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possible, law and justice, in mercy, to be executed;" but "to the utmost of his power to maintain the laws of God, the true profession of the gospel, and the protestant reformed religion established by the law; also to preserve unto the bishops and clergy, and to the churches committed to their charge, all such rights and privileges as by law do or shall appertain unto them or any of them."

III. Judiciary Department.

1. The Judicial Power is vested in the various courts of the kingdom. A few of the higher courts only it will be sufficient to notice, premising that the county and other inferior courts are more or less local in their jurisdiction, with an appeal to the higher


2. The "four courts of Westminster Hall" are considered as the king's superior and original courts of justice. They are probably so called because they belonged in some form to the early history of the monarchy, while other courts have been established by legislation in later times.

3. The first of these four courts, as standard writers enumerate them, is the court of Common Pleas. This is a court for the trial of civil causes only, and such as arise between one subject and another. Causes in which the king is considered the plaintiff, called pleas of the crown, are never brought before this court. An appeal lies to this from inferior courts. It has also original as well as appellate jurisdiction. From this court an appeal lies to the court of king's bench.

In what is the judicial power vested?

What of the four courts?

What is the first of these called? What causes are tried in it? What are never tried in it?

4. The court of King's Bench comes next under notice. It is held at Westminster because the royal family is more settled than formerly; for in the ancient constitution of it, the court followed the king in all his removals; and therefore, to the present day, allwrits issued by this court are returnable to any place wherever in England the king may be.

5. This court has a very high jurisdiction. It may stop proceedings in any inferior courts, and remove causes from them to be determined by itself. It takes cognizance both of criminal and civil causes. In the former the king is always the plaintiff, and that department which prosecutes criminal causes is called the crown-side of the court; while that which adjudges civil causes is called the plea-side of the court. On the plea-side it has original jurisdiction of all causes which, like trespass or fraud, have something in them of a criminal nature, though the action is brought only for a civil remedy. For such an action makes the defendant liable to pay a fine to the king as well as to the injured party. But an action of debt cannot be brought in this court, unless by statute, by a fiction of law, or by an appeal from the common pleas or some other inferior court. The object of this court is to give summary redress to the subject in any part of the kingdom, by allowing him to remove his cause at any time from an interested or incompetent court to one against which there can be no objection. Yet even from this court there is an appeal to the House of Lords, or to the court of Exchequer chamber.

6. The court of Exchequer takes cognizance of causes which originally came before the court of king's

What is the next court called? Why held in Westminster? Where are its writs returnable?

What is the distinction of the crown and plea side of this court? What is the object of this court? Where is the appeal from this court?

What is the next court called? What causes does it take cognizance of?

bench. These relate to the collection of the revenue, and of the king's debts and duties. This is a court of law, one whose duty it is to determine what the law is; and a court of equity also, or whose duty it is to judge of the intention of the law, where the words are too severe or defective. Those who are indebted to the king may sue in this court, being supposed less able to pay the king his due, by the delinquency of the defendant. Hence the clergy, who must pay their annual tenths to the king, sue in this court for their tithes. And by what is called a fiction of law, any man may sue in this court by suggesting that he is the king's debtor. Cases both in law and equity may be brought before this court in this way, i. e. by the suggestion, which is never questioned, that the king is concerned in them. It would seem that it has only original jurisdiction.

7. From the equity-side of this court there is an appeal to the House of Lords. From the law-side an appeal lies first to the court of Exchequer chamber, and subsequently from that to the House of Lords.

8. The last, and in some respect the most important, of the "four courts," is the court of Chancery. Its chief officer is the lord chancellor, so called, probably from the object of the court, which is to cancel such of the king's patents, or acts, as in which he has been wrongly advised, deceived, or has acted on untrue suggestions. As the king is supposed not to intend wrong, it is presumed he will make amends and retractions wherever he has thus been led to injure any of his subjects; and as he is supposed to do this as a matter of conscience, and not by compulsion, and such matters being assigned to the chancellor, that

What is its duty as a court of law and equity?

What appeals are there from this court?

What is the last of the four courts? Who is its chief officer? What is its object? Why is the lord chancellor called the keeper of the king's conscience?

officer is called the keeper of the king's conscience. He is also the keeper of the great seal, and one of the privy council. From this court the king's writ is issued for the convention of Parliament, as well as a great variety of other writs, commissions, and the like, and whatever else passes under the great seal. It is open to the subject at all times, who can have, as a matter of justice, such writ as his occasions call for.

9. This is a court both of law and equity. It is not necessary here to notice farther the amount or kind of business to which this court is competent. We may add, that it has no power to summon a jury, and therefore when a fact is disputed between parties before it, the chancellor cannot try the cause, but delivers it over to the court of king's bench. And there is, in theory at least, an appeal from a judgment in the lawside of the court of chancery to the court of king's bench, and from the equity side there is an appeal to the House of Lords.

10. Besides these four courts we will take a short notice of a few others out of a great number that might be named. The court of exchequer chamber, already referred to, has no original jurisdiction, but is simply a court of appeal, to try causes from the law-side of the court of exchequer. The House of Lords is also a court having no original jurisdiction, but to which, as we have seen, an appeal may often be made. There are also circuit courts, ecclesiastical courts, private courts, and courts of a special jurisdiction, which it will not be necessary to notice, as they do not give its form in any essential manner to the British Constitution. We will only notice farther the admiralty courts, which consist of a principal court held before the lord

What else does he keep? What particular writ is issued from this court? What is done when a jury becomes necessary? What appeals are there from this court?

Name some of the other courts. What is said of courts of admiralty, and the appeal from them?

high admiral of England, or his deputy, and certain courts of appeal. Before these courts causes come that arise on the high seas and in parts out of the reach of the common law courts. From these there is always an appeal to the king in chancery.

11. The judges of the four courts consist of no ascertained and invariable number, but are always sufficiently numerous to secure the advantages of united wisdom and consultation. They are independent, that is, they hold their offices during good behavior, and receive fixed and permanent salaries.

IV. Miscellaneous Articles.

Some things may be here noted which do not very well fall under preceding heads.

1. Trial by jury. This institution is ascribed by some to king Alfred; but it is quite uncertain to what period of antiquity its history belongs. It is a privilege which the defendant in a criminal prosecution always enjoys, to have his cause tried by twelve men who cannot be accused of partiality, and chosen out of the county where the offence is said to have been committed, and these must agree in order to a conviction.

2. Ex post facto laws. These are unconstitutional and void, because they endanger the liberty of the subject by putting the legislative and judiciary power into the same hands,

3. Habeas Corpus. This is a writ of unknown antiquity. It is of a variety of forms, and for a variety of purposes, but all agreeing in this, that it commands any officer having a prisoner in custody to produce the

What is said of the number of judges in the four courts? What is meant by their being independent?

To whom is the trial by jury ascribed? What is said of it?
What remark concerning ex post facto laws?

What is the writ of habías corpus? How long has it been known?

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