A passage or road through the country, or some parts of
the use of the people. 1 Bouv. Inst. n. 442. The term highway is said to be
a generic name for all kinds of public ways. 6 Mod R, 255.
2. Highways are universally laid out by public authority and repaired at
the public expense, by direction of law. 4 Burr. Rep. 2511.
3. The public have an easement over a highway, of which the owner of the
land cannot deprive them; but the soil and freehold still remain in the
owner, and he may use the land above and below consistently with the
easement. He may, therefore, work a mine, sink a drain or water course,
under the highway, if the easement remains unimpaired. Vide Road; Street;
Way; and 4 Vin. Ab. 502; Bac. Ab. h. t.; Com. Dig. Chemin; Danes Ab.
Index, h. t.; Egremont on Highways; Wellbeloved on Highways; Woolrych on
Ways; 1 N. H. Rep. 16; 1 Conn. R. 103; 1 Pick. R. 122; 1 MCords R. 67; 2
Mass. R. 127; 1 Pick. R. 122; 3 Rawle, R. 495; 15 John. R. 483; 16 Mass. R.
33; 1 Shepl. R. 250; 4 Day, R. 330; 2 Bail. R. 271; 1 Yeates, Rep. 167.
4. The owners of lots on opposite sides of a highway, are prima facie
owners, each of one half of the highway,, 9 Serg. & Rawle, 33; Ham.
Parties, 275; Bro. Abr. Nuisance, pl. 18 and the owner may recover the
possession in ejectment, and have it delivered to him, subject to the
public easement. Adams on Eject. 19, 18; 2 Johns. Rep. 357; 15 Johns. Rep.
447; 6 Mass. 454; 2 Mass. 125.
5. If the highway is impassable, the public have the right to pass over
the adjacent soil; but this rule does not extend to private ways, without
an express grant. Morg. Vad. Mec. 456-7; 1 Tho. Co. Lit. 275; note 1
Barton, Elem. Conv. 271; Yelv. 142, note 1.
Source: Bouviers Law Dictionary 1856 Edition