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merits of all private bills with the aid of counsel to represent the public, and at the expense of the petitioners.
This would alleviate one set of evils, but only one. The real intrenchment of the system is in the spirit of localism which binds every member of a legislature to the spot he represents, and makes his will so often almost supreme as to the right or wrong of any measure affecting the particular interests of his constituency.
Mr. Bryce computes that the annual cost to the public treasuries of the sessions of our various legislatures is not less than $10,000,000. If the English plan of requiring a deposit of a substantial sum before a private bill can be considered were adopted, this expense could be very greatly reduced, for about three-quarters of all bills introduced are of a private nature. Probably not less than 30,000 bills are brought before Congress and the several State and Territorial legislatures, during those years when most of them are in session. The British Parliament in 1885 received in all less than five hundred.
Mr. Bryce is far from suggesting that all the faults in our system of legislation which he candidly points out are as injurious to us as they might be “to England or to any European government, were they to be found there.” The chief practical use of history, he tells us, “is to deliver us from plausible historical analogies," and few have studied it to better purpose than he.“ The Americans surpass all other nations in their power of making the best of bad conditions, getting the largest results out of scanty materials or rough methods."
The great, universal, all-powerful corrective which he finds everywhere and always at work to force law into harmony with society and with justice is public opinion, and he gives a dozen chapters to its nature and effect. It is a source of authority which he finds pure and wholesome. Government by public opinion, if not already a fact, is certainly “the goal toward which the extension of the suffrage, the more rapid diffusion of news, and the practice of self-government itself, necessarily lead free nations; and it may even be said that one of their chief problems is to devise means whereby the national will shall be most fully expressed, most quickly known, most unresistingly and cheerfully obeyed. Delays and jerks are
avoided, friction and consequent waste of force are prevented, when the nation itself watches all the play of the machinery and guides its workmen by a glance. Towards this goal the Americans. have marched with steady steps, unconsciously as well as consciously. No other people now stands so near it."
The sentences which we have quoted in this brief review will indicate the free, clear, vigorous style in which the book is written. It is full of the truest political philosophy, conveyed in a sparkling and yet straightforward way, which lends it a charm that few philosophers have been able to command. Without the sustained elevation of diction that one finds in De Tocqueville, the American Commonwealth gives a more life-like picture of the scene.
Occasionally some slight inaccuracy of statement may be observed, into which an American might not so readily have fallen, as where he states (vol. i., page 263), that the courts in 1876 refused to entertain proceedings to enjoin the President against executing the Reconstruction Acts, or (vol. ii., page 486) says that “any lawyer can practice in any Federal Court,” or (vol. ii., page 526) alludes to Yale College as established at New Haven in 1700. These and other similar errors deserve mention only as an occasion of surprise that there are not more and greater ones, and may in part be due to the negligence of the proof-reader, which is attested by many obvious misprints.
We cannot close without referring to the kindly augury which is drawn of our political future. A time of trial is to come, greater than any yet sustained except that of the civil
It is the time when there will be no longer cheap land and easy tillage in the West. It will be reached by the next generation. Wages will fall; the price of food rise; pauperism will spread from city to country. What then? “There may be pernicious experiments tried in legislation. There may be occasional outbreaks of violence. There may even be, though nothing at present portends it, a dislocation of the present frame of government. One thing, however, need not be apprehended, the thing with which alarmists most frequently terrify us: there will not be anarchy. The forces which restore order, and main
tain it, when restored, are as strong in America as anywhere else in the world.”
It might be added that the forces which constitute order in the United States, and maintain it, when constituted, are also as strong as anywhere. The guaranties of a written Constitution protect the citizen and his property against the government; and the government has no other purpose than to protect him and his against injustice and violence. As we look across the Atlantic and see the rough hand with which parliament can unsettle vested rights and destroy titles, in the vain effort to quiet Ireland by conceding what she does not ask, we may well be proud of the series of amendments which have lifted our Constitution into a protection to individual rights against all attack, even though it be made under the guise of law. .
SIMEON E. BALDWIN.
ARTICLE II. – HIGH CHURCH CONGREGATIONALISM.
The term High Churchman is commonly limited to Episcopalians. This is natural, as it originated among them. I am not learned in the origin and development of the phrase, but I suppose that Churchman is earlier than High Churchman. Churchman, of course, meant one who adhered to the national Church, dissent from which being regarded as schismatical was held to deprive dissenters of the right to call themselves churchmen, just as Confederates were not allowed by us as Unionists, because we did not allow that their union was legitimate. And a High Churchman would be simply one who was very intense, on whatever grounds, in his opposition to dissenters. Thus, Elizabeth—in this sense, which, though the term is later than her time, I take to have been the original one-was in reality a very High Churchwoman, not because she cared particularly about the episcopal succession, but because she was thoroughly bent on maintaining national unity in religion.
But the most compendious method, in a time when various systems of church polity were striving for the mastery, was for each to maintain that its own way had a specific and exclusive Divine sanction. The Presbyterians, in this derivative sense, were the first High Churchmen, Thomas Cartwright having been, as described by Green, a singularly intense one. Beza, too, is quoted somewhere as having discontentedly muttered that England might almost as well not be Protestant as not be Presbyterian. Therefore the earliest contention of the Episcopalians that their system is specifically and exclusively legitimate, appears to have been in good measure a reaction against the exorbitant claims of Presbyterianism.
The Episcopalians, however, had an advantage over the Presbyterians, which they soon pushed. The latter could not deny the Anglican ordinations, since bishops are undoubtedly presbyters. But, once provoked by the Presbyterians, how could the Anglicans fail, being human, to fall back on the tradition of so
many ages, that a bishop only is competent to ordain presbyters? It is true, the Anglican succession has come through a knot-hole, and Rome pronounces it to be “at the least exceedingly doubtful.” Yet the Utrecht succession has also come through a knot-hole, and there are no misgivings, on any hand, as to the genuineness of that. If a knot-hole is large enough to admit a thread, the continuousness of the thread is not broken. Therefore Anglican High Churchmanship soon came to iinply that peculiar and inordinate stress on the episcopal succession which distinguishes it to this day.
High Church, therefore, seems to be capable of three stages of meaning. First, an exalted sense of the claims of a national church. Secondly, the contention that a particular church system is of exclusive New Testament legitimacy. Thirdly, the ordinary Episcopalian position, that episcopal ordination alone, in the historical line, is ascertainably valid.
Of course the phrase, “High Church Congregationalism," must bear the second of these three senses. How far it was High Church at the beginning, I do not know, not being learned in its origines. But, as I understand, it appeared from the first in this form: Christ has given to every covenanted congregation of believers the full competency to provide for all the ministries and functions of the Christian life. Yet this proposition, so far, is not High Church. It lacks the negative boundary on the other side, namely, that every authoritative association of two or more congregations is anti-scriptural and illegitimate. The affirmative proposition does not imply the negative. It is really only a restatement of Christ's own promise : “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” For where Christ is, there, surely, is the fulness of spiritual prerogative, to every company that is really met in his name, and not in factious divisiveness. This evidently confirms a reserved right to every company of Christians, great or small, to evacuate an older order, and institute a new one, when it is plain that the elder order has exhausted its present power to nourish their spiritual life. But this does not imply that the Church can only legitimately exist in a congeries of independent congregations. Assume this negative position and add it to the positive side of