To the question, what I would do to them I answer -
(1). For the sixty-seven miles of high post-road I propose to throw up a firm strong causeway well-bottomed, six feet high in the middle and four feet on the side, faced with brick or stone, and crowned with gravel, chalk, or stone, as the several counties they are made through will afford, being forty-four feet in breadth, with ditches on either side eight feet broad and four feet deep; so the whole breadth will be sixty feet, 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 allowed, which shall be given gratis, with one shilling per week wages, to such poor man of the parish as shall be approved, who shall, once at least every day, view his walk, to open passages for the water to run into the ditches, to fill up holes or soft places.
Two riders shall be allowed to be always moving the rounds, to view everything 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 causeway to be made, but of different dimensions--the breadth twenty feet, if the ground will allow it; the ditches four feet broad, three feet deep; the height in the middle three feet, and on the sides one foot, or two where it may be needful; to be also crowned with gravel, and one shilling per week to be allowed to the poor of every parish, the constables to be bound to find a man to walk on the highway every division for the same purpose as the cottagers do on the greater roads.
Posts to be set up at every turning to note whither it goes, for the direction of strangers, and how many miles distant.
(3). For the 1,000 miles of bye-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 materials where they are wanted.
This is what I propose to do to them, and what, if once performed, I suppose all people would own to be an undertaking both useful and honourable.
2. The second question I propose to give an account of is, WHAT THE CHARGE WILL BE, which I account thus.
The work of the great causeway I propose, shall not cost less than ten shillings per foot (supposing materials to be bought, carriage, and men's labour to be all hired), which for sixty-seven miles in length is no less than the sum of 176,880 pounds; as thus:
Every mile accounted at 1,760 yards, and three feet to the yard, is 5,280 feet, which at ten shillings per foot is 2,640 pounds per mile, and that, again, multiplied by sixty-seven, makes the sum of 176,880 pounds, into which I include the charge of water-courses, mills to throw off water where needful, drains, &c.
To this charge must be added, ditching to inclose land for thirty cottages, and building thirty cottages at 40 pounds each, which is 1,200 pounds.
The work of the smaller causeway I propose to finish at the rate of a shilling per foot, which being for 149 miles in length, at 5,280 feet per mile, amounts to 36,960 pounds.
Ditching, draining, and repairing 1,000 miles, Supposed at three shillings per rod, as for 320,000 rods, is 48,000 pounds, which, added to the two former accounts, is thus:
Pounds The high post-roads, or the great causeway 178,080 The small causeway 36,960 Bye-lanes, &c. 48,000 ======== 263,040
If I were to propose some measures for the easing this charge, I could perhaps lay a scheme down how it may be performed for less than one-half of this charge.
As first, by a grant of the court at the Old Bailey whereby all such criminals as are condemned to die for smaller crimes may, instead of transportation, be ordered a year's work on the highways; others, instead of whippings, a proportioned time, and the like; which would, by a moderate computation, provide us generally a supply of 200 workmen, and coming in as fast as they go off; and let the overseers alone to make them work.