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Need of Ex-Officio Seats.

But for those officials whom it was necessary to have in Parliament, both to afford needful explanations, and to defend-as only those actually engaged can fully defend-the conduct and measures of the administration, ex officio seats should be provided. There really is no reasonable objection that we can divine to such an obvious and simple solution of the difficulty; nor have we ever heard any urged. Not being Peers, they would of course have no votes in the House of Lords; not being elected by the people, they would of course have no votes in the House of Commons: the prerogative of neither House of Parliament would be in the slightest degree infringed. Her Majesty would simply be provided with an indispensable medium of communication with her "faithful Commons," and her "trusty and well-beloved cousins." But the proposition is not only indefeasibly reasonable: what is a consideration of far greater weight with John Bull, it is strictly according to, and within precedent.

The Queen can already, of her own free will, place any one she pleases in the House of Peers, not only for a time, but for ever, not only with the right of speech, but with the complete and entire privileges of the peerage. Our proposition does not go nearly this length: it gives the Queen no powers half so extensive as those she already wields. With regard to the House of Commons, it surely cannot be forgotten that up to the period of the first Reform Bill, the Crown possessed the power (with great additions) which we now propose to bestow upon it: there were a certain number of Government boroughs to the representation of which the Sovereign could at once nominate any minister she might please to appoint. In neither quarter, therefore, is our suggestion open to the charge of innovation. The amendment would be strictly in conformity with the spirit of the constitution. It would still, as now, be in the power of either House of Parliament to declare its want of confidence in the Administration, and in case of necessity to compel the Crown to change it, by withholding the necessary supplies. But it would enable the Queen to do that which the Constitution of the Realm declares to be her undoubted prerogative-viz., to select her own ministers-more effectually than at present: it would put it out of the power of any single capricious or sinister constituency to annul the appointment of the Crown and it would no longer confine Her Majesty's choice within the narrow circle of those who are wealthy enough to adventure on a Parliamentary career, ambitious enough to rush voluntarily into the popular arena, rich enough to buy a close borough, or hardy enough to contest an open one. It would carry out the intention of our fundamental statutes, and make this part of our boasted constitution a reality and not a sham.





But something more than this would be required. It can have escaped the attention of none who have long watched the management of public affairs in this country, that much mischief arises, and much more is permitted to continue, in consequence of the entire absorption of the time and strength of all our ministers with the daily and indispensable business of their several departments. Their whole energy is barely adequate to do what must be done, and to meet what must be met. Sufficient, and more than sufficient, to each day is the evil and the labour thereof. They are obliged to postpone, and put aside everything that is not urgent and clamorous for attention. They are wholly without the leisure either of time or mind, to take a deliberate and comprehensive survey of the several changes or amendments which the public service needs, but does not demand. They cannot dive deeply into the maladies of the nation, or the tendencies of the times. Not only can they not calmly and profoundly study what is for the public good, but they have scarcely even time carefully to examine the wisest schemes, and the most beneficial proposals which are made to them. Thus all the rich suggestions with which official experience and insight must be laden are profitless, or nearly so, to them and to their country. They wait to propose what is needful, and to grapple with what is intolerable, till the nation discovers what their greater opportunities must have made known to them for years, and becomes so clamorous on the subject, as to render it the most important and pressing matter of the day. Then, and not till then, it is attended to. And then, being taken up under the influence of "pressure from without," it is too commonly dealt with ignorantly, hastily, and clumsily. Instances might be specified without number: we will confine ourselves to one. For many years our entire system of dealing with the criminal population has been in a position fitted to engage the most anxious attention of any wise and far-seeing statesman. Crime has been increasing, and the means of directly dealing with it have been diminishing. One or other branch of the subject has excited in its turn a partial and passing public interest, and something has been done, but done carelessly, unsystematically, and empirically. An outcry was raised against capital punishments; and capital punishments were virtually abolished. Much indignation was excited about the state of the prisons; and prison inspectors were appointed. The system of transportation was vehemently denounced; and the Government proclaimed their determination to abandon it. Benevolent people declared that criminals should be regarded rather as unfortunate men who had been misled, and ought to be pitied and reformed, than as public enemies and dangers against which the nation had to be protected; and, ac

Suggestion as to unrecognised Statesmen.


cordingly, the Government have done their best to pet prisoners and "make them comfortable." Thus, the whole matter has got into an inextricable mess. We may not hang malefactors; we may not transport them; we may not even punish them with due severity at home. We may not make prisons the effective penitentiaries they ought to be, because the country would not bear the cost of its own maudlin tenderness for guilt, or because, at least, ministers think so, and, therefore, dare not apply to Parliament for the necessary funds. Public and magisterial feeling shrinks from condemning infant criminals to the hardening and corrupting influence of adult gaols; yet, nothing is done to provide juvenile and reformatory ones, because the public has not demanded them, and we have no statesman to forestall what is not demanded. And we have thousands of our youthful population annually educated into crime as a most lucrative profession; yet we do not boldly stop this fertile source of suffering and perplexity, by taking them at once out of the hands of their educators, because we are not yet prepared to interfere with "the liberty of the subject," or to rescue children from parents who are training them for hell! The whole awful question-so momentous when looked at both from the moral and the political point of view-is suffered to drift on, waiting till it shall "resolve itself," because our ministers have neither strength, genius, nor leisure, for the discharge of real statesmanlike functions, and because we have not yet gathered to the service of the country the men qualified to supply their deficiencies.

A very simple remedy might be found by allowing to each of the chief officers of State a sort of unofficial council in the background, to assist and advise him in matters relating to his special department, the members of which, three or four in number, he would be at liberty to choose from any quarter and any class, and to remunerate in such a manner as to enable him to command the fittest minds the country could afford. Their functions should be to examine into the wants of the nation with a profoundness, and to deliberate on remedial measures with a care, which the routine and heavy duties of their chief make impossible for him; to consider suggestions; to prepare plans; to regard permanent ameliorations rather than temporary expedients; and generally to be to their principal a secret and reliable supply of that Statesmanship, which is eminently needed, but which a life of incessant activity and antagonism effectually forbids. The country, duly searched, could furnish numbers of men, admirably fitted for such functions,-men aloof from and above the strife and turmoil of party; thoroughly acquainted with the temper of the nation as well as with its wants; with minds inured to labour, trained to political and historical investigations and en

riched by the studies of ancient and modern wisdom; enlarged, sober, and philosophic; and bringing to their task an independence of feeling, a comprehensiveness of view, and a passionless serenity of judgment, which those engaged in the rough warfare of the political arena can never attain.

We are glad to be able to confirm our views by those of a writer long engaged in official life himself, and accustomed to look beyond the claims and interests of the passing hour. Mr. Taylor says:

"Further, it is one business to do what must be done, another to devise and do what ought to be done. It is in the spirit of the British government as hitherto existing, to transact only the former business; and the reform which it requires is to enlarge that spirit so as to include the latter. Of and from among those measures which are forced upon him, to choose that which will bring him the most credit with the least trouble, has hitherto been the sole care of a statesman in office ;-and as a statesman's official establishment has been heretofore constituted, it is care enough for any man. Every day, every hour, has its exigencies, its immediate demands; and he who has hardly time to eat his meals, cannot be expected to occupy himself in devising good for mankind.

"I am aware that under popular institutions, there are many measures of exceeding advantage to the people, which it would be in vain for the minister to project until the people, or an influential portion of them, should become apprized of the advantage, and should ask for it; many which can be carried only by overcoming resistance; much resistance only to be overcome with the support of popular opinion and general solicitude for the object. And, looking no further, it might seem that what is not immediately called for by the public voice was not within the sphere of practical dealing. But I am also aware, that in the incalculable extent and multifarious nature of the public interests which lie open to the operations of a statesman in this country, one whose faculties should be adequate would find in every month he should devote to the search, measures of great value and magnitude, which time and thought only were wanting to render practicable.

"He would find them-not certainly by shutting himself up in his closet, and inventing what had not been thought of before-but by holding himself on the alert; by listening with all his ears (and he should have many ears abroad in the world) for the suggestions of circumstances; by catching the first moment of public complaint against real evil, encouraging it, and turning it to account ;- . . Such means and projects will suggest themselves in abundance to one who meditates the good of mankind, sagacious of his quarry from afar,'-but not to a minister whose whole soul is and must be in the notices of motions, and in the order-book of the House of Commons, and who has no one behind to prompt him to other enterprise, no closet or office-statesman for him to fall back upon as upon an inner mind.

"This then is the great evil and want-that there is not within the

Supply of Statesmen in the Country.

pale of our Government any adequately numerous body of efficient statesmen, some to be externally active and answer the demands of the day, others to be somewhat more retired and meditative, in order that they may take thought for the morrow. How great the evil of this want is, it may require peculiar opportunities of observation fully to understand and feel; but one who with competent knowledge, should consider well the number and magnitude of those measures which are postponed for years or totally pretermitted, not for want of practicability, but for want of time and thought; one who should proceed with such knowledge to consider the great means and appliances of wisdom which lie scattered through this intellectual country,-squandered upon individual purposes, not for want of applicability to national ones, but for want of being brought together and directed; one who, surveying these things with a heart capable of a people's joys and sorrows, their happy virtue or miserable guilt on these things dependent, should duly estimate the abundant means unemployed and the exalted aims unaccomplished,-could not choose, I think, but say that there must be something fatally amiss in the very idea of statesmanship on which our administration is based, or that there must be some mortal apathy at what should be the very centre and seat of life in a country.


"Yet such is the prevalent insensibility to that which constitutes the real treasures and resources of the country-its serviceable and statesmanlike minds-and so far are men in power from searching the country through for such minds, or men in Parliament from promoting or permitting the search, that I hardly know if that minister has existed in the present generation, who, if such a mind were casually presented to him, would not forego the use of it, rather than hazard a debate in the House of Commons upon an additional item in his estimates! Yet till the government of this country shall become a nucleus at which the best wisdom in the country contained shall be perpetually forming itself in deposit, it will be, except as regards the shuffling of power from hand to hand and class to class, little better than a government of fetches, shifts, and hand-to-mouth expedients."-The Statesman, p. 156.

When the Government has been thus empowered to call to its aid all the administrative and statesmanlike capacity of the country, it will be for the country to see that this capacity is so summoned to the rescue; that no official indolence or jealousy, no aristocratic prepossessions, no shallow or shortsighted economy, shall prevent its being so summoned. Thenceforth it will be the nation's fault, if the nation be ill-governed, or governed by its narrower and scantier minds. Thenceforth we may hope to see the dawning of a new legislative and administrative era for our country. Of one thing we may feel quite secure-that if all the superior floating political genius of the country be not arrayed in the service of Government, it will assuredly be arrayed against it; if it be not obtained as a coadjutor and ally, it will make itself felt as an

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