Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 5.djvu/124

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of its utility to the people. I do not put forward as an argument for its preservation its long history, in order to show you that it possesses great merit as an institution. I do not argue, as some do, that it has acquired stability from the circumstance that by its composition it is rooted in the soil. I content myself with the fact of its existence at the present moment, and I find in it not only a powerful check on popular impulses arising from imperfect information, not only an aggregation of political wisdom and experience such as no other country can produce, but, above all, because I find in it literally the only effectual barrier against that most fatal foe to freedom, the one-man power—that power which has more than once prostrated and enslaved the liberties of France, and which constantly gives anxiety to the citizens of the United States.

From a national and imperial point of view, you need never be alarmed at the dangers of one-man power so long as the House of Lords endures. Be he minister, be he capitalist, be he demagog—be he Mr. Gladstone, or Mr. Chamberlain, or even Mr. Schnadhorst—against that bulwark of popular liberty and civil order he will dash himself in vain. The House of Lords may, perhaps, move slowly; they may, perhaps, be overcautious about accepting the merits of the legislation of the House of Commons; they may, perhaps, at times regard with some exaggeration of sentiment the extreme rights of property. That is the price you have to pay—and a