The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 20, July 1916 - April, 1917 Page: 62
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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
a fair average method of estimating the feeling of the respectable
prudent and intelligent portions of the public. Generally speak-
ing in these Countries the persons best suited in point of char-
acter and ability to the office of representatives do not offer
themselves as Candidates, or would certainly be defeated if they
did, and so far as I can observe it is almost a rule that the least
eligible of those who do present themselves will be chosen.
This condition of things has the unfortunate result of con-
stantly lowering the standard of the Legislative Bodies to the
level of the masses of the Electors, who in their turn are as con-
stantly tending downwards politically considered, both from the
large immigration of ignorant persons, and still more so from the
want of motive to fit and improve themselves as safe depositaries of
political power, a deficiency chiefly attributable to the absence of
some required qualifications, however moderate, in point of ca-
_pacity, pursuit, character, or property.
Judging from a near point of view I venture to say that uni-
versal suffrage seems to me to be mere accidental privilege in
_respect of origin, with none of the securities, and guarantees,
,and advantages by which that kind of power is accompanied
under other modifications of it. For the most part they who
have nothing to win or to lose neither preconsider nor reflect,
but exercise their political right in the spirit of the very hour,
be it what it may, ignorant or heedless of the lessons of the past,
and probably incited rather than deterred, as respects conse-
quences, by the warnings of the wise and the just.
The course of Congress in Texas affords evidence no doubt of
the actual state of popular impression at any given moment, but
Your Lordship will readily conceive how suddenly that may be
fashioned into any other shape by hands and voices accustomed
to that task; and if it will not always be quite accurate to esti-
mate the feeling of the more prudent part of the public from
the proceedings in Congress, by an inverse process, it only re-
mains to observe that those proceedings afford no means of judg-
ing at all of the opinions or wishes of thoughtful persons, any
more than of the constancy of the prevailing popular humour.
Such is the state of the case as respects the conclusions to be
drawn from the late Measures of Congress in Texas, and I be-
lieve that the view I have in other places had the honour to
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 20, July 1916 - April, 1917, periodical, 1917; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101070/m1/68/: accessed June 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.