(Parliaments of Henry III, 1265)
| notes on the text
When in later years we have talked big about about the immortal “British Constitution,” we have always meant the British system of parliamentary government, and always regarded the barons of 1215 as its founders and fathers. We have asked this Constitution to give during the last eighty years the strongest proof of its immortality by altering it every day, until its founders and fathers would not recognise it; so much so that a witty French writer has said that it “does not exist,” by which he means that King and Parliament can make in it from hour to hour any change which they please. Most people have considered this to be a great virtue in our Constitution, which can thus adapt itself to the changing needs of changing times; others think that such a virtue may be carried too far.Fletcher’s allusion to the constant alterations to the Constitution over the previous eighty years refers to the various stages in the extension of the franchise which, by the time the School History was published, had already created a one-man-one-vote system and a current, very active compaign by women to be included in the new electoral process.
[An Introductory History of England, vol., 1, 1904, pp. 182-3.]