A Stated Meeting of the Society was held in the Hall of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences on Wednesday, 21 December, 1898, at three o’clock in the afternoon, President Wheelwright in the chair.

    The Records of the Annual Meeting were read and approved.

    The Rev. Henry A. Parker then made the following communication:—

    Palfrey, in his History of New England (ii. 485), writes of the Quakers:—

    “Sooner than put them to death, it were devoutly to be wished that the annoyed dwellers in Massachusetts had opened their hospitable drawing-rooms to naked women, and suffered their ministers to ascend the pulpits by steps paved with fragments of glass bottles.”

    Oliver, in his Puritan Commonwealth (p. 210), writes:—

    “Their methods of prophesying had in them something disgusting and ludicrous. Women would go naked through the streets, shouting woes upon the elders and magistrates.”

    And so other writers to the same effect, conveying the impression that immodesty and indecent exposure of person by the Quaker women were common, and the occasion, indeed, of the persecutions inflicted on the Society of Friends.

    Colonel Hallo well, in his Quaker Invasion of Massachusetts,1 shows that, so far as is known, there are, at most, but three instances of Quakers ever voluntarily appearing unclothed in public; that before the first instance of this sort, the Quaker women had been abominably treated by the Massachusetts Bay authorities; and that one of the unfortunates whose actions have given occasion to such scandal was a young woman who was not long after adjudged by the court to be insane.

    The first instance of this sort of thing is that of Deborah Wilson, a convert to Quakerism, who appeared naked in the streets of Salem, in 1662,—afterwards adjudged to be insane.2

    The second instance is that of Mrs. Lydia Wardwell, also a Massachusetts convert to Quakerism, whose husband had been much persecuted for his religion; she came naked into the Newbury Meeting House, in 1663.3

    The third alleged instance is from Plymouth Colony, and is twenty years later. In this case Jonathan Dunham and Mary Rosse were the chief actors. Increase Mather’s account of the affair4 is not borne out by the Plymouth Court Records,5 in which nothing is said of any lack of sufficient clothing on the part of the participants in a queer religious orgy, which was confined to a private house, nor does it appear that the actors were Quakers.

    So far as I am aware, no other instance of this kind among: the Quakers has been brought forward in this part of the world.

    However, the members of the Society of Friends are not exempt from the chance of mental disorder, and a curious instance of the same sort of impropriety of which Deborah Wilson was guilty at Salem, in time of persecution, was repeated long after, in Richmond, Virginia. The different way in which the matter was there dealt with, and some peculiarities of the narrative, seem to me to make the affair of some historic interest. All that I know about it is the following record under date of 28th 2mo. 1792:—

    “Lodged at Tho: Harris’s.—This Frieud lately conceived himself constrained to pass many Times through the Town of Richmond entirely naked without uttering any Words, he is altogether a sensible, well inclined Friend, once by Order of a Justice (so called) he was severely whipped in the Performance of his said apprehended Duty by the Hands of a Mulatto, which however was highly resented by the Inhabitants, this Mulatto was instantly made to feel the Weight of a Cart Whip very severely by a dutch Carter who was transiently passing along, another Time Tho: was committed to Prison where he remained some Time, & another Time he was carried to the City of Williamsburg & examined whether he was in his Senses or not; and those who examined him pronounced him better in his Senses than were they who brought him, & so dismissed him, & think he never suffered any on said Account any more, though often concerned to appear in that Way.”6

    Is there anything more about Friend Thomas on record? With all respect for the authorities at Williamsburg, I imagine that his after history went to show that the impulse to this, his apprehended duty, which he so conscientiously performed, was followed by other impulses that charity could ascribe only to a progressive insanity.

    The paper was discussed by Messrs Andrew McFarland Davis, William Watson, and Andrew C. Wheelwright.

    Mr. Henry H. Edes communicated an original Account of the “School Stock” given towards the maintenance of a Grammar School in Hartford, Connecticut, by the Trustees under the will of Gov. Edward Hopkins.

    The text of this paper is as follows:—

    An Accompt of School-Stock in Lands and Monys Given towards maintenance of a Grammer School in Hartford, being now by order of the School-Comitty comitted to James Richards to make Record and

    keep an accotṭ of: viz

    Impr Mr Edward Hopkins (by the Feoffees in Truſt for diſpoſe of his Eſtate in New-England) for promoting Learning in theſe parts Gave unto Hartford Four Hundred Pounds; viz

    In the Farm on the Eaſt-ſide the great-River. 270 lb.

    In monys that purchaſed Loveridge’s houſe & homelott, 90lb




    In monys which built part of the School-houſe—40




    A Generall Court of Election the 16tḥ of May. 1650.

    Edward Hopkins Eſq Governo

    Mr Cullick, Mag. & Secreỵ


    M Hopkins

    Donation to



    Remarks upon the various Hopkins Foundations were made by Messrs William Watson Goodwin and Charles Pickering Bowditch.7

    Mr. Edes also communicated an original letter from Hezekiah Usher to the Commissioners for the United Colonies respecting his disbursements on account of the printing, binding, and distributing of Eliot’s Indian Bible, and Usher’s Account of his financial operations in connection therewith, and with other Indian books.8

    These papers are in the following form:—


    Boston: 26: Aug: 1664

    Honrd Sr Seruice prmiſed

    I am bould to trouble you with the incloſed accotts deſiring in the moſt conueanient Seaſon to prſent them with my ſeruice to the Honrd Commiſſioners, haueing relation only to what hath bine difburſt by me, excepting fome Salleryes that are in part & wholy payed which I bring not to the accott incloſed being aſurd prticuler order will in ſeaſon be giuen forth for the diſcounting of the ſame, one Ballance of acco made vp the 18tḥ̣ 7.63 wth ye Honrd Commiſſioners, was resting due 504£ 13/4d wch was to be payed after the raite of 25£ ⅌ Ct aduanc; And att the ſam time I receiued a bill of Exo for 400£ wch Bill was accepted by the Honrd Corporatiõ, wch I haue giuen the Acco Cr for it with allowance of 12£ ⅌ Ct according to agremt, of wch I am to make paymt according to vſeall ſaile of goods for Caſh Itt is my deſire that when the 504£ 13/4d is payed of, I may know to whome I may pay according to the laſt agremt that I may giue not offence when I act according to order I have here with ſent acco, of wtt Bibles were printed & how diſpoſed deſiring yor full order, for the diſpoſeall of them that ar resting, you will find one the accott wtt I ſent to Engƚd & wtt I haue bd vpp & deliuered to mr Elliatt order, whether it be yor pleaſure, his order for the diſpoſeing of them, be by me attended, one the accott you will finde 42 Bibles bound, for wch the binder was allowed 2/6d ⅌ Bible wch he complaines of & ᵱfeſſeth he cannot Hue one it, but deſireth 3/- ⅌ bible to be allowed wch I leaue to yor Honrs to aproue, I haue still retting in my hand of the printing papr 51 Rf wch is all times redy for yor ſeruice; not mindeing any thing further of concernmt to trouble The Honrd Com̃s: wth leaueing yor high concernmts to the lord[’s] guidance I tak leaue & reſt

    yor Serut Hezekiah



    For his

    Honrd Frend mr Thomas

    Damforth to be



    to the Hord

    Mr Vshers Lr


    Aug 1664

    when mett


    In Boston the 27 August: Anno 1664

    The Honorable: Commiſhoners: are Dr To ME Hezekiah Vſher Senior for ye Severall diſburſments as foloweth – vizt:

    £ s d

    To paymt to Mr Chancy after ye Accott in the year 63 was giuen in


    To payment to Mr Day for mending the prefse



    To 2 Cheſts for Bibles sent to England


    To paymt To Mr Shearman ⅌ Mr Danforths ordr



    To 2 New Chaſes



    To 2 Doſsen of Skines for Balls



    To printing ye Epiſtle Dedicatory


    To printing ye Indian pſalmes 13 Shets 2£ ⅌ Sheet


    To printing Mr Baxters Call qt9 8 Shets 50s ⅌ Shet


    To printing 9 Sheets of ye Pſsalter . . 20s ⅌ Shett


    To paymt of Capt Gookines Bill for Woole




    To yeares Board of Mr Johnfon ye printr 1664


    To pack Threed and Dryfatts to pack ye Ind Bibles in



    To parchmt to Mr Grene.



    To paymt of Boat hyer for carying & recarying prayer and Bibles



    To Binding and Claſping of 42 Bibles at 2s-6d ⅌ bible



    To Sundry Bookes as ⅌ Accott








    .  .




    M Hez. Uſhers Account

    with Com̃ifsionrs

    Auguſt 27t͟h 1664

    Mr. John Noble read extracts from the following paper on the ancient Hue and Cry Acts of the Edwards and Elizabeth, showing the evolution from them of some modern criminal laws and processes.


    Occasionally, some old custom or practice, disused for years, crops out anew, changed and modified, but with reminiscences of its original features easily recognizable; or some old process of the law, long obsolete, seems, in some emergency, to have a brief and sudden resurrection. In the latter case, it is curious to see in how many points there is a resemblance and suggestion of the old process and even a reproduction of its leading characteristics, and at the same time to note what changes the spirit of a modern age makes in its methods and in its results. An instance of this appeared a short time ago in the Boston morning papers. Cutting down the long-extended narrative there given,—

    “Such a man-hunt,” says one, “as occurred yesterday afternoon in Dorchester, has not been equalled in that District before, and it is doubtful if its like has many times been seen even in the City itself. For over a mile, nearly one hundred citizens and four policemen, together with two men with horse and buggy, chased a fleeing criminal, who was finally captured and carried to the station house.”

    The discovery of the burglary, the offender taken in the act, the alarm, the response of a passer-by, the resistance emphasized by pistol-shots, the flight, the pursuit, the shouts and cries, the windings and doublings of the fugitive, the growing crowd of foot and horse and officers of the law hanging upon his heels, the final capture, when the prisoner, safe and unharmed, is turned over to the authorities to await his trial under the laws of the land and in due course of impartial justice,—all are set out with the intensity of style and exuberance of detail that characterize the news reports of to-day. Here is a Hue and Cry, the remedy of primitive times, suddenly and spontaneously evolved out of quiet and matter-of-fact surroundings, by the emergencies of the occasion; and if we strip off the embellishments of the reporter, here are many or most of the external incidents and elements that belonged to it in mediaeval times; but the essential differences are as marked as the similarities. It has seemed of some interest to consider this old process of the law in the shape it took in the thirteenth century, and in later times, down to the nineteenth, and, in a single case, in the early days of the Colony.

    The process itself is one of the earliest known for the apprehension and trial of offenders. It existed under the earliest Common Law. Its origin is in the remotest periods of English history, but where or how is lost in the mists of unauthentic history and tradition. In fact, it sprang naturally and instinctively out of the conditions of an uncivilized people,—the first and most obvious method that occurs to primitive human nature. Its first recognition in the Statutes, or rather in statutes still extant, seems to have been at the very beginning of the reign of Edward I., but, according to the earliest English writers upon law, it existed long before that date. Coke speaks of its great antiquity, in his Institutes,10 and a Note refers to—

    “the Author of the Mirrour writing of the auncient laws before the Conquest” as mentioning “a hue and cry.”11

    Glanville is also quoted12 and Bracton.13 The Note goes on to say:—

    “And it is one of the articles of that auncient Court of the view of frankpledge (of whose antiquity we have spoken before) to enquire of hue and cries levied and not pursued” (Mag. Chart, c. 35), and, citing the old writers, he says, “All these Authorities were before the making of our Act, and therefore it was truly said, whoever said it, ‘Pervetusta Anglorum lege sancitum est.’ Of this hue and cry our Auncient Authors since our Statute have also written.”14

    In his Third Institute, Coke gives an elaborate account, and devotes a whole chapter to it,—De Hutesio et Clamore, Of Hue and Cry.15

    Blackstone’s account of Hue and Cry, in its later and regulated form, is as full and clear as any:—

    “There is yet another species of arrest, wherein both officers and private men are concerned, and that is upon an hue and cry raised upon a felony committed. An hue (from huer, to shout) and cry, hutesium et clamor, is the old common law process of pursuing, with horn and with voice, all felons, and such as have dangerously wounded another. It is also mentioned by Statute Westm. 1. 3 Edward I. c. 9 and 4 Edw. I. de officio coronatoris. But the principal Statute, relative to this matter, is that of Winchester, 13 Edw. I. c. 1 & 4., which directs, that from thenceforth every country shall be so well kept, that immediately upon robberies and felonies committed, fresh suit shall be made from town to town, and from county to county; and that hue and cry shall be raised upon the felons, and they that keep the town shall follow with hue and cry, with all the town and the towns near; and so hue and cry shall be made from town to town, until they be taken and delivered to the Sheriff. And, that such hue and cry may more effectually be made, the hundred is bound by the same statute, c. 3. to answer for all robberies therein committed, unless they take the felon; which is the foundation of an action against the hundred, in case of any loss by robbery. By Stat. 27 Eliz. c. 13 no hue and cry is sufficient unless made with both horsemen and footmen. And by Stat. Geo. II. c. 16 the constable or like officer, refusing or neglecting to make hue and cry, forfeits 51.; and the whole vill or district is still in strictness liable to be amerced, according to the law of Alfred, if any felony be committed therein and the felon escapes. . . . Hue and cry may be raised either by precept of a justice of the peace, or by a peace officer, or by any private man that knows of a felony. The party raising it must acquaint the constable of the vill with all the circumstances which he knows of the felony, and the person of the felon; and thereupon the constable is to search his own town, and raise all the neighboring vills, and make pursuit with horse and foot; and in the prosecution of such hue and cry the constable and his attendants have the same powers, protection, and indemnification, as if acting under the warrant of a justice of the peace. But if a man wantonly or maliciously raises an hue and cry, without cause, he shall be severely punished as a disturber of the public peace.”16

    The great antiquity and the primitive forms of this process of the law appear from the early writers cited in Coke. The Mirrour of Justices, “a book of great authority and of the earliest, though uncertain, date,”17 after some account “Of the first constitutions made by the Ancient Kings,” says:—

    “It was ordained, that every one of the age of fourteen years and above should be ready to kill mortal offenders in their notorious sins, or to follow them from town to town with hue and cry; and if they could not kill them, the offenders to be put in exigent, and outlawed or banished. And that none should be outlawed but for a mortal offence, and in no other county but where he committed the offence.”18

    “And if any one fly or make resistance, and will not answer the law, it is lawful for every one to kill him, if he cannot otherwise apprehend him. And Bermond awarded that all goods of those that fled should remain forfeit to the King, saving to every one his right, although that afterwards he yield himself to the peace.”

    And Iselgrun said, that “he is no flyer who appeareth in judgment before he be outlawed.”19

    “Of these first assemblies it was also ordained, that every hundred do make a common meeting once in the year, not only of the freeholders but of all the hundred, strangers and denizens . . . to enquire of the points aforesaid, and of the Articles following, . . .”

    The Articles are these. “By the oaths you have taken, you shall declare . . . Of all bloodsheds, of hue and cry wrongfully levied, or rightfully levied and not duly pursued, and of the names of the pursuers; of all mortal offences, and of their kinds, and as well of the principals as of the accessaries,” and some thirty other Articles.20

    “The law requireth that offenders in case of death have not such mitigation or favour that they be brought or summoned, or distrained to appear in judgment by taking of their cattle, if the offenders be known, and notorious, and the plaintiff pursue them so soon as he may. And if any fly for such offence, then according to the Statute of Winchester he was to be followed with hue and cry, with horn and voice, so that all those of one town who can are to follow the felon to the next town; and if any such felon be attaint and convict of the felony, let him be killed if he cannot be otherwise apprehended. But it is otherwise in felonies not known, for it is not lawful to kill the offender without his answer, if he may be taken alive.”21 Then follow provisions in case of trial held.

    Glanville, Chief-Justiciary in the reign of Henry II., in his Tractatus de Legibus Angliæ, sometimes said to be “the most ancient book extant upon the laws and customs of England,” cited and praised by two centuries of the most eminent English lawyers, also refers to the old process:—

    “But there are two species of Homicide. The first is called Murder, which is secretly perpetrated,—no one seeing—no one knowing of it, save the person committing it, and his accomplices, so that Hue and Cry cannot be presently made after the offenders, as ordained by the Statute upon this Subject. . . . A person accused of Homicide is sometimes compelled to undergo the legal Purgation, if he was taken in flight by a Crowd pursuing him, and this be regularly proved in Court by a Jury of the County.22

    Bracton, whom Reeves calls “the father of the English Law,” in his De Legibus et Consuetudinibus Angliæ, in the time of Henry III., after setting forth the due course of preliminary proceedings by “the Justices itinerant,”—beginning with the pleas of the crown; the reading of the writs, which give them authority and power to make an iter; the setting out the cause of their coming, the utility of their itineration, the advantage if peace is observed, the violation of the King’s peace and justice by murderers and robbers and burglars, and his commands to his faithful subjects,—directs that the justices should retire, and have a consultation in turns with four or six or more of the greater men of the county, and explain to them how—

    “it has been provided by the King and by his Counsel, that all as well Knights as others, who are of fifteen years and more, ought to swear that they will not harbour outlaws, murderers, robbers or burglars, nor confederate with them nor their harbourers, and if they should know of any such, they will cause them to be attached and declare it to the viscount [sheriff] and his bailiffs, and if they shall hear hue and cry respecting such people, immediately on hearing the cry they shall follow with their household and the men of their land. Upon which it may be noted, that if any one has committed a felony and has been forthwith captured, hue and cry having been raised, the pursuit shall cease. And hence if a man shall be suffocated by misfortune or drowned, and be dead in any other manner or be slain, let hue be raised forthwith, but the pursuit ought not to be carried on from land to land, from vill to vill, when the malefactor shall have been taken, that is la bane. And afterwards let them lead a track along their own land, and at the end of their land they shall show it to the lords of the neighbouring lands, and so that pursuit be made from land to land with all diligence, until the Malefactors are captured, and that there be no delay in making the track unless an impediment intervene through night coming on, or for some other reasonable cause, and that they shall arrest, as far as may be in their power, those whom they regard as suspected without waiting for the mandate of the justice or the viscount [sheriff], and that what they shall have done thereupon they shall certify to the justices or the viscount.23

    “But because there are some persons, who forthwith betake themselves to flight after a felony and cannot be seized, let the hue be raised after them, from vill to vill, until the malefactours are captured, otherwise let the whole district be amerced to the king. But how the pursuit ought to be made, each country has its own mode, and let the hue be raised in that same mode.”24

    Similarly, we find in Britton, in the reign of Edward I., who Coke says was Bishop of Hereford and of profound judgment in the Common Law, but who has also been spoken of as a mere appendage of Bracton:—

    “And for the maintaining of peace, we will that when a felony is committed, every one be ready to pursue and arrest the felons, according to our Statutes of Winchester, with the company of horns and voices from township to township, until they are either taken or have been pursued as far as the chief town of the county or franchise. “We will also, that every one who flies from our peace forfeit his chattels to us for such flight, if he be suspected of felony, although he be afterwards acquitted of the principal fact. And if it be murder or other felony concerning the death of a man, let such felony be presented at the next county court by one or more townships, and by the first finder and the kindred of the person killed. . . .”25

    “If any man be found killed, and another be found near him with the knife or other weapon in his hand all bloody, wherewith he killed him, the coroner shall be presently fetched, and in his presence the felon shall, upon the testimony of those who saw the felony done, be judged to death. The like when a person is found in a house, or other place where one shall be found killed, and the person found alive is neither hurt nor wounded, and has not raised the hue and cry, and has not charged any with the felony, and shall not be able to do so.”26

    Fleta, likewise, in the same reign gives various provisions made for prompt and effective pursuit and arrest of felons; for punishment in case of default, and of official misfeasance; for public proclamations to secure pursuit and investigation and apprehension; for the responsibility of the hundreds; for the use of hue and cry in the case of suspects; for requiring all between the ages of fifteen and sixty to have in their houses a due equipment of arms according to their estate and condition, with considerable minuteness of detail, and for stated inspection of the same; for liability for default in such equipment or failure in vigilance or in pursuit; and for the raising of hue and cry and its prosecution in the case of felonies. Furthermore, in the case of trials, are set out the presumptions arising from presence or other circumstances at the scene of the offence, or the failure to raise the cry.27

    The original process, by the force of statute and the subduing influence of advancing society, was brought within regulated and fixed limits:—

    “For levying hue. and cry,” says Burn, “although it is a good course to have the warrant of a justice of the peace, when time will permit, in order to prevent causeless hue and cry; yet this by no means seems necessary, nor is it always convenient; for the felon may escape before the warrant be obtained; and hue and cry was part of the law before justices of the peace were first instituted (2 Hale 99). . . . If the person against whom the hue and cry is raised be not found in the constablewick, then the constable shall give notice to the next constable, and he to the next, until the offender be found, or till they come to the sea-side. And this was the law before the Conquest. . . . Though no person be named or described . . . all that can be done is for those that pursue the hue and cry, to take such persons as they have probable ground to suspect.” Doors may be broken if the fugitive has taken refuge within. Measures are summary and effective. “If he cannot be otherwise taken, he may be killed”—And further:—“it seems that they who are taken upon fresh hue and cry are not bailable.” And they which levy not hue and cry, or pursue not upon hue and cry, may be indicted, fined and imprisoned.28

    The various statutes enacted, both those still extant and the earlier, were only the attempt, on the one hand, to bring an existing crude but effective process into some legitimate and recognized shape, and to regulate and limit its methods and powers, already becoming dangerous; and, on the other hand, to secure prompt and effective pursuit of offenders, the clue enforcement of the laws, and the legal responsibility of magistrates and communities.

    Pollock and Maitland give a fresh and spirited account of the old process, in treating of the processes of the law, which “vary in stringency from the polite summons to the decree of outlawry.” It is spoken of as “an offshoot of outlawry, . . . a species of summary justice that was still useful in the 13th Century.” A vivid picture follows:—

    “When a felony is committed, the hue and cry (hutesium et clamor) should be raised. If, for example, one comes upon a dead body and omits to raise the hue, one commits an amerciable offence, besides laying oneself open to ugly suspicions. Possibly the proper cry is ‘Out!’ ‘Out!’—And therefore it is uthesium or hutesium.29 The neighbours should turn out with the bows, arrows, knives, that they are bound to keep; and besides much shouting there will be horn blowing; the ‘hue’ will be horned from vill to Till. Now if a man is overtaken by hue and cry while he has still the signs of his crime, he will have short shrift; should he make any resistance, he will be cut down. But even if he submits to capture, his fate is already decided. . . . He will be brought before some court (like enough it is a court hurriedly summoned for the purpose,); and without being allowed to say one word in self defence, he will be promptly hanged, beheaded or precipitated from a cliff. . . . In the 13th century this barbaric justice is being brought under control. “We can see that the royal judges do not much like it; though truth to tell, it is ridding England of more malefactors than the King’s Courts can hang. The old rule still held good that if by hue and cry a man was captured when he was still in seisin of his crime, . . . and he was brought before a court which was competent to deal with such cases, there was no need for any accusation against him, for any appeal or any indictment, and what is more, he could not be heard to say that he was innocent, he could not claim any sort or form of trial. Even royal judges, if such a case is brought before them, act upon this rule. . . . Even in much later days, if a man was taken ‘with the mainonr’ (cum manuopere), though he was suffered or compelled to submit the question of his guilt to a jury, he could be put on his trial without any appeal or any indictment. There is hardly room for any doubt that this process had its origin in days when the criminal taken in the act was ipso facto an outlaw. He is not entitled to any ‘law,’ not even to that sort of ‘law,’ which we allow to noble beasts of the chase. Even when the process is being brought within some legal limits, this old idea survives. If there must be talk of proof, what has to be proved is, not that the man is guilty of murder, but that he was taken red-handed by hue and cry. Outlawry was still the law’s ultimate weapon.”30

    Reeves gives some account of the process and a very clear summary of the Statutes, their occasion, intent, and effect:—

    The Statute of Winchester contained various provisions for enforcing the ancient police and ordained various new regulations. It was occasioned by the startling increase within then recent years of the graver crimes, and the slackness of the administration of subsisting laws. Jurors were partial or interested or influenced, there was negligent and even wilful failure to indict, and an equal failure to convict if indicted.

    This Statute made special provisions as to the old process of hue and cry. It directed that the hutesium et clamor should be made solemnly in all counties and hundreds and districts, at markets and fairs, and wherever a concourse of people was to be expected so that none might excuse himself from ignorance, and none might escape for want of fresh suit from town to town. This hue and cry, formally started, and not the immediate and instinctive pursuit of the criminal surprised on the spot of his crime, is plainly an evolution of the original. This early statute and the later statutes down to comparatively modern times seem all to be based on the ancient institutions of the hundreds, and of the frank pledge, making the hundred responsible. There is a case under the Act in the Year Book of Edward II. fol. 539. To ensure promptness and efficiency districts were made responsible for the crimes committed within them, and were held to make good the damages done. Precautions were to be had against lodging or entertaining suspicious persons or even strangers; watches were to be kept, with authority to arrest; and, where resistance was offered to such arrest, provision was made for levying hue and cry, and following it from town to town till the fugitive was run down and arrested.

    In the reign of Elizabeth, Hue and Cry stood upon the old Statute of Winchester (13 Edw. I.) and a later one (28 Edw. III.). Proceedings were becoming more frequent under the provisions of existing laws, and some of these provisions, first adopted to secure greater vigilance, energy and efficiency, were beginning to bear with hardship on the hundreds, and the corporate liability and responsibility had brought about neglect and want of diligence, especially in the case of robberies and injuries to property, on the part of the person injured. He took his remedy in the easiest and cheapest way. To remedy this, the Statute 27 Elizabeth c. 13 made the hundred liable for only one moiety of the damages, wherever there was negligence on the part of the sufferer, or default of fresh suit, after hue and cry was raised. Under the old Statutes, the recovery was practically or usually against one or only a few of the inhabitants; and, in general effect, the Statute was in check and restraint of the process. It was on the principle of the old Statutes, but modified the procedure; now limitations of the actions against the hundred were fixed, and the liability affected by various conditions.31

    The modern statutes of England,—those of 29 Charles II., 6 and 9 George I., and 8 George II.,—touching liability for damage done by rioters, and in similar cases, all go back for their principle of responsibility to the old statutes of Hue and Cry.

    Sir Mathew Hale devotes a chapter to the subject:—

    “Hue and cry is the old common law process after felons . . . And this hath received great countenance and authority by several acts of parliament. . . .

    “By the Statute of Westm. I. cap. 9; ‘ . . . that all be ready and apparelled at the summons of the Sheriff & a cry de pays to pursue and arrest felons as well within franchises as without ; . . .’

    “By the Statute of 4 E. I. ‘ . . . Hue and cry shall be levied for all murders, burglaries, men-slain, or in peril to be slain, as other-where is used in England, and all shall follow the hue and steps as near as they can; and he that doth not, and is convict thereof, shall be attached to be before the justices in Eyre. . . .

    “By the Statute of Winton, cap. 1 ‘ . . . From henceforth every country shall be so well kept, that immediately upon robberies and felonies committed fresh suit shall be made from town to town and from country to country: and cap. 4 . . . and such as keep the town shall follow with hue and cry with all the town and the towns near; and so hue and cry shall be made from town to town, until they are taken and delivered to the Sheriff; and for arrestment of such Strangers none shall be punished.’

    “And this is in truth but the antient law.” He then sets out what is proper but not essential, that “it is a good course to have a justice of peace to direct his warrant for raising hue and cry . . . yet it is neither of absolute necessity, nor sometimes convenient;” and that “it is most adviseable, that the constable be called to this action. . . . Yet upon a . . . felony committed, hue and cry may be raised by the country in the absence of the Constable.” The consequences then appear “if hue and cry be raised without cause.”

    Then follow the five points that “are considerable.”

    1. I. “By whom it is to be levied:—as well by an officer of justice as by the precept of a justice of the peace, . . . or . . . by any private person that is robbed, or knows of any felony.”
    2. II. “Touching the Manner of it: . . . diverse according to a variety of circumstances,”—taking up; the notice and reasonable assurance of the felony; . . . “the name of him that did it,” if known; if not known, the means of identification, and failing all plain indications, a request upon the constable for hue and cry after suspects, as “many circumstances may ex post facto be useful for discovering a malefactor, which cannot be at first found.”
    3. III. “In what manner . . . to be pursued: . . . The Constable . . . to make search in his own vill; . . . to raise all the neighbouring villa next about; . . . to be pursued with horse and foot.”
    4. IV. “What may be done in pursuance of a hue and cry levied: . . . once raised and levied upon supposal of a felony committed, tho in truth there was no felony committed, yet those that pursue hue and cry may arrest and proceed, as if so be a felony had been really committed.” The justification of acts done by those who “pursue the hue and cry,” and the liability of “the raiser” under certain circumstances are given; and also the extent and limitation of the acts that may be done and,—
    5. V. “How the neglect of the pursuit of hue and cry is to be punished: . . . indicted, fined and imprisoned.”32

    “If a hue and cry be levied upon a felony, and come to the town, the Constable and those of the town are bound to apprehend the felon if in the town, or if not in the town, then to follow the hue and cry; otherwise they are punishable on indictment.”33

    In East it is said:—

    A fortiori, if hue and cry be levied, all who join in the pursuit are under the same protection of the law . . . Although no warrant of a justice of the peace to raise hue and cry, nor any constable in the pursuit, yet the hue and cry was a good warrant in law for the pursuers to apprehend the felons, and therefore the killing of any of the pursuers was murder.”34

    The same doctrine is held in Jackson’s case35 and in numerous United States cases.

    There are four cases, reported at length, tried a.d. 1221–1231, under a statute older than that of Edward I. and not extant in the time of Coke. They are of great interest,—an interest not lessened by the quaint Latin of the Reports.36

    In England the process and the laws governing it have been only matters of curious legal history since the enactment of the statutes 7 and 8 George IV., in 1827 and 1828; but some of the underlying principles of the old process and of the laws relating thereto, still live and are the basis of some modern statutes as to municipal liability in certain cases, as well as the ground of not a few judicial decisions. Chief-Justice Doe of New Hampshire, in deciding a case in 1864, referred to the old law of Hue and Cry and the liability of the Hundred, for an analogy;37 and some of its doctrines were invoked—not expressly, but in spirit—in the discussion of the responsibility of Spain for the blowing up of the Maine.

    In addition to the authorities already quoted or cited, accounts of this old Common Law proceeding, of its summary justice, its history, the various provisions of law from time to time enacted, the occasion, the mode, and the consequences, are, of course, to be found in most English works on Criminal Law, in the Pleas of the Crown, and in the various Commentaries on the laws of England.38

    Upon this side of the Atlantic, this old process seems to have had an occasional use, as appears by the Records and Files of Court. The Colonists of the Massachusetts Bay brought with them the Common Law of England as it then existed, and all those ideas of law and legal procedure which they had acquired as Englishmen. The only other source of law which they recognized was the Holy Scriptures, and especially the Mosaic Code, as interpreted by themselves or as embodied in legislative enactments; and in the old Jewish law they might easily find suggestions of this procedure in its most primitive form, and consequent satisfaction therein.

    The procedure was in existence here in 1646, as appears by the Act of 4 November:—

    “If any officer or other shall refuse to do their best endeavor in raising & ᵱsecuting hue & cryes by foote, &, if neede be, by horse, after such as have com̃itted capitall crymes, they shall forfeite, for evry offence, to ye com̃on treasury, forty shillings, such hues & cryes as be alowable by lawe.”39

    Here seems to be a recognition of its existence and authorization, and at the same time of limitations as to its use.

    Among the Early Court Files of Suffolk is an original draft of an Order of the General Court in 1660, regulating and settling the charges in such cases:—

    “Boston 9m. 4. 60

    ffor the Regulating and Setting the charge of ᵱsecution of Hue & cryes. Its ordered that what shall arise by occasion of escape from the Countries prison or flight from Authoritie to Avoide the Same shall be payed by the Treasurer of the Countrey And such as arise by fleeing from any of our Countie prisons or to escape any of them shall be defrayed by the treasurer of that Countie wher the occasion arise And such ᵱsons as ᵱcure Hue & cryes vpon thier own ᵱticular occasion shall beare all the charge ariseing there from ᵱvoided due accounts be made by such as demand paye

    The Deputies haue past this in refference to ye Consent of or Honord Magistrates

    Thomas Savage speaker

    Consented to by ye magists

    Edw. Rawson Secret.”

    [Endorsed] “ᵱsecution of

    Hue & Cryes

    ᵱ Curiam


    This appears set out in the Records of the General Court, where, however, the marginal date is given 30 May 1660.41

    There was a case of Hue and Cry in the frontier towns, along the border of Maine, in the year 1655. A group of five papers has outlived the accidents and exposures of two hundred and fifty years and is now among the Suffolk Court Files. Though evidently only a portion of what once made up the case, they are enough to tell the story, to show what the proceeding was in those days, and to illustrate some incidents that belonged to the process from its first regulation by the laws of England.

    The case, briefly stated, was this:—a supposed murder, a suspected perpetrator, an application to the magistrates thereupon, the levy by them of a Hue and Cry, the action under it, the supposed victim later turning up alive, the aggrieved suspect seeking redress, the suit against the offending magistrate, the magistrate, in fear of the issue at law, turning for relief to the Great and General Court—and not in vain.

    The five papers, which are to be looked to for the life and color of the account, comprise the original Petition of the Magistrate, addressed to the General Court, which, though latest in date, comes logically first in its succinct presentation of the whole case, and four other original papers, evidently used at that hearing. In the cold, expressionless monotony of a copy, however literal and exact, there is lacking all the impressive suggestion which the originals convey. There is expression on the very face of the originals. In the distinctive chirography, the individualities of style, the quaint phraseology, and the vagaries of spelling, the actors in the drama seem projected before us. Some curious little touches of human nature come out in the simple, straightforward narrative, so wholly devoid of legal formality and precision. None of these papers appear in the Colony Records, where, as is usual in such matters, only the final action of the General Court upon the subject is compactly given in the official account. All the papers, however, bear the endorsement of “Entered,” and the attestation of the respective officials,—William Torrey, Clerk of the Deputies, and Edward Rawson, Secretary of the Magistrates, each in his own handwriting.

    The first paper—a somewhat pathetic appeal of a country magistrate, frightened by the unexpected operation of the engine he has set in motion, in which he gives the story of what he did and why he did it, claiming that, although but an humble “Commissioner to end small causes,” he was for the time being the vicegerent of the Government, and that its authority and majesty were assailed in his person—is the Petition or Complaint:—


    “To ye honored Generall Court assembled at Boston

    The Complaint of Richard Hitchcock of Sacoe

    Whereas yor complainant was chosen & sworne a Commissioner42 to end small causes &c. in that place according to yor lawe there came unto me & Robert Booth my fellow Com̃issionr for a huy & cry; one Thomas Redding to search after Thomas warner vpon suspiction of murthering the sonne of ye said Redding. which according to our Trust in our place (we conceive) we did grant Notwithstanding the said warner hath arrested me to answere his accon at next County Court here at Boston about this business which yor Complainant conceives to be altogether illegall & dishonrble to yor worpps Authority & greatly to our damage dwelling soe farr off from this place.

    My humble request is that yor worps wilbe pleased to heare ye case & soe shall I not doubt of your righteous & speedy ending thereof.

    the mark of


    Richard Hitchcock43

    Consented to

    by the deputyes

    Wm. Torrey Cleric

    The Magists haue grannted the peticoners Request viz a hearing of ye cause yt warner haue notice thereof wth all speed [if] theire bretheren the deputs Consent hereto.

    Edw. Rawson Secret.”

    [Endorsed] “Hichcocks peticon

    ᵱ Curiam


    The second paper is the Deposition of the Constable to whom the Hue and Cry was issued, curiously combining in effect a return, an apology, and an advertisement:—


    “Where as [Joh]n bush A Constabl[e] [of] Wells Receiued a Hue and C[ry] under the hands of [Robert] Booth & Rich: Hith[cock] Commissioners[s] [of] Saco for the Apprehending the body of Tho: Warriner45 in susspicion of Murder, I the aboue said John Bush46 hauing just intelligance that it was wrongfully sent forth, and upon that the Hue and Cry stop in my hands and therefore I wth the Rest of our Neaghbours doth Apprehend that Tho: Warriner was very much damnifyed and discredited soe I leaue wth my best Respects to them whome this may Conserne I rest

    Yours at command in any

    service John Bush

    Consta: of wells

    Wells this 29th of

    first in 55


    Joseph Bolles Cler [of the writs]”47

    [Endorsed] “Jno Bush

    Constable of

    Wells &c.”

    The next paper is the Certificate of the other magistrate who joined with Hitchcock in issuing the Hue and Cry and who, or later developments, became somewhat apprehensive about his connection with the affair:—48


    “When tiddings came to me that Thomas Redings sonn was a liue I went to Richard Hichkox on porpos to haue better securytie about ye hut & cry he had procured of vs and Hichkox maid small account of my motion & said Mr Thomas Kimble & John Lauranc will certifie it at Boston & ther needs no more truble this doe I testifie for a truth

    Robt Booth Comis

    [Endorsed] “Booths Certifficn

    The fourth paper is a Certificate or Deposition of the man whose son was supposed to have been murdered and who made the demand for the process:—


    “Know all men yt I Thomas Reding49 and Ellen his wife coming to Rich Hichkox for a hue and cry in ye case of my sonn I said can goodman Booth do it by him selfe Hichkox said bid him set my hand to it for I haue giuen him order so to doe for murther must not be hid

    June 16: 55


    Robertt White

    John fandergoe


    Then follow the Depositions of John West and his wife, apparently two of the neighbors:—


    “The deposision of John West50 8 month 11: day 1655 this deponent saith yt he hard Ellen Reding say diuers tims; yt hir husband Thomas Reding should not haue gott a hue & Cry of Booth but yt Richard Hichkox stood his friend & further this deponent saith not

    Edie ye wife of John west affirmeth to the same aboue writen upon hir oath.”

    taken before me

    Robt Booth Comisioner

    [Endorsed] “Jno wests


    At the sitting begun 24 October, 1655, the General Court granted a hearing to the Petitioner with this result:—

    “In answer to the petic͠on of Mr Richard Hitchcocke, after the Courte had fully hearde the case betweene him & Thomas Warner, the Court determined, that notwithstanding what evidenc Thomas Warner produced in the case, the sajd Hitchcocke was free from blame in graunting the hue & cry, and that he should be allowed thirty shillings costs by the sajd Warner.”51

    While absolving the Magistrate, the Court also made some compensation to the sufferer, as appears by the order of 13 November, 1655:—

    “The Court, on a full hearing of the case of Thomas Warner in reference to his suffering by imprisonment for suspition of murder, doe judg meete to order, that he be allowed five pounds out of the com̃on tresury, and referr him to make his full reparation on Thõ Redding, yt accused him.”52

    In the course of this hearing, Warner seems to have got into some difficulty with the Deputy-Governor, as appears by this entry in the Records:—

    “Thomas Warner acknowledged before the whole Courte, mett together, that he had wrongfully charged the honnored Deputy Goũnor in saying the letter he had produced was not the letter he com̃itted him to prison by, for which he was sorry. The Court accepted his acknowledgment.”53

    Thus the case concluded, apparently to the satisfaction of all parties, except, possibly, Thomas Reading, the unfortunate source of all the trouble, who, moved, perhaps, alike by parental affection and a desire to see the law of the land carried out, had instigated the proceeding.

    A recognition of the existence of this process under the law in the early days of the Province appears also in 1692–3, in an Act in which, among the powers given to Justices of the Peace, is that to “make out hue and crys after runaway servants, thiefs and other criminals.”54

    Here, as in England, this old process, barbarous and instinctive in its origin, savage, though effective, in its later estate, systematized and transformed by statute, has long been obsolete. Occasionally, however, even to-day, an offshoot or an illegitimate descendant may be found, with all the original severity unmitigated, and with even exaggerated barbarity, claiming some justification where law may be in abeyance or powerless, and, possibly, offering some show of defence or excuse where perverted legal ingenuity is expected to defeat deserved conviction, or weak commiseration to frustrate the execution of justice under law.

    Messrs. Charles Knowles Bolton of Brookline, Arthur Theodore Lyman of Waltham, and James Lyman Whitney of Cambridge, were elected Resident Members; and the Hon. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, LL.D., of Brunswick, Maine, Franklin Bowditch Dexter, A.M., of New Haven, Connecticut, and the Hon. John Andrew Peters, LL.D., of Bangor, Maine, Corresponding Members.