29 APRIL 1905, Page 12

Modern Constitutions in Outline. By Leonard Alston. (Long- mans and

Co. 2s. 6d. net.)—Mr. Alston, who is Deputy Professor of History in the Elphinstone College at Bombay, has written a brief but lubid sketch of the Constitutions of the chief political communities of the modern world. His little book was planned to meet the needs of University students ; but it will have a wider field in proving, as its author hopes, "serviceable to the busy general reader who is desirous of acquiring an insight into the same subject, if only in order to follow without difficulty the foreign intelligence in the daily papers." There are a number of points cropping up every day which are not quite clear to the "man in the street." He wants, for instance, to compare the relative powers of the President and the Senate in the United States when, as in the recent case of the Arbitration Treaties, they come into conflict. He wants to know how far the German Reichstag can exercise control over the Kaiser's naval programme, and to understand what right of interference the Emperor has in the domestic affairs of the subordinate States which compose the German Empire. Ho cannot understand the present crisis in the Hungarian Parliament unless he has a fair working knowledge of the dual system which modifies the partnership of Austria and Hungary. He would like to know why the constant Ministerial crises which are reported in France exercise so much less influence on the policy of the country than would be the case under our own party system. All these points, with many more, are explained in Mr. Alston's concise little work, which consists of three opening chapters dealing respectively with Federalism and the Two-Chamber System, Party Government, and the Demarcation of Powers ; and of a second part in which a special and more detailed account is given• of the Constitutions of the chief Powers of the world. It is rather a pity that there is no reference to Japan, whose Constitution is particularly interesting at the present moment. Russia, of course, is omitted for the same reason as the snakes in

Iceland. There is as yet nothing that can be called a Constitu- tion in that unhappy country. The section on our own Empire, with its varying types of Constitutional government, so interesting historically and so important to the student of contemporary politics, is very satisfactory. Mr. Alston has done a useful piece of work, which, in its brevity and clearness, is a model of the expository functions of a Professor.