Imágenes de páginas

exaggeration of which he did not. But in a country like England where business is in the air, where we can organize a vigilance committee on every abuse and an executive committee for every remedy-as a matter of political instruction, which was De Tocqueville's point— we need not care how much power is delegated to outlying bodies, and how much is kept for the central body. We have had the instruction municipalities could give us : we have been through all that. Now we are quite grown up, and can put away childish things.

The same causes account for the innumerable anomalies of our polity. I own that I do not entirely sympathise with the horror of these anomalies which haunts some of our best critics. It is natural that those who by special and admirable culture have come to look at all things upon the artistic side, should start back from these queer peculiarities. But it is naturai also that persons used to analyse political institutions should look at these anomalies with a little tenderness and a little interest. They may have something to teach us. Political philosophy is still more imperfect; it has been framed from observations taken upon regular specimens of politics and States; as to these its teaching is most valuable. But we must ever remember that its data are imperfect. The lessons are good where its primitive assumptions hold, but may be false where those assumptions fail. A philosophical politician regards a political anomaly as a scientific physician regards a rare disease-it is to him an "interesting case." There may still be instruction here, though

I can

we have worked out the lessons of common cases. not, therefore, join in the full cry against anomalies; in my judgment it may quickly overrun the scent, and so miss what we should be glad to find.

Subject to this saving remark, however, I not only admit, but maintain, that our constitution is full of curious oddities, which are impeding and mischievous, and ought to be struck out. Our law very often reminds one of those outskirts of cities where you cannot for a long time tell how the streets come to wind about in so capricious and serpent-like a manner. At last it strikes you that they grew up, house by house, on the devious tracks of the old green lanes; and if you follow on to the existing fields, you may often find the change half complete. Just so the lines of our constitution were framed in old eras of sparse population, few wants, and simple habits; and we adhere in seeming to their shape, though civilisation has come with its dangers, complications, and enjoyments. These anomalies, in a hundred instances, mark the old boundaries of a constitutional struggle. The casual line was traced according to the strength of deceased combatants; succeeding generations fought elsewhere; and the hesitating line of a half-drawn battle was left to stand for a perpetual limit.

I do not count as an anomaly the existence of our double government, with all its infinite accidents, though half the superficial peculiarities that are often complained of arise out of it. The co-existence of a Queen's seeming prerogative and a Downing Street's real government is

just suited to such a country as this, in such an age as


* So well is our real Government concealed, that if you tell a cabman to drive to "Downing Street," he most likely will never have heard of it, and will not in the least know where to take you. It is only a "disguised republic" which is suited to such a being as the Englishman in such a century as the nineteenth.




ABERDEEN, Lord, 29, 131

Acts, the Reform, ix.-xxviii., 29,
98, 104, 115; Legal Tender,
lxvii.; of Parliament, 41; of
Settlement, 41; the Cattle

Plague Private Bill, 110, 163;
an Education, x.

Addington, Mr., 67
Admiralty, the, 215, 218

Alexander, Emperor, of Russia,


Ambassador, duty of, 120
America, connection between legis-

lature and executive in, 17;
greatest of presidential coun-
tries, 20; the Electoral College
of, 24, 25, 31, 131, 256
American Congress, lix.-lxx., 17,

18, 24, 27, 170, 223, 228; Con-
stitution, the, Introduction,
lviii.-ix., 58, 82, 98, 111, 131,
202, 220-229, 286; President,
the, 131, 153, 154, 190, 223;
war, the, civil, 30, 31, 87, 220,
Americans, elective first magistrate
and, 12; and newspapers, 22;
and Queen's letter to Mrs.
Lincoln, 38; une vrai peuple
moderne, 286
Aristocracy, power in constitu-
encies, 167, 210

Army and Navy, the, administration
of, 215

Assembly, the French, liv.-lv.; the
National, lv.

Athenians, the, 37
Australia, 252, 263
Aylesbury case, the, 99


BALANCES, checks and, of English
Constitution, 219-253. See
Supposed Checks

Bavaria, 195

Bedford, Duke of, 95

Bill, Reform, of 1867, xvi., xxv.,

Bismarck, 204, 249

Board of Trade, the, 215
Bolingbroke, Lord, 140, 164
Bosworth, Battle of, 278
Breckenridge, Mr., 24, 131

Bright, John, xvi., xxxix., 121, 166
Brougham, Lord, 114, 140, 141
Buckingham Palace, 50, 51
Budget, method of preparation,
217, 218

Bureaucracy, most shallow of
Governments, 194; inconsis-
tent with art of business, 197-

Burke, Edmund, 79, 166, 193
Butler, Samuel, 80

[ocr errors]

CABINET and Foreign Treaties, the,
xli.-liii.; 1-32; meaning of,
11; a board of control, 13; a
combining committee,
fusion of two powers, 15; com-
parison with Presidential
system, 16, 17; educator of the
nation, 19; system and de-
bates, 20, 21; how elected, 24;
special advantages of constitu-
tion, 28; crisis and change,
29; leading statesmen become
household ideas, 31; un-royal
form of Cabinet government,
66-72; management of House
of Commons, 127; check of, in
finance, 137; outside influence,

Government, the pre-
requisites of, and peculiar form
which they have assumed in
England, 254-271; a double
set of conditions, 254; mutual
confidence and trust, 256;
national mind and rationality,
257; rarity of a competent
legislature, 258; originally a
preservative body, 259; an
adjusting legislature, 260; con-
ditions of fitness, 261; of satis-
factory election, 262-265; the
deferential nation, 265-270;
England the type of, 266; the
theatrical show, 267; unstable
equilibrium, 270, 271
Campbell, Lord, 114
Canada, 101

Canning, 169, 216

Carlyle, 175

Catholicism, 282

Cavour, 29, 55

Chadwick, Mr., 189, 190
Chambers, the French, 171
Chancellor of the Exchequer, the,

17; enemy of the Exchequer,
213, 217;"Comptrollership of
the," 213; Lord Chancellor, 213
Charlemagne, 81

[blocks in formation]

Chatham, Lord, 29, 67, 79, 114
Checks and balances, 3. See Sup-
posed Checks, etc.
Chesterfield, Lord, 115
China, 101, 110

Cobden, xxxix., 142

Code Napoleon, xxxiii., 196
Colonial Office, the, 216, 235;
governors, 234-236
Columbus, 119

Commons, the House of, effect of
Reform Act of 1867, xxv.-li.,
13, 14, 15, 46, 47, 57, 60, 62,
66, 89, 96, 99, 100, 107, 108;
no leisure, greatest defect of,
109, 112, 114; and Cabinet,
127, 130, 175; its main func-
tion, 130; relations to Premier,
131, 132; importance of elec-
tive function, 132; the expres-
sive function, 133; the teach-
ing function, 133; informing
function, 133, 172-175; func-
tion of legislation, 135;
"special acts" and statutes,
135; financial function, 136;
principal of taxation, 136;
check of the Cabinet, 137;
government by a public meet-
ing, 138-140, 145; principle
of party inherent, 142; modera-
tion needful, 144, 155; diffi-
culties of an Opposition coming
into power, 144-145; consti-
tuency and parliamentary
government, 146; ultra-demo-
cratic theory, 146; Mr. Hare's
scheme, 150; compulsory and
voluntary constituencies, 151-
158; free government and self-
government, 159; parliament
of 1859, 161; the landed in-
terest, 163; reason for parlia-
mentary reform, 166; embodi-
ment and expression of public

« AnteriorContinuar »