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two years-years increasingly crowded with illustrative and important material. Professor Prothero's collection covers a period of sixty-five, Mr. Gardiner's of thirty-two years; and a glance at the shelves of any library which contains the Statutes and Law Reports (to mention no other possible sources) would show that parliamentary and legal activity, and parliamentary and legal draughtsmanship, have not gained in brevity or lost in the importance of their contents as the centuries advance; and as the constitution has increased in its fearful and wonderful complexity, so too have the necessity and means for illustrating it. (3) Many kind friends have freely offered me numerous suggestions-suggestions as varied and embarrassing, from their range, originality, number, and disinterestedness, as those which the modern Chancellor of the Exchequer receives on the eve of his budget. Had I carried out all these I should have finally constructed an admirable encyclopædia almost as bulky and costly as the sources from which it would have been derived. That I have not done so is not because I am not grateful for so much valuable advice, but simply because of the sheer impossibility of acting on it within the limits of the space at my command; and when I survey the material at the disposal of a compiler, and remember the suggestions acted upon and then reluctantly put aside, I confess to a legitimate surprise at my own moderation. (4) Let it then be pointed out at once that this collection does not pretend to illustrate documentarily the growth of the Cabinet system, of our financial system, nor the slow and elaborate evolution of the structure and working of the government of the Empire (save for the inclusion of two important legislative enactments on the government of India). Reflection, I think, will convince that the Cabinet system and the government of the Empire are each of them subjects requiring a volume a-piece for satisfactory treatment. Nor do the shifting conventions of the constitution, the spirit and essence of the government of the Sovereign in Parliament, the complex totality of varying and intangible nuances, understandings, unwritten rules, constitutional etiquette, lend themselves to satisfactory documentary illustration in the rigid black and white of textual
authorities, save at great length and with copious explanation. Moreover, throughout the process of selection my desire, fortified by some experience, has been to treat adequately some important features rather than to attempt to treat scrappily and inadequately all.
The material in the following pages will be found to fall under three heads-Selected Statutes, Selected Cases, and an Appendix. As regards the statutes, I have endeavoured to give what seem to me the most important legislative enactments between 1660 and 1832. That the selection is more full for the period down to 1720 than for that immediately following will not, I think, surprise any student. The lull in the passing of great formative statutes after 1714 is a familiar commonplace in the authorities, and the very remarkable period of strenuous legislative reform which commenced some ten years before the Reform Bill, and continues for half a century after it, largely falls outside the chronological limits of the plan of this volume. I have not scrupled to modernise the spelling of the text, to supplement the punctuation if necessary, and to eliminate the necessary verbiage of the parliamentary draughtsman. But in the case of the more important statutes, such as the Bill of Rights or the Act of Settlement, the text is given entire; and in that of the Bill of Rights I thought it desirable to print the document as it appears in the statutes of the realm, so that students might have at least one example of a historic and epoch-making statute in its original form. In the text all omissions, even of intelligible verbiage, are indicated by printed dots...; where whole clauses are eliminated the fact is noted in brackets, and, if required, the substance of the omission epitomised, that the student may at least follow the scope of the whole statute. The notes throughout are of the briefest, save perhaps in the case of the Mutiny Act of 1689, where I have endeavoured to collate and summarise some forty subsequent enactments and extensions of the law, in the hope of showing as briefly as possible their constitutional import on, and connection with, the original statute, and to bring them into relation, through an ordered and instructive
process of constitutional development, with the modern law. A reference to pp. 58-62 will perhaps explain both the object and the result. Where it seemed necessary or desirable, additional illustrative matter in the shape of Parliamentary Resolutions, Protests, or other documents has been appended to certain statutes-for example, the Test Act (p. 39), the Coronation Oath Act (p. 65), and so on. The connection of this additional matter with the statute will be, I trust, selfevident, and its value to the student, I hope, not less so. Throughout I have cited very sparingly from the Protests of the Peers, important as they are, partly because they are accessible as a whole to all in Thorold Rogers' scholarly collection of three volumes, partly because of their length. When given, the version has been taken from the printed text of the Lords Journals, and I have not thought myself entitled to borrow even with acknowledgment Thorold Rogers' laborious identification of the signatures. These, therefore, are given as they stand in the authoritative printed text; but a reference is always supplied to the pages of Rogers' edition, to which the student can easily turn for fuller information. The suggestions at the end of each statute as to leading secondary authorities, while new in a collection of this kind, have a twofold object: (1) to save the space of explanatory matter as to the statute itself; (2) to help the student, rather than the teacher, to find authoritative comment on, and explanation of, the subject-matter of the document. Such references are easily extended to any length; it is only necessary to say here that they are not intended to be even a select bibliography. Their presence in the book, I was glad to find, was warmly approved of by several teachers of wide experience, and a preliminary key to the abbreviations is intended to make plain the symbols employed.
The second part of the volume consists of leading Cases in constitutional law, treated somewhat differently to the statutes. For reasons that will, I hope, be intelligible, each is prefaced by a brief introduction, limited to explaining as tersely and plainly as possible the facts and points necessary for understanding the excerpts given, and here, too, reference to the
most helpful commentaries has been attempted. The excerpts which follow are severally original authorities, i.e. they are part of the texts on which a historical student would work if writing from first-hand evidence. Yearly experience strengthens my conviction that cases in constitutional law, which most historical students not unreasonably find in an epitome dry, unduly technical, frequently repulsive, can be made more attractive, and therefore more profitable in every way, if for the paraphrases of the text-book writer are substituted the salient parts of the authority itself; if, for example, in the famous cases connected with the name and cause of Wilkes the student can study the actual words of the judges who made both history, law, and liberty by their decisions. The principle on which these excerpts are framed will be most clearly seen by reference to the documents themselves; I will only remark here that the illustrative matter is not confined to purely judicial decisions. No apology, I take it, to-day is necessary for allotting in a volume of this kind, covering the years from 1660-1832, a considerable place to cases in constitutional law. The part played by the law courts in defining, extending, limiting, even creating constitutional law, machinery, and rights, is explained and justified in the leading authorities, and the argument need not be repeated. Certainly a student who had studied the period in question, and was ignorant of the leading cases, would have a very partial, unsatisfactory, and misleading knowledge of his subject, both as regards historical and philosophical principles and historical matters of fact. As to the actual selection made, I would simply remark: (1) That I have been guided in choosing from the wealth of illustrative material by the intrinsic and historic importance of the case itself, and also necessarily by the possibility of representing it satisfactorily within due limits; (2) that owing to the importance of Parliamentary Privilege and judicial decisions with regard to it, I have not scrupled to give it as full a representation as possible; (3) that at the risk of apparent inconsistency the chronological limits have been in this department slightly extended beyond 1832; (4) that no one regrets more than myself the omission of
more illustrative cases, more especially on the law of Treason, particularly in the period between 1792 and 1820. But the length of these cases, and generally their highly technical, not to say their transient, character, made it impossible to include them within the limits at my disposal; (5) a glance at the Table of Contents will, I hope, make clear the principles on which I have acted, and some knowledge of constitutional history will perhaps help in answering why; (6) lastly, I cannot claim to be a trained lawyer, nor have I written nor selected for trained lawyers. Throughout this section in particular I have thought chiefly of the historical student and his more imperative needs, and have endeavoured both to choose and explain almost wholly in his interests. The cases selected, in fact, primarily and ultimately, are there because of their historical value and importance. In the later constitutional history it is inevitable that the student must from time to time deliberately trespass on the sacred and mysterious domains of law; but he has no intention of challenging established and jealously guarded rights. Modestly and rapidly he will return from his raids, having spoken with bated breath the language that makes those mysterious domains more mysterious, and invariably will protest his desire to do a minimum of damage to the property of the owners. At the same time, an editor confessedly working for historical students would indeed be pleased if the result of his trespasses were found useful also to students in schools of law in whose curriculum constitutional law necessarily and constitutional history indirectly have their due place.
The Appendix, which forms Part III., will be found to contain some material which could not conveniently be grouped under the first two parts. It also contains supplementary epitomes of some of the leading statutes since 1832. Their inclusion in this or any form was not, however, a feature of the volume as originally planned, since the Reform Bill had been chosen as the terminus ad quem. But several kind friends of weight and experience insistently urged me at least to extend in skeleton the story illustrated as far as 1832; and they dwelt on the necessity of continuing for the student