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JUSTICE OF THE PEACE

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Originally appearing in Volume V15, Page 594 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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JUSTICE OF THE PEACE, an inferior magistrate appointed in England by special commission under the great seal to keep the peace within the jurisdiction for which he is appointed. The title is commonly abbreviated to J.P. and is used after the name. " The whole Christian world," said Coke, " bath not the like office as justice of the peace if duly executed." Lord Cowper, on the other hand, described them as " men sometimes illiterate and frequently bigoted and prejudiced." The truth is that the justices of the peace perform without any other reward than the consequence they acquire from their office a large amount of work indispensable to the administration of the law, and (though usually not professional lawyers, and therefore apt to be ill-informed in some of their decisions) for the most part they discharge their duties with becoming good sense and impartiality. For centuries they have necessarily been chosen mainly from the landed class of country gentlemen, usually Conservative in politics; and in recent years the attempt has been made by the Liberal party to reduce the balance by appointing others than those belonging to the landed gentry, such as tradesmen, Nonconformist ministers, and working-men. But it has been recognized that the appointment of justices according to their political views is undesirable, and in 1909 a royal commission was appointed to consider and report whether any and what steps should be taken to facilitate the selection of the most suitable persons to be justices of the peace irrespective of creed and political opinion. In great centres of population, when the judicial business of justices is heavy, it has been found necessary to appoint paid justices or stipendiary magistrates' to do the work, and an extension of the system to the country districts has been often advocated. The commission of the peace assigns to justices the duty of keeping and causing to be kept all ordinances and statutes for the good of the peace and for preservation of the same, and for the quiet rule and government of the people, and further assigns' " to you and every two or more of you (of whom any one of the aforesaid A, B, C, D, &c., we will, shall be one) to inquire the truth more fully by the oath of good and lawful men of the county of all and all manner of felonies, poisonings, enchantments, sorceries, arts, magic, trespasses, forestallings, regratings, engrossings, and extortions whatever." This part of the commission is the authority for the jurisdiction of the justices in sessions. Justices named specially in the parenthetical clause are said to be on the quorum. Justices for counties are appointed by the Crown on the advice of the lord chancellor, and usually with the recommendation of the lord lieutenant of the county. Justices for boroughs having municipal corporations and separate commissions of the peace are appointed by the crown, the lord chancellor either adopting the recommendation of the town council or acting independently. Justices cannot act as such until they have taken the oath of allegiance and the judicial oath. A justice for a borough while acting as such must reside in or within seven miles of the borough or occupy a house, warehouse or other property in the borough, but he need not be a burgess. The mayor of a borough is ex officio a justice during his year of office and the succeeding year. He takes precedence over all borough justices, but not over justices acting in and for the county in which the borough or any part thereof is situated, unless when acting in relation to the business of the borough. and retiring, he published very little, but in 1959 he arranged the plants in the royal garden of the Trianon at Versailles, according to his own scheme of classification. This arrangement is printed in his nephew's Genera, pp. lxiii.–lxx., and formed the basis of that work. He cared little for the credit of enunciating new discoveries, so long as the facts were made public. On the death of his brother Antoine, he could not be induced to succeed him in his office, but prevailed upon L. G. Lemonnier to assume the higher position. He died at Paris on the 6th of November 1777. 3. JOSEPH DE JUSSIEU (1704–1779), brother of Antoine and Bernard, was born at Lyons on the 3rd of September 1704. Educated like the rest of the family for the medical profession, he accompanied C. M. de la Condamine to Peru, in the expedition for measuring an arc of meridian, and remained in South America for thirty-six years, returning to France in 1771. Amongst the seeds he sent to his brother Bernard were those of Heliotropium peruvianum, Linn., then first introduced into Europe. He died at Paris on the 11th of April 1779. 4. ANTOINE LAURENT DE JUSSIEU (1748–1836), nephew of the three preceding, was born at Lyons on the 12th of April 1748. Called to Paris by his uncle Bernard, and carefully trained by him for the pursuits of medicine and botany, he largely profited by the opportunities afforded him. Gifted with a tenacious memory, and the power of quickly grasping the salient points of subjects under observation, he steadily worked at the improvement of that system of plant arrangement which had been sketched out by his uncle. In 1789 was issued his Genera plantarum secundum ordines naturales disposita, juxta methodum in horto regio Parisiensi exaratam, anno MDCCLXXIV. This volume formed the basis of modern classification; more than this, it is certain that Cuvier derived much help in his zoological classification from its perusal. Hardly had the last sheet passed through the press, when the French Revolution broke out, and the author was installed in charge of the hospitals of Paris. The museum d'histoire naturelle was organized on its present footing mainly by him in 1793, and he selected for its library everything relating to natural history from the vast materials obtained from the convents then broken up. He continued as professor of botany there from 1770 to 1826, when his son Adrien succeeded him. Besides the Genera, he produced nearly sixty memoirs on botanical topics. He died at Paris on the 17th of September 1836. 5. ADRIEN LAURENT HENRI DE JUSSIEU (1797–1853), son of Antoine Laurent, was born at Paris on the 23rd of December 1797. He displayed the qualities of his family in his thesis for the degree of M.D., De Euphorbiacearum generibus medicisque earundem viribus tentamen, Paris, 1824. He was also the author of valuable contributions to botanical literature on the Rutaceae, Meliaceae and Malpighiaceae respectively, of " Taxonomie " in the Dictionnaire universelle d'histoire naturelle, and of an introductory work styled simply Botanique, which reached nine editions, and was translated into the principal languages of Europe. He also edited his father's Introductio in historiam plantarum, issued at Paris, without imprint or date, it being a fragment of the intended second edition of the Genera, which Antoine Laurent did not live to complete. He died at Paris on the 29th of June 1853, leaving two daughters, but no son, so that with him closed the brilliant botanical dynasty. 6. LAURENT PIERRE DE JUSSIEU (1792–1866), miscellaneous writer, nephew of Antoine Laurent, was born at Villeurbanne on the 7th of February 1792. His Simon de Nantua, ou le marchand forain (1818), reached fifteen editions, and was translated into seven languages. He also wrote Simples notions de physique et d'histoire naturelle (1857), and a few geological papers. He died at Passy on the 23rd of February 1866.
End of Article: JUSTICE OF THE PEACE
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