PEACE (OF. pais, paiz, Fr. pair, from Lat. pax, peace; connected with ponycre, Gk. 7.-or6 vat, p'gnynai, to fasten, Skt. pfTha, bond, and perhaps with Goth., 011G.'fulain, AS. fan, Ger. fangen, to seize. takes. In law, in a general sense, the internal good order of a community that is violated by the commission of against the law. This general sense is expressed in England by the phrase the 'King's peace,' and in the United States it is commonly called the `peace of the State or Commonwealth.' It is also sometimes called the 'public peace.' Origi nally the expression 'the King's peace' was used in a narrower sense with reference to the sanc tity of the King's house, or to the special pro tection of the King's servants, or those to whom he had accorded the same protection.
This general good order or peace was in the earlier days protected only by the hundred court and the ealdormen; but the present special peace officers are the conservators of the peace (in England), justices of the peace, constables, and sheriffs (qq.v.).
Offenses against the public peace are criminal offenses, also known as breaches of the peace, the wrongfulness of which consists either in an act by the offender which is an actual disturbance of public peace and order, as in the ease of riot or affray. or an act which is a constructive rather than an actual disturbance of the peace in that it has a tendency only to cause public disturbance or disorder, as unlawful assembly, or seditious libel.
The more common forms of offenses against the peace are riot, affray. forcible entry and detain er. unlawful assembly, challenge to fight. and seditious libel. In addition to these well-defined offenses, there are other offenses against the peace. having no specific name, which are pun ishable as misdemeanors. Thus, in some States the malicious killing of another's horse and the causing of a disturbance in the home of another have been held to be against the peace.
Forcible entry and detainer is strictly not mut offense' at common law. It was made so. how ever, by an early English statute, and is now regarded as a commondaw offense.
Seditious libel is an offense against the peace as tending directly to a breach of the peace by giving affront to public opinion, as by libels vilifying officers of the Government, the courts of justice. or even the sovereign or chief officers of a foreign government.
Ordinary libels are also sometimes classified as offenses against the public peace, but they are more properly considered as an independent class of Consult the authorities re ferred to under CONSTABLE; CRIMINAL LAW ; also Inderwiek. The King's Peace (London, 15031 ; Pollock. The King's Peace; Pollock and Maitland. History of English Lair (2d ed., Lon don and Boston. 1599). See AFFRAY; BREACH (of the Peace) ; FORCIBLE ENTRY AND DETAINER; CONSTABLE; JUSTICE OF THE PEACE, etc.