CHAPTER IV. THE CONSTITUTION, AND HOW THE KINGS KEPT IT.
We have fortunately still existing the main provisions of that constitution which was prepared under the auspices of Saint Patrick, and which, though not immediately, nor simultaneously, was in the end accepted by all Erin as its supreme law. It is contained in a volume called "the Book of Rights," and in its printed form (the Dublin bilingual edition of 1847), fills some 250 octavo pages. This book may be said to contain the original institutes of Erin under her Celtic Kings: "the Brehon laws," (which have likewise been published), bear the same relation to "the Book of Rights," as the Statutes at large of England, or the United States, bear to the English Constitution in the one case, or to the collective Federal and State Constitutions in the other. Let us endeavour to comprehend what this ancient Irish Constitution was like, and how the Kings received it, at first.