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Pedals, the largest pipes of an organ, so called because played and stopped with the foot. The pedals are made square, and are usually thirteen in number. They are of modern invention. Their use is to carry the sounds an octave deeper than the other pipes.
PEDESTAL, the foot or stand of a colamn. There are as many kinds of pedestals as there are orders. See ARCHITECTURE. The pedestal of a statue is not governed by the laws incident to those of columns.
PedicuLUS, the louse, in natural history, a genus of insects of the order Aptera. Some of the insects of this genus, of which there are seventy or eigbty species, infest the bodies of quadrupeds, some infest birds, some insects, besides which there is the Pediculus humanus, which is distinguished by its pale livid colour. It is produced from a small egg, popularly called a nit, which is fastened or agglutinated by its smaller end to the hair on which it is deposited: from this egg proceeds an insect complete in all its parts, and only different from the parent animal in its smaller size. When
examined by the microscope, it is seen, that the trunk or probuscis, which is generally concealed in its sheath or tube, is of a sharp form, and is furnished towards the upper part with a few reversed aculei or prickles; the eyes are large, smooth and black: the stomach and intestines afford a distinct view of the peristaltic motion: the legs are each terminated by a double claw, not very much unlike that of a lobster, but of a sharper form, and the whole animal is every where covered by a strong granulated skin. Few insects are more prolific than the louse. It is said that in about eigbt weeks a louse might see five thousand of its own descendants.
PEDIMENT, in architecture, a kind of low pinnacle, serving to finish a frontispiece, and which is placed as an ornament over gates, doors, windows, or niches. The pediment is ordinarily of an angular form ; but sometimes it forms the arc of a circle. The parts of a pediment are, 1. the tympanum; 2. the cornice, which crowns it; and 3. the entablature, which serves it as a base or scale. The most beautiful proportions of the pediment are observed by Davilier to be obtained when the height is about one fifth of the base.
Peer, in general, an equal. Peers in the law of Britain, is a naine that belongs to any class of persons who are the equals of each other. It is a fundamental law in the administration of justice, laid down by magna-charta, that every man shall be tried by his peers: hence a commoner is tried by a jury of commoners, and a lord by a jury of lords. It is observable that this privilege, however, so far as it is possessed by the lords, extends only to cri
minal cases : in civil actions, the advantage which the trial by peers was intended to secure, that of security against the prejudices which men of different conditions sometimes entertain against each other, is almost wholly on the side of the commonalty. If a mercantile question occur, a special jury of merchants, the precise peers in the case, may be required; but if a commoner sue a lord, the cause is decided by a common jury, with the exception that at least two knights be returned in the panel.
Peer, in a restricted sense, a lord of parliament, or peer of the realm. The lords of parliament are the peers of each other: for whatever formality of precedence may attach to the title of earl or duke, it is a barony which conveys the right to a seat in parliament, and confers every privilege annexed It is as a baron, not as a duke, bishop, &c. that a peer sits in parliament; and the parliamentary rights are, at the present day, the essence of nobility. In compliance with ancient costume (if the word may be thus employed) peers are some times still created by titles which convey the idea of local rights to which they have in reality nó pretension ; but though this is a mere forin, the rank they gain is not an empty one: it is that of an hereditary legislator of the realm.
A peer is not to be put upon any inquest, even though the cause have a relation to two peers; and where a peer is defendant in a court of equity, he is not to be sworn to his answer, which is to be received upon the faith of his honour: but when he is to answer to interrogatories, or to make an affidavit, or to be examined as a witness, he is to be sworn.
Peer, trial of a. It is of the first importanco that those public men which, in a free country particularly, will always be liable to the dangers of political animosity, should be, secured against possible popular injustice; and for this reason, as well as because, with the rest of his fellow subjects, he claims to be tried by his equals, a temporal peer must be arraigned, whether on a charge of treason or of felony, before the house of which he is a member. On occasion of such a trial, all the lords, with the exception of the bishops, are to be summoned at least twenty days previous to its commencement. The proceedings are these: after the indictment is allowed, the king, by commission under the great-seal, appoints one of the peers, and usually the chancellor, to be high-steward, who sits as judge. To bring the indictment before the lord high-steward, a writ, called a certiorari, is issued out of the court of chancery, and the prisoner is brought by another writ. The highsteward assigns a day and place of trial; and twelve of the peers must be present. At the time and place appointed, the high-steward being seated in the customary state, the king's commission read, and other ceremonies performed, he declares to the prisoner at the bar the cause of the assembly, assures him of justice, and encourages him to an. swer without fear to the charge that is to be preferred against him. The indictment is then read, and the prisoner arraigned. After the evidence for the prosecution, and the answer, bave been heard, the prisoner is ordered to withdraw from the bar, and the lords retire, in the manner of a common jury, to deliberate on their verdict. On their res