Prince Cousoit, however, as he did not book because its author is a ridiculous felreign, was supposed to be ambitious of low ; Lord Melbourne's precept was necesgoverning; and his intervention in public sary for his own guidance, for he was a affairs by speech or action was childishly great reader, and to him all authors were resepted.

ridiculous fellows. Parodying his remark, In the five-and-thirty years which have we may say that it is not safe to neglect a passed since the Prince Consort spoke, a revolution even though it occurs in Brazil. considerable change has come over public According to the version which first feeling ; not the House of Commons, but reached Europe, an Emperor who had the Monarchy is on its trial, and the Mon- done nothing wrong, a plant-collecting archy is on its trial before the House of and beetle-bunting Emperor, an Emperor Commons. In the debates of last Session fond of dabbling in the smells and exploon the Royal Grants, Mr. Gladstone alone, sions which to soine people make up ex. of that party which deems that it has a perimental chemistry, a reforming and monopoly of a near and long future, spoke Constitution observing Emperor to boot, with any recognition of the part played was suddenly told to " move on and get by the Monarchy in the political life of out of this,” put on board a ship, and England ; and Mr. Gladstone, to whom, sent across the seas. When, on Napoin the natural course of things, not many leon's proclamation that the House of years of the long future of Liberal ascen. Braganza had ceased to reign in Portugal, dency can be granted, carried with him the Royal Family proceeded to the port of into the Ministerial lobby only a handful Lisbon, they were accompanied by a weepof personal adherents.' Polite phrases ing crowd. The people of Rio Janeiro were used by Mr. Labouchere's supporters parted from their Emperor with less dem. on the front Opposition bench, which, onstration of emotion than they would however, amounted to little more than have shown to a popular actress or musicveiled good wishes for a peaceful Euthan- ball entertainer, He was left off like a asia. The Monarchy is dying. Long live suit of clothes which was worn out or had the Monarch. Te morituram salutamus. become unfashionable. Brazil was tired

It is possible that that Liberal party of of being an Empire, and wanted to be a the future which is dreamed of, may not Republic. As the Elders of Israel sudcome to birth at all, or that the parturient denly discovered that they must have a Radical mountain may bring forth only a king like the nations around them, so the

The course which will be taken generals and politicians of Brazil have disby the newly enfranchised electors, who, covered that they must have a President if they are of one mind and choose to ex- like the nations around them. ercise the power they have, are the masters This sudden dying out of the monarchiof England, is at present only a matter of cal sentiment, its extinction by atrophy, speculation, of hope and fear.

What an

is the wonder of the thing. Other monancient writer says of war is as true of archs have been deposed because they opDemocracy, that it seldom adheres to the pressed their subjects, or resisted their rules laid down for it, but strikes out a will, or were centres of strife. But the path for itself when the time comes. But Empire had kept Brazil together. The though one thing only is certain, that the Portuguese are not a race superior to the future will be unlike what any one expects, Spanish, yet, alone of the Americans of though events will take their own course, Latin blood, their state during seventy and will decline to be driven and pulled years was free from civil war or social disaside by whips and wire-pullers, instru- order. The Emperor was ready to do ments surely too ignoble for Providence everything he was asked to do, even to or even a self-respecting Destiny to em- going away when he was asked to go away. ploy, it does not do to be indifferent to The fact is, I imagine, that by one of the turn which attempts are made to give those secret transformations of feeling them. Still less is it safe to neglect more which go on for a long time without general tendencies, which are real and emerging into distinct consciousness, even operative, though they may be counter- in the minds of those subject to them, and acted by others working in a different di- then declare themselves suddenly and with rection, Lord Melbourne Jays down the a strange simultaneousness, the idea of doctrine that it is not safe to despise a monarchy had become in Brazil slightly



ridiculous, the Emperor had become an in- of a month's wages or a month's warn-
congruity, and out of relations with his ing.
place and time. And, though epigrams Not merely baronetcies and Cumberland
do not kill, a general sense of the absurd- estates, but human nature itself, we may
ity of an institution may be fatal to it remind Sir Wilfrid Lawson in passing, are
without expressing itself in a single epi. hereditary institutions. Mental qualities,

The feeling may be unreasonable, habits, and capacities are transmitted ; and the institution may have a rational basis, men whose fathers have for generations but, in a conflict between feeling and fact, followed the same pursuits are likely to be the fact will get the worst of it.

more proficient in them than those who There are traces here and there in Eng- enter from different spheres. Allowance land of the sentiment which, politically must of course be made for exceptional speaking, killed the Emperor of Brazil. cases of incapacity on the one side and In the debate on the Royal Grants, a mem- capacity on the other, for the growth of ber who is popular, if popularity is to be new ability and the decline of old. Acjudged of by escorting and shouting cording to the modern theory, certain crowds, suggested that it would be desir- qualities become embedded in the organiable to terminate the engagement of the zation and are transmitted along with it. Royal Family at the death of the Queen, In each man, so to speak, all his ancestors to declare that the throne was vacant, and reside, and what is individual and special that there was no intention of filling it to him is the smallest part of the total life up. Sir Wilfrid Lawson, who is some

he bears about with him. In this sense times witty and always jocose, bas im- Heine's lines are not trueproved on the idea. Enraptured with the

“ Es bleiben todt die Todten, cashiering of an Emperor in Brazil, wbich

Und nur der Lebendiger lebt." he apparently looks on as Fox looked on the taking of the Bastille, as much the On the contrary, the dead are more alive greatest event that ever happened in this than the living. Moreover, the circumworld, he proposes that a shorter shrift stances anid which the heir to a kingdom shall be given to monarchy than Mr. grows up give him at least the opportunity Cony beare was willing to allow it. He is of being acquainted with conceptions of for, in future, engaging kings and ern- government and policy. The talk about perors on the terms of a month's warning him may often, and must sometimes, be or a month's wages.

He thinks it a of these things, as the talk of graziers is grand idea“ that since the fall of the Bra. of bullocks and fairs, and of grocers of zilian Empire the new world, from the sugar, and possibly of sand. Franklin frozen north to the sunny south, is with. used to say that an hereditary legislator out a king or emperor, one hereditary was as great an absurdity as an hereditary grand duke or hereditary humbug of any mathematician ; anybody who will look kind.” Emperors and monarchs are put in Mr. Douglas Galton's book on herediup by people who have not the sense to tary genius will find that hereditary mathesee the uselessness of them, and children maticians are not absolutely unknown in will some day ask, “What was a king, history. In truth, the speculations and mamma ?”' and will be told that kings lived researches of Darwin and his predecessors in the dark ages, but had disappeared. and followers deprive the Franklin Lawson Even Mr. Gladstone, while suspending doctrine of the axiomatic truthfulness judgment on the merit of the revolution, which was once attributed to it, and if and eulogizing the character of Dom Pe- they do not reverse it, yet very gravely dro, expresses satisfaction at the example qualify it. which has been given of revolution made But a view may be true without being easy, and holds up the Brazilian short popular, and if monarchical government way with monarchs for approval, in com- ceases to appeal to the imagination and to parison with the long and bloody strife of justify iteelf to the common-sense of men, former times. Formerly anti-monarchical converts will not be made out of Darwin sentiment expressed itself in the fervent and Galton. Jacobin aspiration that the last king might For a long time we have heard of the be strangled in the bowels of the last decline of the monarchical sentiment. priest. ; Now it takes the mild form Mr. Lecky, whose“ History of England in the Eighteenth Century'' is more alive House of Lancaster, the victory of the with thought than any contemporary work adopted representative of John of Gaunt's of the same class, making it a storehouse line over the last of the reigning descendof political reflection on which students ants of Lionel Duke of Clarence—the and politicians may draw, traces this de- Lambert Simnel, Perkin Warbeck, and cline back to the early years of the eigh- Richard Wilford conspiracies of Henry teenth century. The number of disputed VII.'s reign, involving the unhappy Earl titles to the various European thrones, in of Warwick, son of the ill-fated Clarence, his view, contributed much to weaken rev. in a common doom with two of these coun. erence for kings. Its decline forms, he terfeit princes; the real or imaginary consays, one of the most remarkable political spiracies and the death on the scaffold of characteristics of the eighteenth century. nobles of royal lineage and royal ambition, The thrones of England and Spain, of De la Pole, Duke of Suffolk and Strafford, Tuscany and Parma, the electoral crown Duke of Buckingham, and Margaret Counof Poland and the succession to the throne tess of Salisbury, under Henry VIII. ; of the young and, as it was thought, mori- the brief mock-queendom of Lady Jane bund king of France, were all disputed. Grey, and the dangers which beset the Mr. Lecky assumes as a cause what is not life of the Princess Elizabeth under Queen a true cause. A disputed title to an estate Mary ; the Norfolk and Babington condoes not involve or tend to produce a spiracies under Elizabeth ; the pretensions weakened sense of the sanctity of prop- of Philip of Spain, who claimed the throne erty. Just as little does a disputed title not merely as his wife's heir, but as the to a kingdom involve or tend to produce a descendant of John of Gaunt, the Spanish decline of monarchical sentiment. Rather Armada being quite as much a dynastic it assumes monarchy as an institution fixed as a religious enterprise ; the more formidand unassailable, though there may be in- able pretensions of Mary Stuart—all these certainty as to the individual monarch. things show that insecurity of title, and The question, “ Under which king ?”. im- the fact, or constantly apprehended danplies that there is no question of anybody ger, of wars of succession, run through but a king. Respect for the office is not English history, from the Battle of Hastnecessarily impaired because there is doubtings to the accession of the first of the as to the person.

Stuart kings, from the eleventh century to If this had been otherwise-if the sta- the seventeenth. bility of monarchy had depended on the The intervals of undisturbed possession stability of the thrones of individual kings and peace were comparatively rare and -it could scarcely have existed in Eng- short. The doctrine of hereditary right land. It would certainly have disappeared was very loosely held ; it inferred merely long before the Commonwealth.

a preferential title, and was subject to the flict between the House of Hanover and most fantastic evasions. The younger the House of Stuart was not the first, but sons of William I. succeeded, in disregard the last, of a long series of struggles be- of the claims of their elder brother. tween kings in possession and pretenders Henry I., indeed, affected to base bis to the throne. The history of England, claims to the throne on the fact that, so far as it is a bistory of the kings of though not the eldest son of the Duke of England, is an almost continuous record Normandy, he was the eldest son of the of wars of succession, in the open field or king of England, being alone born after by secret conspiracy, from the Norman William I.'s accession. John's title was Conquest to the Rebellion of 1745. The in derogation of the claim of the son of conflict between William I. and Elarold, his elder brother. Henry VIII., with the between the sons of the Conqueror, be- authorization of his Parliament, made a tween Stephen and Maud, between Henry testamentary disposition of the Crown, II. and his children, between Richard and entailing it, as if it had been a landed John, and John and Arthur, between estate, after his son, upon his two daughRichard II. and Bolingbroke, between ters, both of whom could not be legitimate. Henry IV. and the partisans of the Earl Edward VI. attempted by his "plan" of March, the Wars of the Roses, setting to set aside this settlement in favor of on the throne three kings of the House of Lady Jane Grey, on the ground of the York in sequence to three kings of the bastardy of both his sisters. Under Eliza

The con


by Act

beth, an Act of Parliament made guilty tify divine right with hereditary title, in of treason any one who should declare any which they were lacking. Elizabeth, inparticular person, other than the natural deed,'during the Essex rebellion, is said to issue of the Queen's body, to be entitled have detected incentives to sedition in the to the throne. The hereditary title, on story of Bolingbroke's adventure, and to the Queen's death without children, was have exclaimed, “Know ye not that I am in the House of Suffolk, the descendants Richard II. ?” But if we are to suppose of Henry VIII.'s elder daughter, and, on that Shakespeare was writing as a politi. grounds of policy, they were set aside for cian and not as a poet, it must be kept in the Stuart family. An hereditary title to mind that his politics, if they were not, the throne is firmly established

as is sometimes contended, those of the of Parliament, in the descendants of the House of Lancaster, were certainly in sucElectress Sophia ; but the principle in its cession those of the Houses of Tudor and strongest form dates from the eighteenth Stuart, whose title was through the House century, in which it is strangely said to of Lancaster. Till near the close of the have been impaired. There seems to be fourteenth century of our history, the doclittle ground for contending that in Eng- trine that the king never dies, expressed land the monarch was ever held to rule by in the formula of the French monarchy, divine right, at least by any other divine “ The king is dead ; long live the king, right than that which sees the benediction did not prevail. The reign of the new of Heaven in actual possession : beati pos- monarch was supposed to begin, not on sidentes. It was not much heard of till the day of what is now called his accesthe accession of James-I., and was used sion, but on the day of his coronation ; by him to supplement a notorious defect the interval between the two was often a of hereditary title, which he was unwilling lawless anarchy, and the king's peace died to strengthen by an acknowledgment that with him. The inconvenience which this he owed his throne to election by the na- state of things produced when any considtion, The fact is that James I. was King erable interval elapsed between the death of England by a kind of adoption, not al. of the king and his coronation made it together dissimilar to that which prevailed necessary to adopt the system which recogunder the Roman Empire, and with the nizes no interregnum. But the older usage working of which M. Renan is so well shows that the divine right of the king, pleased that he would like to see it intro- so far as it existed, was in the office, and duced into the public law of modern Eu- not in the person ; that it was conferred, rope. The extreme doctrine of divine not by hereditary title, but by popular right which Shakespeare puts into the election and divine sanction, by the acclamouth of Richard II. is an anachronism. mations of the people, whose voice was, It belong's not to the fourteenth century, in his case at least, recognized as the voice but in germ perhaps to the closing years of God, by coronation and the consecratof the sixteenth and the commencement ing balm. It was the anointed king, the of the seventeenth, to the Tudors and deputy elected of the Lord, who ruled, Stuarts ; and not to the Plantagenets. In and not the inheritor by rule of birth, the words :

though the two qualifications usually co-“Not all the water in the wide rough

hered in the same person.

If, therefore, the monarchical sentiment Can wash the balm from an anointed king ; in England is impaired, its enfeeblement The breath of worldly men cannot depose

cannot be attributed to the decay of ideas The deputy elected by the Lord

which never had any hold of the national it is noticeable that it is not the hereditary mind. The superstition of divine right title, but election by the Lord, the con- and of an absolutely indefeasible hereditary secrating balm and not primogeniture and title was never a popular superstition. It rule of birth, on which an inalienable right was a kingly belief in the mind of James is based. So in Hamlet, the usurper and I., a bookish theory with Sir Robert murderer, Claudius avows himself safe in Filmer and Sir George Mackenzie, survivthe shelter of that divinity which doth so ing from the Stuart period to that of the hedge a king that treason can but peep to House of Hanover in " Old Shippen,” and what it will. A subject and courtier of in the eccentric and learned John Reeves. Elizabeth and of James I. could not iden- It was a royal dream, a clerical dcgma, a



university thesis, an antiquarian crotchet, of the Swiss Republic) is chosen for his a legal pedantry, a branch of political yearly term by the Federal Assembly. speculation ; but it was never the belief The elected head of the State, the Prime of the English nation. It sprang first, as Minister, chooses his colleagues, who are I have before said, out of James I.'s de- roughly designated for him by the position sire to find another than a popular title to they have attained in the House of Combis thrope, and was strengthened by re

The Queen's business in the mataction from the Parliamentary triumph ter, allowing a certain margin for those over Charles I., from the Protectorate, personal accommodations, that reciprocal from the Exclusion Bill, and from the give and take, without which neither life Declaration of Rights and the Act of Set- in general, nor that particular. branch of tlement. The theories of De Maistre and life called government, can be carried on, Bonald bad the same counter-revolutionary was simply that of graceful acquiescence. origin in France. In England the doc- In the main this may be a true account trine bas seldom been more than militant, of the matter, though it had not even, an affair of the closet and pulpit, of the when Mr. Bagehot wrote, quite the nov. university cloister or the lawyer's cham- elty which he and his critics fancied. Lord ber, at most of the political pamphleteer Macanlay and many lesser writers had said and the Opposition leader. The royalist it all before. What Mr. Bagehot did was superstition has disappeared, but not neces- to restate what were then, and had long sarily with it the monarchical sentiment. been, the commonplaces of constitutional

Some change has, however, come over doctrine with a freshness and kecnness of it even within the present generation, or style and a copiousness of piquant illustraduring a yet shorter period, as any one tion which gave them the aspect of dismay convince himself who will turn over coveries, almost of revelations. His art the pages of the late Mr. Bagebot's book was akin to that of the careful housewife on "The English Constitution." When in Burns's poem, whose skill gar’d the old that little volume appeared, now about clothes look almost as good as new. Rather twenty years ago, it was received by many he dressed the old truth in new clothes, persons as a sort of revelation of the real and the tailor got the credit of having nature of the institutions under which we made the man.

But the truih was not to live. Other writers had been detained in be disclosed beyond the sacred but limited the outskirts of the temple ; he had pene. circle of the initiated who read Mr. Bagetrated to its inmost shrine, and drawn hot's essays as they originally appeared in tbence the life of the building. They had the Fortnightly Review, or in the volume heen engaged in the forms; he bad reached in which they were afterward collected. the substance. They had entangled them- According to Mr. Bagehot, the poorest selves in the mechanism ; he had laid bare and most ignorant classes in his time really the very pulse of the machine. “The believed that the Queen governed. The secret of Mr. Bagehot" was this : that the separation of principal power from princiEnglish monarchy, in the character which pal station is a refinement, he says, beyond it had assumed during the present reign, their power of conception. They fancy was a disguise for hiding the real elective they are governed by an hereditary Queen, character of the English Constitution. a Queen by the grace of God, when they The House of Commons was, of course, are really governed by a Cabinet and a openly elected by the constituencies. Min- Parliament, men like themselves, chosen isters were nominally appointed by the by themselves." I doubt whether, even Crown, but they were really chosen by in the politically distant period at which Parliament. The statesman who possessed and of which Mr. Bagehot wrote, this dein a higher degree than any other the con- scription was true. The poorest and most fidence of the party which had a majority ignorant classes, strictly speaking, probin the House of Commons was practically ably never troubled themselves as to how elected by that party to the Premiership they were governed at all. Their specu—that is, to the real, though temporary, lations and imagination did not travel bechieftainship of the State—as certainly yond their experience, which was restricted though not so formally as the President io the policeman at the street corner and of the Federal Council in Switzerland (who the magistrate at petty or quarter sessions. is not, as he is commonly called, President The needy knife-grinder represents their

« VorigeDoorgaan »