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Lord Salisbury On American Institutions

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[ Lord Salisbury 's articlo cntitled ' 'Dis, integration", in The Quarterly Review ¦ has produced a certain sensation both ; ia England and on the continent, both on account of its bitterness and the au dacity of its charges and suggeslions. It appears to havo been written in onc of those ruoods oí irritated disgust which at times impel public men to pre1 fess the abandonment of hope for thcir country. Lord Salisbury declares in eflect that England is goiüg to "the demnition bow-wows;" tliat the inonarchy has become virtur.lly supersedod by fhe House of Commons; and tho lattcr is by iis folly about to precipítate "disintegration," not only iu politics but in society. One is reminded by the noble Iord's denunciations of the kind of talk which was held when Sir Leieester Dedlouk callcd a family council at Chesney Wold to take measures for the sa'vation of the country. But Lord Salisbury is not satisüed with proplicsying woe in l.kis manner. In tho fierccness of his wrath he turns to the United States, and regardless of the hnpiications of his avowal, declare tli at the great Republic possesses a moro stablc governrnent thaii that of England. The Americans, he observes, no doubt with a lively sense of tliegrovin infïrmities of the House of Lords, have a real second chamber whieh dares to et. ïhey have also, he points out, a Prciident wlio dares to veto, and a Supreme Uourt which can arrest any legislation infringing the obLgiUion ot a contract. In short. Lord Salisbury is _ disposed to think that the United States Government is "safer" than that of England, and that in rnany respects it is a better system. What makes this enticism peculiar is the fact that il is the eriticism of a noble who can only be supposed to detest the whole theory of democratie government, and who is raging against his political opponents because he fears that the policy they are will ilAniiMiKnilnn "1- A .1 nu uuuiuuiauzu .cugiunu. mere is of course no safety for his order in the idea of the American second chamber. It may be that Eno-land will sume dav copy our Senate,"but bnfore that can happen the doctrine of hereditary leislatures will have to be discarded, and of course such a step iru'plies even more radical "disintegration" than Lord Salisbury noiv apprehenJs. It is indeed curious that his lordship's intense hatred of English democracy should almost lead him to tbrevv hiruself into the arms of American democracy. For if he really believes that American institutions are "safer" than those of his own country, itisniauifestthathe ought to be found in the ranks of tho Radicáis whom he assails, instead of thus leading the forlorn hope of the Tories. It is to be hoped, however, that in what he says of our 3upreme Court there isno ïntentionto be ironical. For, while it is certainly truc that the tribunal referred to can "arrest any legislation infringida: the obligation of a contract," the èxperienee f the past ten years seems to ronder it questionable whether the will of the court in that direction is equal to its jurisdiction. Indeed a good many Americans have latterly come to ask themselvos wheiher, in viev of Supreme Court decisioas, tnere reniaiu any contract obligations which any one is bound to respect. Perhaps Lord Salisbury does not understand this, and is quito serio js in what he says. But in any case there is no justi(ication for tüe abuse levelled at him Decause he has liad the temerity to '¦look abroad" for examples. The Spectator, for instance, observes that ' lie is "by no means a typical Englisl man," because of this It mightthere 1 furo be conoludcd thai the ' typical Eng lishman" never ventures to lifthisgaz from the Ark of lus own politica] eove nant. Yet the English press is neve weary of jribing at tlie French eoncci which finds nothing descrviug observa tion or imitation outside. Frauce, am che same English press has alway manifested a fiattering complacency when American speakers or writers have praised the institutions of Groa BriMn. But Lord Salisbury's ïemarks upoi tbc United States may be eornniendei to thoso Anierican3 who think it an evidence of superior sense to deprecíate their own country. It is not nêcessary that the absolute sinceri ty of the rcmarks should bc postulated, So far as they are true, the force of the argument is not weakened by any con.siderations of the inspiring motive. We have in fact an almost ïnvoluntary testimonial to the supposed wisdom of our governmental system.iu The Quarlerly artielo, and what makes it more interesting is that it is the expression of one who is of necessity from his position and education opposed to domocracy in all it forms.


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