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poor as Scotland, would be immense: it would tend to population, it would greatly increase industry, manufactures, and commerce, beside augmenting the public. revenue. In the next place, as there would be no temptation for designing men to convert the burden of magistracy into a benefit, faction and discord would vanish; and there would be no less solicitude to shun the burden, than at present is seen to obtain it. None would submit to the burden but the truly patriotic, men who would cheerfully bestow their time, and perhaps their money, upon the public; and whose ambition it would be to acquire a character, by promoting industry, temperance, and honesty, among their fellow-citizens.
And when the government of the royal boroughs comes to be in so good hands, bribery, which corrupts the very vitals of our constitution, will be banished of course. And considering the proper constitutional dependence of the royal boroughs upon the king's judges, we may have reasonable assurance, that few representatives will, be chosen but who are friends to their country and to their sovereign.
PLAN FOR IMPROVING AND PRESERVING IN ORDER THE HIGHWAYS IN SCOTLAND.
HIGHWAYS have in Scotland become a capital object of police, by the increase of inland commerce, upon which bad roads are a heavy tax. Happily for our country, no person is ignorant of this truth; and we see with pleasure the fruits of their conviction in various attempts, public and private, to establish this valuable branch of police upon the best footing. As this is no easy task, it may reasonably be hoped, that men interested will seriously apply to it, and will freely produce such hints as occur to them. In the latter view, the following plan is offered to the public; and if, from the various proposals that have been or shall be published, an effective plan can be framed, such as completely to answer its purpose, it may safely be pronounced, that it will produce more benefit to this country, than has been produced by any other single improvement since the union of the two kingdoms.
HE justices of peace, commissioners of supply, the sheriff or stewart depute, and the first magistrate of royal boroughs, shall be com
missioners for making and repairing highways, bridges, and ferries, in the several shires and stewartries. All the. powers given by law to the justices of peace, and commissioners of supply, with respect to highways, bridges, and ferries, shall be transferred to them; and any two shall be a quorum except where a greater number is required by this
2. The sheriff or stewart depute shall appoint the first day of meeting of the said commissioners, as soon as may conveniently be after the date of the act, by an intimation at each parish-church upon a Sunday, at the close of the forenoon service. And the last Tuesday of March shall yearly thereafter be a day of meeting at the head borough of the shire or stewartry, in place of the first or third Tuesday of May appointed by former acts. The commissioners shall appoint a preses, convener, and clerk and they shall be empowered to adjourn themselves from time to time.
3. The commissioners, at their first meeting, shall divide the shire or stewartry into two or more districts, as they see convenient. And if they cannot overtake this work at that meeting, they shall appoin proper persons to form a plan of the intended divisions, which plan shall be reported to the commissioners at their next meeting, in order to be approved or altered by them. This being settled, the commissioners shall appoint the heritors in these several districts, or any three of them, to meet on a certain day and place, to make
lists of the whole public roads within their respective districts, and to settle the order of reparation, beginning with those that are the most frequented. The proceedings of these district meetings must be reported to the commissioners at their next meeting; who are empowered to settle the order of reparation, in case of variance among the heritors; and also to add any road that may have been omitted. And they shall record a scheme or plan of the whole roads in the shire, thus enlisted, with their resolutions thereupon, to be seen in the clerk's hands gratis. But upon any just cause appearing in the course of administration, the commissioners shall be empowered to alter or vary this plan, provided it be at a meeting previously appointed for that purpose, and where three-fifths at least of the commissioners are present.
4. If the sheriff or stewart neglect to appoint the first meeting of the commissioners, he shall incur a penalty of L. 100, upon a summary complaint to the Court of Session by any one heritor of the shire, with costs of suit; the one-half of the penalty to the plaintiff, and the other half to be applied by the commissioners for the purposes of this act. If the commissioners fail to meet at the day appointed by the sheriff or stewart, or fail to divide the shire or stewartry into districts, within six months of their first meeting, the sheriff or stewart depute, under the foresaid penalty, shall be bound to do that work himself; and also to ap
point the heritors in the several districts, or any three of them, to make lists of the public roads as above mentioned, and to report their resolutions to him; and he is empowered to settle the order of reparation, in case of variance among the heritors. If the heritors fail to meet, and to make a list of the roads as aforesaid, this work shall be performed by the sheriff or stewart depute himself. And he shall he indemnified of whatever expences he is at in prosecuting the said work, out of the sums that are to be levied by authority of this act, in manner after mentioned, with an additional sum for his own trouble, to be named by the circuit judges."
5. No person shall act as a commissioner upon this statute, but who has an estate within the county of L. 200 Scots valuation, or is heir-presumptive of such an estate, or is named a commissioner virtute officii, under the penalty of E. 20 Sterling toties quoties, to be prosecuted before any competent court, by a proper action, with costs of suit: the one-half to the plaintiff, the other half to the purposes of this act.
6. Whereas the sum of 10 d. directed by the act 1669 to be imposed upon each L. 100 of valued rent, is insufficient for the purposes therein expressed; and whereas the six days statute-work for repairing the highways is in many respects inconvenient; and therefore, instead of the 10 d. and instead of the statute-work, the commission