Coaches, are covered vehicles for travelling, suspended on springs, and moved by wheels. Although these articles of convenience and luxury were not unknown to the ancient Romans, yet the first coach appears to have been introduced into England by the Earl of ARun-it el, who imported it from Germany, about the year 1580.
By the 38 Geo. III. c. 41, all former duties on coaches, etc. are repealed, and the following charged in lieu of them - namely, for every coach, l>eriin, landau, chariot, calash, with four wheels; chaise marine, chaise with four wheels, or by whatsoever name such carriages may be called, kept by any person for his own use, or to be lett out for hire (hackney-coaches excepted), shall be paid the yearly sum of 9l. 12s. : and for every such carriage, etc. with tour wheels, lett to hire for the purpose of travelling post, by any licensed post-master or inn-keeper, whose name and e of abode shall be painted thereon, the sum of 8l. 8s.: and for every carriage with less than four wheels, kept by any person for his own use, or to be lett out to hire, the sum of 41. 4s. - Note. Carriages with four wheels, lett to hire, to travel post for a day, or less period of time, or by the mile, or from stage to stage, are to be charged only 8l. 8s. per carriage.
Hackney-Coaches, are thos exposed to hire in the streets of London, as well as other large cities, and paid at certain rates, which are fixed by legal authority. The number of hackney-coaches allowed in London and Westminster, is 1000; which are licensed by Commissioners ; and their proprietors pay a weekly duty often shillings. Numbers, painted on tin plates, are affixed to each coach-door; and their fares, or rates, are settled by parliament: these have been considerably raised by a late act (39 and 40 Geo. III. c. 47), which vests a discretionary power in the Commissioners for licensing hackney-coaches, and of raising their fares, when the price of oats shall exceed a certain sum per quarter.
For every hackney-coach hired, or kept in waiting, between six o'clock in the morning and twelve at night, for any time not exceeding forty minutes, one shilling; and for every farther period of time, not exceeding twenty minutes, computed from the expiration of the first forty minutes, sixpence.
For every hackney-coach hired in any part of the cities of London and Westminster, or the Borough of Southwark, or any place adjoining thereto, where and from whence there is a regular continuation of carriage-way pavement, or atany standing for hackney-coaches beyond such regular continuation, and taken to, and discharged at, such a time as will prevent its re-turn before sun-set to the nearest carriage-way, pavement, or standing (estimating the driving at the rate of five miles within the hour); in such case, sixpence per mile, or half fare, is allowed by the a6t, for such ground as it may have to re turn before sun-set. - No fraction, or any sum less than sixpence, to be demanded or paid.
For every hackney-coach hired, or kept by the day (not exceeding twelve hours), and before twelve o'clock at night, and not running more than twenty miles, the fare is eighteen shillings for each day.
Every hackney-coach hired, or kept in waiting for any time after twelve o'clock at night, and before six o'clock in the morning, for every distance not exceeding one mile, one shilling and sixpence ; for every distance not exceeding one mile and a half, two shillings ; and so on, adding sixpence to every additional shilling. - Ground or time may be taken by the coachman.
Distances not exceeding a mile, are one-shilling fares; not exceeding one mile and a half, are eigh-teen-pennj/ fares ; and not exceeding two miles, are two-shilling fares; between the hours of six o'clock in the morning and twelve o'clock at night. - Every coachman is compellable to go with any person desirous of hiring him, whe- ther his coach is, or is not, on the stand, if he cannot prove that he is hired.
When the average price of oats shall exceed twenty-fine shillings per quarter, the Commissioners may cause the following addition to the fares : upon every tare of two shillings, an additional sixpence; upon every fate of four shillings, an additional shilling; and so forth, upon every increase of two shillings. But, when the average price of oats is at, or under, one guinea per quarter, the following deductions must be made : sixpence Irani all fares between two shillings and Jive shillings; between five shillings and seven shillings and sixpence, one shilling; between seven shillings and six-pence and ten shillings, one shilling and sixpence; and from ten shillings, upwards, two shillings.
The penalties under the act for regulating hackney-coaches, are recoverable at the Hackney-coach Office, Somerset - place, Strand, where the Commissioners administer the most impartial justice between the hirer and the hired.
Stage-Coaches, are those appointed for the conveyance of travellers and property, from one city or town to another. The proprietors of these coaches are not liable to actions for the recovery of property lost by the coachman, if he take the carriage on his own account ; unless such goods or parcels be properly entered into a book, and an adequate price be paid for them, if exceeding 5l. in value.
Mail-Coaches, are post-carriages of a peculiar construction, being lighter, more- elegant, and not so liable to be overturned as the common stage-coaches. For a certain consideration, they carry His Majesty's mails; are protected by a guard ; and subject to the regulations of the post-office. The time of their arrival and departure is fixed; they are restricted to four inside passengers ; generally travel seven miles in an hour ; and have been found very serviceable to the commerce and correspondence of this country.