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Proceedings of the Provincial Court, 1681-1683
Volume 70, Preface 16   View pdf image (33K)
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         xvi                  Introduction.

         committed to the custody of the sheriff of St. Mary's County, and was required
         to give bond in the sum of £20 sterling for his good abearance and for his
         appearance the next Provincial Court (post, 456-457). Thomas Vaughan, of
         Talbot County seems to have incurred the disfavor of the Proprietary and of
         some of his neighbors too. Of course before he took up the office of sheriff,
         he had to take the oath of office, and he had as well to give bond to the Pro
         prietary in the sum of 200,000 pounds of tobacco. What his troubles were as
         sheriff is not clear, but some of the neighbors were on the point of getting
         out executions against him. The Proprietary, or the attorney general in his
         name, sued Vaughan on his bond, and the conditions of the bond were read in
         court. A sheriff must serve the Proprietary well and truly as sheriff, and
         must receive and collect the dues and rents and anything else he was ordered
         to collect, and he must give a faithful account of theni (post, p. 364). To the
         charges the sheriff pleaded nothing in l)ar or avoidance, and judgment for the
         sum demanded was rendered to the Proprietary. Before collection could be
         made against Sheriff Vaughan, the Proprietary sued the sureties, and, when
         they paid up, the sheriff was set free (post, p.365).
           Although the Provincial Court was the main Court or even the only one in
         the Province to hear cases coming up from county courts, there were not many
         such cases. In 1678 the General Assembly provided that there should be no
         new trials in the Provincial Court of cases arising in county courts (Archives
         VII, 71). By doing that, they substantially did away with the main difference
         between appeals and writs of error. In the years covered here, there were seven
         cases coming up on appeal and nine on writs of error. Of the writs of error,
         in no case was there an assignment of error: in two of the cases on appeal
         there was such an assignment, and the basis for the appeal was a matter of
         fact and not a matter of law (post, pp. 128, 235). In more than one case, the
         error charged rested on a variance between the declaration and either the writ
         or the jury verdict (post, p. 128, 401).

                        IMPORTANT CIVIL CASES

           There were at this time no criminal cases although an attentive reading of
         some of the civil cases shows acts and actions that today might lead to indict
         ment and trial. Grand juries sat and had their expense paid (post, p. 170).
         They had the usual troubles with men who, being summoned, failed to appear
         (post, pp. 105, 361, 455). The act for the impanelling of the Grand Inquest,
         of April 13, 1674, provided for a fine to the Lord Proprietary of 500 pounds
         of tobacco in such cases (Archives II, 392), and in at least three cases recorded
         here (post, pp. 105, 361, 455), the fines were levied on the recalcitrants. Of
         course the Proprietary, who was in the Province at the time, could remit the
         fines, and sometimes he did remit them (post, pp. 200, 345).
           The one case of slander or defamation which appears now followed the
         familiar pattern. Thomas Bland of Anne Arundel County was an attorney of
         the Provincial Court and also of the Anne Arundel County Court. Richard
         Hill was a commissioner or justice of the Anne Arundel County Court. On
         August 10, 1680, which was Court day, Hill announced in a loud voice that
         


 
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Proceedings of the Provincial Court, 1681-1683
Volume 70, Preface 16   View pdf image (33K)
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