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tice of peace, though there be no other accusation or declaration.
2. If any house be suspected for receiving or harbouring of any felon, the constable, upon complaint or common fame, may search.
3. If any fly upon the felony, the constable ought to raise hue and cry.
4. And the constable ought to seise his goods, and keep them safe without impairing, and inventary them in presence of honest neighbours.
Thirdly, For matters of common nuisance and grievances, they are of very variable nature, according to the several comforts which man's life and society requireth, and the contrarics which infest the same.
In all which, be it matter of corrupting air water or victuals, stopping straightening or indangering of passages, or general deceits, in weights, measures, sizes, or counterfeiting wares, and things vendible; the office of constable is to give, as much as in him lies, information of them and of the offenders, in leets, that they may be presented; but because leets are kept but twice in the year, and many of those things require present and speedy remedy, the constable, in things notorious and of vulgar nature, ought to forbid and repress them in the mean time: if not, they are for their contempt to be fined or imprisoned, or both, by the justices in their sessions.
8. Quest. What is their oath ?
“ You shall swear that you shall well and truly serve the King, and the lord of this law-day; and you shall cause the peace of our sovereign lord the King well and truly to be kept to your power: and you shall arrest all those that you see committing riots, debates, and affrays in breach of peace: and you shall well and truly endeavour yourself to your best knowledge, that the statute of Winchester for watching, hue and cry, and the statutes made for the punishment of sturdy beggars, vagabonds, rogues, and other idle persons coming within your office be truly executed, and the offenders be punished: and you shall endeavour, upon complaint made, to apprehend barraters and riotous persons making affrays, and likewise to apprehend felons; and if any of them make resistance with force and multitude of misdoers, you shall make outcry and pursue them VOL. VII.
till they be taken; and shall look unto such persons as use unlawful games; and you shall have regard unto the maintenance of artillery; and you shall well and truly execute all process and precepts sent unto you from the justices of the peace of the county; and you, shall make good and faithful presentments of all bloodsheds, out-cries, affrays, and rescues made within your office: and you shall well and truly, according to your own power and knowledge, do that which it belongeth to your office of constable to do, for this year to come. So help," etc.
9. Quest. What difference is there betwixt the high-constables and petty-constables ?
Answ. Their authority is the same in substance, differing only in the extent; the petty-constables serving only for one town, parish, or borough; the head-constable for the whole hundred: nor is the petty-constable subordinate to the headconstable for any commandment that proceeds from his own authority; but it is used, that the precepts of the justices be delivered unto the high-constables, who being few in number, may better attend the justices, and then the head constables, by virtue thereof, make their precepts over to the petty-constables.
10. Quest. Whether a constable may appoint a deputy ?
Ausw. In case of necessity a constable may appoint a deputy, or in default thereof, the steward of the court leet may: which deputy ought to be sworn before the said steward.
1. Conservation of the peace.
sists in three things:
| This seems to be part of a tabular view of this and other matters of law, and pot properly to belong to the Answers. See p. 775.
THERE is, I believe, no official copy of these Ordinances extant: there are, however, but few and mere verbal discrepancies among the MSS. and editions I have seen.
There are, in print and in manuscript, earlier orders extant; but an attempt to determine how far Bacon altered existing practice, or for the first time fixed it, and how far he only collected rules previously dispersed, is a task for an historian of the Court of Chancery. A comparison of these Ordinances with the Aphorisms in the 8th Book De Augmentis will, I think, point out some of them as probably Bacon's own.
In Harl. MSS. 1576 — in which volume are also some Orders of Lord Ellesmere-- there are fifteen additional rules, which from the place in which they occur would seem to be Bacon's. As I should not have printed the original Ordinances had they not already been incorporated in the collected Works, so I omit these others. It may, however, be worth mentioning that the first few of them are for regulating or inaugurating a kind of creditors'suit inter vivos for enforcing a compulsory composition, where three-fourths of the creditors agree.