§ 903. An innkeeper is a person who keeps open house, and supplies the public with board and lodging for hire.1 A private boarding-house,2, or lodging-house, a restaurant,3 or a coffeehouse, is not an inn.4 If a man put up a sign at his door, and harbor guests, his house is to be deemed a common inn; the sign is not, however, essential to constitute an inn, but only evidence of the nature of the house; and if, after the sign be taken down, the host continue to entertain travellers, the house is still an inn.5 But entertaining strangers occasionally, for compensation, does not constitute a person an innkeeper.6 An innkeeper is
1 An inn is stated by Mr. Justice Best to be "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 accommodation provided, and who come in a situation in which they are fit to be received." "A lodging-house keeper, on the other hand, makes a contract with every man that comes; whereas an innkeeper is bound, without making any special contract to provide lodging and entertainment for all at a reasonable price." Thompson v. Lacy, 3 B. & Al. 287. See also, on this point, State v. Chamblyss, Cheves, 220; Wintermute v. Clark, 5 Sandf. 247; Doe v. Laming, 4 Camp. 77; Bonner v. Welborn, 7 Ga. 309. See State v. Mathews, 2 Dev. & Bat. 424. The proprietor, and not the paid manager under him, is the innkeeper. Dixon v. Birch, Law R. 8 Ex. 135 (1873); Lyon v. Smith, Morris, 184; Taylor v. Monnot, 4 Duer, 116.
2 See Dansey v. Richardson, 3 El. & B. 722; 25 Eng. Law & Eq. 76. And see Parkhurst v. Foster, 1 Salk. 387; 5 Mod. 427; Bonner v. Welborn, 7 Ga. 296. See post, § 912. Willard v. Bernhardt, 2 E. D. Smith, 148; Cromwell v. Stephens, 2 Daly, 15.
3 Carpenter v. Taylor, 1 Hilton, 193.
4 Calye's Case, 8 Co. 32; Thompson v. Lacy, 3 B. & Al. 283; Parkhurst v. Foster, 1 Salk. 387; 8. c. Carth. 417; Bac. Abr. Inns and Innkeepers, B.; Story on Bailm. § 475; Doe v. Laming, 4 Camp. 77.
5 Parker v. Flint, 12 Mod. 255; 2 Rolle, 345.
6 The State v. Mathews, 2 Dev. & Bat. 424; Parker v. Flint, 12 Mod. 255; Thompson v. Lacy, 3 B. & Al. 283; Lyon v. Smith, Morris, 184.' bound to receive all guests who come, unless they are drunk, or disorderly, or afflicted with contagious diseases; to accommodate them with board and convenient lodging-rooms; to take proper care of their goods and baggage; and to supply their reasonable wants and requests, for a reasonable compensation.1 But he is not bound to receive the goods of a person who purposes to use his inn as a place of deposit, and not to lodge there as his guest.2 If an innkeeper refuse improperly to receive or provide for a guest, he may be indicted therefor;3 unless he have a sufficient objection to his personal character or conduct. But if such person be disorderly, he may not only refuse to receive him, but after he has received him, he may eject him from the house.4 Travellers must, indeed, conform to the reasonable regulations of the house, and the reasonable requests of the innkeeper.5 Thus, where an innkeeper in a town through which lines of stage-coaches pass, and at whose inn the coaches stop, permits the drivers of some of the lines to resort there, without objection, he cannot exclude the driver of a rival line from entering the inn and going into the public rooms to solicit passengers for his coach, provided there be a reasonable expectation that passengers are there, and provided he comes at a suitable time, conducts himself with propriety, and is doing no injury to the innkeeper.6 But this right may be forfeited by misconduct; and if affrays be thereby occasioned, or if the guests be disturbed through the fault of such driver, the innkeeper may, if it appear to be necessary for the protection of his guests or himself, prohibit the driver from entering, until the grounds of apprehension shall be removed, and may treat him as a trespasser, in case he enter after such prohibition.7 But if other parties be guilty of misconduct to him, and he be engaged in an affray merely for self-defence, the innkeeper could not exclude him, except at the time of the disturbance, and for the purpose of restoring quiet to the house.1
1 Fell v. Knight, 8 M. & W. 269; Story on Bailm. § 476; Howell v. Jackson, 6 C. & P. 725; Newton v. Trigg, 1 Show. 246; Hawthorn v. Hammond, 1 C. & K. 404.
2 Watbroke v. Griffith, Moore, 876; Bennett v. Mellor, 5 T. R. 273; Binns v. Pigot, 9 C. & P. 208.
3 Rex v. Ivens, 7 C. & P. 213.
4 Ibid.; Story on Bailm. § 470, and cases cited; Howell v. Jackson, 6 C. & P. 723.
5 Fell c. Knight, 8M.&W. 269.
6 Markham v. Brown, 8 N. H. 523. 7 Ibid.
§ 904. The true definition of an inn has been said, in a late case, to be "a house where the traveller is furnished with every thing which he has occasion for whilst on his way;" 2 and in a more recent case it has been defined to be " a public house of entertainment for all who choose to visit it." 3 It may, however, be questioned whether an innkeeper is not authorized to restrict the use of his inn to certain classes of persons, - as in the case of the "loges à pied" met with throughout France, and intended for foot travellers only, - and if so, he should not be liable for refusing to receive and entertain persons travelling in carriages, and of a different class from those whom he professes to receive. This rule undoubtedly applies to carriers, and it has been thought that upon principle it should be extended to innkeepers.4
§ 905. If a traveller leave his horse at the inn and go out to dine or lodge with a friend, or if he leave the town for a short time, intending to return, and leave his goods at the inn, he would still continue to be a guest, if the host is to receive a compensation for care and keeping.5 So, also, if a traveller should send forward his horse or baggage, with a message that he was coming himself, it would seem that he would become thereby a guest from the time of the arrival of the baggage; at least, in case he afterwards arrives.1 It has been held that it is not essential that a traveller should be a lodger or take refreshment at an inn in order to constitute him a guest; and that if he leaves his horse there, or sends him without even going there himself, he may be considered as a guest, if the innkeeper is to receive compensation for the keeping.2 But this last doctrine has been denied with considerable emphasis in a late case.3 And, indeed, it is very difficult to see how an innkeeper can in such case be considered as occupying any other relation to the traveller than that of a mere bailee for hire, responsible only for ordinary diligence.4 Yet, if a traveller be received at an inn