Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

of the
ancient

temp. Ric. I.

on the condition of contributing to the equipment of the remainder, was applied to the jurati ad arina.'

Concurrently with the development of the ancient fyrd, Expansion the primitive police organization had also been undergoing a process of expansion. The system of frankpledge was police organ

ization conmaintained with even increased stringency. It was en- currently forced by an injunction of William the Conqueror, and by with that

of the fri. thic Assizc of Clarendon under Henry II.? By a royal decree issued in 1195, by: Archbishop Hubert, Richard I.'s chicf justiciar, the hue and cry' was enforced, and knights Knight: were assigned to receive the oathis for the preservation of thic peacc.

All men above the age of fifteen years were rcquired to swear to keep the peace of their lord the King; to be neither themselves outlas, robbers, or thicies, nor to aid such persons as receivers or consenting partics; to follow up thic huc and cry in pursuit of offenders, and scize as malefactors all who failed to join or withdrew from the pursuit, and to deliver them to the sheriff, from whose custody they should not be liberated, except by order of the King or of his chief justice."

In this appointment of knights to receive the oaths may Conservators probably be discerned the germ of the office of conservator of the peace. of the peace. Custolos pacis were assigned in 1253 and 1 264. They afterwards appear to have been occasionally chosen by the landholders of the county, but were finally appointed to their office by the royal writ or commission."

| Foedera, i. 200 ; Select Chart. 334, 350. • Stat. Will. Conq. 8 : Omnis homo qui voluerit se teneri pro libero sit in plegio, ut plegius teneat et habeat illum ad justitiam si quid offenderit, ct si quisquam talium evaserit, vicleant plegii ut simpliciter solvant quod calumniatum est, et purgent se quia in evaso nullam fraudem noverint.'-And see the Assize of Clarendon, cap. 9, 10, 15, 16; Select Chart. 81, 138.

3 R. Hovecien, iii. 299. In Eadgar's ordinance of the hundred? (A.D). 959-975) it was ordered: “That a thief shall be pursued.... If there be present need, let it be macie known to the hundredman, and let him make it known to the tithingman, and let all go forth to where God may direct them to go. Let them do justice on the thiet, as it was formerly the enactment of Eadmund.' And in Cnut's Secular Dooms, c. 21 : 'And we will that every man above xii. years make oath that he will neither be a thief nor cognizant of theft.'--Select Chart. 69, 73.

+ See the writs in Foeclera, i. 291, 292, 442 ; Select Chart. 365, 402. $ l'algrave, Eng. Com. i. 300.

Coroners.

Ward.

By an Act of 1 Edward III., (st. 2, c. 16,) it was ordained that for the better maintaining and keeping of the peace in every county 'good men and lawful, which were no maintainers of evil or barretors' should be assigned to keep the

peace; and a later statute in the same reign (34 Edward III., Justices or

c. 1) 'gave them the power of trying felonics, when they the l'eace.

acquired the more honourable appellation of Justices.''

The office of county coroner had already been instituted under Richard I., in 1191. The right of clecting this officer has always resided in the freeholders of the county: In 1976 his duties were minutely prescribed by: Edward I.'s statute, Di Oficio Cuteris, to which reference is still

constantly made. Warch and

In 1233, the old police organization, proving inadequate, .1.0), 1233

was supplemented by a system of watch and ward in every township throughout the country: Twenty years later,

further regulations were issued extending and enforcing the Watch and Watch and Ward, and combining it, for the preservation of Ward and Assize of

internal peace, with the Assize of Arms. (1.) Watch was

to be kept from sunset to sunrise between Ascension Day .1.D. 12;2.

and Michaelmas; in the cities by companies of six good and strong armed men stationed at every gate, in the boroughs by a company of twelve, and in the townships by six, or four at the least, according to the number of the inhabitants. Any stranger attempting to pass through was to be arrested till the morning, and then, if suspected of any crime, delivered to the sheriff and kept in custody until liberated 'per legem terrae.' Even a stranger who arrived by daylight was not to remain in any village, except during

Arms.

Stephen's Blackstone, ii. 665. : In quolibet comitatu eligantur tres milites et unus clericus custodes placitorum coronae.'— Forma procerlendi in placitis Coronae Regis, c. 20 ; Hoveden, iii. 262. The coroner, coronator, is so called because he hath prin. cipally to do with pleas of the crown. . And in this light, the Lord Chief Justice of the Queen's Bench is the principal coroner in the king'lom ; and may (if he pleases) exercise the jurisdiction of a coroner in any part of the realm.'— Stephen's Blackstone, ii. 653.

Edw. I. st. 2. 4 Writ of Hen. III. to the sheriff of kent : “De forma pacis conservanda,' Foedera, i. 209.

4

harvest-time, unless his host would become surety for his conduct. A merchant on his road was entitled, after counting his moncy in the presence of the mayor and bailiffs of any city or borough, to demand of them a guard 'per malos passus et loca ambigua,' and if subsequently robbed, could claim restitution from the inhabitants. With the exception of those specially deputed to guard the king's peace, no persons were to be allowed to carry arms. (2.) The Assize of arms was renewed and the classification remodelled, all men, citizens, burgesses, free tenants, villeins and others,' between the ages of fifteen and sixty, being ranked according to the value of their land or moveables, from fifteen pounds annual rent in land down to forty shillings in chattuls.? 13.) All these were storn to provide themselves with the arms proper to their class, and ordered to join the hue and cry whenever required. For this purpose they were placed under the command of the local civil authorities, the mayor and bailiffs in cities and boroughs, and the constable in cach township, the supreme authority over all being vested in the chief constable of each hundred. Under our English Justinian, Edward I., whose 'legisla- Statute of

Winchester, tion is so full that the laws of the next thrce centuries are

13 Edwarell, little more than a necessary expansion of it,'s the celebrated A.D. 1285. Statutc of Winchester,' which though now to a great extent obsolete has been the foundation of modern laws, elaborated and completed the various regulations for Watch and Ward, reception of strangers, hue and cry, and the Assize of Arms. It was also specially provided that the whole Hundred where any robbery should be committed, should be answerable for the damage, unless the felons be brought

I The owner of land worth £15 a year, and the owner of chattels of the value of 60 marks (410) were classed together with respect to their armour, and served in what may be termed the Yeomanry Cavalry' of that period. Each had to provide himself with a coat of mail, an iron headpiece, sword, small knife, and a horse. The other classes served on foot.

: Writs of 36 and 37 Hen. III. (1252-3); Foedera, i. 281, 291 ; Select Chart. 362, 365. 3 Stubbs, Select Chart. Introd. 35.

13 Edw. I. c. 6, A.D. 128;.

[ocr errors]

to justice; and that highways lcading from one market
town to another should be widened, ‘so that thicre be neither
dyke, tree, nor bush, whereby a man may lurk to do hurt,'
within 200 feet of each side of the road.

The provisions of the Statute of Winchester with respect
to the arming of the men of each county were more immc-
diately directed to the preservation of internal peace, by
rendering more effective the power of summoning the posse
comitatus, which the sheriff, as chief conservator of the
peace of the county, had always possessed. But these local
forces still continued available for the purposes of national
defence; and from the thirteenth down to the middle of
the sixteenth century; it was customary; whenever invasion

was apprehended from Scotland or France, to empower Commis.

special Cominissioners of Array' to muster and train all Irray. or a portion of the men of cach county capable of bearing

arms, and to hold them in readiness to defend the king

dom. Obligation The ancient obligation to keep sufficient arms according to keep arms enforced by

to each man's estate was enforced by statutes of Philip and

Jary, and the kind of weapons changed for those of more
Philip and
Mary. modern fashion;? but under James I. these provisions were

abrogated. In 1638, Charles I. issued an unconstitutional
Order in Council obliging every freeholder whose land was
of the clear yearly value of £ 200 to furnislı a horsc-soldier

when called upon to do so by the Lord Lieutenant of his The Jilitia. county. The command of the Nlilitia, as the local forces

were usually denominated, formed the final ground of rup-
ture between Charles and his Parliament, the latter having

sions of

Acts of

14 & 5 Phil. and Vary, c. 2 and c. 3. Penalties were imposed on persons absenting themselves when commanded to muster by the sovereign, or any licutinant authorized for the same. This was a new officer, the Lord Lieu. tenant, introduced in this reign as the chief military officer of the Crown in every county. For the military purposes of each county the lord-lieutenancy may be regarded as a revival of the office of the old English carl. Thenceforward the sheriff became practically a purely civil officer. By the Army Regulation Act, 1871, ( 34 & 35 Vict. c. 86, s. 6) the jurisdiction and command of the Lords-Lieutenant of Counties over the Militia and other auxiliary forces have been revested in the Crown, to be exercised through the Secretary of State for War and officers appointed with his advice.

i Jac. I. c. 25, s. 46.

passed ordinances (26 Feb. and 6 March, 1642) superseding the King's commissions of lieutenancy by the appointment of fifty-five Commissioners of Array, with power to suppress 'all insurrections, rebellions, and invasions.” This proceeding, however necessary it may have been at the time for the peace and safety of the kingdom, was clearly illegal. after the Restoration an Act of Parliament declared that the sole supreme government of the militia, and of all forces by sea and land, and of all forts and places of strength was, and by the laws of England ever had been, the undoubted right of the kings and queens of England, and that neither House of Parliament could pretend to the same, nor lawfully levy war, offensive or defensive, against the King? By another Act, provision was made for calling together, arming, and arraying the militia, by the King's lieutenants of counties, and for charging the cost upon the landholders in the ancient proportion to the value of their estates. But concurrently na

national force

superwith the growth of a standing army, the local forces lan- seded by guished for a lengthened period, until revived and remo- army aten: delled in 1757, in consequence of a panic caused by rumours of 17th cenof a French armament, as the national Jlilitia.3

revived in 1757 as the

militia. 13 Car. II., st. 1, c. 6. : 14 (ar. II., c. 3.

3 Hallam, Const. llist. ii. 133, iii. 262. Vilitiamen were to be chosen by ballot to serve for a limited number of years, but were not to be compelled to march out of their own county except in case of invasion or rebellion. In 1829, the practice was commenced and has ever since been continued, of passing an annual Act suspendling the Militia ballot, the supply being furnished by voluntary enlistment. But the same Act which temporarily suspends the law empowers the Queen in Council to at once order a ballot should necessity require it.

tury, until

« AnteriorContinuar »