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Browsing: Legal Papers of John Adams, Volume 2


This foot note contained in document ADMS-05-02-02-0001-0003-0002
7. No statute gave the precise power claimed here. The Act of 6 Dec. 1693, c. 6, §5, 1 A&R 137 provided that “any gates, rayles or fence upon or across any highway,” might be removed by any person, but by the Act of 4 July 1734, c. 2, §1, 2 A&R 711, any incumbrance upon a highway or street could be demolished at the owner's expense by order of the General Sessions upon complaint made out before them. An Act of 20 June 1760, c. 9, §2, 4 A&R 378, provided for the demolition at the owner's expense of buildings encroaching upon streets newly laid out after the fire of that year, upon order of two justices, but there seems to have been no comparable provision for the 1767 fire. At common law, however, “Any one may justify pulling down, or otherwise destroying a common Nusance,” presumably at his own expense. 3 Bacon, Abridgment 57.