chapter  II
72 Pages

THE HOUSE OF REPRESENATIVES

Lurn a vast picture thronged with figures of equal prominence and crowded with elaborate and obtrusive details, Congress is hard to see satisfactOl'ily and appreciatively at a single view and from a single stand-point. Its complicated forms and diversified structure confuse the vision, and conceal the system which underlies its composition. It is too complex to be umlerstood without an effort, without a careful and systematic process of analysis. Consequently, very few people do understand it, and its doors are practically shut against the comprehension of the public at large. If Congress had a few authoritative leaders whose figures were very distinct and very conspicuous to the eye of the world, and who could represent and stand for the national legislature in the thoughts of that very numerous, and withal very respectable, class

THEHOUSEOFREPRESENTATIVES.59 ofpersonswhomustthinkspecificallyandin concreteformswhentheythinkatall,those personswhocanmakesomethingoutofmen butverylittleoutofintangiblegeneralizations, itwouldbequitewithintheregionofpossibilitiesforthemajorityofthenationtofollowthe courseoflegislationwithoutanyveryserious confusionofthought.Isupposethatalmost everybodywhojustnowgivesanyheedtothe policyofGreatBritain,withregardeventothe reformofthefranchiseandotherlikestrictly legislativequestions,thinksofMr.Gladstone andhiscolleaguesratherthanoftheHouseof Commons,whoseservantstheyare.Thequestionisnot,WhatwillParliamentdo?but,vVhat willMr.Gladstonedo?Andthereisevenless doubtthatitiseasierandmorenaturaltolook uponthelegislativedesignsofGermanyas lockedupbehindBismarck'sheav')'browsthan tothinkofthemasdependentuponthedeterminationsoftheReichstag,althoughasamatter offactitsconsentisindispensableeventothe plansoftheimperiousanddomineeringChancellor.