Civil Government of Virginia
by William F. Fox
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7. Define judiciary.

8. Define judicial station.

9. What is a session of court?

10. Define jurisdiction.

11. What is appellate jurisdiction?

12. What is the principal business of the Supreme Court of Appeals?

13. What is a lower court?

14. What is a client?

15. When and how may an appeal be made from the judgment of the Supreme Court of Appeals?

16. In what other cases besides appeals has the Supreme Court jurisdiction?

17. Define habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, and writ.

18. What are the cases in which the Supreme Court has no jurisdiction?

19. What are costs?

20. Define title of land, and title deed.

21. What is meant by probating a will?

22. What is a will?

23. What is a personal representative?

24. What is a guardian?

25. What is a committee?

26. Define curator and levy.

27. What is meant by the constitutionality of a law?

28. How many judicial circuits are there?

29. Where must a circuit court judge reside?

30. Is a circuit court judge permitted to practice law?

31. What are the salaries of circuit court judges?

32. What are their qualifications?

33. What are the terms of circuit courts?

34. What does a term of court mean?

35. What is the meaning of the word court?

86. Name some of the kinds of cases in which the circuit courts have jurisdiction.

37. What do you understand by original jurisdiction and general jurisdiction?

38. Define chancery, personal property, and real estate.

39. What is a criminal case?

40. What is a writ of error?

41. What is a supersedeas?

42. Define quo warranto.

43. What is a certiorari?

44. Define trustee and receiver.

45. What are commissioners in chancery?

46. What are testamentary cases?

47. Define testament.

48. What is an injunction?

49. What are the powers of the Circuit Court of the City of Richmond?

50. What is a lawsuit?

51. What is a cause?

52. What is a motion?

53. Define cognizable, party to a suit, plantiff, defendant.



Corporation or Hustings Courts.

Held in each city of the first-class by the city judge. Judge elected by the General Assembly in joint session for a term of eight years. Salary, not less than 12,000 $.

Qualifications of a judge. Same as those of judges of the Supreme Court of Appeals.

Terms. Held monthly, except that the July or August term may be omitted.

Jurisdiction. Within the territorial limits of the city, same as circuit courts have in the counties. Concurrently with the circuit courts they have jurisdiction over all offences committed in any county within one mile of the corporate limits of the city.

Corporation courts, or city courts, are courts whose jurisdiction lies within corporations or cities, and the judges are called city judges.

There is a corporation court in each city of the first class, and also in all cities of the second class in which it has not been by special election or otherwise merged into the circuit court. The Hustings Court of the city of Richmond has a peculiar and limited jurisdiction which is explained later in this chapter.

The city judges hold office for eight years. Their salaries in cities of the first class are fixed or specially provided by law at not less than $2,000, but any city may increase such salary, but such increase shall be paid entirely by the city.

Every city judge must hold a term or session every month except July or August, in either of which the court term may be omitted— that is, not held.

Cities of the first class are such as contain more than 10,000 inhabitants. All other cities are termed cities of the second class.

The Constitution requires the maintenance of city or corporation courts in all cities of the first class, but provides for the discontinuance of independent city courts in all cities of the second class whenever the people vote in favor of their abolition.

Upon the abolition of the corporation court in any city of the second class, the circuit courts of the circuit in which the city is located will arrange to hold regular terms in such city the same as in cities of the first class.

Within their respective limits—that is, each in its own city— the corporation courts have the same jurisdiction as the circuit courts. This means that they have power to try the same kind of offences as may be tried in the circuit courts.


Held by a justice of the peace; in the cities, by the mayor or police justice.

The judge who sits in & justice's court is called a justice of the peace, or simply a justice, and sometimes a police justice. Justices' courts and police courts are the courts in which generally all offences and cases not of a serious nature are tried and disposed of. (See under Justices of the Peace and under Magisterial Districts. For mayor, see under Government of Cities and Towns.)

Jurisdiction. Debt, exclusive of interest, not exceeding $100; fines, damages, etc., not exceeding $20; have jurisdiction of certain cases of unlawful entry and detainer, detinue, and search; may allow bail in certain cases. Shall have concurrent jurisdiction with the County and Corporation Courts of the State in all cases of violations of the revenue laws of the State and of offences arising under certain provisions of the Code, and exclusive original jurisdiction for the trial of all other misdemeanor cases occurring within their jurisdiction.

A person charged with refusing to pay a debt may be brought before a justice's court if the debt, without interest, is not greater than $100, and the justice has power to decide the case. He has also power to try cases in which offenders may be punished by having to pay fines or damages of not more than $20.

DAMAGES means money paid to compensate for the injury or DAMAGE done to any person or person's property.

UNLAWFUL ENTRY is entering unlawfully upon lands belonging to another, and UNLAWFUL DETAINER means unlawful detaining or holding possession of lands or houses belonging to another.

DETINUE is an action in law in which a person seeks to get back property of his which is unlawfully held or DETAINED by another. In such cases the justice may issue a warrant for SEARCH for the property detained.

A WARRANT is a document or paper issued by a judge giving power or authority to a policeman, or other officer of the law, to arrest a criminal, or an offender, in order to have him brought to trial. A warrant issued authorizing an officer to search for property stolen or detained, is called a SEARCH WARRANT. BAIL is security given for the release of a person from prison. When a person is arrested and charged with a crime he may, if the crime be not a very serious one, be let out of prison and left at liberty until trial, if some one will give security or pledge for him that he will appear in court on the day appointed for the trial. If the amount required is small, the security is usually given in the shape of money, but if the amount is large, it is given in the shape of a bond called a BAIL-BOND.

The person giving the bail-bond must be one who owns real estate to the value of the amount of bail, and if the person to be tried does not appear for trial at the time appointed, the person who gives the bond may be required to pay the amount into court.

CONCURRENT jurisdiction is the same or equal jurisdiction. REVENUE is the income or money which the State or corporation receives in the shape of taxes. TAXES are the moneys collected by the State or by towns or cities for defraying the expenses of government. The owners of certain kinds of property have to pay taxes in proportion to the value of their property.

VIOLATION OF THE REVENUE LAWS is a violation of any of the laws made for the levying and collection of taxes. There is a tax upon the selling of certain articles, such as liquors and tobacco, and if a person sells such articles without paying the tax, it is a violation of the revenue laws.

A CODE is a collection of the laws of the State or country. The Code of Virginia is a book containing the statute laws of Virginia. A MISDEMEANOR is any crime less than a felony. (For FELONY, see page 13.)

Hustings Court of the City of Richmond.

Judge elected by the General Assembly for a term of eight years. Salary, $3,500.

Qualifications. Same as those of a Circuit Judge. Terms. Held monthly except the month of August.

HUSTINGS is the name given to a court formerly held in many cities of England, and applied specially to a court held within the City of London before the Lord Mayor and other magistrates.

Jurisdiction. Exclusive original jurisdiction of all presentments, indictments, and informations for offences committed within the corporate limits (except prosecutions against convicts in the penitentiary); concurrent jurisdiction of all presentments, indictments, and informations for offences committed within the space of one mile beyond the corporate limits on the north side of the James River, and to low-water mark on the south side of James River; concurrent jurisdiction with the Circuit Court of the City of Richmond of actions of forcible or unlawful entry and detainer; exclusive jurisdiction of all appeals from the judgments of the Police Justice's Court, all causes removable from said court, all proceedings for the condemnation of land or property for public use, all motions to correct erroneous assessments.

CORPORATE LIMITS are the limits or boundaries of the area over which the corporation has jurisdiction. Here the phrase means the boundaries of the city of Richmond.

PROSECUTIONS AGAINST CONVICTS are prosecutions against convicts (prisoners) for crimes committed within the prison. All such crimes are tried in the circuit court of the city of Richmond.

CAUSES REMOVABLE FROM SAID COURT (police justice's court) are cases that may at the request of the parties concerned be taken out of that court and tried in another court.

The CONDEMNATION of land or property for public use means the deciding by a proper authority (a court or judge) that certain lands must be given for such use. (See page 12.)

An ASSESSMENT is the valuing of property for the purpose of fixing a tax upon it. If any owner of property in Richmond thinks the valuation of his property too high, and that therefore the tax is too high, he may object to the assessment as ERRONEOUS and have a motion brought before the Hustings Court to have the assessment CORRECTED.

Chancery Court of the City of Richmond.

Judge elected by the General Assembly for term of eight years. Salary, $3,500.

Qualifications. Same as those of a Circuit Judge.

Terms. Shall hold four terms each year; but shall always be open as a Court of Probate.

For explanation of CHANCERY, see page 50, and for PROBATE, see page 48.

Jurisdiction. Shall exercise, within the corporate limits, exclusive jurisdiction concerning the probate and recordation of wills, the appointment, qualification, and removal of fiduciaries, and the settlement of their accounts; the docketing of judgments; the recordation of deeds and such other papers as are authorized or required by law to be recorded; exclusive jurisdiction of all suits and proceedings in chancery cognizable by law in the Circuit Courts of the Commonwealth, except such as are specially cognizable by the Circuit Court of the City of Richmond, and any duty devolved, or any power or jurisdiction conferred by law on the Circuit Courts, unless otherwise expressly provided, except as to matters of common law and criminal jurisdiction.

The RECORDATION of wills is the recording of them in the court in which they are probated. (For PROBATE OF WILLS, see page 48.) FIDUCIARIES are trustees or persons appointed to hold property in trust for others. The DOCKETING OF JUDGMENTS is making summaries or brief statements of them for the purpose of record. A docket is a small piece of paper containing the heads or principal points of any writing or statement.

A JUDGMENT is a sentence or decision pronounced by a court, or a judge of a court, on any matter tried before it. A DEED is a written paper containing the terms of a contract, or the transfer of real estate by the owner to a purchaser. DEVOLVED means transferred from one person to another.

COMMON LAW is the title given to laws which have not originated in any statute, but derive their force and authority from having been in use for many centuries. The common law of England, upon which the common law of Virginia is based, includes customs of the people of such long standing that the courts took notice of them and gave them the force of law. Common law is the UNWRITTEN law; statute law consists of the laws enacted and recorded by legislatures.

Law and Equity Court of the City of Richmond.

Judge elected by the General Assembly for a term of eight years. Salary, $3,500.

Qualifications. Same as those of a Circuit Judge. Terms. Shall hold four terms each year, beginning the second Monday in February, May, September, and December, continuing as long as the business of the Court may require.

For EQUITY, see under Circuit Courts, page 50.

Jurisdiction. Shall exercise within the corporate limits original jurisdiction concurrent with the Chancery Court (except as to the probate and record of wills; the appointment and qualification of fiduciaries; the EX PARTE settlement of their accounts; the record of deeds and other papers authorized or required by law to be recorded). Shall have within the same limits original jurisdiction concurrent with the Circuit Court, except all such suits, motions, etc., as are specially cognizable by said Court;—has the same power as to bail, injunctions, etc., as the Circuit Court, and appeals from its decrees and judgments shall be taken and allowed as if from a Circuit Court. This Court has no criminal jurisdiction.

EX PARTE is a Latin phrase signifying from or on one side only. An ex parte hearing in court would be a hearing taken by one side or party in the absence of the other. An EX PARTE SETTLEMENT is settlement made on the application of one party without notice to the other.


1. Where are corporation courts held?

2. What is the term of office of a corporation's court judge, and what salary does he receive?

3. What are the qualifications of a corporation's court judge?

4. How often are corporation courts held?

5. What is the jurisdiction of these courts?

6. How long do city judges hold office, and what salaries do they receive?

7. What does within their respective limits mean?

8. What is the judge who sits in a justice's court called?

9. What is the jurisdiction of justices' courts?

10. Define DAMAGES.


12. What does unlawful detainer mean?

13. Define DETINUE.


15. What is a bail-bond?

16. What is concurrent jurisdiction?

17. What is revenue?

18. Define TARIFF.

19. What is the code?

20. What is a misdemeanor?

21. How long is the term of office of the judge of the Hustings Court of the City of Richmond, and what salary does he receive?

22. What are the qualifications of the judge of the Hustings Court?

23. How often are terms of this court held?

24. What are corporate limits?

25. What do you understand by prosecutions against convicts in the penitentiary?

26. What does condemnation of land mean?

27. What is an assessment?

28. What does correcting erroneous assessments mean?

29. For how long does the judge of the Chancery Court of the City of Richmond hold office, and what salary does he receive?

30. What are the qualifications of the judge of this court?

31. How often does the court meet?

32. Mention some classes of cases in which the Chancery Court has jurisdiction.

33. What does the recordation of wills mean?

34. What are fiduciaries?

35. What does docketing of judgments mean?

36. Define JUDGMENT.

37. What is common law?

38. For how long does a judge of the Law and Equity Court of the City of Richmond hold office, and what is his salary?

39. What are the qualifications of a judge of this court?

40. How often and for how long does the Equity Court sit?

41. Tell of the jurisdiction of this court.

42. What does ex parte mean?

43. What is an ex parte settlement?




In all Justices' Courts, the justices are required to make and preserve their own dockets. The Clerk of the Court of Appeals is appointed by the court; the Clerks of the Circuit and Corporation Courts are elected by the people of the county or corporation in which the court is held. They hold office for a term of eight years. Salary, fees and special allowances.

Duties. Shall record the proceedings of their respective courts and issue writs in their name; shall be the custodians of all papers lawfully returned to or filed in the Clerk's office; shall perform such other duties as are imposed upon them by law.

The Tipstaff and Crier are the executive officers of the Court of Appeals.

For meaning of DOCKET, see under Chancery Court of the City of Richmond. DOCKETS here mean entries in a book giving lists of names of persons connected with the cases tried, and particulars of the proceedings in each case. In justices' courts such dockets are made and kept by the justice himself.

The clerks of the courts mentioned have no salaries. They are paid by fees and special allowances. For example, when a clerk of court makes out a writ or bond or a copy of any court document, he gets a fee for doing it. (See under Secretary of the Commonwealth, page 32.) A special allowance is an allowance (or a grant of money) made by the court for special work done.

The TIPSTAFF and CRIER are executive officers of the Court of Appeals—that is, they execute or carry out certain orders of the court. In some places a sheriff's officer is called a tipstaff, the name being derived from the custom of such officers bearing a STAFF TIPPED with metal.

Criers sometimes are appointed for other courts besides the Court of Appeals. The name is derived from the practice of proclaiming or CRYING out in court the commands or orders of the judge.


The Sheriff is the executive officer of the Circuit Court, and of the Circuit and Chancery Courts of the city of Richmond; the City Sergeant is the executive officer of the Corporation Courts and Circuit Courts held for cities, and the Hustings Court for the city of Richmond; the Constable is the executive officer of the Justice's Court.

Though the sheriff is an officer of the courts, he is more particularly a county officer. His principal duties will, therefore, be found set forth and explained under County Officers (see page 74). The city sergeant is also a court officer, but his duties are limited to cities. They are stated and explained under Government of Cities and Towns. The duties of the constable, who is a magisterial district officer, are explained under District Organization.

Commonwealth's Attorney.

Elected by the people at the general election in November for a term of four years; must reside in the county or corporation for which he is elected; shall hold no other elective office. Salary, allowance by the Board of Supervisors and fees.

Duties. Gives legal advice to the county and district officers, and prosecutes criminals in the Circuit and Corporation Courts.

For Board of Supervisors, see page 82.

LEGAL ADVICE is advice on matters of law. The commonwealth's attorney prosecutes criminals—that is, he attends in court and makes the charge, or states the case, and examines witnesses, against persons charged with crime.

A WITNESS is a person who tells on oath, in answer to questions, what he knows about the crime charged against the accused, or about the facts in a civil case or process. (See civil process and perjury, page 21.)


Must hold license granted by any three or more judges of the Supreme Court of Appeals acting together under such rules and regulations and upon such examination both as to learning and character as may be prescribed by the said Court; must be a male citizen over the age of twenty-one years; must have resided in the State six months preceding application for a license; and must qualify before the Court in which he proposes to practice.

An ATTORNEY-AT-LAW is a person legally qualified and licensed to act as attorney. A person not a lawyer might be called an attorney if appointed to do any business on behalf of another, but to be an attorney-at law a person must be qualified as stated in the text. (See under Attorney-General, page 29.) A LICENSE is a permission to perform certain acts. It is usually in writing, and is issued by persons having legal authority to do so.

An attorney-at-law must QUALIFY before the court in which he wishes to practice. This means that he must produce evidence that he is legally licensed, that he must take an oath that he will perform his duties as an attorney, and also that he must take an oath that he will be faithful to the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Who May Practice Law in Virginia.

Any person duly authorized and practicing as Counsel or Attorney- at-Law in any State or Territory of the United

States, or in the District of Columbia; but if he resides in Virginia he must pay the prescribed license fee.

DULY AUTHORIZED means having received the proper license, and having qualified. PRESCRIBED LICENSE FEE is a certain fee or charge for the issuing of a license to practice in Virginia.


Drawn by lot from a list of those well qualified to serve as jurors, furnished by the Judge of the Circuit or Corporation Courts. The list shall contain not less than one hundred nor more than three hundred names.

All male citizens over twenty-one years of age who have been residents of the State for two years, and of the county, city, or town in which they reside for one year next preceding their being summoned to serve as such and competent in other respects, are WELL QUALIFIED to SERVE as jurors within the State. But certain persons are disqualified as not competent, such as idiots, lunatics, and persons convicted of bribery, perjury, embezzlement of public funds, treason, felony or petit larceny.

Certain public officers and persons belonging to certain professions are exempt from jury service. The governor, the lieutenant-governor, postmasters, practicing physicians (doctors), and many others, are exempt from the duty of serving on juries.

Juries in civil and misdemeanor cases are chosen by lot. Once every year the judge of each circuit and corporation court makes out a list containing the names of not less than one hundred and not more than three hundred persons resident in the county or corporation and well qualified to serve as jurors. These names are written on slips of paper or ballots (each name on a separate ballot) and the ballots, after being folded so that the names may not be seen, are put into a box kept for the purpose by the clerk of the court.

Ten days before any term of a court at which a jury may be required, the clerk draws sixteen ballots from the box, without looking at the names until they are all drawn out. The persons whose names are thus drawn are summoned to attend at the term of court. Should more than sixteen be required, more are summoned, and on the day they attend the court their names are written on ballots and placed in a box, and from them the juries for the trial of cases are drawn in the manner already stated. This is what is called choosing or selecting BY LOT, the word lot meaning chance. It is considered the fairest way of forming a jury.

If jurors were appointed instead of being selected by lot, persons having prejudice or ill feeling against one of the parties in the case might be put on the jury, and the verdict rendered by such jury might be a very unjust one. But when the selection is by lot nobody knows who is to be on it, and so it is equally fair to both sides.

The number of persons on a jury is usually twelve, but in a civil case, if both parties consent, there may be a jury of only seven; or, the case may be tried and decided by a jury of three persons, one selected by each of the two parties to the suit, and the third by the other two; or, by the judge without a jury.

For juries in cases of felony the names of twenty persons residing at a distance from the place where the crime or offence is said to have been committed are taken from a list furnished by the circuit or the corporation court. Those twenty are summoned to attend the court, and from them a jury panel of sixteen is selected. The accused person may, without giving any reason, object to, or strike off, any four of the sixteen, and the remaining twelve will be the jury to try the case.

If the accused does not strike off any, or strikes off less than four, a jury of twelve is selected from the panel by lot. The attorney for the commonwealth—that is, the attorney who prosecutes the accused—may CHALLENGE—that is, object to—a juror, but he must assign a reason for his objection, and if the judge decides in favor of his objection, the person challenged is not put on the jury. A panel is a list of persons summoned to serve as jurors.

To SUMMON is to call or notify a person or persons to appear in court. A person who is summoned to attend as a juror and who, without sufficient reason, fails or neglects to do so, may be punished by a fine of not less than five nor more than twenty dollars.

Persons summoned as jurors are entitled to receive one dollar per day for service on a jury, and mileage at the rate of four cents per mile travelled in going to and returning from court. (Further explanation as to the duties of juries will be found under Petit Jury, page 71.)

Grand Jury.

Consists of not less than nine nor more than twelve persons taken from a list of forty-eight selected by the Judge of the Circuit or Corporation Court from the qualified jurors of the county or city in which his Court is held. A Special Grand Jury shall consist of not less than six nor more than nine persons.

The principal duties of the GRAND JURY are mentioned under Circuit Courts, page 55. The law requires that "the grand jury shall inquire of and present all felonies, misdemeanors, and violations of penal [criminal] laws committed within the jurisdiction of the respective courts wherein they are sworn."

To PRESENT is to make a statement or PRESENTMENT to the court as explained on page 55. Every grand jury has a chairman or speaker, who is appointed by the court and is called the FOREMAN. The foreman is required to take an oath or swear that he will "present no person through prejudice or ill-will, nor leave any unpresented through fear or favor," but that in all presentments he "shall present the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth."

In this way the foreman is SWORN, and the other grand jurors must swear that they will "observe and keep" the same oath taken by the foreman. An oath is a solemn statement or declaration with an appeal to God, or calling God to witness that what is stated is true or that the person shall tell the truth.

Witnesses before giving evidence in courts at the trial of a case must make oath or swear to "tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth." While the witness is repeating the words of the oath he holds a Bible or Testament in his hand, and kisses it when he has repeated the words.

There are two kinds of grand juries—regular and special. There is a regular grand jury at two terms in each year, of the circuit, corporation, or hustings court. But a grand jury may be ordered by a circuit, corporation, or hustings court at any time there may be special or urgent need for it, and such grand jury is called a SPECIAL grand jury.

Grand jurors are entitled to the same compensation and mileage as petit jurors (see next section).

Petit Jury.

Consists of twelve members.

Duties. Hear evidence before the court in civil and criminal cases and render a verdict according to the law and evidence.

The PETIT JURY is the jury impanelled—that is, put on a panel or list—to try cases in court. How such a jury is formed is stated under Juries (see page 68). Petit jurors, like grand jurors, must take an oath to do their duty honestly. (The word jury is derived from the Latin word jurare, which means to swear.)

It is the duty of the petit jury to hear the evidence in the case it is to try, and to give a verdict in accordance with that evidence. If the evidence presented before the court proves the accused to be guilty, the jury must give a verdict of "guilty"; if the evidence is not sufficient to show that he is guilty, they must give a verdict of "not guilty." (For verdict, see page 11.)

The verdict of the jury must also be ACCORDING TO LAW. This means that the jury must give heed to the law of the case as explained by the judge. Evidence might be offered which would not be lawful. It is the duty of the judge to decide whether evidence is lawful or not, and if he decides that any evidence is illegal or unlawful, then the jury must not pay any regard to it in considering their verdict.


1. By whom are court clerks appointed or elected, and for how long do they hold office?

2. How are court clerks paid? 8. What are the duties of court clerks?

4. What are dockets?

5. What are the tipstaff and crier, and what are their duties?

6. How is the commonwealth's attorney chosen, and for how long?

7. Where must the commonwealth's attorney reside, and how is he paid?

8. What are his duties?

9. What is LEGAL ADVICE?

10. What does prosecuting criminals mean?

11. What is a WITNESS?

12. What are the qualifications of an attorney-at-law?

13. Define LICENSE and QUALIFY.

14. Who may practice law in Virginia?


16. What are the qualifications of jurors?

17. What classes of persons are exempt from jury service?

18. How are juries in civil and misdemeanor cases chosen?

19. Describe the system of choosing or selecting by lot.

20. How many persons constitute a jury?

21. How are juries in cases of felony chosen?

22. What do you understand by CHALLENGING a juror?

23. What does SUMMON mean?

24. What does a grand jury consist of?

25. What is a special grand jury?

26. What are the duties of grand jurors?

27. What does PRESENT mean?

28. What is the duty of the foreman of the grand jury?

29. What is an oath?

30. How many kinds of grand juries are there?

31. What is the compensation of grand jurors?

32. What does a PETIT JURY consist of?

33. What are the duties of a petit jury?

34. What do you understand by rendering a verdict according to the law and evidence?




Organized by the General Assembly under the provisions of the Constitution.

Objects. Convenience in administering justice and transacting local business.

Each county shall maintain at the county seat a court-house, clerk's office, and jail.

Counties are organized—that is, formed and invested with powers of government—by the General Assembly. The Assembly may form new counties out of other counties or parts of other counties, but the Constitution of Virginia directs that "no new county shall be formed with an area of less than six hundred square miles," and that the county or counties from which a new one is formed shall not be reduced below an area of six hundred square miles.

The convenience of having the State divided into counties may easily be seen. If there were no counties most of the people would have to go long distances to the State capital in order to have important business attended to. County organization brings the advantages of government and the administration of justice nearer the homes of all the people.

The COUNTY SEAT is the chief town of the county, where the public business of the county is chiefly transacted. The court-house is the building in which judges sit for the trial of cases. The jail of the county is the prison in which persons convicted of minor (trifling) offences are detained for punishment, and in which persons charged with serious crimes are held in custody until trial. Persons after trial and conviction for serious crimes are sent to the penitentiary.


They are the executive officers under the authority of the laws of the State.


Elected by the people for four years. Salary, allowance by the Board of Supervisors and fees.

Duties. Appoints his deputies; makes arrests; serves notices; collects fines; calls for troops in time of danger; executes any order, warrant, or process, lawfully directed to him, within his own county, or upon any bay, river, or creek adjoining thereto; levies on property and sells to satisfy order of court; attends the sittings of Circuit Courts; attends the meetings of the Board of Supervisors, and performs such duties as may be necessary for the proper despatch of business; must not practice law in any court of which he is an officer; cannot hold any other elective office; must give notice of violations of penal laws.

The salary or allowance for sheriffs is not the same in all counties, but varies according to the number of the population. It is paid by the Board of Supervisors. (For Board of Supervisors, see page 82.)

The sheriff may appoint deputies or assistants to help him in his duties, which are numerous and important. He is the principal executive officer of the county. It is his business to execute the judgments of the courts. If a person is sentenced to death, it is the sheriff who must make and direct the arrangements for carrying out the sentence.

A SENTENCE (in law) is the judgment, or declaration of punishment, pronounced by a judge upon a criminal after being found guilty. The sheriff must arrest and convey to prison any person or persons who have committed crime. He must serve legal notices, such as notices of decrees or judgments to be given against parties in cases of action for debt. He must collect fines that are not paid in court.

An important duty of the sheriff is to suppress riots or public disturbances, and if he finds that he and his officers are unable to do so, he may call upon the governor for troops (soldiers) to assist him. In such case the governor may send State militia to suppress the disturbance. The sheriff has charge or control of the county jail and the prisoners confined in it, and he must protect the prison and prisoners against violence or attack by mobs.

The sheriff must carry out any order or warrant or process of the courts. A PROCESS is a summons or notice requiring a person to appear in court on a certain day to answer a charge to be made against him. If a court gives judgment against a person for debt or fine or taxes not paid, the sheriff LEVIES on the property of the person—that is, he takes or seizes it—and sells it to satisfy or execute the order of court.

It is also the duty of the sheriff to give notice to the attorney for the commonwealth of any crime (violation of penal laws) of which he may have knowledge. The sheriff cannot hold any other elective office—that is, an office to which a person is elected— and he cannot act as a lawyer in any court for which he does duty as sheriff.

Commonwealth's Attorney.

See under Officers of Courts.

County Clerk.

Also Clerk of the Circuit Court elected by the people for term of eight years.

Duties. See under Officers of Courts.

A clerk of the county or a clerk of a court is an officer who does writing of various kinds, such as keeping records of public business, records of court proceedings, making out writs or bonds, or copies of court papers or documents. Many of the duties of clerks of counties and courts are mentioned in previous sections.


Elected by the people for four years. Salary, commissions.

Duties. Shall receive the State revenues and the county (or city) levies, and account for and pay over the same as provided by law; shall keep his office at the county seat; shall receive taxes from July 1st to December 1st; after that add five per cent. and collect; shall settle with the Auditor of Public Accounts by December 15th, final settlement June 15th; may be required to make monthly settlements; in cities of Richmond, Lynchburg, and Petersburg, shall make weekly settlements; may distrain for taxes; shall post delinquent list; must reside in the county; shall not hold any other elective office; shall not own any warrant against the county or city; shall not lend out any public money, or use it for any purpose other than such as is provided by law; shall report violations of the revenue laws. Must reside in the county or city for which he is elected.

The STATE REVENUES are the taxes received for the State; the COUNTY LEVIES are the taxes levied—that is, raised or collected— for county purposes. These moneys the State treasurer must pay over as the law provides—that is, directs. The money collected for the county he must pay out for various public purposes relating to the county, but before making such payments he must have a warrant (written authority to pay) from the Board of Supervisors. The money he receives for the State he must pay to the auditor of public accounts.

The time for the receiving of taxes is from July 1st to December 1st each year. An addition of five per cent. is made to taxes not paid by the latter date. The treasurer must SETTLE with the auditor by December 15th—that is, he must by that time have paid over to him all moneys received for the State. By June 15th he must make a final settlement This means that he must settle for all taxes paid to him since December 15th, and furnish lists of those who have failed to pay. Besides county treasurers there are city treasurers. (See also under Government of Cities and Towns)

If any person fail or refuse to pay taxes assessed upon him, the treasurer may DISTRAIN his property to recover the amount. To distrain is to seize property for debt due. (To ASSESS is to fix or name a certain amount as a tax on property, or to value property with the object of fixing a tax upon it) A person who fails or neglects or refuses to pay his taxes is called a DELINQUENT, a word that means one who fails to perform his duty.

A DELINQUENT LIST is a list or paper containing the names of persons who have failed to pay the taxes, and a notice that at a certain time certain property of such persons will be sold if the taxes are not previously paid. A copy of the delinquent list must be posted at public places within the city or county in which the property to be sold is situated. A county treasurer is not himself allowed to purchase or own any warrant or claim against the county treasury. (A warrant here means an order for the payment of money.)

The REVENUE LAWS are the laws relating to assessing, payment, and collection of taxes. To conceal property so as to escape assessment of taxes, or to carry on certain kinds of business without paying the license or tax on such business, would be to violate the revenue laws. The treasurer must report all violations of the revenue laws of which he may have knowledge.

The salary of the treasurer is paid by commissions—that is, allowances—by way of percentages on the amounts he receives. The commission varies from two per cent, (two dollars for every hundred dollars) on large amounts, to three and five per cent, on small receipts.

Commissioner of the Revenue.

Elected by the people for four years; must reside in the district for which he is elected. Salary, commissions and fees.

Duties. Shall ascertain and assess, when not otherwise assessed, all the property, real and personal, not exempt from taxation, in his county, district, or city, and the person to whom the same is chargeable with taxes, all subjects of taxation, and also all male persons of full age and sound mind residing therein; shall issue licenses; register births and deaths; and report violations of the revenue and penal laws.

To ASCERTAIN all the property, real and personal, and the person to whom it is chargeable with taxes, is to find out where and what the property is and who is the owner, so that the proper tax may be assessed and charged against him. (For meaning of REAL and PERSONAL property, see under Circuit Courts, page 50.)

SUBJECTS OF TAXATION means property on which taxes may be charged or assessed. Certain kinds of property are exempt—that is, free— from taxation in Virginia. All real estate or buildings owned by religious bodies and used as churches for divine worship are exempt from taxation. Public burying-grounds (cemeteries), real estate belonging to counties, cities, or towns, real estate belonging to the University of Virginia and other institutions devoted to purposes of education, real estate belonging to various benevolent institutions, such as lunatic asylums and orphan asylums, and in general all real estate devoted to religious, charitable, or educational uses, and not for profit to private individuals, are exempt from taxation.

A LICENSE is a permission or authority to carry on certain kinds of business or certain professions. Attorneys-at-law, doctors, dentists, and persons who manufacture or sell liquors, owners of theaters, and public shows, and people who engage in many other sorts of business must have licenses.

The licenses are issued or given out by commissioners of the revenue, and a certain sum must be paid for each, the money received being part of the public income or revenue for paying the expenses of government. Licenses are granted for a certain time. Many are granted for a year, and some for only a number of months or weeks or days. When the time specified in the license (which is a written or printed paper) expires, a new license must be obtained and another payment made.

It is the duty of the commissioner of the revenue to register (record) the births and deaths in his district. At the time that he ascertains the personal property in his district which is to be taxed, he must ascertain the births and deaths that have occurred during the past year, and enter or write the particulars in books kept by him for the purpose. He must write the name and date of birth of every child, and the name, address, and occupation of the father; and he must enter the name and place of birth, and the names of the parents, of any person who has died.

It is also the duty of the commissioner of revenue to report to the commonwealth's attorney any violation of the revenue or penal laws of which he may have knowledge.

The number of commissioners of revenue is not the same in all the counties. A great many of the counties have four each, and some have less. In counties having more than one, each commissioner has a district for himself.

Superintendent of the Poor.

Appointed by the Circuit Judge, on the recommendation of the Board of Supervisors, for a term of four years; must reside in the county or city for which he is elected. Salary, not to exceed $400.

Duties. Shall have charge of the Poor-house, receive and care for the paupers sent to him by the Overseers of the Poor; receive and disburse, under the direction of the Board of Supervisors, the poor levy; make an annual report to the Board of Supervisors.

In every county there is a POOR-HOUSE, usually having a farm annexed, and in it paupers are received and cared for at the public expense. A. PAUPER is a poor person who has no means of living and is supported in a public or charitable institution. (For OVERSEER OF THE POOR, see under District Organization.)

The POOR LEVY is the tax annually levied for the support of the poor-house. This levy is made by the Board of Supervisors (which see), and the amount collected is received and DISBURSED—that is, expended—by the superintendent of the poor for the purpose for which it is intended.

The superintendent must make a report annually to the Board of Supervisors. This means that he must make a statement for the board once every year, showing the number of paupers provided for during the year, giving the name of each and how long supported, and also showing the total amount of money expended, the work done on the farm, the crops raised, and other information and particulars relating to the management of the institution.

The salary of superintendents of the poor is not the same in all counties. It varies according to the population.

County Surveyor.

Appointed by the Circuit Court, on the recommendation of the Board of Supervisors, for four years; must reside in the county for which he is appointed. Salary, fees and mileage.

Duties. Shall promptly make surveys of land ordered by courts, and return true plat and certificate thereof; establish meridian line; locate land warrants.

A SURVEYOR is one who measures portions of land to ascertain their area, or who ascertains or fixes the boundaries, form, extent and position of any district or territory.

The COUNTY SURVEYOR must survey lands when ordered by the court, and make out and certify a TRUE PLAT of such lands. A PLAT is a plan or map or chart.

A MERIDIAN LINE, as meant in the text, is a line located at some central and easily reached place in the county, running due north and south for not less than three hundred yards, and marked at each end of the three hundred yards upon a solid stone fixed in the earth. This line is necessary for various purposes of surveying and map making. There must be a meridian line marked in every county, and when a new county is formed it is the duty of the surveyor to establish a meridian line.

TO LOCATE LAND WARRANTS is to lay off (mark out) and survey portions of waste land belonging to the State for persons who have purchased any of such land. The warrants or orders for the land are issued by the register of the land office on receipt of the purchase money (see page 37).

Superintendent of Public Schools. See Education.

County Board of School Commissioners.

See Education.

Electoral Board. Appointed by the Circuit or Corporation Court for term of three years; composed of three qualified voters, residents of the county or city. Salary, $2 for each day of actual service, not to exceed $10 a year.

Duties. Appoint for each election district of the county or city a registrar, who shall be a discreet citizen and resident of the election district, and who shall serve for two years; shall provide for new registration when necessary; shall appoint each year three competent citizens who are qualified voters, and who can read and write, to be judges of election for all elections in their respective election districts; shall designate five of the judges of election to act as commissioners, who shall meet at the Clerk's Office, open the election returns and ascertain from them the persons elected.

There is an Electoral Board for each county and city. As the duties of the board may be performed in a few days each year, the total salary for each member is limited to $10 a year.

AN ELECTION DISTRICT is constituted (made up) of a magisterial district in a county, and a WARD in a city. For the former, see MAGISTERIAL DISTRICTS. For WARD, see under GOVERNMENT OF CITIES AND TOWNS.

A REGISTRAR is an officer who registers or enters in books kept for the purpose the names of all persons in his district who are entitled to vote. He must be at his voting place on the second Tuesday in each year to register all qualified voters who shall apply to be registered, and ten days previous to the November elections he must sit one day to amend, and correct the list where necessary, and to register qualified voters not previously registered.

JUDGES OF ELECTION have already been mentioned and some of their duties explained. (See page 14, also under Secretary of the Commonwealth, page 32, and under Board of State Canvassers, page 43, for manner of receiving and dealing with election returns)

Board of Supervisors.

Composed of the Supervisors of the several magisterial districts of the county. Salary, $3 per day and mileage. The County Clerk is the clerk of the Board.

Duties. Shall audit the accounts of the county, and issue warrants in payment of claims; shall settle with the county officers, and take the necessary steps to secure a satisfactory exhibit and settlement of the affairs of the county; examine the books of the Commissioner of the Revenue; fix and order county levies and capitation tax; raise money for county expenses; represent the county; have the care of the county property and the management of the business and concerns of the county in all cases not otherwise provided for.


THE ACCOUNTS OF THE COUNTY are the statements of public moneys received and expended by county officers. All such statements must be audited by the Board of Supervisors. An EXHIBIT is a paper showing or proving the correctness of money accounts, such as a voucher or a receipt. A CAPITATION tax is a tax on persons (from Latin caput, the head). A capitation tax is levied on all male persons over the age of twenty-one. The Board of Supervisors represents the county in all public matters, as in any action at law taken for or against the county, and it has the care and control generally of the public property, and the direction of the public business affairs of the county.


Appointed for a term of four years; number same as the number of Commissioners of the Revenue; must be a resident of the district for which he is appointed. Salary, $2 for each day he is necessarily employed.

Duties. Examine, immediately after appointment, all the lands and lots, with the improvements thereon, within their respective counties, districts, and corporations, and ascertain and assess the cash value thereof.

The land within the districts is valued by the assessors with the object of fixing upon each property the tax to be levied. When the assessor of a district has completed his valuations and made a record of them, he must send a copy of the record to the auditor of public accounts, another to the commissioner of revenue for the district, and another must be filed and preserved in the office of the county clerk.


Appointed by the Governor upon the recommendation of the Circuit Court. A Justice of the Peace may act as Coroner. Salary, fees.

Duties. To hold inquest over the dead bodies of those supposed to have been killed by violence; may act as sheriff in certain cases.

Every county must have at least one CORONER, but a county may have more than one, if the circuit court thinks it necessary. In such case the court recommends the appointment of a second coroner and nominates two persons for the office. The governor appoints one of them.

The business of the CORONER is to hold an INQUEST or inquiry into every case of death supposed to have been caused by violence. The coroner's inquest is conducted much after the manner of a jury trial. There is a jury of six persons, summoned by the sheriff or sergeant or constable, and sworn "to diligently inquire, and true presentment make, when, how, and by what means the person came by his death."

After witnesses have been examined and the whole case has been thoroughly investigated, the jury gives its verdict. If the jury should find that murder or assault was committed on the deceased, and should charge any person with the crime, the coroner issues his warrant for the arrest of the person, and if found he is arrested and held in prison until he is tried by a judge and jury.


1. By whom are counties organized?

2. What is the advantage of a division of a State into counties?

3. What institutions must each county maintain?

4. What is the COUNTY SEAT?

5. What are county officers?

6. For how long is the sheriff elected, and how is he paid?

7. Mention some of the duties of the sheriff.

8. What is a SENTENCE?

9. Define PROCESS and LEVIES.

10. What are the duties of the county clerk?

11. What is the term of the treasurer, and how is he paid?

12. Name some of the duties of the treasurer.

13. What are the STATE REVENUES?

14. How does the treasurer dispose of the moneys he receives?

15. What do you understand by a DELINQUENT LIST?

16. What are the revenue laws?

17. For how long is the commissioner of the revenue elected?

18. How is he paid?

19. What do you understand by ASCERTAINING all the property, real and personal?

20. What does SUBJECTS OF TAXATION mean?

21. What is a license?

22. What are the duties of the commissioner of the revenue regarding births and deaths?

23 By whom is the superintendent of the poor appointed?

24. What is his term of office?

25. What are the duties of the superintendent of the poor?

26 Where are the poor received and cared for?


28. What does the annual report of the superintendent of the poor tell?

29. How is the county surveyor appointed, and how paid?

30. Mention some of the duties of the county surveyor.

31. Define SURVEYOR.

32. What is a plat?

33. What is a meridian line?

34. What do you understand by LOCATING LAND WARRANTS?

35. By whom is the Electoral Board chosen, and for how long?

36. What is the board composed of, and what remuneration do its members receive?

37. What are the duties of the Electoral Board?

38. What is an electoral district?

39. What is a registrar, arid what are his duties?

40. Of whom is the Board of Supervisors composed?

41. What salary do the members of this board receive?

42. Who is clerk of the board?

43. What are the duties of the Board of Supervisors?

44. What are the accounts of the county?

45. What is an exhibit?

46. What is a capitation tax?

47. Who appoints the assessors?

48. How many assessors are there, and what salary do they receive?

49. What are the duties of the assessors?

50. By whom is the coroner appointed, and how is he paid?

51. What are the duties of the coroner?

52 What do you understand by an inquest?

53. Tell how an inquest is conducted.



Magisterial Districts.

Each county shall be divided into as many compactly located magisterial districts as are necessary, not less than three.

There must be at least three and not more than eleven magisterial districts in each county, and in each district there must be one supervisor, three justices of peace, one constable, and one overseer of the poor.


Elected by the people for four years; must be a resident of the district.

Duties. A member of the Board of Supervisors; shall inspect the roads and bridges in his district.

The general duties of the Board of Supervisors have been already explained, but each supervisor has special duties in his own district. He must inspect the public roads and bridges in his district twice every year to see that they are kept in repair, and he must once a year make a written report to the Board of Supervisors as to their condition.

For the time he is actually employed in such service each supervisor receives two dollars a day, paid out of the public funds of his own district, but he is not allowed for such service more than thirty dollars in any one year.

Justices of the Peace.

Three in each district; elected by the people for four years; must reside in the district. Salary, fees.

Duties. Is a conservator of the peace; must see that the laws are obeyed; may issue warrants, attachments, etc.; may hold court for the trial of causes. (See Justices' Courts.)

The jurisdiction of justices is fully explained under JUSTICES' COURTS. Justices of the peace receive no salaries, but they are allowed fees for the issuing and certifying of several kinds of legal documents.

A CONSERVATOR of the peace is a preserver of the peace. To preserve the peace is one of the chief duties of a justice of the peace, hence the title of his office. If he have good reason to believe that any person intends to commit an offence against another, it is the duty of a justice to issue a warrant for the arrest of such person, and to require him to give bail or security for his good behavior.

In general it is the duty of the justice of the peace to do everything necessary to prevent, as well as to punish, violations of the criminal law in his district.

An ATTACHMENT is a writ directing an officer of the law to arrest and bring into court a person who has been summoned to attend as a witness or a juror, but has failed to appear at the proper time.


Elected by the people for four years; must reside in the district. Salary, fees.

Duties. To make arrests; to serve notices; to execute any order, warrant, or process, legally directed to him; attend Justices' Courts; execute its judgments, levy attachments, collect fines, report violations of the penal laws; may act as sheriff in certain cases.

The constable performs in his district the same sort of duties generally that the sheriff performs for the county.

Overseer of the Poor.

Elected by the people for four years; must reside in the district. Salary, $2 for each day actually engaged, but not to exceed $20 per year.

Duties. Shall care for and assist persons unable to maintain themselves, who have a legal settlement in his district; shall remove those not having a legal settlement; shall prevent persons from going about begging; may hold and administer certain property donated to charitable purposes; may place in an asylum, or bind out as an apprentice, any minor found begging, or likely to become chargeable to the county.

A LEGAL SETTLEMENT in the case of a pauper is residence for one year in the district and three years in the State. Paupers not having a legal settlement may be removed to the place where they were last legally settled, but a warrant of removal must be obtained from a justice of the county or district.

A MINOR is a boy or girl under twenty-one years of age.

Conservators of the Peace.

Every judge throughout the State; every justice, commissioner in chancery, and notary within his county or corporation; conductors of railroad trains on their trains; depot agents at their places of business; masters of all steamers navigating the waters of the State on their respective vessels.

A NOTARY, or notary public, is an officer who attests or certifies deeds and other papers, under his official seal. Statements in writing that require to be attested for business or legal purposes are usually taken to a notary to be signed by him after the party has made oath that the statements are true.

Conductors of railroad trains may arrest any persons who violate the peace on their trains, and keep such persons in custody until they can be given over to the proper authorities for trial. Railroad depot agents may do the same at their depots, and the masters or captains of steamers may do the same on their vessels while sailing in the waters within the State. This is what is meant by being CONSERVATORS of the peace. Judges have the same power throughout the State, and justices, commissioners in chancery, and notaries within their districts.


Each magisterial district is also a school district, for which see under Education, page 99.


One school trustee is appointed annually for each school district; see page 99.


This board is composed of three trustees of the district; for its duties, see page 99.


1. How many magisterial districts is a county divided into?

2. For how long is the supervisor elected?

3 What are the duties of a supervisor?

4. How many justices of the peace are elected for a district?

5 What are the duties of a justice of the peace?

6. What is a conservator of the peace?

7. What is an attachment?

8. For how long is a constable elected?

9. What are the duties of the constable?

10. For how long is the overseer of the poor elected?

11. What remuneration does he receive?

12. Name some of his duties.

13. What is a legal settlement?

14. What is a minor?

15. Who are conservators of the peace?

16. What is a notary?

17. What provisions with regard to schools are mentioned as being made in the magisterial districts?



A City is an incorporated community containing within well-defined boundaries five thousand or more inhabitants.

A Town is an incorporated community of less than five thousand inhabitants.

A Council includes any body or bodies authorized to make ordinances for the government of a city or town.

An incorporated town or city is a community chartered as a corporation, for explanation of which, see page 14.

Ordinances are laws made by the council of a city or town for managing the public affairs of the city, or town.


In towns it is composed of the Mayor and six Councilmen, elected every two years by the people of the town on the second Tuesday in June. The Mayor and each Councilman have the power and authority of a justice in civil matters within the corporate limits, and in criminal matters within these limits and one mile beyond them; may issue processes, and may hear and determine prosecutions, etc. In cities the Councilmen of each ward are elected by the people of such ward. The Council of cities of over ten thousand inhabitants is made up of two branches:—the Board of Aldermen and the Common Council, all of whom are elected for four years, one-half being chosen every two years. These provisions may be modified by the city charter. Members of Common Council shall hold no other office in cities; no city officer shall hold a seat in the General Assembly.

It is the aim of the Constitution that, so far as possible, all cities shall be organized under general laws.

A city charter is the law under which the city is governed. It is passed by the General Assembly, and it makes the city a corporation. It states what powers the corporation may exercise and what officers it may appoint or elect to carry on its government.

A charter is for a city what a constitution is for a State. It prescribes the system under which the city is to be governed.

The powers of the mayor and the councilmen as justices are modified—that is, regulated—by the city charter, so that they may not be exactly the same in all cities.

Cities are divided into districts called wards, and each ward elects a certain number of councilmen.

POWERS. To levy taxes; create corporate debt; impose tax on licenses; enact ordinances, and prescribe fines or other punishment for the violation thereof; appoint a collector of taxes, and other officers; disburse all money collected or received for the corporation; lay off and keep in order streets and public grounds; provide necessary buildings, a fire department, water works, cemeteries, etc.; abate nuisances; establish election districts; alter and rearrange wards; provide for weighing articles of merchandise; judge of the election, qualification, and returns of its own members; protect the property of the city, and preserve peace and good order therein.

To create corporate debt is to borrow money for carrying out purposes of city government. Charters of cities give power to borrow money for such purposes.

A nuisance is anything that is annoying or offensive, or dangerous to the health of citizens.

The council may provide in various parts of the city public weighing machines for weighing articles of merchandise purchased by citizens who may wish to ascertain whether they have got honest weight.

To protect the property of the city and to preserve peace and order is the most important business of the council. For this purpose it has power to organize and maintain a police force.

Mayor of City.

Elected by the people of the city for a term of four years; presides over the Council; and his powers and duties may be modified by the city charter.

Duties. The chief executive officer of the city; shall see that the duties of the various city officers are faithfully performed; may suspend for cause all town or city officers.

To suspend an officer is to remove him from his office for a time until any charge made against him of neglect of duty is investigated and decided on.

City Sergeant.

Elected by the people for four years.

Duties. Shall perform the duties, etc., prescribed by the city charter; and shall also within the jurisdiction of the courts of his city exercise the same powers, perform the same duties, and be subject to the same liabilities as the sheriff of a county; in towns he shall have the same powers and discharge the same duties as constables, within the corporate limits and for one mile beyond them; shall be the executive officer of the Corporation Court.

LIABILITY means responsibility. Sheriffs are responsible or answerable for the performance of their duties, and if they fail to perform them they may be fined or imprisoned. City sergeants are under the same liabilities.


Elected by the people for eight years. See under Officers of Court.


Elected by the people for four years. See County Organization.


Elected by the people for four years. See County Organization.


Elected by the people for four years. See County Organization.


Elected by the people for four years.

Duties. Shall attend the Circuit and Chancery Courts, and act as their executive officer; shall exercise the same powers, perform the same duties, have the same fees and compensation therefor, and be subject to the same penalties touching all processes issued by said courts, or by the clerks thereof, or otherwise lawfully directed to him, that the sheriff of a county exercises, performs, and is entitled or subject to in his county.


Superintendents of Schools for cities are appointed by the State Board of Education. See under Education, page


1. Define city, town, council.

3. What are ordinances?

8. Of whom is the council composed?

4. What is the term of office of a member of council?

5. What are the powers of the council?

6. How are the Councilmen in cities elected?

7. In cities of over ten thousand inhabitants how is the Council made up?

8. Of whom is the Common Council composed?

9. Are members of this body permitted to hold any other office?

10. What is a city charter?

11. What do you understand by the powers of the mayor and the councilmen as justices being modified?

12. What are wards?

13. Name some of the powers of the council.

14. What does creating corporate debt mean?

15. What is a nuisance?

16. What is the most important business of the council?

17. How is the mayor of a city chosen, and what is his term of office?

18. What are the mayor's duties?

19. What does suspending an officer mean?

20. How is the city sergeant chosen, and what is his term of office?

21. Name some of his duties.

22. What does liability mean?

23. What is the term of office of the commissioner of the revenue, the commonwealth's attorney, and the treasurer?

24. How long does the sheriff of Richmond City hold office?

25. Name some of his duties.

26. Who appoints superintendents of schools for cities?




Composed of the Governor, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Attorney-General, three experienced educators elected from the faculties of certain State institutions, one City Superintendent of Schools, and one County Superintendent of Schools. These eight constitute the State Board of Education, and their several powers and duties as members of the Board are identical except that the two division superintendents shall not participate in the appointment of any public school official.

This Board shall have the management and investment of school funds; make by-laws for its own government, and for carrying into effect the school laws; audit claims payable out of State funds; arrange for summer normal schools of teachers for instruction in processes of school organization, discipline, and management; select text-books and educational appliances for use in the public schools of the State; appoint (and remove), subject to confirmation by the Senate, all county and city superintendents, and regulate all matters arising in the practical administration of the school system not otherwise provided for.

The three State officers are ex officio members of the Board. The three experienced educators are elected quadrennially by the Senate from a list of eligibles consisting of one from each of the faculties and nominated by the respective boards of visitors or trustees of the University of Virginia, the Virginia Military Institute, the Virginia Polytechnic Institute, the State Female Normal School at Danville, the School for the Deaf and Blind, and also of the College of William and Mary so long as the State continues its annual appropriation to the last-named institution. The city and county superintendents are selected by the other six members for terms of two years each.

School funds are moneys set apart or provided for the support of schools. In Virginia, school funds are provided by the State, the counties, and the districts (see under School Funds).

By-laws are laws or rules made by any association for the management of its affairs. The Board of Education makes by-laws for its own government and for administering the laws relating to the schools.

Claims payable out of State funds are claims which by law are to be paid out of the State funds. Such claims must be audited by the Board of Education. The salaries and expenses of State education officers are paid out of the State fund, and portions of the fund are divided among the counties and cities for the support of schools.

By arranging for meetings of teachers for instruction in the processes of school organization, discipline, and instruction, the State Board of Education does much to improve the schools of the State, and the great yearly institutes are of the highest value to the schools.

One of the most important duties of the State Board is in connection with the selection of text-books and the approval of educational appliances for the equipment of schools.

The general duties of the State Board of Education consist in regulating all matters arising in the practical administration of the school system not otherwise provided for. Uniformity of practice throughout the schools of the State is of the greatest importance, and the State Board wisely secures this by keeping in constant correspondence with officers and teachers throughout the system.

The State Board of Education chooses its own secretary, who is entrusted with many important duties in carrying out the plans and work of the board.

As all division superintendents are appointees of the State Board, it is provided in the Constitution that the two who are members of the State Board shall not participate in the election of school officers.


Elected by the people of the State for four years; salary, $2,000, and necessary traveling expenses; shall have his office at the capital; shall be the chief executive of the public free school system; shall determine the true intent and meaning of the school laws; shall receive reports from school officers; inspect schools, and decide appeals from the decisions of county superintendents; apportion State funds among the counties and cities of the State.

The public free school system is the system under which, as required by the law of Virginia, the public schools are free to all persons between the ages of five and twenty-one years residing within the school districts.

The superintendent of public instruction is the chief executive officer of the system, and when any dispute arises among school officers as to the meaning or application of school laws, it is his duty to determine—that is, to decide—it.

The superintendent of public instruction is also to a large extent a judicial officer, and his decisions as to the true intent and meaning of the school laws have very nearly as much force as the decisions of the courts.

The reports received from school officers by the State superintendent are embodied in his report made every two years to the governor, and by him transmitted to the General Assembly.

This report, in addition to the information received from the county and city superintendents, contains a large amount of statistics and reports in regard to private schools, colleges, and other institutions which are more or less under the care and subject to the control of the State.


Term, four years, beginning July 1st after appointment; must reside in the county or city for which he is elected, and shall hold no elective office; shall explain the school system, examine teachers and grant certificates, promote the improvement and efficiency of teachers, advise with and counsel trustees and teachers, visit and examine schools under his care and inquire into whatever concerns their usefulness and perfection; decide appeals and complaints; administer oaths and take testimony; apportion the school funds among the districts.

The county and city superintendents must hold examinations at certain times in their counties or cities to examine persons desiring to become teachers, and if, after examination, such persons are found qualified, they receive certificates as teachers.

In any case of appeal or complaint against any person connected with the schools in their districts the county or city superintendents must hold inquiry into the matter and give decision upon it. In making such inquiry they can call witnesses and administer oaths to such witnesses before taking their testimony.

It is also the duty of the superintendents to prepare annually a scheme or plan for apportioning the State and county school funds among the school districts under their supervision.


Composed of the County Superintendent of Schools, the Commonwealth's Attorney, and a resident qualified voter, not a county or state officer, to be appointed by the Judge of the Circuit Court; shall fill all vacancies in the district boards of school trustees. In cities and towns school trustees are appointed by municipal councils.

A vacancy occurs every year in each district board. The district board when first formed was composed of three members, one to serve three years, one to serve two years, and the other to serve one year, all appointments afterwards to be for three years each. Thus there is one vacancy every year in the board, and it is the duty of the School Trustee Electoral Board to appoint a new trustee to fill the vacancy.

County School Board.

Composed of the County Superintendent (who is ex officio president) and the District School Trustees of the county—"a body corporate"; shall make necessary bylaws and regulations, shall have a regular annual meeting between the 1st and 15th of August; shall prepare and file with the Superintendent before July 15th an estimate of the amount of money that will be needed for public school purposes in the county for the next year, also a similar list for each school district based on the estimate of the District Board, which lists the Superintendent shall lay before the Board of Supervisors; shall make settlement with treasurers and school officers; shall administer certain properties devoted to school purposes.

Ex officio is a Latin phrase meaning by virtue of office. The county superintendent is president of the County School Board, not by election or appointment, but because of his office as county superintendent.

A body corporate is a corporation, the meaning of which term is explained on page 14.

Property of any kind, either public funds or donations from private persons, set apart or devoted to school purposes in the county is administered by the County School Board—that is, managed and used by the board for the support of schools in the county.

District.—School Districts.

Each county shall be divided into compactly located school districts, which shall correspond with the magisterial districts, unless specially subdivided; except that a town of five hundred or more inhabitants may form a separate school district.

School Trustees.

One shall be appointed annually for each district for a term of three years; must be able to read and write.

School trustees are appointed annually by the School Trustee Electoral Board, as explained above.

District Board of School Trustees.

"A body corporate"—composed of the three trustees of the district; shall hold and manage the school property of the district; provide suitable school houses, etc.; enforce school laws; employ and dismiss teachers; suspend and dismiss pupils; see that census of children of school age (5 to 21) is taken every five years; submit to the County School Board annually an estimate of the amount of money needed for public school purposes in the district for the next scholastic year.

In cities the Board is composed of all the trustees in the city, and its duties and powers are modified and enlarged.

The census of children is the numbering or counting of the children residing in the district.

The scholastic year is the part of the year during which the schools are open.

The District Board of School Trustees has the whole care and administration of the schools in its charge, and is thus the most important local body in the civil government of the State.

School Funds.

1. State Funds. The interest on the literary fund, the capitation tax, and a tax on property of one mill on the dollar.

2. County Funds. Such tax as the Board of Supervisors may levy for county school purposes; fines and penalties imposed on the Superintendent; donations, or the income arising therefrom.

3. District Funds. Such tax as the Board of Supervisors may levy for the purposes of the school district; fines and penalties imposed on district school officers and teachers; donations, or income arising therefrom.

The County or City Treasurer receives and pays out all school funds.

For explanation of literary fund, see page 37, and for capitation tax, see page 82. The tax of one mill on the dollar means a tax of one mill on each dollar of the assessed valuation of the property.

Certain fines and other money penalties may be imposed by the Board of Education or by the courts or county superintendents for failing or refusing to perform certain duties Such fines and penalties are added to the school fund for the county

When district school officers or teachers are fined for neglect of duty the money goes to the district fund. Donations are contributions or gifts from private individuals. If such gifts are real estate, the income arising therefrom is the rent of such real estate or the interest on the amount realized by its sale.


Must hold a certificate of qualification in full force, issued or approved by the Superintendent of Schools of the county or city within which he proposes to teach.

The law requires that a teacher must be at least eighteen years of age. If the teacher has the necessary education to pass the required examination, a certain maturity is necessary to insure good judgment in the government and discipline of the school.

The value and success of all government depend largely upon the character and ability of those in authority, and this is especially true in the government of the school.

For teachers' certificates of qualification, see above under County and City Superintendents.


1. Who compose the Board of Education?

2. Name some of the duties of this board.

3. What is meant by nomination being subject to confirmation by the Senate?

4. What are school funds?

5. What are by-laws?

6. What are claims payable out of State Funds?

7. What important work is done at the meetings of teachers arranged by the State board of Education?

8. What very important duty has the State Board to perform in reference to books?

9. What are the general duties of the board?

10. How is the superintendent of public instruction chosen?

11. What is his salary?

12. What are his duties?

13. What is the public free school system?

14. What is the extent of the power of the superintendent of public instruction?

15. How often does the superintendent report to the General Assembly, and what information does his report contain?

16. Who appoints county and city superintendents, and what is their term of office?

17. Name some of the duties of these officers.

18. Who compose the School Trustee Electoral Board?

19. What are their duties?

20. Who compose the County School Board?

21. Name some of the duties of this board.

22. How are school districts laid out?

23. How are school trustees chosen, and what is their terra of office?

24. Of whom is the District Board of School Trustees composed?

25. Name some of the powers of this board.

26. Of whom is the City Board of Trustees composed?

27. What is the census of children?

28. What is a scholastic year?

29. Tell what State funds, county funds, and district funds are.

30. Who receives and pays out all school funds?

31. What does the tax of one mill on the dollar mean?

32. From what sources besides the tax on property are school funds obtained?

33. What are the qualifications of teachers?


1497. John Cabot discovered Labrador, the basis of the English title to Virginia.

1585. Virginia was so named by Queen Elizabeth in honor of her unmarried state.

1606. Charter granted to the London Company.

1607. Settlement at Jamestown.

John Smith, "the Father of the Colony," rescued from death by Pocahontas, the daughter of Powhatan, the King of the Pamunkey Indians.

1608. John Smith President of the Colony.

1609. The London Company receives its second Charter.

1610. "The Starving Time."

1612. Culture of tobacco commenced.

1613. Pocahontas marries John Rolfe.

1617. Death of Pocahontas at Gravesend, England.

1618. "The Great Charter of Virginia" granted by the London Company.

1619. Slaves landed from a Dutch ship.

First Colonial Assembly meets at Jamestown, July 30.

1621. Formal grant of free government by a written charter.

A Council of State and a General Assembly established—the model of every subsequent provincial form of government.

1622. Massacre of settlers by Indians under Opechancanough.

1624. Fall of the London Company.

Virginia becomes a royal province.

1644. Second Indian Massacre. Opechancanough captured and killed.

1652-60. Virginia under the Commonwealth.

1660. Called the "Old Dominion."

Navigation Acts put into operation by British Government.

1673. Grant to Lords Culpeper and Arlington of immense estates by Charles II.

1676. Bacon's Rebellion. 1693. William and Mary College chartered.

Postal System adopted.

1698. The seat of government removed to Williamsburg.

1699. The Huguenots settle in Virginia.

1700. First Commencement of William and Mary College.

1732. Scotch-Irish and Germans settle in the Shenandoah Valley.

George Washington born February 22.

1733. Founding of Richmond at the Falls of the James.

1736. First Virginia Newspaper—"The Virginia Gazette."

Norfolk incorporated.

1737. Richmond laid out by Col. William Byrd.

1742. Richmond incorporated.

1743. Thomas Jefferson born April 2.

1754. The French and Indian War begun. Battle of Great Meadows.

French defeated by Colonists under George Washington.

1755. Braddock defeated in his attack on Fort Duquesne.

1758. Fort Duquesne captured by English and Virginia troops.

1763. "The Parsons' Case." Patrick Henry's Famous Speech.

End of the French and Indian War.

1764. Battle of Point Pleasant (now in West Virginia).

1765. Resolutions of the House of Burgesses against taxation without representation.

1765. The British Parliament passes the Stamp Act.

1766. Stamp Act repealed by Parliament.

1767. Parliament imposes a tax on tea and other articles.

1769. Virginia resolves passed by the House of Burgesses, May 16.

1774. The first Continental Congress met at Philadelphia, September 9.

1775. Convention at Richmond "to organize a provincial form of government and a plan of defense for the Colony."

End of royal government in Virginia. Committee of Safety appointed.

1776. Constitution and Bill of Rights adopted.

Declaration of Independence written by Thomas Jefferson signed in Philadelphia, July 4.

1779. The seat of government removed to Richmond.

Conquest of the Northwest Territory by Col. George Rogers Clarke.

1780. Virginia troops defeat the British at King's Mountain, October 7.

1781. Richmond captured by British under Benedict Arnold, in January.

Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, October 19.

Cession of the Northwest Territory to the Federal Government.

1785. Act of Religious Freedom.

1787. Constitution of the United States adopted in convention of which George Washington was President.

1788. Ratifies the Constitution of the United States.

1789. Washington inaugurated first President of the United States, April 30.

1799. George Washington died December 14.

1807. Robert E. Lee born January 19.

1819. University of Virginia established.

1826. Thomas Jefferson died July 1.

1830. Constitution of the State amended.

1852. Constitution of the State again amended.

1859. John Brown's attack on Harper's Ferry.

1861. Ordinance of Secession passed by the Convention.

Richmond the Capital of the Southern Confederacy.

Confederate Congress assembled at Richmond, July 20.

First battle of Manassas, July 21.

1861-65. Virginia the principal battle ground of the "War between the States."

1862. Battle between the "Virginia" and the "Monitor," March 9.

1863. West Virginia formed and admitted to the Union.

1865. Provisional Government established in Virginia, May 9.

1869. Constitution amended.

Virginia readmitted to the Union.

1870. State enacts a liberal system of public education.

Robert E. Lee died October 12.

1881. Centennial of the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown.

1902. New Constitution in force July 10.


1607. Capt. Edward Maria Wingfield, President of the Council under first Charter of the London Company.

Capt. John Ratcliffe, President of the Council.

1608. Capt. John Smith, President of the Council.

1609. Sir George Percy, Acting President of the Council.

1610. Lord Delaware, first Governor under new Charter of 1609. Sir Thomas Gates, Lieutenant-Governor under Lord Delaware.

1611. Sir Thomas Dale, High Marshal under Lord Delaware.

1616. Sir George Yeardley, Lieutenant-Governor under Lord Delaware.

1617. Samuel Argall, Lieutenant-Governor under Lord Delaware.

1619. Sir George Yeardley, first Governor under the "Great Charter of Virginia" granted by the London Company.

1621. Sir Francis Wyatt, second Governor under the "Great Charter." Put into effect the new constitution.

1626. Sir George Yeardley, third Governor under the "Great Charter."

1627. Francis West, fourth Governor under the "Great Charter."

1629. John Potts, fifth Governor under the "Great Charter."

Sir John Harvey, first Royal Governor, appointed by King Charles I.

1635. John West, acting Governor, in place of Harvey deposed by the people.

1636. Sir John Harvey, reinstated by the King.

1639. Sir Francis Wyatt, Royal Governor.

1642. Sir William Berkeley, Royal Governor. Deposed by the Commonwealth in 1652.

1652. Richard Bennett, first Governor under the Commonwealth.

1655. Edward Digges, second Governor under the Commonwealth.

1656. Samuel Matthews, third Governor under the Commonwealth.

1660. Sir William Berkeley elected by the House of Burgesses and reappointed by Charles II. after the Restoration.

1661. Col. Francis Moryson, Acting Governor.

1663. Sir William Berkeley reappointed and continued to act as Governor until 1677.

1675. Lord Culpeper appointed Royal Governor for life by Charles II., but did not act as such until 1680.

1677. Sir Herbert Jeffreys, Lieutenant-Governor and Acting Governor in absence of Lord Culpeper.

1678. Sir Henry Chickeley, Lieutenant-Governor and Acting Governor in absence of Lord Culpeper.

1684. Lord Howard of Effingham appointed Governor to succeed Lord Culpeper, deposed in 1683.

1688. Nathaniel Bacon, Lieutenant-Governor and Acting Governor.

1690. Francis Nicholson, first Royal Governor appointed after the Revolution of 1688.

1692. Sir Edmund Andros, Royal Governor. Founded William and Mary College.

1698. Francis Nicholson, Royal Governor. Removed capital to Williamsburg.

1704. George Hamilton Douglas, Earl of Orkney, Royal Governor.

1705. Edward Scott, Lieutenant-Governor and Acting Governor.

1706. Edmund Jennings, Lieutenant-Governor and Acting Governor.

1710. Robert Hunter, Lieutenant-Governor and Acting Governor.

Alexander Spotswood, Lieutenant-Governor and Acting Governor.

1722. Hugh Drysdale, Lieutenant-Governor and Acting Governor.

1726. Robert Carter, Lieutenant-Governor and Acting Governor.

1727. William Gooch, Lieutenant-Governor and Acting Governor.

1737. William A. Keppel, Earl of Albemarle, Royal Governor.

1749. John Robinson, Lieutenant-Governor and Acting Governor.

1750. Thomas Lee, Lieutenant-Governor. Died immediately after his appointment.

Louis Burwell, Lieutenant-Governor and Acting Governor.

1752. Robert Dinwiddie, Lieutenant-Governor. First explored the Valley.

1756. John Campbell, Earl of Loudoun, Royal Governor.

Robert Dinwiddie, Lieutenaut-Governor and Acting Governor.

1758. John Blair, Lieutenant-Governor and Acting Governor.

Francis Fauqmer, Lieutenant-Governor and Acting Governor.

1763. Jeffrey Amherst, Lord Amherst, Royal Governor.

1768. John Blair, Lieutenant-Governor and Acting Governor.

Norborne Berkeley, Lord Botetourt, Royal Governor.

1770. William Nelson, Lieutenant-Governor and Acting Governor.

1772. Lord Dunmore, Royal Governor until the Revolution.

1775. Edmund Pendleton, President of the Committee of Safety.


1776-1779. Patrick Henry.

1779-1781. Thomas Jefferson.

1781. Thomas Nelson.

1781-1784. Benjamin Harrison.

1784-1786. Patrick Henry.

1786-1788. Edmund Randolph.

1788-1791. Beverly Randolph.

1791-1794. Henry Lee.

1794-1796. Robert Brooks.

1796-1799. James Wood.

1799-1802. James Monroe.

1802-1805. John Page

1805-1808. William H. Cabell.

1808-1811. John Tyler.

1811. James Monroe.

1811-1812. George William Smith, Lieutenant-Governor.

1812-1814. James Barbour.

1814-1816. Wilson Cary Nichols.

1816-1819. James P. Preston.

1819-1822. Thomas M. Randolph.

1822-1825. James Pleasants.

1825-1827. John Tyler.

1827-1830. William B. Giles.

1830-1834. John Floyd.

1834-1836. Littleton Waller Tazewell.

1836-1837. Wyndham Robertson, Lieutenant-Governor.

1837-1840. David Campbell.

1840-1841. Thomas Walker Gilmer.

1841. John M. Patton.

1841-1842. John Rutherford. Lieutenant-Governor.

1842-1843. John M. Gregory.

1843-1846. James McDowell.

1846-1849. William Smith.

1849-1852. John B. Floyd.

1852-1856. Joseph Johnson.

1856-1860. Henry Alexander Wise.

1860-1864. John Letcher.

1864-1865. William Smith.

1865-1868. Francis H. Pierpont.

1868-1869. Henry H. Wells.

1869-1873. Gilbert C. Walker.

1873-1877. James L. Kempner.

1877-1881. Frederick W. M. Holliday.

1881-1885. William E. Gameron.

1885-1889. Fitzhugh Lee.

1889-1893. Philip W. McKinney.

1893-1897. Charles T. O'Ferrall.

1897. J. Hoge Tyler.

1901. A. J. Montague.


Whereas, pursuant to an act of the General Assembly of Virginia, approved March the fifth, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred, the question, "shall there be a convention to revise the Constitution and amend the same?" was submitted to the electors of the State of Virginia, qualified to vote for members of the General Assembly, at an election held throughout the State on the fourth Thursday in May, in the year nineteen hundred, at—which election a majority of the electors so qualified voting at said election did decide in favor of a convention for such purpose; and,

Whereas, the General Assembly at its next session did provide by law for the election of delegates to such convention, in pursuance whereof the members of this Convention were elected by the good people of Virginia, to meet in convention for such purpose.

We, therefore, the people of Virginia, so assembled in Convention through our representatives, with gratitude to God for His past favors, and invoking His blessings upon the result of our deliberations, do ordain and establish the following revised and amended Constitution for the government of the Commonwealth:



A DECLARATION OF RIGHTS, made by the representatives of the good people of Virginia assembled in full and free Convention; which rights do pertain to them and their posterity, as the Basis mid Foundation of Government.

SECTION 1. That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity, namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.

SEC. 2. That all power is vested in, and consequently derived from, the people; that magistrates are their trustees and servants, and at all times amenable to them.

SEC. 3. That government is, or ought to be, instituted for the common benefit, protection and security of the people, nation or community; of all the various modes and forms of government, that is best, which is capable of producing the greatest degree of happiness and safety, and is most effectually secured against the danger of maladministration; and, whenever any government shall be found inadequate or contrary to these purposes, a majority of the community hath an indubitable, inalienable, and indefeasible right to reform, alter or abolsh it, in such manner as shall be judged most conducive to the public weal.

SEC. 4. That no man, or set of men, is entitled to exclusive or separate emoluments or privileges from the community, but in consideration of public services, which not being descendible, neither ought the offices of magistrate, legislator or judge to be hereditary.

SEC 5 That the legislative executive, and judicial departments of the State should be separate and distinct, and that the members thereof may be restrained from oppression, by feeling and participating the burthens of the people, they should, at fixed periods, be reduced to a private station, return into that body from which they were originally taken, and the vacancies be supplied by regular elections, in which all or any part of the former members shall be again eligible, or ineligible, as the laws may direct

SEC 6 That all elections should be free, and that all men, having sufficient evidence of permanent common interest with, and attachment to, the community, have the right of suffrage, and can not be taxed, or deprived of, or damaged in, their property for public uses without their own consent, or that of their representatives duly elected, or bound by any law to which they have not, in like manner, assented for the public good

SEC 7 That all power of suspending laws, or the execution of laws, by any authority, without consent of the representatives of the people, is injurious to their rights, and ought not to be exercised

SEC 8 That no man shall be deprived of his life, or liberty, except by the law of the land, or the judgment of his peers, nor shall any man be compelled in any criminal proceeding to give evidence against himself, nor be put twice in jeopardy for the same offence, but an appeal may be allowed to the Commonwealth in all prosecutions for the violation of a law relating to the state revenue

That in all criminal prosecutions a man hath a right to demand the cause and nature of his accusation, to be confronted with the accusers and witnesses, to call for evidence in his favor, and to a speedy trial by an impartial jury of his vicinage, without whose unanimous consent he cannot be found guilty, provided, however, that in any criminal case, upon a plea of guilty, tendered in person by the accused, and with the consent of the attorney for the Commonwealth, entered of record, the court shall, and in a prosecution for an offence not punishable by death, or confinement in the penitentiary, upon a plea of not guilty, with the consent of the accused, given in person and of the attorney for the Commonwealth, both entered of record, the court, in its discretion, may hear and determine the case, without the intervention of a jury, and, that the General Assembly may provide for the trial of offences not punishable by death, or confinement in the penitentiary, by a justice of the peace, without a jury, preserving in all such cases, the right of the accused to an appeal to and trial by jury in the circuit or corporation court, and may also provide for juries consisting of less than twelve, but not less than five, for the trial of offences not punishable by death, or confinement in the penitentiary, and may classify such cases, and prescribe the number of jurors for each class

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