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leges remarked that, when the students come up in their last year to acquire some notions of political science, their want of information relating to everything beyond the limits of their own country — their ignorance of anything like comparative politics — is to the last degree discreditable. Such narrowness is only to be corrected by travel and extended observation, or by cultivating those studies and reading those books that will give clear and just conceptions of the policy of other leading nations. Mr. Bagehot's analysis of the English Constitution will be helpful to this end; and we doubt if there is any other volume so useful for our countrymen to peruse before visiting England. It will enable Americans to understand many things that at first perplex and disgust them in an old historic country, where all that most impresses the mind is so different from what we are accustomed to here.
It remains further to say that Mr. Bagehot's work has a charming readableness that would not be suspected from its title or subject. It is written with an easy liveliness, a vivacious wit, and a felicity of style, that place it high in the scale of literary excellence.
The studies of character of Brougham and Peel, that are appended to the present edition, and have not before appeared in this country, will be read with avidity, as they not only serve to throw additional light upon the modern politics of England, but give us an interesting insight into the intellectual life of two of the most conspicuous men who have figured in public affairs during the past generation.
E. L. Y. New York, February, 1877.
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
compares it with the most important other living governments, and these are changing too; what he illustrates are altered in one way, and his sources of illustration are altered probably in a different way. This difficulty has been constantly in my way in preparing a second edition of this book. It describes the English Constitution as it stood in the years 1865 and 1866. Roughly speaking, it describes its working as it was in the time of Lord Palmerston; and since that time there have been many changes, some of spirit and some of detail. In so short a period there have rarely been more changes. If I had given a sketch of the Palmerston time as a sketch of the present time, it would have been in many points untrue; and if I had tried to change the sketch of seven years since into a sketch of the present time, I should probably have blurred the picture and have given something equally unlike both.
The best plan in such a case is, I think, to keep the original sketch in all essentials as it was at first written, and to describe shortly such changes either in the Constitution itself, or in the Constitutions compared with it, as seem material. There are in this book various expressions which allude to persons who were living and to events which were happening when it first appeared; and I have carefully preserved these. They will serve to warn the reader what time he is reading about, and to prevent his