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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, indeeil, 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 bave 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 wbich 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 10 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 gear 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 this 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.
This check, this galling chastisement, their insolent conceit has now received from the Vice-Chancellor. We insert the following authentic note of his judgment upon the cause.
The Vice-Chancellor said it was impossible for him to order the Corporation, as a body, to account to the Charity for < the loss it had sustained by their granting leases at reduced
rents to their own burgesses, because that would be appro*priating to a particular purpose the funds of the Corporation, I which were certainly destined for other public purposes. He 6 regretted extremely, that when the information was drawn up,
the persons who had profited by these leases had not been * made parties to the suit; because in that case the Court could . have reached them in their individual characters as tenants, 6 and could have made them refund to the Charity the profits 6 which they had improperly derived from its estates. The
manner in which the trust had been executed, with regard to <these leases, was a most SHAMEFUL and SCANDALOUS sacrifice
of the interests of the Charity. His Honour made the followsing decree. That Sir John Arundel be removed from the
office of Master of St John's Hospital; and that the offices of Master of the Hospital, and Member of the Corporation, be
held incompatible: that it be referred to the Master to in6 quire with whom the appointment of Master resides, and what o are the proper qualifications for that office; also with whom
the appointment of schoolmaster resides, and what are the necessary qualifications : that the Master approve of a scheme for the future management of the revenue of the hospital: that an account of the rents and profits be taken from the filing of o this information : and that the Corporation be made to ac
count for these rentsand profits since that time ;-the costs of s the information to be paid by the Corporation. This order 6 to be without prejudice to the relators, if they shall think pro6 per to file a bill against the persons who derived benefit from
the property of the Charity. *
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* The reader who is but moderately acquainted with such subjects, is at once aware of what the reasoners above alluded to do not perhaps know-that the effect of this decree is to the Charity, nearly what the disfranchisement of a borough for bribery and corruption is to the convicted delinquents. A more severe sentence never yet was pronounced in a similar case,- or accompanied with stronger language on the Judge's part. We may add, that, as if to leave no part of the Committee's Report unsupported, the decree against the
Corporation was immediately followed by an opposition in the bo . rough,-a thing till then unknown.
VOL. XXXIII. NO. 65.
The reader will probably agree with us in thinking, that this decree is in fact a judgment, not only upon the affairs of the Hospital and the conduct of the Corporation, but that it is in effect a sentence upon the calumnies and ignorance of those pert, flippant personages, formerly described by us, who presumed to thrust themselves into this controversy, with a stock of their own facts, larded with other men's jokes and with Law which no man can be found to acknowledge. It seems as if His Honour were at one and the same time severing the truse tee from his mismanaged trust, and the Commentator from his abused office of political critic; sending him back to the place from whence, through vanity, he came; there henceforth to hang over dusty lexicons until he be dead; and to have mercy on the moderate reputation of a third-rate word-monger, which he might previously have earned through the forbearance of friends in his monkish retrent,
Here we should close our remarks, --- but for the strange and altogether unaccountable sally which is said to have escaped the Learned Judge whose decision we have just cited. In the course of the argument, he took occasion it seems to interrupt the Counsel, in order to express a disapprobation of the Parliamentary Inquiry, and to say, that it had misled the public mind, producing a great deal of improper zeal and popular clamour.” Now, to all who heard this notable reflexion, it must have been matter of extreme surprise to find, that what is here termed • misleading,' really turned out to be telling the truth, or rather considerably under-stating it; and that, by popular clamour,' His Honour was pleased to intend the wish to have gross abuses corrected precisely by such decrees as he was then on the point of making. All who heard the remarks must have expected a decree dismissing the suit with costs, accompanied by observations very flattering to the Defendants, and reprobating the extraneous statements of the Relators. But, strange to tell, the Vice-Chancellor goes far beyond the Education Committee in his reprobation of the whole conduct of those Defendants; condemns them in costs as a corporation, and to refund what, as a corporation, they had received ;-while he regrets that the form of the Bill precluded him from convicting them as individuals; and suggests that separate suits be forthwith instituted against them in their private capacity.
The great inconsistency of this conduct, is as remarkable as the impropriety of any Judge censuring the proceedings of either House of Parliament. Men are daily committed for breaches of privilege, whose libels never can affect the authority of the Legislature one hundredth part so much as the sneers of
probating, tele, the Vice-Chobation of the wholorporation, and he
a Judge upon the Bench, where no one can reply in its defence. Sir John Leach, by the total inconsistency of his decree with his obiter dictum, indeed deprived himself of any great weight as a censor upon this occasion, but the respect in which Parliament is holden would indeed soon vanish, if Judges, from being the calm and impartial executors of its laws, were to erect themselves into critics upon its conduct, and show that they only reluctantly yield to its power, the obedience which they should pay to its authority, and the deference which they owe to its wisdom. *
TT is curious to see how vice varies its forms, and maintains its
substance, in all conditions of society ;-and how certainly those changes, or improvements as we call them, which diminish one class of offences, aggravate or give birth to another. In rude and simple communities, most crimes take the shape of Violence and Outrage-in polished and refined ones, of Fraud. Men sin from their animal propensities in the first case, and from their intellectual depravation in the second. The one state of things is prolific of murders, batteries, rapines, and burnings the other of forgeries, swindlings, defamations, and seductions. The sum of evil is probably pretty much the same in boththough probably greatest in the civilized and enlightened stages; the sharpening of the intellect, and the spread of knowledge, giving prodigious force and activity to all criminal propensities.
Among the offences which are peculiar to a refined and enlightened society, and owe their birth, indeed, to its science and refinement, are those skilful and dexterous adulterations of the manifold objects of its luxurious consumption, to which their value and variety, and the delicacy of their preparation, hold out so many temptations; while the very skill and knowledge