The English Constitution

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Chapman and Hall, 1867 - Constitutional history - 348 pages
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There is a great difficulty in the way of a writer who attempts to sketch a living Constitution-a Constitution that is in actual work and power. The difficulty is that the object is in constant change. An historical writer does not feel this difficulty: he deals only with the past; he can say definitely, the Constitution worked in such and such a manner in the year at which he begins, and in a manner in such and such respects different in the year at which he ends; he begins with a definite point of time and ends with one also. But a contemporary writer who tries to paint what is before him is puzzled and a perplexed: what he sees is changing daily. He must paint it as it stood at some one time, or else he will be putting side by side in his representations things which never were contemporaneous in reality.
 

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Contents

I
3
II
39
III
59
IV
85
VI
120
VII
165
VIII
216
IX
263
X
302

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Page 104 - Secondly, having once given her sanction to a measure, that it be not arbitrarily altered or modified by the Minister. Such an act she must consider as failing in sincerity towards the Crown, and justly to be visited by the exercise of her constitutional right of dismissing that Minister.
Page 299 - After five years' work I allowed myself to speculate on the subject, and drew up some short notes ; these I enlarged in 1844 into a sketch of the conclusions, which then seemed to me probable : from that period to the present day 1 have steadily pursued the same object.
Page 17 - a hyphen which joins, a buckle which fastens the legislative part of the State to the executive part'.
Page 105 - To state the matter shortly, the sovereign has, under a constitutional monarchy such as ours, three rights— the right to be consulted, the right to encourage, the right to warn.
Page 59 - THE USE of the Queen, in a dignified capacity, is incalculable. Without her in England, the present English Government would fail and pass away. Most people when they read that the Queen walked on the slopes at Windsor — that the Prince of Wales went to the Derby — have imagined that too much thought and prominence were given to little things. But they have been in error; and it is nice to trace how the actions of a retired widow and an unemployed youth become of such importance.
Page 298 - On my return home it occurred to me, in 1837, that something might perhaps be made out on this question by patiently accumulating and reflecting on all sorts of facts which could possibly have any bearing on it. After five years...
Page 10 - Great communities are like great mountains, — they have in them the primary, secondary, and tertiary strata of human progress ; the characteristics of the lower regions resemble the life of old times rather than the present life of the higher regions.
Page 14 - The efficient secret of the English Constitution may be described as the close union, the nearly complete fusion, of the executive and legislative powers.
Page 56 - A country of respectful poor, though far less happy than where there are no poor to be respectful, is nevertheless far more fitted for the best government. You can use the best classes of the respectful country; you can only use the worst where every man thinks he is as good as every other.
Page 16 - The Cabinet, in a word, is a board of control chosen by the legislature, out of persons whom it trusts and knows, to rule the nation.

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