In the early modern era, the business of England's criminal courts was founded upon charges brought and prosecuted by private individuals. And, as the English realized, private prosecutors posed a problem: how could the English ensure that private individuals would spend their own time and their own money in prosecuting an offender who had committed an offense against the peace of the realm? Parliament's solution was to proffer the carrot: sixteenth-century statute decreed that his prosecution of the thief was, in itself, action sufficient for the owner of stolen goods to recover those goods, while from 1692, statutes offered rewards to successful prosecutors of highway robbers, burglars, coiners, and other specified offenders. In contrast, England's magistrates wielded the stick, binding a plaintiff bringing an accusation of felony to prosecute an indictment against the alleged felon. As a result, private prosecutors of major offenses were both bribed and compelled to prosecute. Private prosecutors of more minor offenses were neither bribed nor compelled to prosecute, and yet they did, nonetheless, prosecute indictments. Why?