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changed, and in whose place you may make another, you cannot regard him with mystic awe and wonder; and if you are bound to worship him, of course you cannot change him. Accordingly, during the whole reigns of George I. and George II. the sentiment of religious loyalty altogether çeased to support the Crown. The prerogative of the king had no strong party to support it: the Tories, who naturally would support it, disliked the actual king; and the Whigs, according to their creed, disliked the king's office. Until the accession of George · III. the most vigorous opponents of the Crown were the country gentlemen, its natural friends, and the representatives of quiet rural districts, where loyalty is mostly to be found if anywhere; but after the accession of George III. the common feeling came back to the same point as in Queen Anne's time. The English were ready to take the new young prince as the beginning of a sacred line of sovereigns, just as they had been willing to take an old lady who was the second cousin of his great-great-grandmother. So it is now: if you ask the immense majority of the Queen's subjects by what right she rules, they would never tell you that she rules by Parliamentary right, by virtue of 6 Anne, c. 7; they will say she rules by “God's grace,”— they believe that they have a mystic obligation to obey her. When her family came to the crown it was a sort of treason to maintain the inalienable right of lineal sovereignty, for it was equivalent to saying that the claim of another family was better than hers; but now, in the strange course of human events, that very sentiment has become her surest and best support.
But it would be a great mistake to believe that at the accession of George III. the instinctive sentiment of hereditarý loyalty at once became as useful as now: it began to be powerful, but it hardly began to be useful. There was so much harm done by it, as well as so much good, that it is quite capable of being argued whether on the whole it was beneficial or hurtful. Throughout the greater part of his life George III. was a kind of “consecrated obstruction." Whatever he did had a sanctity different from what any one else did, and it perversely happened that he was commonly wrong. . He had as good intentions as any one need have, and he attended to the business of his country as a clerk with his bread to get attends to the business of his office; but his mind was small, his education limited, and he lived in a changing time. Accordingly, he was always resisting what ought to be and prolonging what ought not to be. He was the sinister but sacred assailant of half his ministries; and when the French Revolution excited the horror of the world and proved democracy to be “impious,” the piety of England concentrated upon him and gave him tenfold strength. The monarchy by its religious sanction now confirms all our political order; in George III.'s time it confirmed little except itself. It gives now a vast strength to the entire Constitution, by enlisting on its behalf the credulous obedience of enormous masses; then it lived aloof, absorbed all the holiness into itself, and turned over all the rest of the polity to the coarse justification of bare expediency.
A principal reason why the monarchy so well consecrates our whole state is to be sought in the peculiarity many Americans and many utilitarians smile at. They laugh at this “extra," as the Yankee called it,- at the solitary transcendent element; they quote Napoleon's saying that “he did not wish to be fatted in idleness," when he refused to be Grand Elector in Sièyes's constitution, which was an office copied (and M. Thiers says well copied) from constitutional monarchy. But such objections are wholly wrong. No doubt it was absurd enough in the Abbé Sièyes to propose that a new institution, inheriting no reverence and made holy by no religion, should be created to fill the sort of post occupied by a constitutional king in nations of monarchical history: such an institution, far from being so august as to spread reverence around it, is too novel and artificial to get reverence for itself; if, too, the absurdity could anyhow be augmented, it was so by offering an office of inactive uselessness and pretended sanctity to Napoleon, the most active man in France, with the greate. t genius for business, only not sacred, and exclusively fit for action. But the blunder of Sièyes brings the excellence of real monarchy to the best light. When a monarch can bless, it is best that he should not be touched; it should be evident that he does no wrong; he should not be brought too closely to real measurement; he should be aloof and solitary. As the functions of English royalty are for the most part latent, it fulfills this condition. It seems to order, but it never seems to struggle. It is commonly hidden like a mystery, and sometimes paraded like a pageant; but in neither case is it contentious. The nation is divided into parties, but the Crown is of no party. Its apparent separation from business is that which removes it both from enmities and from desecration, which preserves its mystery, which enables it to combine the affection of conflicting parties, -to be a visible symbol of unity to those still so imperfectly educated as to need a symbol.
Thirdly, the Queen is the head of our society. If k she did not exist, the Prime Minister would be the first person in the country: he and his wife would have to receive foreign ministers and occasionally foreign princes, to give the first parties in the country; he and she would be at the head of the pageant of life; they would represent England in the eyes of foreign nations, they would represent the government of England in the eyes of the English.
It is very easy to imagine a world in which this change would not be a great evil. In a country where people did not care for the outward show of life, where the genius of the people was untheatrical
and they exclusively regarded the substance of things, this matter would be trifling: whether Lord and Lady Derby received the foreign ministers, or Lord and Lady Palmerston, would be a matter of indifference; whether they gave the nicest parties would be important only to the persons at those parties. A nation of unimpressible philosophers would not care at all how the externals of life were managed. Who is the showman is not material unless you care about the show.
But of all nations in the world, the English are perhaps the least a nation of pure philosophers. would be a very serious matter to us to change every four or five years the visible head of our world. We are not now remarkable for the highest sort of ambition; but we are remarkable for having a great deal of the lower sort of ambition and envy. The House of Commons is thronged with people who get there merely for “social purposes," as the phrase goes; that is, that they and their families may go to parties else impossible. Members of Parliament are envied by thousands merely for this frivolous glory, as a thinker calls it. If the highest post in conspicuous life were thrown open to public competition, this low sort of ambition and envy would be fearfully increased : politics would offer a prize too dazzling for mankind; clever base people would strive for it, and stupid base people would envy it. Even now a dangerous distinction is given by what is exclusively called "public life.” The newspapers describe daily and incessantly a certain conspicuous existence; they comment on its characters, recount its details, investigate its motives, anticipate its course; they give a precedence and a dignity to that world which they do not give to any other. The literary world, the scientific world, the philosophic world, not only are not comparable in dignity to the political world, but in comparison are hardly worlds at all; the newspaper makes no mention of them, and could not mention them. As are the papers, so are the readers; they, by irresistible sequence and association, believe that those people who constantly figure in the papers are cleverer, abler, or at any rate somehow higher, than other people. “I wrote books,” we heard of a man saying, “ for twenty years, and I was nobody: I got into Parliament, and before I had taken my seat I had become somebody.” English politicians are the men who fill the thoughts of the English public; they are the actors on the scene, and it is hard for the admiring spectators not to believe that the admired actor is greater than themselves. In this present age and country it would be very dangerous to give the slightest addition to a force already perilously great. If the highest social rank was to be scrambled for in the House of Commons, the number of social adventurers there would be incalculably more numerous and indefinitely more eager.
A very peculiar combination of causes has made this characteristic one of the most prominent in Eng lish society. The Middle Ages left all Europe with a social system headed by courts. The government was made the head of all society, all intercourse, and all life; everything paid allegiance to the sovereign, and everything ranged itself round the sovereign,- what was next, to be greatest, and what was farthest, least. The idea that the head of the government is the head of society is so fixed in the ideas of mankind that only a few philosophers regard it as historical and accidental; though when the matter is examined, that conclusion is certain and even obvious.
In the first place, society as society does not naturally need a head at all: its constitution, if left to itself, is not monarchical but aristocratical Society, in the sense we are now talking of, is the union of people for amusement and conversation; the making of marriages goes on in it, as it were, incidentally, but its common and main concern is talking and pleasure. There is nothing in this which needs a