There ought to be in every Constitution an available authority somewhere. The 바카라사이트 sovereign power must be come-at-able. And the English have made it so. The House of Lords, at the passing of the Reform Act of 1832, was as unwilling to concur with the House of Commons as the Upper Chamber at Victoria to concur with the Lower Chamber. But it did concur. The Crown has the authority to create new peers; and the king of the day had promised the Ministry of the day to create them. The House of Lords did not like the precedent, and they passed the bill. The power was not used, but its existence was as useful as its energy. Just as the knowledge that his men CAN strike makes a master yield in order that they may not strike, so the knowledge that their House could be swamped at the will of the king—at the will of the people—made the Lords yield to the people.

From the Reform Act the function of the House of Lords has been altered in English history. Before that Act it was, if not a directing Chamber, at least a Chamber of Directors. The leading nobles, who had most influence in the Commons, and swayed the Commons, sat there. Aristocratic influence was so powerful in the House of Commons, that there never was any serious breach of unity. When the Houses quarrelled, it was as in the great Aylesbury case, about their respective privileges, and not about the national policy. The influence of the nobility was then so potent, that it was not necessary to exert it. The English Constitution, though then on this point very different from what it now is, did not even then contain the blunder of the Victorian or of the Swiss Constitution. It had not two Houses of distinct origin; it had two Houses of common origin—two Houses in which the predominant element was the same. The danger of discordance was obviated by a latent unity.

Since the Reform Act the House of Lords has become a revising and suspending House. It can alter bills; it can reject bills on which the House of Commons is not yet thoroughly in earnest—upon which the nation is not yet determined. Their veto is a sort of hypothetical veto. They say, We reject your Bill for this once or these twice, or even these thrice: but if you keep on sending it up, at last we won't reject it. The House has ceased to be one of latent directors, and has become one of temporary rejectors and palpable alterers.

It is the sole claim of the Duke of Wellington to the name of a statesman, that he presided over this change. He wished to guide the Lords to their true position, and he did guide them. In 1846, in the crisis of the Corn-Law struggle, and when it was a question whether the House of Lords should resist or yield, he wrote a very curious letter to the late Lord Derby:—

"For many years, indeed from the year 1830, when I retired from office, I have endeavoured to manage the House of Lords upon the principle on which I conceive that the institution exists in the Constitution of the country, that of Conservatism. I have invariably objected to all violent and extreme measures, which is not exactly the mode of acquiring influence in a political party in England, particularly one in opposition to Government. I have invariably supported Government in Parliament upon important occasions, and have always exercised my personal influence to prevent the mischief of anything like a difference or division between the two Houses,—of which there are some remarkable instances, to which I will advert here, as they will tend to show you the nature of my management, and possibly, in some degree, account for the extraordinary power which I have for so many years exercised, without any apparent claim to it." Upon finding the difficulties in which the late King William was involved by a promise made to create peers, the number, I believe, indefinite, I determined myself, and I prevailed upon others, the number very large, to be absent from the House in the discussion of the last stages of the Reform Bill, after the negotiations had failed for the formation of a new administration. This course gave at the time great dissatisfaction to the party; notwithstanding that I believe it saved the existence of the House of Lords at the time, and the Constitution of the country.

"Subsequently, throughout the period from 1835 to 1841, I prevailed upon the House of Lords to depart from many principles and systems which they as well as I had adopted and voted on Irish tithes, Irish corporations, and other measures, much to the vexation and annoyance of many. But I recollect one particular measure, the union of the provinces of Upper and Lower Canada, in the early stages of which I had spoken in opposition to the measure, and had protested against it; and in the last stages of it I prevailed upon the House to agree to, and pass it, in order to avoid the injury to the public interests of a dispute between the Houses upon a question of such importance. Then I supported the measures of the Government, and protected the servant of the Government, Captain Elliot, in China. All of which tended to weaken my influence with some of the party; others, possibly a majority, might have approved of the course which I took. It was at the same time well known that from the commencement at least of Lord Melbourne's Government, I was in constant communication with it, upon all military matters, whether occurring at home or abroad, at all events. But likewise upon many others."

"All this tended of course to diminish my influence in the Conservative party, while it tended essentially to the ease and satisfaction of the sovereign, and to the maintenance of good order. At length came the resignation of the Government by Sir Robert Peel, in the month of December last, and the Queen desiring Lord John Russell to form an administration. On the 12th of December the Queen wrote to me the letter of which I enclose the copy, and the copy of my answer of the same date; of which it appears that you have never seen copies, although I communicated them immediately to Sir Robert Peel. It was impossible for me to act otherwise than is indicated in my letter to the Queen. I am the servant of the Crown and people. I have been paid and rewarded, and I consider myself retained; and that I can't do otherwise than serve as required, when I can do so without dishonour, that is to say, as long as I have health and strength to enable me to serve. But it is obvious that there is, and there must be, an end of all connection and counsel between party and me. I might with consistency, and some may think that I ought to have declined to belong to Sir Robert Peel's Cabinet on the night of the 20th of December. But my opinion is, that if I had, Sir Robert Peel's Government would not have been framed; that we should have had —— and —— in office next morning.

"But, at all events, it is quite obvious that when that arrangement comes, which sooner or later must come, there will be an end to all influence on my part over the Conservative party, if I should be so indiscreet as to attempt to exercise any. You will see, therefore, that the stage is quite clear for you, and that you need not apprehend the consequences of differing in opinion from me when you will enter upon it; as in truth I have, by my letter to the Queen of the 12th of December, put an end to the connection between the party and me, when the party will be in opposition to her Majesty's Government."

"My opinion is, that the great object of all is that you should assume the station, and exercise the influence, which I have so long exercised in the House of Lords. The question is, how is that object to be attained? By guiding their opinion and decision, or by following it? You will see that I have endeavoured to guide their opinion, and have succeeded upon some most remarkable occasions. But it has been by a good deal of management.

"Upon the important occasion and question now before the House, I propose to endeavour to induce them to avoid to involve the country in the additional difficulties of a difference of opinion, possibly a dispute between the Houses, on a question in the decision of which it has been frequently asserted that their lordships had a personal interest; which assertion, however false as affecting each of them personally, could not be denied as affecting the proprietors of land in general. I am aware of the difficulty, but I don't despair of carrying the bill through. You must be the best judge of the course which you ought to take, and of the course most likely to conciliate the confidence of the House of Lords. My opinion is, that you should advise the House to vote that which would tend most to public order, and would be most beneficial to the immediate interests of the country."

This is the mode in which the House of Lords came to be what it now is, a chamber with (in most cases) a veto of delay with (in most cases) a power of revision, but with no other rights or powers. The question we have to answer is, "The House of Lords being such, what is the use of the Lords?"

The common notion evidently fails, that it is a bulwark against imminent revolution. As the duke's letter in every line evinces, the wisest members, the guiding members of the House, know that the House must yield to the people if the people is determined. The two cases—that of the Reform Act and the Corn Laws—were decisive cases. The great majority of the Lords thought Reform revolution, Free-trade confiscation, and the two together ruin. If they could ever have been trusted to resist the people, they would then have resisted it. But in truth it is idle to expect a second chamber—a chamber of notables—ever to resist a popular chamber, a nation's chamber, when that chamber is vehement and the nation vehement too. There is no strength in it for that purpose. Every class chamber, every minority chamber, so to speak, feels weak and helpless when the nation is excited. In a time of revolution there are but two powers, the sword and the people. The executive commands the sword; the great lesson which the First Napoleon taught the Parisian populace—the contribution he made to the theory of revolutions at the 18th Brumaire—is now well known. Any strong soldier at the head of the army can use the army. But a second chamber cannot use it. It is a pacific assembly composed of timid peers, aged lawyers, or, as abroad, clever litterateurs. Such a body has no force to put down the nation, and if the nation will have it do something it must do it.

The very nature, too, as has been seen, of the Lords in the English Constitution, shows that it cannot stop revolution. The Constitution contains an exceptional provision to prevent it stopping it. The executive, the appointee of the popular chamber and the nation, can make new peers, and so create a majority in the peers; it can say to the Lords, "Use the powers of your House as we like, or you shall not use them at all. We will find others to use them; your virtue shall go out of you if it is not used as we like, and stopped when we please." An assembly under such a threat cannot arrest, and could not be intended to arrest, a determined and insisting executive.

In fact the House of Lords, as a House, is not a bulwark that will keep out revolution, but an index that revolution is unlikely. Resting as it does upon old deference, and inveterate homage, it shows that the spasm of new forces, the outbreak of new agencies, which we call revolution, is for the time simply impossible. So long as many old leaves linger on the November trees, you know that there has been little frost and no wind; just so while the House of Lords retains much power, you may know that there is no desperate discontent in the country, no wild agency likely to cause a great demolition.

There used to be a singular idea that two chambers—a revising chamber and a suggesting chamber—were essential to a free Government. The first person who threw a hard stone—an effectually hitting stone—against the theory was one very little likely to be favourable to democratic influence, or to be blind to the use of aristocracy; it was the present Lord Grey. He had to look at the matter practically. He was the first great Colonial Minister of England who ever set himself to introduce representative institutions into ALL her capable colonies, and the difficulty stared him in the face that in those colonies there were hardly enough good people for one assembly, and not near enough good people for two assemblies. It happened—and most naturally happened—that a second assembly was mischievous. The second assembly was either the nominee of the Crown, which in such places naturally allied itself with better instructed minds, or was elected by people with a higher property qualification—some peculiarly well-judging people. Both these choosers choose the best men in the colony, and put them into the second assembly. But thus the popular assembly was left without those best men. The popular assembly was denuded of those guides and those leaders who would have led and guided it best. Those superior men were put aside to talk to one another, and perhaps dispute with one another; they were a concentrated instance of high but neutralised forces. They wished to do good, but they could do nothing. The Lower House, with all the best people in the colony extracted, did what it liked. The democracy was strengthened rather than weakened by the isolation of its best opponents in a weak position. As soon as experience had shown this, or seemed to show it, the theory that two chambers were essential to a good and free Government vanished away.

With a perfect Lower House it is certain that an Upper House would be scarcely of any value. If we had an ideal House of Commons perfectly representing the nation, always moderate, never passionate, abounding in men of leisure, never omitting the slow and steady forms necessary for good consideration, it is certain that we should not need a higher chamber. The work would be done so well that we should not want any one to look over or revise it. And whatever is unnecessary in Government is pernicious. Human life makes so much complexity necessary that an artificial addition is sure to do harm: you cannot tell where the needless bit of machinery will catch and clog the hundred needful wheels; but the chances are conclusive that it will impede them some where, so nice are they and so delicate. But though beside an ideal House of Commons the Lords would be unnecessary, and therefore pernicious, beside the actual House a revising and leisured legislature is extremely useful, if not quite necessary.