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HAZARD'S REGISTER OF PENNSYLVANIA.

DEVOTED TO THE PRESERVATION OF EVERY KIND OF USEFUL INFORMATION RESPECTING THE STATE.

EDITED BY SAMUEL HAZARD.

VOI.. XII.-NO. 9.

PHILADELPHIA, AUGUST 31, 1833.

NO. 296.

REMARKS

REPORT ON THE REVISED CODE. ties, in respect to the mode of government, for the sake
PAILADELPHIA, December 31st, 1832.

of regularity in the system, and because we believe that

the present system of county government is, upon the Sir-We have now the honor to transmit to your Ex. whole, the best that can be adopted for the purpose. cellency our third report, containing two bills on it may be proper here to remark, that we intend by subjects of general importance, and which are supposed county officers, those only who are elected by the peoto require the early attention of the Legislature, viz:

ple of the several counties, for county purposes.. Pro. " A bill relating to Counties and Townships, and honotaries, Registers, Recorders, &c. being appointCounty and Township officers."

ed by the Executive of the commonwealth, appear to “ A bill relating to Weights and Measures, and to

us to be properly state officers, although acting in and Admeasurement.

for the several counties; and have, certainly, no imme. We expect, in the course of a few weeks, to transmit diate connexion with the county organization: They are a fourth report with as many bills as we suppose the not, therefore, embraced in the present bill, but will be Legislature will be disposed to act upon at their present arranged under a different head. session.

In the accompanying remarks upon the several secWe remain very respectfully,

tions will be found such further explanation as may be Your obedient servants,

material to a correct understanding of the bill. W. RAWLE,

Section 1. In this section, we have enumerated the T I. WHARTON,

several counties in the state, in the order in which they JOEL JONES,

were established by the successive acts of assembly, To His Excellency Gov. WOLF, &c.

beginning with the year 1682, the foundation of the commonwealth, and ending with the act of 2d March,

1831, for the erection of the county of Juniata. On the bill entitled “A bill relating to Counties and

Section 2. In the existing laws, relating to county Townships, and County and Township Officers.'

rates and levies, and in various other acts, the city of The bill now submitted to the Legislature, entitled Philadelphia is frequently mentioned in connexion with * An act relating to counties and townships, and to the several counties in the state. We presume that it county and township officers,” comprises a subject was not necessary to provide in express terms,that a gewhich, perhaps more than any other part of our neral regulation for all the counties should embrace the municipal law, requires the revision and amendment city of Philadelphia, because we suppose that, except for contemplated by the resolutions from which our author- certain corporate or internal purposes, every city forms ity has been derived. In the course of the examination, an integral part of the county in which it is situate. which it has been our duty to make, of the existing Still, as we find the practice to have prevailed of namlaw, we have found upwards of one hundred acts of ing the city of Philadelphia, we have been apprehenAssembly, bearing upon the subject, all of them ncces. sive of creating doubts, by an omission of it in this and sary to an adequate knowledge of our internal arrange- other bills; and to avoid the necessity of repetition, we ments, many of them obscure in meaning,some contradic. have introduced the present section, which, therefore, tory in their enactments and some, of which great doubts merely generalizes what already exists in particular may exist whether they are operative as laws, or have provisions. been repealed by disuse or implication. The provisions Section 3. The three and four following sections, of this bill, except such as are new, have been derived suggest some provisions which are new to our statute from seventy-three acts of Assembly, scattered over the law, as positive regulations, but which appear to us to different volumes of our code, and not easily collected be necessary to remove doubts and difficulties which even by a diligent inquirer.

have occurred in relation to the corporate character of It has been our endeavour to digest them into a mo. counties and townships. It has been several times in. derate compass, to arrange them in convenient order, mated from the bench, that legislation was necessary on and to add such new provisions as seemed to be called this subject. It is well known, that counties and townfor by the enlarged population and increased inter- ships, as such, have frequent occasion to enter into course of the state, or to be necessary for the harmo. contracts, and to take and hold properly; and it is plain, nious working of the system. The existing division of that without some of the capacities and powers of a the commonwealth into counties and townships, which corporation, great inconveniences must be experienced in its principal features was copied from England, and by them in the transaction of public business. Hence, prevails with little variation throughout the United in some of the states of this Union, we find that coun. States, appears to us well calculated, upon the whole, ties and townships are treated by the judges as quasi for the public good. In the government of these di. corporations, that is, possessed of corporate powers for visions, however, there is not the same uniformity a few specified purposes only. We are not aware that throughout the Union, nor, indeed, throughout this any opinion has been expressed by our own courts on commonwealth. Certain provisions have been made this subject; and whatever may be the views of profesfor particular counties and townships, which do not sional persons in relation to it, we think that it is expe. apply to all, though they appear to us to be generally dient for the Legislature to settle the question defini. beneficial in their character. We think it desirable, tively. By our system, the commissioners of a county that the main features of municipal arrangement should are the organs and agents of the people of the county be the same throughout the state. We think it also in the transaction of their business. Whether they desirable, that townships should be assimilated to coun- Iconstitute a corpuration, remains unsettled as a general VOL. XII.

17

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question. In a very recent case in the Supreme court, February, 1780, (1 Sm. L. 485) the jail, prisons, work.
(Vankirk v. Clark, 16 Sergeant & Rawle, 286) it was houses, and lots of ground on which they stand, in the
said by Judge Duncan to be a question of nice discus. counties then existing, were vested in the common.
sion, meriting attention and consideration. In two re- wealth. Those counties were eleven in number. In
cent acts, one relating to the county of Lancaster, the certain other counties, the public buildings are vested
other to the county of allegheny, the Legislature have in trustees for the use of the county. In others,
expressly declared the commissioners to possess corpo. the title is in the commissioners and their successors in
rate powers, so far as relates to those counties only. office. The acts upon this subject, which we have had
We think the remedy ought to be as general as the in- occasion to consult, are forly in number; few of them
convenience, and we propose to attain it by a course in being similar in their terms. It appears to us that the
accordance with the system adopted in some of the sister provisions in this respect should be uniform throughout
states, and already alluded to. We think that it will be the state, and sufficiently explicit to remove all doubt
found advantageous to declare every county and town with relation to the legal estate in this property, and
ship a body corporate for certain purposes, and with to the duty of taking charge of it. The character of
certain express powers adequate for all necessary pur counties, as bodies corporate, being established by this
poses, but limited in extent. This is the object of the bill, if the Legislature shall adopt our suggestions,
third section. In the fourth, we have provided that the there will be no necessity for the intervention of trus-
corporate powers of the several counties and townships tees, and the management of the property is the subject
shall be exercised by the commissioners or supervisors of the two following sections.
thereof respectively; who by the fifth section, are to Sections 10 and 11. The powers and duties of the
conduct and defend all suits to which the county or commissioners, in this respect, do not appear to us to
township is party: In the sixth and seventh sections, be sufficiently defined at present. One of our earliest
we have provided the means of giving effect to judg: acts declared there should be a "work-house", "in
ments against counties or townships. In the present each respective county of the province," (act of 1705,
state of the law, considerable difficulty exists in this re- 1 Sm. 56.) By the act of 1724, 94, (1 Dallas Ed. 212,)
spect. The mechanic or tradesman who deals with the the commissioners of each county were authorized to
commissioners or supervisors, in their official character, raise money “to defray the charges of building and re.
has no ascertained remedy at present to obtain payment pairing of court houses, prisons, work houses, bridges,"
of his demand, but the tedious and expensive course of &c. In the case of the commissioners of Allegheny
an application to the Supreme court, for a mandamus; county vs. Lecky, (6 Serg't & Rawle, 166) it was made
which, if obtained, may be, from various causes, altogeth- a question whether this provision was still in force, but
er unavailing. This is an evil with which we think our the court did not decide it. The act of 27th March,
land ought not to be any longer reproached. We 1790, (2 Sm. 520) authorizes the commissioners to erect
would not, however, subject the property of a county suitable buildings in every county for the safe keeping
or township to execution upon a judgment, because and preservation of the public records; and the act of
great public inconvenience might be the result. We 4th April, 1807, (4 Sm. 394) requires them to erect
propose, instead of this, to give power to the court in such additional buildings as may be necessary, for the
which judgment may be obtained, to issue a writ requir- purposes of a county jail. The duty of repairing and
ing the commissioners or supervisors, as the case may keeping in order the public buildings is, we believe,
be, to cause the debt to be satisfied out of any unappro- generally understood to belong to the commissioners

. priated moneys, or out of the first that may be received, The provisions now suggested, are intended to confer and to enforce obedience to the writ by attachment. In upon them the power of erecting such buildings as are suits before justices of the peace, the plaintiff may have necessary for the business of the county, and of adding the same remedy, by filing a transcript of his judgment to them from time to time, as occasion may require. To in the proper court. We think that these provisions prevent, however, any needless or extravagant expen. will have the advantage of, at least, greater expedition diture, the previous sanction of the court of Quarter than at present exists, without increasing the liabilities Sessions and of the grand jury is required. It is also of counties or townships, except in cases of demands made the duty of the commissioners, to maintain the ascertained to be just.

public buildings in sufficient order and repair. In thus conferring upon counties and townships cer- Section 12. The 12th section makes it the duty of tain corporate powers, we think that the Legislature the officers therein mentioned, to keep their offices will not incur any risk of the inconveniences or dangers and public papers in the public buildings at the seat of for the public which are supposed to be incident, in justice of the respective counties. The constitution of many cases, to corporations. The powers thus granted this state, (Art. 5, Sec. 3) requires certain of those ofare limited in number and extent. They can be exer- ficers to keep their offices at the county town; and the cised only by persons elected by the people, and re- act of 1790, (2 Sm. 520) makes it their duty to keep newed in rotation every year, and who are liable to their offices and papers in the public buildings of the various checks and control. Necessity, as we have in-county. Considering the reasons for these acts to aptimated, has led the courts of justice in other states to ply equally to all the county officers, we have extendassume that counties and townships possess, by their ed the provisions to commissioners, auditors, treasurer nature, certain corporate faculties; but we think it safer, and sheriff, and altered the penalty from two hundred and more consonant with the theory of our government, pounds to five hundred dollars. for the Legislature to grant such powers as may be ne- Sections 13 and 14, Relate to the erection of new cessary and proper; taking care at the same time, to townships, and the alteration of the lines of old town. impose such restraints as may prevent their abuse. ships, and are taken, with several verbal alterations,

Section 8. In this section we have adopted the pro- from the act of 24th March, 1803, (4 Şm. 30.) vision of the act of 1705,(1 Smith L. 49) which declares that "there shall be a couuty seal for each county of The next title of the bill relates to county officers, the province;' and we have provided in addition, that who are thus arranged. the seal shall be in the custody of the commissioners of 1. County Commissioners. the respective counties, and that their proceedings shall 2. County treasurer. be authenticated by it.

3. County auditors. Section 9, Provides that the title to the court houses 4. Sheriff and coroner. and other county buildings shall be taken, to be vested in Under these heads, we have collected and arranged the respective counties, for the use of the people there. the existing provisions of the law, relative to the elecof. There exists in the present laws a singular diversi- tion or appointment, qualifications, tenure of office, ty upon this subject. By an act passed on the 28th of compensation, and general duties of these officers, and

1833.)

THIRD REPORT ON THE REVISED CODE.

131

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have added some new regulations, which will be the act of 1811, We have added a clause forbidding the
subject of remark in their order. The particular duties treasurer to act until he shall have given bond, with
of county commissioners and others, in relation to coun. surety, as afterwards provided.
ty rates and levies, elections, education, &c. will be ar- Section 33, Is copied from the 13th section of the
ranged under the proper titles in future bills.

act of 1799.
Section 15, is derived, with no matcrial alteration, Section 34. In this section we have required the
from the 2d section of the act of 11th April, 1799, (3 county treasurer to give a separate bond to the com-
Sm. 393.)

monwealth to secure the moneys that may come into his Section 16, Is derived from the same section. We hands on behalf of the state. We have here consoli. have added to the cases mentioned in that section, two dated the provisions of the acts of 15th April, 1828, others, viz: the failure to elect and the removal of the (P. L. 491) and 25th March, 1831, (P. L. 208, 210) commissioners from office. We have also, in this and and extended them to all cases in which that officer others parts of the act, substituted the court of Quarter may be the agent of the commonwealth. Sessions for the Common Pleas, as the proper tribunal Section 35, is derived from the act of 15th April, for the appointment of county officers and for other pro. 1828. ceeding in relation to them. The judges are the same Section 36, Is copied from the 10th section of the act in both courts but the Quarter Sessions appears to us of 1831. better fitted in its character for the transaction of muni- Section 37, Is copied from the 14th section of the act cipal business, than the Common Pleas, which is mainly of 1799. concerned in the settlement of private rights.

Section 38. In this, and the two following sections, Seciion 17. In this section we have followed the 3d we have endeavored to methodize the duties of county section of the act of 1799, providing for an official oath treasurers, in their relation with the commonwealth, or affirmation to be taken by the commissioners. In and to subject them to more effectual control or superthis and other cases in the bill, we have altered the vision. The act of 4th March, 1824, (P. L. 34) reoath so as to make it conform to that required by the quires them to keep separate accounts of all moneys constitution of the United States, and of this state. received, for licenses to retail rs of foreign merchan.

Section 18, Corresponds with the 7th section of the dize. In the 381h section, we have extended the pro. act of 1799, with an addition requiring the commis- vision to every case in which money may be received sioners to assemble at the seat of justice of the proper by them on bihalf of the commonwealth, and directed county.

separate accounts to be kept in each case; which we Section 19, Is nearly the same as the 15th section think will be serviceable as a check upon the officer, of the act of 1799.

and as a source of information to the Legislature and Section 20, Is derived from the 11th section of the the public. In the 39th section are contained certain act of 1799.

provisions, regulating the manner of rendering accounts Section 21, Is copied from the 26th section of the act to the Auditor General, which are at present contained of 1799, with an addition, requiring the proceedings to in eleven acts of Assembly, viz: be certified by the clerk. Sections 22 and 23, Are copier from the 27th section

Act of March, 1811, 5 Sm. L. 228 of the act of 1799, with slighi verbal alterations.

2d April, 182., 7 Sm. L. 473

2d April, 1822, Id. 647 Section 24, Contains the provisions of the 27th and

4th March, 1924, Pamph L. 34 23d sections of the act of 1799, somewhat enlarged.

do. 12th April, 1825,

247 Section 25, Is derived from the 2d section of the act

do. of 23d Marcb, 1811, (5 Sm. 219.)

7th April, 1826,

228, 230

do. 2d April, 1830,

147 Section 26, Is copied from the act of 18th June, 1821,

do. do. do. 160 $6, (7 Smith, 345,) with the exception of the provision

do. 7th April, 1830,

387 respecting the county of Philadelphia, which, with other

25th March, 1831, do. 206 local provisions, not coming within the sphere of our

do. do.

209 duties, are left by a general section, upon the footing on which they now stand.

By these acts, it is made the duty of each county trea. 2. County Treasurer.

surer to report annually to the Auditor General. We

have added a provision, requiring him to report at such Section 27, Is derived from the 13th section of the other times as the Auditor General may require. In act of 1799, and from the act of 12th April, 1825, (P. the 40th section, we have directed the county treasurer L. 247.)

to pay over to the state treasurer quarterly, instead of Section 28. The first part of this section is derived annually, as the law now stands. Whatever may have from the 13th section of the act of 1799. The provi. been the propriety of annual payments, at a period sion excluding commissioners and auditors, which by the when county treasurers were accountable only for the acts of 29th March, 1819, (7 sm. 233) and 2d April, small sums payable by tavern-keepers and hawkers and 1821, (Id. 463) extended only to the counties of Phila- pedlers, it appears to us that more frequent settlemenis delphia and Bucks, is here made general. We think are necessary at the present time, when their responthat the reason for the exclusion applies to all parts of sibility to the commonwealth is so largely increased. the state. The last clause of this section is taken from Section 41, Is copied from the 14th section of the act the act of 12th April, 1825, which we have extended to of 1799. all accounts of the county treasurer with the common. Section 42. In the 42d section we have endeavoured wealth.

to place the compensation of county trea-urers, as Section 29, Is copied from the 1st section of the act agents of the commonwealth. on an equitable basis. The of 28th March, 1803, (4 Sm 35.)

acts of 1811, 1821, 1830 and 1831, already cited, allow Section 30. This section is copied from the act of 12th him a per centage on moneys received and paid over April, 1825, (P. L. 248) with an alteration which ex. for the commonwealth, varying in some respects, actends the provision to all cases, in which a person may cording to the source from which they are derived. We be disqualified by law from receiving the appointment think that the compensation should be regulated by the of county treasurer.

amount paid over, and neither be below the proper reSection 31, Is derived from the 23d section of the act muneration for the labor and responsibility of the office, of 30th March, 1811, (5 Sm. 228) with an alteration, nor out of proportion with the general standard of «motransferring the duty of forwarding the certificate from lument of public officers in this s'ate. The rate which the recorder to the commissioner.

we have suggested in this section has been adopied in Section 32, is derived from the same section of the conformity with these views, and appears to us, on the

do.

whole calculated to furnish an adequate compensation recorders, &c. if he shall deem it necessary or expedient. to the county treasurers in all parts of the state. It is not intended to take from him any supervisory pow.

Section 43, Is copied from the 23d section of the acter, but merely to render the auditors auxiliary to him, of 1799,

and we think they will be found useful in the investi. Section 44. This section is copied from the 1st sec- gation of these accounts. It will be seen from the siction of the act of 21st March, 1806, (4 Sm. 324) with a ceeding sections that their report is to be filed in the verbal alteration, which is intend to remove any common Pleas; to which tribunal, an appeal may be doubts relative to the object of the legislature in for- taken by the commonwealth, the county or the officer. bidding commissioners and treasurers from engaging in We trust that these provisions with those which we the construction of public works. We have also added have introduced into the title of county treasurer, with a provision that a commissioner or treasurer, after con- a view of protecting the financial interests of the com. viction of the offence stated, shall be judged to be re- monwealth, will be acceptable to the legislature. moved from office, because it appears to us that the We desire to add, that in the preceding remarks it is public dignity and the interests of the county require not intended to suggest that any instance has occurred that under such circumstances he should not be allowed of delinquency on the part of any county officer, in reto retain the situation.

spect to the moneys of the commonwealth. We are not 3. County Auditurs.

aware of any such case, and have been governed in our

suggestions only by the general and well established Sections 45 and 46, Are derived, with slight altera principles of our system. tions, from the act of 7th February, 1814, (6 Sm. 103.) Section 5., Is copied from the 2d section of the act

Section 47, Is derived from the 8th section of the act of 1791, with an addition giving auditors tfe like powof 1791, (3 sm. 15) with the alteration in the oath al- er to obtain the attendance of witnesses, as are possessready adverted to, and with an addition requiring the ed by the courts of Common Pleas. In the 10th secoath or affirmation to be filed in the office of the clerk tion of the act of 1791, the auditors are referred to the of the Quarter Sessions, in like manner as is now re. Common Pleas for the necessary process to obtain the quired in the case of the commissioners. It appears to attendance of witnesses residing in another county. It us that uniformity is desirable on this and other points. has appeared to us, that the auditors ought to possess

Section 48, Is composed from the 2d section of the this power, which it is believed they are not likely act of 16th March, 1809, (5 Sm. 19, with slight varia- to abuse, and that the want of it may produce great intions.

convenience if the court should not happen to be in Section 49, Is copied from the 1st, 2d, and 5th session. For similar reasons, we have, in the 52d and sections of the act of 1791, and the 2d section of the act 53d sections, authorized the auditors to administer oaths of 20th March, 1810, (5 Sm, 161.)

and affirmations, and to commit to the county prison in Section 50. This section, which is new in terms, de case of refusal to answer. clares the duty of auditors in respect to the accounts of Section 54, Is copied from the 8th section of the act commissioners, treasurers, and sheriffs, with the state of 1791. treasury. The subject of the relations of county offi- Section 55, is derived from the 4th section of the act cers with the executive of the state', to which we have of 1791. already briefly adverted, is an important one, little un- Section 56, is derived from the 5th section of the act derstood, and requiring, we think, the early attention of of 1791. the legislature. For some considerable period after the Sections 57 and 58, Are derived from the 5th section revolution, taxes appear to have been levied in the se- of the act of 1791. We have altered the original proveral counties for the use of the state, and through the vision, so as to give the right of appeal to the commonagency of the county officers. The 7th section of the wealth and the county, as well as to the officer. In the act of 1791 requires the auditors to transmit to the case of "The Commissioners of Mifflin county o. BrisComptroller General duplicates of all assessments made bin,” (2 Penn. Reports, 430,) the Supreme court was for state taxes, and to the State Treasurer a transcript compelled, by the terms of the act of 1791, to decide of so much of their settlement as contains the account that there was no right of appeal by the county; we of moneys levied for state purposes within the county; think that each party should have the right. In the state taxes having been repealed, no other moneys were 58th section, we have extended the time for appealing, collected in the counties for state purposes, than those in the case of the commonwealth, to four montlis; which which were derived from licenses to hawkers and ped. we think is called for by the distance of the seat of lers, and tavern keepers, and from fines and forfeited government from some of the counties. recognizances. Until within a few years therefore, the Section 59, Is copied from the 6th section of the act state had but a limited interest in the just settlement of of 1791. the accounts of the county officers. Since the acts le. Section 60, Is intended as a substitute for the 7th vying a duty on retailers of foreign merchandize,or col section of the act of 1791, to which we have already lateral inheritances, and on real and personal properly, adverted, and has been introduced for the purpose of a material change has taken place in the responsibility giving the Auditor General notice of the seitlement of of county officers, requiring a corresponding supervi. the accounts. sion on the part of the state. It has become material Section 61, Is copied from the 6th Section of the act that a system of examination and control should be es- of 18th January, 1821, (7 Sm. 345,) omitting, for reatablished, which may prevent abuses on the part of sons already stated, the provisions relating to the councounty officers. By the act of 1811, the Auditor Genety of Philadelphia. ral is invested with large powers to compel settlements; Section 62, Is copied from the 8th section of the act but, at a distance from the county seats, his means of of 1791. investigation must, after all, be limited. in this bill to give him the aid of the county auditors in

4. Sheriff and Coroner. the settlement of all accounts between the state and its Section 63. Is derived from the act of 28th March, agents in the different counties; by making it the duty 1803, $1, (4 Sm. 45.) of the latter to settle their accounts in the same manner Section 64. The act of 1803 specifies the amount of as if they were the accounts of the officers with the security to be given by the sheriffs of the several coun. county. In the case of commissioners, treasurers, and ties therein enumerated, 28 in number. In one of sheriffs, this duty is required to be performed by them, them, viz. Huntingdon, the amount of security has been without special directions; and we propose besides, to increased by an act passed on the 30th of March, 1822, give the Auditor General power to refer to them the (7 Sm. 522.) Since the act of 1803, 23 counties have settlement of the accounts of prothonotaries, registers, been organized, and provisions have been made by law

We propose

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THIRD REPORT ON THE REVISED CODE.

133

for the security of their respective sheriffs. In some of office, before a commission shall liave been received the acts passed for this purpose, there appears to be a and recorded. It will be seen by a subsequent section, great want of precision and certainty: Thus, the act of (S. 75,) we have provided that the recorder of deeds żd April, 1803, provides that the sheriffs of Beaver, shall certify the recognizance to the prothonotary of the Butler, Mercer, and Erie, shall respectively give the Common Pleas, in order that it may be entered on the same security as the sheriffs of Allegheny and Craw. judgment docket. It may happen, however, that a ford. Now, by the act of 28th March, 1803, the secu- commission may not be granted, although the recognia rity to be given by the sheriff of Allegheny is $10,000, zance has been given and approved by the judges, be. and that of the sheriff of Crawford is $5000; it is diffi- cause the governor is still to judge of the sufficiency of cult, therefore, to ascertain upon what basis the amount the suretics. In such case, there would be at least a of security in the four counties above mentioned is tak. nominal lien on the property of the parties, which it en. Again, by the several acts for organizing M'Kean, would not be easy to discharge. By providing, howTioga, Bradford, and Susquehanna counties, it is de ever, that the sheriff shall cause his commission to be clared, that the security of their respective sheriffs shall recorded, and that after the receipt of the commission, be taken in the like sums," "as in the other organized the recorder shall certify the recognizance to the Comcounties of the commonwealth ” As the amount of se- mon Pleas, the occurrence of this difficulty will be precurity, however, varies in the several counties, from vented. $60,000 in Philadelphia to $5000 in Crawford and other In the 74th section, we have introduced a provision counties, similar difficulties, we suppose, must exist in varying materially from the act of 1803, the 5th section ascertaining the proper standard in M'Kean, and the of which provides, that “until sureties shall be given in three other counties mentioned. In relation to the 28 manner aforesaid, all commissions granted to, and all counties enumerated in the act of 1803, we have follow acts and things, whatsoever done by any such sheriff or ed that act in the amount of security, with the exception coroner, under color of office, shall be void and of none of Huntingdon; not because we supposed the amount to effect.” The object of this section of the act of 1803, be adequate in every instance for the present day, but is to preverit sheriffs elect and others from undertaking for want of sufficient information to enable us to arrive any act, as such, before giving security; and so far it is at a better standard. Since that act, the population of undoubtedly right; but it is so worded as to produce in. the stale has doubled itself, and the increase in wealth conveniences to the public which were not anticipated. and business has, in all probability, been equally great. In the case of Young vs. the Commonwealth, (6 'Binn. Some increase in the amount of the security of sheriffs 88,) it was decided by the Supreme Court, upon the seems therefore expedient; but we have thought it best, construction of this section, that the sureties of a coroupon the whole, to report the bill with the present ner were not liable on his official bond for his miscon. sums, leaving it to the Legislature to make such altera- duct in office, in a case in which a recognizance bad tion as the interests of the several counties may seem to not been given. Chief Justice Tilghman, after citing their representatives to require.. The same remark the 5th section of the act of 1803, said "This bond, by may be made of those counties which have been organ- the express terms of the condition, is to have no effect ized since the act of 1803. We have followed the se- kuntil Samuel Young shall be duly commissioned coroner, veral acts where the sum was ascertained. In the cases &c. But a void commission is no commission; therealluded to, where the sum remains uncertain, we have fore, by the positive provision of the law, there can be taken the amount which we supposed to be nearest to no recovery on the bond, unless accompanied with a the intention of the Legislature.

recognizance. This may be attended with excessive Section 65, Is copied from the 3d section of the act hardship when the officers of the commonwealth bave of 1803, with a slight verbal alteration.

been so inattentive as not to see that the law has been Section 66, Is copied from the same section, with the complied with, before the commission issues, or, at least, omission of the words "after he shall have been duly before any process is put into the hands of the sheriff or commissioned sheriff," &c. which are not in the recog- coroner: and it may be doubted whether the Legisla. nizance, and appear to us an unnecessary restriction, ture, in their anxiety to enforce security, may not have and calculated to interfere with the provisions of a suc- gone further than was necessary. The subject is well ceeding section.

worthy of their consideration; for, as the law stands, Sections 67 to 70. These sections are derived from both individuals and the public may be subject to great the Ist, 2d, 3d, and 7th sections of the act of 1803, with injury, from the hardihood of a sheriff or coroner, who some slight verbal alterations, not affecting the sub- presumes to act without having given the requisite sestance of the original provisions.

curity.” To prevent the recurrence of similar difficul. Section 71, Is new to our code. The first clause of ties, we have struck from the condition of the bond, this proviso exists, however, in the laws of Ohio, and the words which limit the liability of the sureties to acts probably in those of other states, and appears to us to done after a commission granted; and we propose, in be worthy of incorporation with our system. The im. this section, to inflict a penalty upon any sheriff or coportance of the office of sheriff to the community, is roner elect, who shall undertake any of the duties of shown by the amount of security which he is required to the office, before a commission shall be granted to him; give; and it is material that those who are called upon reserving, however, the liability of the sureties, for all to exercise a degree of supervision or control over she acts done by color of office. riffs, or who are otherwise concerned in the administra. Section 75, Is derived from the 4th section of the act tion of justice, should not be allowed to connect them- of 1803, with the addition of a few words, which limit selves with the officer, in the way of suretyship at least, the lien of the recognizance to the county in which it so as to disturb or even throw doubts upon their impar- was given. The words of the act of 1803 are broad tiality, or to create embarrassing relations of business enough to extend the lien to all the real estate of the with him. The last clause is intended as an additional parties throughout the commonwealth. We doubt means of obtaining sufficient security for the public whether this was the intention of the Legislature, and against misconduct in either sheriff or coroner. we think it has not been so considered in practice. Cer.

Section 72. This section is similar in substance with tainly it has been the object of all other acts regulating the 2d section of the act of 1803,

liens, to carry notice with them, which cannot be effectSections 73 and 74. The 73d and 74th sections con- ed in this instance. Under the present law, we suptain some new provisions. We consider it important pose that real estate lying in the county, is only or chief. for the public, that the commission of the sheriff shall ly considered in determining the competence of a sure. be placed on record in some convenient place, to which ty. We propose, therefore to limit the lien to the counthe people may have easy access; and that every possi. ty; and in order to give more effectual notice we reble check should be imposed upon the exercise of the quire that the recognizance shall be certified to the

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