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which the most important reforms are endangered, drives from politics the very class whose co-operation is most valuable, and exposes every nation in which it exists to the opposite evils of despotism and anarchy. Political liberty, whether in Parliament or in the press, is only safe and permanently possible when oppositions are content to act within the lines of the Constitution and the limits of the law, and the amount of freedom which any nation can endure is measured much less by its positive civilisation and intelligence, than by the weakness of the element of anarchy that is within it.
There are also other evils, if possible more serious, which follow in the train of revolutions. Every deposed dynasty has its devoted followers, and the nation is thus cursed with the calamity of a disputed succession, which often leads to civil war, and always makes it impossible for the Government to command the whole national energies in great emergencies of the State. No other influence is so fatal to the spirit of patriotism. Through hostility to the Government a large proportion of the heroism, fidelity, and devotion of the nation is permanently alienated from its affairs, and forms a clear deduction from its strength. Subjects learn to look with indifference or complacency upon the disasters of their country, and to throw perpetual obstacles in the course of its policy. Ruders learn to pursue two policies-a national one intended to benefit the nation, and a dynastic one intended to benefit themselves. It was the great merit of the conciliatory policy of Walpole that it saved England during the period of its disputed succession from a large part of these evils; but in France, during the period that has elapsed since the Revolution, they have all been abundantly displayed. A soil once peculiarly fertile in political genius blasted by repeated revolutions ; large classes wholly separated from the management of affairs, or animated by an insane passion for anarchy; a Government embarrassed by dynastic and revolutionary Opposition in the most critical moments of its foreign policy, and vainly seeking by wild military adventures to divert to foreign channels the passions that are dangerous at home; an administration, both civil and military, deeply tainted with corruption; a great empire invaded, humiliated and dismembered, and finally all the elements of disorder rising into fierce insurrection against the Government at the very time when a foreign enemy was surrounding the capital; these have been in our own day the fruits of that diseased appetite for organic change and that contempt for all constituted authority which the Great Revolution implanted in the chief cities of France. Blind indeed must be that politician who fails to perceive their significance, who has not learnt from this long train of calamities the danger of tampering with the central pillars of the State, and letting loose those revolutionary torrents which spread such ruin and desolation in their path.
The problem of combining stability, capacity, and political freedom has, in modern constitutional monarchies of the English type, been most fully met by a careful division of powers. The sovereignty is strictly hereditary, surrounded by a very large amount of reverence, and sheltered by constitutional forms from criticism or opposition, but at the same time it is so restricted in its province that it has, or ought to have, no real influence on legislation. The King, according to a fundamental maxim, can do no wrong. The responsibility of every political act rests solely with the minister, and, as he has the whole responsibility, he has a right to claim the whole management. The credit of success and the stigma of failure belong alike to him. The King is placed altogether above the vicissitudes of party and of politics; he is confined to the discharge of certain offices which are universally admitted to be useful and essential, and which at the same time require not more than ordinary abilities. The chief efficient power, on the other hand, in a constitutional monarchy, is virtually, though not avowedly, as truly elective as in a republic, for although the sovereign chooses the minister, he is restricted in his choice to the statesman whom the dominant political party has selected as its leader, and who has obtained the confidence of Parliament.
In this system the direct political power of the sovereign is very small, but yet the position which he occupies is more important than might at first sight be imagined. In the first place, as the head of society, the patron of art, the dispenser of international courtesies, the supreme representative of his country in the council of nations, he discharges social, and, so to speak, ornamental functions, both of dignity and value, and in the next place he contributes very largely to foster the patriotic enthusiasm which is the animating principle and moral force of national greatness. The great majority of men in political matters are governed neither by reason nor by knowledge, but by the associations of the imagination, and for such men loyalty is the first and natural form of patriotism. In the thrill of common emotion that passes through the nation when some great sorrow or some great happiness befalls the reigning dynasty, they learn to recognise themselves as members of a single family. The throne is to them the symbol of national unity—the chief object of patriotic interest and emotion. It strikes their imaginations. It elicits their enthusiasm. It is the one rallying cry they will answer and understand. Tens of thousands of men who are entirely indifferent to party distinctions and to ministerial changes, who are too ignorant or too occupied to care for any great political question, and to whom government rarely appears in any other light than as a machinery for taxing them, regard the monarch with a feeling of romantic devotion, and are capable of great efforts of selfsacrifice in his cause. The circle of political feeling is thus extended. The sum of enthusiasm upon which the nation in critical times can count is largely increased, and, however much speculative critics may disparage the form which it assumes, practical statesmen will not disdain any of the tributary rills that swell the great tide of patriotism. Even in the case of more educated men it is extremely conducive to the strength, unity, and purity of the national sentiment, that the supreme ruler of the nation should be above the animosities of party, and that his presence at the head of affairs should not be the result of the defeat of one section of his people.
To these advantages it must be added that the monarchical form of government provides a simple and admirably efficacious machinery for effecting without convulsion the necessary ministerial changes. In no other form of government do profound mutations of men and policy, violent conflicts of opinion, disordered ambitions, and glaring instances of administrative incapacity, affect so slightly the stability of the Constitution. A ministerial crises has no affinity to a revolution. The permanence of the supreme authority, unchallenged and undisturbed amid all the conflicts of parties, calms the imaginations of men. The continuity of affairs is unbroken. The shock is deadened. The changes take place with regularity and in a restricted orbit, and the country is saved from an insecurity which long before it touches the limit of anarchy is disastrous to the prosperity of nations. Indirectly the monarchy has a great political influence, for if it did not exist the aristocracy could hardly subsist as a considerable political power. In the distribution of non-political patronage the sovereign may not unreasonably claim a real voice, and if he be an able man the experience derived from an official connection with many successive ministries, and the peculiar sources of knowledge arising from his relations with foreign Courts, will never be wholly unfelt in the councils of the nation. In a few rare cases of nearly balanced claims he has a real power of deciding to whom he will entrust the task of forming an administration; in a few rare cases, when a ministry commanding a majority in Parliament is pursuing a course which appears plainly repugnant to the feelings of the country, he may justifiably exercise his prerogative to dissolve Parliament, and submit the question to the decision of the country. But in the immense majority of cases he is at once neutral and powerless in party politics. He simply puts in motion a machine the action of which is elsewhere determined, and is no more responsible for the policy to which he assents than a judge for the laws which he administers. The spirit of loyalty, while it remains a powerful adjunct to the spirit of patriotism, has thus ceased to be in any degree prejudicial to liberty. The position of the King in the Constitution resembles that of the Speaker in the House of Commons, and like that dignitary his political neutrality and the deference with which he is regarded contribute largely to his utility.
The extreme importance of freeing the sovereign from all responsibility and withdrawing him from all official influence in politics wherever the Parliament is a real exponent of the people's will and is at the same time the most powerful body in the State, may be easily proved. In the great majority of cases he must necessarily be a man of very ordinary ability, were it otherwise, his exclusion from Parliament and from the common life of his people deprives him of the kind of experience which is most essential for a popular statesman. And no statesman, though he possessed the ability and experience of a Walpole, a Chatham, or a Peel, could conduct the policy of the nation for the period of a long reign without occasionally incurring violent unpopularity and differing from the majority of the legislators. In a purely constitutional country this causes little disturbance, for the minister at once retires and is replaced by a statesman who shares the views of the majority. But in the case of the sovereign no such expedient is possible. He must remain at his post. He must eventually carry out the policy of his Parliament, and select advisers in whom it has confidence. If then he regards himself as personally responsible for the policy of the nation, and if he be a man of strong, conscientious political convictions, his position will soon become intolerable. He cannot resist without danger, or yield without humiliation. He will be in the position of an irremovable Prime Minister, compelled to carry out a policy which he detests, and to select his subordinates from among his opponents. A more painful, a more insecure, a more fatally false position could hardly be conceived, but it must be that of every sovereign who in a constitutional monarchy is an active party in politics. If the collision be public, it may shake the monarchy to its basis. If it be confined to the precincts of the council-room, it is only a little less dangerous. A secret influence habitually exercised is sure to be suspected, to be exaggerated, and to be misrepresented. The national policy will almost inevitably be weakened when the confidence of the sovereign is withheld from the ministers, or when he is perpetually interfering with their conduct. Court intrigues, secret and unofficial advisers, responsible ministers surrendering their real convictions in deference to the wishes of an irresponsible sovereign, are the natural results; and even if the firmness of ministers succeeds in averting them, it is no small evil that the duty of discussing in detail every political step with the sovereign should be added to the almost overwhelming burden which already rests upon parliamentary statesmen. The King may retain a great influence in the management of affairs where