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the poor, are charged with the care of county records, and
can legalize acts of town meetings that are informally called

The townships and parishes of England have by no means
Township and par- that significance which they might have for the

well-being of the country population, and this
grows in part out of the decay of the old yeo-
manry, and the accumulation of land in a few hands. To the
counties has always belonged the management of bridges ;
and the parishes formerly were obligated to repair all public
roads, bridle-paths, and foot-paths. By legislation within
this century the superintendence of highways is committed to
mixed boards, consisting partly of resident justices and partly
of way- wardens elected by the parishes ; and for this purpose
the counties were divided into highway districts. The very
important office of administering the poor-laws is entrusted to
boards of guardians, consisting in part of owners of property
and payers of rates in the parishes which make up the various
unions. A health act passed as late as 1872 imposes the
obligations created by the sanitary act of 1868 and others on
boards which, in rural districts, are no other than those of
guardians of the poor. Finally, the education act of 1870
gives an independence to rural" parishes by making each a
school district " responsible for all the school accommodation
of all its children within the school age. " * Thus, with this ex-
ception, all the late legislation of England shows that the parish
or township is of small account in the local administration ;
and this exception is evidently necessary, as children must go
to school within the parish, or not at all.

We have seen that in France the communes, whether great

Government   of or small, rural or urban  with two exceptions

commtines in  Bel-                                                                                         T      T   i   

 are governed on one system.    In .Belgium,

by laws of 1836 and 1842, the communal authorities are a
council, and a body composed of a burgomaster and schepen
or tchemns (sheriffs M. Laveleye now translates these ancient
*Brodick, u. s-., 36-44.