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and labour, or care and pains, are to be bestowed on the thing delivered, for a pecuniary recompense ; and the workman for hire must answer for ordinary neglect of the goods bailed, and apply a degree of skill equal to his undertaking. Every mechanic who takes any materials to work up for another in the course of his trade, as where a tailor receives cloth to be made into a coat, or a jeweller a gem to be set or engraved, he is bound to perform it in a workmanlike manner; he must bestow ordinary diligence, and that care which every man of common prudence, and capable of governing a family, takes of his own concerns. The bailee in this case is not answerable for slight neglect, nor for a loss by inevitable accident or irresistible force; he is only only answerable for ordinary neglect.
The extent of the responsibility of an innkeeper for the horse or goods of his guest, whom he receives and accommodates for hire, has been a point of much discussion in the books In general he is responsible for the acts of his domestics, and for thefts, and is bound to take all possible care of the goods and baggage of his guests deposited in his house, or entrusted to the care of his family or servants.
In Calye's case, it was decided, upon the authority of the original writ in the register, (and which Lord Coke said was the ground of the common law on the subject,) that if a guest came to an inn, and directed that his horse be put to pasture, and theh orse was stolen, the innkeeper was not responsible, in his character of innkeeper, for the loss of the horse. However, it was agreed in that case, that if the owner had not directed that the horse be put to pasture, and the innkeeper had done it of his own accord, he would be responsible.
Perhaps this rule might admit of some limitations; for if the putting the traveller's horse to pasture in the summer season be the usual custom, as it is in many parts of this
a 8 Co. 3%.
country, the consent or direction of the owner to that effect would be fairly presumed.
It was laid down in the same case in Coke, that the innkeeper was bound absolutely to keep safe the goods of his guest deposited within the inn, and whether the guest acquainted the innkeeper that the goods were there, or did not, and that he would in every event be bound to pay for the goods if stolen, unless they were stolen by a servant or companion of the guest. The responsibility of the inn~ keeper extends to all the moveable goods and chattels of his guest which are placed within the inn, (infra hospitium,) but it does not extend to trespasses committed upon the person of the guest. It is no excuse for the innkeeper that he was, at the time the goods of his guest were lost, sick or insane, for he is bound to provide careful servants." In the modern case of Bennet v. Mellor," the responsibility of innkeepers was laid down with great strictness, and even with severity. The plaintiff's servant came to an inn to deposit some goods for a week. The proposal was rejected, and the servant sat down in the inu as a guest, with the goods placed behind him, and very shortly thereafter they were stolen. It was held, that the innkeeper was liable for the goods, for the servant was entitled to protection for his goods during the time he continued in the inn as a guest. It was not necessary that the goods should have been in the special keeping of the innkeeper, in order to make him liable. If they be in the inn, that is sufficient to charge him, It is not necessary to prove negligence in the innkeeper, for it is his duty to provide honest servants, according to the confidence reposed in him by the public, and he ought to answer civilly for their acts, even if they should rob the guests who sleep under his roof. Rigorous as this law may seem, and hard as it may actually be in some instances, it is, as Sir William Jones observes, founded on the principle
a Cross v. Andrews, Cro. E. 622.
b 5 Term Rep. 273.
of public utility, to which all private considerations ought to yield. Travellers, who must be numerous in a rich and commercial country, are obliged to rely almost implicitly on the good faith of innkeepers, and it would be almost impossible for them, in any given case, to make out proof of fraud or negligence in the landlord. The Romant prætor beld innkeepers responsible for the goods of their guests, on the same principle of public utility. It was necessary to confide largely in the honesty of such men, and if they were not held very strictly to their duty, they might yield to the temptation to commit a breach of trust.a
The responsibility of innkeepers, to the full extent of the English law, has been recognised in the courts of justice in this country. Thus, in Quinton v. Courtney,b the innkeeper was held liable for money stolen out of the saddle bags of the guest, which he had delivered to the servant, without informing him, or his master, that there was money in them. And in Clute v. Wiggins, the innkeeper was held responsible for a theft of bags of grain in a loaded sleigh of a guest, which had been placed for the night in a wagon or outhouse appurtenant to the inn, with fastened doors. The sleigh was deemed infra hospitium, and the innkeeper liable, without any negligence being proved against him.
ter so extended a responsibility, it becomes very important that the nature of inns and guests, and to whom the description applies, should be precisely understood.
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Calye's case it was declared, that common inns were instituted for passengers and way-faring men, and that a neighbour who was no traveller, and lodged at the inn as a at the request of the innkeeper, was not a guest goods would be under special protection. A house y for lodging strangers for a season who came to a wag place, and furnishing hay, and stable room for their
Dig. 4. 9. 1.
b 1 Haywood's N. C. Rep. 40.
€ 14 Johns. Rep. 175.
horses, and selling beer to them, and to none else, has been held not to be a public inn. It must be a house kept open publicly for the lodging and entertainment of travellers in general, for a reasonable compensation. If a person lets lodgings only, and upon a previous contract with every person who comes, and does not afford entertainment for the public at large indiscriminately, it is not a common inn. In Thompson v. Lacy, this subject was fully discussed; and it was decided, that a house of public entertainment in London, where provisions and beds were furnished for travellers, and all others capable of paying a suitable compensation for the same, was a public inn. The owner was subject to all the liabilities of an innkeeper, even though he kept no stables, and was not frequented by stage coaches and wagons from the country, and even though the guest did not appear to have been a traveller, but to have previously resided in furnished lodgings in the city. A lodg ing house keeper was one that made a contract with every person that came; but an inn said one of the judges in that case, is a house, the owner of which holds out, that he will receive all travellers and sojourners who are willing to pay a price adequate to the sort of entertainment provided, and who come in a situation in which they are fit to be received. If a guest applies for a room in an inn for a purpose of business distinct from his accommodation as a guest, the particular responsibility does not extend to goods lost or stolen from that room. Though a landlord cannot exonerate himself by merely handing over a key to his guest, yet if the guest takes the key, it will be a question of fact, whether he took it animo custodiendi, so as to exempt the landlord.
a Parkhurst v. Foster, 1 Salk. 387. Carth. 417. S. C.
b 3 Barn. & Ald. 283.
c Burgess v. Clements, 4 Maule & Selw. 306. Farnworth v. Pack wood, 1 Holt's N. P. 209.
In this and other states, where inns and taverns are under statute regulations, their definition and character are contained in the statute. Inns and taverns in this state, are to be licensed by the commissioners of excise; and it is usually a part, though not an essential part of the license, to retail strong and spiritous liquors under five gallons. There are licenses merely to sell strong and spiritous liquors under five gallons, granted to merchants and grocers, but they cannot be sold to be drank in the house or store where merchant's goods are sold; and there are other licenses to retail strong and spirit ous liquors granted to persons for the purpose of keeping an inn or tavern. Those persons so licensed are the true and proper innkeepers within the contemplation of our statute law, and probably the only persons to whom the rights and responsibility of an innkeeper attaches. Every person to whom the license is granted for that purpose, must enter into a recognizance not to keep a disorderly inn or tavern; and the license is only to be given to persons of good moral character, and of sufficient abilities to keep an inn or tavern, and who have accommodations to entertain travellers. Every keeper of a public inn or tavern, except in the city of New-York, is required by the act to keep at least two spare bed for guests, well provided, and good and sufficient stabling, grain, hay, or pasturage, for horses and other cattle belonging to travellers. Every innholder or tavernkeeper, who is licensed as such, is also required to put and keep up a proper sign on or adjacent to the front of his house; and every person wholerects or keeps up such a sign without a license as an innkeeper, or sells spiritous liquers by retail to be drank in his house, outhouse, yard, or garden, without entering into recognizance as an innkeeper, is subjected to a penalty for every offence.
a Act for regulating Inns and Taverns, Laws of N. Y. sess. 24. ch. 164.