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generally, towards the king, and all his liege people; or particularly also, with regard to the person who craves the security. Or, if it be for the good behaviour, then on condition that he shall demean and behave himself well, or be of good behaviour, either generally or specially, for the time therein limited, as for one or more years, or for life. This recognizance, if taken by a justice of the peace, must be certified to the next sessions; in pursuance of the statute 3 Hen. VII. c. 1. ; and if the condition of such recognizance be broken, by any breach of the peace in the one case, or any misbehaviour in the other, the recognizance becomes forfeited or absolute; and being estreated or extracted (taken out from among the other records) and sent up to the exchequer, the party and his sureties having now become the king's absolute debtors, are sued for the several sums in which they are respectively bound.


2. Any justices of the peace, by virtue of their commission, or those who are ex officio conservators of the peace, as was mentioned in a former volume, may demand such security according to their own discretion; or it may be granted at the request of any subject, upon due cause shewn, provided such demandant be under the king's protection; for which reason it has been formerly doubted, whether jews, pagans, or persons convicted of a præmunire, were entitled thereto. Or, if the justice is averse to act, it may be granted by a mandatory writ, called a supplicavit, issuing out of the court of king's bench or chancery which will compel the justice to act, as a ministerial and not as a judicial officer: and he must make a return to such writ, specifying his compliance, under his hand and seal. But this writ is seldom used: for, when application is made to the superior courts, they usually take the recognizances there, under the directions of the statute 21 Jac. I. c. 8. And indeed a peer or peeress cannot be bound over in any other place, than the courts of king's bench or chancery: though a justice of the peace has a power to require sureties of any other person, being compos mentis and under the degree of nobility, whether he be a fellow justice or other magistrate, or whether he be merely a private man.h Wives may demand it against

• See Vol. I. pag. 355. f 1 Hawk. P. C. 126.

8 F. N. B. 80. 2 P.Wms. 202.


1 Hawk. P. C. 127.

their husbands; or husbands, if necessary, against their wives. But feme coverts, and infants under age, ought to find security by their friends only, and not to be bound themselves: for they are incapable of engaging themselves to answer any debt; which, as we observed, is the nature of these recognizances or acknowledgments.

3. A recognizance may be discharged, either by the demise of the king, to whom the recognizance is made; or by the death of the principal party bound thereby, if not before forfeited; or by order of the court to which such recognizance is certified by the justices, as the quarter sessions, assises, or king's bench, if they see sufficient cause: or in case he at whose request it was granted, if granted upon a private account, will release it, or does not make his appearance to pray that it may be continued.

Thus far what has been said is applicable to both species of recognizances, for the peace, and for the good behaviour: de pace, et legalitate, tuenda, as expressed in the laws of king Edward. But as these two species of securities are in some respects different, especially as to the cause of granting, or the means of forfeiting them, I shall How consider them separately: and first, shall shew for what cause such a recognizance, with sureties for the peace, is grantable; and then, how it may be forfeited.

1. Any justice of the peace may, ex officio, bind all those to keep the peace, who in his presence make any affray; or threaten to kill or beat another; or contend together with hot and angry words; or go about with unusual weapons or attendance, to the terror of the people; and all such as he knows to be common barretors; and such as are brought before him by the constable for a breach of the peace in his presence; and all such persons, as, having been before bound to the peace, have broken it and forfeited their recognizances. Also, wherever any private man hath just cause to fear, that another will burn his house, or do him a corporal injury, by killing, imprisoning, or beating him; or that he will procure others so to do; he may demand surety of the peace against such person: and every justice of the peace is bound to grant it, if he who demands it will make oath, that he is actually under fear of death or bodily harm; and will shew that he k Ibid. 126.

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1 Hawk. P. C. 129.

has just cause to be so, by reason of the other's menaces, attempts, or having lain in wait for him; and will also farther swear, that he does not require such surety out of malice or for mere vexation. This is called swearing the peace against another: and, if the party does not find such sureties, as the justice in his discretion shall require, he may immediately be committed till he does.n

2. Such recognizance for keeping the peace, when given, may be forfeited by any actual violence, or even an assault, or menace, to the person of him who demanded it, if it be a special recognizance; or, if the recognizance be general, by any unlawful action whatsoever, that either is or tends to a breach of the peace; or more particularly, by any one of the many species of offences which were mentioned as crimes against the public peace in the eleventh chapter of this book; or, by any private violence committed against any of his majesty's subjects. But a bare trespass upon the lands or goods of another, which is a ground for a civil action, unless accompanied with a wilful breach of the peace, is no forfeiture of the recognizance." Neither are mere reproachful words, as calling a man knave or liar, any breach of the peace, so as to forfeit one's recognizance, being looked upon to be merely the effect of unmeaning heat and passion, unless they amount to a challenge to fight."

The other species of recognizance, with sureties, is for the good abearance, or good behaviour. This includes security for the peace, and somewhat more; we will therefore examine it in the same manner as the other.

1. First, then, the justices are empowered by the statute 34 Edw. III. c. 1. to bind over to the good behaviour towards the king and his people, all them that be not of good fame, wherever they be found; to the intent that the people be not troubled nor endamaged, nor the peace diminished, nor merchants and others, passing by the highways of the realm, be disturbed nor put in the peril which may happen by such offenders. Under the general words of this expression, that be not of good fame, it is holden that a man may be bound to his good behaviour for causes of scandal, contra bonos mores, as well as contra pacem; as,

11 Hawk. P. C. 127.

Ibid. 128.

n 1 Hawk. P. C. 131.

o Ibid. 130.

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for haunting bawdy-houses with women of bad fame; or for keeping such women in his own house; or for words tending to scandalize the government, or in abuse of the officers of justice, especially in the execution of their office. Thus also a justice may bind over all night-walkers; eavesdroppers; such as keep suspicious company, or are reported to be pilferers or robbers; such as sleep in the day, and wake in the night; common drunkards; whoremasters; the putative fathers of bastards; cheats; idle vagabonds; and other persons whose misbehaviour may reasonably bring them within the general words of the statute as persons not of good fame: an expression, it must be owned, of so great a latitude, as leaves much to be determined by the discretion of the magistrate himself. But, if he commits a man for want of sureties, he must express the cause thereof with convenient certainty; and take care that such cause be a good one.P

2. A recognizance for the good behaviour may be forfeited by all the same means, as one for the security of the peace may be; and also by some others. As, by going armed with unusual attendance, to the terror of the people; by speaking words tending to sedition; or by committing any of those acts of misbehaviour, which the recognizance was intended to prevent. But not by barely giving fresh cause of suspicion of that which perhaps may never actually happen: for, though it is just to compel suspected persons to give security to the public against misbehaviour that is apprehended; yet it would be hard, upon such sus picion, without the proof of any actual crime, to punish them by a forfeiture of their recognizance.

P 1 Hawk. P. C. 132.

4 Ibid. 133.



THE sixth, and last, object of our inquiries will be the method of inflicting those punishments, which the law has annexed to particular offences; and which I have constantly subjoined to the description of the crime itself. In the discussion of which I shall pursue much the same general method that I followed in the preceding book, with regard to the redress of civil injuries: by, first, pointing out the several courts of criminal jurisdiction, wherein offenders may be prosecuted to punishment; and by, secondly, deducing down, in their natural order, and explaining, the several proceedings therein.

First, then, in reckoning up the several courts of criminal jurisdiction, I shall, as in the former case, begin with an account of such as are of a public and general jurisdiction throughout the whole realm; and, afterwards, proceed to such as are only of a private and special jurisdiction, and confined to some particular parts of the kingdom.

I. In our inquiries into the criminal courts of public and general jurisdiction, I must in one respect pursue a different order from that in which I considered the civil tribunals. For there, as the several courts had a gradual subordination to each other, the superior correcting and reforming the errors of the inferior, I thought it best to begin with the lowest, and so ascend gradually to the courts of appeal, or those of the most extensive powers. But as it is contrary to the genius and spirit of the law of England, to suffer any man to be tried twice for the same offence in a criminal way, especially if acquitted upon the first trial; therefore these criminal courts may be said to be all independent of each other: at least so far, as that the sentence of the lowest of them can never be controlled or reversed by the highest jurisdiction in the kingdom, unless for error in matter of law, apparent upon the face of the record; though sometimes causes may be removed from one to the other before trial, And therefore as, in these courts of criminal cognizance, there is not the same chain and dependence as in the others, I shall rank them VOL. IV. PART II.


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