Hue and cry
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By the Statute of Winchester of 1285, 13 Edw. I cc. 1 and 4, it was provided that anyone, either a constable or a private citizen, who witnessed a crime shall make hue and cry, and that the hue and cry must be kept up against the fleeing criminal from town to town and from county to county, until the felon is apprehended and delivered to the sheriff. All able-bodied men, upon hearing the shouts, were obliged to assist in the pursuit of the criminal, which makes it comparable to the posse comitatus. It was moreover provided that "the whole hundred … shall be answerable" for any theft or robbery, in effect a form of collective punishment. Those who raised a hue and cry falsely were themselves guilty of a crime.
The oath of office for constables in Tennessee specifcialy mentions that it is the duty of the constable to sound the hue and cry. As per T.C.A. 8-10-108(b)...according to the 1960 federal census or any subsequent federal census, and in Fentress County and Hamblen County, every constable shall take an oath that the constable will well and truly serve the state in the office of constable; that the constable will cause the peace of the state to be kept, to the best of the constable's power; that the constable will arrest all such persons as go in the constable's sight armed offensively, or who commit any riot, affray, or other breach of the peace, or will use the constable's best endeavor, on complaint made, to apprehend all felons, rioters, or persons riotously assembled; and that, if such persons flee or make resistance, the constable will pursue, and make hue and cry, according to law; that the constable will faithfully, and without delay, execute and return all lawful process directed to the constable; and that the constable will well and truly, according to the constable's power and ability, do and execute all other duties of the office of constable.
It is possible that it is an Anglicization via Anglo-French of the Latin hutesium et clamor, meaning "a horn and shouting". Other sources indicate that it has always been a somewhat redundant phrase meaning an outcry and cry. "Hue" appears to come from the Old French huer, which means "to shout", and Old French crier, which means "to cry".
- Adams, George Burton and Henry Morse Stephens (ed.). Statute of Winchester. Retrieved 2011-11-08.
- "What does Hue and Cry Mean?". Retrieved 2011-11-05.
- "Hue and Cry". Retrieved 2011-11-05.
- "Compiled Definition and Etymology of Hue and Cry". Retrieved 2011-11-05.
- Soukhanov, Anne H., ed. (1992), American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company, p. 879