Front Page Titles (by Subject) 1772. ACT FOR OPENING & KEEPING IN REPAIR PUBLIC ROADS. 1 mad. mss. - The Writings, vol. 1 (1769-1783)
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1772. ACT FOR OPENING & KEEPING IN REPAIR PUBLIC ROADS. 1 mad. mss. - James Madison, The Writings, vol. 1 (1769-1783) 
The Writings of James Madison, comprising his Public Papers and his Private Correspondence, including his numerous letters and documents now for the first time printed, ed. Gaillard Hunt (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1900). Vol. 1.
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1772. ACT FOR OPENING & KEEPING IN REPAIR PUBLIC ROADS.1mad. mss.
Freeholders of each Township to chuse annually two supervisors of the High ways.
The supervisors to lay a rate (appeal to lie to Quarter Sessions for party grieved) not exceeding 9d in the pound on real & personal estate & to last county assessmt to be employed in opening, clearing, mending & repairing the several high ways within their respective Townships.
Where roads divide 2 townships, to be repaired at joint expense, and supervisors.
Vacancy in supervisorship by death refusal to act or removal to be supplied by 3 or more Justices of peace.
Supervisors to receive 12d. in the pound for collecting, & 4 shillgs per day during the overseeing employg & directing the workmen on the public roads.
Tenants of non resident Landlords liable for rates to be deducted from their rents, saving contracts.
Supervisors reqd as often as roads out of repair or new roads to be opened, to have sufficient no of labourers to work upon, open, amend, clear & repair the same in the most effectual manner, & to purchase wood, & other materials necessary. Supervisors & persons havg his order, empowered to enter on adjoining lands, to cut ditches & drains as he shall find necessary, doing as little damage as possible, which drains shall not be stopped by owner under penalty of 5 pds. for each offence—also to dig gravel sand or stones, or take loose stones on sd land or cut trees necessary, doing as little damage as possible, & the sd materials to remove without let, paying or tendency to owner the agreed value, or in case cannot agree, value to be set by two indifferent freeholders.
Penalty of 3/. on persons working on high way, asking demandg or extorting money NA or other thing from travellers, to be recovered by supervisor before the Justice of peace & applied to use of roads, & in case of Supervisors conivance, he to forfeit 20/. to NA by any person whatever ½ to prosecutor, ½ to use of roads.
Supervisors neglecting or refusing to perform duty, to be fined £3 for every offence, to be recovered in same way before Justice of peace & applied to use of roads allowing appeal to Supervisor to Court of Quarter Sessions which on petition of party grieved shall take final order therein as shall appear Just & reasonable. Electors at time of chusing supervisors to chuse four freeholders yearly, to settle acct of supervisors whose office shall then be about to expire: & the person or persons who shall have served the office of supervisor for preceding year, shall on 25th March yearly or 6 days after make up & produce fair accts. of all sums expended, & come to his hands: wch accts shall be entered in a book to be kept for that purpose, & shall be attested on oath or affirmation before Justice of peace if reqd. by sd. freeholder or 3 of them—sd freeholders or 3 of them to allow such charges & sums only as they shall deem reasonable; money remaining in hands of precedg. supervisors to be paid by order of sd freeholders to succeeding supervisors: in case of the reverse, succeeding supervisors to reimburse by like order, out of the first money coming to their hands—supervisors failg to produce acct. or to pay surplusage or deliver book of acct. to successor or in his hands may on complaint by sd freeholders to any Justice of peace, be by him committed to county goal, till he comply.
Person sued for executing this act. may plead genl issue, & give it & special matter in evidence; & if dft or prosecutor be nonsuit, or suffer a discontinuance or if a verdt pass agst him, dfts shall have treble costs to be recovered as in other cases of costs given to dfts. & no such suit or prosecution NA tained unless com̃enced within six months after cause given, or unless security be first NA for the charges.
TO WILLIAM BRADFORD, JR.
Orange County, Virginia, April 28, 1773.
I received your letter dated March the 1st about a week ago; and it is not more to obey your demands than to fulfil my own desires that I give you this early answer. I am glad you disclaim all punctiliousness in our correspondence. For my own part I confess I have not the face to perform ceremony in person, and I equally detest it on paper; though as Tully says, It cannot blush. Friendship, like all truth, delights in plainness and simplicity, and it is the counterfeit alone that needs ornament and ostentation. I am so thoroughly persuaded of this, that when I observe any one over complaisant to me in his professions and promises, I am tempted to interpret his language thus: “As I have no real esteem for you, and for certain reasons think it expedient to appear well in your eye, I endeavor to varnish falsehood with politeness, which I think I can do in so ingenious a manner that so vain a blockhead as you cannot see through it.”
I would have you write to me when you feel as you used to do, when we were under the same roof, and you found it a recreation and release from business and books to come and chat an hour or two with me. The case is such with me that I am too remote from the post to have the same choice, but it seldom happens that an opportunity catches me out of a humor of writing to my old Nassovian friends, and you know what place you hold among them.
I have not seen a single piece against the Doctor’s address. I saw a piece advertised for publication in the Philadelphia Gazette, entitled “Candid remarks,” &c., and that is all I know about it. These things seldom reach Virginia, and when they do, I am out of the way of them. I have a curiosity to read those authors who write with “all the rage of impotence,” not because there is any excellence or wit in their writings, but because they implicitly proclaim the merit of those they are railing against, and give them an occasion of shewing by their silence and contempt that they are invulnerable. I am heartily obliged to you for your kind offer of sending me some of these performances. I should also willingly accept Freneau’s works, and the “Sermons to Doctors in Divinity,” which I hear are published, and whatever else you reckon worth reading. Please to note the cost of the articles, for I will by no means suffer our acquaintance to be an expense on your part alone, and I have nothing fit to send you to make it reciprocal. In your next letter be more particular as to yourself, your intentions, present employments, &c., Erwin, McPherson, &c., the affairs of the college. Is the lottery like to come to anything? There has happened no change in my purposes since you heard from me last. My health is a little better, owing, I believe, to more activity and less study, recommended by physicians. I shall try, if possible, to devise some business that will afford me a sight of you once more in Philadelphia within a year or two. I wish you would resolve the same with respect to me in Virginia, though within a shorter time. I am sorry my situation affords me nothing new, curious, or entertaining, to pay you for your agreeable information and remarks. You, being at the fountain head of political and literary intelligence, and I in an obscure corner, you must expect to be greatly loser on that score by our correspondence. But as you have entered upon it, I am determined to hold you to it, and shall give you some very severe admonitions whenever I perceive a remissness or brevity in your letters. I do not intend this as a beginning of reproof, but as a caution to you never to make it necessary at all.
If Mr. Horton is in Philadelphia, give him my best thanks for his kindness in assisting Mr. Wallace to do some business for [. . . . . . ?] not long ago.
I must re-echo your pressing invitation to [. . . . . . ?] do with the more confidence as I have complied.
I am, dear sir, your, most unfeignedly.
TO WILLIAM BRADFORD, JR.
January the 24th, 1774.
My worthy Friend,—
Yours of the 25th of last month came into my hands a few days past. It gave singular pleasure, not only because of the kindness expressed in it, but because I had reason to apprehend the letter you received last from me had miscarried, and I should fail in procuring the intelligence I wanted before the trip I designed in the spring.
I congratulate you on your heroic proceedings in Philadelphia with regard to the tea.1 I wish Boston may conduct matters with as much discretion as they seem to do with boldness. They seem to have great trials and difficulties by reason of the obduracy and ministerialism of their Governor. However, political contests are necessary sometimes, as well as military, to afford exercise and practice, and to instruct in the art of defending liberty and property. I verily believe the frequent assaults that have been made on America (Boston especially) will in the end prove of real advantage.
If the Church of England had been the established and general religion in all the northern colonies as it has been among us here, and uninterrupted tranquillity had prevailed throughout the continent, it is clear to me that slavery and subjection might and would have been gradually insinuated among us. Union of religious sentiments begets a surprising confidence, and ecclesiastical establishments tend to great ignorance and corruption; all of which facilitate the execution of mischievous projects.
But away with politics! Let me address you as a student and philosopher, and not as a patriot, now. I am pleased that you are going to converse with the Edwards and Henrys and Charleses, &c., &c., who have swayed the British sceptre, though I believe you will find some of them dirty and unprofitable companions, unless you will glean instruction from their follies, and fall more in love with liberty by beholding such detestable pictures of tyranny and cruelty.
I was afraid you would not easily have loosened your affection from the belles lettres. A delicate taste and warm imagination like yours must find it hard to give up such refined and exquisite enjoyments for the coarse and dry study of the law. It is like leaving a pleasant flourishing field for a barren desert; perhaps I should not say barren either, because the law does bear fruit, but it is sour fruit, that must be gathered and pressed and distilled before it can bring pleasure or profit. I perceive I have made a very awkward comparison; but I got the thought by the end, and had gone too far to quit it before I perceived that it was too much entangled in my brain to run it through; and so you must forgive it. I myself used to have too great a hankering after those amusing studies. Poetry, wit, and criticism, romances, plays, &c., captivated me much; but I began to discover that they deserve but a small portion of a mortal’s time, and that something more substantial, more durable, and more profitable, befits a riper age. It would be exceedingly improper for a laboring man to have nothing but flowers in his garden, or to determine to eat nothing but sweet meats and confections. Equally absurd would it be for a scholar and a man of business to make up his whole library with books of fancy, and feed his mind with nothing but such luscious performances.
When you have an opportunity and write to Mr. Brackenridge,1 pray tell him I often think of him, and long to see him, and am resolved to do so in the spring. George Luckey was with me at Christmas, and we talked so much about old affairs and old friends, that I have a most insatiable desire to see you all. Luckey will accompany me, and we are to set off on the 10th of April, if no disaster befalls either of us.
I want again to breathe your free air. I expect it will mend my constitution and confirm my principles. I have indeed as good an atmosphere at home as the climate will allow; but have nothing to brag of as to the state and liberty of my country. Poverty and luxury prevail among all sorts; pride, ignorance, and knavery among the priesthood, and vice and wickedness among the laity. This is bad enough, but it is not the worst I have to tell you. That diabolical, hell-conceived principle of persecution rages among some; and to their eternal infamy, the clergy can furnish their quota of imps for such business. This vexes me the worst of anything whatever. There are at this time in the adjacent country not less than five or six well-meaning men in close jail for publishing their religious sentiments, which in the main are very orthodox. I have neither patience to hear, talk, or think of anything relative to this matter; for I have squabbled and scolded, abused and ridiculed, so long about it to little purpose, that I am without common patience. So I must beg you to pity me, and pray for liberty of conscience to all.
I expect to hear from you once more before I see you, if time will admit; and want to know when the synod meets, and where; what the exchange is at, and as much about my friends and other matters as you can [tell,] and think worthy of notice Till I see you,
N. B. Our correspondence is too far advanced to require apology for bad writing and blots.
Your letter to Mr. Wallace is yet in my hands, and shall be forwarded to you as soon as possible. I hear nothing from him by letter or fame.
[1 ]This act repeals an act requiring the personal labor of the inhabitants for repairing roads. [Note in MS.]
[1 ]“Even at Philadelphia, which had been so long celebrated, for the excellency of its police and government, and the temperate manners of its inhabitants, printed papers were dispersed, warning the pilots on the river Delaware, not to conduct any of these tea ships into their harbour, which were only sent out for the purpose of enslaving and poisoning all the Americans; at the same time, giving them plainly to understand it was expected, that they would apply their knowledge of the river, under the colour of their profession, in such a manner, as would effectually secure their country from so imminent a danger.”—Annual Register, xvii., 49.
[1 ]Hugh Henry Brackenridge, a classmate of Madison’s. In conjunction with Philip Franeau he wrote a poetical dialogue, called “The Rising Glory of America,” which was read at the graduating exercises at Princeton and printed in 1772.