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be very little doubt that the secrecy of tainty and vagueness. Some persons apthe Cabinet is its strength. A great part pear to think that the House of Lords of the weaknesses of democracy spring ought not to reject or postpone a constitufrom publicity of discussion, and nobody tional measure which affects the powers who has had any share in public business of the House of Commons, or its relation can have failed to observe, that the to the constituencies, or the constituencies chances of agreement among even a small themselves. Others seem to consider that number of persons increase in nearly ex- the power of rejection might be exercised act proportion to the chances of privacy. on such a measure, if the majority by If the growth in power of the Cabinet is which it has passed the House of Comchecked, it will probably be from causes mons is small, but not it exceeds a of very recent origin. It is essentially a certain number. Lastly, little can be excommittee of the men who lead the party tracted from the language of a certain which has a majority in the House of number of controversialists, violent as it Commons. But there are signs that its is, except an opinion that the House of authority over its party is passing to other Lords ought not to do wrong, and that it committees, selected less for eminence in has done wrong on one particular occadebate and adıninistration than for the sion. adroit management of local political busi- The power of the House of Commons
over legislation, including constitutional The House of Lords, as a matter of legislation, might seem at first sight to strict law, has the right to reject or amend be complete and unqualified. Nevertheany measure which is submitted to it; less, as we have pointed out, it some nor has this legal right in either of its time ago surrendered the initiative in leg. forms been disused or abandoned, save as islation, and it is now more and more regards money bills. But it has lately surrendering the conduct of it, to the sobecome evident that, when the right is called ministers of the crown. exerted over measures amending the Con- further be observed from the language of stitution, strong differences of opinion those who, on the whole, contend for the exist as to the inode and condition of its widest extension of its powers, that a new exercise; and, as is not uncommon in theory has made its appearance, which this country, it is very difficult to gather raises a number of embarrassing questions from the violent language of the dispu- as to the authority of the House of Com. tants, whether they contend that the law mons in constitutional legislation. This should be altered, or that the exertion of is the theory of the mandate. It seems power with which they are quarrelling is to be conceded that the electoral body forbidden by usage, precedent, conven- must supply the House of Commons with tional understanding, or mere expediency: a mandate to alter the Constitution. It The varieties of doctrine are many and is asserted that a mandate to introduce wide apart. On the one hand, one ex. household suffrage into the counties was treme party compares the rejection of a given to the present House, but not a bill by the House of Lords to the veto of mandate to confer the suffrage on women. a bill by the crown; and insists that the What is a mandate? As used here, the first power should be abandoned as com- word has not the meaning which belongs pletely as the last is believed to have been to it in English, French, or Latin. We Conversely, the most influential * mem conjecture that it is a fragment of a French bers of the House of Lords allow that it phrase, mandat impératif, which means would act improperly in rejecting a con: an express direction from a constituency stitutional measure, of which the electoral which its representative is not permitted body has signified its approval by the re- to disobey, and we imagine the mutilation sult of a general election. Between these to imply that the direction may be given positions there appear to be several intero in some loose and general manner. But mediate opinions, most of them, however, in what manner? Is it meant that, if a stated in language of the utmost uncer candidate in an election address declares
that he is in favor of household suffrage or Ellenborough, from some printed, but unpublished woman suffrage, and is afterwards elected, memoirs left by Lord Broughton (Sir J. Cam Hob- he has a mandate to vote for it, but not house), and, in some degree, from Lord Malmesbury's otherwise ? And, if so, how many election recent “ Memoirs of an ex- Minister"
• Lord Salisbury strongly urged this principle upon addresses, containing such references, and the House of Lords when the bill for disestablishing how many returns, constitute a mandate to and disendowing the Established Church of Ireland
This speech probably secured the pass the entire House of Commons ? Again, ing of the bill.
assuming the mandate to have been ob
was before it.
tained, how long is it in force? The House | tract from the Constitution of the great of Commons may sit for seven years under State of New York. the Septennial Act; but the strict law has Article 13 of the Constitution of New hardly ever prevailed, and in the great York, which is still in force, runs as fol. majority of cases the House of Commons lows : has not lasted for nearly the whole period. May it give effect to its mandate in its Any amendment or amendments to this Confourth, or fifth, or sixth session, or must stitution may be proposed to the Senate and an alteration of the Constitution be the Assembly; and if the same be agreed to by a earliest measure to which a Parliament majority of the members elected to each of the commissioned to deal with it must address two Houses, such amendment or amendments itself?
shall be entered on their journals with the These unsettled questions form the sta ferred to the Legislature to be chosen at the
“yeas” and “nays" taken thereon, and re. ple of the controversy which has been next general election, and shall be published raging among us for months, but the for three months previous to the time of making prominence which they have obtained is such choice; and if, in the Legislature so next not in the very least arbitrary or acciden- chosen as aforesaid, such proposed amendment tal. The question of the amount and na- or amendments shall be agreed to by a majority ture of the notice which the electoral body of all the members elected to each House, then shall receive of an intended change in the it shall be the duty of the Legislature to subConstitution; the question whether
mit such proposed amendment or amendments
any." thing like a mandate shall be given by
to the people in such manner and at such time that body to the legislature; the question people shall approve and ratify such amend
as the Legislature shall prescribe; and if the whether existing constituencies shall have ment or amendments by a majority of the full jurisdiction over proposed constitu- electors qualified to vote for members of the tional innovation; the question of the ma. Legislature voting thereon, such amendinent jority which shall be necessary for the or amendments shall become part of the Con. decision of the legislature on a constitu. stitution. tional measure; all these questions belong
Section 2 of the article provides an alto the very essence of constitutional doc. trine. There is no one of them which is
ternative mode of amendment. peculiar to this country; what is peculiar At the general election to be held in each to this country is the extreme vagueness twentieth year), and also at such time as the with which all of them are conceived and Legislature may by law provide, the question stated. The Americans of the United "Shall there be a Convention to revise the States, feeling on all sides the strongest Constitution and amend the same ?" shall be pressure of democracy, but equipped with a decided by the electors qualified to vote for remarkable wealth of constitutional knowl- members of the Legislature, and in case a edge inherited from their forefathers, have such election shall decide in favor of a Con.
majority of the electors so qualified voting at had to take up and solve every one of vention for such purpose, the Legislature at them. We will endeavor to show what the next Session shall provide by law for the have been their methods of solution. We election of delegates to such Convention. will not go for an example to the Constitution of the United States, abounding as These provisions of the Constitution of it does in the manifold restrictions thought New York, regulating the procedure to be necessary by its framers for the purpose followed in constitutional amendments, of securing in a probably democratic soci- and therefore in measures extending or ety the self-command without which it faltering the electoral franchise, are subcould not become or remain a nation. It stantially repeated in the constitutions of will be sufficient for our object to quote nearly all the American States. Where the provisions respecting the procedure to there are variations, they are generally be followed on constitutional amends in the direction of greater stringency. ments, contained in the constitutions of The Constitution of Ohio, for example, individual States, which, we need not say, requires that there shall be at the least a can only legislate within the limits per three-fifths majority in each branch of the mitted to them by the Federal Constitu. Legislature proposing an amendment, and tion. One of the subjects, however, on a two-thirds majority is necessary if it is which the powers of the several States sought to summon a convention. When were till lately exclusive and are still most an amendment is proposed in Massachuextensive, is the franchise; and this setts, a two-thirds majority is demanded gives a peculiar value and interest to the in the lower house, and the same majority provisions which we will proceed to ex- | must be obtained in both houses before
VOL. XLVIII. 2476
the Constitution of Louisiana can be the considerations upon which it has amended. The Constitution of New Jer. turned. All of us know, for instance, that sey gives greater precision to the provis. the House of Lords has been threatened ion of the New York Constitution for the with extinction or mutilation for a certain ultimate ratification of the proposed offence. Yet when the offence is exam. amendment by the constituencies, by in. ined, it appears to consist in the violation serting, after the words “the people shall of some rule or understanding, never exratify and approve,” the words “at a spe. pressed in writing, at variance with the cial election to be held for that purpose strict law, and not perhaps construed in only.” The same constitution declares precisely the same way by any two thinkthat “no amendment shall be submitted ing men in the country. Political history to the people more than once in five shows that men have at all times quar.
and, like the constitutions of relled more fiercely about phrases and several other States, it gives no power to formulas, than even about material intersummon a revising convention.
ests; and it would seem that the discus. No doubt therefore is possible as to the sion of British constitutional legislation is mode in which these American State con distinguished from the discussion of all stitutions settle the formidable questions other legislation by having no fixed points which the discussion of the last few to turn upon, and therefore by its irrational months has shown to be unsettled in this violence. Is it therefore idle to hope that country. First of all, it is to be noted at some calmer moment - when the inthat the electoral body recognized by all evitable creation of two million more the constitutions without exception, as voters has been accomplished — we may having an exclusive jurisdiction over borrow a few of the American securities amendments of the constitution, is the against surprise and irreflection in constiexisting electoral body, and not any elec. tutional legislation, and express them with toral body of the future. Next, the most something like the American precision? ample notice is given to it that an amend. It appears to have occurred to some that ment of the constitution will be brought this would entail the cooversion of the before the next legislature which it is unwritten constitution of Great Britain called upon to choose; both branches of into a written constitution. Nothing of the outgoing legislature must rec a the kind would be needed. great part resolution with the numbers of the divi- of our constitution is already written. sion upon it, and this resolution must be Many of the powers of the crown, many published three months before a general of the powers of the House of Lords, inelection. It is quite clear, therefore, that cluding the whole of its judicial powers, the representatives chosen at this election much of the constitution of the House of will have what may be called a "man. Commons and its entire relation to the date.” The amendment must then be electoral body, have long since been deagreed to by an absolute majority of the fined by act of Parliament. There does members of both houses of the new leg. not seem to be any insuperable objection, islature; or, as is required in some first of all, to making a statutory distincStates, by a two-thirds or three-fifths ma- tion between ordinary legislation and leg, jority in both houses, or one of them. islation which in any other country would But there is a final security in addition. be called constitutional; and next, to reThe mandate must be ratified. The quiring for the last a special legislative amendment must be submitted to the procedure, intended to secure caution and people in any way which the legislature deliberation, and as near an approach to may provide; and, as is shown by the impartiality as a system of party governConstitution of New Jersey, the ratifica- ment will admit of. The alternative is to tion is usually placed in the hands of a leave unsettled all the questions which special legislature specially elected for the the recent controversy has brought to purpose of giving or refusing it.
light, and to give free play to a number of Such are the securities against surprise tendencies already actively at work. It is or haste, in conducting the most impor. quite plain whither they are conducting tant part of legislation, which may very us. We are drifting towards a type of well suggest to the English politician government associated with terrible some serious reflections, What has been events - a single assembly, armed with most remarkable in the recent discussion, full powers over the constitution, which it has been, far less the violent and inflam. may exercise at pleasure. It will be a matory language in which it has been car- theoretically all.powerful convention, govried on, than the extreme vagueness of | erned by a practically all-powerful secret
committee of public safety, but kept from behind says to himself, “My mother is complete submission to its authority by more beautiful than ever.” obstruction, for which its rulers are always Checco is not at all like "handsome seeking to find a remedy in some kind of Camilla," as his mother is called. He is moral guillotine.
a long, thin lad of sixteen, who has out. grown his strength; his arms look too long, and his hands and feet are bony
and awkward. He is not ugly, he has From Belgravia.
his mother's beautiful blue-black hair; his
clear, olive skin looks healthy, and his CHECCO.
honest dark eyes glisten with feeling; but
he seems sad, and the corners of his red That old bronze pope has been sitting lips are drawn down with a hopeless exenthroned just opposite the Cathedral of pression, quite out of keeping with his Perugia for more than three hundred age. years. One hand is outstretched towards He walks behind his mother, but as the piazza in the act of blessing the noisy she reaches the bottoin of the steps he crowd that daily assembles beneath, and comes up with her and as he walks beside as you look at the sagacious old face you her, a button of his dark coat catches in fancy that the expression varies. In the her mantilla. morning it beams on the market-sellers as Camilla's eyes flash and her heavy eye. they spread out their quaint wares on the brows meet in a frown as she puts her hot stones below; but at eventide it looks hand to her head: pensive, more in keeping with the grass. Checco, stupid ! see what you have grown street behind it, and the old grey done - almost pulled my head off. Dio! palaces that surround the piazza.
you are too awkward; how is it possible On this summer Sunday evening the that I," she goes on, while she arranges pope looks cheerful. The corso in front ber mantilla with infinite grace,
can be of the cathedral is thronged; groups of the mother of so awkward a child !” gaily dressed women are walking up and She is not looking at Checco. down fanning themselves, they stop now His hopeless face has drooped into a and then to greet neighbors, they make look of misery, his head sinks upon his the warm air merry with chat and laughter. chest, his hands tremble as they vainly The younger women are almost all hand try to undo the mischief he has niade, bis soine,
and those who wear graceful black eyes even cringe as be mutters a timid lace mantillas look far more picturesque apology, but Camilla can only see her than others with conventional hats and injured lace – for the button has made a bonnets. Here and there a man is to be hole in it; she knocks Checco's knuckles seen among the women, but usually the sharply with her red fan:men stand apart and talk together at the “Do leave it alone, your clumsy fingers street corners. About half a dozen officers make it worse ; it is quite true that you in brilliant uniforms swagger up and down are more than useless, and Beppino says the corso and stare and smile at the pret. so.” tiest girls, who smile back in return and At the name Beppino Checco's face show their white teeth and fan themselves changes. He holds up his head proudly more vigorously still.
and one sees how tall he is and how Here comes a reinforcement to the broad his shoulders are when he does not crowd. Service is over, and a stream of draw them together in the ungainly way people pours down the cathedral steps be. he did just now; his eyes brighten with a side the emerald-green pope. Soon the glow that makes them not unlike his stream lessens, and only twos and threes mother's. trickle down the steps. Now comes a “Mother," he says, in a dull, hard tall, dark-eyed woman, with a brilliant voice; “never mind what Beppino says, complexion and scarlet lips — perhaps he is not my father; you have a right to her nose is too broad and her mouth blame me, my mother.” rather wide, but she has a winning smile His face lights up with the loving glance in spite of the pride in her dark, glowing he bends on her; he is hungering for a eyes; she moves superbly and her figure kind word. But Camilla looks straight is perfect. She comes out of church fan. before her; she is either asraid to trust ning herself with a big scarlet fan, and as her own feelings, or else Checco's face she bows carelessly in answer to an old does not please her. He inclines to the woman's greeting, the tall lad who walks | latter opinion, and the light in his eyes
grows dim with tears he can hardly keep away to his farm among the hills; it from falling.
would have been harder for him if he had “ Any other boy,” Camilla says in an known how willingly his mother gave him ill-used voice, “would call his mother's up. It is true Camilla cried and sobbed, husband father. He has been your and told her brother-in-law she must give father six months; you are very unkind up the carpenter's business; but she add. only to call him Beppino.”
ed she was not fit to train a rough boy of Checco's head has drooped again; he eleven, and she implored Luigi to teach is silent.
Checco how to earn a living. “If he did not make me a good hus- So Luigi took the lad away and taught band, I could understand it,” Camilla goes him to work hard in the fields, and in the on; “but see how loving he is and how winter months sent him to school. Checco handsome and graceful. Ah! if you were rarely saw his mother; when she did come only like him."
to the farm the lad thought she looked as Checco is silent still. By this time sweet and as lovely as the Madonna herthey have crossed the piazza in front of self. the cathedral and turn towards home. One day about six months ago news The lad feels he will not have to endure came to the farm that Camilla was going this misery much longer.
to marry Beppino, a young brazier of Checco rarely goes out with his mother. Perugia. Poor Checco wrote her an illTo-day his stepfather had toothache and spelt, tear-stained letter; he begged her declared he could not leave the house, so not to marry a man younger than she was, the lad had the enjoyment of going alone but to let him go home and take care of with bis mother. It is true that she has her. contrived more than once to soub him, This made Camilla furious, and she did but the pleasure of being with her has not ask Checco to the wedding. She made him very happy. He has been able was much more in love with her handto render her little services too: some some young Beppino than she had ever one knocked her fan off the prayer-desk been with gentle, grey haired Francesco. at which she knelt, and when Checco Three months later when Luigi died and picked it up again he was rewarded by a Beppino said the lad would be useful to sweet smile.
him in his work, Camilla summoned her This rare bit of sunshine has made up boy home against her will. His appear. for many previous snubs, and as he came ance took her by surprise — he had grown down the cathedral steps Checco had very fast of late, and Camilla had been counted on a happy walk home with his trying to persuade her new husband that adored mother, and on, perhaps, a peace. she was about his owo age. When she ful evening. Now his wretched awkward saw the tall, awkward lad come in she felt Dess has spoilt all.
that that delusion was at an end. Past the east end of the cathedral they “He was not so big and old-looking turn under a tall archway, grey with age. when I last saw him,” she said to her Within it are two more arches with an husband as soon as Checco left them tocient houses above them; beyond, a dark gether. street goes down steeply from the outer Beppino smiled contemptuously. archway this street is so narrow and “So long as the fellow can work," he has such tall houses on each side that the said, " I care nothing about looks.” sun seldom looks in at their windows. At which poor vain Camilla bit her lips
Checco is thinking of the happy life he with vexation. It did not trouble her how led in this same grey street with his kind, much her cold reception had wounded and middle-aged father, Francesco the carpen: disheartened her loving child; Checco had ter, and his gay young mother, that beau come home bent on showing his mother tiful Camilla beside whom he is walking the affection with which his heart was To Checco his mother will always be brimming over, and her coldness stupefied beautiful, and in the idolatry with which him; he had no spirit left to meet the hs regards her, it seems to him that he is indifferent greeting bestowed on him by to blame in the troubles that are now so her husband, and he showed himself at frequent.
his very worst. He firmly believes that in those happy Beppino was handsome and well-made days, she was always a kind and loving and the best dancer in Perugia; and he mother.
was fully aware of his own merits and It was a hard trial to the boy when his personal advantages. He was not clever, father died and his uncle Luigi took him but he bad that cold sagacity which is