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2/8                            POLITICAL SCIENCE.
weight. When put in its rudest form, it would be rather that
an obscure, than that a less able man, is chosen for the reason
just given. There is no desire on the part of a convention
which selects candidates for a party to avoid able, judicious,
or upright men ; but there is a desire to prevent defection or
disaffection by forbearing to nominate a foremost man whom
other party leaders dislike. And does not the same motive
act when a new ministry has to be constituted in England ?
Have there not been men necessary to a party who would
not serve under a particular person thought of as a prime
minister ? The evil is a great one, I admit, and is a conse-
quence of party government as connected with popular elec-
tions ; but the wisest man in the place of secretary of state
or of the treasury would have as wide and as influential a
field of action as in the president's chair, so long as he could
retain the president's confidence.
The other objection of " unintermitted electioneering " in-
cident to popular elections is also an evil; but it is overstated,
when it is said by Mr. Mill that " when the highest dignity
in the state is to be conferred by popular election once every
few years, the whole of the intervening time is spent in what is
virtually a canvass." There have been several elections when
the minds of the people have been greatly roused and deeply
anxious, but this was owing to the importance of the crisis,
as when Mr. Lincoln was canvassed for; but it is remarkable
how soon the agitation subsides. There are worse evils than
Mr. Mill's telescope has discovered, attending on our system
from the management of parties, which we intend to consider
under the head of party government.
But, while admitting the justice of the criticisms on our
mode of electing the chief officer, we cannot be persuaded
that Mr. Mill's recommendations ought to carry much weight,
especially as they have no experience to support them. As
for election by the legislature, to which the French political
writers incline, because they have had unfortunate experience
of national elections of a chief magistrate, it is to be feared
that it would be a source of great corruption; men who