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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 sifting, 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. Ånd 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 in dividual 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 Keport 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,
We shall now follow Mr Parry into the suggestions which he offers, of a Plan for more effectually preventing Charities from being abused. But, before entering upon this part of the subject, we may advert to a statement which he makes in defence of Lord Sidmouth, 'who had been blamed bŷ Mr Brougham for neglecting the recommendation of the Education Committee in favour of Mr Parry as a Commissioner. He asserts that no such recommendation ever reached that Noble Lord. It is understood, however, that when an official communication is made to one minister, it is conveyed over, in all ordinary cases, to the person within whose department the affair happens to be; and therefore, though Lord Sidmouth is exonerated from all blame by this statement, the Committee and their Chairman cannot be very severely condemned for having supposed that Noble Lord to be upon the accustomed terms of official intercourse with those of his colleagues, to whom their recommendation was regularly given. Mr Parry, it may be observed, does not pretend that Lord Sidmouth made any inquiries after merit, in the quarter most likely to be acquainted with the kind of excellence of which he ought to have been in quest. He was forming a board of Lawyers, for the purposes of a legal investigation; and with a clumsiness (or perhaps a dexterity) noť to be sufficiently admired, he somehow or other took care not-to broach the subject to the noble and learned person at the head of the Law department of the State.
The objects which Mr Parry states to be in view with respect to Charities, are—to abolish all abuses-to protect the Chari“ ties—to preserve them--and to provide for the due adminis
tration of them according to the will of the respective donors; ' - to which,' says he, I will add another, and not the least important, to afford an equal share of protection and encour
agement to the trustees. This statement, it must be confessed, gives no very favourable idea of the learned author's capacity for dividing and arranging a complicated subject; and is far from pointing him out as peculiarly fitted to digest a great scheme of legislation. All the heads which he enumerates, instead of being (as the rules of sound logic require) separate from one another, and, taken together, suflicient to exhaust the whole subject, are repetitions of portions of each other, all of them being contained within the first, like a nest of boxes or crucibles; and yet, the whole taken together, leaving a considerable branch of the subject untouched. Furthermore, one of them exists only in this preliminary statement, and is left out in the scheme itself. Thus, the abolition of abuses comprehends the protection of Charities; their preservation is plainly includ
ed in their protection; while the due administering of them ac cording to the donor's intent, is a synonyme for preventing abuses in them. What should we say of a logician who divided a scheme of longevity, stating its objects to be the abolition of • diseases; the protection of life; the preservation of it; and the provision for a due performance of the animal functions according to their several purposes and uses?'- But let us hasten to the Plan itself, thus ushered in to our notice.
He proposes, that the Charities in each county be considered as a large estate, composed of many parcels, scattered about in different places, and of various kinds, tenures and quantities, and subjected to the same system of administration and superintend
The principal effect of this will be, to have the whole title-deeds and other muniments collected in one central registry, where they may be safely kept, distinctly arranged, and easily consulted. He then proposes, that all persons having the distribution of charity funds should be compelled, every year, to make an accurate return of the manner and the times of distributing it, and the persons to whom the distribution was made, and to specify the nature, amount, rent, fine, interest, or other profits of the estate, lessees, repairs, and other deductions and expenses for the past year. He would have these annual returns made to the register-office for the county, and there arranged and kept with the original muniments and papers. He likewise recommends that all the receipts and vouchers be kept in the same repository, and that a certain short period (he proposes three months) be assigned for the limitation of all demands against the trustees, after their vouchers shall have been so deposited. The place of deposite, he thinks, should be selected by the Magistrates of the county, and the expenses of the establishment paid by a poundage upon income. Our author's argument in favour of a compulsory delivery of muniments, even where the founder pointed out the place and manner of their custody, appears quite satisfactory; and we therefore subjoin it. He has adopted the arrangement of Mr Brougham's Act, for cases where the titles to the charity are mixed up with other matters.
• It may here be said, that where donors have prescribed the mode in which their deeds should be kept, the Legislature ought not to interfere, by transferring them to any other place of safe custody. To this I answer, first, that since there has been a great neglect of the donors' wills in this particular, there can be no pretence for saying that such directions ought to be attended to by Parliament, when those whose duty it was to attend to them have neglected them. On the contrary, where Parliament sees that the intentions of a donor
have been neglected, if not frustrated, it will provide such means as will best accomplish his object, considering that his directions were intended solely to provide for the safe custody of his deeds, not for the specific mode of custody. Secondly, It may be observed, that those donors who have made such provision for the custody of their papers, have been driven to the necessity of it for want of some public registry where they might be deposited; and it is not to be doubted, that they would gladly have availed themselves of the security offered by such registry, if it had existed at the time they were meditating upon making their donation. Even in cases where the deeds may have been kept as the donor has directed, I should still agree that no exception should be made to the general collection of of them—taking those directions as evidence that such donors desired to see the establishment of some safe and effectual mode of preserving deeds of this description ; only prescribing, ad interim, the best means they could devise to supply the want : And, being admonished by the losses which many charities have sustained by not attending to the precautions of the donors in this respect, I should fear, that deeds hitherto preserved, may yet, ere long, share the fate of others.' pp. 33–35.
We cannot equally concur in the other argument maintained by him, in favour of trustees having a very short period or limitation allowed for their protection. The absurdity is, indeed, not small, of supposing that the paupers of a large county, the persons interested in sifting those accounts, and alone capable of detecting errors in them, should always be able in three months to examine them, and have proceedings instituted against the trustees in case any malversation were detected. Such a provision would operate more powerfully to encourage frauds and malversation, than the publicity of the Record could in checking it. Besides, Mr Parry forgets how easily the responsibility can be divided, and the name of the real defaulter concealed by a combination of skilful accountants, acting, as in such cases they always do, through very ordinary agents.
To the plan thus unfolded by our author, we confess that we see many weighty objections ; of which the chief one is, that almost all the good attainable by it is much more effectually secured by Mr Brougham's Act, the object of so many complaints from Mr Parry for its inefficacy. The Registration of all endowments and gifts, is one branch of the proposed measure; the yearly Regulation of their Receipt, Expenditure, and general Management, is the other. Of these we are now to speak in their order.
That a check to abuses is provided, and a means of detecting them afforded, by depositing the whole title deeds of each charity in a public and accessible place, cannot be denied. This