WRITTEN AWJ} PRESCRIPTIVE CONSTITUTIONS.
the lessons of a progressive future. , Only such a constitution can embody the essential excellences, and can so far harmonize the conservative and the progressive principles that the one will be- come the complement of the other, in steadily, but cautiously and safely, moulding the instrument to greater perfection.
The purely prescriptive constitution has neither the weaknesses of the first of these, nor the supreme excellences of the other. As we see it in the best existing representative, the English constitution, it embodies the much-praised principle of direct executive responsibility to public opinion ; but this, though often taken to be peculiar to the constitution of this class, may be very readily made a feature of the written constitution, and will be so whenever the people become convinced of its desirability. Indeed, there is no feature whose excellence in the prescriptive constitution has been demonstrated by time and experience that may not be appropriated in the written constitution, or that is not likely to be appropriated by a people who deal with the subject as the American people are taught to do, at once reverently as regards the past and courageously as regards the future.
Thomas M. Cooley. Washington, D.C