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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.


Origin of the English-Teutonic Conquest of Britain-Germanic origin

of English Institutions—Ancient German polity-The Mark system-

The successful leaders assume the regal title-Conversion of the

English to Christianity-National Character of the Church-The

Bretwaldas-Invasions of the Danes-Constitution of English nation

from seventh to eleventh century-Appropriation of the Soil—The

mægths-Folkland and Bookland-Territorial divisions—The Town-

ship—The Hundred–The Shire–The Burgh-Guilds—The City of

London-Ecclesiastical divisions-Ranks of the People-Slaves-

Freemen (Eorls and Ceorls)-Growth of Thegnhood-Its effects-
The Ceorls-Ealdormen—The Clergy–The King-Nature of Early
English kingship-Gradual increase in power and dignity---Assump-
tion of Imperial titles-Royal prerogatives and immunities—The
Queen-The Athelings--The Witenagemot-Its Constitution-Its
Powers—It deposed and elected Kings—and participated in every act
of government-But these extensive powers not invariably exerted-
Except in legislation and taxation- Judicial system-The Frithborg, or
Frankpledge-Responsibility of the Hlaford for his dependents-The
Hundredmoot-Private Soken or Jurisdictions—The Shiremoot-Pro-
cedure—Compurgation-Ordeal-Legally appointed witnesses to bar-
gains-Punishments (Wergild, bot, wite, death) —Ancient English Laws-
Early attempts at Codification -- Alfred as a legislator-Diversities of
local customs—Gradual development from personal to territorial
organisation-- Increased power of the great nobles--The great Earldoms
under Cnut and Edward the Confessor

pp. 1-35

Claimants to the Crown on death of Edward the Confessor-Earl Harold-

Elected and crowned King-William Duke of Normandy-English
Kingship Elective–The Conquest-William is elected and crowned
“ King of the English ”—Theoretically a Constitutional king-
Continuity of the Constitution—The Norman race-Effects of the
Conquest — Feudalism -- Its gradual establishment - The English
redeem their lands—Insurrections, followed by extensive confisca-
tions - Continental Feudalism-Sub-infeudation-Commendation-
Growth of Feudalism in England-Difference between English and
Continental Feudalism-Feudal tenure of land without feudal prin-
ciples of government-Gemot of Salisbury-Domesday Book-

Checks to the power of the Feudatories-Great Earldoms abolished
Counties Palatine-Feudal tenures—Their services and incidents
-Tenure in Villeinage—The Conqueror's policy National rather than
Feudal-National Witan continued-William's laws-He renews
the Law of Edward the Confessor-Wager of Battle-Englishry-
Public Peace—The Forest Laws—The Church-Separation of Spiritual
from Temporal Courts-William's canons of the Royal Supremacy

- Judicial organisation-Curia Régis- Justiciars appointed-Riches

of the Conqueror-His great power-Harshness of his rule. Pp. 36-58

Reign of William Rufus—How far Constitutionally important-Ranulf

Flambard-Struggle between the Royal and Feudal powers-William

seeks support of the English against the Baronage—and promises

good laws--HENRY I. ; His Charter of Liberties--Malæ consuetudines

abolished-Forests retained-So-called Leges Henrici Primi-Henry

courts and receives the support of the native English-Marries a

niece of Edgar Atheling-Triumphs over the rebellious barons-

Raises up new men--Strengthens jurisdiction of County and Hundred

Courts-Charters to Boroughs-Royal administration centralised and

systemised--Occasional Circuits of the Judges-Severity in punishing

offences against the Laws-Question of Investitures–STEPHEN :

His two Charters-Feudal anarchy of his Reign-Creation of new

earldoms—Arrest of the three Bishops-Wretched condition of the

People--Peace of Wallingford-Scheme of reform-Death of Stephen

-HENRY II. : The Angevin Dynasty--Charter of Liberties--Inquest

of Sheriffs-Henry's policy-Establishes law and order--The two

great Constitutional results of his reign-Administrative reforms

-Itinerant Justices—The Grand Assize-Scutage--Con with

Becket and the clergy--Constitutions of Clarendon--RICHARD I. :

Character of his reign-Excessive taxation-Ways of raising money-

Popular rising under William-with-the-Beard-Constitutional oppo-

sition of the Clergy-Administration of the Kingdom by the Justiciars

-Longchamp, William of Coutances, Hubert, Walter, and Geoffrey

Fitz-Peter-Deposition of Longchamp-Principles of representation

and election in the assessment of taxes and appointment of County

Coroners-Advance of the Boroughs

towards independence-

Summary of Richard's Reign

PP. 59-78

The three great Fundamental Compacts between the Crown and the

Nation-Magna Charta-An Act of the whole people under the
leadership of the barons-In reality a treaty of peace between the
King and his people in arms—Its moderate, practical, and con-
servative character-Based on the Charter of Henry I. and the law
of Edward the Confessor-Events of John's reign which led to the
granting of the Charter-Separation of Normandy from England-
Decay of Feudalism-Refusal of the barons to follow the King on
foreign service—John's personal character—Church, baronage, and
people united against him-His struggle with the Papacy-Double
election to see of Canterbury-John refuses to receive the Pope's
nominee—The Interdict, Excommunication and ultimate Deposition

Personal share of the King in all branches of Administration-A trial

before Henry II. in person—The Justiciar—The Chancellor—Curia

Regis-Fiscal Administration—The Exchequer—Sources of Revenue

-Important changes in taxation under Henry II.—Personal property

taxed—Pressure of new and systematie taxation excites opposition

--and leads to re-assertion by the Nation of its ancient right to be

taxed only by consent-Fines pro respectu militiae— Judicial system.

-Changes in Curia Regis under Henry II.-Division into three Courts

of King's Bench, Common Pleas, and Exchequer-Itinerant justices

established by Henry II.-Judges of Assize and Nisi Prius—Trial

by Jury—Its origin and development traced–The King's Continual-

Council or Concilium Ordinarium-Rise of the Chancellor's juris-

diction--Encroachments of the Council on jurisdiction of the Common

Law-Statutes in restraint of the Council and Chancery-Their

small effect-Equitable jurisdiction of the Court of Chancery

permanently established-Magnum Concilium-Origin of Judicial

character of House of Lords—and of the Legislative character of the

Privy Council— Judicial powers of Privy Council–Origin of Court of

Star Chamber-Revived under the Tudors—Nature of its jurisdiction

and punishments-Police and military organisation—The Frithborh

-The FyrdThe Huscarls of Cnut-Employment of mercenary

troops-Assize of Arms in 1181—The ancient Fyrd revived-

Amalgamation of the allodial and feudal military systems under

Henry III. and Edward I.—Expansion of ancient police organisation

concurrently with that of the Fyrd-Conservators of the Peace-

Coroners—Watch and Ward-Quarter Sessions—Statute of Win-

chester, 13 Edw. I.—Commissioners of Array—The Militia-Decay

of national local force-Superseded by standing army at end of

seventeenth century-Reorganised as the National Militia in 1757

-The Lord High Admiral

PP. 117-157

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