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lars present themselves. English and writing and ciphering, however, he will not teach, unless they are expressly ordered in the statutes. The foundation is thus sacrificed to the boarders, from whom his chief emolument is derived; and we constantly see trustees expending money in enlarging and repairing a vast house for the accommodation of these boarders, though they think themselves precluded from having an usher to teach the branches of learning now in demand among the poor, or from requiring the well-endowed master to teach those branches himself. There is the strongest reason to believe, that in all the old endowments, where an usher is provided, he was meant to teach reading and writing,-except in a few cases, where boys were required to have learned these branches before they entered on the foundation. But be this as it may, can any one doubt that the proper remedy of an act, perhaps only a declaratory act, touching the powers of trustees of grammar schools, might be applied as safely, and as effectually, after half a dozen such cases had been examined, as after the Commissioners had reported upon every grammar school in England and Wales? If the prevailing abuse were in the first instance rectified, and any new cases of mischief, not reached by that remedy, should in the course of investigation be discovered, sufficiently numerous to require legislative interference, a new act might easily provide the appropriate additions to the original measure.
To take another example; for keeping in generals here is the sure way to go wrong. A very prevailing defect in charitable endowments, is the want of powers in trustees to sell and exchange real property, by which means either the Charity estate is not managed to the best advantage, or a private act of Parliament is necessary. So, where a failure, partial or total of the object, takes place, and funds accumulate without the means of profitably employing them according to the will of the founder, some general powers should be vested in trustees, subject to due checks and controuls. Even the cases of corrupt abuse of trust are much less various than might be supposed by those who think only of the multiplicity of forms taken by the selfishness and cunning of mankind, without looking at the definite course marked out for such propensities, by the similarity of the temptations in most cases of Charity trusts. It may safely be said, that nine in ten of those abuses fall under the heads of underletting the estates to themselves or their connexions; and of serving the establishment as tradesmen. To devise general checks on such practices, remedies which shall be cheap and effectual for such mischiefs, may not perhaps be easy; nor is
this the place for suggesting them. But we contend that the difficulty would not be lessened by multiplying the cases before us an hundred fold, and exposing them in all their details; for the evils are the same in all, and they must be met by the same remedy, or checked by the same preventive, whether we are to legislate to-day, or some years hence, when the labours of the Commissioners shall have been brought to a close.
These remarks lead us naturally to the main objection urged against Mr Brougham's measure by this author—that it is only one of Inquiry-providing no security against the continuance of abuses, but only obtaining an account of them, and of all charity estates, upon oath. Now we think that this objection is bottomed on a most superficial view of the measure, and a very imperfect knowledge of the soundest principles of legislation. It is very material to turn our attention a little more closely towards these points.
We believe it may be laid down as a maxim invariably true, and of most universal application, that the best and most effectual plan of improvement, is that which does the smallest violence to the established order of nings, requires the least adventitious aid or complex machinery; and, us far as may be, executes itself. It is from ignorance of this principle, that the vulgar perpetually mistake a great scheme for a good onea various and complicated, for an efficacious one--a showy and ambitious piece of legislation for a sound and a useful law.Hence, too, their almost invariable discontent with the most salutary measures, grounded in knowledge of human nature; regulated by cautious circumspection; pointed towards attainable objects; and reaching these by safe and familiar courses. The history of human laws is full of passages fatally illustrating this remark;—for unhappily the lawgivers themselves have too often belonged to the vulgar class of reasoners, whose errors we have just described. But it appears to us very manifest, that Mr Parry's criticism upon the measure in question, proceeds exactly upon the same fundamental mistakes. He quarrels with it because it is unpretending ;-it looks mean and paltry. think we can show him, that this character belongs only to its mechanism; and not to its working and its almost necessary results.
The principal cause of abuses in charities, has always been the facility of Concealment. Some endowments were wholly unknown; the Education Committee brought one to light, which the oldest inhabitants of the parish had never heard of; and yet its funds were sufficient to endow a college. Others are constantly seen, but at such distance as the trustees think fit;
and from the entire ignorance of the foundation in which the public is, no suspicion of malpractices can be entertained.Many are suspected to be abused ;-but, without going through a Chancery suit, nothing like proof can be obtained, and the iniquity goes on in the dark. Not a few are abused through mere neglect on the part of the trustees, who are always gratuitous agents from the nature of their office, and suffer those under them to mismanage the concern, in ignorance of the fact : And some again are neglected, from the trustees really not knowing either the nature of their rights or their duties. Now the Inquiry of the Commissioners applies an effectual remedy in every one of these
Each Charity in succession is made to undergo a therough scrutiny; and its whole affairs are sifted and exposed to the light, without the smallest expense or odium falling upon any individual. No one can now hope either that his malversations should any longer escape the hated eye of the publick; or that he can remain ignorant in his office, or negligent of its claims upon his activity. The essential part of the plan which consists in dividing the Board into five, all acting at one and the same time, both secures a great despatch of business, and gives an alarm all over the country, wherever abuse or neglect exists. There is no safety now for mismangement; no shelter for remissness. The wrong-doer cannot tell when the glare of day may be let in upon his misdeeds; nor is the sluggard secure against his slumbers being exposed, should they not be broken by its importunity. At one instant the Commissioners are heard of in Devonshire; the day after, a Board arrives in Cumberland, and another perhaps in York. So that as no man can tell when his turn may come, all are compelled to be on the watch. And not only must ali take heed to the error of their way, and beware how they slumber any more than trip-they are led naturally to inquire themselves into many things which no one had ever before dreamt of examining; and involuntary errors are thus rectified, and defects supplied, as well as abuses corrected, long before the publick Investigation commences. Such is the natural operation of the measure; and if this be not a plan which is calculated to execute itself, we know no one that deserves the name and description. Sucli too, in point of fact, have even already been the effects of the Inquiry. All over the country, trustees are alive and on the alert; new regulations are made; bad courses of management are abandoned ; and restitution is anxiously, though silently made to injured endowments, in order that every thing may be right and straight to meet the expected Inquiry.
It may indeed be urged, as Mr Parry has contended, that these effects are of a passing or temporary nature. While the visit of the Commissioners is apprehended, we are told some reformation may go on, and considerable activity may be called forth; but, as soon as the day of examination is past, the old abuses will take root anew, and men, unwillingly roused, will relapse into their natural indolence. To this we answer, first, that the amount of the reform and activity occasioned by the measure, is greatly underrated; that it is so general and şifting, as to be, for the present at least, a most effectual remedy: And if this be the case, more than a mere passing effect must be produced: For, should we not reckon that measure most complete, which should, once for all, root out the evil complained of, though at the risk of its afterwards taking root, and beginning to grow up ? Should we not be gratified in calling this as efficacious, and even permanent a cure, as human wisdom and means can in general afford? But more especially, should we not justly so term it, if it could, forty or fifty years hence, be again applied with the same ease as before? Indeed the apprehension of this repeated Inquiry, is very likely to prevent most of the abuses from again taking root. And this leads us to answer this criticism, by observing, secondly, that the objectors seem all along to forget the important provision, requiring full reports from the Commissioners twice a year. Perhaps the greatest cause of former abuse, was the ignorance of all but trustees, and often of trustees themselves, respecting the nature of endowments. This ignorance is removed, not transiently, but for ever, by the publication of the Reports, which contain an ample Record of all foundations, with their past history and present state. It will not be very easy, even a century hence, for trustees, or persons in office, to commit malversation, when any one individual in their neighbourhood observing what they do, has the means of ascertaining what they ought to do, by consulting that valuable Record. Suppose, at present, an estate of 7001. or 8001. a year is enjoyed by a warden, who allows a few pounds to the poor brethren of his hospital:- While the foundation is involved in darkness, his conduct is safe from all cavil or question ; but after the Report shall have been made
upon this charity, any one, either of the brethren, or their neighbours, may at once see how much he ought to keep to himself, --how much to allow them. This is nearly one of the actual cases examined. Suppose, again, a less number of almsmen are maintained than the statutes require, while a large revenue is enjoyed by the master:~At present this is safe and unquestioned; but not so after the Report;—for then, a paragraph in a provincial paper, copying the words of the foundation, would assuredly restore matters to their original conformity with the
law. We believe, indeed, that this case also has already occurred, and the restitution been effected, before any Report could be made, the endowment being exempted by the appointment of a special visitor, who most laudably caused the deviation to be rectified, his attention being called to the matter by the prevailing spirit of Inquiry. Again, suppose the common case of Charity estates under-let, should occur after the Inquiry was over, all men can ascertain how they were let somewhere about 1820, from the Record; and as the rise or fall in other lands is matter of notoriety, the Charity cannot long be kept out of its full rents and profits; for any great difference will inevitably beget scrutiny as to the relationship between the tenants and the trust.
We shall only mention, in the last place, another provision of the Acts passed over by the supporters of these objections, namely, the powers given to the Commissioners of instituting proceedings in Equity, and that with the advantage of a previous examination of the parties and their papers. This part of the remedy must, of course, be reserved for the more important cases, chiefly, of disputed titles; and, without underrating its usefulness, we certainly reckon the other parts of the Act more universally effectual for its objects.
In connexion with the Commissioners of Inquiry, and as a part of the same measure, we ought, unquestionably, to consider the labours of the Education Committee. That the Commissioners might not be sent out to seek in the dark, the Committee furnished them with the very material assistance of a chart, by which to direct their researches. A circular was addressed to all the parishes in the kingdom; and the returns to this circular, being digested into a tabular form, together with information subsequently obtained, a complete account is understood to be now almost printed, in which the endowments connected with education, as well as every other particular relating to that most important subject), are fully described in every village and hamlet throughout the Island. A large class of Charities, therefore, in point of number, and in point of importance by far the most considerable, amounting to above a third of the whole charitable funds in the kingdom, are thus already recorded in such a form as to be accessible to every person; and in the course of a few weeks from the present time, there is every reason to believe that each county in England will have these records circulating through it, so as to operate powerfully, by way of prevention and detection, upon all abuses and neglects in the management of funds destined to the Education of the Poor.