Sec.7. Overseers of the poor provide for the support of the poor belonging to the town who need relief, and have no near relations who are able to support them. In some states there is in each county a poor-house, to which the poor of the several towns are sent to be provided for; the expense to be charged to the towns to which such poor persons belonged.
Sec.8. The principal duties of a constable are, to serve all processes issued by justices of the peace in suits at law for collecting debts, and for arresting persons charged with crimes. The business of a constable in executing the orders of a justice of the peace, is similar to that of a sheriff in relation to the county courts.
Sec.9. The town treasurer receives all moneys belonging to the town, and pays them out as they may be wanted for town-purposes; and accounts yearly to the proper officers. The office of town treasurer does not exist in all the states.
Sec.10. The duties of fence-viewers relate chiefly to the settling of disputes between the owners of adjoining lands concerning division fences, the examining or viewing of fences when damage has been done by trespassing animals; and the estimating of damages in such cases.
Sec.11. The town sealer keeps correct copies of the standard of weights and measures established by the state. Standard copies are furnished by the state sealer to each county sealer, at the expense of the county, and the county sealer furnishes each town sealer a copy at the expense of the town. The town sealer compares the weights and measures brought to him with the copy in his possession, and sees that they are made to agree with it, and seals and marks them. A person selling by a weight or measure that does not agree with the standard, is liable to the purchaser for damages—generally to several times the amount of the injury.
For a particular description of the duties of town officers, reference must be had to the laws of the several states.
Incorporation and Government of Cities, Villages, &c.
Sec.1. Cities and incorporated villages have governments peculiar to themselves. Places containing a large and close population need a different government from that of ordinary towns or townships. Many of the laws regulating the affairs of towns thinly inhabited, are not suited to a place where many thousand persons are closely settled. Besides, the electors in such a place would be too numerous to meet in a single assembly for the election of officers or the transaction of other public business.
Sec.2. Whenever, therefore, the inhabitants of any place become so numerous as to require a city government, they petition the legislature for a law incorporating them into a city. The law or act of incorporation is usually called a charter. The word charter is from the Latin charta, which means paper. The instruments of writing by which kings or other sovereign powers granted rights and privileges to individuals or corporations, were written on paper or parchment, and called charters. In this country, it is commonly used to designate an act of the legislature conferring privileges and powers upon cities, villages, and other corporations.