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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/62

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54
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

that honor shall be divorced from power. In England the nobliity is being edged out of office, and on Lord Salisbury's grave might be written, "The last of the nobles"—the last who governed his country. In her colonies one premier after another resolutely refuses the forbidden dignity that would banish him from the ministerial Eden. The same point has been reached in the United States from the opposite side. Most of the charter and some of the proprietary colonies developed into republican societies, with political equality as their badge, a popular legislature, an elected judiciary, and a half-elected executive. Side by side with this democracy of power there has grown up in the great cities—Philadelphia, Boston, New York—an aristocracy of blood, culture, or dollars. This aristocracy of fashion—as in France and England, so in the United States and (on a small scale) in Australia—consoles itself for lifelong exclusion from public affairs by addicting itself to literature, art, philanthropy, and such like. But these are only its recreations. Its chief use is to exist, to exhibit the civilization of a people at its flower, to give' pleasure to others and to itself. The proportion of this element to the rest of the population will measure the age of the community.

The core of the executive is the governor. The governor of the monarchical colonies is the deputy of the sovereign, and the story of his authority is the story in brief of the royal prerogative. The governors of the Spanish colonies arrogated and abused a power far more despotic than a Spanish king's. The French Governor of Illinois ruled with absolute sway. The first Governor of New South Wales exercised unparalleled powers. He could inflict five hundred lashes and impose a five-hundred-pound fine; could sentence to death, execute, or pardon. He regulated trade. He fixed prices, wages, and customs duties. All the labor in the colony was at his disposal. He could bestow grants of land. He appointed to all offices of honor or emolument. The administration of justice was exclusively in his hands. The colonists were his subjects. He was practically irresponsible. Thus an Anglo-Saxon community can take on the characters of an Oriental satrapy. It can also become a military despotism. For some years after the departure of one governor and the deposition of another the government of the colony was in the hands, or under the feet, of the officers of the New South Wales Corps, who ruled it as the Sultan rules Turkey. The stage of pure absolutism, which is necessitated in a colony, as in the mother country, by the existence of a small band of immigrants in the midst of a hostile indigenous population, or of a small number of free settlers among a convict populace, is succeeded by that of limited absolutism. The authority of the governor is checked by the appointment of a council. Most of the early North American crown