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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 37

Decay of Local Patriotism

Decay of Local Patriotism.

This disease rises out of the fact that Parliament, instead of being supported and aided by the Provincial Legislatures, has practically swallowed them up—has so drained their powers that the wealthy, cultivated, and ambitious disdain a seat in them, and the lower people despise the Provincial Franchise.

The introducing of private bills into Parliament is an invasion which has destroyed the dignity and independence of the Provinces.

To illustrate this, consider what would be the process of a bill for making a railroad if the Provinces had their due powers. A short petition might first be laid before the page 58 Lords or Commons, asking leave to make a railroad say from London to Birmingham. If no objectfon were urged to the principle, the proposal would be laid before every County and Town legislature concerned in the rail, with this preliminary approval to back it; and the details of the road would be settled by the separate legislatures. After all was completed by them, the entire scheme would be laid before Parliament and receive the final confirmation.

Thus the function of Parliament in the matter would be one of broad and grand supervision of a truly imperial kind; and its acts might be short and clear. The time of the supreme legislature would not then be frittered away in details, but would be devoted to great principles and to receiving appeals, or to a mature consideration of foreign affairs,

On the other hand, the power of the Local Legislatures would be so large as to suit the ambition of able and accomplished men.