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POLITICAL PARTIES.                          549
means be made open questions. The head of a party who
would permit such questions to be held or rejected within its
lines, ought to sink into contempt, as a man who sought to
keep in power by having as few principles as possible. The
same contempt is justly bestowed on a party which will have
no declaration of principles on the most important subjects,
or only a declaration which can look both ways. More than
once the parties in the United States have been afraid to
take bold measures on questions vitally affecting the interests
of the country.
There are, in every country where men think and talk freely
on public measures, many who agree with neither of the dom-
inant parties altogether. In some countries, many of the
representatives in the legislatures, while agreeing in the main
with one of the parties, cannot be relied upon for their uni-
form support. The English country gentlemen of a bygone
age belonged, many of them, to this class of independent
members of parliament. They seem to have had little ac-
quaintance with law or constitution, and to have been led by
watchwords, such as " church and king," but were not prop-
erly party men, nor under the sway of corrupt motives.
These are a most useful ingredient in an assembly where par-
ties fight their battles, for they are a check on the audacity
and the carelessness of party leaders. Very few such mem-
bers are to be found in our congress, although they may
appear in the state legislatures. The reason of this difference
between the two countries is the greater intensity of party
feeling here, with the more complete machinery of nomina-
tions. The difference is greatly in favor of England, where,
in general, a more entire independence is allowed to the rep-
resentative as one of a party than our practice concedes to
We have already had occasion to remark that some parties
*    j         are   determined   by  temporary   causes,  while
Party    doctrine   a>l w                                        J              f           J                        -nofif
and practice. others are to be explained by the very constitu-
tion of the country. Others, again, owe their source to
events of the remote past, which have tended to mould the