Opinion of the Court
tary law in times of peace "when the king's courts [were] open for all persons to receive justice according to the laws of the land." 1 W. Blackstone, Commentaries *413. See also M. Hale, History of the Common Law of England 25-27 (C. Gray ed. 1971) (describing efforts of Parliament and the common-law courts to limit the jurisdiction of the military Courts of the Constable and the Marshal).
"The Common Law made no distinction between the crimes of soldiers and those of civilians in time of peace. All subjects were tried alike by the same civil courts, so 'if a life-guardsman deserted, he could only be sued for breach of contract, and if he struck his officer he was only liable to an indictment or action of battery.' " Reid, supra, at 24, n. 44 (quoting 2 J. Campbell, Lives of the Chief Justices of England 91 (1849)).
See also 1 T. Macaulay, History of England 272 (n. d.) (hereinafter Macaulay).
The triumph of civil jurisdiction was not absolute, however. The political disorders of the 17th century ushered in periods of harsh military justice, with soldiers and at times civilian rebels punished, even put to death, under the summary decrees of courts-martial. See C. Clode, Administration of Justice Under Military and Martial Law 20-42 (1872) (hereinafter Clode). Cf. Petition of Right of 1627, 3 Car. I, ch. 1 (protesting court-martial abuses). Military justice was brought under the rule of parliamentary law in 1689, when William and Mary accepted the Bill of Rights requiring Parliament's consent to the raising and keeping of armies. In the Mutiny Act of 1689, Parliament declared the general principle that "noe Man may be forejudged of Life or Limbe or subjected to any kinde of punishment by Martiall Law or in any other manner then by the Judgement of his Peeres and according to the knowne and Established Laws of this Realme," but decreed that "Soldiers who shall Mutiny orPage: Index Previous 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 Next
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