parts of some were the objectionable parts to others. This resolution got, so to say, wedged in the meeting; everybody suggested amendments; one amendment was carried which none were satisfied with, and so the matter stood over. It is a saying in England, “a big meeting never does anything;” and yet we are governed by the House of Commons—by “a big meeting.”
It may be said that the House of Commons does not rule, it only elects the rulers. But there must be something special about it to enable it to do that. Suppose the Cabinet were elected by a London club, what confusion there would be, what writing and answering! “Will you speak to So-and-So, and ask him to vote for my man?” would be heard on every side. How the wife of A. and the wife of B. would plot to confound the wife of C. Whether the club elected under the dignified shadow of a queen, or without the shadow, would hardly matter at all; if the substantial choice was in them, the confusion and intrigue would be there too. I propose to begin this paper by asking, not why the House of Commons governs well? but the fundamental—almost unasked question—how the House of Commons comes to be able to govern at all?
The House of Commons can do work which the quarter-sessions or clubs cannot do, because it is an organised body, while quarter-sessions and clubs are unorganised. Two of the greatest orators in England—Lord Brougham and Lord Bolingbroke—spent much eloquence in attacking party government. Bolingbroke probably knew what he was doing; he was a consistent