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384                            POLITICAL SCIENCE.

and it is plain that self-government here, as an gducation for
political duties, is of great importance, as being the principal,
if not the only accessible initiation into the mystery of self-

A general law for town administration is easier to be framed
than for cities with varying and vast interests. It seems to
be of no very great importance whether a mayor (an officer
not known in such places on this side of the Atlantic, we
believe), or a first selectman, or some other officer, shall be
at the head of affairs. The officers of various kinds may be
chosen annually, or it would be better if a portion should
remain in office and a portion be removed annually. The
power to incur debts above a certain percentage of the prop-
erty might be restricted, as in the case of cities. The great
dangers of country towns in the United States consist in their
being remote from public opinion outside of their own com-
munity, from the influences which help on progress, and in
a certain powerlessness against evils that creep into their
territory. As a part of the body politic they are not able to
find representatives, in all cases, who are equal to the discharge
of necessary duties ; and their use consists in opposition to
unnecessary outlays, rather than in active promotion of the
public interests.

What has been already said of the officers of cities in regard
to the evil of having them appointed by the central power, wilt
apply with more reason to rural divisions of the country, Iff
the city the mayor may prove, from his incompetence or cor-
rupt character, a dangerous man, if chosen on the rule of ufli^
versal suffrage; in the country town the head men can
little harm, if so chosen ; while on the other hand they will
mere tools of the government if the town has'no voice in theii;
election.                                                                           - *

In the'New England colonies there was a necessity for sdS*

New England government, owing to the circumstances of thtt$4

township system.        first   plantation .    and their   church    COnStituti<*3

Ted them to free elections in the community.    It is general
supposed also that they carried with them, as a legacy