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sented. We were aware that upon the fitness of the persons

selected to carry on the inquiry its success mainly depended. We had before us the examples of the Commissions of Public Accounts, and of Naval and Military Inquiry, from which the country had derived the most signal benefits, chiefly, as we conceived, because the acts es. tablishing those Boards had nominated the members who were to form them. No private selection of Commissioners, how conscientiously soever it might be performed, could give the same security against improper or inefficient appointmnts. Without accusing the Minister to whose department it belonged, of so foul a crime, as a wilful prosstitution of patronage in this most delicate matter, we felt that all men in high office, are beset by applicants; that they must frequently trust to others for their information as to individual merit ; and that private friendships often blind very respectable persons in the reports which they make or the suits which they prefer. We could not indeed believe that the Secretary of State was capable of chusing men whom the place might suit, rather than those suited to the place ; that he could shut his eyes to the claims of acknowledged merit, and prefer unknown persons backed by powerful supporters; or that, instead of regarding their fitness for the new office, he should bestow the salary as the wages of former service. Least of all did a 'suspicion ever enter our minds that care might knowingly and wilfully be taken to avoid those men, whose zeal for the cause, and whose habits of investigation, gave a certain pledge that all abuses would be sifted to the bottom, and that the guilty would in no station be spared. Yet we were afraid that a certain degree of carelessness or easy good-nature, the almost necessary attendant upon official habits, might be shewn in the selection; and that he whom we were willing to be. lieve incapable of voluntarily converting into a job the most sacred part of his patronage, or of taking precautions to screen the enormous delinquency of robbing the poor, might from imperfect information, and in the hurry of a busy department, chuse Commissioners far less adapted to the objects of the Act, than those upon whose fitness & public decision by the voice of Parliament should be pronounced. To assist the Legislature in making this selection, we had applied ourselves with much attention in the Committee, canvassing with perfect freedom the qualifications of many gentlemen who were at different times offered to our notice. And we were prepared to propose a list, in which was to be found the name of no one connected, however remotely, with any of ourselves. I may add, as far as re. gards myself, that all but one were of political connexions adverse to my own; that I was upon a footing of intimacy with none of them ; and that one gentleman, of undeniable qualifications having been proposed, I desired his name might be no more mentioned, as he happened to be a near relation of mine. Some persons, whose opinions I highly respect, deemed that we acted unwisely in abandoning this main point of the nomination. But we only gave it up when we found the ministers determined to oppose the Bill

, unless they were allowed to name the Commissioners. “We still trusted that the power would not be abused ; and we looked to the wholesome

controul of Parliament and the public for a security that the work would be done with diligence, upon whomsoever it might devolve.

The next change of importance, related to the quorum. The whole excellence of the measure consisted in the ambulatory nature of the Board ; because, beside the great saving of expense, unless the Commissioners repaired to the spot, it was quite vain to expect an effectual investigation of the various particulars relating to local abuses. But, as the performance of this duty would be both cumbrous and endless, if the whole Commissioners were to go round the country in a body, it was provided that they should divide themselves into bodies of two each, and that four boards should thus at the same time carry on the inquiry, with an expedition greatly accelerated, and with a salutary rivalship among themselves. The Ministers in the House of Lords, changed the quorum from two to three, and left the whole number of Commissioners eight, as before; thus reducing the number of Boards from four to two, and leaving two Commissioners wholly unemployed. As it is perfectly well known, even to beginners in arithmetic, that eight is not divisible by three, I am reduced to the necessity of suspecting that the authors of this change have no serious intention that the Board shall ever be divided at all; and that they mean to make the Commissioners proceed by written interrogatories sent to different parts of the country. It is already stated out of doors that such a plan has been formed; I can only say, that it must render the whole inquiry a perfect mockery; and the labours of the last session, for the correction of abuses, will have ended in adding one of peculiar grossness to the former number, by the creation of about a dozen sinecure places' pp. 5-9.

• The changes made in the powers of the Commissioners, were as important as the alterations in the construction of the Board." In fact, it was resolved that the Commissioners should have no

powers.' This was not enough. They were to be laid under the jnost absurd limitations as to the objects of their inquiry. First, they were prohibited from inquiring generally into the state of education. Secondly, they were forbidden to examine into the abuses of any other charities than those connected with the education of the poor, notwitwithstanding the proofs which the labours of the Education Coinmittee bad brought to light, of the most scandalous abuses in other charities.

We found that one Corporation in Hampshire, entrusted with the management of estates worth above £2000 a year for the use of the poor, let them for 2 or £300 on fines, and would give no account of the manner in which those fines were applied. The same body, it was stated, employed a sum of money confided to it for charitable purposes, in payment of its own debts. At Mere, in Lincolnshire, is an endowment for a Warden and poor brethren of a very ancient date. The warden and his lessees seem to be well provided for, whatever may be the lot of the brethren; the estate consists of 650 acres, five miles from Lincoln : it is let for only half-a-guinea an acre, though it pays neither tythe nor poor's rate; and £24 a year is the whole sum allotted to the poor brethren. The Bishop of the Diocese

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is both patron and visitor ; he has given the Wardenship to his nephew; and the former Warden resigned it upon being promoted by the same prelate to a living in his gift. The son of that right reverend person is master of Spital Hospital in the same county. Besides other landed property, he is in possession of one estate worth 6 or £700 a year in right of his office; and all that he pays to the poor is £27. 4s. to four or five pensioners. At Wellingborough, in Northamptonshire, there are lands belonging to different charities, of which only one is connected with education ; a short time ago they were let for £68, although worth near £1100; and the trustees at one period enjoyed the leases. In the parish of Yeovil in Somersetshire, there are estates possessed by trustees, and destined to four different charities, one only of which is a school. Limited as the Commissioners now are, they may examine those trustees as to one part of their trust; but they must order them to be silent as to the other three. They may inspect the deeds and accounts relating to the sehool revenue, but they must suddenly shut the book when they perceive any mention of the other charities. And yet all the four seem to have been equally abused. An estate worth £700 a year only educates seven or eight boys ; lands valued at 11 or £1200 a year only afford a wretched pittance to sixteen paupers ; and property worth $150 a year is let for £2. 1s. 4d., chiefly to the trustees themselves. There are two estates belonging to the poor of Croydon, which ought to bring between 1000 and £1500 a year, and yet are worth nothing from being badly let on 90 years' leases ; but into this the Commissioners must not look, when they go to examine the abuses in the Hospital, because those estates are unconnected with education. In that Hospital itself, they will find but little within their jurisdiction; it is, indeed, full of abuse; but only a small portion of the charity belongs to the school, and even that is protected from inquiry by the appointment of a visitor.' pp. 14–16.

Thirdly, not only the Universities and the public schools 4 down to Rugby, but generally all charities having special visi

tors, governors, or overseers,' that is to say, precisely those charities in which the grossest abuses exist, under circumstances which skreen them the most securely from detection, charities which above any other call for investigation, with respect to some of which the trustees, the lessees, and the visiters are the same persons, these are, by one sweeping clause, expressly exeinpted from the jurisdiction of the commissioners, as' too. sacred to admit of their intrusive inquiry. For they had only power to inquire. To search for abuses, and to lay them before Parliament and the country, was their whole office. The remedy, if the case required legislative interference, was reserved for Parliament. But inquiry was the very thing which the hypocritical opponents of the Bill were resolved at all events to frustrate : the exemption was a master stroke, this class of charities, as the law Dow stands, being almost certain to escape every other inquiry. With regard to special visiters

the Appendix to this Letter furnishes us with some admirable specimens of their effective jurisdiction.

Mr. B. states, that

· St. John's College is visitor of Pocklington school; for years the gross perversion of its ample revenues, known to all Yorkshire, had never penetrated into Cambridge. The Dean and Chapter of Lincoln bave the patronage as well as the superintendence of Spital charity; yet they allow the Warden, son of their Diocesan, to enjoy the produce of large estates, devised to him in trust for the poor of the two parishes as well as of the hospital, while he only pays a few pounds to four or five of the latter. The Bishop himself is patron and visitor of Mere, and permits the Warden his nephew (for whom he made the vacancy by promoting his predecessor) to enjoy or underlet a considerable trust estate, paying only £24. a year to the poor. The evidence shews that the visitors of the Huntingdon Hospital are the parties chiefly concerned in misapplying its funds-being themselves trustees, occupying the charity lands for trifling rents--and using the estate for election purposes.' p. 25, 26.

These were, it seems, not the whole of the amendments which the Bill had undergone when it came out of the Committee of the House of Lords. Two provisions had been introduced, which completed the nullification of the whole measure, so that no man,' says Mr. Brougham, how great soever his wish to conciliate and accommodate, could think of • lending himself to the unworthy farce of passing such an act.'

• The Commissioners were only authorized to inquire into abuses respecting which they had information previously laid before them upon oath ; nay, they could not summon a witness without oath being first made, that he had material information to communicate. They were also prohibited from asking for any paper, unless it wholly related to a separate charity ; and where it contained other matter, they were not allowed to call for extracts or copies of the parts relating to the charity.' p. 30.

Wben, however, the enemies of the Bill, in the Lords, found, that the Committee, upon learning the scope of tbese alterations, resolved to reject the Bill, and to proceed in the House of Commons by way of address, they condescended to give up several of their amendments, and withdrew their opposition to the third reading.

An honest execution, even of this mutilated Bill, promised to be of material benefit to the country. But this was not in the contemplation of those who reluctantly assented to the issuing of the Commission. First, of the gentlemen recommended by the Committee, to be put into the Commission, two only have had the good fortune to meet the approbation of the official dispensers of patronage, and they are by no means indebted for their appointment to the recommendation of the Committee.

* of the other paid Commissioners, I have understood that some look forward to the duties of the office as quite compatible with those of a most laborious profession; while others are supposed to regard the existence of abuses generally, in any establishment, with an unwilling, if not incredulous mind. Nay, I have reason to believe, that one very respectable member of the board has publicly professed an opinion, that a great anxiety for the welfare of the poor is symptomatic of Jacobinism. Exclusive devotion to professional vocations, is a meritorious frame of mind; but does not perhaps very naturally point a man out as fit for a second occupation. A fond disposition to find every thing right in our political system ; an aversion to believe in the existence of defects; a proneness to charge with disaffection those who spy them out : a tendency to suspect all who busy themselves for the poor as influenced by sinister motives, and even as contrivers of political mischief ---these, for aught I know may be praise-worthy feelings; or amiable weaknesses ; or excusable mistakes ; and far be it from me to think the worse of any man who is honestly influenced by what may seem the least rational of such propensities. But then I must take leave to think that they form very indifferent qualifications for sitting at a Board, the object of which is to pry into abuses, to expose errors and malversations, and to drag forth to public view, those who have robbed the poor of their rights. Persons under the influence of such impressions will enter upon their inquisitorial functions with a disposition to find ground of justification rather than of charge ; will reluctantly open their eyes to truths which thwart their favorite prejudices; and feel desirous that their inquiries should convict of exaggeration the statements now before the public. p. 35, 36.

Then, as to the six honorary Commissioners whom the Bill, as amended by His Majesty's Ministers, appointed to form a superintending central body, the Committee had been led to hope that Lord Lansdown and the Bishop of London, (both of wbom were avowedly in favour of the proposed inquiry,) would be among the number.

• Their places are supplied by two right reverend prelates, one of whom displayed bis irreconcileable hostility to the Bill, by even voting against its commitment ; and the other his disinclination towards it, by retiring before • the division, in which the bench of bishops took so active a • share*.' These are the only peers in the Commission; those noblemen who distinguished themselves in supporting the measure in the House of Lords, being, as well as all the members of the Education Committee who originated the Bill for Inquiry, carefully and pointedly excluded, to make room for the names of individuals decidedly hostile to the proposed investigation. So much for the good faith with which the Ministers have discharged this part of their trust! After mutilating the Act itself, they have entrusted the execution of it,

* The Bishops of Peterborough and St. Asaph,

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