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386                              POLITICAL SCIENCE.
up sign-posts. The leading town officers are select men from
two to seven in number, of whom the person first named on a
-plurality of ballots is the "first selectman ;" with whom are
chosen constables, assessors, a board of relief to whom appeal
is made from the assessors' lists, a town clerk, a registrar of
births, etc., a treasurer, a collector, a surveyor of highways,
and various inferior officers, as weighers, gaugers, having to
do with police.*
The New York system of supervisors, which has spread
over several other states that lie farther west-
New York system.                      .                                                 .
ward, gives much more efficiency to the county
than is given by the systems in New England. The towns
have their appropriate officers, and there are school commis-
sioners in the school districts under the control of the super-
intendent of public instruction. Among the officials chosen
by the towns is a supervisor, who receives and pays over town
moneys, keeps accounts, reports the town debt, and is
one of the auditors of the town treasurer. The supervisors
of the county form a board, which, by a majority of the whole
number, exercise extensive powers. Some of these powers
are : to control the corporate property of the county, to exam-
ine and settle its accounts and direct the raising of money to
pay the same, to repair county buildings and buy real estate
for the sites of new buildings, to sell county estate, to raise by
tax a sum not exceeding five thousand dollars a year for
buildings which the law permits them to build, to borrow
money for the use of the county, and authorize any town
to borrow not more than four thousand dollars, to erect new
towns and divide old ones, to make laws and regulations con-
cerning wild beasts, dogs, thistles, etc., and protect game
and fish, etc. They audit the accounts of superintendents of
* For a long time city government was unknown in New England.
Boston was governed by selectmen until 1822. In Connecticut,
cities were of somewhat earlier date. But the plan which exists more
or less of dividing up work within certain limits between city and
town officers is due rather to the force of habit and attachment to
what is old than to the intrinsic advantages of such a system.