Montesquieu
 

XII.22 On things that threaten liberty in a monarchy

The most use­less thing in the world to the prince has often wea­ke­ned liberty in monar­chies : to wit, the com­mis­sio­ners some­ti­mes named to judge an indi­vi­dual.

The prince deri­ves so lit­tle bene­fit from com­mis­sio­ners that it is not worth his making a change in the order of things. It is morally cer­tain that he has more of the spi­rit of pro­bity and jus­tice than his com­mis­sio­ners, who always deem them­sel­ves suf­fi­ciently jus­ti­fied by his orders, by an obs­cure state inte­rest, by the choice that was made of them, and even by their fears.

Under Henry VIII, when a peer was put on trial, he was jud­ged by com­mis­sio­ners cho­sen from the house of peers ; with that method they put to death as many peers as they wished.