James Madison Papers

Act concerning the Appointment of Sheriffs, [28 December] 1784

Act Concerning the Appointment of Sheriffs

[28 December 1784]

Be it enacted by the General Assembly that if the Justices of the peace for any County within This CommonWealth shall fail to nominate persons for Sheriff according to the periods prescribed by Law every Justice so neglecting his Duty shall forfeit and pay the sum of   pounds & more over shall be subject to be displaced by the Governor & Council. If any person hereafter to be appointed Sheriff of any County shall fail to give Bond in   months after his appointment the Clerk of the Court shall within one month thereafter transmit to the Governor for the time being a certificate of such neglect or failure under the penalty of   pounds. If any person hereafter to be nominated Sheriff of a County shall fail to make application to the Governor for a Commission within   month after such nomination the Governor with the advice of the Council shall and may commission any Justice of the Peace of the said County to be Sheriff of the same.

And be it farther enacted that no under Sheriff shall continue in Office more than two Years.1

Ms (Vi). The first sentence is in JM’s hand, the remainder in a clerk’s. Docketed by a clerk with the title and dates of various readings.

1This sentence was deleted in the final version of the measure. Instead a section was added to relieve sheriffs from damage suits for failing to collect the 1783 taxes owing to “the scarcity of money and other circumstances.” The amendments are on two pages accompanying the main manuscript. JM was on the drafting committee appointed 7 Dec. to prepare the bill. The legislation was introduced on 28 Dec., turned over to the Committee for Courts of Justice the next day, and finally passed 31 Dec. (JHDV description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia; Begun and Held at the Capitol, in the City of Williamsburg. Beginning in 1780, the portion after the semicolon reads, Begun and Held in the Town of Richmond. In the County of Henrico. The journal for each session has its own title page and is individually paginated. The edition used is the one in which the journals for 1777–1786 are brought together in two volumes, with each journal published in Richmond in either 1827 or 1828 and often called the “Thomas W. White reprint.” description ends , Oct. 1784, pp. 60, 84, 92, 96, 98; Hening, Statutes description begins William Waller Hening, ed., The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619 (13 vols.; Richmond and Philadelphia, 1819–23). description ends , XI, 463).

Index Entries