City of London Livery Companies Commission. Report; Volume 1. Originally published by Eyre and Spottiswoode, London, 1884.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
ORAL INQUIRY, PARLIAMENTARY SESSION 1883.
In reply to your communication of the 10th ulto., I am desired by the Mercers' Company to thank Her Majesty's Commissioners for their courtesy in supplying the Company with copies of the statements made to them.
The inaccuracy of many of these is no doubt mainly attributable to an imperfect acquaintance, on the part of their authors, with the early history of the City Guilds. So far as regards the Mercers' Company, this defect is remedied by the series of facts, which the Company had the honour to lay before Her Majesty's Commissioners in the first 15 pages of Return A., Part 1, of their answer.
The facts there set forth have been collected and arranged at the expense of a great deal of labour, in the desire entertained by the Company to furnish all the information that can be gathered on the subject. They extend (as the Commissioners will have remarked) over a period of more than 700 years, and it would scarcely be possible, the Company believes, to throw additional light on the matter. But if the Commissioners would have the goodness to point out any particular with regard to which they feel a doubt, the Company will give their best endeavours to remove any ambiguity.
In the statement prefixed to the Returns of the Company to the questions of the Commissioners, the views entertained by the Company with regard to the tenure on which they hold their property were distinctly stated. Those views remain unchanged; and the Company are glad to find that they have incidentally received an unqualified confirmation in the oral testimony of a legal authority of the highest rank before the Commissioners.
As regards the mode in which the Company's income is expended, the Company trust that the same sense of the duties attaching to the possession of property, which has hitherto guided them in the administration of their own, will continue to do so; and they venture to think that in this respect they have no reason to fear a comparison with the most liberal among the wealthy gentry and nobility of the realm; but considering this point to be one affecting themselves only, they decline to notice either the censure or the commendation which may have been expressed by others in reference to it.
While gratefully acknowledging therefore the courtesy of Her Majesty's Commissioners in offering "to receive statements, and to hear evidence on behalf of the Company," I am desired to say that any action thereupon on the part of the Company appears to them superfluous, and that they are unwilling to encroach further on the time of the Commissioners.