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I am disposed therefore to think that while Bagehot showed admirable skill in penetrating through external forms to administrative realities, he was not equally successful in penetrating through administrative realities to the national qualities which underlie them and make them possible. Indeed he hardly tried. Though the many uncomplimentary things he says about our national incapacities suffice to show that there is a problem to be solved, he made little effort to solve it. He held (as we know) that the vast majority of his fellow countrymen were 'narrow-minded, incurious, unintelligent', moved for the most part rather by the outward shows than the inner verities of their constitution. Yet he would never have denied that throughout their history they had shown themselves eminently fitted for self-government. He thought them individually incapable of comprehending its 'efficient' parts. Yet he would certainly have owned that, collectively, they have given to the world an example of ordered freedom and reasonable statesmanship which nations not of English race or speech have never found it easy to equal. He would have owned that the institutions under which we are now living have neither been copied from an alien model, nor invented by domestic theorists, but are to all appearance the unpremeditated product of our qualities helped by our good fortune. To complete the bundle of paradoxes, his own teaching seems to show that while this country as a whole yields to no other in its corporate sense of unity and continuity, the working parts of its political system are organized (with two exceptions to be mentioned presently) on

a Party basis,-in other words, on systematized differences and unresolved discords.

The lines on which a solution of these problems can best be sought has already been indicated, but Bagehot never followed them for any distance. If we would find the true basis of the long-drawn process which has gradually converted medieval monarchy into a modern democracy, the process by which so much has been changed and so little destroyed, we must study temperament and character rather than intellect and theory. This is a truth which those who recommend the wholesale adoption of British institutions in strange lands might remember with advantage. Such an experiment can hardly be without its dangers. Constitutions are easily copied, temperaments are not; and if it should happen that the borrowed constitution and the native temperament fail to correspond, the misfit may have serious results. It matters little what other gifts a people may possess if they are wanting in those which, from this point of view, are of most importance. If, for example, they have no capacity for grading their loyalties as well as for being moved by them; if they have no natural inclination to liberty and no natural respect for law; if they lack good humour and tolerate foul play; if they know not how to compromise or when; if they have not that distrust of extreme conclusions which is sometimes misdescribed as want of logic; if corruption does not repel them; and if their divisions tend to be either too numerous or too profound, the successful working of British institutions may be difficult or impossible. It may indeed be least possible

where the arts of Parliamentary persuasion and the dexterities of Party management are brought to their highest perfection.

Should any one be inclined to regard this as an overstatement, let him seriously consider these last qualifications for Cabinet Government. Let him note how difficult it would be to work the system even in the country of its origin, if the House of Commons instead of being organized by division into two main Parties or three, were disorganized by division into (say) half-a-dozen of approximately equal strength. And if this vision of confusion and intrigue fails to move him, let him consider another hypothesis. Let the political parties be reduced to two (admittedly the most convenient number for Cabinet Government), but let the chasm dividing them be so profound that a change of Administration would in fact be a revolution disguised under a constitutional procedure. Does not this illustration, like the first, show how delicate is the political machinery whose smooth working we usually take as a matter of course?

It may perhaps be replied that if a majority of the House of Commons want a revolution they ought to have one; and no doubt if the House of Commons on this point fully represented the settled convictions of the community the reply suffices. But if not? Is there any means of ensuring that in these extreme cases the House of Commons would represent the settled will of the community? Is there any ground for expecting that our Cabinet system, admirably fitted to adjust political action to the ordinary oscillations of public opinion, could

deal with these violent situations? Could it long survive the shocks of revolutionary and counter-revolutionary violence? I know not. The experiment has never been tried. Our alternating Cabinets, though belonging to different Parties, have never differed about the foundations of society. And it is evident that our whole political machinery pre-supposes a people so fundamentally at one that they can safely afford to bicker; and so sure of their own moderation that they are not dangerously disturbed by the never-ending din of political conflict. May it always be so.


These observations bring us back to the question whether, apart from character and temperament, there are within the constitution itself elements able to mitigate the stresses and strains inseparable from party warfare.

I think there are two,-the Public Services and the Crown. Great indeed are the differences between them. The Public Services are no more than a wheel in the ‘efficient' part of our constitutional machinery. The Crown is typical of the 'dignified' part. The Public Services are (so to speak) below Party. The Crown is above it. Yet both of them are, in a very real sense, independent of it, and both are indispensable.

Of the Public Services generally, and the Civil Service in particular, I need say little. They do not control policy; they are not responsible for it. Belonging to no Party, they are for that very reason an invaluable element in Party Government. It is through them, especially through their higher

branches, that the transference of responsibility from one Party or one Minister to another involves no destructive shock to the administrative machine. There may be change of direction, but the curve is smooth. If administrative continuity has (so far) been quite unbroken even by the most abrupt vicissitudes of Party warfare, it is largely to the silent work of the Civil Service that this happy result is due.

Wider horizons open before us when we turn to the second of the non-Party elements in our political system-I mean the Monarchy. British Kingship, like most other parts of our ancient constitution, has a very modern side to it. Our King, in virtue of his descent and of his office, is the living representative of our national history. So far from concealing the popular character of our institutions (as Bagehot supposed) he brings it into prominence. He is not the leader of a party, nor the representative of a class; he is the chief of a nation,—the chief indeed of many nations. He is everybody's King; by which I do not so much mean that he is the ruler of the Empire, as that he is the common possession of every part of it. He is the predestined link uniting all the various communities, whatever be their status, of which the Empire is composed. The autonomous democracies, including among them Great Britain, the mother of them all, each regard him as their constitutional head; and besides this he is the chief of all the diverse races in all the scattered territories, for whose welfare Great Britain, in the course of generations, has made herself responsible.

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