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shows how wrong is the obvious notion which regards him as the principal administrator of his office. The late Sir George Lewis used to be fond of explaining this subject. He had every means of knowing. He was bred in the permanent civil service. He was a very successful Chancellor of the Exchequer, a very successful Home Secretary, and he died Minister for War. He used to say, "It is not the business of a Cabinet Minister to work his department. His business is to see that it is properly worked. If he does much, he is probably doing harm. The permanent staff of the office can do what he chooses to do much better, or if they cannot, they ought to be removed. He is only a bird of passage, and cannot compete with those who are in the office all their lives round." Sir George Lewis was a perfect Parliamentary head of an office, so far as that head is to be a keen critic and rational corrector of it.
But Sir George Lewis was not perfect; he was not even an average good head in another respect. The use of a fresh mind applied to the official mind is not only a corrective use, it is also an animating use. A public department is very apt to be dead to what is wanting for a great occasion till the occasion is past. The vague public mind will appreciate some signal duty before the precise, occupied administration perceives it. The Duke of Newcastle was of this use at least in the Crimean war. He roused up his department, though when roused it could not act. A perfect Parliamentary minister would be one who should add the animating capacity of the Duke of Newcastle to the accumulated sense, the de
tective instinct, and the laissez faire habit of Sir George Lewis.
As soon as we take the true view of Parliamentary office we shall perceive that, fairly, frequent change in the official is an advantage, not a mistake. If his function is to bring a representative of outside sense and outside animation in contact with the inside world, he ought often to be changed. No man is a perfect representative of outside sense. "There is some one," says the true French saying, "who is more able than Talleyrand, more able than Napoleon. C'est tout le monde." That many-sided sense finds no microcosm in any single individual. Still less are the critical function and the animating function of a Parliamentary minister likely to be perfectly exercised by one and the same man. Impelling power and restraining wisdom are as opposite as any two things, and are rarely found together. And even if the natural mind of the Parliamentary minister was perfect, long contact with the office would destroy his use. Inevitably he would accept the ways of office,
The "dyer's hand would
think its thoughts, live its life. be subdued to what it works in." If the function of a Parliamentary minister is to be an outsider to his office, we must not choose one who, by habit, thought, and life, is acclimatised to its ways.
There is every reason to expect that a Parliamentary statesman will be a man of quite sufficient intelligence, quite enough various knowledge, quite enough miscellaneous experience, to represent effectually general sense in opposition to bureaucratic sense. Most Cabinet
ministers in charge of considerable departments are men of superior ability; I have heard an eminent living statesman of long experience say that in his time he only knew one instance to the contrary. And there is the best protection that it shall be so. A considerable Cabinet minister has to defend his department in the face of mankind; and though distant observers and sharp writers may depreciate it, this is a very difficult thing. A fool, who has publicly to explain great affairs, who has publicly to answer detective questions, who has publicly to argue against able and quick opponents, must soon be shown to be a fool. The very nature of Parliamentary government answers for the discovery of substantial incompetence.
At any rate, none of the competing forms of government have nearly so effectual a procedure for putting a good untechnical minister to correct and impel the routine ones. There are but four important forms of government in the present state of the world,—the Parliamentary, the Presidential, the Hereditary, and the Dictatorial, or Revolutionary. Of these I have shown that, as now worked in America, the Presidential form of government is incompatible with a skilled bureaucracy. If the whole official class change when a new party goes out or comes in, a good official system is impossible. Even if more officials should be permanent in America than now, still, vast numbers will always be changed. The whole issue is based on a single election —on the choice of President; by that internecine conflict all else is won or lost. The managers of the contest have
that greatest possible facility in using what I may call patronage-bribery. Everybody knows that, as a fact, the President can give what places he likes to what persons, and when his friends tell A. B., "If we win, C. D. shall be turned out of Utica Post-office, and you, A. B., shall have it," A. B. believes it, and is justified in doing so. But no individual member of Parliament can promise place effectually. He may not be able to give the places. His party may come in, but he will be powerless. In the United States party intensity is aggravated by concentrating an overwhelming importance on a single contest, and the efficiency of promised offices as a means of corruption is augmented, because the victor can give what he likes to whom he likes.
Nor is this the only defect of a Presidential government in reference to the choice of officers. The President has the principal anomaly of a Parliamentary government without having its corrective. At each change of party the President distributes (as here) the principal offices to his principal supporters. But he has an opportunity for singular favouritism; the minister lurks in the office; he need do nothing in public; he need not show for years whether he is a fool or wise. The nation can tell what a Parliamentary member is by the open test of Parliament; but no one, save from actual contact, or by rare position, can tell anything certain of a Presidential minister.
The case of a minister under an hereditary form of government is yet worse. The hereditary king may be weak; may be under the government of women; may appoint a minister from childish motives; may remove
one from absurd whims. There is no security that an hereditary king will be competent to choose a good chief minister, and thousands of such kings have chosen millions of bad ministers.
By the Dictatorial, or Revolutionary, sort of government, I mean that very important sort in which the sovereign-the absolute sovereign-is selected by insurrection. In theory, one would certainly have hoped that by this time such a crude elective machinery would have been reduced to a secondary part. But, in fact, the greatest nation (or, perhaps, after the exploits of Bismarck, I should say one of the two greatest nations of the Continent) vacillates between the Revolutionary and the Parliamentary, and now is governed under the Revolutionary form. France elects its ruler in the streets of Paris. Flatterers may suggest that the democratic empire will become hereditary, but close observers know that it cannot. The idea of the government is that the Emperor represents the people in capacity, in judgment, in instinct. But no family through generations can have sufficient, or half sufficient, mind to do so. The representative despot must be chosen by fighting, as Napoleon I. and Napoleon III. were chosen. And such a government is likely, whatever be its other defects, to have a far better and abler administration than any other government. The head of the government must be a man of the most consummate ability. He cannot keep his place, he can hardly keep his life, unless he is. He is sure to be active, because he knows that his power, and perhaps his head, may be lost if he be negligent. The whole frame of his