1741: 14 George 2 c.42: An act for the preservation of the publick roads in that part of Great Britain called England.
WHEREAS the highways of this kingdom are greatly damaged and made ruinous by the excessive weights carried thereon: For preventing thereof, be it enacted by the King’s most excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the lords spiritual and temporal, and commons, in this present parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, That from and after the twenty ninth day of September, one thousand seven hundred and forty one, it shall and may be lawful to and for all trustees appointed, or who shall hereafter be appointed, by any act or acts of parliament for the repairs of any highway or highways within that part of Great Britain called England, or for any five of them, at any or as many gate or gates, bar or bars, as they have erected, or shall erect, for the receiving of any toll or tolls, to order and cause to be built or erected any crane, machine or engine, which they shall judge proper, for the weighing of carts, waggons, or other carriages, for the conveying of any goods or merchandize whatsoever, and by writing signed by them, or any five of them, to order all and every or any such carriage or carriages, which shall pass through any such gate or bar, to be weighed, together with the loading thereof; and for them, or any five of them, or for any person or persons impowered by them, or any five of them, to receive and take, over and above the toll already granted, or hereafter to be granted, the sum of twenty shillings a hundred weight for every hundred weight which every such cart, waggon or carriage, together with the loading thereof, shall weigh, over and above the weight of sixty hundred; and that the money arising from such additional duty of twenty shillings the hundred, shall be applied to the repair of such highway or highways where such gate or gates, bar or bars, are or shall be placed.
II. Provided always, That from and after the twenty ninth day of September, one thousand seven hundred and forty one, it shall and may be lawful for any farmer or other person to carry goods for hire, from the fifteenth day of April to the twenty ninth day of September, in carriages drawn on wheels bound with streaks or tire of any breadth; any law or statute to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding.
III. And be it further enacted, That in case any person shall neglect or refuse to pay such additional duty of twenty shillings the hundred as aforesaid, it shall and may be lawful to and for the said trustees, or any five of them, or any person or persons impowered by them or any five of them, to levy the same by distress and sale of goods of the person or persons so neglecting or refusing, in such manner as they are impowered to levy any other toll or duty which is or shall be given by any other statute or statutes for repair of such highway or highways, where such cranes, machines or other engines shall be placed.
IV. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if any person or persons shall or do hinder, or with force, or otherwise attempt to hinder or obstruct the weighing any such cart, waggon or carriage as aforesaid, or the seizing, distraining or carrying away any such distress, or any matter or thing which shall be seized, distrained or taken for default of payment of the said additional toll or duty of twenty shillings the hundred; or shall rescue the same, or use any violence to any person or persons concerned in such weighing, distraining or seizure; every such person shall, on oath thereof made by one witness before a justice of the peace of the county or place where such offence, shall be committed or such offender shall dwell, be sent to the common gaol of such county or place for three months, and shall forfeit the sum of ten pounds; half thereof to be paid to the informer, and the other half to be employed in the repair of the said highways, which penalty shall be levied on the goods of such person so offending as aforesaid, by a warrant from such justice; and if the penalty be not paid in three days after distress made, the person who shall be authorized by the said warrant to make such distress, may sell the said goods, and detain out of the money arising from such sale the said penalty of ten pounds, returning the overplus (if any) to the owner of the said goods.
V. Provided always, That nothing in this act shall be deemed or construed to extend to carts, waggons, or other carriages employed only about husbandry, or carrying of only cheese, butter, hay, straw, corn unthreshed, or chalk, or any one stone, block of marble or piece of timber, nor to caravans, or the covered carriages of noblemen and gentlemen for their private use, or such timber, ammunition or artillery as shall be for his Majesty’s service.
VI. And whereas an act was made in the fifth year of the reign of his late Majesty King George the First, intituled, An act for making more effectual the several acts passed for repairing and amending the highways of this kingdom; which hath proved insufficient for that purpose, by reason that the said act extends to such waggons and carts only as travel for hire, and by reason of many difficulties in the manner of convicting and punishing the offenders against the same; For remedy whereof, be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the said act, and all and singular the clauses, penalties and forfeitures therein contained, shall extend, and be construed to extend to all waggons and carts, and to the owners and drivers thereof, his and their horses, with the geers, bridles, halters and accoutrements, whether travelling for hire, or not for hire, or in any manner whatsoever; and that all and every person and persons who shall offend against the said act, or this present act, shall for every such offence (being thereof convicted upon oath within the space of three days next after such offence before any one or more justice or justices of the peace of the county, city, liberty or division, where such offence shall be committed, or where such offender or offenders shall happen to be) severally forfeit, be subject and liable to, the respective penalties and forfeitures in the said act contained; to be levied, recovered and applied in such manner, and to such uses, as in and by the said act is mentioned and directed; and his and their horses, with the geers, bridles, halters and accoutrements, shall for the space of three days next after such offence be and remain subject and liable to such seizures and distresses, and for the use and benefit of such person and persons, as they would or might have been, had they been seized or distrained in the fact, during the commission of such offence.
VII. And be it further enacted, That if any action or actions shall at any time or times hereafter be brought against any person or persons whatsoever, for any matter or thing which he, she or they shall do, or cause to be done, by virtue or in execution of this act, that in such case the defendant or defendants in every such action or actions shall and may plead the general issue, and give this act, and the special matter in evidence on any trial or trials to be hereafter had in such action or actions; and that if the plaintiff or plaintiffs in any such action or actions shall discontinue such action or actions, or become nonsuit, or if judgment shall be given against such plaintiff or plaintiffs in such action or actions, that then the defendant or defendants in every such action or actions shall recover his or their treble costs of suit; any law, custom or usage whatsoever to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding.