"The country will not forget that he sacrificed his life in her service." By this significant tribute Premier Baldwin has at once honored the name of Bonar Law and indicted the organization of modern government. That a nation will cherish in special reverence the public servant who has given "the last full measure of devotion" can hardly be held a justification of the over-strain and overwork to which he has been subjected. Even those who were most hitter against the theories of President Wilson condemned a system which produced the tragic figure of an executive broken by the terrific strain of his office. And the death of President Harding served to confirm a suspicion that the exaction of presidential duties is too great for a man who is no longer in his physical prime.
Napoleon, it is related, required but four hours of sleep, and during the remaining twenty did the work of seven men. However, his was a one man government; the success of his tremendous military gamble depended upon his own genius. Today British and American body politics are apt to fight shy of the genius and select a leader more nearly representative. To enslave that leader in a mass of details which will possibly cause an untimely death is hardly consistent with humanity. Nor can every statesman have the vigour and vitality of Roosevelt and Lloyd George.
Americans would perhaps feel insulted, were they told that their own was a one man government. But they have seen two presidents break under the mass of administrative routine heaped upon them. President Coolidge, although freed of a small amount of this routine, finds time outside his many duties only for a short morning walk. The simple truth seems to be that an administrative organization designed to direct the government of two million people now directs, without any change of design, the government of a population fifty times this size. The death of this great British statesman may serve to point a lesson not only to his own people but to those of a sister nation.