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no more than was another rrruch more formidable jurisdiction, but now deservedly annihilated, viz. the court of the king's high commiffion in causes ecclesiastical. This court was erected and united to the regal power' by virtue of the statute i Eliz. c. i. instead of a larger jurisdiction which had before been exercised under the pope's authority. It was intended. C 68 j to vindicate the dignity and peace of the church, by reform-ing, ordering, and correcting the ecclesiastical state and persons, and all manner of errors, heresies, schisms, abuses, offences, contempts, and enormities. Under the shelter of which very general words, means were found in that and the two succeeding reigns, to vest in the high commissioners ex, traordinary and almost despotic powers, of fining and imprisoning; which they exerted much beyond the degree of the offence itself, and frequently over offences by no means ©f spiritual cognizance. For these reasons this court wa$ justly abolished by statute 16 Car. I. c. II. And the weak and illegal attempt that was made to revive it, during the reign of king James die second, served only to hasten that infatuated prince's ruin.
II. Next, as to the courts military. The only court of this kind known to, and established by, the permanent laws of the land, is the court of chivalry, formerly held before the lord high constable and earl marshal of England jointly -, but since the attainder of Stafford duke of Buckingham under Henry VIII. and the consequent extinguishment of the office of lord high constable, it hath usually with respect to civil matters been held before the earl marshal only *. This court by statute 13 Ric. II. c. 2. hath cognizance of contracts and other matters touching deeds of arms and war, as well out of the realm as within it. And from it's sentences an appeal lies immediately to the king in person'. This court was in great reputation in the times of pure chivalry, and afterwards during our connexions with the continent, by the territories which our princes held in France: but is now grown almost entirely out of use, on account os the feebleness of it's jurisdiction, and want of power to enforce it's judgments; as it can neither sine nor imprison, not being a court of record ".
'4. Inst. 314. '4 Inst 125.
• 1 Lev. 230. Show. Pæl. Cas. 60.
III. The maritime courts, or such as have power and jurisdiction to determine all maritime injuries, arising upon the seas, or in parts out of die reach of the common law, are [ 60 ] only the court of admiralty, and it's courts of appeal. The court of admiralty is held before the lord high admiral of England, or his deputy, who is called the judge of the court. According to sir Henry Spelman ", and Lambard x, it was first of all erected by king Edward the third. It's proceedings are according to the method of the civil law, like those of the ecclesiastical courts •, upon which account it is usually held at the same place with the superior ecclesiastical courts at doctors' commons in London. It is no court of record, any more than the spiritual courts. From the sentences of the admiralty judge an appeal always lay, in ordinary course, to the king in chancery, as may be collected from statute 25 Hen. VIII. c. 19. which directs the appeal from the archbishop's courts to be determined by persons named in the king's commission, "like as in cafe of appeal from the ad"miral-court.'" But this is also expressly declared by statute 8 Eliz. c. 5. which enacts, that upon appeal made to the chancery, the sentence definitive of the delegates appointed by commission shall be final.
Appeals from the vice-admiralty courts in America, and our other plantations and settlements, may be brought before the courts of admiralty in England, as being a branch of the admiral's jurisdiction, though they may also be brought before the king in council. But in case os prize vessels, taken in time of war, in any part of the world, and condemned in any courts of admiralty or vice admiralty as lawful prize, the appeal lies to certain commissioners of appeals consisting
» 7 Mod. IZ7. w G'.ijs. 13. * jfr.ttm. 41.
chiefly of the privy council, and not to judges delegates. And this by virtue of divers treaties with foreign nations ; by which particular courts are established in all the maritime countries of Europe for the decision of this question, whether lawful prize or not: for this being a question between subjects of different states, it belongs entirely to the law of nations, and not to the municipal laws of either country, to determine it. The original court, to which this question is
] permitted in England, is the court of admiralty; and the court of appeal is in effect the king's privy council, the members of which are, in consequence of treaties, commissioned under the great seal for this purpose. In 1748, for
• the more speedy determination of appeals, the judges of the courts of Westminster-hall, though not privy counsellors, were added to the commission then in being. But doubts being conceived concerning the validity of that commission, on account of such addition, the same was confirmed by statute 22 Geo. II. c. 3. with a proviso, that no sentence given under it should be valid, unless a majority of the commissioners present were actually privy counsellors. But this
■ did not, I apprehend, extend to any future commissions: and such an addition became indeed totally unnecessary in the course of the war which commenced in 1756} since, during the whole of that war, the commission of appeals was regularly attended and all it's decisions conducted by a judge, whose masterly acquaintance with the law os nations was known and revered by every state in Europe *.
J See the sentiment* of the president Prussian majesty't Exptsit'un des tat.fi,
Montesquieu, and M. Vattcl, (a subject &e. A.D.1753. (Montesquieu's letters,
of the ting of PrusiiaJ on the answer 5 Mar. 1753. Vattel's d'cit dc grnt,
transmitted by the English court to hit /. 2. c. 7. § 84.)
CHAPTER. THE SIXTH.
Of COURTS Of A SPECIAL JURISDICTION.
IN the two preceding chapters we have considered the several courts, whose jurisdiction is public and general; and which are so contrived that some or other of them may administer redress to every possible injury that can arise in the kingdom at large. There yet remain certain others, whose jurisdiction is private and special, confined to particular spots or instituted only to redress particular injuries. These are
I. The forest courts, instituted for the government of the king's forests in different parts of the kingdom, and for the punishment of all injuries done to the king's deer or venison, to the vert or greenswerd, and to the covert in which such deer are lodged. These are the courts of attachments, of regard, of siveinmote, and of jujlict-scat. The court of attachments, woedincte, or forty days court, is to be held before the verderors of the forest once in every forty days*; and is Instituted to inquire into all offenders against vert and venison b: who may be attached by their bodies, if taken with the mainour, (or mainoeuvre, a manu) that is, in the very act of killing venison or stealing wood, or preparing so to do, or by fresh and immediate pursuit after the act is done'; else, they must be attached by their goods. And in this forty days
» Ca't. Jtfmli. 9 Hoi. III. t. 8. « Cu'.h. 79.
b 4 Inst. aSg.
6 court court the foresters or keepers are to bring in their attachments, or presentments de viridi et venatlone; and the verderors are to. receive the fame, and to enroll them j and ta certify them under their seals to the court of justice-feat, or sweinmote d: for this court can only inquire of, but not convict offenders. 2. The court of regard, or survey of dogs, is to be holden every third year for the lawing or expeditation of mastiffs, which is done by cutting off the claws and ball (or ] pelote) of the forefeet, to prevent them from running after deerc. No other dogs but mastiffs are to be thus lawed or expeditated, for none other were permitted to be kept within the precincts of the forest; it being supposed that the keeping of these, and these only, was necessary for the defence of a man's house f. 3. The court of sweinmote is to be holden before the verderors, as judges, by the steward of the sweinmote thrice in every year*, the sweins or freeholders within the sorest composing the jury. The principal jurisdiction os this court is, first,.to inquire into the oppressions and grievances committed by the officers of the forest; "de super-oneratione forejlari"orumtet aliorum minijlrorum forejlae; et de eorum opprejstonibut "populo regis illatis .-" and, secondly, to receive and try pre. sentments certified from the court of attachments against offences in vert and venison \ And this court may not only inquire, but convict also, which conviction shall be certified to the court of justice-feat under the seals of the jury; for this court cannot proceed to j udgment'. But the principal court is, 4. The court of jujlice-sect, which is held before the chief justice in eyre, or chief itinerant judge, capitalis jujlitiarius in itincret or his deputy •, to hear and determine all trespasses within the forest, and all claims of franchises, liberties, and privileges, and all pleas and causes whatsoever therein arisingk. It may also proceed to try presentments in the inferior courts of the forests, and to give judgment upon conviction of the sweinmote, And the chief justice may