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No. VI.: ON CHANGES OF MINISTRY. - Walter Bagehot, The Works and Life of Walter Bagehot, vol. 5 (Historical & Financial Essays; The English Constitution) 
The Works and Life of Walter Bagehot, ed. Mrs. Russell Barrington. The Works in Nine Volumes. The Life in One Volume. (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1915). Vol. 5.
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ON CHANGES OF MINISTRY.
There is one error as to the English Constitution which crops up periodically. Circumstances which often, though irregularly, occur naturally suggests that error, and as surely as they happen it revives. The relation of Parliament, and especially of the House of Commons, to the executive Government is the specific peculiarity of our Constitution, and an event which frequently happens much puzzles some people as to it.
That event is a change of Ministry. All our administrators go out together. The whole executive Government changes—at least, all the heads of it change in a body, and at every such change some speculators are sure to exclaim that such a habit is foolish. They say: “No doubt Mr. Gladstone and Lord Russell may have been wrong about Reform; no doubt Mr. Gladstone may have been cross in the House of Commons; but why should either or both of these events change all the heads of all our practical departments? What could be more absurd than what happened in 1858? Lord Palmerston was for once in his life over-buoyant; he gave rude answers to stupid inquiries; he brought into the Cabinet a nobleman concerned in an ugly trial about a woman; he, or his Foreign Secretary, did not answer a French despatch by a despatch, but told our ambassador to reply orally. And because of these trifles, or at any rate these isolated unadministrative mistakes, all our administration had fresh heads. The Poor Law Board had a new chief, the Home Department a new chief, the Public Works a new chief. Surely this was absurd.” Now, is this objection good or bad? Speaking generally, is it wise so to change all our rulers?
The practice produces three great evils. First, it brings in on a sudden new persons and untried persons to preside over our policy. A little while ago Lord Cranborne1 had no more idea that he would now be Indian Secretary than that he would be a bill broker. He had never given any attention to Indian affairs; he can get them up, because he is an able educated man who can get up anything. But they are not “part and parcel” of his mind, not his subjects of familiar reflection, nor things of which he thinks by predilection, of which he cannot help thinking. But because Lord Russell and Mr. Gladstone did not please the House of Commons about Reform, there he is. A perfectly inexperienced man, so far as Indian affairs go, rules all our Indian Empire. And if all our heads of offices change together, so very frequently it must be. If twenty offices are vacant at once, there are almost never twenty tried, competent, clever men ready to take them. The difficulty of making up a Government is very much like the difficulty of putting together a Chinese puzzle: the spaces do not suit what you have to put into them. And the difficulty of matching a Ministry is more than that of fitting a puzzle, because the Ministers to be put in can object, though the bits of a puzzle cannot. One objector can throw out the combination. In 1847 Lord Grey would not join Lord John Russell’s projected Government if Lord Palmerston was to be Foreign Secretary; Lord Palmerston would be Foreign Secretary, and so the Government was not formed. The cases in which a single refusal prevents a Government are rare, and there must be many concurrent circumstances to make it effectual. But the cases in which refusals impair or spoil a Government are very common. It almost never happens that the Ministry-maker can put into his offices exactly whom he would like; a number of placemen are always too proud, too eager, or too obstinate to go just where they should.
Again, this system not only makes new Ministers ignorant, but keeps present Ministers indifferent. A man cannot feel the same interest that he might in his work if he knows that by events over which he has no control, by errors in which he had no share, by metamorphoses of opinion which belong to a different sequence of phenomena, he may have to leave that work in the middle, and may very likely never return to it. The new man put into a fresh office ought to have the best motive to learn his task thoroughly, but, in fact, in England, he has not at all the best motive. The last wave of party and politics brought him there, the next may take him away. Young and eager men take, even at this disadvantage, a keen interest in office work, but most men, especially old men, hardly do so. Many a battered Minister may be seen to think much more of the vicissitudes which make him and unmake him, than of any office matter.
Lastly, a sudden change of Ministers may easily cause a mischievous change of policy. In many matters of business, perhaps in most, a continuity of mediocrity is better than a hotch-potch of excellences. For example, now that progress in the scientific arts is revolutionising the instruments of war, rapid changes in our head-preparers for land and sea war are most costly and most hurtful. A single competent selector of new inventions would probably in the course of years, after some experience, arrive at something tolerable; it is in the nature of steady, regular, experimenting ability to diminish, if not vanquish, such difficulties. But a quick succession of chiefs has no similar facility. They do not learn from each other’s experience;—you might as well expect the new head boy at a public school to learn from the experience of the last head boy. The most valuable result of many years is a nicely balanced mind instinctively heedful of various errors; but such a mind is the incommunicable gift of individual experience, and an outgoing Minister can no more leave it to his successor, than an elder brother can pass it on to a younger. Thus a desultory and incalculable policy may follow from a rapid change of Ministers.
These are formidable arguments, but four things may, I think, be said in reply to, or mitigation of them. A little examination will show that this change of Ministers is essential to a Parliamentary government; that something like it will happen in all elective Governments, and that worse happens under Presidential government; that it is not necessarily prejudicial to a good administration, but that, on the contrary, something like it is a prerequisite of good administration; that the evident evils of English administration are not the results of Parliamentary government, but of grave deficiencies in other parts of our political and social state; that, in a word, they result not from what we have, but from what we have not.
As to the first point, those who wish to remove the choice of Ministers from Parliament have not adequately considered what a Parliament is. A Parliament is nothing less than a big meeting of more or less idle people. In proportion as you give it power it will inquire into everything, settle everything, meddle in everything. In an ordinary despotism, the powers of a despot are limited by his bodily capacity, and by the calls of pleasure; he is but one man; there are but twelve hours in his day, and he is not disposed to employ more than a small part in dull business; he keeps the rest for the court, or the harem, or for society. He is at the top of the world, and all the pleasures of the world are set before him. Mostly there is only a very small part of political business which he cares to understand, and much of it (with the shrewd sensual sense belonging to the race) he knows that he will never understand. But a Parliament is composed of a great number of men by no means at the top of the world. When you establish a predominant Parliament, you give over the rule of the country to a despot who has unlimited time—who has unlimited vanity—who has, or believes he has, unlimited comprehension, whose pleasure is in action, whose life is work. There is no limit to the curiosity of Parliament. Sir Robert Peel once suggested that a list should be taken down of the questions asked of him in a single evening; they touched more or less on fifty subjects, and there were a thousand other subjects which by parity of reason might have been added too. As soon as bore A ends, bore B begins. Some inquire from genuine love of knowledge, or from a real wish to improve what they ask about; others to see their name in the papers; others to show a watchful constituency that they are alert; others to get on and to get a place in the Government; others from an accumulation of little motives they could not themselves analyse, or because it is their habit to ask things. And a proper reply must be given. It was said that “Darby Griffith destroyed Lord Palmerston’s first Government,” and undoubtedly the cheerful impertinence with which in the conceit of victory that Minister answered grave men much hurt his Parliamentary power. There is one thing which no one will permit to be treated lightly—himself. And so there is one too which a sovereign assembly will never permit to be lessened or ridiculed—its own power. The Minister of the day will have to give an account in Parliament of all branches of administration, to say why they act when they do, and why they do not when they don’t.
Nor is chance inquiry all a public department has most to fear. Fifty members of Parliament may be zealous for a particular policy affecting the department, and fifty others for another policy, and between them they may divide its action, spoil its favourite aims, and prevent its consistently working out either of their own aims. The process is very simple. Every department at times looks as if it was in a scrape; some apparent blunder, perhaps some real blunder, catches the public eye. At once the antagonist Parliamentary sections, which want to act on the department, seize the opportunity. They make speeches, they move for documents, they amass statistics. They declare “that in no other country is such a policy possible as that which the department is pursuing; that it is mediæval; that it costs money; that it wastes life; that America does the contrary; that Prussia does the contrary”. The newspapers follow according to their nature. These bits of administrative scandal amuse the public. Articles on them are very easy to write, easy to read, easy to talk about. They please the vanity of mankind. We think as we read, “Thank God, I am not as that man; I did not send green coffee to the Crimea; I did not send patent cartridge to the common guns, and common cartridge to the breech loaders. I make money; that miserable public functionary only wastes money”. As for the defence of the department, no one cares for it or reads it. Naturally at first hearing it does not sound true. The Opposition have the unrestricted selection of the point of attack, and they seldom choose a case in which the department, upon the surface of the matter, seems to be right. The case of first impression will always be that something shameful has happened; that such and such men did die; that this and that gun would not go off; that this or that ship will not sail. All the pretty reading is unfavourable, and all the praise is very dull.
Nothing is more helpless than such a department in Parliament if it has no authorised official defender. The wasps of the House fasten on it; here they perceive is something easy to sting, and safe, for it cannot sting in return. The small grain of foundation for complaint germinates, till it becomes a whole crop. At once the Minister of the day is appealed to; he is at the head of the administration, and he must put the errors right, if such they are. The Opposition leader says: “I put it to the right honourable gentleman, the First Lord of the Treasury. He is a man of business. I do not agree with him in his choice of ends, but he is an almost perfect master of methods and means. What he wishes to do he does do. Now I appeal to him whether such gratuitous errors, such fatuous incapacity, are to be permitted in the public service. Perhaps the right honourable gentleman will grant me his attention while I show from the very documents of the departments,” etc., etc. What is the Minister to do? He never heard of this matter; he does not care about the matter. Several of the supporters of the Government are interested in the opposition to the department; a grave man, supposed to be wise, mutters, “This is too bad”. The Secretary of the Treasury tells him, “The House is uneasy. A good many men are shaky. A. B. said yesterday he had been dragged through the dirt four nights following. Indeed I am disposed to think myself that the department has been somewhat lax. Perhaps an inquiry,” etc., etc. And upon that the Prime Minister rises and says: “That Her Majesty’s Government having given very serious and grave consideration to this most important subject, are not prepared to say that in so complicated a matter the department has been perfectly exempt from error. He does not indeed concur in all the statements which have been made; it is obvious that several of the charges advanced are inconsistent with one another. If A. had really died from eating green coffee on the Tuesday, it is plain he could not have suffered from insufficient medical attendance on the following Thursday. However, on so complex a subject, and one so foreign to common experience, he will not give a judgment. And if the honourable member would be satisfied with having the matter inquired into by a committee of that House, he will be prepared to accede to the suggestion.”
Possibly the outlying department, distrusting the Ministry, crams a friend. But it is happy indeed if it chances on a judicious friend. The persons most ready to take up that sort of business are benevolent amateurs, very well intentioned, very grave, very respectable, but also rather dull. Their words are good, but about the joints their arguments are weak. They speak very well, but while they are speaking, the decorum is so great that everybody goes away. Such a man is no match for a couple of House of Commons gladiators. They pull what he says to shreds. They show or say that he is wrong about his facts. Then he rises in a fuss and must explain: but in his hurry he mistakes, and cannot find the right paper, and becomes first hot, then confused, next inaudible, and so sits down. Probably he leaves the House with the notion that the defence of the department has broken down, and so the Times announces to all the world as soon as it awakes.
Some thinkers have naturally suggested that the heads of departments should as such have the right of speech in the House. But the system when it has been tried has not answered. M. Guizot tells us from his own experience that such a system is not effectual. A great popular assembly has a corporate character; it has its own privileges, prejudices, and notions. And one of these notions is that its own members—the persons it sees every day—whose qualities it knows, whose minds it can test, are those whom it can most trust. A clerk speaking from without would be an unfamiliar object. He would be an outsider. He would speak under suspicion; he would speak without dignity. Very often he would speak as a victim. All the bores of the House would be upon him. He would be put upon examination. He would have to answer interrogatories. He would be put through the figures and cross-questioned in detail. The whole effect of what he said would be lost in quæstiunculæ and hidden in a controversial detritus.
Again, such a person would rarely speak with great ability. He would speak as a scribe. His habits must have been formed in the quiet of an office: he is used to red tape, placidity, and the respect of subordinates. Such a person will hardly ever be able to stand the hurly-burly of a public assembly. He will lose his head—he will say what he should not. He will get hot and red; he will feel he is a sort of culprit. After being used to the flattering deference of deferential subordinates, he will be pestered by fuss and confounded by invective. He will hate the House as naturally as the House does not like him. He will be an incompetent speaker addressing a hostile audience.
And what is more, an outside administrator addressing Parliament can move Parliament only by the goodness of his arguments. He has no votes to back them up with. He is sure to be at chronic war with some active minority of assailants or others. The natural mode in which a department is improved on great points and new points is by external suggestion; the worse foes of a department are the plausible errors which the most visible facts suggest, and which only half visible facts confute. Both the good ideas and the bad ideas are sure to find advocates first in the press and then in Parliament. Against these a permanent clerk would have to contend by argument alone. The Minister, the head of the Parliamentary government, will not care for him. The Minister will say in some undress soliloquy, “These permanent ‘fellows’ must look after themselves. I cannot be bothered. I have only a majority of nine, and a very shaky majority, too. I cannot afford to make enemies for those whom I did not appoint. They did nothing for me, and I can do nothing for them.” And if the permanent clerk come to ask his help, he will say in decorous language, “I am sure that if the department can evince to the satisfaction of Parliament that its past management has been such as the public interests require, no one will be more gratified than myself. I am not aware if it will be in my power to attend in my place on Monday; but if I can be so fortunate, I shall listen to your official statement with my very best attention.” And so the permanent public servant will be teased by the wits, oppressed by the bores, and massacred by the innovators of Parliament.
The incessant tyranny of Parliament over the public offices is prevented and can only be prevented by the appointment of a Parliamentary head, connected by close ties with the present Ministry and the ruling party in Parliament. The Parliamentary head is a protecting machine. He and the friends he brings stand between the department and the busybodies and crotchet-makers of the House and the country. So long as at any moment the policy of an office could be altered by chance votes in either House of Parliament, there is no security for any consistency. Our guns and our ships are not, perhaps, very good now. But they would be much worse if any thirty or forty advocates for this gun or that gun could make a motion in Parliament, beat the department, and get their ships or their guns adopted. The “Black Breech Ordnance Company” and the “Adamantine Ship Company” would soon find representatives in Parliament, if forty or fifty members would get the national custom for their rubbish. But this result is now prevented by the Parliamentary head of the department. As soon as the Opposition begins the attack, he looks up his means of defence. He studies the subject, compiles his arguments, and builds little piles of statistics, which he hopes will have some effect. He has his reputation at stake, and he wishes to show that he is worth his present place, and fit for future promotion. He is well known, perhaps liked, by the House—at any rate the House attends to him; he is one of the regular speakers whom they hear and heed. He is sure to be able to get himself heard, and he is sure to make the best defence he can. And after he has settled his speech he loiters up to the Secretary of the Treasury, and says quietly, “They have got a motion against me on Tuesday, you know. I hope you will have your men here. A lot of fellows have crotchets, and though they do not agree a bit with one another, they are all against the department; they will all vote for the inquiry.” And the Secretary answers, “Tuesday, you say; no (looking at a paper), I do not think it will come on on Tuesday. There is Higgins on Education. He is good for a long time. But anyhow it shall be all right.” And then he glides about and speaks a word here and a word there, in consequence of which, when the anti-official motion is made, a considerable array of steady, grave faces sits behind the Treasury Bench—nay, possibly a rising man who sits in outlying independence below the gangway rises to defend the transaction; the department wins by thirty-three, and the management of that business pursues its steady way.
This contrast is no fancy picture. The experiment of conducting the administration of a public department by an independent unsheltered authority has often been tried, and always failed. Parliament always poked at it, till it made it impossible. The most remarkable is that of the Poor Law. The administration of that law is not now very good, but it is not too much to say that almost the whole of its goodness has been preserved by its having an official and party protector in the House of Commons. Without that contrivance we should have drifted back into the errors of the old Poor Law, and superadded to them the present meanness and incompetence in our large towns. All would have been given up to local management. Parliament would have interfered with the central board till it made it impotent, and the local authorities would have been despotic. The first administration of the new Poor Law was by “Commissioners”—the three kings of Somerset House, as they were called. The system was certainly not tried in untrustworthy hands. At the crisis Mr. Chadwick, one of the most active and best administrators in England, was the secretary and the motive power: the principal Commissioner was Sir George Lewis, perhaps the best selective administrator of our time. But the House of Commons would not let the Commission alone. For a long time it was defended because the Whigs had made the Commission, and felt bound as a party to protect it. The new law started upon a certain intellectual impetus, and till that was spent its administration was supported in a rickety existence by an abnormal strength. But afterwards the Commissioners were left to their intrinsic weakness. There were members for all the localities, but there were none for them. There were members for every crotchet and corrupt interest, but there were none for them. The rural guardians would have liked to eke out wages by rates; the city guardians hated control, and hated to spend money. The Commission had to be dissolved, and a Parliamentary head was added; the result is not perfect, but it is an amazing improvement on what would have happened in the old system. The new system has not worked well because the central authority has too little power; but under the previous system the central authority was getting to have, and by this time would have had, no power at all. And if Sir George Lewis and Mr. Chadwick could not maintain an outlying department in the face of Parliament, how unlikely that an inferior compound of discretion and activity will ever maintain it!
These reasonings show why a changing Parliamentary head, a head changing as the Ministry changes, is a necessity of good Parliamentary government, and there is happily a natural provision that there will be such heads. Party organisation ensures it. In America, where on account of the fixedly recurring presidential election, and the perpetual minor elections, party organisation is much more effectually organised than anywhere else, the effect on the offices is tremendous. Every office is filled anew at every presidential change, at least every change which brings in a new party. Not only the greatest posts, as in England, but the minor posts change their occupants. The scale of the financial operations of the Federal government is now so increased that most likely in that department, at least, there must in future remain a permanent element of great efficiency; a revenue of £90,000,000 sterling cannot be collected and expended with a trifling and changing staff. But till now the Americans have tried to get on not only with changing heads to a bureaucracy, as the English, but without any stable bureaucracy at all. They have facilities for trying it which no one else has. All Americans can administer, and the number of them really fit to be in succession lawyers, financiers, or military managers is wonderful; they need not be as afraid of a change of all their officials as European countries must, for the incoming substitutes are sure to be much better there than here; and they do not fear, as we English fear, that the outgoing officials will be left destitute in middle life, with no hope for the future and no recompense for the past, for in America (whatever may be the cause of it) opportunities are numberless, and a man who is ruined by being “off the rails” in England soon there gets on another line. The Americans will probably to some extent modify their past system of total administrative cataclysms, but their very existence in the only competing form of free government should prepare us for and make us patient with the mild transitions of Parliamentary government.
These arguments will, I think, seem conclusive to almost every one; but, at this moment, many people will meet them thus: they will say, “You prove what we do not deny, that this system of periodical change is a necessary ingredient in Parliamentary government, but you have not proved what we do deny, that this change is a good thing. Parliamentary government may have that effect, among others, for anything we care: we maintain merely that it is a defect.” In answer, I think it may be shown not, indeed, that this precise change is necessary to a permanently perfect administration, but that some analogous change, some change of the same species, is so.
At this moment, in England, there is a sort of leaning towards bureaucracy—at least, among writers and talkers. There is a seizure of partiality to it. The English people do not easily change their rooted notions, but they have many unrooted notions. Any great European event is sure for a moment to excite a sort of twinge of conversion to something or other. Just now, the triumph of the Prussians—the bureaucratic people, as is believed, par excellence—has excited a kind of admiration for bureaucracy, which a few years since we should have thought impossible. I do not presume to criticise the Prussian bureaucracy of my own knowledge; it certainly is not a pleasant institution for foreigners to come across, though agreeableness to travellers is but of very second-rate importance. But it is quite certain that the Prussian bureaucracy, though we, for a moment, half admire it at a distance, does not permanently please the most intelligent and liberal Prussians at home. What are two among the principal aims of the Fortschritt Partei—the party of progress—as Mr. Grant Duff, the most accurate and philosophical of our describers, delineates them?
First, “a liberal system, conscientiously carried out in all the details of the administration, with a view to avoiding the scandals now of frequent occurrence, when an obstinate or bigoted official sets at defiance the liberal initiations of the Government, trusting to backstairs influence”.
Second, “an easy method of bringing to justice guilty officials, who are at present, as in France, in all conflicts with simple citizens, like men armed cap-à-pie fighting with defenceless”. A system against which the most intelligent native liberals bring even with colour of reason such grave objections, is a dangerous model for foreign imitation.
The defects of bureaucracy are, indeed, well known. It is a form of Government which has been tried often enough in the world, and it is easy to show what, human nature being what it in the long run is, the defects of a bureaucracy must in the long run be.
It is an inevitable defect, that bureaucrats will care more for routine than for results; or, as Burke put it, “that they will think the substance of business not to be much more important than the forms of it”. Their whole education and all the habit of their lives make them do so. They are brought young into the particular part of the public service to which they are attached; they are occupied for years in learning its forms—afterwards, for years too, in applying these forms to trifling matters. They are, to use the phrase of an old writer, “but the tailors of business; they cut the clothes, but they do not find the body”. Men so trained must come to think the routine of business not a means, but an end—to imagine the elaborate machinery of which they form a part, and from which they derive their dignity, to be a grand and achieved result, not a working and changeable instrument. But in a miscellaneous world, there is now one evil and now another. The very means which best helped you yesterday, may very likely be those which most impede you to-morrow—you may want to do a different thing to-morrow, and all your accumulation of means for yesterday’s work is but an obstacle to the new work. The Prussian military system is the theme of popular wonder now, yet it sixty years pointed the moral against form. We have all heard the saying that “Frederic the Great lost the battle of Jena”. It was the system which he had established—a good system for his wants and his times—which, blindly adhered to, and continued into a different age, put to strive with new competitors, brought his country to ruin. The “dead and formal” Prussian system was then contrasted with the “living” French system—the sudden outcome of the new explosive democracy. The system which now exists is the product of the reaction; and the history of its predecessor is a warning what its future history may be too. It is not more celebrated for its day than Frederic’s for his, and principle teaches that a bureaucracy, elated by sudden success, and marvelling at its own merit, is the most unimproving and shallow of Governments.
Not only does a bureaucracy thus tend to under-government, in point of quality; it tends to over-government, in point of quantity. The trained official hates the rude, untrained public. He thinks that they are stupid, ignorant, reckless—that they cannot tell their own interest—that they should have the leave of the office before they do anything. Protection is the natural inborn creed of every official body; free trade is an extrinsic idea alien to its notions, and hardly to be assimilated with life; and it is easy to see how an accomplished critic, used to a free and active life, could thus describe the official.
“Every imaginable and real social interest,” says Mr. Laing, “religion, education, law, police, every branch of public or private business, personal liberty to move from place to place, even from parish to parish within the same jurisdiction; liberty to engage in any branch of trade or industry, on a small or large scale, all the objects, in short, in which body, mind, and capital can be employed in civilised society, were gradually laid hold of for the employment and support of functionaries, were centralised in bureaux, were superintended, licensed, inspected, reported upon, and interfered with by a host of officials scattered over the land, and maintained at the public expense, yet with no conceivable utility in their duties. They are not, however, gentlemen at large, enjoying salary without service. They are under a semi-military discipline. In Bavaria, for instance, the superior civil functionary can place his inferior functionary under house-arrest, for neglect of duty, or other offence against civil functionary discipline. In Würtemberg, the functionary cannot marry without leave from his superior. Voltaire says, somewhere, that, ‘the art of government is to make two-thirds of a nation pay all it possibly can pay for the benefit of the other third’. This is realised in Germany by the functionary system. The functionaries are not there for the benefit of the people, but the people for the benefit of the functionaries. All this machinery of functionarism, with its numerous ranks and gradations in every district, filled with a staff of clerks and expectants in every department looking for employment, appointments, or promotions, was intended to be a new support of the throne in the new social state of the Continent; a third class, in connection with the people by their various official duties of interference in all public or private affairs, yet attached by their interests to the kingly power. The Beamptenstand, or functionary class, was to be the equivalent to the class of nobility, gentry, capitalists, and men of larger landed property than the peasant-proprietors, and was to make up in numbers for the want of individual weight and influence. In France, at the expulsion of Louis Philippe, the civil functionaries were stated to amount to 807,030 individuals. This civil army was more than double of the military. In Germany, this class is necessarily more numerous in proportion to the population, the landwehr system imposing many more restrictions than the conscription on the free action of the people, and requiring more officials to manage it, and the semi-feudal jurisdictions and forms of law requiring much more writing and intricate forms of procedure before the courts than the Code Napoleon.”
A bureaucracy is sure to think that its duty is to augment official power, official business, or official members, rather than to leave free the energies of mankind; it overdoes the quantity of government, as well as impairs its quality.
The truth is, that a skilled bureaucracy—a bureaucracy trained from early life to its special avocation—is, though it boasts of an appearance of science, quite inconsistent with the true principles of the art of business. That art has not yet been condensed into precepts, but a great many experiments have been made, and a vast floating vapour of knowledge floats through society. One of the most sure principles is, that success depends on a due mixture of special and non-special minds—of minds which attend to the means, and of minds which attend to the end. The success of the great joint-stock banks of London—the most remarkable achievement of recent business—has been an example of the use of this mixture. These banks are managed by a board of persons mostly not trained to the business, supplemented by, and annexed to, a body of specially trained officers, who have been bred to banking all their lives. These mixed banks have quite beaten the old banks, composed exclusively of pure bankers; it is found that the board of directors has greater and more flexible knowledge—more insight into the wants of a commercial community—knows when to lend and when not to lend, better than the old bankers, who had never looked at life, except out of the bank windows. Just so the most successful railways in Europe have been conducted—not by engineers or traffic managers—but by capitalists; by men of a certain business culture, if of no other. These capitalists buy and use the services of skilled managers, as the unlearned attorney buys and uses the services of the skilled barrister, and manage far better than any of the different sorts of special men under them. They combine these different specialities—make it clear where the realm of one ends and that of the other begins, and add to it a wide knowledge of large affairs, which no special man can have, and which is only gained by diversified action. But this utility of leading minds used to generalise, and acting upon various materials, is entirely dependent upon their position. They must not be at the bottom—they must not even be half way up—they must be at the top. A merchant’s clerk would be a child at a bank counter; but the merchant himself could, very likely, give good, clear, and useful advice in a bank court. The merchant’s clerk would be equally at sea in a railway office, but the merchant himself could give good advice, very likely, at a board of directors. The summits (if I may so say) of the various kinds of business are, like the tops of mountains, much more alike than the parts below—the bare principles are much the same; it is only the rich variegated details of the lower strata that so contrast with one another. But it needs travelling to know that the summits are the same. Those who live on one mountain believe that their mountain is wholly unlike all others.
The application of this principle to Parliamentary government is very plain; it shows at once that the intrusion from without upon an office of an exterior head of the office, is not an evil, but that, on the contrary, it is essential to the perfection of that office. If it is left to itself, the office will become technical, self-absorbed, self-multiplying. It will be likely to overlook the end in the means; it will fail from narrowness of mind; it will be eager in seeming to do; it will be idle in real doing. An extrinsic chief is the fit corrector of such errors. He can say to the permanent chief, skilled in the forms and pompous with the memories of his office, “Will you, Sir, explain to me how this regulation conduces to the end in view? According to the natural view of things, the applicant should state the whole of his wishes to one clerk on one paper; you make him say it to five clerks on five papers.” Or, again, “Does it not appear to you, Sir, that the reason of this formality is extinct? When we were building wood ships, it was quite right to have such precautions against fire; but now that we are building iron ships,” etc., etc. If a junior clerk asked these questions, he would be “pooh-poohed!” It is only the head of an office that can get them answered. It is he, and he only, that brings the rubbish of office to the burning-glass of sense.
The immense importance of such a fresh mind is greatest in a country where business changes most. A dead, inactive, agricultural country may be governed by an unalterable bureau for years and years, and no harm come of it. If a wise man arranged the bureau rightly in the beginning, it may run rightly a long time. But if the country be a progressive, eager, changing one, soon the bureau will either cramp improvement, or be destroyed itself.
This conception of the use of a Parliamentary head shows how wrong is the obvious notion which regards him as the principal administrator of his office. The late Sir George Lewis used to be fond of explaining this subject. He had every means of knowing. He was bred in the permanent civil service. He was a very successful Chancellor of the Exchequer, a very successful Home Secretary, and he died Minister for War. He used to say, “It is not the business of a Cabinet Minister to work his department. His business is to see that it is properly worked. If he does much, he is probably doing harm. The permanent staff of the office can do what he chooses to do much better, or if they cannot, they ought to be removed. He is only a bird of passage, and cannot compete with those who are in the office all their lives round.” Sir George Lewis was a perfect Parliamentary head of an office, so far as that head is to be a keen critic and rational corrector of it.
But Sir George Lewis was not perfect; he was not even an average good head in another respect. The use of a fresh mind applied to the official mind is not only a corrective use, it is also an animating use. A public department is very apt to be dead to what is wanting for a great occasion till the occasion is past. The vague public mind will appreciate some signal duty before the precise, occupied administration perceives it. The Duke of Newcastle was of this use at least in the Crimean War. He roused up his department, though when roused it could not act. A perfect Parliamentary Minister would be one who should add the animating capacity of the Duke of Newcastle to the accumulated sense, the detective instinct, and the laissez faire habit of Sir George Lewis.
As soon as we take the true view of Parliamentary office we shall perceive that, fairly, frequent change in the official is an advantage, not a mistake. If his function is to bring a representative of outside sense and outside animation in contact with the inside world, he ought often to be changed. No man is a perfect representative of outside sense. “There is some one,” says the true French saying, “who is more able than Talleyrand, more able than Napoleon. C’est tout le monde.” That many-sided sense finds no microcosm in any single individual. Still less are the critical function and the animating function of a Parliamentary Minister likely to be perfectly exercised by one and the same man. Impelling power and restraining wisdom are as opposite as any two things, and are rarely found together. And even if the natural mind of the Parliamentary Minister was perfect, long contact with the office would destroy his use. Inevitably he would accept the ways of office, think its thoughts, live its life. The “dyer’s hand would be subdued to what it works in”. If the function of a Parliamentary Minister is to be an outsider to his office, we must not choose one who, by habit, thought, and life, is acclimatised to its ways.
There is every reason to expect that a Parliamentary statesman will be a man of quite sufficient intelligence, quite enough various knowledge, quite enough miscellaneous experience, to represent effectually general sense in opposition to bureaucratic sense. Most Cabinet Ministers in charge of considerable departments are men of superior ability; I have heard an eminent living statesman of long experience say that in his time he only knew one instance to the contrary. And there is the best protection that it shall be so. A considerable Cabinet Minister has to defend his department in the face of mankind; and though distant observers and sharp writers may depreciate it, this is a very difficult thing. A fool, who has publicly to explain great affairs, who has publicly to answer detective questions, who has publicly to argue against able and quick opponents, must soon be shown to be a fool. The very nature of Parliamentary government answers for the discovery of substantial incompetence.
At any rate, none of the competing forms of government have nearly so effectual a procedure for putting a good untechnical Minister to correct and impel the routine ones. There are but four important forms of government in the present state of the world—the Parliamentary, the Presidential, the Hereditary, and the Dictatorial, or Revolutionary. Of these I have shown that, as now worked in America, the Presidential form of government is incompatible with a skilled bureaucracy. If the whole official class change when a new party goes out or comes in, a good official system is impossible. Even if more officials should be permanent in America than now, still, vast numbers will always be changed. The whole issue is based on a single election—on the choice of President; by that internecine conflict all else is won or lost. The managers of the contest have that greatest possible facility in using what I may call patronage-bribery. Everybody knows that, as a fact, the President can give what places he likes to what persons, and when his friends tell A. B., “If we win, C. D. shall be turned out of Utica Post-office, and you, A. B., shall have it,” A. B. believes it, and is justified in doing so. But no individual member of Parliament can promise place effectually. He may not be able to give the places. His party may come in, but he will be powerless. In the United States party intensity is aggravated by concentrating an overwhelming importance on a single contest, and the efficiency of promised offices as a means of corruption is augmented, because the victor can give what he likes to whom he likes.
Nor is this the only defect of a Presidential government in reference to the choice of officers. The President has the principal anomaly of a Parliamentary government without having its corrective. At each change of party the President distributes (as here) the principal offices to his principal supporters. But he has an opportunity for singular favouritism; the Minister lurks in the office; he need do nothing in public; he need not show for years whether he is a fool or wise. The nation can tell what a Parliamentary member is by the open test of Parliament; but no one, save from actual contact, or by rare position, can tell anything certain of a Presidential Minister.
The case of a Minister under an hereditary form of government is yet worse. The hereditary king may be weak; may be under the government of women; may appoint a Minister from childish motives; may remove one from absurd whims. There is no security that an hereditary king will be competent to choose a good chief Minister, and thousands of such kings have chosen millions of bad Ministers.
By the Dictatorial, or Revolutionary, sort of government, I mean that very important sort in which the sovereign—the absolute sovereign—is selected by insurrection. In theory, one would certainly have hoped that by this time such a crude elective machinery would have been reduced to a secondary part. But, in fact, the greatest nation (or, perhaps, after the exploits of Bismarck, I should say one of the two greatest nations of the Continent) vacillates between the Revolutionary and the Parliamentary, and now is governed under the Revolutionary form. France elects its ruler in the streets of Paris. Flatterers may suggest that the democratic empire will become hereditary, but close observers know that it cannot. The idea of the Government is that the Emperor represents the people in capacity, in judgment, in instinct. But no family through generations can have sufficient, or half sufficient, mind to do so. The representative despot must be chosen by fighting, as Napoleon I. and Napoleon III. were chosen. And such a Government is likely, whatever be its other defects, to have a far better and abler administration than any other Government. The head of the Government must be a man of the most consummate ability. He cannot keep his place, he can hardly keep his life, unless he is. He is sure to be active, because he knows that his power, and perhaps his head, may be lost if he be negligent. The whole frame of his State is strained to keep down revolution. The most difficult of all political problems is to be solved—the people are to be at once thoroughly restrained and thoroughly pleased. The executive must be like a steel shirt of the Middle Ages—extremely hard and extremely flexible. It must give way to attractive novelties which do not hurt; it must resist such as are dangerous; it must maintain old things which are good and fitting; it must alter such as cramp and give pain. The dictator dare not appoint a bad Minister if he would. I admit that such a despot is a better selector of administrators than a Parliament; that he will know how to mix fresh minds and used minds better; that he is under a stronger motive to combine them well; that here is to be seen the best of all choosers with the keenest motives to choose. But I need not prove in England that the revolutionary selection of rulers obtains administrative efficiency at a price altogether transcending its value; that it shocks credit by its catastrophes; that for intervals it does not protect property or life; that it maintains an undergrowth of fear through all prosperity; that it may take years to find the true capable despot; that the interregna of the incapable are full of all evil; that the fit despot may die as soon as found; that the good administration and all else hang by the thread of his life.
But if, with the exception of this terrible Revolutionary government, a Parliamentary government upon principle surpasses all its competitors in administrative efficiency, why is it that our English Government, which is beyond comparison the best of Parliamentary governments, is not celebrated through the world for administrative efficiency? It is noted for many things, why is it not noted for that? Why, according to popular belief is it rather characterised by the very contrary?
One great reason of the diffused impression is, that the English Government attempts so much. Our military system is that which is most attacked. Objectors say we spend much more on our army than the great military monarchies, and yet with an inferior result. But, then, what we attempt is incalculably more difficult. The continental monarchies have only to defend compact European territories by the many soldiers whom they force to fight; the English try to defend without any compulsion—only by such soldiers as they persuade to serve—territories far surpassing all Europe in magnitude, and situated all over the habitable globe. Our Horse Guards and War Office may not be at all perfect—I believe they are not: but if they had sufficient recruits selected by force of law—if they had, as in Prussia, the absolute command of each man’s time for a few years, and the right to call him out afterwards when they liked, we should be much surprised at the sudden ease and quickness with which they did things. I have no doubt too that any accomplished soldier of the Continent would reject as impossible what we after a fashion effect. He would not attempt to defend a vast scattered empire, with many islands, a long frontier line in every continent, and a very tempting bit of plunder at the centre, by mere volunteer recruits, who mostly come from the worst class of the people—whom the Great Duke called the “scum of the earth”—who come in uncertain numbers year by year—who by some political accident may not come in adequate numbers, or at all, in the year we need them most. Our War Office attempts what foreign War Offices (perhaps rightly) would not try at; their officers have means of incalculable force denied to ours, though ours is set to harder tasks.
Again, the English navy undertakes to defend a line of coast and a set of dependencies far surpassing those of any continental power. And the extent of our operations is a singular difficulty just now. It requires us to keep a large stock of ships and arms. But on the other hand, there are most important reasons why we should not keep much. The naval art and the military art are both in a state of transition; the last discovery of to-day is out of date, and superseded by an antagonistic discovery to-morrow. Any large accumulation of vessels or guns is sure to contain much that will be useless, unfitting, antediluvian, when it comes to be tried. There are two cries against the Admiralty which go on side by side: one says, “We have not ships enough, no ‘relief’ ships, no navy, to tell the truth”; the other cry says, “We have all the wrong ships, all the wrong guns, and nothing but the wrong; in their foolish constructive mania the Admiralty have been building when they ought to have been waiting; they have heaped a curious museum of exploded inventions, but they have given us nothing serviceable”. The two cries for opposite policies go on together, and blacken our executive together, though each is a defence of the executive against the other.
Again, the Home Department in England struggles with difficulties of which abroad they have long got rid. We love independent “local authorities,” little centres of outlying authority. When the metropolitan executive most wishes to act, it cannot act effectually because these lesser bodies hesitate, deliberate, or even disobey. But local independence has no necessary connection with Parliamentary government. The degree of local freedom desirable in a country varies according to many circumstances, and a Parliamentary government may consist with any degree of it. We certainly ought not to debit Parliamentary government as a general and applicable polity with the particular vices of the guardians of the poor in England, though it is so debited every day.
Again, as our administration has in England this peculiar difficulty, so on the other hand foreign competing administrations have a peculiar advantage. Abroad a man under Government is a superior being: he is higher than the rest of the world; he is envied by almost all of it. This gives the Government the easy pick of the élite of the nation. All clever people are eager to be under Government, and are hardly to be satisfied elsewhere. But in England there is no such superiority, and the English have no such feeling. We do not respect a stamp-office clerk, or an exciseman’s assistant. A pursy grocer considers he is much above either. Our Government cannot buy for minor clerks the best ability of the nation in the cheap currency of pure honour, and no Government is rich enough to buy very much of it in money. Our mercantile opportunities allure away the most ambitious minds. The foreign bureaux are filled with a selection from the ablest men of the nation, but only a very few of the best men approach the English offices.
But these are neither the only nor even the principal reasons why our public administration is not so good as, according to principle and to the unimpeded effects of Parliamentary government, it should be. There are two great causes at work, which in their consequences run out into many details, but which in their fundamental nature may be briefly described. The first of these causes is our ignorance. No polity can get out of a nation more than there is in the nation. A free government is essentially a government by persuasion; and as are the people to be persuaded, and as are the persuaders, so will that government be. On many parts of our administration the effect of our extreme ignorance is at once plain. The foreign policy of England has for many years been, according to the judgment now in vogue, inconsequent, fruitless, casual; aiming at no distinct pre-imagined end, based on no steadily pre-conceived principle. I have not room to discuss with how much or how little abatement this decisive censure should be accepted. However, I entirely concede that our recent foreign policy has been open to very grave and serious blame. But would it not have been a miracle if the English people, directing their own policy, and being what they are, had directed a good policy? Are they not above all nations divided from the rest of the world, insular both in situation and in mind, both for good and for evil? Are they not out of the current of common European causes and affairs? Are they not a race contemptuous of others? Are they not a race with no special education or culture as to the modern world, and too often despising such culture? Who could expect such a people to comprehend the new and strange events of foreign places? So far from wondering that the English Parliament has been inefficient in foreign policy, I think it is wonderful, and another sign of the rude, vague imagination that is at the bottom of our people, that we have done so well as we have.
Again, the very conception of the English Constitution, as distinguished from a purely Parliamentary Constitution is, that it contains “dignified” parts—parts, that is, retained, not for intrinsic use, but from their imaginative attraction upon an uncultured and rude population. All such elements tend to diminish simple efficiency. They are like the additional and solely-ornamental wheels introduced into the clocks of the Middle Ages, which tell the then age of the moon or the supreme constellation; which make little men or birds come out and in theatrically. All such ornamental work is a source of friction and error; it prevents the time being marked accurately; each new wheel is a new source of imperfection. So if authority is given to a person, not on account of his working fitness, but on account of his imaginative efficiency, he will commonly impair good administration. He may do something better than good work of detail, but will spoil good work of detail. The English aristocracy is often of this sort. It has an influence over the people of vast value still, and of infinite value formerly. But no man would select the cadets of an aristrocratic house as desirable administrators. They have peculiar disadvantages in the acquisition of business knowledge, business training, and business habits, and they have no peculiar advantages.
Our middle class, too, is very unfit to give us the administrators we ought to have. I cannot now discuss whether all that is said against our education is well grounded; it is called by an excellent judge “pretentious, insufficient, and unsound”. But I will say that it does not fit men to be men of business as it ought to fit them. Till lately the very simple attainments and habits necessary for a banker’s clerk had a scarcity-value. The sort of education which fits a man for the higher posts of practical life is still very rare; there is not even a good agreement as to what it is. Our public officers cannot be as good as the corresponding officers of some foreign nations till our business education is as good as theirs.1
But strong as is our ignorance in deteriorating our administration, another cause is stronger still. There are but two foreign administrations probably better than ours, and both these have had something which we have not had. Theirs in both cases were arranged by a man of genius, after careful forethought, and upon a special design. Napoleon built upon a clear stage which the French Revolution bequeathed him. The originality once ascribed to his edifice was indeed untrue; Tocqueville and Lavergne have shown that he did but run up a conspicuous structure in imitation of a latent one before concealed by the mediæval complexities of the old régime. But what we are concerned with now is, not Napoleon’s originality, but his work. He undoubtedly settled the administration of France upon an effective, consistent, and enduring system; the succeeding governments have but worked the mechanism they inherited from him. Frederick the Great did the same in the new monarchy of Prussia. Both the French system and the Prussian are new machines, made in civilised times to do their appropriate work.
The English offices have never, since they were made, been arranged with any reference to one another; or rather they were never made, but grew as each could. The sort of free trade which prevailed in public institutions in the English Middle Ages is very curious. Our three courts of law—the Queen’s Bench, the Common Pleas, and the Exchequer—for the sake of the fees extended an originally contracted sphere into the entire sphere of litigation. Boni judicis est ampliare jurisdictionem, went the old saying; or, in English, “It is the mark of a good judge to augment the fees of his Court,” his own income, and the income of his subordinates. The central administration, the Treasury, never asked any account of the moneys the courts thus received; so long as it was not asked to pay anything, it was satisfied. Only last year one of the many remnants of this system cropped up, to the wonder of the public. A clerk in the Patent Office stole some fees, and naturally the men of the nineteenth century thought our principal Finance Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, would be, as in France, responsible for it. But the English law was different somehow. The Patent Office was under the Lord Chancellor, and the Court of Chancery is one of the multitude of our institutions which owe their existence to free competition, and so it was the Lord Chancellor’s business to look after the fees, which of course, as an occupied judge, he could not. A certain Act of Parliament did indeed require that the fees of the Patent Office should be paid into the “Exchequer”; and, again, the “Chancellor of the Exchequer” was thought to be responsible in the matter, but only by those who did not know. According to our system the Chancellor of the Exchequer is the enemy of the Exchequer; a whole series of enactments try to protect it from him. Until a few months ago there was a very lucrative sinecure called the “Comptrollership of the Exchequer,” designed to guard the Exchequer against its Chancellor; and the last holder, Lord Monteagle, used to say he was the pivot of the English Constitution. I have not room to explain what he meant, and it is not needful; what is to the purpose is that, by an inherited series of historical complexities, a defaulting clerk in an office of no litigation was not under natural authority, the Finance Minister, but under a far-away judge who had never heard of him.
The whole office of the Lord Chancellor is a heap of anomalies. He is a judge, and it is contrary to obvious principle that any part of administration should be entrusted to a judge; it is of very grave moment that the administration of justice should be kept clear of any sinister temptations. Yet the Lord Chancellor, our chief judge, sits in the Cabinet, and makes party speeches in the Lords. Lord Lyndhurst was a principal Tory politician, and yet he presided in the O’Connell case. Lord Westbury was in chronic wrangle with the bishops, but he gave judgment upon “Essays and Reviews”. In truth, the Lord Chancellor became a Cabinet Minister, because, being near the person of the sovereign, he was high in court precedence, and not upon a political theory wrong or right.
A friend once told me that an intelligent Italian asked him about the principal English officers, and that he was very puzzled to explain their duties, and especially to explain the relation of their duties to their titles. I do not remember all the cases, but I can recollect that the Italian could not comprehend why the First “Lord of the Treasury” had as a rule nothing to do with the Treasury, or why the “Woods and Forests” looked after the sewerage of towns. This conversation was years before the cattle plague, but I should like to have heard the reasons why the Privy Council Office had charge of that malady. Of course one could give an historical reason, but I mean an administrative reason a reason which would show, not how it came to have the duty, but why in future it should keep it.
But the unsystematic and casual arrangement of our public offices is not more striking than their difference of arrangement for the one purpose they have in common. They all, being under the ultimate direction of a Parliamentary official, ought to have the best means of bringing the whole of the higher concerns of the office before that official. When the fresh mind rules, the fresh mind requires to be informed. And most business being rather alike, the machinery for bringing it before the extrinsic chief ought, for the most part, to be similar: at any rate, where it is different, it ought to be different upon reason; and where it is similar, similar upon reason. Yet there are almost no two offices which are exactly alike in the defined relations of the permanent official to the Parliamentary chief. Let us see. The army and navy are the most similar in nature, yet there is in the army a permanent outside office, called the Horse Guards, to which there is nothing else like. In the navy, there is a curious anomaly—a Board of Admiralty, also changing with every Government, which is to instruct the First Lord in what he does not know. The relations between the First Lord and the Board have not always been easily intelligible, and those between the War Office and the Horse Guards are in extreme confusion. Even now a Parliamentary paper relating to them has just been presented to the House of Commons, which says the fundamental and ruling document cannot be traced beyond the possession of Sir George Lewis, who was Secretary for War three years since; and the confused details are endless, as they must be in a chronic contention of offices. At the Board of Trade there is only the hypothesis of a Board; it has long ceased to exist. Even the President and Vice-President do not regularly meet for the transaction of affairs. The patent of the latter is only to transact business in the absence of the President, and if the two are not intimate, and the President chooses to act himself, the Vice-President sees no papers, and does nothing. At the Treasury the shadow of a Board exists, but its members have no power, and are the very officials whom Canning said existed to make a House, to keep a House, and to cheer the Ministers. The India Office has a fixed “Council”; but the Colonial Office which rules over our other dependencies and colonies, has not, and never had, the vestige of a council. Any of these varied Constitutions may be right, but all of them can scarcely be right.
In truth the real constitution of a permanent office to be ruled by a permanent chief has been discussed only once in England: that case was a peculiar and anomalous one, and the decision then taken was dubious. A new India Office, when the East India Company was abolished, had to be made. The late Mr. James Wilson, a consummate judge of administrative affairs, then maintained that no council ought to be appointed eo nomine, but that the true Council of a Cabinet Minister was a certain number of highly paid, much occupied, responsible secretaries, whom the Minister could consult either separately or together, as, and when, he chose. Such secretaries, Mr. Wilson maintained, must be able, for no Minister will sacrifice his own convenience, and endanger his own reputation by appointing a fool to a post so near himself, and where he can do much harm. A member of a Board may easily be incompetent; if some other members and the chairmen are able, the addition of one or two stupid men will not be felt; they will receive their salaries and do nothing. But a permanent under-secretary, charged with a real control over much important business, must be able, or his superior will be blamed, and there will be “a scrape in Parliament”.
I cannot here discuss, nor am I competent to discuss, the best mode of composing public offices, and of adjusting them to a Parliamentary head. There ought to be on record skilled evidence on the subject before a person without any specific experience can to any purpose think about it. But I may observe that the plan which Mr. Wilson suggested is that followed in the most successful part of our administration, the “Ways and Means” part. When the Chancellor of the Exchequer prepares a budget, he requires from the responsible heads of the revenue department their estimates of the public revenue upon the preliminary hypothesis that no change is made, but that last year’s taxes will continue; if, afterwards, he thinks of making an alteration, he requires a report on that too. If he has to renew Exchequer bills, or operate anyhow in the City, he takes the opinion, oral or written, of the ablest and most responsible person at the National Debt Office, and the ablest and most responsible at the Treasury. Mr. Gladstone, by far the greatest Chancellor of the Exchequer of this generation, one of the very greatest of any generation, has often gone out of his way to express his obligation to these responsible skilled advisers. The more a man knows himself, the more habituated he is to action in general, the more sure he is to take and to value responsible counsel emanating from ability and suggested by experience. That this principle brings good fruit is certain. We have, by unequivocal admission, the best budget in the world. Why should not the rest of our administration be as good if we did but apply the same method to it?
I leave this to stand as it was originally written since it does not profess to rest on my own knowledge, and only offers a suggestion on good authority. Recent experience seems, however, to show that in all great administrative departments there ought to be some one permanent responsible head through whom the changing Parliamentary chief always acts, from whom he learns everything, and to whom he communicates everything. The daily work of the Exchequer is a trifle compared with that of the Admiralty or the Home Office, and therefore a single principal head is not there so necessary. But the preponderance of evidence at present is that in all offices of very great work some one such head is essential.
[1 ] Now Lord Salisbury, who, when this was written, was Indian Secretary.—Note to second edition.
[1 ] I am happy to state that this evil is much diminishing. The improvement of school education of the middle class in the last twenty-five years is marvellous.