Such bodies, established to appraise land for railway purposes, to apportion receipts and expenditures of interstate traffic, and in a general way to supervise railway transportation, had been in existence in New England before 1860, one of the earliest being that of Rhode Island in 1839.
The Commissioners of Supply, originally appointed to apportion and collect the national revenue and afterwards entrusted with the regulation of the land tax, the control of the county police, the raising of the militia, and the levying of rates for county expenditure, were practically superseded by the county councils, which are also the local authority under the Contagious Diseases (Animals) and the Public Health Acts in all parishes (burghs and police burghs excepted), perform the administrative duties formerly entrusted to the justices of the peace, and may also enforce the Rivers Pollution Act each within its own jurisdiction.
Though we cannot apportion the rooms to their precise uses, the great hall was plainly the basilica, for meetings and business; the rooms behind it were perhaps law courts, and some of the rooms on the other three sides of the quadrangle may have been shops.
The latter have the management of county buildings, such as courthouses ar,d prisons, have power to lay out new main highways, to grant licences, and to apportion among the towns and cities the taxation necessary to meet county expenses.
It is indeed by no means easy to distinguish and apportion the respective merits of the competitors.