dinary trust), and of instituting a tribunal for the trial of offenders. And therefore we are still at liberty, at all events, to entertain the belief that the sight of a single politician suffering a felon's doom by the impartial and righteous judgment of a court of law, for the corrupt betrayal of his public trust, would have a more salutary effect than the interested and reckless denunciations of all the party orators and journalists in the world.
It is easy to see why, up to this time, party has been the law of politics; but it is not easy to see why, for the future, and as reason extends its sway over the political sphere and limits the reign of passion, party should be the law of politics more than of any other subject. Party, we mean, organized and permanent; such as the parties of the Guelfs and Ghibellines, of the Blacks and Whites, of the Caravats and Shanavests. On social and philanthropic questions, on questions and in movements of all kinds, people combine for a particular object, and the object having been gained they fall back into their ordinary associations. Why should they not do the same in politics, supposing politics to be a matter not of passion and ambition, but of reason and of the public good? This is the answer to the argument on the side of party that nothing can be carried without combination. It can hardly be necessary to meet the argument that political truth can only be hammered out by the constant collision of parties. With regard to all other subjects it is supposed that while free discussion is conducive to the discovery of the truth, party feeling and subserviency to party are most adverse to it. But people tacitly assume that they can have party without party feeling and the evils to which every one, when the question is distinctly proposed to him, admits that party feeling must lead.
Nor, again, need we dwell long on the argument that party is necessary in order to keep up an interest in human affairs. Human affairs, according to all present appearances, are likely to be interesting enough to keep the mind of man alive and to give birth to abundance of controversy (if that is the thing desired) for generations to come, without our forming artificial parties for the purpose of enabling ambitious men to obtain exclusive possession of the power of the state.
Party is no doubt indispensable to selfish interests, which by taking advantage of the balance of factions are enabled, to an almost indefinite extent, to compass their special objects at the expense of the community. It is indispensable to political sharpers who, without legislative powers or any sort of ability or inclination to serve the public in any honorable way, find subsistence in an element of passion and intrigue. To whom or to what else it is indispensable, no one has yet been able definitely to say.
Burke himself, the great apologist of party, was the great apostate from it. He called his apostasy fidelity to the Old Whigs; but the Old Whigs were in their graves, and the rhetorical turn given by him