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.