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of correction. I allude to the present position assumed by many of the senators, and to the instructions given to them by the State legislatures, as to the votes which they shall give in the Senate. An obedience on their part to such instructions is equal in its effects to the introduction of universal suffrage into the elections. It makes them hang upon the people, divests them of their personal responsibility, takes away all those advantages given to them by a six years' certain tenure of office, and annuls the safety secured by a conservative method of election. Here again I must declare my opinion that this democratic practice has crept into the Senate without any expressed wish of the people. In all such matters the people of the nation has been strangely undemonstrative. It has been done as part of a system which has been used for transferring the political power of the nation to a body of trading politicians who have become known and felt as a mass, and not known and felt as individuals. I find it difficult to describe the present political position of the States in this respect. The millions of the people are eager for the constitution, are proud of their power as a nation, and are ambitious of national greatness. But they are not, as I think, especially desirous of retaining political influences in their own hands. At many of the elections it is difficult to induce them to vote. They have among
them a halfknowledge that politics is a trade in the hands of the lawyers, and that they are the capital by which those political tradesmen carry on their business. These politicians are all lawyers. Politics and law go together as naturally as the possession of land and the exercise of magisterial powers do with us. It may be well that it should be so, as the lawyers are the best educated men of the country, and need not necessarily be the most dishonest. Political power has come into their hands, and it is for their purposes and by their influences that the spread of democracy has been encouraged.
As regards the Senate, the recovery of their old dignity and former position is within their own power. No amendment of the constitution is needed here, nor has the weakness come from any insufficiency of the constitution. The Senate can assume to itself to-morrow its own glories, and can, by doing so, become the saviours of the honour and glory of the nation. It is to the Senate that we must look for that conservative element which may protect the United States from the violence of demagogues on one side and from the despotism of military power on the other. The Senate, and the Senate only, can keep the President in check. The Senate also has a power over the Lower House with reference to the disposal of money, which deprives the House of Representatives of that exclusive authority which belongs to our House of Commons. It is not simply that the House of Representatives cannot do what is done by the House of Commons. There is more than this. To the Senate, in the minds of all Americans, belongs that superior prestige, that acknowledged possession of the greater power and fuller scope for action, which is with us as clearly the possession of the House of Commons. The United States' Senate can be conservative, and can be so by virtue of the constitution. The love of the constitution in the hearts of all Americans is so strong that the exercise of such power by the Senate would strengthen rather than endanger its position. I could wish that the senators would abandon their money payments, but I do not imagine that that will be done exactly in these days.
I have now endeavoured to describe the strength of the constitution of the United States, and to explain its weakness. The great question is at this moment being solved, whether or no that constitution will still be found equal to its requirements. It has hitherto been the mainspring in the government of the people. They have trusted with almost childlike confidence to the wisdom of their founders, and have said to their rulers,— “There; in those words, you must find the extent and the limit of your powers. It is written down for you, so that he who runs may read.” That writing down, as it were, at a single sitting, of a sufficient code of instructions for the governors of a great nation, had not hitherto in the world's history been found to answer. In this instance it has, at any rate, answered better than in any other, probably because the words so written contained in them less pretence of finality in political wisdom than other written constitutions have assumed. A young tree must bend, or the winds will certainly break it. For myself I can honestly express my hope that no storm may destroy this tree.
In speaking of the American constitution I have said so much of the American form of government that but little more is left to me to say under that heading. Nevertheless, I should hardly go through the work which I have laid out for myself if I did not endeavour to explain more continuously, and per
haps more graphically, than I found myself able to do in the last chapter, the system on which public affairs are managed in the United States.
And here I must beg my readers again to bear in mind how moderate is the amount of governing which has fallen to the lot of the government of the United States; how moderate, as compared with the amount which has to be done by the Queen's officers of state for Great Britain, or by the Emperor, with such assistance as he may please to accept from his officers of state, for France. That this is so must be attributed to more than one cause; but the chief cause is undoubtedly to be found in the very nature of a federal government. The States are individually sovereign, and govern themselves as to all internal matters. All the judges in England are appointed by the Crown; but in the United States only a small proportion of the judges are nominated by the President. The greater number are servants of the different States. The execution of the ordinary laws for the protection of men and property does not fall on the government of the United States, but on the executives of the individual States,-unless in some special matters, which will be defined in the next chapter. Trade, education, roads, religion, the passing of new measures for the internal or domestic comfort of the people, all these things are more or less matters of care to our government. In the States they are matters of care to the governments of each individual State, but are not so to the central government at Washington.
But there are other causes which operate in the same direction, and which have hitherto enabled the Presidents of the United States, with their ministers, to maintain their positions without much knowledge of statecraft, or the necessity for that education in state matters which is so essential to our public men. In the first place, the United States have hitherto kept their hands out of foreign politics. If they have not done so altogether, they have so greatly abstained from meddling in them that none of that thorough knowledge of the affairs of other nations has been necessary to them which is so essential with us, and which seems to be regarded as the one thing needed in the cabinets of other European nations. This has been a great blessing to the United States, but it has not been an unmixed blessing. It has been a blessing because the absence of such care has saved the country from trouble and from expense. But such a state of things was too good to last; and the blessing has not been unmixed, seeing that now, when that absence of concern in foreign matters has been no longer pos
sible, the knowledge necessary for taking a dignified part in foreign discussions has been found wanting. Mr. Seward is now the Minister for Foreign Affairs in the States, and it is hardly too much to say that he has made himselt a laughingstock among the diplomatists of Europe, by the mixture of his ignorance and his arrogance. His reports to his own ministers during the single year of his office, as published by himself apparently with great satisfaction, are a monument not so much of his incapacity as of his want of training for such work. We all know his long state papers on the Trent affair. What are we to think of a statesman who acknowledges the action of his country's servant to have been wrong; and in the same breath declares that he would have held by that wrong, had the material welfare of his country been thereby improved ? The United States have now created a great army and a great debt. They will soon also have created a great navy. Affairs of other nations will press upon them, and they will press against the affairs of other nations. In this way statecraft will become necessary to them; and by degrees their ministers will become habile, graceful, adroit,--and perhaps crafty, as are the ministers of other nations.
And, moreover, the United States have had no outlying colonies or dependencies, such as an India and Canada are to us, as Cuba is and Mexico was to Spain, and as were the provinces of the Roman empire. Territories she has had, but by the peculiar beneficence of her political arrangements, these territories have assumed the guise of sovereign States, and been admitted into federal partnership on equal terms, with a rapidity which has hardly left to the central Government the reality of any dominion of its own. We are inclined to suppose that these new States have been allowed to assume their equal privileges and State rights because they have been continuous to the old States—as though it were merely an extension of frontier. But this has not been so. California and Oregon have been very much further from Washington than the Canadas are from London. Indeed they are still further, and I hardly know whether they can be brought much nearer than Canada is to us, even by the assistance of railways. But nevertheless California and Oregon were admitted as States, the former as quickly and the latter much more quickly than its population would seem to justify Congress in doing, according to the received ratio of population. A preference in this way has been always given by the United States to a young population over one that was older. Oregon with its 60,000 inhabitants has
one representative. New York with 4,000,000 inhabitants bas thirty-three. But in order to be equal with Oregon, New York should have sixty-six. In this way the outlying populations have been encouraged to take upon themselves their own governance, and the governing power of the President and his cabinet have been kept within moderate limits.
But not the less is the position of the President very dominant in the eyes of us Englishmen by reason of the authority with which he is endowed. It is not that the scope of his power is great, but that he is so nearly irresponsible in the exercise of that power. We know that he can be impeached by the representatives and expelled from his office by the verdict of the Senate; but this, in fact, does not amount to much. Responsibility of this nature is doubtless very necessary, and prevents ebullitions of tyranny such as those in which a Sultan or an Emperor may indulge; but it is not that responsibility which especially recommends itself to the minds of free men. So much of responsibility they take as a matter of course, as they do the air which they breathe. It would be nothing to us to know that Lord Palmerston could be impeached for robbing the Treasury, or Lord Russell punished for selling us to Austria. It is well that such laws should exist, but we do not in the least suspect those noble lords of such treachery. We are anxious to know, not in what way they may be impeached and beheaded for great crimes, but by what method they may be kept constantly straight in small matters. That they are true and honest is a matter of course. But they must be obedient also, discreet, capable, and above all things of one mind with the public. Let them be that; or if not they, then with as little delay as may be some others in their place. That with us is the meaning of ministerial responsibility. To that responsibility all the cabinet is subject. But in the Government of the United States there is no such responsibility. The President is placed at the head of the executive for four years, and while he there remains no man can question him. It is not that the scope of his power is great. Our own Prime Minister is doubtless more powerful, --has a wider authority. But it is that within the scope of his power the President is free from all check. There are no reins, constitutional or unconstitutional, by which he can be restrained. He can absolutely repudiate a majority of both Houses, and refuse the passage of any act of Congress even though supported by those majorities. He can retain the services of ministers distasteful to the whole country. He can place his own myrmidons at the head