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previously, and judgment be pronounced subsequently. He that is not determined (and the expression of such determination is a pledge) to obtain these requisites, is condemned beforehand. Let no such man be trusted.' It is trusting away the chance of good government.
There is nothing in these remarks incompatible with the abstract truth and general application of the author's argument; but he has not insisted on the exception, and there are many by whom his reasonings will be misapplied and abused.
The advantages of publicity, and the evils of a very numerous body of representatives, are well exhibited in the fourth and fifth sections.
The author is disposed to regard a rather more mature age than is required in this country as a qualification for a legislator. He ably contends, also, for freedom from the occupation of a trade or profession :
* All experience proves, that a numerous legislative assembly is an evil : the smaller the number of members, if they can do the work, the better; and to obtain this advantage, it is essential that every member should attend during the appointed hours of meeting, and take an active and efficient part in the business. To give any individual the power of absenting himself habitually, occasions the necessity of an addition to the number of members otherwise sufficient. But this is not the most pernicious effect. Unless he is present during the whole of the sittings, he can be no competent judge of the questions which he has to decide; and the chances are, that his vote will do mischief, inasmuch as it must be given in a state of ignorance and misapprehension. Is it in the faintest degree conceivable, that the most gifted individual, after having been exhausted by the labours of a profession, after having had his faculties jaded or perplexed by the intricacies of the law, or by the calculations and anxieties of commerce, can be in a condition of mind fitted to take an adequately cool, keen, and comprehensive survey of a momentous political question, to weigh the evidence, conflicting and multifarious, and to estimate all the circumstances which ought to enter into the determination ?
• To have a great number of members who cannot or will not take a fair share of the business of the assembly, merely that they may drop in at the close of a debate, to dispose of questions by an ay or no; questions which they thus cannot be in a proper intellectual condition to decide, seems an expedient to determine that by a mob which ought to be determined by a senate; to fling to chance, or caprice, or prejudice, what ought to be intrusted to careful and mature deliberation. It is no wonder, that under a system admitting of such practices, the constituent bodies have fancied it to be their business to instruct those whoin they depute. Such practices, in fact, take away all force from the arguments adduced to show that instructions are inappropriate and injurious.
• If the most thoughtless mind will dwell a few moments on the subject, it cannot fail to perceive both the importance and the difficulty of the task which the legislator undertakes. Its importance needs no illustration. Powerless as government is to create happiness, there is scarcely
a day in our lives, the enjoyments of which are not affected by the acts of the legislative assembly, and which may not be embittered by one of its heedless errors. The difficulty of the task is not less than the import
Political science is, perhaps, that department of intellectual exertion which requires the greatest powers of mind and the intensest application. Its facts are multifarious and complicated, often anomalous and contradictory, and demanding the guidance of clear principles ; its principles are many of them abstruse, and to be developed only by long and close processes of reasoning; and the application of these principles requires the sagacity of quick observation and long experience. The whole business calls for that familiarity of mind with the subject, which can be the result of nothing but habitual, daily devotion to il.
* In making laws, too, not only is there a demand for powers of mind to cope with the disorder and complication of facts, and the abstruseness of reasoning, but there ought to be also a complete mastery of language, that nice and delicate instrument of thought and communication, by the clumsy handling of which, so much confusion and uncertainty is yearly produced in legislative enactments. Every word in a law is of importa ance; every sentence ought to exhibit that perfectness of expression, which is to be looked for only from the skill and caution of undistracted minds. Well might Bentham observe, that the words of a law ought to be weighed like diamonds.
• Is this, then, a matter to be dealt with by an exhausted professional man, in what should be his hours of recreation? Can such a one be competent to a task, hard enough for the mind which comes to it every day with all its vigour fresh, all its perspicacity undimmed, its spirit of activity unworn, and its feelings of interest unabsorbed ? Is the refuse of an individual's time and abilities what a people are to be content with, from a representative to whom they conside the determination of measures in which their prosperity is deeply implicated ? Is this sufficient for governing the destinies of a great nation? And why should the electors place such men in parliament? Why should they choose individuals, whose time is avowedly and unavoidably engrossed by private pursuits? And why, above all, should they prefer men so occupied to those who, in a country like this, are everywhere to be found ?
• While the current of life flows on smoothly, the interest which each individual has in good government evidently makes little impression on his imagination : it consists, for the most part, of small fractions of benefit scarcely appreciable; of protection from evils, to which, as they are prevented from occurring, he is insensible; of advantages which, to a superficial view, accrue to him only under particular circumstances, - such as redress of wrong, when he has occasion to appeal to the law. Most people are therefore supine and indiferent as to the general course of domestic policy, and especially indifferent as to the intellectual qualifications and conduct of their representatives. Their minds want awakening to the difficulty and importance of sound, and accurate, and systematic legislation. They may rest assured, that in our complicated state of society, it is a business which requires as long and assiduous preparation as any profession which can be named ; and as entire devotion to it, when its duties are once undertaken, as the calling of a lawyer or a physician, a merchant or an engineer. One chief reason why ihere are so many needless, blundering, crude, mischievous, and unintelligible
enactments, is, that men have not dedicated themselves to legislation, as a separate study or profession, but have considered it to be a business which might be played with in their hours of leisure from pursuits requiring intense exertion. Had members of the supreme assembly no other occupation to attend to, we should no longer see the absurd practice of meeting to legislate for the country at those hours, when the vigour and perspicacity and soundness of the mind are at the lowest point. No one who had any acquaintance with the mental and physical constitution of men could expect the best possible laws from nociurnal legislators, already exhausted by the occupations of the day, and frequently obliged to resort to some sort of stimulants to keep up the capacity of attending to what is before them.'-pp. 182--188.
. In carrying such a disqualification into effect (and of the judiciousness of doing it by law we would be understood to speak with some diffidence, from a dread of superfluous legislation) the range of selection left to the constituent body would doubtless be narrowed; but it is of little avail to have the power of choosing public servants who have not time to perform their duties; and the range of choice might be expanded again, by the obvious expedient of annexing a salary to the office of representative. In truth, this expedient seems to be required at all events, in order to give the greatest intensity to the motives which impel the mind of the legislator to apply itself to the difficulties of the task, as well as to enhance the vigilance of the constituent body, by teaching them the value of his services, and of their own suffrages, in a way which the dullest amongst them can understand. Under such an arrangement, men of energetic and comprehensive minds, trained to vigorous personal and mental exertion, but who are obliged to devote themselves to pursuits yielding a profitable return, and are consequently at present either excluded from the legislature, or are mere ciphers in it, would be, with all their faculties, at the command of the public. Men of this description, so gifted, and so placed above private cares, would be invaluable: for instead of giving that lazy gentlemanly attention to public questions, which, in their own apprehension at least, is all that can be reasonably expected from unpaid representatives living in luxurious opulence; or that casual, and intermitting, and brief attendance on their duties, which is all that professional practitioners can bestow; they would make their legislative functions the business of their lives. Strenuous intellectual exertion, except in the case of a few extraordinary minds, to which it is a pleasure, as severe corporeal exercise is to a man of great muscular strength, is irksome, and seldom habitually undertaken without a powerful external motive. It is surely policy in a nation to furnish this motive for due application to national affairs.
* To set against these advantages, there appears to be nothing but the expense. On the most liberal calculation, less than half a million sterling would effect the object; and every one must own that this would be mere dust in the balance, when placed against the benefits to be derived from substituting masterly legislation for the deplorable work which has too often passed under that name.'--pp. 192—194:
On the property qualification, the author observes thus:
'A man may be rich one day, and poor another, without any loss of fitness or ability to fill the otfice of representative: the possession of a specified amount of property cannot always be exactly ascertained, and No. 101.
the requirement of the law can be so readily evaded by the creation of a fictitious ownership, as to make it a nullity.
• The present qualification for a seat in the British House of Commons is notoriously evaded, and has, probably, never kept half a dozen men out of Parliament since it existed. If any have owed their exclusion to this cause, they have been just such as ought to have been admitted in preference to any other ; such as were more scrupulously conscientious than the generality of their species. The regulation has therefore been positively injurious, in regard to any effect which it may have had in sifting one description of men from another; while in attempting that object, it has given rise to perjury, or to something approaching to it, and thus done, what all restrictions which can be successfully evaded inevitably do, lowered public morality. When we first look at this requirement, it appears to have something whimsical on its surface. The legislators who imposed it seem to say to the electors, “We have resolved that we will not suffer you to vote for any candidate, who is not in possession of freehold property worth three hundred pounds per annum. To have a representative in Parliament who had less than this amount of this particular description of property would be highly injurious, and we therefore will not permit him to sit, although you should be imprudent enough to depute him. In other respects, we think you competent to use your own discretion. We, consequently, do not prohibit you from delegating a gambler, a drunkard, a fool, a seducer of innocence, an uneducated, illiterate, or ignorant interloper, a liar, or a swindler. If you can make up your minds to choose representatives of this character, you are at liberty to do so; but we cannot intrust you with the perilous discretion of selecting a poor man, however virtuous or able, nor can we confide to you the dangerous privilege of fixing your choice on a man, however large his income may be, who possesses nothing but such eva. nescent property as leasehold estates, canals, rail-roads, public funds, manufactories, machinery, and ships. The danger which would arise from your choosing a virtuous and highly-gifted poor man, or the estimable owner of even immense personal property, so infinitely transcends that which would be the consequence of selecting the most abandoned profligate, that, while we permit you to follow your inclination in the latter case, we most rigorously prohibit you from exercising any option in the former.” —pp. 173–175.
A law, disqualifying men from sitting in the legislative assembly on account of possessing more than a certain amount of property, might be defended on better grounds than that which excludes individuals on account of their indigence. The possessors of extraordinary wealth bave, in the first place, little sympathy with the great body of the people. Accustomed to command their gratifications, to have everything presented to them almost as the wish for it rises in their minds, and to view their fellow-creatures as inferior beings, existing to contribute to their enjoyment, it is impossible for them to enter into the pains and pleasures of individuals hourly struggling in the world, some for a bare subsistence, and some for the preservation of their position in society.
• But not only have eminently rich men little sympathy with others, but they are deficient in another point-in habits of intellectual exertion and application to real business. Mental efforts are not made without inducements, and the easy manner in which the rich man's desires are gratified leaves him bare of motives to overcome the vis inertiæ of a luxurious condition. It is by no means needful, however, for the reasons already stăted, to exclude by law either the poor or the rich, of any degree, from a seat in the legislature. No very poor man, it may be added, would be chosen in any circumstances, unless he were distinguished by remarkable qualities; and no very rich man would offer himself, under a proper system of representation, unless he were prepared to yield his time and attention to the duties of his office.'-pp. 178, 179.
Section 7, ‘On the Duration of the Trust,' shows the advantage of a short fixed term, so as on the one hand to secure the responsi. bility of the representative to the electors, and on the other, not to disgust the best men by the precariousness or brevity of the service. Three years is estimated as the longest period consistent with a salutary sense of accountableness.' The power of dismissal, during that period of service which has been determined on as in itself the best, is shown to be a serious mischief, whether exercised by the constituent body or by the executive.
This allusion is one of a very few to the executive authority. The author has not traced the disturbing influence of different modes of constituting the executive upon the functions and utility of representative government. He has not investigated the problem, whether representative government can long co-exist with an independent, irresponsible, and hereditary executive. Mr. Bentham, we believe, after long trying hard to make out this compatibility, had, for many years before his death, given it up entirely. In all trusts, and charitable or other voluntary associations, the combination of permanent officers with changing committees is found by experience to vest the power, really, in the hands of the permanent functionaries. This is sometimes a serious evil, although not perhaps very often, as the secretaries, or whatever else the permanent functionaries be termed, are probably much better qualified to manage the concerns of such societies, than the committee-men associated with them; as they have usually a paramount interest in the general well-doing of the institution, and are removable for misconduct, or even without specific allegation when they become obnoxious to the members. These mitigations of the evil tendency must be so largely modified, as to reduce them to little worth, when we speak of a permanent national executive. King Log seems the best thing to be hoped for. But King Log is not easy to be had. There are always vermin who will make the block move, and pull or push it on the frogs' heads, till it crushes more than King Stork would have devoured. Even its accidental tumblings may produce all sorts of confusion. It is absurd to reckon on permanent quantities being neutral ones. Their very existence will be potential, for good or for evil. Were the legislative body to appoint the executive, it would still subject itself to some degree of reaction. Where it does not appoint the executive, there must be another influence over it besides that of