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Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

DEPARTMENTS  OF  GOVERNMENT IN A  STATE.        315
never likely to go beyond the mind of its author, but we may
add in brief that the Roman senate was not a legislative, but
an administrative body ; that it represented a wealthy aris-
tocracy which kept offices admitting into the senate chiefly
in the hands of the optimates ; that it managed affairs so
selfishly as to create an opposition headed by some of its
members which finally crushed it; and that it is the best jus-
tification of the empire that the senate was unequal to its
work. No such body could last long in a state verging
towards a government either of the imperial or ochlocratic
kind. It would indeed have some excellent characteristics,
as including l' all the talents " of a political kind in a country,
but the members in general would be old with the conserva-
tism of fixed ideas, which is the worst possible conservatism.
Who would expect legislation to be made wiser by old gouty
admirals and generals accustomed to be obeyed, or by old
judges who are of all men most attached to the existing sys-
tem of legislation.
If one of the chambers were small and had the confidence
of the people, its influence might be cemented by giving to
it certain special powers of a somewhat administrative char-
acter. Thus the treaty-making power, which in monarchies
has belonged to the king, and which needs secrecy for its
success in negotiations, must in. all forms fall more especially
to the executive ; and yet treaties, being wide-sweeping in
their effects on law and on constitution, ought not to be placed
beyond the reach of the legislature. Thus a commercial
treaty may establish such relations between two countries, as
materially to influence taxation and restrict the power of a
legislature. In England the control of parliament over treaties
is only indirect. Public opinion may deter a cabinet from
making an obnoxious treaty, or the house of commons may
refuse grants of money necessary to carry one into effect.
In the United States the senate has the power of sanctioning
treaties, and the house of representatives has no other con-
trol except that of refusing to vote the money which the
treaty calls for. When there is no such call, a treaty goes on