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THIS book is intended as an introduction to the study of English Politics, but its scope is virtually limited to one section of the subject. It deals only with the structure of the State and the functions of the several organs of government. With abstract political philosophy it is not concerned, nor will there be found here any discussion of the conception or the functions of the State in general. My primary object has been to set forth the actual working of the English Constitution of to-day, and to do so with constant reference to the history of the past. I hope, therefore, that the book may be found to fulfil a twofold purpose: to provide an introduction to the history of English Institutions, and also to explain the contemporary working of the complicated constitutional machine.

The book is in fact based upon lectures which have already, I hope, fulfilled in some measure these purposes. Those lectures have been addressed, in forms varied to suit varying circumstances, to audiences of widely different types: to Oxford undergraduates entering upon their course of study for the Honour School of Modern History; to foreign teachers of many nationalities desirous to obtain a synoptic view of the working of English Institutions, and to working-men in several centres of Industry, in the hope of inducing them to undertake a more scientific study of 'Politics',

in the strict sense of the term. Many of those who heard the lectures appeared to find in them something which, in an equally compact and concentrated form, they could not find elsewhere.

It is this fact which has encouraged me to submit them to a wider and perhaps less indulgent audience. I claim for them no originality save that of form and presentation. There is scarcely a page which does not reveal my debt to the great historians, jurists, and publicists who have traversed parts of the same field: to Stubbs and Maitland, Freeman and Palgrave, Hallam and Erskine May, Maine and Tocqueville, Gneist and Boutmy, Hearn and Bagehot, Mr. Sidney Low and Mr. Bryce, President Lowell and President Woodrow Wilson, and above all to Sir William Anson and Professor Dicey. But heavy as is my debt to my teachers and predecessors, I know of no single book which exactly performs, or even attempts, the task which I have set before myself.

Long experience of teaching for the Oxford History School, supplemented by some knowledge of widely different audiences, has confirmed the suspicion which I entertained as an undergraduate that we begin the teaching of Constitutional History--the history of Institutions at the wrong end. Most people, I fancy, are likely to interest themselves more in the Civitas and the Vicus, in Shire and Hundred, in Borough and Township, if they can first be interested in the revolution effected in Local Government by the legislation of 1835, 1888, and 1894; to discuss with avidity. questions concerning the composition of the Witenagemot if they know something of the modern history of the

House of Lords and the House of Commons; to appreciate the issues involved in the 'cases' of Darnel or Hampden, if they understand the working of tribunaux administratifs—in a word, if they start not with the Germania and Stubbs and Dr. Liebermann, but with Mr. Sidney Low and President Lowell, with 'Hansard' and The Times.

It is part of the purpose of this little book to test the validity of this theory. I put it forth with unfeigned diffidence, but not without anxious consideration and prolonged experiment. Even should I fail to convince my professional brethren, I trust that I may succeed in opening a more seductive avenue to the study of English Institutions and in providing a more scientific basis for the study of English 'Politics'.

In the accomplishment of my task I have incurred many obligations which it is a pleasure to acknowledge. A list of published Authorities on which I have drawn freely will be found in an Appendix, and there are many specific references throughout the text. I am congenitally averse to repeating the same thing in a variety of ways. I have therefore borrowed a few paragraphs from a previous book and articles of my own. The latter were published in the Nineteenth Century and after, and for permission to reproduce them I am indebted to the kind permission of Mr. W. Wray Skilbeck. I have discussed the scope and arrangement of the book with the Rev. H. B. George, of New College, whose experience of the requirements of Secondary Schools is exceptionally wide. Sir Charles Roe, late Chief Judge of the Chief Court of the Punjab, has kindly allowed me to submit for his

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