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Roman law, that of England, relating to Highways, is said to have been founded. St. Isidorus informs us, “the Carthagi“nians first paved the ways; afterwards the Romans did the
same throughout all the world, to make the roads straight “ and keep the multitude out of idleness.”* Augustus Cæsar was elected overseer of the Highways near Romet. An appointment of this kind was considered a great honour. Pliny the younger, writing to Pontius, says, “I had retired into the “ country when I received the news that Cornutus Tertullius “ had the charge of the Æmilian Way. I cannot express “ how much I rejoiced, both for his sake and my own.” The most distinguished service that could be rendered to the state, was to make highways. To this purpose Julius Cæsar devoted a great part of his fortune, and Augustus Cæsar the silver statues that were presented to him by his friends and courtiers. The roads thus made were called by the name of the person at whose expense they were constructed; and arches and pillars were erected, and medals struck in commemoration of them.
The Roman law distinguished the high roads between the principal towns from the roads between small towns or villages. The former, called via publice, were made, except in the cases we have alluded to, and maintained at the expense of the state. The latter, called via vicinales, were made and maintained at the expense of the small towns or villages they connected together. The riæ publice were maintained partly by tolls and partly by grants. The farmers of these tolls were called mancipes, who contracted for keeping the roads in re
mais il est évident qu'elle a eu lieu, car elle est une conséquence nécessaire de celles qu'on vient d'indiquer, et certes, il n'y a pas d'exagération à les porter au tiers du montant de ces dernières 1,420,000
Total des produits annuels 5,680,000 La navigation a été ouverte le 28 Février 1794 ; à cette époque le montant de la dépense pour la confection du canal s'élevait à ... 11,420,000 Dont l'intérêt à 5 per 100 est de .......
571,000 Depuis cette époque le montant de toutes les dépenses d'entretien s'est élevé, année moyenne, à ........
Total de la dépense annuelle
Par conséquent, l'utilité absolue du Canal du Centre peut être réprésentée par un revenu annuel de
4,941,000fr. * Originum, lib. xv. cap. ult.
† Dio, lib. xv.
pair with the lowest bidder, called redemptores*. The magistrates of the small towns and villages were empowered to levy on the inhabitants the sum required for the maintenance of the viæ vicinales; and those who were not able to contribute in money were obliged to contribute their personal labourt. The Roman laws and customs were introduced into England under Vespasian and Domitian.
That part of these laws which related to the viæ vicinales, was alone retained by the Saxons, as it was more congenial with their feudal institutions, and was applied to public as well as private roads. After the Norman conquest, the judges, “ who had a charge to inquire of common highways destroyed, and who bound to repair or mend them," I declared that the counties were bound, at common law, to make good the reparations of a highway ş.
By the statute of Philip and Mary || provision was made to compel the parishes to repair the highways, and for the appointment of surveyors to superintend and enforce such repairs. Like the Roman law, regulating the viæ vicinales, this statute provided that the funds for this purpose should be raised in each parish by personal labour, termed statuteduty, or by a composition. The mode of satisfying this duty by the occupiers was found, in practice, to be oppressive and inefficacious.
Horses and men were sent on the requisition of the surveyor to work on the roads; but it was difficult to compel them to work, and, generally, the days required for statutelabour were devoted by the men sent to discharge that duty to idleness and drinking. By the statute of Philip and Mary, all persons keeping draughts and occupying tenements of a certain amount, were required to send a certain number of men and horses, in proportion to the number of draughts kept and amount of rent paid, to do statute-duty for a certain number of days in the year; and each occupier, not keeping draughts, was required to work or find a labourer, for which, however, a composition might be made with the surveyor at an easy rate under the statute.
* Siculus Flaccus, lib. de Conditionibus Agrorum. + Idem. # Britton, cap. 20, de plusiers tortz. (sic.)
$ Co. Rep. 13. || 2 and 3 P. and M. c. 8., revived by 5 Eliz. c. 13, and made perpetual by 29 Eliz. c. 5; consolidated by 13 George III. c. 78, and amended by several subsequent statutes.
f Lord Bacon, in his “judicial charge upon the Commission for the Verge," says, “For nuisances and grievances I will for the present only single out one, that ye present the decays of high ways and bridges; for where the majesty of a king's house draws recourse and access, it is both disgraceful to the king and diseaseful to the people, if the ways near-abouts be not fair and good; wherein it is strange to see the chargeable pavements and causeways in the avenues and entrances of touns abroad beyond the seas; whereas London, the second city at the least of Europe, in glory, in greatness, and in wealth, cannot be discerned by the fairness of the ways, though a little perhaps by the broadness of them, from a village.”Lord Bacon's Works, vol. iv. p. 393.
The gentry who kept carriages claimed to be included in the last class, as not keeping draughts within the meaning of the statute, and the claim was allowed by the justices. Sir Mathew Hale, however, held that coaches were included under the appellation of " draught," and such as kept them liable to do statute-duty. This was conformable with the views of Dalton, who wrote about 1619, and says, “I find that a “ draught for the king's carriages heretofore hath been some“ times with two horses, as it seemeth by the statute of Magna “ Charta, cap. 21.” But until this provision was amended by the consolidating statute of 13 George III., the gentry were, as regarded the repairs of roads, classed generally with the agricultural labourers. A great number of enactments were passed subsequent to the statute of Philip and Mary; but as all of them were based on the false principle, that the occupiers of the several parishes were bound to keep the high roads in repair for the use of the public, they were only productive of discontent and litigation. At length the greatest proportion of the roads in England were placed under the management and direction of trustees, who were empowered to erect turnpikes and take tolls for the maintenance of such roads in aid of statute-duty*. This expedient has also proved unsuccessful. The trusts are encumbered with a heavy amount of debt, and the time appears to be arrived when a new system must be adopted. The Select Committee, appointed in 1833 to take into consideration the state of Turnpike Road Trusts in England, reported “that they had not failed to ob“tropolis," and that all the witnesses (sixteen in number) who had been examined, concurred in recommending a system of general control of the management of the roads of the kingdom, with a view to prevent an increase of debt,—to introduce one general, economical and skilful course of management as “the only means of reducing the present great amount of “ debt, and of relieving the country from the burden of sta“tute labour, and the high rate of toll now levied on every “ district;" and the Committee recommended the immediate adoption of measures calculated to carry that object into effect*. It appears therefore, we think, sufficiently clear, that the principle which we advocate must soon be adopted even in England; namely, that the great leading lines of communication be constructed and maintained by the state.
serve, from the evidence adduced, the great benefits which “ had arisen from the consolidation of trusts round the me
* The general Turnpike act is 13 George III. c. 84, which, by 21 George III. c. 20, is extended to all acts to be made thereafter for the purpose of regulating particular turnpikes.
The system of maintaining the public roads by means of statute-labour also existed in Ireland, and produced the like result, oppression, litigation and neglect. It became necessary therefore to change it; and instead of trustees, the roads were placed under the direction of the grand juries, who were enabled to assess the occupiers of the different baronies for their maintenance and construction. Few turnpikes were erected, and statute-labour was abolished. But in this system the original vice exists, namely, that the inhabitants within a certain district are required to make and maintain roads for the public; and when the heavy tax which this imposes is increased by the other almost endless charges thrown upon the county cess, it is not surprising that it should have occasioned the most extensive discontent, and that useful works should not be undertaken. The grand jury laws relating to roads in Ireland were only to be equalled in complication by the highway acts in England; and they equally evinced, in their operation, how fruitless are all attempts to effect, by legislation, what is opposed to the common sense and interests of mankind.
In the Report of the Select Committee on Public Works, to which we have already alluded, Mr. Barrington stated, that on a tract of land which he possessed in the county of Lime
* Parliamentary Paper, No. 24, August 21, 1833. VOL, VII.-NO XIII.
rick he expended £700 in the formation of a public road through a mountain, the Board of Works laying out a sum of equal amount. In consequence of that expenditure, that it had nearly doubled the value of the land through which the road went, by merely affording to the occupiers the means of drawing up the lime on cars, which was previously carried in baskets on horses' backs; and this road not only benefited his land, but the whole range of country beyond it. There is no doubt that the same results would be produced by like means through almost every part of Ireland; and when we add to the improvement in the value, the improvement in the condition of the people,-the increase to the revenue resulting from improved habits and increased consumption,-the improvement in the administration of justice, by opening the country to the police and military,—the saving of expense arising from a reduction of the number of the latter, which may be safely made with the improved condition of the people, -the advantages of unity of system and control ;-in every point of view, it appears to us the duty of the Government, and the interest of the public, to apply freely grants of public money to promote the construction of great leading lines of communication in Ireland, and that these should be intrusted to a Board responsible to the state.
The argument that works of this kind should not be undertaken because they are not likely to prove profitable, is most fallacious. It is those works which are least likely to prove immediately productive to a private undertaker that always prove most productive to the public*,--the opening lines of communication through extensive uncultivated districts. These would add to the empire, as Colonel Burgoyne forcibly expressed it in his evidence before the Select Committee to which we have referred,“ profitable and excellent 6 land to the amount of hundreds and thousands of acres, as “ much as if they had arisen out of the bottom of the sea; but, he adds, “no party is sufficiently interested to come for
* Middleton, who brought the New River to London, died in prison, from inability to meet engagements undertaken to effect that great work The original one hundred pound shares in that undertaking now sell for upwards of £5000 each,---paying an interest of £300 each.