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1705 '51 '92 98 1803 '22. Public no
An act for the appointment of Public Notaries.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly, and by the authority taries to be thereof it is enacted, That there shall be so many public appointed. notaries annually appointed by the general assembly, for
the several counties within this State, as they shall judge expedient, and that they be and are hereby severally empowered to act, transact, do and finish, all matters and things relating to protests and protesting bills and pro
missory notes, and all other matters within their offices And com
required by law; and that they be severally commismissioned,
sioned and engaged thereon, according to law.
Or in his absence the next
1747 '49 '52 '53 '69
An act appointing Coroners. '98 1822. Eldest jus
Section 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly, and tice to be by the authority thereof it is enacted, That the eldest jus
tice of the peace or warden in each town in this State be and he is hereby constituted coroner in and throughout the town in which he dwells; and that he take an oath or affirmation before some justice of the peace to the faithful discharge of his duties therein.
Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That whenever the
eldest justice or warden of any town in this State shall in order.
be absent or unable to attend, the justice or warden next in order who shall be present, shall have full power to execute the office of coroner in all respects, and shall be specially sworn or affirmed to officiate accordingly.
Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That each and every duty.
coroner shall, as soon as he shall be certified of the dead body of any person, supposed to have come to his death
by violence or casualty, found or lying within his town, To issue a make out his warrant, directed to either of the constables warrant of the town where the dead body is found, requiring him for a jury.
to summon a jury of good and lawful men, of the same town, sufficient to make up sixteen in all, to appear before him, at the time and place therein named, which warrant shall be in form following:
Form of [Seal.] To either of the constables of of
in the county
greeting These are, in the name of the state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, to require you immediately to
summon sixteen good and lawful men of the said town of
to appear before me, the coroner of the said town of
within the said town of at the hour of
then and there to enquire upon the view of the body of ing dead, how and in what manner he came to his death.
Fail not herein at your peril. Given under my hand and seal at the
in the year of our Lord
And every constable to whom such warrant shall be Constable directed and delivered shall forthwith execute the same, the same. and shall repair to the place where the dead body is, at the time mentioned, and make return of the warrant with his doings thereon unto the coroner that granted the same: and every constable failing of executing such warrant, or of returning the same as aforesaid, shall forfeit the sum
Penalty of ten dollars; and every person summoned as a juror as for negaforesaid who shall fail to appear, without having rea- lect. sonable excuse therefor, shall forfeit five dollars; which Jaror's forfeitures shall be sued for and recovered by the town-fine. treasurer, for the use of such town, in an action of debt before any court of competent jurisdiction : and the coroner shall swear twelve or more of the jurors that shall appear, and shall give the foreman (by him appointed) his oath upon view of the body in form following:
You solemnly swear, that you will diligently enquire, Foreman's and true presentment make, in behalf of this State, how and in what manner
who lies here dead, came to his or her death; and you shall deliver to me, the coroner of the town of
in the county of a true inquest thereof, according to such evidence as shall be laid before you, and according to your knowledge; so help you God: and then shall swear the other jurors in form following:
Such oath as your foreman hath taken, you and each Jurors' of you shall well and truly observe and keep; so help oath. you God: and in case any juror is conscientious about taking an oath, the coroner may administer an affirmation in lieu thereof: and the jurors being sworn or affirmed, Coroner to in view of the body, the coroner shall give them a charge jury. upon their oaths or affirmations, to declare of the death of the person, whether he died of felony, or of mischance, or accident; and if of felony, whether of his own or an
other; and if of the felony of another, who were principals and who were accessories; with what instrument he was struck or wounded, and so of all prevailing circumstances, that may come by presumption; and if he died of his own felony, then to enquire of the manner, means or instrument, and of all circumstances concerning it; and if he died by mischance or accident, whether by the act of men, and whether by hurt, fall, stroke, drowning or otherwise; to enquire of the persons who were present, the finders of the body, his relations and neighbors, whether he was killed in the same place where he was found, and if elsewhere, by whom and how he was brought from thence, and of all circumstances relating to the said death: and the jury being charged, shall stand together; and the coroner shall cause proclamation to be made for all persons who can give evidence how and in what man
ner the person then and there lying dead came to his May com- death, to draw near and they shall be heard: and every
t-coroner is further empowered to summon, and if necesof wit
sary grant compulsory process for the appearance of witnesses, and to administer an oath to them in forın follow
ing: Oath. You solemnly swear (or affirm) that the evidence which you shall give to this inquest concerning the death of
here lying dead, shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth ; so help you God, or this affirmation you make and give upon peril of the penalty
of perjury. Testimo. The testimony of such witnesses shall be drawn up in ny of, to be writing, and subscribed by them ; and if the testimony of reduced to writing. any witness or witnesses charge any person with killing,
or of being in any way instrumental to the death of the Shall re- person so found dead, the coroner shall bind such witcognize them to
nesses, by recognizance, in a reasonable sum, for their appear.
personal appearance at the next supreme judicial court,
to be holden within and for the same county, then to give May com- evidence accordingly; and if any such witness shall re
them, fuse to recognize as aforesaid, the coroner shall and may in case.
commit such witness to the common jail of the county,
there to remain until he shall recognize, or be otherwise Verdict. discharged according to law : and the jury having viewed
the body, heard the evidence, and made all the enquiry within their power, they shall draw up and deliver unto the coroner their verdict upon the death under consideration, in writing under their hands, and the coroner shall set his
in the year
hand and seal thereto: and the coroner shall return to the Inquisition next supreme judicial court holden in the county, the turned to inquisition, written evidence, and recognizances if any, sup. jud. by him taken.
Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That upon an inquisi- and intion found before any coroner of the death of any person form jusby the felony or misfortune of another, he shall immediately inform one or more justices of the peace in the thereof. same county thereof, to the intent that the person killing or being in any way instrumental to the death, may be apprehended, examined and secured for trial.
Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That the following shall be the form of the inquisition to be taken as aforesaid :
State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.
in the county
day of of our Lord
coroner of the town of
in said county of view of the body of
there lying dead, by the oaths of
good and lawful men, who being sworn and charged to enquire for the said State, when, how and by what means the said
came to his death, upon their oaths do say, (then insert how, where, when and by what means, and with what instrument, he was killed, and if it appears that he was murdered by a person known, then the inquisition shall be concluded thus,) “ and so the jurors aforesaid, upon their oaths aforesaid, Concludo say, that the said
in manner and form afore-sion of in said, of his malice aforethought, the said
did kill and murder, against the peace and dignity of this State, and the laws of the same."
If it appears to be self-murder, then the inquisition shall Self-murconclude thus : “ and so the jurors aforesaid, upon their oaths aforesaid, do say, that the said
in form and manner aforesaid, then and there voluntarily and feloniously, as a felon of himself, did kill and murder himself, against the peace and dignity of said State.”
If it appears that the death was by misfortune, the in- Misforquisition shall conclude thus : “ and so the jurors afore-tune. said, upon their oaths aforesaid, do say, that the said
in manner aforesaid, came to his death by misfortune.”
If the death was occasioned innocently, by the hands Accident. of any other person, the inquisition shall conclude thus :
66 and so the jurors aforesaid, upon their oaths aforesaid, do say, that the said
by misfortune, and contrary to the will of the said
in manner and form aforesaid, the said
did kill and slay.” In witness whereof the said jurors have hereunto set their hands, the day and year abovesaid.
In witness of all the before written, the said coroner hath hereunto set his hand and seal the day and year aforesaid.
Jurors Sec. 6. And be it further enacted, That such persons exempted. only shall be exempt from serving as jurors aforesaid, as
are exempt by law in other cases; and the jurors serving as aforesaid shall have the same fees as are allowed by
law in other cases. Ćost of Sec. 7. And be it further enacted, That if any inquisiinquisi tion shall be had on the body of any deceased person as tion.
aforesaid, the charges of inquisition shall be paid out of the town-treasury of the town where the dead body is found.
1798, 1812 An act relating to Sheriffs, Deputy-Sheriffs and Jailers. '18 '20 22. Sheriff to SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly, and
ed. by the authority thereof it is enacted, That there shall be an
nually appointed by the general assembly, one sheriff for each county; that every person who shall be elected to the office of sheriff, shall, at the time of his election be a freeholder and an inhabitant of the county for which he shall be elected, and shall, previous to the entering on the
duties of his office, be sworn or affirmed to the faithful And give performance thereof, and shall moreover give bond with
two sufficient sureties to the general treasurer, in the sum of fifteen thousand dollars, for the due and faithful execu
tion of his office, according to law. Members Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That no member of the of assems
eli. general assembly shall be eligible to the office of sheriff, gible, &c. or hold a deputation under him, nor shall any sheriff, de
puty-sheriff or jailer, be eligible as a member of the gen
eral assembly Sheriffs Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That each sheriff be may ap. authorized to appoint as many deputies, being freeholders point de
and inhabitants of the county, as he shall deem necessary puties.
for his assistance in the due performance of the duties of