* The Law of God is
the Law of
34 H. 6.40.
& St. lib. 1.
& 465 a.
Co. Li. 142
Co. 3.8 &c.
Justices of the Peace.
Of the Common Law, and of such as had, and still
have, the Conservation of
the Peace by the Common
THE Common Laws of this Realm of England,
their Grounds from the Laws of * God and Nature, (which
Law of Nature, as it pertaineth to man, is also called the Law of
† Reason) and being, for their Antiquity, those whereby this
Realm was governed many hundred years before the Conquest;
the Equity and Excellency whereof is such; as that there is no human
Law within the circuit of the whole World, by infinite degrees, so
profitable for the honourable, peaceable, and prosperous Government
this Kingdom, and so necessary for all Estates, and for all Causes,
Life, Lands or Goods, as these Laws be: These Laws, (I say) even
from their beginning, have continued a special care for the Conservation
of the Peace of this Land. And, to that purpose, at the Common
before Justices of the Peace were made) there were sundry persons to
whose charge the maintenance of this Peace was recommended, and who,
with their other Offices, had (and yet still have) the Conservation
Peace annexed to their charges, as a thing incident to and unseparable
their said Offices. And yet nevertheless they were and are called
names of their Offices only, the Conservation of the Peace being included
| §. 2.
20 H. 7.7. a.
| First, The King's Majesty (by his Dignity Royal)
is the principal Conservator
of the Peace within His Dominions, (and is Capitalis Justiciarius
Angliæ) in whose hands at the beginning, the Administration
of all Justice
and all Jurisdiction in all causes first was; and afterwards by and
only was this Authority derived and given to others.
|| And yet so, as that whatsoever Power is by him committed
other men, the same nevertheless remaineth still in himself; insomuch
he may himself in person fit in Judgment, as in ancient time other
here have done, and may take knowledge of all cases and causes, unless
they concern himself; for in such cases wherein the King is a party,
King cannot properly fit in Judgment, but must perform that by his
Commissioners, or the like, as in cases of Treason, Felonies, or such
The King also, as he is the principal Conservator of the Peace himself,
he may command all others, and may award Process against them to conserve
the Peace; but he cannot take a Recognizance for the Peace, because
the Recognizance is made to himself, &c.
| § 3.
| The Lord Chancellor, (or Lord Keeper of the Great
Seal) the Lord
High Steward of England, the Lord Marshall, and High Constable
England, the Lord Treasurer of England, and every Justice
of the King's
Bench, as also the Master of the Rolls, have inclosed in their said
the Conservation of the Peace over all the Realm; and every of these
award Precepts, and take Recognizances for the Peace, by virtue of
Places and as incident to their Offices; yea, every one of these upon
of Surety of the Peace made to them, or any of them against another
authority to award or grant their Precept or Warrant to the Sheriff,