1 сентября 2022, 22:48

Предисловие Бальфура


Уолтер Бэджет был великий человек, тут и обсуждать нечего.
Среди его работ одной из главных справедливо почитается книга «Английская конституция», изданная в 1867 году и переизданная с тех пор неведомо сколько раз. Ее текст доступен во множестве мест, включая ту же википедию.
Но по какой-то причине гораздо менее известен другой текст, непосредственно связанный с книгой Бэджета — а именно, предисловие, которое Артур Бальфур написал к очередному изданию книги в 1927 году.
В сети оно имеется (например, здесь или здесь), но только в виде картинок или плохо распознанного текста. Как по мне, это предисловие имеет самостоятельную ценность — и глубокими наблюдениями, и своей прямотой и откровенностью, вплоть до неполиткорректности, столь полезными в качестве стимула для размышлений, и непреходящей актуальностью, и, наконец, просто прекрасным языком.
Некоторые цитаты из этого предисловия мне встречались в выступлениях ряда выдающихся индийских политиков середины XX века; в других контекстах оно, похоже, не присутствует. Впрочем, тут я очень могу ошибаться, и был бы даже рад ошибиться.


Constitutional treatises are not usually regarded as light reading, yet surely he who thinks Bagehot’s English Constitution dull must have brought a dull mind to its perusal. The theme no doubt is weighty. But the author has treated it with an easy originality of manner and method which should make it as attractive to readers of this generation as to us who first read it some sixty years ago. Critics of manner may perhaps allege that the style occasionally wants finish; but they must be hard to please if they deny that it is forcible, rapid, highspirited, and clear, — that it is always spontaneous and never lacks point.
To my thinking the method is as characteristic as the manner, and not less excellent. It is possible to theorize about politics in many different ways and from many different points of view. Constitutions may be traced historically, described legally, compared critically. The writer may be more concerned to tell us what they have been, ought to be, or will be, than to tell us what they are; — and he is often more competent to do so. The field therefore is large, and, unless I mistake him, Bagehot was not by temperament averse to far-reaching generalizations. But in the volume of 1867 he wisely narrowed his main theme to a single question — how in the years round about 1865-6 (years within his own personal experience) was the work of governing Great Britain actually performed? He did not pedantically eschew illustrative material. But he never wholly lost sight of his main subject and was rarely faithless to his method.
What was that method? It can perhaps best be understood from a judgement which, in one of his essays, he passes on the author of an unsuccessful political biography, [1] namely that he «did not look closely and for himself at real political life». Bagehot was not infallible. But he did practise his own precepts; he did look closely and for himself at real political life. Hence his ceaseless endeavours to discover how public business was in fact transacted, as distinguished from the way in which its transaction was officially described; hence the contempt with which this master of political writing regarded what he called the «literary» view of constitutional procedure.

[1] Macknight’s Life of Bolingbroke

The political life at which he «looked closely and for himself» was of great interest. At home the generation of statesmen who fought over the first Reform Bill was dead or dying. Grey, Melbourne, Wellington, Peel, Aberdeen had gone. Palmerston died (in office) while Bagehot was writing. Derby and Russell were about to leave the political stage; Disraeli and Gladstone were about to fill it. The Reform Bill of 1867, which began the new era, was passed immediately after the collected essays were first published, and about five years before the Introduction was written which constituted the only change in the edition of 1872.
In foreign affairs the first of the three Bismarckian wars which made the German Empire was over; the second took place while he was writing; the third, followed by the change in France from the Imperial to the Republican regime, occurred shortly before the appearance of the second edition.
In the United States the Civil War was finished, and the constitutional disputes following on the murder of Lincoln were fresh in every one’s recollection.
It was in this historical setting that Bagehot wrote his essays, and the fact is of some importance. It not only explains the allusions to passing events in Britain with which he enlivens his pages, but explains why almost all his foreign illustrations were drawn from America and not from Europe. In 1866 the only great nation which had experience of free institutions outside Great Britain was America. United Italy was in its infancy. France was under Napoleon III. Austria and Russia were Empires of the continental type; Imperial Germany was in the making. But no one denied that the United States had for nearly three generations flourished exceedingly under free institutions largely of their own devising. It was natural therefore that he should look across the Atlantic if he desired to find a parallel, and perhaps a contrast, to the constitution he had undertaken to discuss.
For purposes of illustration he could not, I suppose, have done better. For the part of the British constitution which most interested him, and on which, as I think, he did his best work, was the one most obscured by «literary» treatment, and least like anything to be found in the United States. Its real character could best be understood not through a study of its origins, but by comparing and, if need be, contrasting it, with its great contemporary across the sea. This he called the Presidential system; the British practice he described as the Cabinet system; and if his readers desire to understand his conceptions of the latter, they cannot do better than observe where and how the two most obviously differ.
I will venture to offer them a very summary comparison of my own.
Under the Presidential system the effective head of the national administration is elected for a fixed term. He is (practically) irremovable. Even if he is proved to be inefficient, even if he becomes unpopular, even if his policy is unacceptable to the majority of his countrymen, he and his methods must be endured till the moment comes for a new election.
He is aided by Ministers who, however able or distinguished, have no independent political status, have probably had no congressional training, and are by law precluded from obtaining any during their term of office.
Under the Cabinet system everything is different. Ths head of the administration, commonly called the Prime Minister (though he has no statutory position), is selected for the place on the ground that he is the statesman best qualified to secure the support of s majority in the House of Commons. He retains it only so long as that support is forthcoming. He is the head of his Party. He must be a member of one or other of the two Houses of Parliament; and he must be competent to «lead» the House to which he belongs. While the Cabinet Ministers of a President are merely his officials, the Prime Minister is primus inter pares in a Cabinet of which (according to peace-time practice) every member must, like himself, have had some parliamentary experience, and gained some parliamentary reputation.
The President’s powers are defined by the Constitution, and for their exercise (within the law) he is responsible to no man. The Prime Minister and his Cabinet, on the other hand, are restrained by no written constitution; but they are faced by critics and rivals whose position, though entirely unofficial, is as «constitutional» as their own; they are subject to a perpetual stream of unfriendly questions to which they must make public reply; and they may at any moment be dismissed from power by a hostile vote.
From these points of view the position of a President is far stronger than that of a Prime Minister; for he cannot be expelled from office, and his powers cannot be curtailed. But there is another side to the picture. His prerogatives, though unassailable, are narrowly limited. He commands all the forces of the Republic, but he cannot legislate. He can appoint whom he will to office, but the Senate must approve. If his policy involves the smallest doses either of legislation or taxation (and what large policy does not?) it rests with Congress to supply them; — and Congress may be hostile. He may pursue any foreign policy he pleases, and negotiate what treaties he thinks fit. But after his negotiations have been successfully carried through they will be entirely barren unless two-thirds of the Senate are prepared to agree with him, — and again the Senate may be hostile.
Now the position of a Prime Minister, so much weaker intrinsically than that of a President, is often stronger where co-operation is required, because he belongs essentially to a co-operative system, — a system in which nothing is self-supporting, in which all the working parts are interdependent. He and his Cabinet must co-operate or there would be no Government. His Government and the House of Commons’ majority which supports it must co-operate, or the Government must resign. Moreover, these needs are not unilateral; they are mutual. The party majority which refuse to support their leaders not only hamper a policy which (be it good or bad) is that of their Government, but they probably injure their own electoral prospects. Leaders who refuse to work together not only weaken their Cabinet and their Party, but probably do little to strengthen their own political position. An administration whose policy unduly strains the loyalty of any large section of its supporters is obviously making things easy for its opponents.
It would seem, then, that Cabinet Government after the British model is more closely knit than Presidential Government after the American model, — and this not because America is a federal country while Britain is a unitary one, but because the great men who founded the Republic deliberately preferred a system in which the task of conducting national affairs was entrusted to three independent organs of Government, dissimilar in character, chosen at different times, for different periods, with different duties, by electorates differently constructed, each justly claiming to be the choice of the people. There is no constitutional reason why the President, the Senate and the House of Representatives should co-operate to carry out any common policy; and it is easy to imagine cases in which they would be reluctant to do so. If these were to occur when unity and rapidity of national action were required, the country would have to trust to the political genius of its people rather than to the formal machinery provided for it by the constitution.
The weaknesses of the British constitution are of a very different character. Whatever be its faults, it certainly does not suffer from too elaborate a system of checks and balances. The House of Commons need not keep a Government in office a day longer than it likes. But if the majority decide to keep it, evidently they have every inducement to provide the money and pass the laws which the policy of that Government requires. They form part of a co-operative system, they are an element in an interdependent whole; and if we look at that whole from Bagehot’s point of view, from the point of view of the business man contemplating the two-Party system, and asking himself how the business of the community can be carried on through so unwieldy a body as the British Parliament, the British form of Cabinet Government seems simple and effective.
In considering a constitution whose changes have so often been of the silent sort, unmarked either by revolutionary violence or dramatic legislation, we are apt to lose our way for want of chronological landmarks, and our sense of proportion for want of political standards. To my thinking at least, the gradual growth and final establishment of the Cabinet system has been of greater importance than anything in our constitutional history since the Revolution settlement, — greater, for instance, than the series of Reform Bills which began in 1832. It never became a Party watchword; it was never clamoured for by a mob; it has never been recognized by statute; nor can any man tell us exactly when it became fully effective. But now that it is embedded in the very centre of constitutional practice we can see that it involves two or three familiar consequences. The first is that as between the Houses of Parliament the House on which all Governments depend for their existence must be the House which leads. The second is that the House which leads, if it is to do its work, must be an organized body, not a mob. The third is that, so far as we know, the only kind of organization natural to a free assembly, and sufficiently flexible to be in touch with public opinion, is organization by Party. The first of these doctrines must obviously affect our views on the House of Lords; the second and third, less obviously, but as I think in a much more important fashion, ought greatly to influence our views on the modem position of the Crown. To these topics I now turn.

It might perhaps be thought that after his brilliant analysis of Cabinet Government there was little for Bagehot to say about the British Constitution except by way of epilogue. He had made a resolute effort to penetrate the legal forms and ceremonial trappings which cluster round ancient institutions till he reached the core of our national administration. He had insistently inquired how we — a self-governing community — did in fact govern ourselves; and to all seeming he had found the answer. We govern ourselves through a Cabinet, selected from the legislature, presided over by a Prime Minister, and entirely dependent on a House of Commons which we ourselves have chosen. What more is there to be said? It is true that we have a Second Chamber; but it plays, and in modem times has always played, a secondary part. It is true that we have a Monarchy; but what, under the Cabinet system, can the Monarch have to do but act on the advice of his Ministers, take the supreme part on great ceremonial occasions, and assist works of general beneficence by his sympathy and patronage? Or (to translate these questions into Bagehot’s peculiar terminology) since the «efficient parts» of the constitution work so well, why trouble much about the parts which are predominantly «dignified»?
To this question Bagehot would, I think, have replied in the first place that in the case both of the House of Lords and the Monarchy there are «efficient» as well as «dignified» elements to be taken into account. And no doubt he is right. During the last 140 years or so in which the making of constitutions has greatly occupied the Western World, the need for a Second Chamber has rarely been successfully disputed; and the House of Lords, though not the invention of constitution-makers, has long and honourably filled that position. It has never striven for domination. It has never been corrupt. Its errors, or what we now deem to have been its errors, were shared by great bodies of enlightened contemporary opinion. Its debates have been distinguished. Quite apart from controversial politics it has done, and is doing, excellent work in Private Bill legislation, and (when time permits) non-party revision of Measures sent up to it from the House of Commons. It is, I suppose, richer in eminent specialists than the other House, and it certainly provides them with much fuller opportunities for expressing their views in Parliamentary debate. [1]
[1] Bagehot, in his chapter on the House of Lords, seems, I think, to have committed (I admit in very good company) a theoretical error which is not without importance. He talks as if the creation of Peers by the Crown was the «remedy» provided by the Constitution for a deadlock between Lords and Commons. But this is really misleading. When there is a difference of opinion between the President of the U.S.A. and Congress about a piece of legislation which the latter has passed and the former has declined to sanction, the difficulty may be got over by Congress passing it again with a two-thirds majority. This really is a constitutional remedy; for it solves the immediate problem, and leaves the constitution unaltered. We cannot say as much for the ad hoc creation of Peers. It is true that on the only occasion on which the Royal prerogative was thus used or mis-used the change in the House of Lords was small. Twelve new Tory Peers were sufficient to sanction what Bagehot in his essay on Bolingbroke called «a mean peace effected by desertion». But cases might easily be imagined in which one or two applications of this «constitutional remedy» under modem conditions would practically destroy the historic Constitution so far as a Second Chamber is concerned. I am not arguing, be it observed, that this operation would necessarily be wrong. That is not my business. I am only observing that it should be called by its right name. It should not be a remedy but a revolution.

Whether in addition to these functions it can in these days, with its present constitution, efficiently perform the duties of «delay and revision» assigned to it by Bagehot is another matter. I do not propose to discuss this subject here, partly because it would take me on to ground more controversial than befits this peaceful preface, partly because the space at my command will be better occupied with the reflections suggested by Bagehot’s treatment of the third characteristic element in our Constitution, — I mean the Monarchy.
Here also Bagehot found elements which belonged to the «efficient» rather than to the «dignified» parts of our Constitution. He held (most rightly) that, quite apart from forms and ceremonies, a Monarch of experience and capacity, fully informed on public affairs, and in close personal touch with his Ministers, would always be a most valuable element in the body politic. He thought the post of «Sovereign over an intelligent and political people was the post which a wise man would choose above any other» (p. 66). And, since he was certainly a wise man, who, in spite of not infrequent gibes, regarded the English as a «political and intelligent people», we may assume that he would have been well pleased had Destiny placed him on the throne. With some naiveté he has indicated the sort of speech that on fitting occasions such a King might make to his Ministers. He would address them (it appears) somewhat as follows:

«The responsibility of these measures is upon you. Whatever you think best must be done. Whatever you think best shall have my full and effectual support. But you will observe that for this reason and that reason what you propose to do is bad; for this reason and that reason what you do not propose is better. I do not oppose, it is my duty not to oppose; but observe that I warn» (p. 67).

There is a certain unintended humour in this sketch of an imaginary address by an imaginary Monarch to imaginary Ministers on the problems raised by an imaginary crisis. Its object, however, is clear enough, and no one need criticize its substance. It is at any rate in perfect harmony with Bagehot’s view that constitutional Kings, if they possess character, ability, and industry, may even in matters of pure policy do very valuable service to the State.
But he was haunted by the «if». He argued that no long hereditary line, be it of Kings or be it of peasants, can maintain a steady level of excellence through many generations. In a Royal line there would doubtless be Queen Victorias and Prince Alberts. But there would also be George the Thirds and George the Fourths; — in other words, there would be men of character and industry but little ability; there would also be men of some ability but no character and little industry. Both these varieties, and others that could easily be imagined, must, even at the best, make an occasional appearance. When that happened we should have a «bad Monarch», and (says Bagehot) while «the benefits of a good monarch are almost invaluable, the evils of a bad monarch are almost irreparable» (p. 78).
Presumably this (surely somewhat excessive) estimate of Royal influence refers rather to social than to political affairs, and is therefore scarcely within the compass of a discussion on the Constitution. Let us then turn to politics proper, and consider his views on the Monarchy regarded as representing the «dignified» side of our institutions. They are easily summarized. He thought it a national necessity, but a necessity born of our national weaknesses. On both these points his opinions were expressed with all his usual vigour. As regards necessity, he tells us, for example, that the «use of the Queen (Victoria) in a dignified capacity is incalculable»; that «without her in England the English Government would fail and pass away» (p. 30); and that «the «efficient» part (i.e. the Cabinet system) depends upon the «dignified» part for the power which the «efficient» part requires but cannot itself produce». As regards the national weaknesses which produced the necessity, he is quite as uncompromising; but his theories here require a commentary which I cannot omit, yet cannot compress into a few paragraphs.
Bagehot, it appears, was profoundly impressed by the inequalities he observed in the mental equipment of different sections of the community. He tells us that «the lower orders, the middle orders, are still, when tried by the standard of the educated «ten thousand», narrow-minded, unintelligent, incurious». And, he adds a little farther on, «a philosophy which does not ceaselessly remember, which does not continually obtrude, the palpable difference of the various parts (of the population) will be a theory radically false» (p. 6). This is certainly not a fault with which his own philosophy can be justly charged. But what was the moral he drew from these uncomfortable reflections? It was that since the population consists of educated thousands and unintelligent millions we must count ourselves fortunate in the possession of a Constitution which has two aspects, appealing respectively to the intelligence of the few and the emotions of the many. For the educated thousands there is the «efficient» aspect, the whole system of Parliaments, Cabinets, Party Government, and the rest. For the unintelligent millions there is the «dignified» aspect (described also as «heatrical», «mystical», «religious», or «semi-religious»), which delights the eye, stirs the imagination, supplies motive power to the whole political system, and yet never strains the intellectual resources of the most ignorant or the most stupid. It is, of course, bound up with the Monarchy; indeed to all intents and purposes it is the Monarchy. It provides the disguise which happily prevents the ordinary Englishman from discovering that he is not living under a Monarchy but under a Republic; — for (says Bagehot) «it is only a disguised Republic which is suited to such a being as the Englishman in such a century as the nineteenth».
Our author indeed does not attempt to conceal the friendly surprise (flavoured with a little contempt?) with which he regards those of his countrymen (unhappily the vast majority) who are taken in by this travesty. «So well is our Government concealed,» he says, «that if you tell a cabman to drive to Downing Street he will most likely never have heard of it.» But, except in the interest of his profession, why should the cabman have heard of it? The implied criticism, of course, is that while he would certainly know Buckingham Palace where Queen Victoria was performing her «dignified» duties, he knew nothing of Downing Street where her Cabinet was «efficiently» carrying on the real business of Government. But need such ignorance provoke either surprise or blame? If the cabman was a strong Party man it is even chances that he regarded the Cabinet Ministers then meeting in Downing Street as a danger to their country. If he was not a strong Party man it may well be that he regarded them as (for the moment) the successful competitors in the game of «ins» and «outs»; — a game played between opponents who called themselves by different names, but, so far as he could see, did very much the same kind of thing in very much the same kind of way whenever they had the chance.
These are the familiar comments indulged in by the hostile and the indifferent on each successive occupant of that historic street. Praise, of course, is not withheld; but as a rule it is cooler and somewhat more qualified. In past years, for example, I have known it taking the form of thanking Heaven that the «right people» were in Office, while lamenting the ill fortune which had prevented them from making full use of the opportunities provided by a faithful but disillusioned Party.
Now why should the meeting-place of an unconnected succession of administrations, thus criticized, thus observed, and thus defended, differing from each other in opinion and glorying in their differences, arouse patriotic feelings in the ordinary citizen? Patriotism involves conceptions of unity and continuity. The coldest patriot recognizes himself as part (by birth or adoption) of an enduring «Whole». He has feelings, however vague, about its past. He entertains, however faintly, hopes and fears about its future. How can the machinery of Cabinet Government either suggest or strengthen sentiments like these, even at their lowest level? It assumes their existence. It cannot perform its duties without them. But are they its natural product? Admittedly it works through Party at every stage — Party Cabinets in Downing Street, Party majorities in the House of Commons, Party majorities in the constituencies. These cannot of themselves give us unity, because they are at once the product and the instrument of partisan separations. They cannot of themselves give us continuity, because partisan majorities have ever proved unstable. They do the Nation’s work and on the whole do it well; but is it not at the cost of deepening and hardening national divisions? If therefore Bagehot’s cabman sought a shrine symbolic of his country’s unity and continuity rather than of its controversies and quarrels, evidently it was to Buckingham Palace that he should have looked rather than to Downing Street.
I am disposed therefore to think that while Bagehot showed admirable skill in penetrating through external forms to administrative realities, he was not equally successful in penetrating through administrative realities to the national qualities which underlie them and make them possible. Indeed he hardly tried. Though the many uncomplimentary things he says about our national incapacities suffice to show that there is a problem to be solved, he made little effort to solve it. He held (as we know) that the vast majority of his fellow countrymen were «narrow-minded, incurious, unintelligent», moved for the most part rather by the outward shows than the inner verities of their constitution. Yet he would never have denied that throughout their history they had shown themselves eminently fitted for self-government. He thought them individually incapable of comprehending its «efficient» parts. Yet he would certainly have owned that, collectively, they have given to the world an example of ordered freedom and reasonable statesmanship which nations not of English race or speech have never found it easy to equal. He would have owned that the institutions under which we are now living have neither been copied from an alien model, nor invented by domestic theorists, but are to all appearance the unpremeditated product of our qualities helped by our good fortune. To complete the bundle of paradoxes, his own teaching seems to show that while this country as a whole yields to no other in its corporate sense of unity and continuity, the working parts of its political system are organized (with two exceptions to be mentioned presently) on a Party basis, — in other words, on systematized differences and unresolved discords.
The lines on which a solution of these problems can best be sought has already been indicated, but Bagehot never followed them for any distance. If we would find the true basis of the long-drawn process which has gradually converted medieval monarchy into a modem democracy, the process by which so much has been changed and so little destroyed, we must study temperament and character rather than intellect and theory. This is a truth which those who recommend the wholesale adoption of British institutions in strange lands might remember with advantage. Such an experiment can hardly be without its dangers. Constitutions are easily copied, temperaments are not; and if it should happen that the borrowed constitution and the native temperament fail to correspond, the misfit may have serious results. It matters little what other gifts a people may possess if they are wanting in those which, from this point of view, are of most importance. If, for example, they have no capacity for grading their loyalties as well as for being moved by them; if they have no natural inclination to liberty and no natural respect for law; if they lack good humour and tolerate foul play; if they know not how to compromise or when; if they have not that distrust of extreme conclusions which is sometimes misdescribed as want of logic; if corruption does not repel them; and if their divisions tend to be either too numerous or too profound, the successful working of British institutions may be difficult or impossible. It may indeed be least possible where the arts of Parliamentary persuasion and the dexterities of Party management are brought to their highest perfection.
Should any one be inclined to regard this as an overstatement, let him seriously consider these last qualifications for Cabinet Government. Let him note how difficult it would be to work the system even in the country of its origin, if the House of Commons instead of being organized by division into two main Parties or three, were disorganized by division into (say) half-a-dozen of approximately equal strength. And if this vision of confusion and intrigue fails to move him, let him consider another hypothesis. Let the political parties be reduced to two (admittedly the most convenient number for Cabinet Government), but let the chasm dividing them be so profound that a change of Administration would in fact be a revolution disguised under a constitutional procedure. Does not this illustration, like the first, show how delicate is the political machinery whose smooth working we usually take as a matter of course?
It may perhaps be replied that if a majority of the House of Commons want a revolution they ought to have one; and no doubt if the House of Commons on this point fully represented the settled convictions of the community the reply suffices. But if not? Is there any means of ensuring that in these extreme cases the House of Commons would represent the settled will of the community? Is there any ground for expecting that our Cabinet system, admirably fitted to adjust political action to the ordinary oscillations of public opinion, could deal with these violent situations? Could it long survive the shocks of revolutionary and counter-revolutionary violence? I know not. The experiment has never been tried. Our alternating Cabinets, though belonging to different Parties, have never differed about the foundations of society. And it is evident that our whole political machinery pre-supposes a people so fundamentally at one that they can safely afford to bicker; and so sure of their own moderation that they are not dangerously disturbed by the never-ending din of political conflict. May it always be so.

These observations bring us back to the question whether, apart from character and temperament, there are within the constitution itself elements able to mitigate the stresses and strains inseparable from party warfare.
I think there are two, — the Public Services and the Crown. Great indeed are the differences between them. The Public Services are no more than a wheel in the «efficient» part of our constitutional machinery. The Crown is typical of the «dignified» part. The Public Services are (so to speak) below Party. The Crown is above it. Yet both of them are, in a very real sense, independent of it, and both are indispensable.
Of the Public Services generally, and the Civil Service in particular, I need say little. They do not control policy; they are not responsible for it. Belonging to no Party, they are for that very reason an invaluable element in Party Government. It is through them, especially through their higher branches, that the transference of responsibility from one Party or one Minister to another involves no destructive shock to the administrative machine. There may be change of direction, but the curve is smooth. If administrative continuity has (so far) been quite unbroken even by the most abrupt vicissitudes of Party warfare, it is largely to the silent work of the Civil Service that this happy result is due.
Wider horizons open before us when we turn to the second of the non-Party elements in our political system — I mean the Monarchy. British Kingship, like most other parts of our ancient constitution, has a very modem side to it. Our King, in virtue of his descent and of his office, is the living representative of our national history. So far from concealing the popular character of our institutions (as Bagehot supposed) he brings it into prominence. He is not the leader of a party, nor the representative of a class; he is the chief of a nation, — the chief indeed of many nations. He is everybody’s King; by which I do not so much mean that he is the ruler of the Empire, as that he is the common possession of every part of it. He is the predestined link uniting all the various communities, whatever be their status, of which the Empire is composed. The autonomous democracies, including among them Great Britain, the mother of them all, each regard him as their constitutional head; and besides this he is the chief of all the diverse races in all the scattered territories, for whose welfare Great Britain, in the course of generations, has made herself responsible.
These no doubt are developments unforeseen by Bagehot, and scarcely realized, even now, by the world at large. They would have greatly changed his view of the Monarchy. He would no longer have treated it as little more than a dignified and venerable survival of an earlier age, shorn of all prerogative that could threaten liberty, and valuable chiefly through its facile appeal to the imagination of the ignorant. He would, I believe, have seen how great a part it is destined to play in the consolidation of Empire; how important is its aid in maintaining moral unity in the face of all the difficulties due to physical separation. He would certainly have noted how impossible this would have been if the twentieth-century Monarchy, like that of the eighteenth, had taken a hand in the Party game; or like that of Bagehot’s own day was acting in (what are now) Dominion affairs on the advice of Ministers dependent on British majorities. The Empire in its modem shape is a bold experiment and a very novel one. On its success hangs the assurance of peace, happiness, and prosperity, over no small portion of the world; and when we reflect that without the Crown the experiment could never even have been tried, we cannot doubt that among the transformations which by insensible degrees have converted our most ancient and most venerable institutions to the most modem uses, not the least fortunate and successful has been the transformation of the British Monarchy.


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