many of them do deceive, both the king, the high-sheriff, and the county.

BAILIFFS, or sheriff's officers, are either bailiffs of hun. dreds, or special bailiffs. Bailiffs of hundreds are officers appointed over those respective districts by the sheriffs, to collect fines therein; to summon juries; to attend the judges and justices at the assizes, and quarter sessions; and also to execute writs and process in the several hundreds. But, as these are generally plain men, and not thoroughly skilful in this latter part of their office, that of serving writs, and making arrests and executions, it is now usual to join special bailiffs with them; who are generally mean persons, employed by the sheriffs on account only of their adroitness and dexterity in hunting and seising their prey. The [346] sheriff being answerable for the misdemesnors of these bailiffs, they are therefore usually bound in an obligation with sureties for the due execution of their office, and thence are called bound-bailiffs; which the common people have corrupted into a much more homely appellation.

GAOLERS are also the servants of the sheriff, and he must be responsible for their conduct. Their business is to keep safely all such persons as are committed to them by lawful warrant and, if they suffer any such to escape, the sheriff shall answer it to the king, if it be a criminal matter; or, in a civil case, to the party injured. And to this end the sheriff must have lands sufficient within the county to answer the king and his people (8). The abuses of gaolers and

c Dalt. c. 118. 4 Rep. 34.

d Stat. 9 Edw. II. st. 2. 2 Edw. III. c. 4.

4 Edw. III. c. 9. 5 Edw. III. c. 4. 13 and 14 Car. II. c. 21. sec. 7.

(8) This is the only qualification required from a sheriff. That it was the intention of our ancestors that the lands of a sheriff should be consi derable, abundantly appears from their having this provision so frequently repeated, and at the same time that they obtained a confirmation of magna charta and their most valuable liberties. As the sheriff, both in criminal and civil cases, may have the custody of men of the greatest property in the country, his own estate ought certainly to be large, that

sheriff's officers, towards the unfortunate persons in their custody, are well restrained and guarded against by statute 32 Geo. II. c. 28. and by statute 14 Geo. III. c. 59. provisions are made for better preserving the health of prisoners, and preventing the gaol distemper (9).

THE vast expense, which custom had introduced in serving the office of high-sheriff, was grown such a burthen to the subject, that it was enacted, by statute 13 & 14 Car. II. e. 21. that no sheriff (except of London, Westmorland, and towns which are counties of themselves) should keep any table at the assizes, except for his own family, or give any prèsents to the judges or their servants, or have more than forty men in livery: yet, for the sake of safety and decency, he may not have less than twenty men in England, and twelve in Wales; upon forfeiture, in any of these cases, of 2004

II. THE Coroner's is also a very ancient office at the common law. He is called coroner, coronator, because he hath principally to do with pleas of the crown, or such wherein the king is more immediately concernede. And in this light the lord chief justice of the king's bench is the principal coroner in the kingdom, and may (if he pleases) exercise

e 2 Inst. 31. 4 Inst. 271.

he may be above all temptation to permit them to escape, or to join them in their flight. In ancient times this office was frequently executed by the nobility and persons of the highest rank in the kingdom. Eligebantur olim ad hoc officium potentissimi sæpenumero totius regni proceres, barones, comites, duces, interdum et regum filii. Spel. Gloss. Vicecom. Bishops also were not unfrequently sheriffs. Richard duke of Gloucester (afterwards Richard the third) was sheriff of Cumberland five years together. (Burn. Hist. Cumb. 570.) It does not appear that there is any express law to exclude the nobility from the execution of this office, though it has long been appropriated to commoners.

(9) By statute 24 Geo. III. sess. 2. c. 54. sect. 22. no gaoler is to suffer tippling or gaming in the prison, or to sell any liquors therein, under the penalty of 101. to be recovered by distress upon conviction.

the jurisdiction of a coroner in any part of the realm f. But there are also particular coroners for every county [347] of England; usually four, but sometimes six, and sometimes fewers. This officer is of equal antiquity with the sheriff; and was ordained together with him to keep the peace, when the earls gave up the wardship of the county.

He is still chosen by all the freeholders in the county court; as by the policy of our ancient laws the sheriffs, and conservators of the peace, and all other officers were, who were concerned in matters that affected the liberty of the people; and as verderors of the forest still are, whose business it is to stand between the prerogative and the subject in the execution of the forest laws. For this purpose there is a writ at common law de coronatore eligendok: in which it is expressly commanded the sheriff, " quod talem eligi faciat, qui "melius et sciat, et velit, et possit, officio illi intendere.” And, in order to effect this the more surely, it was enacted by the statute of Westm. 1. that none but lawful and discreet knights should be chosen; and there was an instance in the 5 Edw. III. of a man being removed from this office, because he was only a merchant m (10). But it seems it it is now sufficient if a man hath lands enough to be made a

f 4 Rep. 57.

g F. N. B. 163.

h Mirror, c. 1. sec. 3.

i 2 Inst. 558.

k F. N. B. 163.

13 Edw. I. c. 10,

m 2 Inst. 32.

(10) That this was an office of high dignity in ancient times, appears from Chaucer's description of the Frankelein:

At sessions ther was he lord and sire,

Ful often time he was knight of the shire,

A shereve hadde ben, and a coronour,

Was no wher swiche a worthy vavasour.

Selden, tit. hơn. 2. c. 5. s. 4. observes, that some copies have it corenour; others countour. But the office of an accountant is perfectly inconsistent with the character described, unless a countour signified an escheator.

knight (11), whether he be really knighted or not": for the coroner ought to have an estate sufficient to maintain the dignity of his office, and answer any fines that may be set upon him for his misbehaviour; and if he hath not enough to answer, his fine shall be levied on the county, as the punishment for electing an insufficient officer P. Now, indeed, through the culpable neglect of gentlemen of property, this office has been suffered to fall into disrepute, and get into low and indigent hands: so that, although formerly no coroners would condescend to be paid for serving their country, and they were by the aforesaid statute of Westm. 1. expressly forbidden to take a reward, under pain of [348] a great forfeiture to the king; yet for many years past they have only desired to be chosen for the sake of their perquisites being allowed fees for their attendance by the statute 3 Hen. VII. c. 1. which sir Edward Coke complains of heavily; though since his time those fees have been much enlargedг.

THE Coroner is chosen for life: but may be removed, either by being made sheriff, or chosen verderor, which are offices incompatible with the other; or by the king's writ de coronatore exonerando, for a cause to be therein assigned, as that he is engaged in other business, is incapacitated by years or sickness, hath not a sufficient estate in the county, or lives in an inconvenient part of its. And by the statute 25 Geo. II. c. 29. extortion, neglect, or misbehaviour, are also made causes of removal.

THE office and power of a coroner are also, like those of the sheriff, either judicial or ministerial; but principally judicial. This is in great measure ascertained by statute 4 Edw. I. de officio coronatoris; and consists, first, in inquiring, when any person is slain, or dies suddenly, or in prison, concerning

n F. N. B. 163, 164. o Ibid.

p Mirr. c. 1. sec. 3. 2 Inst. 175.
q 2 Inst. 210.

r Stat. 25 Geo. II. c. 29.

s F. N. B. 163, 164.

(11) Which by the statutum de militibus, 1 Edw. II, were lands to the amount of 201. per annum.

VOL. 1,


the manner of his death.

And this must be "super visum " corporis;" for, if the body be not found, the coroner can not sitt. He must also sit at the very place where the death happened: and his inquiry is made by a jury from four, five, or six of the neighbouring towns, over whom he is to preside. If any be found guilty by this inquest of murder or other homicide, he is to commit them to prison for farther trial, and is also to inquire concerning their lands, goods and chattels, which are forfeited thereby: but, whether it be homicide or not, he must inquire whether any deodand has accrued to the king, or the lord of the franchise, by this death: and [349] must certify the whole of this inquisition (under his own seal and the seals of the jurors") together with the evidence thereon, to the court of king's bench, or the next assizes (12). Another branch of his office is to inquire concerning shipwrecks; and certify whether wreck or not, and who is in possession of the goods. Concerning treasure-trove, he is also to inquire who were the finders, and where it is, and whether any one be suspected of having found and concealed a treasure; " and that may be well perceived, (saith the "old statute of Edw. I.) where one liveth riotously, haunting ❝ taverns, and hath done so of long time:" whereupon he might be attached, and held to bail, upon this suspicion only.

THE ministerial office of the coroner is only as the sheriff's substitute. For when just exception can be taken to the sheriff, for suspicion of partiality, (as that he is interested in the suit, or of kindred to either plaintiff or defendant,) the process must then be awarded to the coroner, instead of the sheriff, for execution of the king's writs v.

s 4 Inst. 271.

t Thus, in the Gothic constitution, before any fine was payable by the neighbourhood, for the slaughter of a man therein, "de cor66 pore delicti constare oportebat; i. e. non "tam fuisse aliquem in territorio isto mor"tuum inventum quam vulneratum et cae

64 sum. Potest enim homo etiam ex alia causa "subito mori." Stiernhook de jure Gothor. 1.3. c. 4.

u Stat. 33 Hen. VIII. c. 12. 1 and 2 P. and M. c. 13. 2 West. Symbol. sec. 310. Crompt. 264. Tremain. P. C. 621, v 4 Inst. 271.

(12) The coroner's inquest must be returned upon parchment, or it cannot be received as a record. I have known a judge fine a coroner for returning his inquest upon paper.

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