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centre of the leather was cut out, and the reformed design sulstituted. The cutting and messing of the binding is now concealed by a little border introduced for the purpose. To those who squandered £80,000 on a building (having first resolved to spend only £4,000), such little items as die-casts and bookbinding were, of course, of no importance. Though a trifling, it is not a bad example of a general management, which makes itself the marked object of plunder by some, and of derision of all; nor do minute points of occasional petty economy again set up a character lost or damaged by notorious and foolish acts like those we have here noticed ; yet if it is with this material the Bar is content to put up for the management of their affairs, far be it from us to arouse their discontent.

In the course of the remarks which we now have, and shall hereafter, lay before our readers, upon the Inns of Court and their management, we shall see, as in the case of the Temple Church and its services, the same original cause of evil; the mode of creation and irresponsibility of the Benchers. The Benchers consist either of men in the full flood of business, whose days and nights are devoted to their profession, and who cannot attend to the business of their Inns; or of aged, fussy, and idle men, who have nothing else to do but to muddle about the business, and who are either led of the officials by the nose in all things, or interfere uselessly and vexatiously with details which they can't understand. This, as we shall hereafter show, is not the composition suited for the wants of the Bar. We defer to a future occasion the full discussion of this point.


A Manual of the English Constitution; with a Review of its Rise,

Growth, and Present State. By David ROWLAND. London:
John Murray, 1859.

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E hail the appearance of this work with great pleasure,

not only as supplying a much felt want in our historical literature, but as the work of an emeritus of our own profession, and of that branch of it, which, though graced by the distinguished names of Sharon Turner, of Foss, and of Markland, is on the whole little addicted to literary pursuits. The name of the writer will be well known to many of our readers as that of a solicitor for many years in extensive business and high repute in the city of London; and we rejoice to learn from his preface, that he has been able, after a long career of active and honourable industry, to retire from professional practice; and that he has employed a part of his leisured in the production of this much required and useful manual of the history and working of the English Constitution. Up to the present time, there has been no work which could be confidently recommended as an introduction to the study of the English constitution. The great work of Hallam supposes too much previous knowledge in the reader, and is far too learned for a beginner; while the other works on the subject are either the productions of pedantic theorists like De Lolme, or run up by book-makers only to sell. Now, this work of Mr. Rowland is one which can be put into the hands of a youth who has read any common history

1 Mr. Rowland, we are informed, is also the author of a profound work, much esteemed by metaphysical and moral philosophers—“An Inquiry into the Origin of Moral Evil," a subject, however, which, we rejoice to say, is not within the scope of this Review ; for to us the only feasible answer appears to be that given by the little witness of doubtful orthodoxy, who, when asked by the Lord Mayor whether he knew where bad people went to after they were dead, replied :-“No, I don't ; no more don't you ; nobody don't know that."


of England, and indeed gives in itself so many of the important facts, that we believe it could be perused with advantage even by John Bright or Richard Cobden, or any other person unacquainted with ordinary history. We wish that these demagogic orators could be induced to read the book; it would not, we fear, lead them to alter their course, but they would give utterance to their monstrous misstatements of fact with less effect when they could no longer believe them. At present, they are as ignorant as their hearers of the history of the constitution prior to the Reform bill; but after reading the work before us, and even partially understanding it, they would be separated by a wide gulf from the absolute ignorance of those whom they address, and would no longer harangue with the prevailing effect of the orator who believes the fictions he details. Possibly, however, now that there will be a good manual of the constitution within the reach of the multitude, the multitude will read it, and will be no longer the ignorant recipient of the nonsense and falsehood of its leaders; and these leaders, if they wish to remain such, must read not only the manual in question, but the elaborate, and to them abstruse, works of Hallam, and other ponderous authors whom we will not alarm them by naming ; and thus hearers and followers, spouters and demagogues, beginning from this moderate beginning, may by degrees mutually improve each other, and go on improving in their knowledge of the constitution and constitutional history, till the more intelligent among them are fitted to go in for the competitive examination which, in the way we are running, will doubtless be by that time established for the office of her Majesty's principal Secretary of State for Home Affairs.

Mr. Rowland has divided his work into two parts ; in the first, he traces the rise and growth of the constitution from its earliest stage among our Anglo-Saxon ancestors, and even from its very rudiments among their Teutonic forefathers, down to the settlement made at the revolution of 1688, under the protection of our Dutch deliverer from Popery and arbitrary power; the second part explains the actual working of parliament, and of


the whole machine of government, and the present relations of the people who are governed to the government.

The first, or historical part, brings out in clear relief the fact, that our constitution and our liberties once had no real existence, that the crown was substantially absolute, and that our constitution has been as much the result of successive grants extorted by force or purchased by money from the crown, as that of France in 1814 was the grant of Louis XVIII., or the present constitution of France is the gift of her Emperor.

No doubt the constitution of the Anglo-Saxon monarchy was not the grant of the crown, but grew of itself together with the monarchy; the king acted in legislation, and in peace time in the other main acts of government, only with the advice and assistance of his Wittena-gemote, the assembly of his principal churchmen, high officers of government, and nobility; but this fell at the Norman conquest, and our early Norman kings exercised a despotic power over the people at large, and the same power over the nobles and the clergy, qualified only by the rebellion of the former, and the ecclesiastical censures of the latter, and of the Pope their head, when oppressed beyond what they respectively thought fit to endure. The mass of the people, Saxon by nation and in language, at first sighed, and as they recovered from the great blow of the conquest, and again grew rich and prosperous, begged and clamoured for a restitution of their rights and position under the Anglo-Saxon government, by the traditional name of the laws of king Edward the Confessor. By degrees the Norman nobles, knights, and churchmen, learnt to join in the cry of their Saxon fellow-subjects, and the common demand took a less vague form, and in the reign of King John resulted in extorting from that monarch the charter of defined rights and privileges, so well known by the name of Magna Charta. The important provisions of the Charter are fully set out by our author, and are followed by the remark, that

“When we consider the nature of these provisions, and reflect upon the constitutional principles they introduced or recognized, Rowland, p. 13.

'Pp. 50–60.


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we can hardly estimate the value of Magna Charta too highly. The 14th and 17th articles established the principle of consent to taxation, and provided the means of ensuring its adoptionmeans which were in the course of time expanded into the full parliamentary constitution of the present day. Those which provide that punishment shall be proportioned to the offence, and shall not be inflicted but by the lawful judgment of peers or equals of each rank; that people shall not be deprived of their property by the arbitrary power of the crown without voluntary sale; and that justice shall not be sold or denied to any manwhilst we shudder at the tyranny and oppression which required their enactment, make us confess that Magna Charta well deserves the admiration it has always obtained from the English people. "It is,' says Mr. Hallam, “the keystone of English liberty.' All that has since been obtained is little more than it confirmation or commentary; and, if every subsequent law were swept away, there would still remain the bold features that distinguish a free from a despotic monarchy.”ı

From this time we hear no more of the laws of Edward the Confessor: the great charter thus wrung from King John became the constitution. It was confirmed by every succeeding monarch, and by numerous acts of parliament down to the reign of Henry the Fifth; and, though often violated by King John and his successors, sometimes in open defiance of their oaths to maintain it, and sometimes with papal dispensations in sanction of their perjury-has always remained the law of the land, and formed the base on which the subsequent fabric of the constitution has been erected.

It was in the reign of Henry the Third, the son and successor of John, and fifty years after the grant of Magna Charta, that the next most important step was taken in the formation of the constitution; that is, the creation of the representative House of Commons. This, as is well known, took place in 1265, after the battle of Lewes, when the King and his son, Prince Edward, afterwards Edward the First, were virtually prisoners, and the government in the hands of Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, and the barons of his party. Up to that time parliament had

. consisted in theory of all the tenants in chief of the crown, and

1 Pp. 60, 61.

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