 'difference of the various parts (of the population) 'will be a theory radically false' (p. 6). This is certainly not a fault with which his own philosophy can be justly charged. But what was the

moral he drew from these uncomfortable reflections? It was that since the population consists of educated thousands and unintelligent millions we must count ourselves fortunate in the possession of a Constitution which has two aspects, appealing respectively to the intelligence of the few and the emotions of the many. For the educated thousands there is the 'efficient' aspect, the whole system of Parliaments, Cabinets, Party Government, and the rest. For the unintelligent millions there is the 'dignified' aspect (described also as 'theatrical', 'mystical', 'religious', or 'semi-religious'), which delights the eye, stirs the imagination, supplies motive power to the whole political system, and yet never strains the intellectual resources of the most ignorant or the most stupid. It is, of course, bound up with the Monarchy; indeed to all intents and purposes it is the Monarchy. It provides the disguise which happily prevents the ordinary Englishman from discovering that he is not living under a Monarchy but under a Republic; for (says Bagehot) 'it is only a disguised Republic which is suited 'to such a being as the Englishman in such a century 'as the nineteenth'.

Our author indeed does not attempt to conceal

the friendly surprise (flavoured with a little contempt?) with which he regards those of his countrymen (unhappily the vast majority) who are taken in by this travesty. 'So well is our Government 'concealed,' he says, 'that if you tell a cabman to 'drive to Downing Street he will most likely never 'have heard of it.' But, except in the interest of his profession, why should the cabman have heard of it? The implied criticism, of course, is that while he would certainly know Buckingham Palace where Queen Victoria was performing her 'dignified' duties, he knew nothing of Downing Street where her Cabinet was 'efficiently' carrying on the real business of Government. But need such ignorance provoke either surprise or blame? If the cabman was a strong Party man it is even chances that he regarded the Cabinet Ministers then meeting in Downing Street as a danger to their country. If he was not a strong Party man it may well be that he regarded them as (for the moment) the successful competitors in the game of ‘ins' and 'outs';—a game played between opponents who called themselves by different names, but, so far as he could see, did very much the same kind of thing in very much the same kind of way whenever they had the chance.

These are the familiar comments indulged in by the hostile and the indifferent on each successive occupant of that historic street. Praise, of course, is not withheld; but as a rule it is cooler and somewhat more qualified. In past years, for example, I have known it taking the form of thanking Heaven that the 'right people' were in Office, while lamenting the ill fortune which had prevented them from

making full use of the opportunities provided by a faithful but disillusioned Party.

Now why should the meeting-place of an unconnected succession of administrations, thus criticized, thus observed, and thus defended, differing from each other in opinion and glorying in their differences, arouse patriotic feelings in the ordinary citizen? Patriotism involves conceptions of unity and continuity. The coldest patriot recognizes himself as part (by birth or adoption) of an enduring 'Whole'. He has feelings, however vague, about its past. He entertains, however faintly, hopes and fears about its future. How can the machinery of Cabinet Government either suggest or strengthen sentiments like these, even at their lowest level? It assumes their existence. It cannot perform its duties without them. But are they its natural product? Admittedly it works through Party at every stage-Party Cabinets in Downing Street, Party majorities in the House of Commons, Party majorities in the constituencies. These cannot of themselves give us unity, because they are at once the product and the instrument of partisan separations. They cannot of themselves give us continuity, because partisan majorities have ever proved unstable. They do the Nation's work and on the whole do it well; but is it not at the cost of deepening and hardening national divisions? If therefore Bagehot's cabman sought a shrine symbolic of his country's unity and continuity rather than of its controversies and quarrels, evidently it was to Buckingham Palace that he should have looked rather than to Downing Street.

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