Puslapio vaizdai

It should never be forgotten, however, that supposing the time of Parliament to be used as it ought to be, the allotment of a single hour of it to the hearing of an individual's case is a great public loss, and a waste which can be justified only on the principle of making occasional sacrifices, the effect of which shall spread into a general check.

Such interposition should be used sparingly therefore, and with conditions. 1st. That the Government has been unjust must be not dubious but plain: the time of parliament may with reason be occupied to right a wrong, but not to solve a doubt. 2d. All possible previous steps must be shown to have been taken without success to ttain the object of correction. 3d. The business should be as far as possible laid before Parliament in a documentary form before it is permitted to be debated, that so all preliminary controversy may be avoided in the debate.

If fulfilment of these conditions were universally exacted by what is called "the sense of Parliament," the check upon the Government would be sufficiently efficacious, and yet the instances would be few in which Parliament would find itself called upon to lay aside its momentous functions for the purpose of judging and protecting an individual, a sort of business which, unless in a very clear case, a legislative assembly is in truth but ill-adapted to deal with.

But as matters are now managed, if any person whose interests are affected by an administrative act, or any officer who has been dismissed for misconduct, be provided with influential friends, or with a sufficient share of personal energy and activity, the concernment can hardly be so trivial, or the case of injury so questionable, but that Parliament shall be exhibited to the country leaving to the right and to the left matters of the deepest national interest, and starting off upon the allegation of individual

wrong, with a wonderful extravagance in the mismeasurement of objects and misconception of


This, though a great evil, is one which the Government cannot well correct; for if the Government should try to stop a debate of this kind in limine, on the ground that it would waste the time of Parliament, they would subject themselves to an imputation of attempting to stifle an inquiry into their own conduct. All that they can do is, first to clear themselves on the case, and then to denounce with a deterrent severity the party, who, with an unworthy forgetfulness of the high trust attaching to a seat in the councils of a country, shall have abused the ear of Parliament with unfounded and frivolous complaints.



It is not only necessary that the legislature should make provision in the laws for their due execution; it is also desirable that the executive agency should work towards new legislation on the same topics. For the execution of laws deals with those particulars by an induction of which the results to be aimed at in legislation are to be ascertained; and the generalisation from those particulars can only be well effected when the lowest in the chain of functionaries is made subsidiary to the operations of the highest in a suggestive as well as in an executive capacity, that is, when the experience of the

functionary who puts the last hand to the execution of any particular class of enactments, is made available for the guidance of the legislature.

But in most cases this cannot be accomplished to any useful purpose otherwise than by a system of filtration. The lowest classes of functionaries, whilst they may be assumed to have the largest knowledge of facts, must also be taken to have the least power to discriminate and to generalise. They cannot be expected to distinguish barren from fruitful facts; those which are mere specialties from those which lead to general conclusions. What is wanted is, that the crude knowledge collected in the execution of the laws should pass upward from grade to grade of the civil functionaries intrusted with their administration, more and more digested and generalised in its progress; and, lastly, should reach the legislature in the shape of a matured project of law, whereby what was superfluous in the

« AnkstesnisTęsti »