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powers of

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easy thing for the Legislature to order a hundred and fifty, or two hundred thousand persons of all kinds, corporate bodies and individuals, in publick and in domestic stations, official and private characters of all ranks and of all degrees of acuteness and information, to deliver in at stated periods attested accounts of their conduct for the last twelve months. In estimating the

a directory, or even penal statute, to command obedience, it is well to examine how similar enactments have operated before; and surely the working of the last Charity Registration Act, (52 Geo. III.), as we formerly proved, was not such as to encourage a very sanguine expectation of similar mechanism being very easily put and kept in motion for the future. But that was a single statute, requiring one act to be performed by the trustees and managers. The proposed plan would require a yearly, that is, an almost constant activity on the

part of those persons, in addition to their other duties; and all their labours, it should be recollected, are gratuitous ;-a consideration which we now mention, not to prove that Parliament should spare them any new trouble, but to show that, as always happens with even the best men in such circumstances, they will by every means seek to evade the performance of the additional work cast upon them.

But, in order to bring this branch of Mr Parry's project to the test, let us see how far it is calculated to fulfil its purpose, by exposing new abuses, which shall have escaped detection at the first registration, or have arisen since that period. This is a material point; for it is here alone that the scheme pretends to provide a remedy not directly afforded by Mr Brougham's plan. The ,criterion of experience is luckily at hand for deciding the question. Take any of the noted cases brought to light either by the Education Committee or the Commissioners, and see whether that abuse could have been either prevented or detected by the operation of the Registry. And, to be more indulgent towards its projector, we shall give him the benefit of the primary Registration, as well as the supplementary or yearly returns; and we think it very plain, that the whole efforts of the system would have permitted every material abuse detected by the Parliamentary and Statutory Inquiries, to pass unobserved, and continue unchecked. Let us take, for instance, the Huntingdon case, as now decided against the Corporation by the Court of Chancery. The abuse there was, that the Corporation let to their own members, the charity lands at very low rents. Being required to record the titles, they would

* See our Number for April last.

have no doubt sent a certified copy of their charter of incorporation, and the originals of the Charity endowment; they would then have given a schedule of the leases, rents, names of the tenants, metes and bounds of the tenements, repairs, deductions, and other expenses of management; it is probable they would also have certified, and not impossible that their surveyors would have sworn, that the lands were well let, and to good tenants. But all this would have left wholly untold the most material parts of the tale--that the lessors and lessees were nearly in all cases the same; because, on the face of the Record, or of the yearly return, it would nowhere appear, that John-a-Nokes was a corporator as well as lessee under the corporate body; nor would it appear that this body continued so to manage those ieases with regard to the contiguous property of a Noble Lord, as to influence the return of the members for the Borough. All these matters, and many more, came out by means of the examination in the Committee, and proceedings in Chancery-but they would equally have transpired before the Commissioners.

Again, take the Tunbridge case, brought to light by those Commissioners. It is alleged, that a Company in the city of London, being devisees in trust for a charity, expend 300i. or 4001. on the charity, and appropriate a residue of above 40001. to themselves. Not one tittle of this would have been disclosed by the scheme of voluntary, or even call it compulsory, registration and returns. The Company would have given a certified extract of their muniments,-the part, namely, which directs so much to be paid yearly for the School; and would have stated, that it was a charge on certain estates, describing them, vested in or belonging to the Company. So, too, in the case of the Lowther School, described in a will copied by the Education Committee, endowed above a century ago with valuable estates, since sold by the heir of the founder, and abandoned for above three generations. No light could have been obtained by registration, because there were no persons upon whom the exigency of the statute could have operated.

Yet, though there may or there may not here be a case of gross abuse, no man can deny that it demands strict scrutiny. We believe enough has been said to show how ineffectual the plan is which Mr Parry would substitute for that adopted by Parliament; but we may add, that the latter is by no means without affording provision for preventing renewal of abuses once detected. The publicity once given to the rights of the objects of each charity-the duties of its managers--the value and the situation of its property--converts the whole neighbourhood into vigilant and well-informed guardians of the constitution; and this, with the chance of the inquiry being in future renewed, if necessary, must operate powerfully to prevent the recurrence of the malversation or neglect. The things which yearly returns bring to light are far less necessary to be recorded than those which the Commissioners put upon record; because they are in their nature open to the knowledge of many persons-of all the objects of the endowment—and of most persons in the neighbourhood.

It may now, in the last place, be fit to remind the reader of what Mr Parry has wholly forgotten, the great expense and consequent patronage to which his plan would give rise. Some objection may be made to the cstablishment of the present stipendiary Commissioners and their clerks; and much clumsy ridicule has been thrown upon the “ large and liberal economy' of the plan. But it is insignificant, compared with Mr Parry's project, which is to erect in each county an office, with a good salary and a building, implying the existence of both clerks and inferior agents under him. The business would not be very trifling. In one county, Cheshire, there are 1500 charities; many have far more, but let us take this instance :-Provision must be made for keeping most securely the whole deeds and papers accumulated in all time past, down to the most trifling scrap of a voucher, relating to those numerous estates and sums; and, beside arranging these, and making them constantly accessible, (which implies much room, many distinct compartments, and several clerks and servants), provision must be made for the yearly increase of the original documents by at least 1500 more papers of some length,-but, new leases and correspondence and estimates, and accounts included, we may rather say four or five thousand new papers will pour in yearly; for Mr Parry must not forget, that, beside the sort of annual return required from Trustees, the taking from them the custody of their muniments implies, that every new deed or instrument relating to the property, must be likewise from time to time surrendered to the same safe keeping. Only see then what an expense, and, still more dangerous, what a patronage would thus be created in the county of Chester! Perhaps we do not overstate it, in supposing that somewhere about a dozen places, great and small, calculated to influence different kinds of persons, and all giving power most directly to the Crown, would be thus created in that district: And a proportionate addition would in like manner be made to influence in every

other county. Were the benefits of Mr Parry's plan as great as they have been shown to be inconsiderable; were it as superior to the one adopted, as we have proved it to be less effectual, we

should hesitate about approving it in practice, when we find it entail so serious an evil as we have just now been contemplating; serious at all times of our history, but of truly fatal consequences in a period like the present.

Since we last treated of this subject, which has occupied our attention in the foregoing pages, no new Report of the Commissioners has reached us : We therefore cannot enter into any account of their late proccedings; which, however, there can be no doubt, have been of an important and interesting nature. Accounts from all quarters bear testimony to their diligence in discharging their duties; and the simultaneous operation of different Boards in the most distant provinces, with their unexpected appearance at various points, has had everywhere the salutary effect which was expected, of warning and stimulating the managers of charitable endowments. *

We formerly took occasion to demonstrate, from their first Report, how fully borne out the Education Committee had been in the evidence of abuses, collected by them in all the cases where the Commissioners had gone over the same ground. A remarkable confirmation of their accuracy has recently come before the public, in another and a high quarter; a confirmation which, of itself, might be expected to silence for ever the silly and the interested clamours so meanly, yet industriously, raised against their honest and enlightened labours—if, indeed, experience did not beget a melancholy conviction, that from controversy, especially where ignorance and selfishness go hand in hand, all candour is banished. Nevertheless, as a further illustration of the base calumnies with which the Inquiry was assailed, we shall now advert to the late decision of the Court

* Since writing the above, we have understood, from good private information in London, that a Second. Report, containing much valuable matter, has been printed some time, but it has not yet come to our hands. We are also informed, that there is a Third Report, just made to the Crown, and ordered to be laid before Parliament, in which the Commissioners, after investigating many cases, avail themselves of the extended powers given by the last act ; and direct the Attorney-General to proceed in five or six cases. Among these, the reader who recollects the calumnies lately showered on the Education Committee, will be interested to learn, that the famous St Bees' case is one. Nor is the lease to the Lowther family the only matter there observed. We are told, that another lease, for 1000 years, at no rent at all, has been found by the Commissioners to have been formerly granted to a College in one of the Universities, in lieu of a small rent-charge out of the land ; and that the rents are worth near 5001, a year.

of Equity; the rather because, very unaccountably, whilst it appears to have been wholly with the Committee upon the merits, it partook of the spirit of those calumnies, in the manner. We allude to the case of the Attorney-General v. the Mayor and Corporation of Huntingdon, which came on before his Honour the Vice-Chancellor of England, upon the 17th of this month of January.

The reader will bear in mind, that the Huntingdon case was singled out with an especial effort of circumspection, by the enemies of the Committee, as the ground on which to attack them for premature judgments, collecting ex parte evidence, encouraging malignant accusations, and calumniating innocent and meritorious trustees. The Chairman was peculiarly marked, as an object of this invective; his conduct plainly imputed to the most unfair motives of party hostility; and his character held

up to public detestation, as one who affected dictatorship, and showed a spirit worthy of the Spanish Inquisition. Why ihis case was thus selected, may easily be conjectured. The argument was in the hands of some persons deplorably ignorant of every thing beyond the walls of a College, and most peculiarly ill informed respecting every thing that related to Law, or to the practice of Courts of Justice. When they saw, therefore, only one witness examined on this case by the Committee, and observed that he had been the solicitor of the Relators against the Corporation, they rashly concluded that the question rested on his evidence; and seeing the paper, entitled, a Schedule in the Cause,' which he produced, they were ignorant enough not to know, that he was only called to authenticate this document, and that this contained the admissions, upon oath, of the Corporation against themselves. There was also another ground apon which the shallow calumniators preferred this case to the rest—they had a guess that a Corporation must have friends and supporters. Its side of the question was that of power and the presumption is generally strong in favour of such important and wealthy bodies; more especially, when leagued with a ministerial nobleman's family for political purposes. Altogether, they considered themselves lucky in their selection; and away they went to work, vituperating the Committee with a venom only surpassed by their profound ignorance of the whole matter in dispute. The complete exposure of these pretenders, both by the learned and able author of the Vindication,' and in the former pages of this Journal, tended perhaps a little to damp their zeal; but the decision of a Court was wanting to convince even those whom reason and facts assail in vain, because they are resolved to rely upon authority alone.

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