tates and parliaments, all sank, with one Grote. He claimed for governments have memorable exception, before the ever. ing the essential characteristics of democgrowing power and prestige of military racy, that they were much more free than despotic goveroments. The historian of other governments from what be called our day is apt to moralize and lament over “ sinister" influences. He meant by a the change, but it was everywhere in the sinister influence, a motive leading a gov. highest degree popular, and it called forthernment to prefer the interest of small an enthusiasm quite as genuine as that of portions of a community to the interest of the modern Radical for the coming de- the whole. We think that, with an allmocracy. The Roman Empire, the Italian important qualification to be mentioned tyrannies, the English Tudor monarchy, presently, this credit was justly claimed the French centralized kingship, the Na. for democracy by Bentham, and with espoleonic despotism, were all hailed with pecial justice in relation to the circumacclamation, most of it perfectly sincere, stances of his own time. During the either because anarchy had been subdued, most active period of his long life the or because petty local and domestic op- French Revolution had stopped all prog. pressions were kept under, or because ress, and, amid the relaxation of public new energy was infused into national watchfulness which followed, all sorts of policy. In our own country, the popular small interests had found themselves government, born of tribal freedom, re. niches in the English budget, like the vived sooner than elsewhere; protected robber barons of mediaval Italy and Gerby the insularity of its home, it managed many on every precipitous hill. Bentham to live; and thus the British Constitution thought it natural that they should do became the one important exception to this. The lords of life, he said, are pleasthe “tendency of the ages,” and through ure and pain. Every man follows his own its remote influence, and from no other interest as he understands it, and the cause, this tendency was reversed, and part of the community which has political the movement to democracy began again. power will use it for its own objects. The Nevertheless, even with us, though the remedy is to transfer political power to king might be feared or disliked, the the entire community. It is impossible king's office never lost its popularity. that they should abuse it, for the interest The Commonwealth and the Protectorate which they will try to promote is the inwere never for a moment in real favor terest of all, and the interest of all is the with the nation. The true enthusiasm proper end and object of all legislation. was reserved for the restoration. Thus, On this apparently irresistible reasonfrom the reign of Augustus Cæsar to the ing, one or two remarks have to be made. establishment of the United States, it was in the first place, the praise bere claimed democracy which was always, as a rule, on for democracy is shared by it with monthe decline, nor was the decline arrested archy, particularly in its most absolute till the American Federal government forms. There is no doubt that the Rowas founded, itself the offspring of the man emperor cared more for the general British Constitution. At this moment, good of the vast group of societies subject democracy is receiving the same unquali. to him, than the aristocratic Roman re. fied eulogy which was once poured on public had done. The popularity of the monarchy; and though in its modern great kings who broke up European feushape it is the product of a whole series dalism, arose from their showing to all of accidents, it is regarded by some as their vassals a far more even impartiality propelled in a continuous progress by an than could be obtained from petty feudal irresistible force.

rulers; and in our own day, vague and Independently of the historical ques. shadowy as are the recommendations of tion, how the fashion of bowing profoundly what is called a nationality, a State foundbefore democracy grew up, it has to be ed on this principle has generally one real considered how far the inverted monarchy, practical advantage through its oblitera. which bears this name, deserves the rev. tion of small tyrannies and local oppres. erence paid to it. The great philosoph sions. It has further to be observed, that cal writer who had the best opinion of it a very serious weakness in Bentham's was Jeremy Bentham. His authority had argument has been disclosed by the expemuch to do with the broad extension of rience of half a century, an experience the suffrage in most of the states of the which might be carried much further back American Union, and he was the intellec. with the help of that historical enquiry, tual father of the masculine school of En which Bentham neglected and perhaps glish Radicals which died out with Mr. I despised. Democratic governments no



doubt attempt to legislate and administer The name of Jeremy Bentham, one of in the interests of democracy, provided the few who lived and taught for what he only the words are taken to mean the held to be the good of his race, has beinterests which democracy supposes to be come even among educated men a byword its owo.

For purposes of actual govern for what is called his “low view" of bument, the standard of interest is not any man nature. The fact is that, under its which Bentham would have approved, but most important aspect, he greatly overmerely popular opinion. Nobody would rated human nature. He over-estimated have acknowledged this more readily than its intelligence. He wrongly supposed Benthain, if his marvellously long life that the truths which he saw, clearly cut could have been prolonged to this day. and distinct in the dry light of his intel. He was the ancestor of the advanced lect, could be seen by all other men or by Liberals or Radicals who now carry every many of them. He did not understand thing before them. All their favorite that they were visible only to the few – political machinery came from his intel to the intellectual aristocracy. His delulectual workshop. Household suffrage sion was the greater from his inattention (which he faintly preferred to universal to facts which lay little beyond the sphere suffrage), vote by ballot, and the short of his vision. Knowing little of history, Parliaments once in favor, received bis and caring little for it, he neglected one energetic advocacy; and he detested the easy method of assuring himself of the House of Lords. Yet there is no political extreme falseness of the conceptions of writer whose strongest and most funda- their interest, which a multitude of men mental opinions are so directly at variance may entertain. “ The world,” said Ma. with the Radical ideas of the moment. chiavelli, “is made up of the vulgar.” One has only to turn over his pages for Thus Bentham's fundamental proposition abundant evidence of this assertion. Over turns against himself. It is that if you and over again, you come upon demon- place power in men's hands, they will use stration that all the mechanism of human it for their interest. Applying the rule to society depends on the satisfaction of the whole of a political community, we reasonable expectations, and therefore ought to have a perfect system of govern. on the strict maintenance of proprietary ment; but taking it in connection with right, and the inviolability of contract. the fact that multitudes include too much You find earnest cautions against the ignorance to be capable of understanding hasty acquisition of private property by their interest, it furnishes the principal the State for public advantage, and vehe. argument against democracy. ment protests against the removal of The immunity from sinister influences, abuses without full compensation to those the freedom from temptation to prefer the interested in them. Amid his denuncia- smaller interest to the greater, which Bention of these capital vices of the legis- tham claimed for democracy, should thus lator, it is amusing to read his outbreaks * have been extended by him to the more of enthusiasm for the enclosure of com- absolute forms of monarchy. If indeed mons, now sometimes described as steal. this suggestion had been made to him, he ing the inheritance of the poor. The very would probably have replied that monvices of political argument which he was archy has a tendency to show unjust fathought to have disposed of forever have vors to the military, the official, and the gained a new vitality among the political courtly classes, the classes nearest to school he founded. The “Anarchical itself. Monarchy, however, had had a Sophisms” which he exposed have mi. very long history in Bentham's day, and grated from France to England, and may democracy a very short one; and it is be read in the literature of advanced Lib- only as the political history of the Ameri. eralism side by side with the Parliamen- can Union has developed itself, that we tary fallacies which he laughed at in the are able to detect in wide popular govern. debates of a Tory House of Commons, ments the same infirmities that character.

ized the kingly governments, of which "In England, one of the grandest and best under der the shelter of one government as of

they are the inverted reproductions. Unstood improvements is the enclosure of commons. When we pass over the lands which have undergone the other, all sorts of selfish interests this happy change, we are enchanted as with the ap- breed and multiply, speculating on its pearance oi a new colony; harvests, flocks, and smiling habitations, have now succeeded to the sadness and weaknesses and pretending to be its sersterility of the desert. Happy conquests of peaceful vants, agents, and delegates. Neverthe industry! Noble aggrandizements which inspire no alarıs and provoke

(Benthain's less, after making all due qualifications, Works, i. 342.)

we do not wholly deny to democracies



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some portion of the advantage which so ted, and all social progress would be armasculine a thinker as Bentham claimed rested. The truth is, that the modern for them. But putting this advantage at enthusiasts for democracy make one funthe highest, it is more than compensated damnental confusion. They mix up the by one great disadvantage. Of all the theory, that the demos is capable of voliforms of government, democracy is by far tion, with the fact, that it is capable of the most difficult

. Little as the governing adopting the opinions of one man or of a multitude is conscious of this difficulty, limited number of men, and of founding prone as the masses are to aggravate it by directions to its instruments upon them. their avidity for taking more and more The fact that what is called the will of powers into their direct management, it is the people really consists in their adopta fact which experience has placed beyond ing the opinion of one person or a few all dispute. It is the difficulty of demo. persons, admits of a very convincing illuscratic government that mainly accounts tration from experience. Popular governfor its ephemeral duration.

ment and popular justice were originally The greatest, most permanent, and the same thing. The ancient democracies most fundamental of all the difficulties of devoted much more time and attention to democracy, lies deep in the constitution of the exercise of civil and criminal jurisdichuman nature. Democracy is a form of tion, than to the administration of their government, and in all governments acts public affairs; and, as a matter of fact, of State are determined by an exertion of popular justice has lasted longer, bas had will. But in what sense can a multitude a more continuous history, and has reexercise volition? The student of politics ceived much more observation and cultican put to himself no more pertinent ques- vation, than popular government. Over tion than this. No doubt the vulgar opin. much of the world it gave way to royal jusion is, that the multitude makes up its tice, which was of at least equal antiquity, mind as the individual makes up his mind; but it did not give way as universally or the demos determines like the monarch: as completely as popular government did A host of popular phrases testify to this to monarchy. We have in England a belief. The will of the people," “public relic of the ancient popular justice in the opinion,” “the sovereign pleasure of the functions of the jury. The jury — techni. nation,” “Vox populi, vox Dei,” belong cally known as the countryis the to this class, which indeed constitutes a old adjudicating democracy, limited, modi. great part of the common stock of the fied, and improved, in accordance with platform and the press. But what do the principles suggested by the experience such expressions mean? They must mean of centuries, so as to bring it into harmony that a great number of people, on a great with modern ideas of judicial efficiency.* number of questions, can come to an iden. The change which has had to be made in tical conclusion, and found an identical it is in the highest degree instructive. determination upon it. But this is mani. The jurors are twelve, instead of a multifestly true only of the simplest questions. tude. Their main business is to say A very slight addition of difficuliy at once aye or no on questions which are doubt. sensibly diminishes the chance of agree- less important, but which turn on facts ment, and, if the difficulty be considerable, arising in the transactions of every-day an identical opinion can only be reached life. In order that they may reach a conby trained minds assisting themselves by clusion, they are assisted by a system demonstration more or less rigorous. On of contrivances and rules of the highest the complex questions of politics, which artificiality and elaboration. An expert are calculated in themselves to task to the presides over their investigations - the utmost all the powers of the strongest judge, the representative of the rival and minds, but are in fact vaguely conceived, royal justice — and an entire literature vaguely stated, dealt with for the most is concerned with the conditions under part in the most haphazard manner by the which evidence on the facts in dispute most experienced statesmen, the common may be laid before them. There is a determination of a multitude is a chimeri. rigid exclusion of all testimony which has cal assumption; and indeed, if it were a tendency to bias thein unfairly. They really possible to extract an opinion upon are addressed, as of old, by the litigants them from a great mass of men, and to or their advocates, but their enquiry shape the administrative and legislative acts of a State upon this opinion as a sov.

* This intricate subject is discussed by Stephen ereign command, it is probable that the tional History, i. 685, especially note 3); Maine (Early

(History of Criminal Law, i. 245); Stubbs (Constitumost ruinous blunders would be coinmit. | Law and Custom, p. 160).

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concludes with a security unknown to ambiguous or inarticulate, as the numbers antiquity, the summing up of the expert to be consulted are multiplied. president, who is bound by all the rules The most interesting, and on the whole of his profession to the sternest impartial- the most successful, experiments in popu. ity. If he errs, or if they flagrantly err, lar government, are those which have the proceedings may be quashed by a frankly recognized the difficulty under superior court of experts. Such is popular which it labors. At the head of these we justice, after ages of cultiva Now it must place the virtually English discovery happens that the oldest Greek poet has of government by representation, which left us a picture, certainly copied from caused Parliamentary institutions to be reality, of what popular justice was in its preserved in these islands from the deinfancy. The primitive court is sitting; struction which overtook them everywhere the question is "guilty” or “not guilty." else, and to devolve as an inheritance The old men of the community give their upon the United States. Under this sys. opinions in turn; the adjudicating democ- tem, when it was in its prime, an electoral racy, the commons standing round about, body, never in this country extraordiapplaud the opinion which strikes them parily large, chose a number of persons to most, and the applause determines the represent it in Parliament, leaving them decision. The popular justice of the unfettered by express instructions, but ancient republics was essentially of the having with them at most a general under. same character. The adjudicating de standing, that they would strive to give a mocracy simply followed the opinion particular direction to public policy. The which most impressed them in the speech effect was to diminish the difficulties of of the advocate or litigant. Nor is it in popular government, in exact proportion the least doubtful that, but for the sternly to the diminution in the number of perrepressive authority of the presiding sons who had to decide public questions. judge, the modern English jury would, in But this famous system is evidently in the majority of cases, blindly surrender decay, through the ascendency over it its verdict to the persuasiveness of one or which is being gradually obtained by the other of the counsel who have been re. vulgar assumption, that great masses of tained to address it.

can directly decide all necessary A modern governing democracy is the questions for themselves. The agency, old adjudicating democracy very slightly by which the representative is sought to changed. It cannot indeed be said, that be turned into the mere mouthpiece of no attempt has been made to introduce opinions collected in the locality which into the multitudinous government modi. sent him to the House of Commons, is, fications resembling those which have we need hardly say, that which is generturned the multitudinous tribunal into the ally supposed to have been introduced jury, for a variety of expedients for miti. from the United States under the name of gating the difficulty of popular govern the caucus, but which had very possibly ment have been invented and applied in a domestic exemplar in the ecclesiastical England and the United States. But in organization of the Wesleyan Methodists. our day a movement appears to have very The old Italian toxicologists are said to distinctly set in towards unmodified de have always arranged their discoveries in mocracy, the government of a great multi a series of three terms first the poison, tude of men striving to take the bulk of next the antidote, thirdly the drug which their own public affairs into their own neutralized the antidote. The antidote to hands. Such a government can only de. the fundamental infirmities of democracy cide the questions submitted to it, as the was representation, but the drug which old popular courts of justice decided them, defeats it has now been found in the cauby applauding somebody who speaks to it. cus. And, by an unhappy inischance, the

The ruling multitude will only form an rapid conversion of the unfettered repreopinion by following the opinion of some sentative into the instructed delegate has body – it may be of a great party leader occurred just at the time when the House

it may be, of a small local politician - of Commons itself is beginning to feel the it may be of an organized association inevitable difficulties produced by its nu. it may be of an impersonal newspaper. merousness. Jeremy Bentham used to The process of deciding in accordance denounce the non-attendance of members with plausibilities (in the strict sense of of Parliament at all sittings as a grave this last word) goes on over an enormous abuse ; but it now appears that the scanty area, growing, ever more confused and attendance of members, and the still capricious, and giving results even more scantier participation of most of them in


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debate, were essential to the conduct of to say aye or no to the question whethbusiness by the House of Commons, er the law shall become operative. We which was then, as it is still, the most do not undertake to say that the expenumerous deliberative assembly in the dient has failed, but it can only be con. world. The obstruction spoken of by sidered thoroughly successful by those politicians of experience with lamentation who wish that there should be no legisla. and surprise is nothing more than a symption at all. Contrary to all expectations,* tom of the familiar disease of large gov- to the bitter disappointment of the authors erning bodies; it arises from the numbers of the Referendum, laws of the highest of the House of Commons, and from the importance, some of them openly framed variety of opinions struggling in it for for popularity, have been vetoed by the utterance. The remedies hitherto tried people after they had been adopted by the for the cure of obstruction will prove, in Federal or Cantonal Legislature. This our judgment, to be merely palliatives. result is sufficiently intelligible. It is No multitudinous assembly which seeks possible, by agitation and exhortation, to really to govern can possibly be free from produce in the mind of the average citizen it; and it will probably lead to a constitu- a vague impression that he desires a partional revolution, the House of Commons ticular change. But, when the agitation abandoning the greatest part of its legis. has settled down on the dregs, when the lative uthority to a cabinet of executive excitement has died away, when the subministers.

ject has been threshed out, when the law Another experiment, which, like the is before him with all its detail, he is sure system of representation, is founded on to find in it much that is likely to disturb the acknowledgment of fundamental diffi- his habits, his ideas, his prejudices, or his culties, has been attempted several times interests; and so, in the long run, he in our generation, though not in our coun- votes no to every proposal. The delusion try. In one of its forms, it has been that democracy, when it has once had all known as the plébiscite. A question, or things put under its feet is a progressive a series of questions, is simplified as form of government, lies deep in the much as possible, and the entire enfran- convictions of a particular political school; chised portion of the community is asked but there can be no delusion grosser. It to say aye or no to it. The zealots receives no countenance either from expe. of democracy are beginning to forget, or rience or from probability. Englishmen conveniently to put aside, the enormous in the East come into contact with vast majorities by which the French nation, populations, of high natural intelligence, now supposed to be governing itself as a to which the very notion of innovation is democracy, gave only the other day to a loathsome; and the very fact that such military despot any answer which he de populations exist, should suggest that the sired; but it may be conceded to them true difference between the East and the that the question put to the voters was not West lies merely in this, that in western honestly framed, however much it was countries there is a larger minority of simplified in form. Whether Louis Na exceptional persons who, for good reasons poleon Bonaparte should be president for or bad, have a real desire for change. life with large legislative powers? hether All that has made England famous, and he should be an hereditary emperor? all that has made England wealthy, has whether he should be allowed to divest | been the work of minorities, sometimes himself of a portion of the authority he very small ones. As has often been obhad assumed ? were not simple, but high- served, if for four centuries there had ly complex questions, incapable of be. been a very widely extended franchise ing replied to by a naked yes or no. and a very large electoral body in this But the principle of the plébiscite has country, there would have been no reforbeen engrafted on the Swiss Federal and mation of religion, no change of dynasty, Cantonal constitutions, in which it is no toleration of Dissent, not even an accu. called the referendum. Here there is no rate calendar. The threshing machine, ground for a charge of dishonesty. A the power-loom, the spinning-jenny, and new law is first thoroughly debated, voted possibly the steam-engine, would have upon, and amended, by the legislature ; been prohibited. Even in our day, vacand the debates are carried by the newspapers to every corner of Swiss territory. * What these expectations were, may be gathered But it does not coine at once into force. from the language of M. Numa Droz, quoted by M. If a certain number of citizens so desire, Referendum *j'essai le plus grandiose qu'une répub

Scherer, at p. 41 of his pamphlet. M. Droz calls the the entire electoral body is called upon lique ait jamais tenté.”

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