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Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

INSTITUTIONS,   LOCAL AND  SELF GOVERNMENTS.     391
the division by townships has been introduced. In one of
the northern states, Illinois, the southern portions have had a
system of counties as their units of administration, but the
northern portions have townships for their units, correspond-
ing to the origin of the early settlers ; but now the township
system is invading the soil of the other.
Mr. J. S. Mill thinks that " the plan of representative sub-
parliaments for local affairs," in England, " must henceforth
be considered as one of the fundamental institutions of free
government/' If by these words are intended the boards
of guardians of the poor, of managers of highways, boards
of health and school committees, such institutions may be
very efficient means of administration, and may call forth
great executive vigor over a country. But a despotic gov-
ernment might create and sustain by law such unions, if
it was enlightened enough. I cannot see how such neat and
efficient modes of local administration are going to be great
political blessings. If the land is held by few hands, and all
agriculturists are tenants or farm laborers, they will not, we
may assume, be members of such sub-parliaments. The
hope of a country depends mainly on small land-owners. A
country without these is in danger of running into practical
despotism. Where the mass of the people by reason of their
poverty or exclusion from place of influence is only passive,
there is little self-government or political education.