Constitutional Government Developed by
Control of Purse
ENGLAND'S present democratic form of government has been developed from the autocracy of the Middle ages by a gradual process of evolution.
Magna Charta extorted by the barons from King John in 1215 remedied certain feudal abuses in the matters of purveyance, relief, wardship and marriage and in particular admitted the right of the nation to ordain taxation and defined the way in which its consent was to be given.
Before 1295 when arranging for grants it was customary for the King to deal separately with the clergy and the barons. In this year, in the reign of Edward I, a transition which had been gradually taking place since 1282 took fixed form and the Commons were admitted to a share of the taxing power. The three estates acted separately and made grants of varying amounts, but they took action simultaneously at a common place of meeting. The year 1303 is memorable in commercial as well as constitutional history. It was in this year that the Charta Mercatoria was granted. This has been called the Magna Charta of Commerce. By its terms the ports, cities and towns of England were opened for wholesale traffic to foreign merchants.
The codification of the laws under this King and the revi-