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THE ENGLISH

CONSTITUTION.

By WALTER BAGEHOT.

NEW EDITION, WITH AN ADDITIONAL CHAPTER.

LONDON:
HENRY S. King & Co., 65 CORNHILL.

ORNHILL.

COLLEGE
LIBRARY

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No. VIII.
THE PRE-REQUISITES OF CABINET GOVERNMENT, AND THE
PECULIAR FORM WHICH THEY IAVE ASSUMED IN ENGLAND. 254

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Irs HISTORY, AND THE EFFECTS OF THAT HISTORY.-Con-

CLUSION . . . . . . . . . . 272

INTRODUCTION.

TO

THE SECOND EDITION.

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 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. The difficulty is the greater because a writer who deals with a living government naturally

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