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3l8                            POLITICAL SCIENCE.
industry and commerce, and with public disasters, fail in the
future to subvert or essentially modify the constitution?
Then it will be necessary to give up trust in past habits and,
probably, to frame a written constitution, which, rather than
steady habits and practical wisdom, shall be the mainspring
in sustaining the interests of the nation for the time to come.
Where a constitution in a written form exists, it limits the
action of the several departments, declares what they can do
and what they cannot, and endeavors to secure a harmony
and distinct action of them all. One would think that the
minute provisions of many modern constitutions were suffi-
cient for all possible cases of difficulty that can arise.
Yet in the United States there have been not a few com-
plaints against the misconduct of legislatures, and not a few
charges of corruption.*"" Several of the states, especially
Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Missouri,-in new or revised con-
stitutions, have attempted to limit their powers in several
ways, One of the most important is that no special laws
shall be passed for incorporations, but that a general law
shall cover all cases. It is thought that this will prevent a
large part of the suspicion and bad repute that has of late
years fastened on these bodies, and will diminish what is
vulgarly called the lobby or gathering of agents of companies
and others, who have business before legislatures, and are
supposed to use unlawful influences with them. ' Other pow-
ers that need to be taken away from such bodies are the
granting of pardons and of divorces, the election of judges
for the higher courts, the furnishing of aid to companies for
benevolent purposes, or to those engaged in transportation;
but, above all, the limitation of the power to borrow money
on the credit of the state, and to lay a tax beyond a certain
* Burke (Thoughts on the causes of present discontents, i., 389,,
Bohn's^ed.), speaking of the want of "a decent attention to public in-
terest in the representatives," sees no other way of preserving such
attention but the "interposition of the people itself." This, howeve%
he regards as an extreme remedy only. To limit the legislature conr
stitutibnally, is hardly consistent with the nature and history of the
British parliament.