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affected to describe. The experience of the last fifty years has shown, perhaps more than that of any other period since Henry III. and Edward I., that the Constitution is no stiff and formal mechanism, but a natural and necessary product of all the latent forces of the national life and character. In no period has political action been more restless and energetic, and legislation progressed more rapidly and courageously. Nevertheless, the great and deeply-graven lineaments which mark out the English Constitution from every other are as distinct as they were at the accession of William IV. If they have altered or widened, they have done so only by keeping pace with the steady and widening impulses of the advancing national temperament, in obedience to the call of a civilisation which may properly be termed new.
It is thus no longer to lawyers and law-books alone that reference must be had for ascertaining what is the mode of government under which the English people live. Far rather is it to the utterances of statesmen, to critical acts of public policy, to the conduct of Parliamentary majorities, and to the assumptions of the Executive Government. The review is thus becoming far more political than legal, and still more ethical than either. Thus this treatise
is dedicated as much to establishing a new method, as to bringing to light a train of special facts to which the method is applied.
9 KING'S BENCH WALK,
Section II.—Privileges and Order of Proceedings.