PARLIAMENT AND CONGRESS
THE Saxon Kings of England showed their regard for the maxim that government is by the consent of the governed by surrounding themselves with a body of councillors, the wise men or Witan, drawn from the leading personages in their realm. Consultation of the common people was out of the question at so early a stage of political development. It was on the legal side that the common people first participated in the business of government. The average Englishman is quite right in regarding trial by jury as among his fundamental rights. The origins of the jury are uncertain. Probably it goes back to Charlemagne; certainly it had been established in England for centuries before Henry II regularised and amplified the country's judicial system. Respect for the law, which in the first instance meant no more than insistence upon custom, is among the oldest of English traditions, and the Royal officer to whom was entrusted the local maintenance of the King's peace based on law was the shire reeve, or sheriff, who presided over the County Court. The original jurymen were witnesses before him, and witnesses not as to facts but as to character.