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opportunities of studying the working of a State legislature. When I was there, municipal life was in full vigor in Philadelphia, but State life was dead at Harrisburg. But I came in for a sight of the legislature of New York at the time of the "dead lock" early this year. For week after week the Lower House found it impossible to elect a Speaker. And this was not the result of absolute equality between the two great parties. It was because a very small body of men, who had no chance of carrying a candidate from among themselves, thought fit, in ballot after ballot, to hinder the election of the acknowledged candidate of either side. This illustrates the result of the rule which requires an absolute majority. I pointed out to several friends on the spot that no such dead lock could have happened in the British House of Commons. I know not how far the existence of a regular Ministry and Opposition would hinder the possibility of this particular kind of scandal; but it is hard to conceive the existence of a ministry in our sense in a State constitution. Even in our still dependent colonies the reproduction of our system of ministries going in and out in consequence of a parliamentary vote, may be thought to be somewhat out of place. Still the Governor, named by an external power, has much of the position of a king, and his relations to his ministry and his parliament can in a manner reproduce those of the sovereign in the mothercountry. But it is hard to conceive an elective Governor, above all the Governor of such a state as Rhode Island or Delaware, working through the conventionalities of a responsible ministry. Indeed even in such a state as New York there is still something patriarchal about the office of Governor. While I was in the Capitol at Albany, the friends of a condemned criminal came to plead with the Governor in person for the exercise of his prerogative of mercy. Now the population of the State of New York, swelled by one overgrown city, is greater than that of Ireland; even in its natural state, it would be much greater than that of Scotland. I thought of the days when the King did sit in the gate.
The personal heads of the Union, the State, and the City, the President, the Governor, the Mayor, all come from English tradition. If we study the commonwealths of other ages and countries, we shall see that this great position given to a single man,
though by no means without precedent, is by no means the rule. The title of Governor especially is directly handed on from the days before independence. It would hardly have suggested itself to the founders of commonwealths which had not been used to the Governor sent by the King. The powers of the Governor and the duration of his office differ widely in different States, even in neighboring and closely kindred States. The Governor of Massachusetts still keeps up a good deal of dignity, while the Governor of Connecticut is a much smaller person. Yet the Governor of Connecticut holds office for a longer time than his brother of Massachusetts. The Mayor too does not hold exactly the same place in every city. At Brooklyn, when I was there, a great point in the way of reform was held to have been won by greatly enlarging the powers of the Mayor. Men who could well judge held that purity of administration was best attained by vesting large pow. ers in single persons, elective, responsible, acting under the eye of the public. And I was told that, even in the worst cases, better results come from the election of single officers than from the election of larger numbers. The popular election of Judges, which has been introduced into many States, is one of the things which British opinion would be most united in condemning. should all agree in wishing that both the Federal courts and the courts of those States which, like Massachusetts, cleave to older modes of appointment may stay as they are. But, from
what I could hear both in New York and other States which have adopted the elective system, the results are better than might have been expected. Each party, it is said, makes it a point of honor to name fairly competent candidates for the judicial office. So again the municipal administration of New York city was for years a by-word, and the name of Alderman was anything but a name of honor. But even in the worst times, the post of Mayor was almost always respectably filled. Even, so I was told, in one case where the previous record of the elected Mayor was notoriously bad, his conduct in office was not to be blamed. . . . .
I was greatly interested in the municipal election which I saw at Philadelphia early this year. The municipal administration of that city bas, like that of New York, long had a bad name.
Corruption, jobbery, the rule of rings and "bosses," and above all, what to us sounds odd, the corrupt administration of the Gas Trust, were loudly complained of. And I certainly am greatly deceived if what I saw and studied was anything but a vigorous and honest effort to bring in a better state of things. Republicans and Democrats brought themselves to forget their party differences; or rather party names, and to work together for the welfare and honor of their common city. The movement was described to me in a way at which I have already hinted, as an union of honest men of both parties against the rogues of both parties. And such, as far as I could judge, it really was. I did indeed hear it whispered that such fits of virtue were not uncommon, both in Philadelphia and elsewhere, that they wrought some small measure of reform for a year or two, but that in order to keep the ground that had been gained, a continuous effort was needed which men were not willing to make, and that things fell back into their old corrupt state. And it is certainly plain that the man who gains by maintaining corruption is likely to make great habitual efforts to keep up a corrupt system, while the man who opposes it, who gains nothing by opposing it, but who gives up his time, his quiet, and his ordinary business, for the public good, is tempted at every moment to relax his efforts. This failure of continued energy is just what Demosthenes complains of in the Athenians of his day; and experience does seem to show that here is a weak side of democratic government. To keep up under a popular system an administration at once pure and vigorous, does call for constant efforts on the part of each citizen which it needs some self-sacrifice to make. The old saying that what is everybody's business is nobody's business becomes true as regards the sounder part of the community. But it follows next that what is everybody's business becomes specially the business of those whose business one would least wish it to be. Yet my Philadelphian friends assured me that they had been steadily at work for ten years, that they had made some way every year, but that this year they had made more way than they had ever made before. The immediate business was to dislodge "bosses" and other corrupt persons from the municipal councils, and to put in their stead men of character and ability, whether Republican or Democratic in politics. And this object, surely one much to be
sought for, was, as far as I could see, largely accomplished. I did indeed hear the murmurs of one or two stern Republicans, who could not understand supporting a list which contained any Democratic names. But the other view seemed to be the popular one. I read much of the fugitive election literature, and attended one of the chief ward-meetings. I was greatly struck by the general hearty enthusiasm in what was not a party struggle, but an honest effort for something above party. The speaking was vigorous, straightforward, often in its way eloquent. It was somewhat more personal than we are used to in England, even at an election. But here again my comparison is perhaps not a fair As I before said, I know nothing of English municipal elections, and the Philadelphian reformers had to deal with evils. which have no parallel in the broader walks of English political life. Whatever may be our side in politics, we have no reason to suspect our opponents of directly filling their pockets at the public cost.
A municipal election is of more importance in America than it is in England, because of the large powers, amounting to powers of local legislation, which are vested in the cities. This would seem to be the natural tendency of a Federal system. It would indeed be inaccurate to say that the City is to the State what the State is to the Union. For the powers of the city may of course be modified by an act of the State Legislature, just as the powers of an English municipal corporation may be modified by an Act of Parliament, while no mere act of Congress, nothing short of a constitutional amendment, can touch the powers of a Sovereign State. But it is natural for a member of an Union, keeping independent powers by right, to allow to the members of its own body a large amount of local independence, held not of right but of grant. An American city is more thoroughly a commonwealth, it has more of the feelings of a commonwealth, than an English city has. As for the use of the name, we must remember that in the United States every corporate town is called a "city," while, in some States at least, what we should call a market-town bears the legal style of "village." In New England the cities are interlopers. They have largely obscured the older constitution of the towns. The word town in New England does not, as with us, mean a collection of houses, perhaps
forming a political community, perhaps not.. It means a certain space of the earth's surface, which may or may not contain a town in our sense, but whose inhabitants form a political community in either case. Its assembly is the town meeting, the survival, or rather revival, of the old Teutonic assembly on the soil of the third England. This primitive institution best keeps its ancient character in the country districts and among the smaller towns in our sense of the word. Where a "city" has been incorporated, the ancient constitution has lost much of its importance. It has not been abolished. In some cases at least the two constitutions, of town and city, the Teutonic primary assembly and the later system of representative bodies, go on side by side in the same place. Each has its own range of subjects; but it is the tendency of the newer institution to overshadow the older. I deeply regret that I left America without seeing a New England town-meeting with my own eyes. It was a thing which I had specially wished to see, if only in order to compare it with what I had seen in past years in Uri and Appenzell. But when I was first in New England, it was the wrong time of the year, and my second visit was very short. I thus unavoidably lost a very favorable chance of seeing what I conceive that the English parish vestry ought to be but is
not. . . .
One of the points on which I have always tried to insist most strongly is the true historic connection between the constitutions of England and of the United States. It might be a good test of those who have and those who have not made comparative politics a scientific study to see whether they are most struck by the likenesses or the unlikenesses in the two systems The close analogy in the apportionment of power among the elements of the state is a point of likeness of far more moment even than the difference in the form of the Executive, much more than that of the different constitution of the upper House. The American constitution, as I have rather made it my business to preach, is the English constitution with such changes-very great and important changes beyond doubt-as change of circumstances made needful. But as those circumstances have certainly not been changed back again, it is at least not likely that the constitution of America will ever be brought nearer than it now is to