§ MR. BAXTER
said, he wished to ask the Lord Advocate, If it is correct that tolls, both on foot passengers and carriages, continued to be levied at the Bridge of Dunkeld by the Duke of Athole, although his right to do so has lapsed, and although the Post Office authorities have for some time refused to pay for their conveyances, which now passed free; if, in consequence of this illegal imposition, great excitement prevailed in the neighbourhood, resulting on Monday night in the destruction of the toll-gate; and if Her Majesty's Government intend to take any steps in the circumstances?
THE LORD ADVOCATE
said, in reply, that he believed it was true that tolls, both on foot passengers and carriages, continued to be levied at the Bridge of Dunkeld by the Duke of Athole; but he could not admit that the right to exact those tolls had lapsed. The bridge was built in 1803 by the Duke of Athole, who was to have the right to levy tolls until the whole expenditure on the works had been repaid; and it was alleged by the present Duke that a very large balance, including interest, was due to him under that provision. There had been a litigation between the Duke of Athole and the Post Office in 1851, 1852, and 1853; and the result was that there had been an investigation into the accounts, which had since been regularly transmitted every year to the County Board. Viscount Canning the Postmaster General of that day, had thus become satisfied that the expenditure had not been paid off by the tolls; and he had even gone so far as to say that there was no prospect of its ever been paid off. He (the Lord Advocate) was aware that considerable excitement had of late prevailed in the neighbourhood, and that there had been a destruction of the toll-gate at night by men in disguise. The question at issue was one which it was not the duty of the Government to determine; but it was manifestly the interest of all parties concerned that it should be settled; and probably the road trustees or Commissioners of Supply might have some right of interference in the matter. He would express no opinion upon the claims put forward by the Duke of Athole. That was a point which would depend upon the construction of the Act of Parliament; and upon the question whether or not the expenditure had been defrayed by the tolls.
§ MR. BAXTER
said, he would give notice that he should move for all the accounts relating to that expenditure.