HC Deb 23 July 1868 vol 193 cc1671-2

said, he wished to ask the Lord Advocate, If his attention has been drawn to the repeated disturbances caused by the demand of a money payment for crossing the Bridge over the Tay at Dunkeld, which charge the residents in the neighbourhood considered to be illegally made; and if he were prepared to state whether such charge was a legal one or not?


Sir, my attention has been drawn to the recent disturbances connected with the payment of tolls for crossing the bridge over the Tay at Dunkeld. These tolls were the subject of a Question put to me in February of this year by the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Baxter), and I must refer the hon. Member for Perth (Mr. Kinnaird) to the Answer then given by me. The right to exact tolls was constituted by Act of Parliament, which declares that the right should continue till the whole expenditure on the bridge and works therewith connected should be re-paid out of the tolls. As I formerly stated, the Postmaster General, Lord Canning, in 1853 took legal proceedings in order to show that the right to exact the tolls was at an end in consequence of re-payment of the expenditure out of the tolls; but he was satisfied, and judicially admitted that there were no grounds for his contention. I understand that legal proceedings have been taken since February, at the instance of certain residents in the neighbourhood, with the view of having a legal investigation into this matter; and I regret extremely that parties should have had recourse to violence in order to prevent the exaction of a toll which primâ facie is legal, and the illegality of which is at present the subject of proceedings in the Courts of Law. The Government have no interest in this question of the toll, and can interfere only for the purpose of preventing riotous proceedings and of preserving the public peace.