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party. So long as the advisers of the crown were selected, not merely nominally, but virtually, by the sovereign, the only remedy which Parliament could find for their misconduct was their impeachment. But so soon as the choice of the monarch was limited to men who enjoyed the confidence of Parliament, the extreme remedy, which had, perhaps, been necessary in an earlier time, fell at once into disuse. It became much easier to remove an obnoxious minister by a vote of the House of Commons than to arraign him before the House of Lords. The fact that the last impeachment of a minister on political grounds occurred at the opening of the reign of George I. is not an accidental circumstance, but the direct consequence of the increasing subordination of the cabinet to Parliament. It took, however, a long period to establish the collective responsibility of an administration. The fall of a great minister did not necessarily lead to the fall of all his colleagues. During the period with which Mr. Torrens is concerned, indeed, the members of each ministry were almost exclusively chosen from a select body of Whig noblemen, some of whom were members of every cabinet. According to Todd, indeed, the first example of the simultaneous dismissal of a whole ministry • and their replacement by another' occurred in the reign of George I. But this alteration took place on account of
personal objections entertained by the king to the ministers ' of Queen Anne, not because of prevailing opinions in • Parliament.' Throughout the reign of George II. there is no example of the complete supersession of one ministry by another. The student who carefully compares Mr. Torrens's lists will be surprised to find how slight were the alterations in the composition of the cabinet which ensued, for example, when the Duke of Devonshire succeeded the Duke of Newcastle, or the Duke of Newcastle succeeded the Duke of Devonshire. But the most striking illustration of what we are saying occurred on the fall of Sir Robert Walpole—the
first instance on record of the resignation of a prime minister in deference to an adverse vote of the House of • Commons. On this remarkable occasion parliamentary opinion was satisfied by the fall of the minister. With the single exception of Sir C. Wager, the first lord of the admiralty, 'none of Walpole's colleagues resigned with him,' and Sir C. Wager was subsequently made treasurer of the navy. The other alterations in the cabinet involved little more than a slight reshuffling of the cards. At least twothirds of the cabinet retained their old offices. Wilmington, who had been president of the council, became first lord of the treasury; Harrington, who had been secretary of state, became president of the council; Carteret succeeded to the vacant secretaryship; Lord Winchilsea replaced Sir C. Wager at the Admiralty; and Sandys, whom Mr. Torrens calls 'a straightforward, outspoken owner of broad acres,' was made chancellor of the exchequer. In other words, the changes in the composition of the cabinet, consequent on the parliamentary defeat of a ministry which had governed England for more than twenty years, were not much more numerous than those which became necessary a few months ago on the resignation of Mr. Gladstone.
The fact is that party government, in a modern sense, hardly existed in the reigns of the first two Georges, because one party, represented by a few great Whig oligarchs, exercised a practically supreme control over both branches of the legislature. The supreinacy of the Whigs was first broken by the reverses which occurred at the beginning of the Seven Years' War, and which compelled both the king and the prime minister to introduce Pitt into the cabinet. But, before the war was over, it was overthrown by the determination of George III. to govern as well as to reign. Disastrous as George III.'s experiment ultimately proved, it is fair to recollect that he was only endeavouring to restore the power which the crown had notoriously enjoyed up to the accession of the House of Hanover, and that, in practice, he was struggling, not with Parliament, but with a few great noblemen. George III.'s attempt broke down; but the Whigs never recovered the position which they had occupied in his grandfather's time, and before twenty-five years of the new reign were over, the Tory party, under the second Pitt, succeeded in obtaining the predominance which they virtually enjoyed for the best part of half a century.
In these circumstances, the ministerial changes which took place after 1760 were necessarily more complete than those which occurred during the reigns of the first two Georges. In the times of George I. and George II. the fall of a ministry involved only the supersession of one Whig by another Whig, and the inferior pieces on the cabinet chessboard had not to be changed, because one white king was replaced with another white king. But, after the accession of George III., the accession of a new ministry meant a transfer of power sometimes from the Whig oligarchy to the king's friends, and at other times from Tories to Whigs or Whigs to Tories. Principles, in each case, were at stake which affected not the prime minister alone, but the entire cabinet. It became gradually the custom for the whole Cabinet to stand and fall together, and the collective responsibility of the whole ministry became in consequence established.
In his excellent monograph on Sir R. Walpole, a leading member of the present Government—Mr. Morley—has said that • The principal features of our system of cabinet government to-day are four. The first is the doctrine of collective responsibility. Each cabinet minister carries on the work of a particular department, and for that department he is individually answerable. . . . But as a general rule every important piece of departmental policy is taken to commit the entire cabinet, and its members stand or fall together. The second is that the cabinet is answerable immediately to the majority of the House of Commons, and ultimately to the electors, whose will creates that majority. [The third is that] the cabinet, except under uncommon, peculiar, and transitory circumstances, is selected exclusively from one party; [and the fourth is that] the prime minister is the keystone of the cabinet arch.' Yet Mr. Morley rightly adds :
Hardly one of these four principles was accepted by Walpole, or by anybody else in his time, with the accuracy or the fulness with which they are all acted upon at present.' And Mr. Morley is undoubtedly right. The collective responsibility of the cabinet for its measures cannot have existed at a time when the resignation of a minister upon his defeat was not accompanied with the retirement of his other colleagues. The responsibility of the cabinet to the electors was merely nominal when the majority of the House of Commons was composed of the nominees of great noblemen and other borough owners. Public men could not have made up their minds upon the desirability of securing homogeneity in a ministry when they were continually endeavouring to imitate Pelham's example, and found the administration on a broad bottom, and, finally, the authority of a prime minister could not be said to be assured when statesmen were contending that the very idea of a prime minister was odious, and prime ministers themselves were carefully avoiding the use of the title.
Though then the period which Mr. Torrens has chosen for his labours undoubtedly contains the most important chapter in the history of the cabinet, it did not witness the full developement of the cabinet as we know it to-day. For this reason, while endeavouring to trace in this article the gradual evolution of cabinet government, we have not scrupled to travel beyond the text with which Mr. Torrens has supplied us. The cabinet which we see to-day, chiefly composed as it is of the political chiefs of the great administrative departments, and mainly drawn from the Lower House of Parliament, differs widely from the select body of great noblemen and prominent courtiers who were grouped round the Duke of Newcastle or his brother. The preeminent authority of the prime minister is no longer a subject of doubt or a theme for objection. But the most important person and the most important body in the State are still never mentioned in any statute ; the names of the cabinet are never officially announced; its proceedings are never officially recorded. And, perhaps, if, at some distant age, Macaulay's New Zealander were to stumble on copies of the proceedings of the Houses of Parliament and of the statute book of the realm, and from these materials were to found a treatise on the constitution of the united kingdom during the present reign, he would come to the conclusion that ministers were responsible to the Crown, and not to Parliament; that the privy council was the most important body in the State; and the president of the council the leading member of each administration.
ART. VI.-1. History of the Commonwealth and Protectorate,
1649-1660. By SAMUEL RAWSON GARDINER, M.A.
Vol. I. 1649-1651. London : 1894. 2. The Memoirs of Edward Ludlow, Lieutenant-General in the
Horse in the Army of the Commonwealth of England, 16251672. Edited, with Appendices of Letters and illustrative Documents, by C. H. FIRTH, M.A. In 2 vols. Oxford:
1894. 3. Oliver Cromwell. By SAMUEL HASDEN CHURCH. 8vo.
New York : 1894.* MR. R. GARDINER has now entered upon another portion of
his great work. The History of the Great Civil War ended with the death of the king in 1649. With the publication of the first volume of the History of the Commonwealth and the Protectorate from 1649 to 1660 he begins a history of the third and last part of what is, in truth, one single period. The death of Charles I., though it dramatically ended for a time monarchy in England, and from its startling and decisive character was an occurrence of the highest importance, was yet, after all, but one step in the sequence of events which for more than half a century was gradually changing the constitution of England." We must regard the period from the accession of James I. to the Restoration as an epoch during which the relations of the sovereign and the people underwent a permanent change which was not accomplished until there had been for a time a break in the actual existence of the monarchy. The majority of those who originally took up arms against Charles I. had no enmity to the monarchy, nor any desire to set up a republic; they wished only to limit the personal power of the king. His death was therefore a shock to the majority of the people of the kingdom, it was not popular except with his more extreme opponents, and it failed in any degree to settle the kingdom
We are indebted to an American writer, Mr. Church, for a life of Cromwell and a narrative of the political, religious, and military affairs of England during his time, which is a careful and dispassionate work, based on the English authorities now under review. There is a certain novelty in this transatlantic survey of our own history, with a slight flavour of the Puritan tradition of New England; and the author deserves great credit for his industry, accuracy, and moderation. The volume also contains a large selection from Cromwell's correspondence, freed from the extravagant ejaculations of Mr. Carlyle.