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With the present impression this work has reached the sixth edition, and as the title-page sets forth that it has been revised throughout with notes, a few preliminary remarks from myself, the present editor, will be appropriate.
More than three decades have passed since the author gave to the work, in the second edition, the last touches it was ever to receive from his hand. The third and fourth editions were committed to the able charge of Mr. C. E. H. Carmichael, now unhappily no more ; while the task of revising the re-issue in the fifth edition was entrusted to me. A sixth edition, demanded by the extraordinary popularity of the work and by the great and increasing interest in the subject, is now required, and the invitation of the publishers—whose courtesy throughout I gratefully acknowledge — to again undertake the labour of revising and seeing Mr. Taswell-Langmead's
Magnum Opus ” through the press has given me much satisfaction.
My predecessor, Mr. Carmichael, contributed many historical foot-notes. Yet it appeared to the publishers, as well as to myself, that as the bulk of these and also many of the author's own notes hardly came within the narrower scope of constitutional history, it would be advisable to cut away such superfluous matter, which has been criticised as being “notes on notes.”'
I have made myself responsible for a short section at the end, briefly reviewing the more recent development of the Constitution. The author's main text has been only occasionally touched and enlarged.
From the “ History of the English Constitution ” by Professor von Gneist, much valuable matter has been incorporated into the foot-notes ; and to the work of the brilliant American writer in the same field of research, Mr. Hannis Taylor, to that of Mr. L. O. Pike on the Constitution of the House of Lords, as also to the recent works of Professor A. V. Dicey and Sir William Anson I am obliged for many references and extracts.
And, to my friend Mr. H. A. de Colyar, K.C., I am indebted for valuable assistance and suggestions. Other such have been acknowledged, each in place, without its being possible to enumerate here all the authors to whom I am under an obligation.
In conclusion, it is necessary to defend Mr. TaswellLangmead's work against strictures which have been passed upon it by foreign constitutional lawyers, who complain that the book gives insufficient information on the English administrative system. The reply is that such a system, as it obtains in France and Germany, does not separately exist in England. Rules of judicial and parliamentary procedure, the organisation of law courts, public offices, and the like, belong particularly to the province of Constitutional law ; while Mr. Taswell-Langmead only attempted, which he did with such brilliant success, to trace the historical development of the organic structure of the English Constitution.
P. A. A. LEIPZIG, August 1905.
Freemen (Eorls and Ceorls)-Growth of Thegnhood-Its effects-
Claimants to the Crown on death of Edward the Confessor-Earl Harold-
Elected and crowned King-William Duke of Normandy-English
Checks to the power of the Feudatories-Great Earldoms abolished
- Judicial organisation-Curia Régis- Justiciars appointed-Riches
The three great Fundamental Compacts between the Crown and the
Nation-Magna Charta-An Act of the whole people under the