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CHAPTER XV.: SUPREME CONSTITUTIVE. - Jeremy Bentham, The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 9 (Constitutional Code) 
The Works of Jeremy Bentham, published under the Superintendence of his Executor, John Bowring (Edinburgh: William Tait, 1838-1843). 11 vols. Vol. 9.
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Means of Government.
The powers, by the exercise of which government is carried on, cannot be exercised by all in the same manner at the same time. Any such proposition as this, that the best government is that in which the powers of government are all of them exercised by all the members of the community at the same time, would be a self-contradictory proposition: by it would be asserted the existence of a government, and at the same time, in the same community, the non-existence of any government.
The exercise of the powers of government consists in the giving of directions or commands, positive and prohibitive; and incidentally in securing compliance through the application of rewards and punishments.
In and by every such exercise is implied a separation of the whole members of the community into two classes, namely the governors and the governed—the rulers and those over whom rule is exercised.
But though consistently with the continued existence of government, it is impossible that the separation should, as to the two classes themselves, be otherwise than perpetual; not so is the existence of the same individual in both those classes, so it be at different points of time. Of each class, the whole population might migrate into the other: those who are governors at one moment may be all of them governed, and not governors, during the second moment; while those who are governed during the first moment may be governors during the second moment.
In comparison with the governed, the governors must, in every community, be a small number; for those by whom the operations of government are carried on, cannot during that time be carrying on operations of any other sort. The greatest portion of the labouring time of the greatest number must at all times be employed in the securing of the means of subsistence to the whole.
By whom, then, and how, shall this distinction be made? By what cause or causes shall it be determined who, at each moment, shall be the governor, and who the governed?
The greatest-happiness principle requires that, be the governors who they may,—be the powers of government exercised by them what they may,—it is of the will of the governed, that during each moment their existence in that situation should be the result: that is to say, that after having been placed, they should at certain intervals of no great length, be displaceable by the governed.
The governed cannot all of them be exercising the immediate powers of government, but at stated times they may all of them exercise the function of declaring who the individuals shall be by whom those same immediate powers shall be exercised.
The happiness of the governed will at all times, it is manifest, be in a great degree dependent on the conduct maintained by the governors in the exercise of those powers of government. As on every occasion his own greatest happiness is the object or end towards which the exercise of the active faculties of every individual will be directed, so will they be on this occasion: he will, therefore, cause those individuals to be in the situation of the governors or ruling few, by whose conduct in such their situation, his own happiness will, according to his judgment, be most effectually promoted.
If there were any other individual or set of individuals, by whose conduct the only right and proper end of government were likely to be in a greater degree promoted, than by the greatest number, as above,—such other individual or individuals would be those in whose hands the greatest-happiness principle would require that the exercise of those same powers should be lodged.
But there are not, nor in the nature of man can be, any such other individual or set of individuals. The powers of government in the hands of any such individuals would be necessarily directed to the giving every possible increase to their own happiness, whatever became of the happiness of others. And in proportion as their happiness received increase would the aggregate happiness of all the governed be diminished.
True it is, that, as in the case of the supposed individuals not chosen by the governed, nor by any portion of them, so by every individual chosen by them would his own happiness in the same way be endeavoured to be increased, whatsoever became of their happiness. But as each such member of the ruling few not only was placed, but at a short interval is displaceable by the subject many, what he sees from first to last is, that any considerable and lasting sacrifice of their happiness to his own is impracticable: and that for every attempt to effect it he would be liable to be punished. He will not, therefore, encounter any such risk.
Authorities in a State.
For embracing at the same time the case in which the supreme power in the state is in the hands of some single person, and that in which it is according to any scheme of division, divided among persons more than one, a collective term is necessary: for this purpose the word authority is here employed. Accordant with this locution is the French phrase, les autorités constituées; whence in English, the constituted authorities.
The supreme authority in a state is that on the will of which the exercise of all other authorities depends: insomuch that, if, and in so far as, by any other authority the will of the supreme authority is contravened, the constitution by which the several powers are allotted to the several authorities is violated, and what is done is contrary to law.
Between authority and authority dependence is effectual in proportion to the exactness and constancy with which the act of the inferior corresponds with the last expressed will of the superior: in the same manner as the action of any individual corresponds with the last formed will of that same individual.
In this as well as other senses, as a synonym to the word authority, the word power is commonly employed. But transparency is more or less disturbed as often as, for designating objects so distinct and different as the person possessing and the thing possessed, the same denomination is employed.
The mode of locating an authority is either simple or composite: simple, when it is the result of the will of an individual, or of the wills of a set of individuals, all operating at the same time, and with equal effect: composite, when, expression having been given to the will of an individual, or set of individuals, as above,—thereafter for the completion of it, expression given to the will of a different individual, or set of individuals, is necessary.
Thus in regard to certain offices in the official establishment of the United States. By the Federal Constitution,* “the President . . . . shall nominate, and, by and with the advice and consent of the senate, shall appoint . . . . all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for.” Here the mode of location is composite. “The President” (says the next paragraph) “shall have power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the senate.” Here the mode of location is simple.
The constitutive is supreme, or say, superordinate, with reference to every other authority: it resides in the whole body of active citizens throughout the state.
The legislative is superordinate with reference to every authority other than the constitutive.
Subordinate to the legislative, in the exercise of the legislative function, are the several sub-legislatures, by which that function is exercised in each of the districts.
In the administrative department, the direction of all other functionaries belonging to the same department, is in a single hand. Subordinate are all of them, with reference to the supreme constitutive and the supreme legislative. In each of them, the chief is with reference to all the other functionaries in his own department, superordinate and supreme.
So in the judiciary.
The supreme executive or operative authority, though in all its branches subordinate to the supreme legislative, is not subordinate to any of the sub-legislatures.
At the head of the executive is a single functionary, the executive chief. In his hands is the direction in chief of the whole of the business of the administrative department: and with relation to all the several functionaries employed in it, he is superordinate.
At the head of the judiciary is a single functionary—the justice minister. With relation to him, the executive chief is superordinate: but the direction of the business of the justice minister’s department, is not in the executive chief’s hands.
Sovereignty in whom.
By the sovereignty is meant the supreme constitutive authority: in virtue of which, immediately or unimmediately, the people exercise, as will be seen, the locative, and eventually the dislocative function, in relation to the possessors of all the several other authorities in the state.
This function, the people not only are in the nature of the case capable of exercising, but in divers states are in use to exercise. As to any other functions, legislative, administrative, or judicial,—a state of things in which the people should endeavour to exercise them, would, if government in name, be anarchy in fact.
All those several functions, however, they are capable of exercising, and with unquestionable advantage do exercise, by proxy: namely, by their agents, and sub-agents, in the several departments just mentioned.
In those states alone, in which the sovereignty, or a share in it, is in the hands of the people, or a portion more or less considerable of the people, can any such authority as the supreme constitutive, in a distinct set of hands, have place. In an hereditary monarchy, by no choice made by any human being, is any succeeding monarch placed in the situation left vacant by a preceding one. So neither in any aristocracy: unless it is by the surviving members that the vacancies having place in that body, are filled up. In this case there is indeed a constitutive; but not in hands distinct from those in which the other functions of the highest grade are lodged.
By the term the people, is meant the whole number of persons, existing in any part of the territory of the state,—such as are, at the moment of the time in question, admitted to act in the capacity of electors. The term people, though so far from being in its import determinate, is, on account of its familiarity, deemed for the present preferable: for prevention of uncertainty, reference must be made to the election code, where the requisite determinateness is given to it.
In the year 1798, for toasting the sovereignty of the people, at a public dinner, the Duke of Norfolk and the Hon. Charles Fox, were, by George the Third, struck out of the list of privy councillors.* If, by this toast, what was meant to be declared was, a matter of fact actually in existence, the fact thus declared was enormously wide of the truth: if, what was meant by the toast was, a declaration that, in the opinion of those who joined in it, that form of government in which the sovereignty is in the people, is the most desirable, the meaning of it is—that a form purely democratical is the most desirable one.
Why give the sovereign power to the largest possible portion of those, whose greatest happiness is the proper and chosen object? Because in all points or elements of appropriate aptitude taken together, be the political community in question what it may, this proportion is more apt than any other that can be proposed, in competition with it: in particular than any single one of that same number, or than any number smaller than that same number. Thus, absolutely speaking: and as to proportions, the greater the difference between this largest number and any smaller, the greater is the comparative inaptitude of such smaller number in all points taken together as above.
Considered by itself and without reference to any other, this greatest number, say, for shortness, the people, cannot on any just grounds be considered as deficient, in respect of aggregate appropriate aptitude.
Comparatively deficient, will be seen to be any one individual, taken from that same number, or from among the members of any other political community: that is to say, any person placed in the situation, and invested with the power of a monarch.
So any comparatively small number of individuals placed in the situation, and invested with the power of a sovereign aristocracy.
So any aggregate of partners in the sovereignty, composed of the people as above, (or their chosen agents,) a monarch, an aristocracy, or any two of these authorities, in whatsoever proportions the powers were shared, between the two or among the three.
As in the case of any other task, so in the case of this, the aggregate of relative or say appropriate aptitude will on examination, be seen to be composed of four elementary portions and no more: to wit, moral aptitude, cognoscitive aptitude, judicative aptitude, and active aptitude: understand in regard to each of them, appropriate relation had to the task or work in hand. By cognoscitive aptitude, understand that which consists in the possession of appropriate knowledge: by judicative aptitude, that which consists in the possession of the faculty of judgment in a sufficient degree of perfection. Cognoscitive and judicative aptitude taken together, constitute intellectual aptitude: and in so far as they are united in the same person, the appellative intellectual aptitude, may for shortness be employed, instead of employing those same two appellatives.
Add all these elements, each in adequate degrees together, and the aggregate of appropriate aptitude will be obtained. Let any one of them be wanting, it will not be obtained: and appropriate moral aptitude, it will be seen is that element, by the absence of which, the greatest gap in the adequate complement of appropriate aptitude will be constituted.
With relation to this task, or say—function, by appropriate moral aptitude, understand the being in an adequate degree actuated and guided by the desire of securing to the greatest number in question, at all times, the greatest quantity, or say the maximum, of happiness.
Where there is adequate power, as there is here by the supposition, correspondent to desires, will be endeavours: desiring their own greatest happiness, the persons in question will, in the exercise of the power thus possessed by them, endeavour in so far as they know how, i. e. are possessed of appropriate intellectual aptitude,—at the securing to themselves and those who are dear to them, the maximum of happiness.
By sovereign power, understand the power of locating those functionaries by whom the functions belonging to the legislative authority shall be exercised; coupled with the power of dislocation, exercisible—not only in relation to the persons so located, but also in relation to all those, by them located: to wit, whether immediately, or through a chain of any length, composed of intermediate locators.
As to the power of location, why, notwithstanding in this case, desires and endeavours will of course be exactly the same—why, with a few exceptions that will be mentioned, it cannot with advantage go lower in the official scale, will be shown in the proper place.
In the exercise of political power, whatsoever is done by the possessors of the supreme power must be done through agents: for as to actual governing, for this, it is admitted, the people are essentially unapt: and on this inaptitude proceeds the proposition, that for the exercise of the operative functions of government, in the highest degree, they should choose agents, who will naturally be some among themselves. On the part of these possessors of the supreme power, moral aptitude can of itself avail little, except in so far as it contributes to the choice of morally apt agents.
Here the aptitude of the people will be seen to be at a maximum. Not only does the moral aptitude of the people dispose them to look out for, and choose morally apt agents; but it disposes all men who are, or who wish to be such agents, to become morally apt. The only interest of his, which an elector can expect to serve by the choice of an agent for this purpose, is that which he has in common with all the rest. The only way in which, in quality of agent for this purpose, a man can expect to recommend himself to the good opinion and choice of the people in their quality of electors, is by appearing disposed to serve to his utmost this practically universal interest: and the only sure way of appearing disposed to serve it, is to be actually conspicuous in his endeavours to serve it.
Some among them, there cannot but be, whose aptitude in this shape is in comparison with that of the rest, at the highest point of the scale. By these men, such their aptitude (if it has not already been displayed) will of course on this occasion be endeavoured to be displayed. Of their pretensions, he who in his own eyes, is a competent judge, will form his judgment and vote accordingly. He who in his own eyes is not a competent judge, will ask for information and advice of some one or more, who in his eyes are competent judges, and so on. In such their choice of advisers some will be more fortunate, others less fortunate. But if in respect of the majority of agents so elected, they are not fortunate, the cause of the failure, lies in the nature of the case: by no other course, could a better chance for being fortunate have been obtained.
The same inquiry which leads them to the obtainment of appropriate moral, leads them to the obtainment of appropriate intellectual and active aptitude in their agents: they find men qualified at the same time with inclination and accordant intellectual power, suited to the purpose of obtaining for them, in the aggregate, the maximum of happiness.
In favour of this theory all experience testifies. The evidence is of so bulky a nature, that room cannot in such a work as this be found.* Negative proof, will be found to concur with positive. In the case of no people by whom agents for this purpose have been freely chosen, will any reason be found for the belief that agents in any considerable degree more apt, in this particular, than those actually chosen, could have been had. Meantime the uninterrupted and most notorious experience of the United States may be appealed to, as rendering superfluous all other proofs.
Constitutive,—why in the people?
By instituting the power of locating and eventually dislocating, and applying it to all official situations, and placing the whole of it in the hands of the people, a pure representative democracy is instituted: and this form of government, and this alone, as has been already shown, can have the greatest happiness of the greatest number for its effect.
For the exercise of those two connected functions, namely the locative and the dislocative, in relation to all the several other functions by the exercise of which government is carried on, the people are naturally endowed with the requisite degree of appropriate aptitude, absolute and comparative: absolute, with reference to the end in view simply, namely the production of the greatest happiness of the greatest number; comparative, with reference to every imaginable authority, that is to say, person, or set of persons, in whose hands it is possible to lodge, those several functions.
By what considerations can it be made to appear that the people, as above absolutely considered, possess the requisite degree of appropriate aptitude for the exercise of those same functions?
By general reason, and by particular experience.
What, in this case, is to be understood by general reason? Considerations deduced from the nature of man, as exemplified in the feelings, interests, affections, passions, motives, inducements, propensities, and actions, common to all individuals in all situations.
By particular experience, understand, in private situations, in the case of persons taken separately, and in political situations, in the case of persons collectively taken.
With respect to particular experience in private situations, look to the situation of a person having need of an agent for the management of certain of his affairs: namely, any affairs, be they what they may, which his time, or his faculties of all kinds, natural and acquired, do not in his judgment, admit of his managing in his own person in a manner equally beneficial to himself.
Certain classes excepted,* a position which every person will be ready to accede to, upon the very first mention of it, is—that every person possesses appropriate aptitude with reference to the choice of his own agent or agents, or say his own trustee or trustees, for the management of all such affairs as it suits him to consign over to the management of any other person or persons. It being, therefore, undenied and undeniable, that for the management of affairs peculiar to himself, every man is thus apt to choose his agent; it will, therefore, rest with gainsayers to show what, if any, the circumstances are, by which it is that a person stands precluded, from taking his part in the choice of persons to be employed in the management of those affairs which are his, as well as those of all the other members of the community in question, whatever it be.
In this case, be it as it may in regard to absolute aptitude, there will be among all men but one voice in regard to comparative aptitude: and it is comparative aptitude that is here in question. To positions such as the following, no man is there who will show any disposition to embrace: “Every man’s affairs will be better managed by agents, not chosen or removeable by himself, than by agents chosen and removeable by himself: or, generally speaking, a man’s affairs will not be so well managed by agents, chosen and removeable by himself, as by agents chosen by other persons who are strangers to him, and those agents not removeable by himself.”
A slave is one, for the conduct of whose affairs an agent, in the choice of whom he has no part, is employed. And what is the consequence? Let the annals of slavery,—let the state of the slaves in those governments in which it is established,—declare.
That which a slave-holding proprietor is, with relation to those whom he calls his slaves, an absolute monarch is, in relation to those whom he calls his subjects. In the one case, as in the other, in the exercise given to their power, more or less of harshness, or of mildness may be manifested, habitually or casually, by different masters in different countries, or in the same country. But, in the two cases, the power claimed is the same. If there be a difference, it is in the disfavour of the slaves of the monarch. For in the case of the slaves who are styled slaves, there is almost universally something or other in the state of the laws by which a restraint is imposed upon the faculty of putting the slaves to death; whereas, in the case of the master whose slaves are styled subjects, there is no such restraint: putting them to death in case of displeasure, is not only practised but avowed.
As to political experience, look at the situation occupied by the people in states, in which the form of government is a pure representative democracy: for example, the American United States united together in respect of certain functions and arrangements of government.
If it be denied that the people possess appropriate moral aptitude in a comparative sense, it must be assumed that, with reference to the end in view, there exist some person or persons by whom it is possessed in a degree superior to that in which it is possessed by the people. Such other person or persons, will either be persons belonging to some foreign state, or persons belonging to the state here in question. Suppose it a single person, and he belonging not to the state in question, but to a foreign state. Thence if so it be, that in comparison with him, the people do not possess the branch of appropriate aptitude, the case will be, that in the breast of this foreigner—say of this foreign monarch—the desire of seeing produced the greatest happiness of the greatest number of the people in the state in question, is greater than in the breasts of those same people themselves. And so in the case of the one or the few, belonging in both cases to the state in question. Hence we have three positions differing little from one another in absurdity:
1. A foreign monarch will, as such, have a stronger desire to see the greatest number of the people of this state possessed of the maximum of happiness than they themselves will have.
2. A native monarch will, as such, have a stronger desire to see the greatest number of the people possessed of the maximum of happiness than they themselves will have.
3. A set of men, more or less numerous, constituting an aristocratic body, (small at any rate, in comparison with the greatest number of the people,) will have a stronger desire to see the people possessed of the maximum of happiness than they themselves will have.
As to intellectual aptitude, if it be admitted on the part of the people individually and separately taken, in the case where an agent is to be chosen for the management of this or that portion of the affairs of each, that there will be no deficiency, absolute or comparative, of appropriate aptitude in this shape, in so much as that the aptitude of the choice made would not be likely to be increased by lodging the power of making it in any other hands,—it will appear that in the case of a choice to be made by each, for the affairs common to all, the deficiency, so far from being greater, is not likely to be so great. Whatever deficiency would have had place on the part of the people themselves for the affairs of government, will thus be supplied by their elected agents in the legislature.
In respect of the aggregate of appropriate aptitude on the part of the people and their agents: it will, by the effect of, and in proportion to, time and experience, be continually on the increase: for in them moral aptitude is always at a maximum; and by time and experience, intellectual and active aptitude will (except so far as repressed by misrule) be in all men in a state of increase. For the same reasons, aggregate aptitude will, in the monarch and his agents, in proportion to time and experience, be either at a stand, or on the decrease: for in him the inaptitude opposite to appropriate moral aptitude being always consummate, any increase that takes place in intellectual aptitude will be employed in the endeavour to give increase to his own happiness, to the diminution of that of the people.
So in the case of an aristocracy.
In a monarchy, the desire of making the sinister sacrifice is accompanied by adequate power in the hands of the monarch. But in the instance of each individual in any community, though the same sinister desire has place, the power has no place: to this purpose the incorporeal instruments requisite are wanting: and these being wanting, the corporeal instruments are so too. In his endeavours to secure himself against depredation and oppression, each man finds all others in general disposed to become co-operators and supporters: for against depredation and oppression to his own prejudice, no man can find any means of security but such as cannot but afford the like security to other individuals in general. Accordingly, in this case, the power being added to the desire, the corresponding good effect has place. But in any endeavours he might use to exercise depredation and oppression at the expense of others in large multitudes, no man who, not having the incorporeal instruments, has not at his command the corporeal ones, will find co-operators and supporters in number and form adequate to the purpose: accordingly in this case, the power not being added to the desire, the corresponding evil effect does not take place.
Though in all men these same propensities must be acknowledged to have place, and in all men the correspondent desires have place accordingly—and upon occasion, to a greater or less extent, they become productive of correspondent acts—yet the difference between the strength of the desire in the one situation, and the strength of the desire in the other situation, is prodigious. In the case of those desires which have for their object corporeal gratification, or exemption from corporeal suffering, the force of the desire is not taken away by the absence of hope, or say, by the absence of the expectation of the power of gratifying them: witness the desires of hunger and thirst. But in the case of those desires which have for their object any such complex good as is denoted by the appellations power or money, in the quantities attached to political situations, the absence of the corresponding expectation is capable of keeping the desire in a state in which it is altogether void of efficiency, and even to the individual himself, for want of attention to what passes in his own mind imperceptible.
Thus it is that the existence, not only of gratification, but even of desire itself, may depend upon a union with power. In the Anglo-American United States, Buonaparte might have been a Washington: in France, Washington might have been no more than a Buonaparte. In the breast of Washington,—he being a man,—it cannot have been but that the desire of depredation or oppression, or both, to be exercised on the large scale, must at times have had place, and been more or less troublesome. Why? Because the power of affording gratification to a greater or less extent to such desire could not have been wholly unaccompanied by hope. But, of by far the greater number of those by whose suffrages Washington was located in the situation which give him the power of being what he became, take any one at random, no probability of his having ever been actuated, or even troubled, by any such desire, will be found in his instance. Why? Because in his breast there cannot have been any hope of gratifying it.
In a representative democracy, take any one member of the community acting in the exercise of the supreme constitutive power. His desire is to afford to himself security against depredation and oppression: such being his ultimate desire, his intermediate desire is—to see located in the situation of his representative, a man who, desire and power in all shapes included, appears to him likely to contribute, in a degree more than any other man would, to his possession of that same security: such is his desire, and such accordingly is his act,—the act by which he gives his vote. For the gratification of any sinister desire at the expense of the universal interest, he cannot hope to find co-operation and support from any considerable number of his follow-citizens.
By Colonel Burr, who had been Vice-President, and, if he was to be believed, had the option of being President, the representative democracy of the United States was to have been improved into an absolute monarchy: absolute monarch, Colonel Burr. Improved, yes; but how? by free votes, by the free votes of those by whom he had been freely made Vice-President? Oh, no: in how great a degree soever conducive to the greatest happiness of the greatest number, by any such means the change was hopeless, even in that breast in which the desire was strongest, and as the subsequent endeavour proved, not altogether without hope. Oh, no: to the throne of the Anglo-American, United States, the road he had pitched upon, passed through the throne of Mexico. In his view, Mexicans were sheep, his own countrymen lions. First, he was to have been Emperor of Mexico. On the back of these sheep he was to have been brought home to subdue and tame the lions.
Constitutire,—why not in One?
Next, as to the hands in which, by the institution of a supreme constitutive authority in the hands of the many, the power in question is saved from being placed.
These are, those of a monarch, seated otherwise than by location, by other hands: and those of an aristocracy, seated otherwise than by location, by other hands.
These two authorities agree in this:—That not being located by other hands, neither are they dislocable by other hands: and being actuated in common with all mankind by the principle of self-preference, they pursue their own particular and sinister interest at the expense, and by the sacrifice, of the interest of the subject many, without any restraint.
In the condition of a subject, in the breast of every individual, the self-preferring principle feels restraint imposed upon it in its endeavours to effect the sinister sacrifice, not only by legal, but by moral obligation, not only by the power of the law, but by the power of the public-opinion tribunal.
But in the situation of monarch, the single ruling functionary feels himself exempt from the tutelary control, not only of the political sanction, but from the control of the popular or moral sanction, having for its judicial executive the public-opinion tribunal. From that of the political sanction altogether, in virtue of the irresponsible situation in which he is placed by law: from the public-opinion tribunal in great measure, by means of the influence which his situation gives him on the judgments pronounced by that unofficial judicatory.
At first blush, unwise would the proposition be apt to appear which should propose that the successor of the monarch, for the time being, should be determined by pure chance: by chance without any determinate political situation by which the range of its dominion would be limited. Take for example the mode of election that, in this case, would be prescribed by the principle of equality: a lottery in which the crown shall be the prize, and in which every member of the community shall have a ticket.
But in comparison with chance and education, which has everywhere determined the order of succession in a monarchy, absolute chance acting through the medium of a lottery, so far from a comparatively inefficient course, would be an eminently and incontestably beneficial and wise one. Understand by education, those qualities, which are the result of those circumstances in which, in respect to power, money, factitious dignity, habitual desires, habitual means employed in gratifying them, and associates of all classes, a man’s political situation has placed him. In all this what belongs to nature is the result of chance.
In the case of the lottery, the majority of the tickets being in the hands of the majority of the inhabitants, and all sinister influence being excluded by the supposition, the odds would be in favour of an individual belonging to the lower, that is to say, the more numerous order: an individual whose interest, down to the moment of the drawing, had always been (and thence his affections) in alliance with, and in favour of, that of the greatest number.
By his elevation, his mind would, there can be no doubt, he in a greater or less degree deteriorated, in the moral branch, on which the other branches depend for their usefulness: but at the worst, it would not be to any such degree deteriorated, as to reduce him in the scale of appropriate aptitude to a level with the man, by whom, in the other case, the situation is occupied. Sympathy of affection,—that sympathy which corresponds with moral aptitude, would, in a greater or less degree, be extinguished: but that branch of aptitude, which could not be extinguished, is the sympathy of conception: if, to whatsoever degree, the feelings of those, whose condition is similar to what his own had been, come to be the objects of his neglect, no part of the neglect could in this case, as in that, have been produced from the want of knowing what, on each occasion, those feelings are.
If there be any person by whom it can be seriously contended that for the locating—the choice, of agents, by whom the business of government shall be conducted, the hand of the monarch is fitter than that of the people, it must be, on one or other of these grounds:
1. That the happiness or unhappiness of the people has, on this occasion, no title to regard: for that the question receives an unanswerable decision, by the observation that the title of the monarch to make such choice, is the only legitimate one, provided that the race to which he belongs has, for a certain length of time, been in possession of the throne.
2. That the happiness and unhappiness of the people has indeed a title to regard—a title perhaps to as great regard, as the happiness and unhappiness of the monarch himself. But that, on their part, so consummate is the want of appropriate intellectual aptitude, on his part, so consummate the abundance of it,—and at the same time so intimate is the connexion between their happiness and his, that by leaving the choice exclusively to him, more effectual provision will be made for their happiness than if the choice of the agents, for this part of their business, were altogether in themselves.
The first of these is so flagrantly and palpably absurd, that it baffles all the power of intellect to make answer to it. In fact, it has nothing to do with intellect. All that it denotes is a mere expression of will, and nothing else: and for giving expression to it, as well might any other word, as the word legitimacy, be employed.
With respect to the second, altogether groundless and untenable is the notion of any such unity of interests. Between individual and individual in a democracy, everywhere, yes: between monarch and subjects, in a monarchy, nowhere: instead of unity, repugnancy.
Between every animal of prey on the one part, and the animals preyed upon on the other, a certain community of interests has place. It is the interest of the wolf that the sheep should be fat and abundant, and that pasture, to render them so, should abound at all times. It is the interest of the commander of an invading army, that not only subsistence, but abundance should have place in the greatest possible quantity wherever he makes his inroads. It is the interest of all pirates, that wealth should be abundant in all seas and on all coasts to which their piracies are to be directed. It is the interest of all highwaymen, not only that travellers should be numerous, but that their purses should be well-lined. Exactly of the same sort is the interest which the monarch has in common with his subjects.
Take for example the case of Ireland: Of every, the most indigent day-labourer, it is the wish, that of the matter of subsistence and abundance, the aggregate of the quantity in the whole country may be at its maximum: and to this wish there is no conditional or restrictive clause. For that by any addition to the aggregate, any diminution should be effected in his share, is a result which, true or false, is not of a nature to find its way into his conception.
This same wish has place in the breasts of the body composed of the ruling one and influential few. But here comes in a sort of proviso or restrictive clause: provided my share of the produce of the taxes be not diminished by it, says the tax-fed placeman: provided my tithes be not diminished by it, says, in like manner, the tithe-fed priest: provided our fees be not diminished by it, say the fee-fed judge and advocate.
But abundance cannot be increased unless the taxes be diminished, the tithes, for which no service is rendered, abolished, and the services of the judge and those of the advocate placed within the reach of all who need them. But to the doing of this, what would be necessary is, that after the extinction of the existing set of extortioners in all these several shapes, extortion in these shapes should cease. This, however, is what the extortioners (even though the benefit of their own extortions were preserved to them) would not endure to think of: for, of whatsoever sympathy they have, every particle is engrossed by the comparatively few persons in the same condition in life as themselves: antipathy, not sympathy, is the sentiment with which the whole class of those by whose labours they are pampered is regarded.
Thus it is, that in support of depredation, oppression in all its shapes will, in that country, keep on its course, until that suffering, or the fear of it, which when inflicted on those who suffer by irremediable injury would be called justice, overtakes the authors: and those who in that country now tyrannise in the name of Christ, share the fate now experiencing by some of those who tyrannise in the name of Mahomet.
Whatsoever be the difficulties which stand in the way of a good choice, in the situation of elector in a democracy, inconsiderable will they thus be in comparison with those that stand in the way of a good choice in the case of a monarch. For pre-estimating the qualities, absolute and comparative, of each candidate, the monarch will have no other guide than the whispers of a number of dependants, all of them interested in deceiving him: all of them constantly occupied in the endeavour so to do: all of them, in intention, deceivers,—all of them, even in profession, flatterers.
For the exercise of this same function, how much more advantageous is the situation of an elector in a democracy. Into no company can he enter without seeing those who, in relation to this subject, are ready to communicate to him whatever they know, have seen, or heard, or think. The annals of the year, the diaries of the day, the pictures of all public functionaries, and of all those who aspire to be so, find a place on his table, in company with his daily bread.
For nothing of all this has the monarch any time. His time is engrossed by the gratification of sensual appetites, and by the receipt of homage and flattery, in all its forms.
Objection. In many countries, for want of a public-opinion tribunal, the people would not be ripe for receiving a representative democratical constitution: they would be incapable of playing their part in it. In such a state of things, a mixed monarchy, with or without two chambers, is the only resource for training them. Of every dissension, an appeal, more or less explicit, to the people, would be among the results.
Answer. How small soever were the chance of success in the case of a democracy, in such a state of things as the above, it would be much less so under any mixed monarchy. Howsoever might the monarch and his coadjutors disagree one with another, much sooner would they come to an agreement for a division of the power, i. e. for the carrying on the business in a close partnership, as in England,—than consent to part with, or suffer the least particle of power to be any longer than they could not help it, in the hands of the people. Every body of men is governed altogether by its conception of what is its interest, in the narrowest and most selfish sense of the word interest: never by any regard for the interest of the people. In that position, none of those inducements, any one of which may suffice to cause a single man to make sacrifice of his private interest to the universal interest, can have place: viz. desire of reputation, pleasure of sympathy for the people, pleasure of power in respect of the secret consciousness of having had so large a share in contributing to the happiness of the people. Yes, perhaps for a moment, under an excitation produced by a fine speech: but for anything of a continuance, never is any body of men determined by any other consideration than its conception of what is in the highest degree beneficial to its purely self-regarding interests.
In a monarchy, be the conduct of the ruler ever so mischievous, the difficulty of dislocating him is prodigious, and scarcely ever can any change be effected without either a homicide, or a war—which is an aggregate of homicides by hundreds and thousands; whereas, in a representative democracy, the rulers may be, and continually are, all of them together, though it be merely in the way of precaution, and without evil actually experienced at their hands, dislocated with as much facility as a servant is by his master, in domestic life.
Dislocative Function,—why Universal?
Why give to the dislocative power an extent thus all-comprehensive?
Because no extent, less than this, would suffice to prevent the constitution from being gradually changed into one of that sort, which has for its object the promotion of the sinister interest of the ruling few, and thence into one of that sort which has for its object the promotion of the sinister interest of the ruling one.
Unless this power be instituted, a transformation of this sort, sooner or later, is matter of certainty: and even supposing it instituted, the efficiency of it is not so complete as to exclude the need of adding to this security, whatsoever others the nature of the case affords.
The sinister force, against the effect of which this power is a necessary preservative, is that of corruption, or say, anti-constitutional corruption.
Anti-constitutional corruption is that which has place, in so far as, by the operation of a benefit to himself, received or expected, a functionary who, as such, is an agent and trustee for the people at large, is made to violate such his trust.
Unless this power be instituted, the deputies of the people, invested as such with the supreme legislative or operative power, will, sooner or later, in a number sufficient for producing the sinister effect, be sure to violate their trust; and that in such sort and degree as to give commencement and continuance to an all-comprehensive system of extortion, dissipation,* and oppression, until, by the continually augmenting sacrifice of the universal interest to that of the ruling few, in respect of money and power, the constitution is made to undergo one or other of the above two changes.
As to the dissipation, so far as it has place, not being attended with profit to the author, it will be the work of negligence or incapacity rather than design; of negative rather than positive agency. Not being attended with profit to the author, the amount of it is not likely to approach in magnitude that which is the work of design. On the present occasion it may, therefore, be dismissed without further consideration.
As to the extortion, the mode in which it is made to increase is this:
The legislative power is in one set of hands; the administrative in another. To the legislative it belongs to distribute the aggregate business of the rest of government into a certain number of departments: to determine the offices, or say the official situations, belonging to the several departments, and the functions to be performed for the commonwealth in virtue of those same offices. To exact the performance of these services at the hands of persons unwilling, would in general, neither be consistent with equality in respect of burthens, as between individual and individual, nor with policy in respect of appropriate aptitude on the part of the individuals in question, with reference to the performance of the service in question, in each case. To procure acceptance of the office in question at the hands of apt individuals, it will therefore be necessary to attach, in addition to the power attached to it, emolument of the pecuniary kind to an amount more or less considerable.
The fictitious entity termed an office is also styled a place. The person on whom the obligation of performing the functions allotted to it is imposed, is said to be in the office or the place. The business performed by the exercise of these several functions being, when taken in the aggregate, a course of action directed to one common end, namely the giving execution and effect to the will of the supreme legislative,—it is material that, unless for special cause of exception, the determining by what persons respectively they should al be filled, be lodged in the same hand. Here, then, lodged in this one hand, and at the disposal of this one hand, is this vast mass or stock of the instruments of felicity composed of money in various shapes, and power in various shapes,—with or without factitious dignity in various shapes: for although that offspring of the fancy is neither necessary nor conducive to good government, it has almost everywhere, by the concurrent influence of various causes, been added to the stock of the instruments of government. Patronage is the name given to the power of disposing of the several elementary masses of which this aggregate mass is composed.
To create the power attached to the several offices, and by its ordinances to provide the money employed in engaging men’s acceptance of them, belongs then to the supreme legislative.
The individual to whom the patronage of the various offices belongs, has an interest in seeing the number of places at his disposal, as well as the emolument attached to them, increased as much as possible. On the other hand, to make any increase is not in his own power: it is in the legislative authority, and in that alone, that the power of giving any such increase is reposed.
Thus in relation to this same universally coveted matter are two authorities: one of them having what there is of it at its disposal, but not of itself able to make addition to it: the other able to give increase to it, and that to an unlimited amount, but at the same time, of itself not able to get for its own use so much as a single particle of it. Here, then, is a pair of mutually relative situations: a certain profit which, by the assistance of the other, each can make: without the assistance of the other, neither. Between those in the one situation and those in the other the intercourse is continual: to put them on both sides in possession of what cannot fail to be a constant object of their desire, nothing more is necessary than a mutual understanding: an agreement which, to effect its every purpose, need not so much as be expressed. To the imagination of men on both sides, an obvious contract, pregnant with mutual advantage, presents itself: a tacit contract, which, if expressed in words, would stand as follows:—You, says the head of the administration, with his colleagues, if he has any, and if not, with his most confidential subordinates,—you give increase, as far as you see convenient, to the aggregate value of the good things we have at present, and at any rate, preserve it from decrease. We, on our part will, from time to time, and at all times, let you into a share of them.
To the reader, for conveying to his mind the idea of a contract to this effect, some determinate set of words were necessary. But to the production of a correspondent course of conduct on both sides, no words at all would be necessary.
Take, for example, the state of things under any Constitutional Code. On the one part, stands a supreme legislature, composed of deputies located by the people: on the other part, a supreme administrative authority, in the hands of a single functionary. The course of government under the constitution commences. By the majority of the legislature an administrative chief is elected: his first business is to fill the several situations under him,—all of them to a degree more or less considerable beneficial to the possessors, or they would not give their acceptance. Whether it be without or notwithstanding opposition, that he has been elected to be administrative chief, it can be no secret who those individuals are who have been of the number of his benefactors. As little is it likely to be a secret to him what are the connexions nearest and dearest to each. Thus, at the very commencement of his administration, the most obvious policy would join with gratitude in pointing out for the objects of his choice (unless in case of some very decided and peremptory objection) such persons as he sees reason to think it would be agreeable to his and their respective patrons to see thus provided for—the deputies themselves, if the law admitted of it: but the law not being stupid or corrupt enough to affect to expect that the same man will be at two different places, occupied with two different businesses, at the same time, no such abomination does the law admit of.
Given to a connexion of his, money or money’s worth, may be of the same value to a man as if given to himself: and therefore have effect to the same amount, in respect to the creation of corruptive dependence.
The effect will be exactly the same, if by a benefit thus received by his connexion at the public expense, he is relieved from the burthen of conferring a benefit to that same amount at his own expense.
Pecuniary amount being the same in both cases, a more effectually corruptive dependence may be created by the fear of losing a beneficial situation already in possession, than by the hope of gaining one.
By the hope of receiving benefits in the shape of official situations through the medium of his connexions, corruptive dependence may be made any number of times stronger, than by the hope of benefit in the shape of office receivable by himself. For to the number of offices possessible at the same time by himself, there are limits: whereas to the number of offices possessible at the same time by a man’s connexions, there are no limits.
By a benefit already received, and without hope of any other, obsequiousness as effectually corrupt may be created as by corruptive hope. The sinistrously directed force of the public-opinion tribunal, is, in this case, the power by which the corruptive obsequiousness is produced. Ingratitude and perfidy are, in that case, the words of condemnation, by which the punitive power of that tribunal is applied to the thus created offence: ingratitude, in not making a correspondent return for the benefit received: perfidy, in the violation of a contract which, though not expressed in words, was not less clearly expressed by other signs.
In this case as in some others, the direction given to the force of the public-opinion tribunal, is exposed to two opposite impulses: a right and proper impulse, and a sinister impulse. Of the two, the number of individuals whose judgment is determined by the sinister impulse, is, in the present state of society, incomparably greater, than the number of those, whose judgment is determined by the right and proper impulse. For the occasions on which the exercise of the virtues of gratitude, and fidelity to engagements, and abstinence from the opposite vices of ingratitude and perfidy, are called for,—are happening to every individual every moment of his life; whereas, on the other hand, of the occasions on which any man is called upon to exercise the virtue of incorruptibility, as against the corruptive influence of the possessors of the supreme power in the state, the number is limited, and in comparison, extremely small. And, moreover, the number of persons to whom these occasions happen, is also small in comparison with that of all the members of the political community, whatever it be.
Thus is corruption planted in the very vitals of the constitution, and by the hand which is striving with its utmost force, to preserve the constitution from the baleful effects of that disease.
As to prohibition and punishment, by no such instruments can any remedy, in any the smallest degree efficient, be applied. To the representatives themselves, you may indeed prevent the good things in question from being given: but in the instance of any one of them, can you prevent these good things, in any number from being given to persons connected with him, in any number? Unless from himself, how is it possible for you to know who are, and who are not dear to him. The law, with the help of his pedigree, if he has one, will show who in the several degrees of consanguinity and affinity, are near to him: but neither of them will show you, who in any degree are dear to him. Consanguinity, though so obviously fallacious, suppose it for argument sake, unfallacious, and sufficiently conclusive evidence; on this account, shall it be placed in the power of a set of electors, by electing a man to a seat, and the individual elected, by accepting it, to strike the whole of his kindred, with the political incapacity in question?
You cannot punish a man for entertaining expectations: you cannot punish another man for gratifying, or for raising, expectations. You cannot punish a man for doing kind offices—for conferring benefits: you cannot punish one man, because benefits in any shape have been conferred on another: you cannot by any punishment inflicted or threatened to be inflicted, on one man, prevent or undertake to prevent another man from receiving benefit in any shape. Contract, having for its object the rendering of sinister service, you may prohibit in all cases, and in here and there an instance, by means of accident, or by means of treachery, you may actually inflict punishment for it. But though you were to inflict the punishment in every case in which the prohibition is infringed, and the offence committed, you would be no nearer the mark,—if prevention of corruption was your mark—than if no such prohibition had been issued. Why? Because without any such contract, corruption as effectual and as great in extent, as by means of contract, may have, and will be sure to have, place.
If this be so, and if, to every eye that will turn to it, this be visible, everybody will know what to think of laws enacted, or proposed, for the prevention of contract in such cases, or for the exclusion of the practice of holding offices by men having seats in the legislative body—if such laws are said to be designed as a means of preventing corruption.
The proposers and eulogists of such laws have for their real object, the producing on the part of the people, both or either of two persuasions: one is, that the public men in question have sincerely at heart the diminution, and if it were possible the extinction, of the evil: the other is, that the applying to its evil effects, such limitation as shall prevent the fruits of it, viz. depredation, oppression, and dissipation, from coming to maturity, is not by any means possible. In both or either of these persuasions is seen a source of satisfaction and acquiescence on the part of the people: the impossibility of putting exclusion on the evil, they will refer to the will of the Almighty: the exertions, fruitless as they are, of the public men in question, they will ascribe to the excellence of the individuals, and the excellence of the constitution.
Of the people’s thus looking for a remedy to the authors (sure supporters of, because constant profiters by, the disease) what is the consequence? That, so long as they do so, so long do they forbear to lend an ear to the surely efficacious, and only possible efficacious remedy—the changing the government from a form in which such corruption is certain, constant, and universal, to the one only form in which the exclusion of corruption is certain, the existence of it, in a practical sense impossible.
Not that, even without this remedy, distributed as hereby are the powers of government, and effective as is the power given to the people at large under the name of the supreme constitutive, could any considerable evil be produced, otherwise than as above by sinister confederacy between the leaders of the legislature and the executive chief.
By this means, conjoined with the like power given to the legislature, all dangerous tendency is taken away from the power given to the executive chief, to dislocate all functionaries whatsoever, belonging to the administrative. Without this power, exerciseable with relation to such his subordinates, the executive chief could not possess sufficiently assured means of giving execution and effect to the will of the constitutive, as indicated by the ordinances of the legislative; without this power exerciseable with relation to, and over, the executive chief, the supreme legislative, could not stand assured of giving execution and effect to its own ordinances and arrangements, made in pursuance of its endeavours to give execution and effect to the will of the supreme constitutive, and thence increase to the greatest felicity of the greatest number.
By keeping out of the hands of the constitutive, all locative power, with relation to any office that of member of the legislature excepted, all danger of abuse, from the all-comprehensiveness of the dislocation is obviated. Unless accompanied and followed by the exercise of the power of location, with relation to the office, no question, no sinister interest could any party-leader have, in bringing about an exercise of the dislocative power with relation to that same office. For by dislocating an individual, where could be his profit, not having the power of putting either himself or any confederate or dependant of his in his place?
The power thus given to the supreme constitutive, the power of thus dislocating all its agents without exception, is nothing more than what in private life, in relation to the private affairs of each particular individual, is given to that same individual: and in this latter case, so far from all objection is this power, that not to give it, would be regarded as one of the grossest of all absurdities.
Should it be said that in the case of this vast aggregate, the exercise of the power is liable to have caprice, or passion, or thoughtlessness for its cause, better reason on all these several grounds might be given for the refusing it to each individual with relation to his own particular affairs. For in the case of the vast body, how great would be the public discussion, consequently what an intensity and continuity of attention, that would be necessary to the production of the effect in question; while in the case of the individual, it may be the work of a single thoughtless moment.
In vain would it be to say, in this state of things, the wisest and most virtuous of men might be turned out by a mob: violence and disorder being their means of operating. Signing a petition is not the work of a mob: is not the work of violence: as little is the silent and secret delivery of a vote. Where the exercise of locative power in the same hands follows not upon that of the dislocative, no adequate inducement has place, except the persuasion of the existence of the functionary’s inaptitude.
Suppose the functionary, on whom the power is exercised, be a member of the legislature, the exercise of it, on a particular occasion, would be nothing more than an accelerated anticipation of that exercise which at the end of the year would take place of course.
If the functionary or functionaries, were any other than the members of the legislature, the exercise could not take place, but on the supposition of a neglect or connivance on the part of the legislature: it would betoken a want of confidence in the legislature as a body, and the members would naturally be on the watch, and take measures for saving themselves from the expression of such want of confidence.
In regard to the exercise of the power of the supreme constitutive, either in the dislocation or the punition of its supposed offending agents, what is desirable is, that the actual application of it, be as rare as possible, and at the same time in the breasts of those same agents, the expectation of its eventual application, as strong as possible. The first thing to be desired is, that on the part of those same agents, no such act of transgression be ever committed. To this end, what is desirable is, that in the event of any such transgression, the probability of such dislocation and punition should, in the eyes of the several members of the legislature, at all times be as great as possible. To the accomplishment of all these several desirable purposes, are the several subsidiary arrangements here provided, directed, namely, the legislator’s inaugural declaration, and those by which the quantity of appropriate information, with which the members of the public-opinion tribunal are supplied, and the frequency and intensity of the attention respectively bestowed upon that same information, are all endeavoured to be maximized.
Thus then in regard to the power here reserved to the people, exerciseable over all their servants, and at all times, these things may be noted:
1. The exercise of it, if ever, is very rarely likely to take place.
2. The possession of it is not the less likely to be effectual.
3. In no shape is evil likely to result from the exercise of it.
4. By no other means could the effects aimed at, be so surely, if at all, produced.
Means of Execution.
In the case of a representative democracy, the means, and the only means, by which this form of government may be rendered conducive, in the highest degree, to the only legitimate end of government, are no less obvious and natural, than they are simple: order matters so, that the persons by whom the immediately acting powers of government are exercised, shall at stated times, and at short intervals, be removeable, all of them without exception, by the persons possessed of the original and originative powers of government: trustees, by principals; ruling few, by subject many. I say subject many; for, by the exercise of the right or power of election, with reference to those by whom the powers of government are exercised, subjection is not excluded;—no, nor under this form of government, even by the exercise or possession of those powers themselves.
Misrule is the thing to be, as far as may be, excluded. By the very nature of man, misrule, as far as any balance on the side of advantage to the ruler, is expected by him, is necessitated: by the assurance of eventual removal—by this, and not without this, that expectation of advantage may be excluded.
In election at stated times, the effect of the power of appointment, and that of the power of removal, is included. If having at the time immediately preceding the day of election, occupied the situation in question, a man is re-elected, the power of appointment is exercised in his favour, the power of removal with relation to him is forborne to be exercised: if he be not re-elected, the power of removal with reference to him is exercised, the power of appointment with relation to him is forborne to be exercised.
This indirect, and, as it were, covert mode of removal, is much more efficient and salutary than that direct mode which would be the most apt to be presented by this appellation. To the person over whom the power is exercised, it is much less harsh and galling: on the part of the person by whom it is exercised, the exercise of it will therefore naturally experience much less reluctance. In the case of the direct mode, if there be any other candidate, the inaptitude (the opinion of which is expressed by the forbearance to elect the person in question) is not positive and absolute; it is only comparative: the opinion that it declares is,—not that the person thus set aside is less apt than an average man—not that he is positively unapt, only that he is less apt than the person for whom the vote is given.
Now as regards the mode of election of the agents of the people.
Universality, secrecy, equality and annuality of suffrage—is an expression preferable to that of universal suffrage, annual elections, and vote by ballot. Why?
By the advocates for radical reform, the phrase as yet most commonly employed for characterizing the system which they advocate is—universal suffrage, annual parliaments, and vote by ballot.
Compared with universality, secrecy, equality, and annuality of suffrage, the following are the imperfections under which that hitherto most commonly used expression seems to labour.
In the first place, of a very material feature of the system, no mention is thus made: a feature of the importance of which no person by whom the three others are advocated, fails, it is believed, of being fully sensible. To regard it as being immaterial, would be to regard the arrangement by which, in the case of Old Sarum, the appointment to a seat in the House of Commons was given to a single individual in the character of an elector; and the arrangement by which the appointment to no more than two seats were given, as in the case of Yorkshire, to a population of probably not less than a million of individuals,—as being both of them unexceptionable.
In the next place, to the expression, the import of which is understood by every individual without exception, viz. the word secrecy, is substituted the words—by ballot, an expression to which no very determinate idea is attached in the mind of any man; nor, except by means of the word secrecy any idea whatsoever.
In the third place, of the four features that are indispensably necessary, the three which, without the fourth are thus presented, are presented without any common bond of connexion: they are presented by three separate forms of expression, between which no intimation of any connexion is conveyed: whereas, by the phrase universality, secrecy, equality and annuality of suffrage, the connexion which has place between the things themselves, is at once concisely and significantly expressed.
I. Universality. If a man who calls for the right of suffrage to be given to any one human being, calls for its being refused to any other human being, it lies upon him to give a particular reason for such refusal.
For the refusal of it to persons of both sexes under age, two plain reasons can be given: first, that a person who is not yet competent to the management of his own affairs, cannot have much reason to complain of being debarred from interfering in the management of the affairs of others: and second, that the exclusion thus put on the ground of age, is not like the exclusion put upon the ground of sex, perpetual, but temporary only; and upon the arrival of the person at the age at which he is generally regarded as competent to the management of his own affairs, this exclusion is sure to cease.
Various classes of persons might be mentioned, who, if the result of the election could depend upon the direction given to their votes, might, on the ground of this or that disqualifying circumstance, with reason be excluded. But for justification of such exclusion, sufficient proof of the existence of such disqualifying circumstances, would require to be given. Hence to an indefinite amount litis-contestation, expense, vexation, and delay, must have place: evils which ought not to be admitted, unless their admission be made up for, by some assignable preponderant good.
On this occasion, look to the several cases of persons insane, convicted delinquents of various descriptions, and persons by whom, but for the protection afforded by secrecy of suffrage, coercive influence might, to an indefinite extent, be exercised on the votes of others.
The happiness of the most helpless pauper constitutes as large a portion of the universal happiness, as does that of the most powerful, the most opulent member of the community. Therefore the happiness of the most helpless and indigent has as much title to regard at the hands of the legislator, as that of the most powerful and opulent.
If the possession of a share in the supreme constitutive power is a means of, or security for, happiness, there is as much reason why a share in that means of security should be in the hands of the most helpless and the most indigent, as why it should be in the hands of the most powerful and the most opulent.
Why exclude the whole female sex from all participation in the constitutive power?
Because the prepossession against their admission is at present too general, and too intense, to afford any chance in favour of a proposal for their admission.
On the ground of the greatest happiness principle, the claim of this sex is, if not still better, at least, altogether as good as that of the other.
The happiness and interest of a person of the female sex, constitutes as large a portion of the universal happiness and interest, as does that of a person of the male sex.
No reason can be assigned, why a person of the one sex, should as such, have less happiness than a person of the other sex.
Nor, therefore, whatsoever be the external means of happiness, why a female should have a less portion of those same means.
If, in this respect, there were a difference, the principle of equality would require, that it should be rather in favour of the female than of the male sex: inasmuch as there are so many causes of suffering which do not attach upon the male, and do attach upon the female sex: such as pains of gestation, of parturition, labour of nurturition, periodical and casual weaknesses, inferiority in all physical contests with the male sex, and loss of reputation in cases where no such loss attaches upon the male.
If the possession of a share in the constitutive power, be a means of securing such equal share of the external means of happiness, the reason in favour of it, is therefore at least as strong in the case of the female sex, as in the case of the male: it always being understood that the voting is in the secret mode.
The reciprocal seduction that would ensue in the case of a mixture of sexes in the composition of a legislative or executive body, seems a conclusive reason against admitting the weaker sex into a share in those branches of power: it would lead to nothing but confusion and ridicule. But if this infringement on equality be considered as necessary, regard for the principle of equality affords another reason, not merely for admitting the female sex to an equal share in the constitutive, but even to a greater share than in the case of the male.
Again, in domestic concerns, males derive greater power from physical force: here, then, is a means of injury: for security against it, if in respect of political power, there be a difference, it should rather be in their favour than in the favour of males.
Admitting the comparative inaptitude of the female sex, with reference to the legislative and executive functions, no cause of inaptitude on their part applies to the exercise of a share in the constitutive function. In this case no demand for any appropriate active aptitude has place. As easily can a female give a piece of card to be put into a box as a male: as easily can she receive advice as to the disposal of it as a male—as her father, husband, brother, or son.
The custom by which the prepossession has been produced, is a custom that had its rise in a state of society altogether opposite in this respect to the present. The military power being necessarily in the hands of the male sex, the political power followed it. Males were free to go everywhere. Females found full occupation at home, and could seldom, consistently with safety, pass to any considerable distance from it, except with males to protect them.
No reason has ever been assigned why, in respect of intellectual aptitude, this half of the species ought to be deemed inferior to the other. As to intellectual aptitude, considered as applied to the field of thought and action at large, two points require to be considered; in the first place, in how small a degree the superiority is on the side of the male sex: in the next place, how small the number of the female sex, whom laws and institutions have left unexcluded from the competition, in comparison with those whom they have excluded.
This custom of exclusion has been departed from in the case where the power is of the highest grade. In countries in which the sex is not admitted to the smallest share in the constitutive power, it is admitted to the whole of the executive, coupled with the largest share of the legislative, and that without any constitutive power above it. And of experience, in England, as far as it goes, in this the highest rank of operative power, the decision is more in favour of the female sex than of the male. In intellectual aptitude, Elizabeth of England showed herself in an incontestable degree superior to her immediate successor, and even to the nearest of her male and adult predecessors. If Anne was weak, she was not more so than her two immediate successors, both males. If Mary put men to death for what was called religion, so did her father, and so did her next male successor: if Queen Mary put people to death for what was called religion, so did Lord Chief-Justice Hale, the hero of English lawyers, for what was called witchcraft.
In no two male reigns was England as prosperous as in the two female reigns of Elizabeth and Anne. As to Anne, whatever was the cause, it was more prosperous than that of her immediate male predecessor,—a man as unamiable as she was amiable.
Thus has England been governed by female monarchs, three:* Russia, four: Austria, one: Sweden, one: Portugal, one: France, though not once by a female monarch whose reign continued during life, has been governed by several female monarchs whose reigns, under the name of regencies, have lasted for a long course of years.
England, also, gives the example of a case, in which in the choice of a sub-legislature of twenty-four members,* governing with absolute sway, in subordination to the supreme legislature, sixty millions of subjects in British India, females have an equal share with males. Thus, while gnats are strained at, camels are swallowed.
Can practical good in any form be mentioned as likely to be produced from the admitting the female sex into a participation of the supreme constitutive power?
Yes. The affording increased probability of the adoption of legislative arrangements, placing sexual intercourse upon a footing less disadvantageous than the present to the weaker sex.
At the same time, there is no political state that I know of in which, on the occasion of any new constitution being framed, I should think it at present expedient to propose a set of legislative arrangements directed to this end. Before the state of the legal system had been made, on almost all other points contributory in the highest degree to the greatest happiness of the greatest number, scarcely could any prospect be afforded of its being rendered so as to this. The contest and confusion produced by the proposal of this improvement would entirely engross the public mind, and throw improvement, in all other shapes, to a distance.
II. Secrecy. When suffrage is secret, no man who wishes to give a vote, and is not, by want of time or length of distance, debarred from giving it, is debarred from giving it in favour of the person whom he prefers, by fear of loss of money or friends.
No man is made to suffer, or is exposed to suffer, loss of money or friends, on account of the vote he has given, or any vote he has forborne to give.
In so far as the course taken by men’s suffrages is known, some men are, by fear of loss of money or friends, debarred from giving any votes at all: some men who would otherwise have given their votes in favour of a certain person, are, by fear of loss of money or friends, debarred from giving their votes in favour of that same person: some men who otherwise would have given their votes in favour of a certain person, and thereby against another person, his rival, are, by fear of loss of money or friends, not only debarred from giving their votes in favour of the person they approve, but compelled to give their votes in favour of a rival of his, whom they disapprove.
A man who being a candidate for a situation, for the filling of which suffrages are given, declines using his endeavours to cause them to be delivered in the secret mode, proves thereby that the following wishes, one or more of them, have place in his breast:—1. To see men who have each of them a right to vote, debarred, in indefinite numbers, from the exercise of that right. 2. To see men who, if free, would have voted for a rival of his, debarred from doing so. 3. To see men who, if free, would have voted for a rival of his whom they approve, not only debarred from doing so, but by fear, as above, compelled to vote in favour of himself, in whatsoever degree he may have been the object of their disapprobation.
III. Equality. By equality of suffrage is meant equality of effect, as between a suffrage given in this or that one election-district, and a suffrage given in this or that other election-district.
Understand here by equality nothing more than the absence of such degrees of inequality, as would be productive of some one or more evils of the following description to a sensible amount:—
1. In this or that election-district, the number of electors so small that by intimidation or corruption freedom of suffrage might be destroyed. By secrecy of suffrage, intimidation might be excluded. But unless by the multitude of the electors, as compared with the value of the situation filled, and the quantity of the means of corruption in the hands of candidates, to exclude corruption is impossible.
2. In this or that election-district the number of the electors so great, that in comparison with a vote in this or that other election-district, a vote is in a sensible degree inferior in value. This being the case, all voters in such over-peopled district, feel a sensation of injury from the comparison of their situation with that of the electors in an under-peopled, or even in an adequately peopled district.
3. Proportioned to the smallness thus produced in the effect and value of a vote will be the probability of its being outweighed by the loss of time necessary to the delivering of it. Upon all in whose instance the advantage of voting is thus outweighed by the inconvenience, a virtual exclusion is thus put.
4. The greater the distance between the place at which the votes are delivered and the place of an elector’s abode, the greater is the inconvenience in respect of time lost, with or without concomitant expense. Evil 3, is common to town and country districts: this evil is peculiar to country districts.
IV. Annuality. By annuality of suffrage, understand adequate frequency of recurrence on the part of the election process; and thereby of the conjunct exercise of the right of removal, and the function of appointment with relation to the situation in question: but, instead of adequate frequency of recurrence, say annuality of recurrence: instead of an indefinite expression, a definite expression, employed for the sake of clearness of conception, accuracy of expression to a certain degree sacrificed.
No one will undertake to say, at any rate no one will be able to prove, that, by the addition of this or that short term, say a day, to the term of a year, any sensible evil in this or that determinate shape, could be produced: and so in the case of this or that other small number of days to an indefinite amount.
No one will undertake to say, or at least, no one will be able to prove, that, by the subtraction of this or that short term, say a day, from the term of a year, sensible evil in this or that determinate shape would be produced: and so in regard to this or that other small number of days to an indefinite amount.
No one will undertake to say, or at least no one will be able to prove, that there cannot be any state of things in which it would not be for the advantage of the whole body of constituents, that, at the end of some shorter length of time than a year, reckoning from the day of election, the conjunct powers of removal and appointment should not, by the act of some person or persons chosen for the purpose, be called forth into exercise.
Moral Aptitude is inversely as Altitude in the Scale of Political Influence.
Education being supposed not deficient nor subsistence wanting, aptitude, with relation to the exercise of political power, is inversely as the altitude of a man’s place in the composite scale of political influence. This composite scale is composed of three elementary scales—the scale of opulence, the scale of power, and the scale of factitious dignity.
In the scale of opulence, language has not yet afforded, as in the scale of temperature, denominations designative here and there of the different degrees. No precise station, therefore, can here be designated by the terms opulent and unopulent. All that can be expressed is their relative stations: viz. that in the station marked by the term opulent, the quantity of the matter of opulence is greater than in the station marked unopulent.
With relation to useful qualities in general, and in particular with relation to those of which appropriate aptitude with relation to political functions in general, is composed, the following are the considerations by which, on the part of the opulent, inferiority in appropriate aptitude, considered in all its branches, stands indicated:
The greater the quantity in value of the services which, at the hands of those on whom his comforts depend, a man has at command, without rendering any correspondent services in return, services positive and negative together—positive, consisting in the exercise of positive beneficence,—negative, consisting in the exercise of negative beneficence, that is to say, forbearance from injury and annoyance in all their shapes,—the less the need he feels for the exercise of such beneficence on his part.
So much for moral aptitude: now as to intellectual aptitude and active talent.
The greater the quantity in value a man has of those good things which are the fruits of the labour of others, the less the need he has of labour on his own part; the less therefore will his frame, whichever part of it, bodily or mental, be in question, be inured to labour. But other circumstances equal, intellectual aptitude will be in proportion to labour.
Accordingly, in every department in which the waste and corruption of government has furnished pay enough for both, you will see two sorts of men in pairs: viz. the opulent man, who bears the title and cuts the figure, doing nothing of the business: the unopulent man, who bears no title, cuts no figure, and does all the business.
And so likewise in regard to active aptitude.
The greater the exercise given to the will, the less the exercise given to the understanding.
The monarch is all will: understanding is wanting to him. Will occupies itself about the end, understanding about the means. All the monarch has to do is to look out for ends: for objects suited to his fancy and his taste. To find out means for the obtainment of those objects belongs to others: to the two-legged and featherless instruments of his pleasure.
In England, of the Right Honourable House—of the Honourable House, the members are, each of them, a fraction of a monarch, a monarch in miniature. Accordingly, in neither situation has reason, fruit of the labour of the understanding, any effective place. By collision of wills it is, not by collision of understandings that every result is produced. When argument, or anything which has the semblance of it, is exhibited, it is only for appearance sake: for any such delusion, as it is thought there may be a convenience in propagating without doors.
The higher the degree of opulence, the less the degree of sympathy in the breast of the opulent for the unopulent: for that portion of mankind, in behalf of whom the demand for such beneficence as it may be in his way to exercise, is greatest.
Correspondent to, and intimately connected with, sympathy of affection is sympathy of conception.
By, and in proportion to, sympathy of affection, a man is disposed to add to the enjoyments, and subtract from the sufferings, of the objects of his sympathy.
Proportioned to the correctness, clearness, and completeness of the conception a man has of those enjoyments and those sufferings, (his degree of sensibility being given,) is the strength of the sympathy of affection with relation to those same objects of his sympathy.
Relative sensibility being wanting, sympathy of affection may be equally wanting, although sympathy of conception be entire: but in so far as sympathy of conception is wanting, sympathy of affection has no place.
For all bodily pains, sympathy of conception must, on the part of the experienced surgeon, be greater than on the part of an average man. But if his sensibility, and consequently if his sympathy of affection were so likewise, he would not be fit for the exercise of his art.
Want of sympathy of conception concurs with the feeling relative to independence, in destroying in the breast of the opulent man sensibility, and with it beneficence, positive and negative, with relation to the unopulent: he has no need of their services—their free and gratuitous services: he has no conception of their wants: he has no feeling for their wants.
Where, at the first commencement of the habit of witnessing, (with or without the habit of producing,) sufferance, sympathetic suffering has been produced by the sight of it,—the continuance of the habit will sooner or later extinguish the sympathy. It is thus extinguished, for example, as above-mentioned, in the surgeon, or he would not be fit for the exercise of his beneficent art. It is thus nearly, if not altogether, extinguished, supposing it originally to have had place, in the breast of the military conqueror, or he would not be fit for the exercise of his maleficent art. The mother who has lately lost a son in battle, has some conception of what the miseries of war are, and feels and grieves accordingly for those who are partakers of them. Under a monarchy, absolute or limited, among the functionaries in the higher ranks, commencing with the monarch, so confirmed is the habit of hearing of men, by thousands and tens of thousands, slaughtered, or reduced from happiness to misery by the operations, by the orders given by these their rulers, (for the purpose of giving further and further extension to their own power, factitious dignity, and opulence,) that no greater portion of sympathetic suffering is produced in such breasts by the tidings of any such catastrophe, than has place in the breast of a gardener while he is setting his foot on a swarm of caterpillars. The same monarch in whose breast the sight of a favourite suffering from a hurt experienced in the course of a frolic, had in early youth produced an almost equal pain of sympathy, will, as ambition increases, and sympathetic sensibility decreases, receive with indifference the news of a limb lost by that same favourite, in company with thousands of limbs, and as many lives, lost by others in the course of a battle, from which the power of the wholesale manufacturer of human misery is regarded as receiving increase.
As it is with the universal superior, so it is with the subordinates: quantities and degrees being proportional to the place occupied by them respectively in the gorgeous scale.
Remains to be shown how it is, and whence it is, that the state of moral appropriate aptitude with relation to the function in question, being in the exalted situations in question, such as has been described, the conception commonly entertained in relation to it has been so opposite to the state of things as thus described, and thereby so incorrect and opposite to truth. The cause of this delusion may be seen in the influence exercised by the high alliance, by the confederacy of power, factitious dignity, and excessive opulence; partly through the medium of corruption, partly through the medium of force and intimidation; partly through those discourses, written as well as oral, particularly those presenting themselves constantly to view in the written form, by which information is conveyed respecting this part of the field of thought and action, in which instruction is sought, and by which opinion and affections are moulded.
Take, in the first place, opulence, even in that minor degree of force, with which it operates when the field of its operations is confined to private life. Proportioned to the quantity of the matter of opulence which a man has at his command, will be the quantity in which those who are in habits with him, or entertain a prospect of being in habits with him, may expect to share. Proportioned to the intensity of their respective appetites for such share, will naturally be their endeavours to procure for those appetites their appropriate gratification according to all such means as are safe, and not disreputable, as they see within their reach. Proportioned to the success of such their endeavours, will be their own self-satisfaction, and their gratitude as towards the author of it, can scarcely fail, in some way or other to be the accompaniment of it. In action, as well as discourse, more particularly in discourse (as being the cheaper article) will this gratitude, real and feigned together, find expression and give itself vent.
But as, with the power of granting, the power of refusing receive correspondent increase; so with that love which produces gratitude, will increase that fear which produces respect. Moreover in the hands of the opulent, with the negative power of refusing favour to those who have not been and those who have ceased to be the objects of their regard, is conjoined, in no inconsiderable degree, the power of doing positive evil to those who are the objects of their positive aversion. By the operation of all these causes taken together, thus intimate is the connexion between the idea presented by the word rich, and the idea presented by the word respectable. Of the effect produced by this association on conduct, discourse, and, to no inconsiderable degree, on opinion, and affection, an exemplification may be seen in the picture of the parasite, as drawn by the earliest of the dramatists whose works have reached us.
If such and so great be the ordinary influence and effect of the matter of wealth, in the hands of individuals, distributed in parcels of an ordinary bulk, what must it be when accumulated in an immense mass, in company with supreme power, and the highest lot of factitious honour, together with the manufactory, in which all inferior lots of these instruments of influence are fabricated—all placed in the same hand? If such be the influence of wealth when reckoned by thousands, what must it not be, when reckoned by millions?
As long as wealth and government have had existence, the powers of poetry and oratory have been employed in singing the praises of the powerful, the dignified, and the wealthy. While the effusions of praise have thus had free scope, with reward in every shape to pay for them, those of censure have all along and everywhere, been suppressed by every restraint which it was in the power of punishment to apply.
While the eulogies of Virgil and Horace were rewarded with lavish hand, Ovid for this or that little bed-chamber anecdote, was sent to pine in exile. If the quantity of virtue practised, were to be measured by the quantity of virtue attributed, the most selfish and hard-hearted tyrants would be the most virtuous of philanthropists. Where profusion alone, and without cruelty, marks the character of the despot, gratitude and hope are the only brokers the exertions of which will be occupied in the filling the cornucopia of praise: where to the influence of those agents that of fear is added, praise extorted from enemies will add itself to the praise poured in by friends.
In the eyes of the undiscerning and unscrutinizing multitude, it may now be seen how impossible it is, that receipt of praise should fail of being considered as conclusive evidence of merit, virtue, excellence. Whatsoever be the name of the fictitious entity, created by praise, to represent the subject, which it undertakes to magnify,—whether it be merit for example, or virtue, or excellence,—thus it is, that in proportion to the quantity possessed by any man of this efficient cause, and title to praise, namely wealth, will be the quantity of the fictitious entity in question, supposed on that account to be in his possession. On the part of those by whom any of those tokens of wealth, by the appearance of which, the existence and possession of it, are generally regarded as being proved, thus it is, that an opinion will really be entertained that, in the composition of his mind, a proportionally preeminent quantity of this admirable and admired quality, by whatsoever name it may be styled, will be found.
It has now, it is hoped, been put sufficiently out of doubt, how far any such opinion considered in the character of a general one, is, from being in any agreement with the truth: and that the truth of the case, lies not in this opinion, but in the reverse of it: that in so far as any such opinion is entertained, delusion has place in the breast of him by whom it is entertained: and in so far as for the propagating of this opinion, endeavours are employed, endeavours for the propagating of delusion, are employed.
What is now moreover, it is hoped, sufficiently put out of doubt, is that, by every additional particle,—not only of actual wealth, of actual power, and of actually existing factitious dignity,—but of everything which, in the character of a token, can contribute to their increase in the hands of an individual, possessing any considerable share of political power,—the force and efficiency of all this stock of the instruments of delusion, will be increased.
What at the same time is sufficiently out of dispute is,—that in every such instrument of delusion, may be seen, and truly seen, an instrument of misrule: a means of exercising it: and thereby an encouragement and incitement to exercise it.
To support the dignity of the crown, to add splendour to the crown, to add lustre to the crown,—so many phrases upon the strength of which money wrung from a starving people, by scarcely supportable taxation, is, day by day, by the creatures and dependants of the monarch, called for, without measure and without shame: called for, and granted accordingly, with what effect? With the effect of labouring in vain to fill the ever-leaky cup of his personal gratification, of giving perpetual increase to the delusion, by which the seat of necessary depravity is converted into the seat of imaginary and fabled excellence, and in making every day fresh and fresh advances towards the accomplishment of the constant object of all endeavours—the conversion of a scarce disguised, into the more simple and convenient form of an undisguised and openly avowed despotism.
It has been seen, to what inevitable necessity, by the original and unchangeable nature of man, an irremoveable chief magistrate, call him duke, call him consul, call him king, call him emperor, call him what you will, is an enemy to all that are subject to his rule, with the exception of those who are sharers with him in the sinister profit.
What at the same time is no less manifest is, that by every step by which any advance can be made towards dissolving the disastrous association, by which the instruments of vice and misery are palmed upon mankind as the necessary instruments of security and universal happiness, a real service, and that a most important one, will be rendered.
The notion, therefore, that in those who are possessed of the powers of government, there is more virtue than in those who have no share at all in the government, is an erroneous one: so far is the position from being true, that the very reverse is true. In this statement there is nothing of exaggeration: on the contrary, it is matter of the strictest demonstration. The mischievousness of an act, whereby human suffering is produced is, as the magnitude of the suffering, multiplied by the extent of it—by the number of the individuals to whom it extends. In the case of a man who witnesses it, and who is conscious of the part he has in the production of it, the depravity, the moral turpitude, that has place in his mind, increase in the same ratio as does the mischievousness of it, as above. Of virtue, of depravity, of moral turpitude, there exists not any other intelligible test or measure: unless it be, in the case of this mischievous act, the degree of deliberation attendant on the commission of it.
Compared with each other, by this test and this measure, in a country governed by corruption and delusion,—the resistible and punishable malefactors who are styled criminals, and treated as such, with the irresistible and unpunishable malefactors, styled rulers, by whom they are treated as such, the worst of criminals will, in every intelligible sense of the word worst, be found to be men of transcendant virtue in comparison with those on whom the praise of virtue is so unsparingly and indefatigably lavished.
Another notion is, that opulence is an antiseptic: that, in proportion to a man’s opulence, will be the improbability of his wishing to add to it by depredation.
To him who has lived all his life upon £100 a-year and no more, £150 a-year is opulence: reduction to £50 a-year is ruin.
To him who has £10,000 a-year, it requires an addition of £5000 a-year to produce a sensation equal in intensity to that produced in the case of him who has but £100 a-year, by an accession of £50 a-year.
Thus it is, that instead of operating as a security against the propensity to depredation, opulence, accompanied with the habit of large expenditure, operates as an incentive. The greater the quantity of money which a man has been in use to expend, the greater the quantity, meaning always the absolute quantity, of that which he craves: cupidity does not sink, but rise with opulence.
Yet the common opinion—the vulgar error it may well be called, in so far as the profession of it is sincere—is the reverse. The notion is, that the man whose habitual expenditure has been large, is, on that account, so long as the means of it continue undiminished, not so likely to seek to increase it by depredation to so large an amount as the man whose habitual expenditure has been small. This notion, whence comes it? From this,—from the natural tendency which, in every situation, man has to measure other men by his own measure: to assume that in a different situation, be it higher or be it lower, a given quantity of money, either in possession or in expectancy, will produce in the breasts of men sensations the same in intensity as in that situation he himself occupies.
From this assumption, one consequence deduced by the man of £10,000 a-year is—that because reduction to a £100 a-year would to him be utter ruin, and reduce his mind to a state of wretchedness; restriction to £100 a-year would, in the instance of a man whose expenditure had not been used to exceed that sum, be productive of a sensation of distress as intense, or not much less so.
Another is—that because the rich man would not forfeit or risk his reputation for probity for the sake of £50 a-year, being half of the amount of the other’s income, therefore neither would he for £5000 a-year, being half the amount of his own income.
In conclusion,—the plain truth of the matter is, that in respect of the strength of propensity, desire, and endeavour, there is not much difference between the man on the highest and the man on the lowest level in the scale of opulence. But that in so far as any cause of difference can be found, it is on the part of the most opulent, that,—in so far as the strength of it is measured by the absolute quantity of the money which, at the expense of others, a man will endeavour to acquire,—the propensity, desire, and endeavour, is likely to be most strenuous—to be less effectually repressed by any arrangements that can be devised. That, therefore, in office, so far as concerns abstinence from undue profit, the chance of good behaviour on the part of the office-bearer is the greater, the less the quantity of emolument which he is content to accept in retribution for the burthen submitted to in respect of the obligation of discharging the functions of it.
If this reasoning be correct, the rule, in point of practice, should accordingly be—if any man is found who is content to pay money for the privilege of performing the functions of it, so much the better: and unless for special reason to the contrary, let him who will pay highest for it have it.
If no competent person can be found who will pay anything for it, or who will serve in it gratis, let him have it who requires the smallest quantity of emolument for performing the functions of it.
Another reason for reducing all official emolument to a minimum is this, that with the quantity of the emolument attached to the office, the quantity of influence applicable to sinister purposes in general, and in particular, to the purpose of obtaining support in case of malversation, increases.
Of this bad effect from excessive emolument the mischief is exemplified in the most manifest and striking manner in the case of the monarch in a monarchy.
As in that highest stage, so in each inferior stage in the scale of power and opulence.
Thus it is that, under the British government for example, in all the superior offices, responsibility in the penal sense is a perfect mockery, a mere empty name.
[* ]Art. II. Sec. 2.
[* ]The Duke gave, “The majesty of the people,” at the anniversary of Mr Fox’s birthday, in January 1798, and was dismissed from the Lord Lieutenancy of the West-Riding of Yorkshire. In May of the same year, Mr Fox, at the meeting of the Whig Club, gave, “The sovereignty of the people of Great Britain,” and was removed from the Privy Council.—Ed.
[* ]But see Introduction to Parliamentary Reform Catechism, and Radicalism not Dangerous, in vol. iii.—Ed.
[* ]Namely, 1. Persons of unsound mind. 2. Non-adults, at an age so early as not to admit of their being justly considered as being as yet possessed of a sound mind with reference to the purpose in question.
[* ]Dissipation as applied to the matter of wealth, is where, through the fault of a person, having it in charge, the value of the subject matter in question, is diminished.
[* ]Queen Victoria is the fourth.—Ed.
[* ]The Directory of the East India Company.—Ed.