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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 37

"Ministerial Responsibility."

"Ministerial Responsibility."

When the responsibility of Ministers was real—when a corrupt, a mischievous, or a stupid Minister ran the chance of losing his head, or of forfeiting his rank, his politicial chances, and perhaps his country, it was less dangerous to entrust him with the Crown's prerogative of making war and peace. At present the Ministers (called the Ministers of the Crown) are really (in all except the foreign policy) the agents of the House of Commons. In home affairs this responsibility is carried out with tolerable efficacy when the members of the House of Commons are vigilant and firm. page 13 But the contrary is true of the acts of Government m foreign affair?. These do not admit of revision; they are completed before Parliament knows of them except by dim rumor, so that in those large and important acts which ought to bear the impress of the national will—those acts which ought not to be left to the caprice of any individual, the House of Commons has really less power than it had a hundred-and-fifty years ago.

(Anon. 1857.)