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The author, in anticipation of certain duties devolving upon him as Clerk of Supply in connection with the launching of the Roads and Bridges Act of 1878 in his county, has had the preparation of this work suggested to him by a similar one recently published, dealing with the Contagious Diseases (Animals) Act of 1878; and he now ventures to hope that the present volume will prove to be as useful as its prototype. His object has been to produce a work which will facilitate reference to the Act, and be useful both to those accustomed to handle Acts of Parliament and to those ratepayers and others concerned in the administration of the Act, who may be less familiar with the perusal of such severe forms of literature. He has also specially aimed at producing a handbook which will enable those executive bodies and officers upon whom the administration of the Act is devolved, to obtain readily all information regarding their respective powers and duties. In the Dictionary Index the chief subjects treated of in the Act have been arranged and classified in alphabetical order, under the heads most likely to be sought for, and under each subject will be found either all the clauses or sections affecting it or an explanation that will save further reference. That it may possess an authoritative character as a book of reference, the text of all those sections or clauses which primarily and directly fall under those particular heads has been preserved; while incidental or less direct provisions are either epitomised or referred to. It has been found necessary to adopt this course, owing to the length of many of the sections. In a work of this kind, repetition to some extent is necessary, in order that each head may be as complete and perfect in itself as possible. The Dictionary Index virtually reproduces the provisions of the Act in a classified form, with the exception of clauses of special local application, and of those applicable to cases not sufficiently numerous to warrant their introduction ad longam. The provisions of the General Turnpike Act, incorporated in the Act of 1878 by section 123 thereof, are merely referred to as they relate to the practical details of management of highways, and not to the administration of the Act proper. In the case of these it was thought better not to hamper the index when a simple reference was sufficient. The Act itself is at best complicated, and in several instances of cumbrous phraseology. This seems to arise from its dealing with highways in both counties and burghs. Its nomenclature is also involved, and from the somewhat inconsistent and indiscriminate use of terms, it would seem that the draughtsman consciously laboured to accomplish in one Act what he could better and more naturally have attained by two separate Acts. This is most noticeable in the treatment of statute labour, turnpike roads, bridges, tolls, and highways. These are all separately dealt with, although one is defined to include another-e.g., statute labour and turnpike road are interpreted to include bridge, yet bridge is separately defined and dealt with. This apparent anomaly seems to be occasioned by the present existence of trusts, which embrace sometimes one class of subjects and sometimes one or more of another. To this assumption effect is given in the Index, and each of the above heads has been treated of by itself, as well as fully under the general heading “highway," which is the comprehensive term that will ultimately include all these subjects after the Act is brought into operation. As the preliminary steps necessary for introducing the Act are numerous, and the matters of business to be transacted at the respective meetings have a correlative bearing to each other, it may be found troublesome to regulate these in proper sequence. With a view to mitigate this difficulty as much as possible, the Chronological View of Procedure has been prepared. It indicates approximately the several steps to be taken in proper chronological order, and the business of each respective meeting, but of course it will be subject to variation as circumstances may determine. The author acknowledges with gratitude his indebtedness to Mr MʻLeish, Clerk of Supply of Perthshire - in which county the Act has been adopted—for having kindly favoured him with the benefit of his suggestions upon, and his careful revision of, his Chronological View of Procedure. He has also to thank that gentleman for having put at his disposal the various forms of notices and circular letters used in Perthshire which are reprinted in the Appendix.

DUNSE, 30th November 1881.

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