Open main menu
This page needs to be proofread.
848
n
SHERIFF

communications and material of war, and finally reporting to the general-in-chief on the 25th of March 1865. A few days later the indefatigable Sheridan won the last great victory of the.war at Five Forks. The operations were conducted entirely by him and were brilliantly successful, leading to the retreat of Lee from the lines of Petersburg and the final catastrophe of Appomattox Court House. In the course of the battle of Five Forks Sheridan once more displayed his utter fearlessness of criticism by summarily dismissing from his command General G. K. Warren, an officer of the highest repute, whose corps was only temporarily under Sheridan's orders. The part played by the cavalry corps in the pursuit of Lee was most conspicuous, and Sheridan himself commanded the large forces of infantry and cavalry which cut off Lee's retreat and compelled the surrender of the famous Army of Northern Virginia (see AMERICAN CIVIL WAR and PETERSBURG).

Soon after the close of the war Sheridan, who by these services had gained his reputation as one of the greatest soldiers of the time, 'was sent to exercise the military command in the south-west, where a corps of observation, on the Mexican frontier, watched the struggle between Maximilian and the Liberals (see l'l°EXICO2 History). General Sheridan stated in his memoirs that material assistance was afforded to the Liberals out of the U.S. arsenals, and the moral effect of his presence on the frontier certainly influenced the course of the struggle to a very great extent. Later, in the Reconstruction period, he commanded the Fifth Military District (Louisiana and Texas) at New Orleans, where his administration of the conquered states was most stormy, his differences with President Johnson culminating in his recall in September 1867. He was then placed in charge of the Department of the Missouri, which he commanded for sixteen years, and in 1869, on Grant's election to the presidency and Sherman's consequent promotion to the full rank of general, he was made lieutenant-general. In 1868-1869 he conducted a winter campaign against the Indians, which resulted in their defeat and surrender. During the Franco-German War of 1870 General Sheridan accompanied the great headquarters of the German armies as the guest of the king of Prussia. In 1873, at the time of the “ Virginius ” incident (see CUBA), when an invasion of Spain was projected, Sheridan was designated to command the United States field army. In 1875 he was sent to New Orleans to deal with grave civil disorder, a duty which he carried out with the same uncompromising severity that he had previously shown in 1867. In 1883 he succeeded Sherman in the chief command of the United States army, which he held until his death at Nonquitt, Mass., on the 5th of August 1888. A few months previously he had been raised to the full rank of general. As a soldier, Sheridan combined brilliant courage and painstaking skill. As a fighting general he was unsurpassed. Few of the leaders of either side could have stemmed the tide of defeat as he did at Stone river and turned a mere rally into a great victory as he did at Cedar Creek, by the pure force of personal magnetism. His restless energy was that of a Charles XII., to whom in this respect he has justly been compared, while, unlike the king of Sweden, he was as careful and vigilant as the most methodical strategist. He was a devout Roman Catholic, and in his private life he had the esteem and admiration of all who knew him well. General Sheridan was president of the Society of the Army of the Potomac and of the Society of the Army of the Cumberland, the latter for fourteen years. In 1875 he married Irene, daughter of General D. H. Rucker, U.S.A.

His Personal Memoirs (2 vols.) were published soon after his death.


SHERIFF, or SHIRE-REEVE (O. Eng. scir-gerefa or scirmanf Latin, 'vice-comes), often called “ high sheriff, ” the English and Irish executive authority in a county, or other place, often called his “ bailiwick." The office also exists in about twenty ancient cities and boroughs, among which may be named London, Norwich, York, Bristol, Oxford, Lincoln, Chester and Canterbury in England, and Dublin, Cork, Limerick and other places in Ireland. In most of these the office is of an honorary The word occurs as early as the laws of Ine (c. 8), about 690. nature. The office is at present an annual one, though this has not been always the case. Three names are put .on the list by the chancellor of the exchequer and the judges of king's bench division on the morrow of St Martin (12th of November), and the first name is usually pricked by the king in council in the February or March following. City and borough sheriffs are usually appointed by the corporations on the 9th of November. London and Middlesex are specially provided for by the act of 1887, s. 35, and the sheriffs of the counties of Cornwalland Lancaster are separately appointed, the act not applying to them. The shrievalty was at one time a far more important office than it is at present. “ The whole history of English justice and police, ” says Maitland (Justice and Police, 69), “ might be brought under this rubric, the decline and fall of the sheriff.” That the sheriff sometimes abused his power is obvious from the grievances stated in the Inquest of Sheriffs of 1170. But he was necessary to protect the interests of the crown and the people against the powerful local baronage. Besides executing the king's writs, he called out the posse comitatus on any emergency needing an armed force. He had the ferm of the shire' (the rent he paid being called "' sheriff-geld ”) and presided in the county court and the hundred court. For more purely judicial purposes he held as the king's deputy the sheriff's tournf where his jurisdiction had not been ousted by franchise. He might be a peer or a judge, Bracton being an instance of the latter. The appointment seems to have been originally by popular election, a right confirmed by 28 Edw. I. c. 8, ~but ultimately vested in the crown unless where certain powerful landowners had contrived to make the office hereditary. The hereditary shrievalty of Westmorland was not abolished until 18 50 by 13 & 14 Vict. c. 30.4 The tendency of the hereditary office to become obsolete was no doubt helped by the creation of Viscount Beaumont as an hereditary peer under the new dignity of vice-comes in 1440. At one time contributions to the expense of the office were made by the magistrates and others of the county. “ Sheriff-tooth ” was a tenure on condition' of supplying entertainment to the sheriff at the county court. Up to the 19th century “ riding with the sheriff " was an incident of the assizes, the riders being some of the principal men of the shire who brought with them wine and victuals in order to assist the sheriff in showing hospitality to the judges. At the present day the expensive duties of the sheriff depend on numerous statutes beginning with 2 Edw. III. c. 3 (1328). The most important is the Sheriffs Act 1887, mainly a consolidating act applying to England only. The person nominated is usually a magistrate for the county, but anyone is eligible provided that he have land in the county sufficient to answer the king? Exempt are peers, clergy, officers in active service, practising barristers and solicitors and others. Poverty is also a ground of exemption. The sheriff appoints his under sheriff. The duties of the office at the present day are both administrative and judicial. Among the former the most important is attendance on the judges at assizes and election petitions. A certain amount of stately ceremony is required, and any lack of it is punishable by fine either by the judge of assize or by the High Court. Other administrative duties are execution of writs° and of the sentence of death, acting as returning officer at parliamentary elections, preparing the panel of jurors for assizes, the keeping prisoners in safe custody, he being liable for their escape, and the-now nominal-duty of summoning the posse comilatus. His judicial duties consist in himself or his deputy sitting to assess damages under the Lands Clauses Act 1845, and also in cases set down for trial where the defendant has made default in appearance and the issue resolves itself into one of damages. The expenses of the office are partly met by the 2 The ferm is abolished by the act of 1887, s. 19. 3 Abolished by s. 18 of the same act.

4 Repealed and re-enacted by the act of 1887, s. 31. ° The counties of Cambridge and Huntingdon are combined for the purposes of the shrievalty. See the act of 1887, s. 32. ° Where a question arises as to the ownership of goods seized in execution the sheriff may have to undergo the process known as sheriff 's inter pleader.