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Sessions, which are directed by statute, must of course be in conformity with the directions of the statutes themselves respectively, where any such directory words occur, and are indeed generally by precept under the hands and seals of two justices of the county, division, riding, or liberty: but Special Sessions, in the ordinary acceptation of that expression, which are not directed by any particular statute for any particular or specific purpose; or which, being directed for a specific purpose, are not directed to be convened after any specific manner, may be convened by the custos rotulorum of the county, division, &c.; by the clerk of the peace of such county, division, &c. as the deputy of such custos rotulorum; or by any one, or more, justice, or justices, of the county, division, &c.*
The immediate instrument by which a periodical Special Session is convened, is a precept addressed to the chief constables, for the county, division, riding, or liberty, in, and for, which the Special Session is about to be assembled, and is usually according to one of the following, or the like forms, varied according to the special purpose for which it is issued.
PRECEPT FOR SUMMONING A SPECIAL SESSION FOR GRANTING LICENCES TO ALEHOUSE-KEEPERS, VICTUALLERS, &C.
These are in his Majesty's name strictly to charge and command you, that you, together with the petty constables of the several towns, parishes, and hamlets within your division, taking sufficient assistance out of the said towns, parishes, and hamlets, do make a general privy search within every of the said towns,
Lambard, indeed, observes, (p. 382,) and Dalton follows him in the remark, (p. 651,) that "Special Sessions should be convened by two justices, and not by the custos rotulorum alone." But it is manifest, from the context, that these observations are applied by them to Special Sessions directed by particular statutes, and to them only. Consistently with this interpretation, must be understood a previous passage in Lambard, (p. 380,) wherein he says, that "a Special Session holden without notice will be good." Even admitting that this doctrine be correct, (which so applied is by no means the case) as to
parishes, and hamlets, upon..
at night, for the finding out and apprehending of all rogues, vagrants, and wandering idle persons, in and about the said towns, parishes, and hamlets. And such as shall be found and
apprehended, you do cause them to be brought before us the next day, which will be
in the said county, by ten of the clock in the morning of the same day precisely, then and there to be dealt with according to law.
At which time and place we farther require you, together with the petty constables aforesaid, to appear before us, and then and there to give us an account in writing of what rogues, vagabonds, wandering, idle, and disorderly persons have been as well apprehended in the said search, as also since the last monthly meeting which was held for that purpose.
As also that you require the said several petty constables, that they do give notice to the several keepers of alehouses, inns, and victualling houses in their respective constableries, and generally to all persons who do intend to offer themselves to be licensed to sell ale, wine, or spirituous liquors* to appear before the justices of the peace of our Lord the King, at the time and place before mentioned, then and there to be licensed; and also to give notice to all such persons, that they will be required personally to enter into recognizances respectively, in sums of ten pounds each, together with two sureties respectively, in the respective sums of five pounds each, that they will not use or suffer any unlawful game or games; and that they will keep good order and rule within their respective houses and other places; and that if any shall be hindered by sickness or other reasonable cause, to be allowed by the said justices then and there assembled, that he or she must procure two sureties, then and there to be bound in like manner, in ten pounds each; and further, to all persons who so intend to offer themselves to be licensed, who have not been already licensed for the preceding year, that no such licence will be granted to such person unless he shall, at the same time and place, produce a certificate under the hands of the minister and the major part of the churchwardens and overseers, or of the said minister and three or four of the respectable and substantial householders of
Special Sessions holden periodically by authority of any particular statute, for a purpose pointed out and defined by that statute, it is certainly erroneous if applied to a Session specially called for a special purpose, the only publication of that purpose being the notice itself.
* These additional words in italics were not used to be inserted; but since the determinations of the case of R. v. Downes, (3 T. R. 560,) and R. v. Drake, (3 Pract. Expos. 5) they seem to be necessary.
the place where he inhabiteth, setting forth that he is of good fame, and of sober life and conversation. Herein fail not. Given under our hands and seals this
... day of......
PRECEPT FOR SUMMONING A SPECIAL SESSION FOR THE APPOINTMENT OF SURVEYORS OF THE HIGHWAYS.
We, two of his Majesty's justices of the peace in and for the said county, do hereby require you to direct your petty constables to make a general privy search within their several respective constableries, upon the...
day of next, at night, for the finding out and apprehending all rogues, vagrants, and wandering idle persons, in their said respective constableries, and such as they shall find apprehend on such search, to cause them to be brought before us the next day, which will be .next, at the
in the said county, by ten of the same day, then and there to be
And, in order to carry into execution the several statutes for the amendment and preservation of the public highways, you are hereby required forthwith to direct the said petty constables immediately to give public notice to the churchwardens, surveyors of the highways, and householders, being assessed to any parochial or public rate within their several liberties, that they do assemble on the.. ...instant, at the church or chapel; or if they have no church or chapel, then at the usual place of public meetings in their said liberties, at the hour of eleven in the forenoon: and that the major part of them so assembled do make a list of the names of at least ten persons living therein, who each of them have an estate in lands, tenements, or hereditaments, lying within the same, in their own right, or in the right of their wives, of the value of ten pounds by the year, or a personal estate of the value of one hundred pounds; or are occupiers or tenants of houses, lands, tenements, or hereditaments, of the yearly value of thirty pounds. And if there shall not be ten persons having such qualifications, then that they do insert in such list, the names of so many of such persons as are so qualified, together with the names of the most sufficient and able inhabitants not so qualified as shall make up the number ten, if so many can be found; if not, so many as shall be there resident, to serve the office of surveyor of the highways. And you are also required to direct them, within three days after making the said list, to deliver a copy thereof to one of the justices of the peace of the said county, living in
or near their said respective jurisdictions; and also give personal notice to, or cause notice in writing to be left at the place of abode of the several persons contained in such list, informing them of their being so named, to the intent that they may severally appear before the said justices at their Special Sessions, to be holden on the said..... ... day of.............
.next, at the hour of eleven in the forenoon, at the place above mentioned, to accept such office, if they shall be appointed thereto; or to shew cause, if they have any, against their being appointed. And you are likewise to direct your said petty constables to give notice to the present surveyors of the highways within your liberty, to appear at the same time and place, and produce such accounts and lists before the said justices as are required by law and that they the said constables personally appear before the said justices, at their said Special Sessions, and then and there deliver to them the said original list taken as aforesaid, and give an account of the execution of the precept you shall
issue forth to them.
Given under our hands and seals this
PRECEPT FOR SUMMONING A SPECIAL SESSION FOR the APPOINTMENT OF OVERSEERS OF THE POOR.
County of.. (to wit).
Chief Constable of and for the Hundred of......
in the said County. Greeting.
These are in his Majesty's name strictly to charge and command you, that you, together with the petty constables of the several towns, parishes, and hamlets within your division, taking sufficient assistance out of the said towns, parishes, and hamlets, do make a general privy search within every of the said towns, parishes, and hamlets, upon
at night, for the finding out and apprehending of all rogues, vagrants, and wandering idle persons, in and about the said towns, parishes, and hamlets. And such as shall be found and apprehended, you do cause them to be brought before us the next day, which will be on.....
in the said county, by ten of the clock in the morning of the same day precisely, then and there to be dealt with according to law. At which time and place we farther require you, together with the petty constables aforesaid, to appear before us, and then and there do give us an account in writing of what rogues, vagabonds, wandering, idle, and disorderly persons have been as well apprehended in the said search, as also since the last monthly meeting which was held for that purpose.
And you are hereby likewise required to give due notice to all the petty constables within your said division, that they do
give notice to all the overseers of the poor within their respective constableries, to make out a list in writing of a competent number of substantial housekeepers within their respective districts, qualified to serve as overseers of the poor, with which said list they are respectively to be, and appear, before us at the time and place above-mentioned, that out of the said list we may then and there nominate and appoint other overseers of the poor for the year then next ensuing. And you are commanded to give notice to the present overseers that they are required, on the said day of...... .....at in ..
. aforesaid, at eleven o'clock in the forenoon, to pass their accounts, and that in default thereof, they will be prosecuted as the law directs, and be you then there to certify what you shall have done in the premises. Given under our hands and seals this
These, it will be observed, are for convening some of those Special Sessions, directed to be holden periodically for particular purposes, by authority of statute, and each of those purposes is specified in the respective precepts. In the instance of a Special Session being projected for any occasional extraordinary purpose, whether particularly contemplated by any statute, or not, and for convening of which no specific form is pointed out, it is even more necessary that the particular purpose for which it is to be holden should be inserted in the precepts to the chief constables, as it is incumbent on them to give notices, (i. e. either by general or individual notice), to all the justices usually acting for the county, division, riding, or liberty, of such intended Session, and of the purposes for which it is convened. If these formalities be not strictly observed, however numerous the meeting of justices may happen to be, it will amount to no more than a Petty Session, and therefore will not satisfy the words of any statute, public or private, general or local, which requires the calling of a Special Session.†
* Lamb. 623.
↑ R. v. Croke, Cowp. 26.-By several general acts, some of which have been enumerated, as those respecting the turning highways, the erecting houses of industry, and inclosures, to which may be added the Insolvent Act of the 54 Geo. 3. certain matters appertaining to their execution are directed to be done at Special Sessions: many more examples of a similar kind might be selected from local acts of parliament for certain canals, embankments, &c. &c. Now it requires little discern