Of the HIGH-WAYS.
IT is a prodigious Charge the whole Nation groans under for the Repair of High-Ways, which, after all, lie in a very ill Posture too; I make no question but if it was taken into Consideration by those who have the Power to Direct it, the Kingdom might be wholly eas'd of that Burthen, and the High-Ways be kept in good condition, which now lie in a most shameful manner in most Page 69 parts of the Kingdom, and in many places wholly unpassable; from whence arise Tolls and Impositions upon Pas|sengers and Travellers; and on the other hand, Trespasses and Incroach|ments upon Lands adjacent, to the great Damage of the Owners.
The Rate for the High-Ways is the most Arbitrary and Unequal Tax in the Kingdom; in some places two or three Rates of 6 d. per. l. in the year, in others the whole Parish cannot raise wherewith to defray the Charge, either by the very bad condition of the Road, or distance of Materials; in others the Surveyors raise what they never Expend; and the Abuses, Ex|actions, Connivances, Frauds, and Embezlements, are innumerable.
The Romans, while they Govern'd this Island, made it one of their prin|cipal cares to Make and Repair the High-Ways of the Kingdom, and the Page 70 Chief Roads we now use, are of their Marking out; the Consequence of maintaining them was such, or at least so esteem'd, that they thought it not below them to Employ their Le|gionary Troops in the Work; and it was sometimes the Business of whole Armies, either when in Winter-quar|ters, or in the intervals of Truce or Peace with the Natives. Nor have the Romans left us any greater tokens of their Grandeur and Magnificence, than the ruins of those Causways and Street|ways which are at this day to be seen in many parts of the Kingdom; some of which has by the visible Remains been discover'd to traverse the whole Kingdom; and others for more than an Hundred Miles are to be trac'd from Colony to Colony, as they had particular occasion. The famous High-Way, or Street, call'd Watling|street, which some will tell you began Page 71 at London-stone, and passing that very Street in the City, which we to this day call by that Name, went on West to that spot where Tyburn now stands, and then turn'd North-West in so straight a line to St. Albans, that 'tis now the exactest Road (in one Line for Twenty Miles) in the King|dom; and tho' disus'd now as the Chief, yet is as good, and I believe the best Road to St. Albans, and is still call'd the Street-way: From whence it is trac'd into Shropshire above an Hundred and sixty Miles, with a multitude of visible Antiquities upon it, Discover'd and Describ'd very A|curately by Mr. Cambden. The Fosse, another Roman Work, lies at this day as visible, and as plain a high Caus|way, of above Thirty Foot broad, Ditch'd on either side, and Cop'd and Pav'd where need is, as exact and eve|ry jot as beautiful as the King's new Page 72 Road through Hide-Park; in which figure it now lies from near Marshfield to Cirencester, and again from Cirencester to the Hill Three Miles on this side Glou|cester, which is not less than Twenty six Miles, and is made use of as the great Road to those Towns, and pro|bably has been so for a Thousand Years with little Repairs.
If we set aside the Barbarity and Customs of the Romans, as Heathens, and take them as a Civil Government, we must allow they were the Pattern of the whole World for Improvement and Increase of Arts and Learning, Civilizing and Methodizing Nations and Countries Conquer'd by their Valour; and if this was one of their great Cares, That consideration ought to move something. But to the great Example of that Generous People, I'le add Three Arguments.
- (1.) 'Tis Useful, and that as 'tis convenient for Carriages, which in a Trading Countrey is a great help to Negoce, and promotes universal Cor|respondence, without which our Inland Trade cou'd not be manag'd. And un|der this Head I cou'd name a thousand Conveniences of a safe, pleasant, well-Repair'd High-Way, both to the In|habitant and the Traveller; but I think 'tis needless.
- (2.) 'Tis easy. I question not to make it appear 'tis easy, to put all the High Roads, especially in England, in a noble Figure, Large, Dry, and Clean, well Drein'd and free from Floods, unpassable Sloughs, deep Cart|routs, high Ridges, and all the Incon|veniences they now are full of; and when once done, much easier still to be maintain'd so.
- (3.) It may be Cheaper, and the whole Assesment for the Repairs of Page 74 High-Ways for ever be Drop'd, or Appli'd to other uses for the Publick Benefit.
Here I beg the Reader's Favour for a small Digression.
I am not Proposing this as an Undertaker, or setting a Price to the Publick, for which I will per|form it like one of the Projectors I speak of; but laying open a Project for the Performance, which when|ever the Publick Affairs will admit our Governors to Consider of, will be found so feasible, that no question they may find Undertakers enough for the Performance; and in this Under|taking-Age I do not doubt but 'twou'd be easy at any time to procure Per|sons at their own Charge to perform it for any single County, as a Pattern and Experiment for the whole King|dom.
Page 75The Proposal is as follows.
First, That an Act of Parliament be made, with Liberty for the Under|takers to Dig and Trench, to cut down Hedges and Trees, or whatever is need|ful for ditching, dreining and carrying off Water, cleaning, enlarging and le|velling the Roads, with Power to lay open or inclose Lands; to incroach in|to Lands, dig, raise, and level Fen|ces, plant and pull up Hedges or Trees, for the enlarging, widening, and dreining the High-Ways, with Power to turn either the Roads, or Water-Courses, Rivers and Brooks, as by the Directors of the Works shall be found needful, always allow|ing satisfaction to be first made to the Owners of such Lands, either by as|signing to them equivalent Lands, or Payment in Money, the Value to Page 76 be adjusted by Two indifferent Per|sons, to be Named by the Lord Chan|cellor, or Lord Keeper for the time being; and no Water-Course to be turn'd from any Water-Mill, without Satisfaction first made both to the Landlord and Tenant.
But before I proceed, I must say a word or two to this Article.
The Chief, and almost the Only Cause of the deepness and foulness of the Roads, is occasion'd by the stand|ing Water, which for want of due care to draw it off by scouring and opening Ditches and Dreins, and o|ther Water-Courses, and clearing of Passages, soaks into the Earth, and softens it to such a degree, that it can|not bear the weight of Horses and Carriages; to prevent which, the Pow|er to Dig, Trench, and Cut down, &c. mention'd above, will be of absolute necessity: But because the liberty Page 77 seems very large, and some may think 'tis too great a Power to be granted to any Body of Men over their Neigh|bours: 'Tis answer'd;
- (1.) 'Tis absolutely necessary, or the Work cannot be done; and the do|ing of the Work is of much greater Be|nefit than the Damage can amount to.
- (2.) Satisfaction to be made to the Owner, and that first too, before the Damage be done, is an Unquestiona|ble Equivalent; and Both together, I think, are a very full Answer to any Objection in That case.
Besides this Act of Parliament, a Commission must be granted to Fifteen, at least, in the Name of the Undertakers, to whom every County shall have Power to join Ten, who are to Sit with the said Fifteen, so often and so long as the said Fifteen do Sit for Affairs relating to that County; which Fifteen, or any Seven of them, Page 78 shall be Directors of the Works, to be advis'd by the said Ten, or any Five of them, in matters of Right and Claim; and the said Ten to adjust Differences in the Countries, and to have Right by Process to appeal in the name either of Lords of Man|nors, or Privileges of Towns or Cor|porations, who shall be either damag'd or encroach'd upon by the said Work: All Appeals to be heard and determin'd immediately by the said Lord Chan|cellor, or Commission from him, that the Work may receive no Interruption.
This Commission shall give Power to the said Fifteen to press Wagons, Carts, and Horses, Oxen, and Men, and detain them to work a certain Li|mited Time, and within certain Limi|ted Space of Miles from their own Dwellings, and at a certain Rate of Payment: No Men, Horses, or Carts to be press'd against their Consent, du|ring Page 79 the times of Hay-time, or Har|vest; or upon Market-days, if the Person aggriev'd will make Affidavit he is oblig'd to be with his Horses or Carts at the said Markets.
It is well known to all who have any knowledge of the Condition the High-Ways in England now lye in, that in most places there is a convenient distance of Land left open for travel|ling, either for driving of Cattel, or marching of Troops of Horse, with perhaps as few Lanes or Defiles, as in any Countries: The Cross-Roads, which are generally Narrow, are yet Broad enough in most places for two Carriages to pass; but on the other hand, we have on most of the High-Roads a great deal of waste-Land thrown in as it were for an Overplus to the High-Way; which though it be us'd of course by Cattle and Travel|lers on occasion, is indeed no Benefit Page 80 at all either to the Traveller as a Road, or to the Poor as a Common, or to the Lord of the Mannor as a Waste; upon it grows neither Timber nor Grass, in any quantity answerable to the Land; but, tho to no purpose, is trodden down, poach'd, and over|run by Drifts of Cattle in the Winter, or spoil'd with the Dust in the Sum|mer: And this I have observ'd in ma|ny parts of England to be as good Land as any of the Neighbouring Enclosures, as capable of Improvement, and to as good purpose.
These Lands only being enclos'd and manur'd, leaving the Roads to Dimensions without measure sufficient, are the Fund upon which I build the Prodigious Stock of Money that must do this Work. These Lands, which I shall afterwards make an Essay to va|lue, being enclos'd, will be either sale|able to raise Money, or fit to exchange Page 81 with those Gentlemen who must part with some Land where the Ways are narrow: Always reserving a quantity of these Lands to be Let out to Te|nants; the Rent to be paid into the Publick Stock or Bank of the Under|takers, and to be reserv'd for keeping the Ways in the same Repair; and the said Bank to forfeit the Lands if they are not so maintained.
Another Branch of the Stock must be Hands; for a Stock of Men is a Stock of Money; to which purpose every County, City, Town, and Pa|rish, shall be Rated at a Set Price, equi|valent to Eight Years Payment for the Repair of High-ways; which each County, &c. shall raise, not by As|sessment in Money, but by pressing of Men, Horses, and Carriages for the Work; the Men, Horses, &c. to be employ'd by the Directors: In which case all Corporal Punishments, Page 82 as of Whippings, Stocks, Pillories, Houses of Correction, &c. might be easily transmitted to a certain Number of Days Works on the High-Ways, and in Consideration of this pro|vision of Men, the Country shou'd for ever after be acquitted of any Contri|bution, either in Money or Work, for Repair of the High-Ways, Building of Bridges excepted.
There lies some Popular Objection against this Undertaking; and the first is, the great Controverted Point of England, Enclosure of the Common, which tends to Depopulation, and In|jures the Poor.
(2.) Who shall be Judges or Sur|veyors of the Work, to Oblige the Undertakers to perform to a certain limited degree.
For the First; The Enclosure of the Common; A Clause that runs as far as to an Incroachment upon MagnaPage 83Charta, and a most considerable branch of the Property of the Poor: I An|swer it thus.
- (1.) The Lands we Enclose, are not such as from which the Poor do in|deed reap any Benefit, or at least any that is considerable.
- (2.) The Bank and Publick Stock, who are to Manage this great Underta|king, will have so many little Labours to perform, and Offices to bestow, that are fit only for Labouring Poor Persons to do, as will put them in a condition to provide for the Poor who are so Injur'd, that can work; and to those who cannot, may allow Pensions for Overseeing, Supervising, and the like, which will be more than Equi|valent.
- (3.) For Depopulations, the con|trary shou'd be secur'd, by obliging the Undertakers, at such and such certain distances, to erect Cottages, Two at least Page 84 in a place, which wou'd be useful to the Work, and safety of the Traveller, to which shou'd be an Allotment of Land, always sufficient to invite the Poor Inhabitant, in which the Poor shou'd be Tenant for Life Gratis, do|ing Duty upon the High-Way, as shou'd be appointed; by which, and many other Methods, the Poor shou'd be great Gainers by the Proposal, in|stead of being Injur'd.
- (4.) By this erecting of Cottages at proper distances, a Man might Tra|vel over all England as through a Street, where he cou'd never want, either Re|scue from Thieves, or Directions for his way.
- (5.) This very Undertaking once duly settled, might in a few Years so order it, that there shou'd be no Poor for the Common; and if so, What need of a Common for the Poor? Of which in its proper place.
Page 85 As to the second Objection, Who shou'd oblige the Undertakers to the Performance?
- (1.) I Answer, Their Commission and Charter shou'd become Void, and all their Stock Forfeit, and the Lands Enclosed and Unsold, remain as a Pledge, which wou'd be Security suffi|cient.
- (2.) The Ten Persons chosen out of every County, shou'd have Power to Inspect and Complain, and the Lord Chancellor upon such Com|plaint, to make a Survey, and to de|termine by a Jury, in which case on Default, they shall be oblig'd to pro|ceed.
- (3.) The Lands settled on the Bank shall be liable to be extended for the Uses mentioned, if the same at any time be not maintained in the conditi|on at first provided, and the Bank to be amerc'd upon Complaint of the Coun|trey.
Page 86 These and other Conditions, which on a Legal Settlement to be made by Wiser Heads than mine, might be thought on, I do believe wou'd form a Constitution so firm, so fair, and so equally Advantageous to the Coun|try, to the Poor, and to the Publick, as has not been put in practice in these latter Ages of the World. To Di|scourse of this a little in general, and to instance in a Place, perhaps, that has not its fellow in the Kingdom, the Parish of Islington in Middlesex; there lies through this large Parish the greatest Road in England, and the most frequented, especially by Cattle for Smithfield-Market; this great Road has so many Branches, and lies for so long a way through the Parish, and withal has the inconvenience of a Clayey Ground, and no Gravel at hand, that, modestly speaking, the Parish is not able to keep it in Repair, by which Page 87 means several Cross-Roads in the Pa|rish lie wholly Unpassable, and Carts and Horses, and Men too, have been almost Buried in Holes and Sloughs, and the main Road it self has for ma|ny Years lain in a very ordinary con|dition, which occasion'd several Moti|ons in Parliament to Raise a Toll at Highgate, for the performance of what it was impossible the Parish shou'd do, and yet was of so absolute necessity to be done; And is it not very probable the Parish of Islington wou'd part with all the waste Land upon their Roads, to be eas'd of the intolerable Assessment for Repair of the High-Way, and answer the Poor, who reap but a small Bene|fit from it, some other way? And yet I am free to affirm, That for a Grant of Waste, and almost useless Land, lying open to the High-Way, those Lands to be improv'd, as they might easily be, together with the Eight Page 88 Years Assessment to be provided in Workmen, a noble Magnificent Cause|way might be Erected, with Ditches on either side deep enough to receive the Water, and Dreins sufficient to carry it off, which Causway shou'd be Four Foot High at least, and from Thirty to Forty Foot Broad, to reach from London to Barnet, pav'd in the middle, to keep it Cop'd, and so suppli'd with Gravel, and other proper Materials, as shou'd secure it from Decay with small Repairing.
I hope no Man wou'd be so weak now, as to imagine that by Lands ly|ing open to the Road, to be Assign'd to the Undertakers, I shou'd mean that all Finchly-Common shou'd be Enclos'd and Sold for this Work; but least somebody shou'd start such a preposte|rous Objection, I think 'tis not im|proper to mention, That where-ever a High-Way is to be carri'd over a Page 89 Large Common, Forest, or Waste without a Hedge on either hand for a certain distance, there the several Pa|rishes shall allot the Directors a certain quantity of the Common to lie Pa|rallel with the Road, at a propor|tioned number of Feet to the Length and Breadth of the said Road; con|sideration also to be had to the Nature of the Ground, or else giving them only room for the Road directly, shall suffer them to Enclose in any one Spot so much of the said Common, as shall be equivalent to the like quantity of Land lying by the Road; thus where the Land is good, and the Materials for erecting a Causway near, the less Land may serve; and on the contra|ry the more; but in general, allowing them the quantity of Land propor|tioned to the length of the Causway, and Forty Rod in Breadth, tho' where the Land is poor, as on Downs and Page 90 Plains, the Proportion must be con|sider'd to be adjusted by the Coun|try.
Another Point for the Dimensions of Roads, shou'd be adjusted; and the Breadth of them, I think, cannot be less than thus:
From London every way 10 Miles the High Post-Road to be Built full 40 Foot in Breadth, and 4 Foot High, the Ditches 8 Foot Broad, and 6 Foot Deep, and from thence onward 30 Foot, and so in Proportion.
Cross Roads to be 20 Foot Broad, and Ditches Proportion'd; no Lanes and Passes less than 9 Foot without Ditches.
The Middle of the High Cause|ways to be Pav'd with Stone, Chalk, or Gravel, and kept always Two Foot Higher than the Sides, that the Water might have a free course into the Ditch|es, and Persons kept in constant Em|ploy Page 91 to fill up Holes, let out Water, open Dreins, and the like, as there shou'd be occasion: A proper Work for Highwaymen, and such Malefa|ctors, as might on those Services be exempt'd from the Gallows.
It may here be Objected, That Eight Years Assessment to be demand|ed down, is too much in reason to expect any of the Poorer sort can pay; as for Instance; If a Farmer who keeps a Team of Horse be at the common Assessment, to Work a Week, it must not be put so hard upon any Man, as to Work Eight Weeks toge|ther. 'Tis easy to Answer this Obje|ction.
So many as ate wanted, must be had; if a Farmer's Team cannot be spar'd without prejudice to him so long together, he may spare it at sun|dry times, or agree to be Assess'd, and pay the Assessment at sundry Pay|ments; Page 92 and the Bank may make it as easy to them as they please.
Another Method, however, might be found to fix this Work at once; As suppose a Bank be settled for the High|ways of the County of Middlesex, which as they are, without doubt, the most us'd of any in the Kingdom, so also they require the more Charge, and in some Parts lie in the worst Condi|tion of any in the Kingdom.
If the Parliament fix the Charge of the Survey of the High-Ways upon a Bank to be Appointed for that Pur|pose, for a certain term of Years, the Bank Undertaking to do the Work, or to Forfeit the said Settlement.
Suppose the Tax on Land, and Tenements for the whole County of Middlesex, does, or shou'd be so or|der'd, as it might amount to 20000 l. per Ann. more or less, which it now Page 93 does, and much more, including the Work of the Farmer's Teams, which must be accounted as Money, and is equivalent to it, with some Allowance to be Rated for the City of London, &c. who do enjoy the Benefit, and make the most use of the said Roads, both for carrying of Goods, and bringing Provisions to the City, and therefore in reason ought to Contribute towards the High-ways; for it is a most un|equal thing, that the Road from High|gate to Smithfield-Market, by which the whole City is, in a manner, sup|pli'd with Live Cattel, and the Road by those Cattel horribly spoil'd, shou'd lie all upon that one Parish of Islington to Repair; wherefore I'le suppose a Rate for the High-ways to be gather'd through the City of London of 10000 l. per Ann. more; which may be Ap|pointed to be paid by Carriers, Dro|vers, and all such as keep Teams, Page 94 Horses, or Coaches, and the like, or many ways, as is most Equal and Rea|sonable; the waste Lands in the said County, which by the Consent of the Parishes, Lords of the Mannors, and Proprietors, shall be allow'd to the Undertakers when Enclos'd and Let out, may (the Land in Middlesex generally Letting high) amount to 5000 l. per Ann. more. If then an Act of Parliament be procur'd to settle the Tax of 30000 l. per Ann. for Eight Years, most of which will be Levi'd in Workmen, and not in Money, and the Waste Lands for ever: I dare be bold to offer, That the High-Ways for the whole County of Middlesex shou'd be put into the following Form, and the 5000 l. per Ann. Land be bound to remain as a Security to main|tain them so, and the County be ne|ver Burthen'd with any further Tax for the Repair of the High-Ways.
Page 95 And that I may not Propose a Mat|ter in General, like begging the Que|stion, without Demonstration, I shall enter into the Particulars, How it may be perform'd, and that under these following Heads of Articles.
- (1.) What I Propose to do to the High-Ways.
- (2.) What the Charge will be.
- (3.) How to be Rais'd.
- (4.) What Security for Performance.
- (5.) What Profit to the Undertaker.
(1.) What I Propose to do to the High-Ways.
I Answer First, Not Repair them; And yet Secondly, Not alter them, that is, not alter the Course they run.
But perfectly Build them as a Fa|brick. And to descend to the Particulars, Page 96 'tis first necessary to Note, which are the Roads I mean, and their Dimen|sions.
First, The High Post-Roads, and they are for the County of Middlesex as follows.
|From London to||Stanes, which is||15|
|Colebrook is from Hounslow||05|
|Bushy the Old Street-way||10|
|Barnet, or near it||09|
|Waltham-Cross in Ware Road||10|
Besides these, there are Cross-Roads, By-Roads, and Lanes, which must also be look'd after, and that some of them may be put into Condition, others may be wholly slighted and shut up, or made Drift-ways, Bridle-ways, or Foot-ways, as may be thought con|venient by the Countries.
Page 97The Cross-Roads of most Repute are as follows:
|From||London||to||Hackney, Old Ford, and Bow||05|
|Hackney||Dalston and Islington||02|
|Ditto||Hornsy, Muzzle-Hill, to Whetston||08|
|Tottenham||The Chase, South-Gate, &c. call'd Greenlanes||06|
|Enfield-Wash||Enfield-Town, Whetston, Tot|teridge, to Egworth||10|
|London||Hamstead, Hendon, and Edgworth||08|
|Edgworth||Stanmore, to Pinner, to Ux|bridge||08|
|London||Harrow and Pinner-Green||11|
|Brantford||Thistleworth, Twittenham, and Kingston||06|
|Kingston||Stanes, Colebrook and Uxbridge||17|
And because there may be many Parts of the Cross-Roads which can|not be accounted in the Number a|bove-mention'd, or may slip my knowledge or memory, I allow an overplus of 50 Miles, to be added to the 90 Miles above, which together makes the Cross-Roads of Middlesex to be 140 Miles.
Page 98 For the By-Lanes, such as may be slighted need nothing but to be ditch'd up; such as are for private use of Lands, for carrying off Corn, and driving Cattle, are to be look'd after by pri|vate hands.
But of the last sort, not to be ac|counted by Particulars, in the small County of Middlesex, we cannot al|low less in Cross By-lanes, from Village to Village, and from Dwell|ing-Houses which stand out of the way to the Roads, than 1000 Miles
So in the whole County I reckon up,
|Of the High Post-Road||0067|
|Of Cross-Roads less Publick||0140|
|Of By-Lanes and Passes||1000|
These are the Roads I mean, and thus divided under their several deno|minations.
Page 99 To the Question, What I wou'd do to them? I Answer,
(1.) For the 67 Miles of High Post-Road, I Propose to throw up a firm strong Causway well bottom'd, 6 Foot high in the middle, and 4 Foot on the side, fac'd with Brick or Stone, and crown'd with Gravel, Chalk, or Stone, as the several Countries they are made through will afford, being 44 Foot in Breadth, with Ditches on either side 8 Foot Broad and 4 Foot Deep; so the whole Breadth will be 60 Foot, if the Ground will permit.
At the end of every Two Miles, or such like convenient distances, shall be a Cottage Erected, with Half an Acre of Ground allow'd, which shall be given Gratis, with 1 s. per Week Wages, to such Poor Man of the Pa|rish, as shall be approv'd, who shall Once, at least, every day, view his Walk, to open Passages for the Water Page 100 to run into the Ditches, to fill up Holes or soft Places.
Two Riders shall be allow'd to be always moving the Rounds, to view every thing out of Repair, and make Report to the Directors, and to see that the Cottagers do their Duty.
(2.) For the 140 Miles of Cross-Road, a like Causway to be made, but of different Dimensions, the Breadth 20 Foot, if the Ground will allow it, the Ditches 4 Foot Broad, 3 Foot Deep, the Heighth in the middle 3 Foot, and on the sides 1 Foot, or 2 where it may be needful; to be also crown'd with Gravel, and 1 s. per Week to be allow'd to the Poor of every Parish, the Constables to be Bound to find a Man to Walk on the High-Way every Division, for the same Purpose as the Cottagers do on the Greater Roads.
Posts to be set up at every turning Page 101 to Note whither it goes, for the Di|rection of Strangers, and how many Miles distant.
(3.) For a 1000 Miles By-Lanes, only good and sufficient Care to keep them in Repair as they are, and to carry the Water off by clearing and cutting the Ditches, and laying Ma|terials where it is wanted.
This is what I Propose to do to them; and what if once perform'd, I suppose all People wou'd own to be an Undertaking both Useful and Honour|able.
(2.) The Second Question I Pro|pose to give an Account of, is, What the Charge will be.
Which I account thus;
The Work of the great Causway I Propose, shall not Cost less than 10 s. per Foot, supposing Materials to be Bought, Carriage and Mens La|bour to be all Hir'd, which for 67 Page 102 Miles in Length, is no less than the Sum of 176880 Pounds; as thus,
Every Mile accounted at 1760 Yards, and 3 Foot to the Yard, is 5280 Foot, which at 10 s. per Foot, is 2640 l. per Mile, and that again Multiplied by 67, makes the sum of 176880, into which I include the Charge of Water-Courses, Mills to throw off Water where needful, Dreins, &c.
To this Charge must be added, Ditching to Enclose Land for 30 Cot|tages, and Building 30 Cottages at 40 l. each, which is 1200 l.
The Work of the smaller Causway I Propose to finish at the Rate of 12 d. per Foot, which being for 140 Miles in Length, at 5280 Foot per Mile, amounts to 36960 l.
Ditching, Dreining, and Repairing 1000 Miles, suppos'd at 3 s. per Rod, as for 320000 Rod, is 48000 l. which Page 103 added to the Two former Accounts, is thus,
|The High Post-Roads, or the Great Cawsey||178080|
|The small Cawsey||036960|
|By Lanes, &c.||048000|
If I were to Propose some Mea|sures for the easing this Charge, I cou'd, perhaps, lay a Scheme down how it may be perform'd for less than one half of this Charge.
As first, By a grant of the Court at the Old-Baily, whereby all such Cri|minals as are Condemn'd to Die for smaller Crimes, may instead of Tran|sportation be Order'd a Year's Work on the High-Ways; others instead of Whippings, a proportion'd Time, and the like; which wou'd, by a mo|derate computation, provide us gene|rally Page 104 a supply of 200 Workmen, and coming in as fast as they go off; and let the Overseers alone to make them Work.
Secondly, By an Agreement with the Guinea-Company to furnish 200 Negroes, who are generally Persons that do a great deal of Work; and all these are Subsisted very reasonably out of a Publick Store-house.
Thirdly, By Carts and Horses to be Bought, not Hir'd, with a few Able Carters; and to the other a few Workmen that have Judgment to Di|rect the rest; and thus I question not the Great Causway shall be done for 4 s. per Foot Charge; but of this by the by.
Fourthly, A Liberty to ask Chari|rities and Benevolences to the Work.
(3.) To the Question, How this Money shall be Rais'd? I think if the Parliament settle the Tax on the Page 105 County for Eight Years, at 30000 l. per Ann. no Man need ask, how it shall be Rais'd,—It will be easy enough to Raise the Money; and no Parish can grudge to pay a little larger Rate for such a Term, on condition never to be Tax'd for the High-Ways any more.
Eight Years Assessment at 30000 l. per Ann. is enough to afford to Bor|row the Money by way of Anticipa|tion, if need be, the Fund being secur'd by Parliament, and appropriated to that Use and no other.
As to what Security for Perform|ance:
The Lands which are Enclos'd may be appropriated by the same Act of Parliament to the Bank and Underta|kers, upon condition of Performance, and to be Forfeit to the use of the se|veral Parishes to which they belong, in case upon Presentation by the Grand Page 106 Juries, and reasonable Time given, any part of the Roads in such and such Parishes, be not kept and main|tain'd in that Posture they are Pro|pos'd to be. Now the Lands thus settled are an eternal Security to the Country, for the keeping the Roads in Repair; because they will always be of so much Value over the need|ful Charge, as will make it worth while to the Undertakers to preserve their Title to them; and the Tenure of them being so precarious, as to be liable to Forfeiture on Default, they will always be careful to uphold the Causways.
Lastly, What Profit to the Under|takers? For we must allow them to Gain, and that considerably, or no Man wou'd undertake such a Work.
To this I propose, First,
During the Work allow them out of the Stock 3000 l. per Ann. for Ma|nagement.
Page 107 After the Work is finish'd, so much of the 5000 l. per Ann. as can be sav'd, and the Roads kept in good Repair, let be their own; and if the Lands Secur'd be not of the Value of 5000 l. a Year, let so much of the Eight Years Tax be set apart as may Pur|chase Land to make them up; if they come to more, let the Benefit be to the Adventurers.
It may be Objected here, That a Tax of 30000 l. for Eight Years will come in as fast as it can well be laid out, and so no Anticipations will be requisite; for the whole Work Pro|pos'd cannot be probably finished in less Time; and if so,
|The Charge of the Country amounts to||240000|
|The Lands sav'd Eight Years Revenue||040000|
To this I say, I wou'd have the Undertakers bound to accept the Sal|lary of 3000 l. per Ann. for Manage|ment, and if a whole Years Tax can be spar'd, either leave it Unrais'd up|on the Country, or put it in Bank to be improv'd against any occasion, of Building, perhaps, a great Bridge; or some very wet Season, or Frost, may so Damnify the Works, as to make them require more than ordinary Re|pair. But the Undertakers shou'd make no private Advantage of such an Overplus, there might be ways enough found for it.
Another Objection lies against the Possibility of Enclosing the Lands up|on the Waste, which generally belongs Page 109 to some Mannor, whose different Te|nures may be so cross, and so other|wise encumbred, that even the Lord of those Mannors, though they were willing, cou'd not Convey them.
This may be Answer'd in General, That an Act of Parliament is Omni|potent with respect to Titles and Te|nures of Land, and can Empower Lords and Tenants to Consent to what else they cou'd not; as to Particulars, they cannot be Answer'd till they are Propos'd; but there is no doubt but an Act of Parliament may adjust it all in one Head.
What a Kingdom wou'd England be if this were perform'd in all the Counties of it! and yet I believe it is feasible, even in the worst. I have narrowly observ'd all the Considerable Ways in that unpassable County of Sussex, which especially in some parts in the Wild, as they very properly call Page 110 it, of the County, hardly admits the Countrey People to Travel to Mar|kets in Winter, and makes Corn dear at Market because it can't be brought, and cheap at the Farmer's House be|cause he can't carry it to Market; yet even in that County wou'd I un|dertake to carry on this Proposal, and that to great Advantage, if back'd with the Authority of an Act of Par|liament.
I have seen in that horrible Coun|try the Road 60 to 100 Yards Broad, lie from side to side all Poach'd with Cattel, the Land of no manner of Benefit, and yet no going with a Horse, but at every step up to the Shoulders, full of Sloughs and Holes, and covered with standing-water. It costs them incredible Sums of Money to Repair them; and the very Places that are mended, wou'd fright a young Traveller to go over them: The Ro|mansPage 111 Master'd this Work, and by a firm Causeway made a High-way quite through this deep Country, through Darkin in Surry to Stansted, and thence to Okeley, and so on to Arundel; its Name tells us what it was made of; for it was call'd Stone|street, and many visible parts of it re|main to this day.
Now would any Lord of a Mannor refuse to allow 40 Yards in breadth out of that Road I mention'd, to have the other 20 made into a Firm, Fair, and Pleasant Causeway over that Wilder|ness of a Countrey?
Or would not any man acknow|ledge, That putting this Country into a condition for Carriages and Travellers to pass, would be a great Work? The Gentlemen would find the Benefit of it in the Rent of their Land, and Price of their Timber; the Countrey Peo|ple would find the difference in the Page 112 Sale of their Goods, which now they cannot carry beyond the first Market-Town, and hardly thither; and the whole County would reap an Advan|tage an hundred to one greater than the Charge of it. And since the Want we feel of any Convenience is gene|rally the first Motive to Contrivance for a Remedy, I wonder no man ever thought of some Expedient for so con|siderable a Defect.