Abbildungen der Seite

rid of the objectionable self-elected and self-electing governing body. Numerous supporters of a provisional order thus yielding, nevertheless contended, and with great show of reason, that many, if not most, of the objects above enumerated could be effected by a provisional order, such as ;-the rating of the private estates, &c. which many sound and able lawyers contended could have been done under the old town act, and therefore the famous proviso in section 88 never would have applied ;—the retention of such parts of our late local act as were good, the repeal of such parts as were not suited or required alteration, and the extension of the act to the whole borough ;—the making provisions for a new cemetery, and perhaps under more equitable arrangements, and closing over-crowded places of interments, &c. ;—the proper drainage of the town, if not the very system adopted by the present act, under the 45th, 46th, and other sections of the Public Health Act;—the proper and efficient cleansing of the Chelt and other streams and ditches ;—the total dismissal of the old commissioners and the creation of a new governing body, having jurisdiction over the whole parish, and elected under somewhat more liberal clauses than the provisions of the present act, and without the infliction on the ratepayers of a body nominated before hand ;—the incorporation of any portions of any of the famous Consolidation Acts, so many sections of which are incorporated with the present act;—the purchase, regulation, &c. of the markets and fairs ;-and many other subjects not contemplated by the opponents or perhaps supporters of a provisional order. Some contended that the rent charges might have been equitably settled. And last, not least, the promoters of a provisional order contended that its cost would scarce exceed £200, an argument which their opponents could not gainsay; the last returns of the General Board of health shew that the average cost of applying the Public Health Act has been £108 16s. 8}d., while the average expense of Local Acts, as taxed, has been £1,627 12s. 5d. The provisional orders already passed through Parliament have exploded the idea, held so tenaciously by the principal promoters of the Cheltenham act, that nothing but what was contained in the Public Health Acts or the Local Act could be incorporated into a provisional order, and have strengthened very materially the opinions of many, that most, if not all of the present local act could have been inserted in a provisional order; and that the powers, which justified the incorporation of parts of the Consolidation Acts (foreign in some respects to the Public Health Acts) into a provisional order, would have justified the insertion of matter not contained in such Consolidation Acts; or, that at least if there be nothing in the Public Health Acts which directly authorised the insertion into a provisional order of such last mentioned matter, it must be fairly admitted there is nothing in the Public Health Acts which directly or indirectly authorised the insertion into any provisional order of any parts of any of the Consolidation Acts, except the Lands Clauses Consolidation Act. Supposing the provisional order could not contain all that the present act contains, time alone must show if it were worth laying out upwards of £4,000 in obtaining the difference, it would be almost rash to hazard an opinion at the present stage of affairs, though it may be fairly admitted that at the first blush, grave doubts may be entertained if the difference were worth the enormous outlay.

The Cheltenham Improvement Act has been styled a model one; whether it is to remain unique and uncopied, or to be the example and type for future local legislation, time alone must show. Its first aspect is certainly more terrifying than inviting. That the act contains most important and useful provisions nobody can deny; that it has abolished the wretched system of self-elected Government lately ruling in Cheltenham everybody rejoices at; that it will be of service in guiding other Towns in drawing their Local Acts, is evident ; that it does not contain so much of novelty in matter as may be imagined by some, a reference to the Bill proposed to Parliament by the late Commissioners would easily prove; that its promoters themselves did not look to novelty in matter, or indeed to method, the fact of so much of other acts being adopted will abundantly evince; and that it should be without defects, or should accomplish all that its promoters desired or intended, its most ardent admirers could hardly expect. The future alone must be the medium through which its merits or demerits must be tried and judged. For originalty as a grand whole, for simplicity of method and division, for numerical force of sections, for extent and variety of powers conferred on the governing body, the act may fairly claim to stand alone on the Statute Rolls of the United Kingdom, and much credit is due to the learned and pains-taking Counsel (Mr. Gael), who embodied into form and shape the varied and multitudinous wants and conceptions of the many minds engaged in collecting and suggesting materials for this monster Act of Parliament. That many interests and powers had to be consulted, and their demands met or adjusted, may account for some objectionable parts. As a whole it cannot be denied that the act bears evident proofs that the interest of the general body of the rate-payers has been consulted. That the act may be worked beneficially, economically, and well, is the wish of the humble individual who has endeavoured to gather into one view its immense mass of matter, scattered through so many Acts of Parliament, and to offer the result of his endeavours to his fellow Parishioners.

Such remarks and notices only have been made as were deemed practical, or would serve some good end.

The work might have been “got up”, as it is termed, on a cheaper principle, but it is hoped the present act will prevent a repetition of the scenes enacted during the progresses of the Bills of 1851 and 1852 through Parliament, and that as the act, when once printed in extenso, might become a standard Cheltenham work, it was thought that that standard should not be reared on a principle of false economy.

The plan adopted in printing the act has been to set out in large type (the type in which this preface is printed) an exact transcript, (in capitals, punctuation, &c. &c.) of the Queen's printer's copy, and setting within the margin in a smaller type

[ocr errors]

and like exact transcript, the various sections and provisions incorporated or made applicable from other acts, according to the order of incorporation or reference, except the Two Public Baths and Wash-houses Acts, and the Two Nuisances Removal Acts, which are not incorporated with the Cheltenham Act, but made applicable, and except the Lands Clauses Consolidation Act, nearly all of which is incorporated by different parts of the Local Act, and which five acts it has been thought best to print in ex- . tenso in the Appendices Nos. 1, 3, and 6, and refer to them in the parts of the Cheltenham Act which relate to them. For reasons mentioned in the note to page 71, the Highway Acts have not been added to the appendix. The two acts relating to lodging houses are not referred to in the act, but as the commissioners can exercise the powers therein contained, such acts are set out in the appendix, No. 2, and the Common Lodging Houses Act of the present year has been passed in time to form No. 8 in the appendix.

The Public Baths and Wash-houses and the Lodging Houses Acts incorporate certain parts of the Railways and Companies Clauses Consolidation Acts, such clauses have therefore been added in the appendices numbers 4 and 5. The Hackney Carriage and Wheel Chair Bye-laws have been issued in time to form No. 7 in the Appendix, and the act of this present year, altering the mode of borrowing, &c. money from the Public Works Loan Commissioners, has been added in Appendix, No.9. Each number in the Appendix is preceded by a reference to the part in the local Act to which it refers, if mentioned or referred to in such Act, or a short reason given for its insertion. A full, and it is hoped, useful index to the whole Act and its incorporated parts has been added, showing at one view the reference to the sections of the original and incorporated Acts, and the page of the book; the matter in the appendix has not been referred to in such index further than a general reference to the acts, &c. set out in such appendix, that the searcher for the contents of the local Act may not be embarrassed.

The work is preceded by the table of contents taken from the parliamentary agent's copy of the bill, to which is now added a table of the sections of the local act and every incorporated section, and of the acts in the Appendix with references to the pages where they are inserted. A skeleton map of the town of Cheltenham (shewing the wards, the lines of sewers, and the tanks required to be made by the act, and the lines of sewers belonging to the Cheltenham Sewers Company) has been kindly supplied by Mr. Dangerfield, the Borough Surveyor, based on that gentleman's elegant little map, (afterwards published by Mr. Harper) but extended to embrace the main sewers, tanks, &c.

In preparing this work novelty was not desired, every advantage to be derived from works on the Public Health Acts (especially Mr. Lawes’s) has therefore been freely taken.

S. P.

September, 1853. 30, Cambray, Cheltenham,

« ZurückWeiter »