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laws without further reference to the public will is entrusted,
have declared that, in their collective capacity, they are not
able to make, nor equal to the task of making, the best laws,
and they commit this to a smaller body in whom they confide.
Still further, it is a harder problem often to find out what, in
strictness of speech, is the will of the people, than it is to find
out what laws and measures are best for the common welfare.
The opinion and will of every modern* community changes
with rapidity, so that a minority becomes a majority, and a
majority would adopt different measures than it did when it
elected the existing legislature ; and thus we might say with
perfect truth that two houses, elected or renewed at different
times, would each express the current opinion at the time of
its election, and on the whole, by their joint action, be better
exponents of the sober judgments of the community than one
alone ever could be.
Taking this view of the changes of opinion and policy in
Differenceoffimc- a constitutional government, we must deny that
tions of two houses. one chamber ought to represent the conserva-
tive, and one the progressive element in the constitution or
in opinion. In matter of fact this is the case under the Eng-
lish constitution, and thus a theory has arisen that some such
balance of powers must be found in all constitutions. Both
houses ought to represent public wisdom and intelligence as
far as possible ; but if they were chosen at the same time and
continued for the same time in office, they would be of little
use ; indeed, they would be under the temptation of differ-
ing, in order that it might be seen that they held indepen-
dent opinions, or possessed superior ability. The conserva-
tive and progressive tendencies ought not to belong to a part
of the political machine, but both chambers should be con-
servative, both progressive ; although, if elected at different
times, they would have these qualities for the time being in
different proportions.
The true view of the use of two houses is first, that by this