19 DECEMBER 1885, Page 2

The recent chance that the United States might be left

with- out a legal President appears seriously to have alarmed American politicians. Mr. Hendricks was dead, Congress was not sitting, and if Mr. Cleveland dropped down suddenly, there would be no President. A Bill has, therefore, been introduced into the Senate, and passed, under which, in such a contingency, the Presidency for the remainder of the term will vest, first in the Secretary of State, next in the Secretary of the Treasury, next in the Secretary for War, and lastly In the Attorney-General. The Bill is only intended to meet an off-chance, and will probably never come into operation ; but the oddity of the arrangement is that under it a President might enter the White House who had never been elected by the people even indirectly, and reign for three years or more. The Secretaries named have no seats in Congress, and are selected by the President only, who can also dismiss them. They are, in fact, his clerks. Considering the fundamental ideas of the American Constitution, a non-elected President would be a curious anomaly ; and we rather doubt if he would have much moral weight.