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legislation in question might be abrogated; what was amiss might be amended; what was insufficient, enlarged; what was doubtful, determined; what was wanting, added.
As an example of the manner in which executive experience might thus be made to tell back upon legislation, let the process be supposed to be adopted for the improvement of the various laws which depend for their execution wholly, or in part, upon the body of police as now constituted in London, under the authority of the statute 10 Geo. IV. c. 44. This body consists of 1. Commissioners; 2. Superintendants; 3. Inspectors; 4. Sergeants; 5. Constables. These last, the constables, must necessarily, as they walk the streets, witness from time to time many evils which there is not, though there might properly be, a lawful authority to correct. Let it be a part of their duty to report these forthwith to the sergeants; let the sergeants be required to
DERIVED FROM EXECUTIVE EXPERIENCE. 209
furnish a monthly selection of such reports, with any remarks they may wish to make upon them, to the inspectors; let the inspectors be required to forward a quarterly digest and commentary to the superintendant; the superintendant to the commissioners; let the commissioners submit annually to the Secretary of State for the Home Department such projects and drafts for the amendment of the law as this filtered experience shall suggest; and, finally, let the bill, which, after due revision, shall be approved by the Secretary of State for the Home Department, be brought into Parliament by the organ of that department in the House of Commons. Let the police magistrates also, who do not exactly fall into this line of police authorities, be required to make periodical reports of defects of law, as illustrated by cases coming before them, and let these reports be dealt with in like manner. Without pretending to such practical knowledge of the metropolitan police as would insure apti
tude in the allotment of this or that duty to one or the other grade, the question may yet be asked, whether a process, conducted generally upon the proposed principle, might not be expected to promote the cause of order and innocence in this metropolis?
But with the narrow limits which opinion, as it exists, assigns to the duties of the executive Government and its servants (to which narrowness of duty the Government and its servants naturally confine themselves), responsibility for defect of law falls nowhere; or if it be held to fall upon the legislature, it is so diffused over that numerous body, as to be of no force or effect. When evil manifests itself, in however cognisable a shape, there is no member of the Government, whether or not he be also a member of the legislature, nor any servant of the public, who does not think that his case for non-interference is complete, so soon as he makes out that the evil is owing to a fault in
DERIVED FROM EXECUTIVE EXPERIENCE. 211
the law. The question whose fault is it that the law is faulty, is asked of no man, and natuturally no man asks it of himself. But that must needs be regarded as an imperfect system of administrative government, which does not lay these faults at the door of some individual functionary, in the numerous cases in which it would be perfectly practicable to do so. Did C. observe the evil and report it to B.? if not, let him answer for it: did B. consider of it, and suggest a remedy to A.? if not, let B.'s neglect be denounced: did A. adopt B.'s suggestion, or devise something better, and go to parliament for a remedial law? if not, let the charge lie against A.
OF THE MANNER IN WHICH ABLE, AND OF THE STATESMEN
MANNER IN WHICH INDIFFERENT
ARE DETERRED FROM AVAILING THEMSELVES OF ABLE SERVICE; AND OF THE EVILS WHICH ENSUE FROM MEN'S AUTHORITY BEING IN THE INVERSE RATIO OF THEIR ABILITIES.
It might be thought that able men would court a connection with each other from intellectual sympathies and the desire of mutual improvement; and so indeed it is with those whose moral nature is large and high according to the measure of their understandings. But with others it is otherwise. Strong men, who being compounded, as the strongest are, of weakness as well as strength, but who feeling all their strength, do not at the same time feel their