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the second reading is carried without it by nine, and then the king refuses to make peers, or at least enough peers when a vital amendment is carried by Lord Lyndhurst, which would have destroyed, and was meant to destroy the Bill. In consequence, there was a tremendous crisis, and nearly a Revolution. A more striking example of well-meaning imbecility is scarcely to be found in history. No one who reads it carefully will doubt that the discretionary power of making peers would have been far better in Lord Grey's hands than in the king's. It was the uncertainty whether the king would exercise it, and how far he would exercise it, that mainly animated the opposition. In fact, you may place power in weak hands at a revolution, but you cannot keep it in weak hands. It runs out of them into strong ones. An ordinary hereditary sovereign-a William IV., or a George IV.-is unfit to exercise the peer-creating power when most wanted. A half-insane king, like George III., , would be worse. He might use it by unaccountable impulse when not required, and refuse to use it out of sullen madness when required.
The existence of a fancied check on the premier is in truth an evil, because it prevents the enforcement of a real check. It would be easy to provide by law that an extraordinary number of Peers—say more than ten annually-should not be created except on a vote of some large majority, suppose three-fourths of the lower house. This would ensure that the premier should not use the reserve force of the constitution as if it were an ordinary force ; that he should not use it except when the whole
nation fixedly wished it; that it should be kept for a revolution, not expended on administration; and it would ensure that he should then have it to use. Queen Anne's case and William's IV.’s case prove that neither object is certainly attained by entrusting this critical and extreme force to the chance idiosyncracies and habitual mediocrity of an hereditary sovereign.
It may be asked why I argue at such length a question in appearance so removed from practice, and in one point of view so irrelevant to my subject. No one proposes to remove Queen Victoria ; if any one is in a safe place on earth, she is in a safe place. In these very essays it has been shown that the mass of our people would obey no one else, that the reverence she excites is the potential energy-as science now speaks-out of which all minor forces are made, and from which lesser functions take their efficiency. But looking not to the present hour, and this single country, but to the world at large and coming times, no question can be more practical.
What grows upon the world is a certain matter-offactness. The test of each century, more than of the century before, is the test of results. New countries are arising all over the world where there are no fixed sources of reverence; which have to make them; which have to create institutions which must generate loyalty by conspicuous utility. This matter-of-factness is the growth even in Europe of the two greatest and newest intellectual agencies of our time. One of these is business. We see so much of the material fruits of commerce, that we forget its mental fruits. It begets a mind desirous of things, careless of ideas, not acquainted with the niceties of words. In all labour there should be profit, is its motto. It is not only true that we have “ left swords for ledgers,” but war itself is made as much by the ledger as by the sword. The soldier—that is, the great soldier —of to-day is not a romantic animal, dashing at forlorn hopes, animated by frantic sentiment, full of fancies as to a lady-love or a sovereign; but a quiet, grave man, busied in charts, exact.in sums, master of the art of tactics, occupied in trivial detail; thinking, as the Duke of Wellington was said to do, most of the shoes of his soldiers; despising all manner of éclat and eloquence; perhaps, like Count Moltke, “silent in seven languages.' We have reached a “climate" of opinion where figures rule, where our very supporter of Divine right, as we deemed him, our Count Bismarck, amputates kings right and left, applies the test of results to each, and lets none live who are not to do something. There has in truth been a great change during the last five hundred years in the predominant occupations of the ruling part of mankind; formerly they passed their time either in exciting action or inanimate repose. A feudal baron had nothing between war and the chase-keenly animating things both—and what was called “inglorious ease.” Modern life is scanty in excitements, but incessant in quiet action. Its perpetual commerce is creating a “stock-taking” habit —the habit of asking each man, thing, and institution, “ Well, what have you done since I saw you last ?”
Our physical science, which is becoming the dominant culture of thousands, and which is beginning to permeate our common literature to an extent which few watch enough, quite tends the same way. The two peculiarities are its homeliness and its inquisitiveness : its value for the most “stupid" facts, as one used to call them, and its incessant wish for verification to be sure, by tiresome seeing and hearing, that they are facts. The old excitement of thought has half died out, or rather it is diffused in quiet pleasure over a life, instead of being concentrated in intense and eager spasms. An old philosophera Descartes, suppose-fancied that out of primitive truths, which he could by ardent excogitation know, he might by pure deduction evolve the entire universe. Intense selfexamination, and intense reason would, he thought, make out everything. The soul“ itself by itself,” could tell all it wanted if it would be true to its sublimer isolation. The greatest enjoyment possible to man was that which this philosophy promises its votaries—the pleasure of being always right, and always reasoning-without ever being bound to look at anything. But our most ambitious schemes of philosophy now start quite differently. Mr. Darwin begins :
“When on board H.M.S. Beagle, as naturalist, I was much struck with certain facts in the distribution of the organic beings inhabiting South America, and in the geological relations of the present to the past inbabitants of that continent. These facts, as will be seen in the latter chapters of this volume, seemed to throw some light on the origin of species—that mystery of mysteries, as it has been called by one of our greatest philosophers. On my return home, it occurred to me, in 1837, that something might perhaps be made out on this question by patiently accumulating and reflecting on all sorts of facts which could possibly have any bearing on it. After five years' work I allowed myself to speculate on the subject, and drew up some short notes; these I enlarged in 1844 into a sketch of the conclusions which then seemed to me probable : from that period to the present day I have steadily pursued the same object. I hope that I may be excused for entering on these personal details, as I give them to show that I have not been basty in coming to a decision.”
If he hopes finally to solve his great problem, it is by careful experiments in pigeon fancying, and other sorts of artificial variety making. His hero is not a self-inclosed, excited philosopher, but “ that most skilful breeder, Sir John Sebright, who used to say, with respect to pigeons, that he would produce any given feathers in three years, but it would take him six years to obtain a head and a beak.” I am not saying that the new thought is better than the old ; it is no business of mine to say anything about that; I only wish to bring home to the mind, as nothing but instances can bring it home, how matter-offact, how petty, as it would at first sight look, even our most ambitious science has become.
In the new communities which our emigrating habit now constantly creates, this prosaic turn of mind is intensified. In the American mind and in the colonial mind there is, as contrasted with the old English mind, a literalness, a tendency to say, “ The facts are so-and-so, whatever may be thought or fancied about them.” We used before