ORAL INQUIRY.—(Session 1882.)
Minutes of Evidence
The Royal Commission
Appointed to Inquire Into
The City of London Livery Companies,
No. 2, Victoria Street, Westminster.
Wednesday, 1st March 1882.
The Right Honourable the Earl of Derby, Chairman.
His Grace the Duke of Bedford, K.G.
The Right Hon. Viscount Sherbrooke.
The Right Hon. Lord Coleridge.
Sir Richard Assheton Cross, G.C.B., M.P.
Sir Nathaniel M. De Rothschild, Bart., M.P.
Sir Sydney H. Waterlow, Bart., M.P.
Mr. Alderman Cotton, M.P.
Mr. Walter H. James, M.P.
Mr. Joseph Firth, M.P.
Mr. Thomas Burt, M.P.
Mr. H. D. Warr, Secretary.
Mr. Thomas Hare examined.
Mr. T. Hare. 1 March 1882
1. (The Chairman.) I think you are the Senior Inspector of Charities under the Charity Commission,
and I need not ask you whether you have taken considerable interest in and paid much attention to questions of municipal government and of charity adminis
2. You have been occupied, as I understand, with
the charities administered by the city companies at
various times?—At various times, many years ago. I
have not done much in that way since 1865.
3. Between 1860 and 1865 I think you were employed in that way?—I was.
Mr. T. Hare. 1 March 1882.
4. Will you kindly explain to the Commission what
are the functions of the Charity Commission; under
what Act of Parliament it obtains its powers, and
what is its position as regards the City Livery Companies. Probably you would prefer to give your
explanation in your own way?—I suppose that the
Commission knows that the Charitable Trusts Act
was passed in the year 1853. It was the first jurisdiction then established applicable to charities exclusively, and it was intended to prevent the vast waste
of money which was constantly incurred in charities,
by the institution of suits by relators whenever they
thought they had an opportunity of having them
inquired into in the Court of Chancery. The powers,
which were general, are set forth at considerable
length in the Act of 1853; it gave power of inquiry;
it gave power of authorizing leases and for the alienation of estates; it gave also for the first time, an officer
who should be the conduit pipe of the real estate, so
that the real estate should be vested in one person
continually, while the trustees should have the management as before for the purpose of administration.
It gave also the power of taking proceedings for setting
new schemes where the charities were under 30l. a year,
the amount was afterwards increased to 50l. upon the
application of one or more inhabitants or persons interested, but no power beyond an income of 50l. a
year, except upon the application of the trustees or
the persons administering. That is the present
restriction. It gave full power of inquiry into
all charities, and it also gave the power which
was exercised for a few years, of laying before
Parliament at the commencement of the session,
what Bills they proposed to pass for such amendment
of charities as the Courts of Law were not competent to make, and then that being laid before
Parliament, at a certain time after its meeting, a Bill
was to be brought before the House for effecting
the alteration. That went on for some years, but as
in many cases the alteration would affect very much
the condition of populous towns and boroughs, the
Government was sometimes unwilling to take it up,
and it was met with frequent opposition. In some
cases the Bills were thrown out, and the Commissioners instead of laying those Bills before Parliament thought their function was rather uselessly
exercised unless the Bills could be passed, and they
abandoned that course of proceeding. I do not know
whether there is any other matter connected with the
jurisdiction and power of the Commissioners which I
have omitted, or which the Commissioners would like
to be informed upon; if so I shall be glad to
answer any further question. It is a Commission to
inquire with very imperfect jurisdiction to amend; the
utmost they can do in the most important cases being
to send it to a court of law for amendment.
5. You have been brought, as inspector, into contact
with the courts of the various companies, I suppose?
—No, not with the courts; very rarely were they
attended by anybody but their clerks or one or two
persons who produced the documents and gave me
the papers I asked for; but very rarely by any of the
members of the courts.
6. There are in existence, as we understand,
reports dealing with all the charities of the city companies?—The Charity Commission which commenced
about 1818 by Lord Brougham's instigation, went on
under several separate Acts of Parliament and finished
its work about 1840 or somewhat later. All their
reports are printed, and they occupy about 40 or 50
7. Have you had to examine those reports, and as
a matter of fact, have you done so?—In all cases
when I went to the city companies, I took the
printed report of the former Commission, and began
by inquiring whether that was accurate, and whether
there was any addition or amendment to be made to
it. I adopted that as the basis of my inquiry, taking
up, of course, the subject of any variations in the
property, and subsequent gifts, if any.
8. Had the framers of those earlier reports which
you consulted, full access to the documents of the
companies?—The power given by the Act of Parliament enabled them to inquire into trusts only, and,
therefore, if an independent title was asserted they
would have had no power to go beyond the trust.
9. The Commissioners had power to call for any
documents relating to the charities of the Companies,
had they not?—Yes, they had.
10. But I presume in a doubtful case the Company
itself would be the judge whether the property was
held in trust or otherwise?—They must necessarily
be the judge.
11. You have drawn up reports of your own
between the dates you mention, 1860 and 1865?—
Yes, for a great number of companies—all that
appeared by the former reports to have had charities.
12. Did you base your reports upon those of the
earlier Commissioners?—I began with those in my
inquiry; I took them as the basis of my inquiry, and
then I referred, where the documents were the same,
to the former report.
13. Are you aware of any cases in which informations have been filed by the Attorney-General against
the Companies for breaches of trust?—I am not aware
of many cases of that kind. I might accidentally have
heard of them, but I never had an official knowledge
of the cases. I may mention one case, by the way,
of which I was cognizant, that of the Wax Chandlers'
Company, in which I found that there were some
houses in the Old Change charged with the payment
of about 8l. a year to poor persons with the direction
that the remainder of the rent of the houses was
to be carried to the chest of the Company and applied
to the repair of the houses. I told the Company that
it appeared to me that that was not a gift to them,
but still continued to be a charity. They applied
all the surplus over 8l. a year to their own funds.
I found the same to be the case in the Merchant
Taylors; they had a very large charity, about 2,000l.
a year, and they had taken the opinion of their
counsel, the present Vice-Chancellor Hall, and Lord
Selborne, who advised them that the surplus was devoted
charity. They accordingly founded with it the Convalescent Hospital at Bognor, instead of applying it
to their own funds; and I recommended the Wax
Chandlers Company to do the same, but they thought
it would take away so large a portion of their funds
that they declined to do it. An information was
filed. It was heard first before Lord Romilly and
then before Lord Hatherley, who decided in favour of
the Company. It then went before the House of
Lords, who decided that I had been right in holding it
to be a charity, and the whole surplus was then handed
over as a charitable trust. I do not remember at this
moment any other case.
14. (Mr. Firth.) The case which related to the hospital at Bognor was that of the Attorney-General v.
Donkin, was it not?—That was first established under
the voluntary act of the Merchant Taylors' Company
after my suggestion, but when the Wax Chandlers' Company had been proceeded against and had succeeded
in obtaining judgment in their favour from Lord
Romilly, and a second judgment in their favour from
Lord Hatherley, the Merchant Taylors' Company
thought they had made a mistake, and filed an information for the purpose of getting a more satisfactory
construction in their interest; but when the House
of Lords decided the other way they dropped their
15. The payments were different, were they not?
—One was, I think, to be applied to the repair of the
houses and the other was to go into the chest of the
Company. They were substantially the same.
16. But that difference made the difference in the
decisions, did it not?—The first decision was that of
Lord Romilly; he thought it was not a charity, and
Lord Hatherley was not satisfied about it sufficiently,
he said, to overrule Lord Romilly. Then the matter
went before the House of Lords, and they determined
that it was a charity.
17. (The Chairman.) Has there been any inquiry
into the charities of the Companies since 1865?—I
think there has upon a few occasions where some
questions have arisen. I do not think I have had any
myself. There has been no inquiry of any considerable
importance, I believe.
18. I do not know whether I am right in assuming
that your reports are unpublished and have not been
printed?—They have not been printed; the reports
of the City Parochial Charities have all been printed,
but not of the Companies.
19. Was that done by the Parochial Charities Commission?—Yes.
20. Have you any idea what would be the bulk of
your reports if it were found desirable to publish
them?—I fear that it would be found to be a very
voluminous document of a great many hundred folio
21. Now with regard to these charities, there are a
considerable number of almshouses, are there not,
belonging to the companies?—A great many, I believe, as far as I remember.
22. There are also, I believe, doles to poor freemen?
—There are a great many pensions and things of that
kind which are given to them.
23. Are there also payments for the benefit of the
poor?—There are many.
24. I should like to put it to you generally whether
in regard of the administration of those charities you
have any general idea of such reform as might be
proper to be adopted, whether you have formed in your
own mind any general plan of dealing with them?—
About three or four years ago there was a poor law conference, at which Lord Hampton was in the chair, which
requested me to give my views as to the administration of endowments. I am looking at the printed copy
of what I then said, and I find that the best answer to
your question which I might give you now is set forth
in this printed paper (handing in the same). I recommended that the employment of endowments should be
of an elevating tendency. One passage I will read,—
Twenty years ago, or more, when a new scheme
was first about to be devised for the college of Dulwich, I thought that, with regard to its eleemosynary
branch, an experiment might deserve to be tried for
encouraging and promoting a systematic habit of
providence and foresight among the poorer inhabitants of the populous districts interested in that great
endowment. As one mode of doing this I suggested
the appropriation of some sites on the vast Dulwich
estate, lying between Denmark Hill and the Crystal
Palace, for the erection, by the Charity funds, of
some cottages, models of convenience and beauty,
which might be occupied freely or on especially
favourable terms by labourers of the parishes of St.
Luke's, St. Botolph's St. Saviour's, or Camberwell,
who having been in the ordinary condition of their
class, should prove themselves to have spent the best
years of their lives industriously and providently,
and to have brought up their children well. Such
cottages, named, say, the 'Reward of Abstinence,'
would be standing monitors of the value of selfdenial, temperance, economy, and foresight."
25. May I ask whether you have studied the constitution of the companies generally?—Very much in
relation to other corporate bodies and other public endowments.
26. Have you gone at all into the question of how
far those companies have been really connected in
former times with the trades whose names they bear?
—It seems to me that that question is most perfectly
answered in the short summary given by Sir Francis
Palgrave, in his report to this Commission, which is
contained in this printed paper which I have before
me. He says, "Considered as distinct or special communities, the companies were probably in their
original conformation, not so much trading societies
as trade societies instituted for the purpose of protecting the consumer or the employer against the
incompetency or fraud of the dealer or the artizan,
and equally with the intent of securing a maintenance
to workmen trained to the art according to the
notions of early times, by preventing his being
undersold in the labour market by an unlimited
number of competitors. Furthermore the companies
acted as domestic tribunals, adjudicating or rather
arbitrating between man and man, and settling disputes, thus diminishing hostile litigation and promoting amity and goodwill. They were also in the
nature of benefit societies, from which the workman,
in return for the contributions he had made when in
health and vigour, to the common stock of the guild,
might be relieved in sickness or when disabled by
infirmities or age. This character speedily attracted
donations for other charitable purposes from benevolent persons who could not find any better trustees
than the ruling members of these communities, and
hence arose the numerous charitable gifts and
foundations now entrusted to their care." It could
not I think have been better described.
27. But as we understand it from the earliest times,
or at any rate for the last two centuries or more, the
right of membership in a company has been hereditary?
—Mostly so; the separation from the trade mainly
resulted from their constitution, the succession was to
be kept up by the children of the traders and their
apprentices; but naturally in a few years afterwards
they frequently ceased to be of the same trade. In the
reign of Queen Elizabeth the Queen sent to the Mercers' Company to know why silks were so dear, and
the Queen, it is said, marvelled much to learn that only
one or two of the Company knew anything about silks
28. (Mr. Walter James.) Do you consider that
those companies form part of the municipal corporation
of the city of London? (fn. 1) —Undoubtedly at present
they form a part of it.
29. Do you mind stating to the Commission your
grounds for that statement?—In the first place they
form what is called the Commonalty, the Common
30. Do you think you may say that the Companies
are public bodies in the sense that you might speak of
them as municipal bodies?—I think they are very
much in the nature of municipal bodies, having a
partially municipal character, but being also beyond
a municipal body,—having another function, and a
main function greater than their municipal function.
31. But supposing that in any legislation which
might be projected in the course of the next few
years the Common Hall were abolished and the connexion between the Corporation and those Companies were severed, the Companies would be then
essentially private bodies, would they not?—Not
private bodies; the Companies would then be essentially bodies constituted with a public object, and
having that public object in view, of which we have
a summary from Sir Francis Palgrave's report.
32. They would no longer have municipal duties?
—That portion of the duty would be taken from them.
33. So that they would be much more private
bodies than they are at the present time?—I cannot
say that they would be more private; I do not think
they would be in any respect private bodies.
34. Do you think there is anything at the present
moment preventing the Companies going into liquidation, winding up their affairs, and dividing their property amongst the existing members of the courts?—
I do not think there is anything, unless some authoritative action of the State intervened. We know
lately that a body like Serjeant's Inn, having a constitution not framed for the exclusive benefit of
any individuals, but framed to have a special object,
thought proper to dissolve. There was nothing
to stand in the way, there was no individual
interest to stand in the way, and no public interest of
sufficient importance in the eyes of the State to
induce it to interpose, so they were enabled to sell
their property and to divide it amongst themselves.
The doctors of Doctors Commons did the same, and
I do not think it impossible, unless the magnitude and
publicity of these Companies should stand in the way,
that they might do the same.
35. Do you think this is a matter of such importance that the Legislature should take steps to prevent
such a contingency and such a possibility?—I think
so, certainly. We know that before the reform of
Municipal Corporations took place, Corporations
could have alienated their property, or might have
applied the entire corpus of it to any purposes which
could be held to be corporate purposes. They had full
power over it; but under that Act they are prevented, without the consent of the Treasury, from
alienating or leasing for more than 31 years any part
of the corporate property. There is a clause in the
Act of 1835 which interposes the authority of the
Treasury to prevent such alienation; and if such a
provision was necessary for the Municipal Corporations of the Kingdom I think it is necessary with
regard to these Companies.
36. I believe that at the time of the passing of the
Act of 1835 there were two classes of property with
which that Act dealt; there was the trust property
and there was the corporate property?—You remember the history of the Act. It went up from the
House of Commons to the House of Lords, enabling
the new corporations to have all the powers of the old
over both properties, but in the House of Lords, it was
suggested that as many of the new corporations would
no longer be confined to members of the church of
England, and as so many of the charities were founded
by Church of England people for church purposes, it was
undesirable that they should have the control of those
charities; so they introduced the 71st Clause, providing
that unless the new body for the management of those
charities should be appointed by Parliament before the
1st of August 1836, a measure which I believe Lord
Brougham had contemplated, the Court of Chancery
should appoint new trustees for the charities.
37. What was done with the corporate property?—
The corporate property was transferred by the Act of
Parliament to the new corporations, but guarded with
the stipulation that it should not be alienated without
the consent of the Treasury.
38. Do you think that it would be a great act of
violence, assuming that the Legislature thought proper
at some future time that the corporate funds of those
Companies, which you allege to be part of the Corporation of London, should be given to some general pur-
poses for the benefit of the whole metropolis, as was
done in the year 1835 when the corporate property
which was in the hands of the old corporations was
diffused, or the control over it was given to the whole
body of the electors?—But the destination of that
property was not altered. The new corporations were
made generally elective, but the corporate property
was employed, as it had been heretofore, for the benefit
of the borough to which it belonged.
39. Do you think it would be any alteration of the
destination of the corporate property of the Companies,
if it were given more largely for purposes analogous
to the trades indicated than it is at present?—With
regard to the last question, I have ventured to put on
paper the suggestion I would make, and it is this: that
the connexion of the Companies with the arts, crafts and
trades which according to the terms of their constitution
they are designed to comprehend, should be restored,
including within the latter all the analogous trades and
industries which have grown out of, or been developed
from, or into which the arts and crafts originally
named have since expanded. The avocations included
in the business of mercers, drapers, and haberdashers,
and clothworkers, would embrace vast numbers of the
working classes to whom an intimate association with
bodies of the wealth and importance which these
guilds have attained, may be made a source of great
advantage. The members to be admitted may be of two
main classes; those employed in the manufacture and
those in the distribution of the several productions.
The factories for production are now widely spread
throughout the kingdom, and no persons engaged in
them wherever situated, should be excluded. The
distributive workers, as keepers of shops and those
employed therein, might be confined, as the Companies
now generally are, to London and the suburbs. (fn. 2)
40. You have had, I know, very great experience
in the administration of these charities; do you think
that the effect of these charities (I am speaking in a
general sense) is mischievous, or do you think they
are for the public good?—I think that all doles, and
things of that kind, which are distributed as mere
matters of favour and without any very rigid inquiry
into the worth of the individuals, are generally mischievous, and are more likely to be causes of mischief
than otherwise; almshouses, probably, less so than
pensions. We find in the Charity Commission that a
frequent object with regard to almshouses on the part
of those bodies which possess them is to convert them
into pensions, because the almshouse is a more severe
test of want than a pension would be. I prefer, therefore, in those cases to preserve the test of the almshouse,
rather than convert it into a pension, which is much
more likely to be abused.
41. Then you think that your own experience, as
well as public opinion generally, condemus the system
42. Do you think that the system is condemned
generally by those in whose hands the giving of doles
remains?—So far from objecting to it, they generally
prefer to retain such gifts. One of the earliest cases, if
I remember rightly, which attracted attention when
the Charity Commission was formed, was the immense
number of charities in the city of Coventry; numbers
of people complained that the whole town of Coventry
was demoralized by them, and the Commissioners
endeavoured to bring in a scheme to diminish those
doles. I think a former member for Coventry, who
was consulted, said that any Bill of that kind it would
be impossible for him to support; if he did it would
be no use for him to go to Coventry any more.
43. Have you found amongst those who administered the charities of the city, and amongst those who
felt them to be mischievous, that they have been
desirous to come to you for fresh schemes?—I find
generally a struggle against improved schemes; of
course there are a number of public-spirited people
who are anxious to introduce them, but I am afraid
they form the minority.
44. Do you find that the city Companies come
under that rule? (fn. 3) —They are not likely to come for
any scheme: they consider themselves to be the best
managers of their own funds.
45. There is a very large charity which, I think,
belongs to the Ironmongers' Company, Betton's
Charity, that was a charity for the release of captives
in Barbary, I think?—That charity was divided
into four portions; one-fourth was for schools in
London, one-fourth for the members of the Ironmongers' Company, and two-fourths for the release of
captives in Barbary. It was created at the beginning of
last century. As time went on they found no captives
in Barbary, and a large sum had accumulated, and an
information was filed after the report of Lord Brougham's
Commission for a new scheme. The Ironmongers said
there were two purposes, schools and Ironmongers;
divide the whole into two, and give the schools one half
and the Ironmongers the other half; but the Court of
Chancery thought that the Ironmongers' Company did
not stand in need of this charity, therefore they gave the
whole to the schools. The matter went on ultimately
to the House of Lords. I remember seeing a shorthand
note of what took place. Lord Campbell was the
Lord Chancellor. He inquired what was meant by a
ci-près application, and being told it meant the nearest
to what the founder intended, he said, "if the schools
of London are the nearest to the captives in Barbary
they are a good way off." They determined then
to give it to the Church schools throughout England
to be distributed by the clergy; and it is the case now,
that it goes to such. It was asked why give it to the
Church of England schools, the captives in Barbary
were not necessarily Church of England captives?
46. If there had been more public spirit upon the
part of the Ironmongers' Company, do not you think
that that large fund might have been given to some
more worthy object?—There could be no more worthy
object than education, I suppose.
47. But as regards the manner of distribution, do
you not suppose that that had the effect of frittering
away and wasting the fund?—At the time this took
place, there were none but voluntary schools for
national education in the kingdom, but now as education is compulsory it is a different matter. It should
be employed as prizes and rewards for the children of
the poor in the public elementary schools.
48. (Mr. Alderman Cotton.) With regard to the
question of doles and pensions, I would ask what you
consider to be a dole?—A dole would be a sum of
money distributed, say, on Ash Wednesday, or Christmas Day, say half-a-crown to all poor people in the
parish, or perhaps for bread to be given away at the
church door, as is the case in many of the city parishes.
49. But your explanation does not apply to the
City Companies. I wish to know in what way you
would apply the word "dole" to the City Guilds,
because as far as my knowledge of them goes there
is scarcely a dole in existence; there are pensions?—
I cannot at this moment tell what doles there are
given by the Companies.
50. Perhaps you are aware that the doles of the
city parishes have now been examined into by the
Charity Commissioners, and that they form a large
sum in the aggregate, and that some Bills are now in
Parliament for the appropriation of those doles?—I
am aware of that.
51. Are you aware that the Charity Commissioners
speak very highly indeed of the liberality of the
Companies in respect of the charities administered by
them?—I believe so.
52. They find no fault as to that?—I believe not.
53. When the Charity Commission looked into the
trusts of the various guilds they were found, considering the long time they ran back to, to have been most
honestly, straightforwardly, and well administered,
was not that so?—I do not know that any verdict of
that kind was found one way or another; but I do
not know on the other hand that any fault was found
54. Now all the charitable funds of the city are in
the hands of the Commission, are they not?—I do not
know what that means.
55. Under their control; that we cannot move
without their sanction?—I am not aware that they
have any control over the charities of the guilds.
56. Yes, all the charities of the guilds are under the
control of the Charity Commissioners?—I did not
know that they had the smallest control over them.
They have an account of them sent to them, but I do
not think they can say, Yes or No to any proposed gift.
57. They propound the scheme?—I am not aware
that any scheme has been formed for the guilds generally.
58. Not for the guilds generally but for each guild?
—But even if the scheme has been settled, it ceases to
be under the control of the Charity Commissioners; a
scheme is only another way of disposing of the fund.
When a fund is given away, say to schools, the Charity
Commissioners have no control over it any more than
the executive government have.
59. They have the control of the examination of
the accounts, and we cannot alter the scheme in any
way whatever without their consent?—The scheme
becomes a trust.
60. Then it comes to this: that the only funds left
in the hands of a guild, if I am correct, are those
which are their own property absolutely; that is to
say, moneys accumulated from moneys paid by freemen and liverymen, and moneys which past testators
who are dead and gone have left us entirely for the
benefit of the Company, there is nothing else; is that
your opinion?—In the first place I think there are
very few cases in which Companies have applied for
schemes or have had schemes, and what I say is that
the Charity Commissioners have no power to impose
a scheme unless the Companies apply for it. I do not
know of any Company having applied for it, I will not
say there are none, because the matter need not pass
under my observation. As regards the last question,
it is impossible to say that the only funds they administer are those that have been given to them absolutely, because as far as I know they administer now
their own funds completely.
61. The funds they now administer are those which
they believe to be their own moneys, and there is no
trust in connexion with them in any way whatever;
they are as much the property of the body as the property of any nobleman or gentleman in the kingdom
is his?—That is a principle I cannot admit. I hold,
not that they are given to them personally, but that
they are given to them publicly for a purpose, which if
it be not an expressed, is an implied trust, and that it
would be a dishonest thing if the Companies took that
property and divided it amongst themselves; that it
would be a breach of duty and a thing which would
never be permitted, except, perhaps, in cases where
the whole property was so small that the State would
62. Do you recollect some evidence which you gave
with regard to the Grocers' Company, in which you
used these words: "There can be no doubt that in the
case of these ancient and liberal bodies the funds
are practically secure"?—I trust they are.
63. (Mr. Firth.) Do you recollect the particulars of
the case you quoted to us, namely, Donkin's case?—I
do not remember the exact words of the foundation.
64. Do you recollect reading a report of that case
by Lord Brougham's Commission, to which you
65. Do you remember that in 1570 a tailor left
certain houses in Bishopgate, bringing in 22l. 10s. a
year, to be laid out in clothing 12 poor men and 12
66. Do you recollect that before Lord Brougham's
Commission the Merchant Taylors' Company said
that they not merely carried that out, but that
they expended 38l. in those purposes?—That I do
not remember, but I have no doubt it was so.
67. That action resulted in the ci-près doctrine
being applied to that case?—I do not think there
was any suit, because, if I remember that case rightly,
the Company without any suit at all took the advice
of their own counsel and acted upon it. I think they
took the advice of Lord Selborne and Sir Charles Hall.
68. But in the first instance there was a suit?—
That I do not remember. I think not.
69. The only further question I wish to ask you
upon this case is this: whether you can form any
estimate from your knowledge of what the amount of
property of the Companies is, in which that mode of
procedure has been adopted, that is to say, in which a
specific sum has been set apart for specific purposes,
and the balance kept by the Companies for their own
purposes?—It would require going through volumes
of figures before I could answer that question. I
think most of the Companies have property under
those conditions. There are cases of the Grocers' and
the Skinners' Companies. Property given to them
300 years ago to pay, say, 20l. a year for some
charitable purpose, without more, the entire property
beyond the 20l. goes to the Company. It has been
held that when there is no express gift of the residue
to the Company, but that all you can show is that
the property then disposed of was worth so much
as the amount given for the charity, the residue not
being mentioned, the Company was bound only to pay
the specific sum, and may carry the residue to their
70. Is not that the decision in the Wax Chandlers'
case?—No. The cases which you refer to, in which
the principle was settled, were the Attorney-General
v. the Skinners' Company, and the Attorney-General
v. the Grocers' Company, the latter being reported in
the 6th Bevan, page 526. In those cases they were
held only charged to pay the specific sums. In the
case of the Mayor of Bristol, reported in the 2nd Jacob
and Walker, page 294, the same principle was affirmed.
71. Are there, within your knowledge, cases where
money has been left to the Companies to invest in land
for charitable purposes, and where they have only returned an account of the income without returning an
account of the investment?—There have been cases of
this kind both with the Companies and with parishes
in which sums of money have been given to them at
certain times, and we find not only in London but in
the case of the merchant venturers in Bristol and other
places, that in a short time after receiving the gift they
have bought lands with those moneys, which lands are
perhaps now ten times their original value, but they do
not say that they invest specifically that money in land;
they invest their own money in land—they take this
gift and place the proceeds in their own chest. The
purchase has happened so soon after the bequest of the
legacy or the gift, that it is impossible not to suspect
that the money employed in the purchase of the land
was the money left by the legacy.
72. But still you have no proof?—It is impossible.
No evidence could be forthcoming. A legacy is given
of 1,000l. in 1750, and in 1751 they buy a property
of more or less value, but you cannot prove strictly
that the one is bought with the other.
73. Can you say how much of the property of the
Companies dates back to a period when they were
really trade organizations?—I cannot really form any
idea of that.
74. Are you aware that in many or nearly all the
old charters the Companies were endowed with power
to hold land contrary to the Statute of Mortmain for
the benefit of the poor?—That is so. (fn. 4)
75. But you have no opinion as to what the proportion of such land is?—I can form no judgment of tha
76. Have you considered whether rights exist or
not in London in tradesmen to be admitted members of
those Companies?—I believe legal rights do not exist.
I believe the law in such cases is powerless. You can
not get a specific trust enabling the courts of justice to
deal with those things. It is only when the case is of
great magnitude, like the Irish Church, that it is felt
incumbent upon the State to deal with it, or where a
powerful section of the people is interested, as in the
case of Dissenters' chapels. Take the case of Lady
Hewley's Charity; she left, about the beginning of the
last century, an estate for the benefit of ministers of the
gospel. About 1750, and up to about the end of that
century, the whole of the trustees were Unitarians,
and no persons were appointed but Unitarians. Then
the suit of the Attorney-General v. Shore was filed.
It was found that Lady Hewley's friends were all
Trinitarians, and the court therefore came to the
opinion that she did not intend the money for the
teaching of Unitarian principles, and the Court of
Chancery, after several suits, which the solicitors say
cost 24,000l., settled a new scheme, appointing Independents, Baptists, and Presbyterians as trustees.
It was said that the effect of that would be to
change the administration of numerous chapels all
over the country that had been in the same condition,
and to avert that change they were strong enough
then to get an Act of Parliament to settle the question.
The Dissenters Chapels Act (7 & 8 Vict. c. 45.)
enacted: that where there was no deed of trust
regulating the doctrines, opinion, or mode of worship,
the usage of the last 25 years should be sufficient
authority. It was said that this saved 500 chapels
from being taken out of Unitarian hands. The courts
of law would have been appealed to, and would have
gone on dealing continually in the same way if there
had not been a party strong enough to get an Act of
Parliament for their protection; and so, no doubt,
these Companies, unless there be a body strong enough
to prevent it, can get rid of the property in any way
77. Supposing there were a general desire on the
part of the trades to get admission to the Companies,
would you say that all the rights were now dormant
as to public admission?—If any member of a trade
applied to a solicitor and asked whether he should
take proceedings to be admitted to a Company, I do
not think he would be advised to do so.
78. I am asking it as a legal question, whether
members of those trades have not a right to join in
the benefits and advantages of a Company, whatever
they may be, and become members of it?—I doubt it.
Take, for instance, the Haberdashers' Company; shall
we suppose a tradesman, say, Peter Robinson, applies
to be admitted a Haberdasher, then what would be the
course to be taken; must he take out a mandamus to
compel them to admit him? If he did the Company
would plead the custom of three or four centuries of
not admitting people with no greater claim than those
he could put forward.
79. I will put the case rather more clearly. I will
give you the case of a poor tailor having the right of
admission to the Merchant Taylors' Company, the
Merchant Taylors' Company possessing funds for the
benefit of poor tailors?—I do not know what his
position would be, or whether a court of law would
establish his right. I do not think I should advise
him myself to take proceedings against the Merchant
Taylors' Company to be admitted; nothing but an
Act of Parliament could give him his proper place in
80. I wish to ask you a question about a clause of
the Act of 1835, with reference to the property of
corporations; are you aware that in the case of the
Corporation of Leeds before the Act, the Corporation
divided property amongst themselves which they were
afterwards compelled to refund?—I never heard of
that case, but I daresay it is very possible. I was lately
looking at the case of Colchester, in which Lord Eldon
said that he could not interfere in the matter, unless
it appeared that the property had been applied to
purposes certainly and distinctly not corporate, leaving
this inference, that if it had been applied to purposes
not corporate he would have interfered.
81. Are you aware that the Crown did exercise
during several centuries a right of control over those
Companies?—I am not aware of that.
82. Are you aware that the City exercised the right
of control?—I never heard of such a right, and I do
not know what their control would be.
83. Were not you aware, with respect to the control of the Crown, that the byelaws required the
consent of the Crown, and that the rules of the Company received ordinarily the sanction of the Lord
High Treasurer, and the Lord Chief Justice in the
Common Pleas, down to within 150 years ago?—I
was not aware of that.
84. Taking your general opinion of this property,
do I understand that you regard the whole of the
property of these Companies, having regard to their
history, their character and existence, as public property?—As public property. In the year 1869, I
wrote an article in the "Fornightly Review," to show
the distinction between private property and public
property, showing that everything must either be
public or private. I treated the matter with all the
consideration I could then bring to bear upon it, and
in case any reference should be made to it I have
brought it here for the use of the Commission. (Fortnightly Review, vol. II., p. 284.)
85. Have you, in your own judgment, matured any
scheme or idea as to a proper appropriation of this
property?—With regard to the last matter that is indicated in the printed note for their examination,
I have ventured to put on paper what I should
suggest, and with the permission of the Commission I
would beg to read it. (The witness read a paper
commencing "My suggestion for the reform," for
which see Appendix.)
86. (Mr. Firth.) You spoke of some means of
utilizing the Companies in connexion with the trades
whose names they bear; now are you aware that there
are a large number of Companies bearing the names
of non-existent trades, and have you considered their
case as well?—It seemed to me that in those cases the
articles comprehended in the trades and arts which
those Companies were designed originally to prosecute,
had some connexion with something which is now
done. I presume that the article is now made by
some other body or some other person. If a thing has
gone altogether into disuse, then I suppose that some
other article is manufactured in lieu of it.
87. (Sir Sydney Waterlow.) From your answer to
the Chairman's last question, and from the remarks
you have just made, I gather that you were of opinion
that the corporate property of the Livery Companies
should be, in some way or other, appropriated for the
benefit of the workmen and others connected with the
trade?—That is so.
88. Then I would ask you whether you consider, as
far as it goes, that the present effort of the Livery
Companies, the Clothworkers and Drapers, for example,
to teach the work-people the modes of cloth-making
and dyeing, is a form of benefiting persons connected
with the trade from the corporate funds of the Company?—I think they are endeavouring to carry that
out as well as they can do in the technical colleges
which they are establishing and supporting.
89. I wish to ask you, whether you think that their
efforts in developing the knowledge of technical work
are a benefit to persons connected with the trade?—
Yes, that is the prominent feature in it.
90. I am speaking of the corporate property which
must be, as you say, either public or private; but
have you considered from any investigation of the
terms and conditions under which the property was
left to the Companies at different times, whether the
property left since the trading Companies exercised
any control over the trade has not more of a private
character than the property which belonged to them
at the time when they were essentially trading Companies?—I do not think it has anything more of a
91. In the year 1834 you are aware that a man
named Thwaites, living close to the Clothworkers'
Hall, left 20,000l. to the Company, with the distinct
direction that they were "to make themselves comfortable;" do you think that a property left with such
a distinct direction is not private property?—I would
beg leave to answer that question by asking another,
did that mean that the living persons should be made
comfortable, or that they and their successors should
be made comfortable?
92. I can only give the words. I do not venture
to interpret them.—Then I think connecting the Company historically with the trade to which it belongs,
that it meant "to make the traders comfortable."
93. Although it was left by a person who lived
when the Company did not exercise any control over
the trade and had no connexion with it?—But then
they owed their existence and their continuance to the
name which they bore; therefore I think they would
act under false pretences if by and by they were to
say, "We have nothing to do with this trade the
name of which we have adopted, and which we
94. Should you consider that the appropriation of
that money by the Company to a public dinner for
themselves and their friends was an improper appropriation of the gift?—I think it is quite open to the
interpretation that they were to make themselves
comfortable in that way upon the funds of the trust.
I do not find any moral fault and I do not find any
legal fault with them, but I am now speaking of
something higher. We are supposing that these institutions should be administered hereafter with a view
to public utility, and with that view we are not to be
governed by the particular tastes of those individuals,
whether they wish to have an entertainment or not;
but should consider the public interest as being of
more importance than the special interest of those
persons who have taken upon themselves this implied
95. Do I understand you that the express directions
of a testator who left money during the last half
century ought to be varied by Parliament or by some
other authority, because in the opinion of the public
or the authority, whatever it may be, the bequest was
not sufficiently useful?—I give the testator every
credit for wishing to do his duty, and benefit those he
left behind him.
96. Although the application of it might be at
variance with the testator's will?—I do not think
it could be at variance with a design to do good.
97. You think no distinction could be drawn between property left before and after connexion with
the trade?—I think not.
98. Is it not a fact that within the last few years
the Charity Commissioners themselves have so far
sanctioned that principle that they have allowed the
property to be relieved of a specific payment by the
investment of sufficient money in Consols to produce
the specific sum, and given the Company thereby a
title to the property which would be a saleable title?
—The courts of law have decided that if an estate
be devised, and the devisee is directed to pay a
certain sum of money to A. B., he may pay that sum
of money and keep the estate; so the Companies have
been allowed to invest the money in Consols to produce the specific sum required.
99. I presume we may take it that the Charity
Commissioners have really no knowledge of the extent of the corporate property of the Companies?—
100. And with regard to the charitable income,
they have only a knowledge of that when the Companies have applied for new schemes?—Under the
Charitable Trusts Act they are obliged to send out
101. But unless you challenge them, or have a new
scheme, practically no inquiry is made into the trust
property?—There is no jurisdiction beyond that, and
if the Commissioners consider the administration to
be improper, they certify that fact to the AttorneyGeneral, and probably the Attorney-General would
authorise proceedings if he thought it expedient.
102. With regard to the control of the corporation
over the city Companies, you are aware that 200 years
ago the corporation had such power, and did levy
contributions from the city Companies?—There were
many arbitrary acts committed then, and I suppose
the investments in Ireland and elsewhere were made
owing to some force not constitutional and legal, but by
some force which acted upon the Companies; they
were not obliged to do it by Act of Parliament.
103. It was done by municipal power?—A municipal power which, if it had been tried in courts of
justice, would not have received the sanction of the
law, or have been carried into effect by the authority of the State.
104. Was it not the fact that no person could be a
member of the corporation who was not a member of
one of the Livery Companies, and that, therefore, to
some extent they were identified with one another?—
105. Are you aware that of recent years the necessity of being connected with the Company was
abolished, and that a man may be a member of the
corporation though not a member of a Company?—
That is so.
106. (Mr. Alderman Cotton.) Are you aware that
within the last two years a sum of money has been left
by will to the Ironmongers' Company to provide an
annual dinner for ever for the members of the Company?—I am not aware of that. (fn. 5)
107. Is that a will that you would upset and think
improper?—I am not speaking of upsetting any will.
108. I thought you stated to Sir Sydney Waterlow
that you would not use the money for dining purposes
though it was so left?—I say, preserving all those
purposes, there are still funds enough left to the Companies to be of great public use.
109. You know that the City Guilds are most
largely interested in educational questions; there are
many exhibitions tenable at the Universities, and then
there are classical schools and middle class schools;
and that generally a very large amount of good is done
in the matter of education by the City Guilds?—I
hope to see their utility in that way very largely increased.
110. (The Chairman.) In reference to questions
which have just been put to you as to the money given
to a Company for the purpose of being spent in an
annual dinner, do you think it right that money
should be set aside in perpetuity for a purpose which
is not one of public utility?—I do not think it is. I
think it is lawful, but I think there may be many
other lawful things, not desirable, and that that state
of things should be put an end to.
111. You think that although lawful it would be
112. And I presume you would think that supplying a dinner to persons who are perfectly able to pay
for one, is not a purpose of public utility?—Certainly.
113. (Mr. W. James.) Have you found in connexion with the administration of the charities, that
large sums of money are spent in connexion with the
management of the charities?—I have generally found
in most cases that there is a certain per-centage
charged in that way. With regard to legal expenses
there is a vast deal spent which might be avoided.
In the case of Lady Hewley's Charities the costs as I
have mentioned were 24,000l.
114. (Sir S. Waterlow.) That was not the case
of a Livery Company; but is it not a fact that nearly
all the 12 Livery Companies pay the cost of managing
their trust property out of their corporate income?—
I am not aware of that.
115. (Lord Coleridge.) You would hardly say,
would you, that if this money left for dinners were
appropriated to anything useful it would be a breach
of trust?—Certainly not; I should call it a wiser use.
116. (Lord Sherbrooke.) I understand you that if
any reform is needed, it must be sought for by Act of
Parliament and not by legal proceedings at all?—I
think that legal proceedings in the case of these
Companies would be perfectly useless; that the courts
could not take them up.
117. (Lord Coleridge.) It is obvious to lawyers,
and I have no doubt you will agree with me, that
those Companies could not hold a shilling of property
without the artificial aid of the law?—Certainly not.
118. (Mr. Firth.) Have you formed a conclusive
opinion as to bodies of this kind holding land in mortmain for public advantge?—That is a subject upon
which I ventured some time ago to publish a pamphlet. It seems to me that the Mortmain Act under
which estates cannot now be devised for charitable
purposes, is one which has kept an enormous amount
of benefit from the country. During the century and
a half that the Act has existed there would have been
an enormous amount of property dedicated to public
uses, which the State might have taken up and dealt
with in a profitable manner. The object of the Act
as stated in the preamble was that the heirs to land
should not be disinherited. A Bill was brought into
the House of Commons a few years ago, by Sir
Charles Dilke and Mr. Walter Morrison, to place
estates in mortmain under State surveyors in districts;
that they should have the letting and management of
properties having regard to population, to drainage,
and to making the most of it. Managed in this
manner, we could not have too much property
devoted to public uses; but the Mortmain Act has
been a great disadvantage in preventing that which
might have been done in the way of inducing the
greater productiveness of the property, the greater
benefit of all who labour upon it, and the interest of
the public at arge.
119. (The Chairman.) Your theory is that the land
is better managed by a public Company than by a
private owner, is that so?—I do not go so far as that.
120. That it would be better managed when it is managed on behalf of the State, or some public Company?
—That such a scheme as was contemplated by the
proposed Bill would do much to lessen the inequalities of fortune,—that you might have all over the
country small tenants, persons living in better dwellings,
and generally more comfortably circumstanced. I
may say, that I think the Mortmain Act has been
unfortunate, not in the sense that the land has been
saved from the dead hand. I want it rather to be in
the live hand, managed as the Greenwich Hospital
estates in the north were by their agent, John Grey.
121. I understand you to say that you consider it
to be a matter of public advantage that land should
continue to be held by corporations of this kind, and
its commercial character taken completely away?—I
would wish its commercial character to assume the
form of tenancies which could be created for the
occupiers, for terms of years of a sufficient duration to
make them beneficial, so that as much as possible
should be produced from it, and that the benefit of
it should be diffused as widely as possible. Such
leases for years would be more saleable than the fee
122. Assuming the landed property to be managed
according to those principles, do not you think that
the net return from it would be less to the Company
or to the State than if the money were put into the
funds ?—I cannot answer that question. A comparison
of the relative profit from the two moneys would be
120. (Sir Sydney Waterlow.) Supposing the land
held by the large hospitals of London had been dealt
with as you propose, would they have had anything
like the funds they have for hospital purposes?—I
think they would probably have had more.
The witness withdrew.
Adjourned to Wednesday the 15th inst. at 4 o'clock.
Wednesday, 15th March 1882.
The Right Honourable the EARL of DERBY, President.
His Grace the Duke of Bedford, K.G.
The Right Hon. Viscount Sherbrooke.
The Right Hon. Lord Coleridge.
The Right Hon. Sir Richard Assheton Cross,
Sir Nathaniel M. De Rothschild, Bart., M.P.
Sir Sydney H. Waterlow, Bart., M.P.
Mr. Alderman Cotton, M.P.
Mr. Pell, M.P.
Mr. Walter H. James, M.P.
Mr. Joseph Firth, M.P.
Mr. Thomas Burt, M.P.
Mr. H. D. Warr, Secretary.
Mr. Thomas Hare recalled and further examined.
Mr. Thomas Hare recalled and further examined.
Mr. T. Hare. 15 March 1882.
121. (The President.) In reference to an answer
which you gave the other day to a question put by
Lord Coleridge as to the tenure on which the City
Companies hold their land, is it not the fact that they
hold it on a different tenure from that of any other
corporation?—I am not aware that the Companies
generally do so; I believe they hold it as other Companies do.
122. I understand that you produce specimens of
your reports, and also volumes containing the reports
upon which your reports are based?—Yes, here are
the reports which were made from all the Companies
to the Charity Commissioners; they are furnished to
this Commission by the Secretary of the Charity
Commissioners. I identify them as my reports.
123. I have read the suggestion which you have
made to us with regard to the proposed reform of the
Companies. If I understand the principle of that
suggestion it turns mainly on this: that the whole
connexion of the Companies with the trades which
they represent ought to be renewed and made effective?
124. Then I presume that, under those circumstances,
the hereditary right to become a member of a Company must disappear?—No, by no means; the hereditary right would disappear only in those cases in
which a member of the Company were not of the same
trade or an analogous trade.
125. You would practically confine membership of
Companies to working members and the trades which
they represent?—The trades which they represent,
and analogous trades which have grown out of them.
It would involve a very liberal construction. In
one newspaper, the "Daily Chronicle," there were
advertisements the other day for persons who were
members of certain trades, and there were 200 or
300 persons advertised for as of trades which would
have come under one general description; therefore
the number admitted under an arrangement of this
kind would be vastly enlarged.
126. Do you consider that it would be in the
power of Companies to re-organise and to spend
their funds in a manner which would be beneficial
to the trades in which they are concerned?—It would
have to be an organisation suited to the present day,
substituted for an organisation of centuries ago,
which is unfitted for the present time.
127. Will you explain a little more in detail what
kind of organisation you refer to, or what services
the Companies could render to an organisation in
connexion with the trades?—In the first place they
would be members of the Company; they would then
be able to obtain from the books of the Company, and
from the clerks of the Company, information as to
where this trade was being carried on and the
situations where work might be best obtained;
there would be something like the interchange of
workmen which existed not very long ago in Germany,
when it was almost the habit of every German
workman to go from one town to another, and he was
not considered fitted for his work until he had visited
different places. We should have an organisation
enabling workmen of every trade to know where their
industry would be most profitably employed. Accounts
could be kept of their children and families, and
the schools to which the children could be most
beneficially sent; and there would be an organisation
by means of which a degree of information would
be obtained which cannot be obtained by any single
workman; and if he were connected in this way
with all the persons who have the most perfect
information of the condition of his trade, he would
at all times be told where he could obtain work,
and where his children could be instructed, and
he could be assisted by the capital of the Company in obtaining in all the great centres of trade a
residence and other things. I may show that this is
not a mere speculative idea of a person who has given
no attention to the matter. Sir Thomas Brassey,
the honourable member for Hastings—and no man
has had more experience of workmen, and knows
more of the relations between them and their employers,—in an address which he delivered in Halifax
in 1874, points out how this combination could be
most beneficially organised, and the effect that it has
had in some places where it has been adopted. He
points out how great a boon was conferred upon a
large number of workmen at the Carron works by
the establishment there of a workmen's kitchen by
Mr. Colman. He also pointed out what is done
at Mulhausen by the Cité Ouvrière, and by M. Godin
by the establishment of the "familistère," or general
dwelling-house for his operatives and their families at
Guise; and he points out these things as being modes
by which capitalists and labourers can be brought
together to assist each other, and by which the present
estrangement and separation existing between workmen and employers may be arrested and put an end to.
128. I understand that you would wish the Companies to be centres of accurate and authentic
information on trade subjects, which information
might be obtained by any workmen who applied for
129. And you think that in our present industrial
system there is room for a centre of that kind?—
These Guilds, when they began, were the first method
of co-operative organisation in trades, which they
have ceased to be from a variety of circumstances
that have happened during several centuries, and
now we have an opportunity of bringing back again
that real co-operation suited to the present day. I
should specially call attention to Sir Thomas Brassey's
work upon this subject.
130. (Mr. Pell.) In manufacturing co-operation, or
in distributing co-operation?—In manufacturing cooperation, not necessarily co-operation in production,
but co-operation in the condition of the labourers,
by which they can have an opportunity of culture
in home life, and assistance in the instruction
of their children, and advice connected with their
occupations; it would be an organisation which would
bring them into beneficial association with capital, and
with the different institutions of the country.
131. (The President.) Do you also contemplate
any educational work to be done by the Companies
in connexion with their special trades?—Yes. I
have now before me a pamphlet published by the
Guilds, who have taken up, in a way the most creditable to themselves, and in the most noble manner,
technical instruction, which cannot be too widely developed. They recognise their duty, and they have
taken it up in a manner which I consider highly
132. (Mr. Alderman Cotton.) When you recommend that the craftsmen of the various trades ought
to be members of the respective Guilds of the craft to
which they belong, would you destroy the interest of
the present members of the various Guilds, in order to
put these men in their place?—By no means. I
should consider that they had acquired, by the position
in which they are placed, an interest in the Guild
which cannot be destroyed.
133. You merely give it as a suggestion, that we
might help the artisans of various trades?—Yes, and
unite yourselves with them, with the real social trade
organisation, but by no means destroying the present
134. Are you aware that some of the Companies
have done their best to promote technical education,
and have offered prizes, without any reply to it at
all?—That has been from the misfortune that there is
no such thing as education of the kind in the country.
135. The Saddlers' Company, for three or four
years, attempted it, and the Haberdashers' also
attempted it, but they had no response. The
Duke of Cambridge patronised the scheme of the
Haberdashers' Company for two or three years, and
they offered prizes and did their best to make the
artisan come in and improve his work, and suddenly
we had a letter from the duke to say that he thought
we had gone as far as we could go, and the offered
prizes were withdrawn, and it ended?—We are
behind foreign countries in this. This book, which
the Guilds have printed, gives an account of what is
done at Chemnitz, in Saxony, which seems to be
infinitely beyond anything attempted here; but our
Companies are endeavouring now to follow that
example by the great work which they have lately
136. (The President.) You have said that children
of members of these Companies should receive some
special education from them?—That they should be
able to do so; that a man should be able to go to the
officers of the Company and say, "Where can I get
the best education for my children?" and they could
enter the names and keep a record of them, and he
would feel that he was part of this great society, and
that his children might also become participators in
the same benefit.
137. You also contemplate that the Companies
should take some steps for providing better lodgings
for the members of the trades?—It seems to me that,
wherever there are great centres of industry, there
is nothing so necessary to the well-being of a tradesman
and the well bringing up of his family as something
like a home which he may call his own; and these
Companies may enable him to become the purchaser of
a home for a term of years, reserving the fee entirely
to themselves. The largest outlay for a working
man is what he pays weekly for his rent, and if he
could know that, by some economy of his own, he
would be able to purchase a dwelling for 30 or 40
years and have no more rent to pay, it would be the
greatest inducement to good behaviour that could
possibly be given to that man.
138. But is not that want to a considerable extent
provided for by building societies?—I do not think
it is provided for. Of course Sir Sydney Waterlow
and others have done much, but it is far from being
provided for, and they have not in those cases given
them such a permanent interest in the building itself
as I should like to give them, by which a man might
be able to say, "I have provided a house for myself and
family for the rest of my life." It would be a security;
he would be certain of getting his daily bread as long
as he could work, and the certainty of having provided for his rent would be a great thing with a
139. Another part of your scheme, as I understand
it, is that some portion of the funds of the Company
should be expended in an eleemosynary manner, in
the way of supplying almshouses or pensions, or
allowances of that kind, to old members of the trade
who are in unfortunate circumstances?—That is now
a part of our present charitable system. The Companies hold trusts for that purpose, which they may,
I suppose, find means of wisely administering, by
making a selection amongst those of their members
who have been the most deserving, and the most
prudent in life, and not making it a bonus for carelessness or indifference.
140. I gather that your scheme mainly includes
four separate objects: Firstly, that the Company
should be a centre of information for the trade;
secondly, that it shall supply education, at least
technical education, to the trade; thirdly, that it
shall supply, in some manner or another, house accommodation to the members of the trade; and lastly,
that it shall make provision for aged and disabled
members?—Certainly, to make provision and to
encourage providence on the part of those persons.
141. Have you considered at all, if the whole funds
of the Companies are to be expended in this manner,
what would become of their buildings, their halls?—
The halls would be very well preserved as a centre to
which all those affiliated members that. I speak of
would very probably belong. They would be open to
them for occasional lectures and public meetings, and
also for entertainments, which, in moderation, I see no
142. (Sir Richard Assheton Cross.) Do you propose that they should have any governing power over
143. You do not propose that they should have any
part in the regulation of trade?—No.
144. How many Companies have any remnant of
that at the present moment?—That is a question
which it would be difficult to answer—many of the
Companies have now split into so many trades. Take
the Drapers', Haberdashers', and Mercers', they now
embrace so many industries of modern times that they
would at least bring in a considerable portion of the
working population of the country.
145. I mean actually connected now, like the Goldsmiths' Company?—Three or four of the Companies
have some connexion with other trades. The
Apothecaries' are under an Act of Parliament, the
55th of George III. Then there are the Scriveners',
under the 41st of George III.; then there are the
Founders', under the 41st and 42nd Victoria; then
there are the Gunmakers', under the 31st and 32nd
Victoria—they have some connexion with the trade;
and there are the Goldsmiths', under the 7th and 8th
146. Can you give a complete list of all the Companies who have any connexion with their trade?—I
cannot do that.
147. I will not ask you further about that, but I
understand it is not part of your scheme to give to
any of those concerned the power to connect themselves with other trades or to enlarge the powers of
those Companies that have connexion now ?—No; I
was not endeavouring to enlarge their powers, but
only their useful functions.
148. You do not propose in your scheme that the
Company should have anything to do with the matter
of wages, I presume?—Not at all. What they would
be enabled to do would be to inform their members
what the condition of trade in various places is, and
what the rate of wages is; it would be only a matter
149. Do you propose that the Companies should
extend their operations beyond London?—Beyond
London—to all productive places. I take this to be
the case, that with regard to London one thing was
connected with distribution and the other thing connected with production, and that which was formerly
centred with London has extended throughout the
country. I have worked this out in a rough shape.
I think that the London Companies should invite
affiliated companies in Birmingham and Manchester
and the other great towns to join them, and thus
they would have affiliated companies dealing with
them upon the same principle. The very circumstance that the London Company invited the association would act as a great impulse on the other towns
to start a company in communication with them.
150. I do not see how the company is to be
formed; according to your plan you have got a
company with 8,000l. or 10,000l. or 20,000l. a year?
151. Then any member that came into that company would naturally expect to receive considerable
benefit from it?—I do not think they would necessarily
receive any direct pecuniary benefit, but they would
receive greater means of knowledge.
152. I thought you spoke of having something done
in the way of the education of his children, and
enabling him to get a house to live in, and persons to
assist him, for which he should pay nothing?—
Nothing in the way of charity. No accommodation
in point of dwellings should be given without the
most perfect remuneration to the company, recouping
the company what they pay; it should be co-operation,
153. It is to be a large benefit society?—Yes.
154. What is to become of the 20,000l. a year,
because if all these people are to pay for everything
they receive afterwards—I do not see what is to
become of it?—By the time you have established it—
by the time you have gone on with your technical
education, giving prizes, taking the names of all the
children of the members of the company, and the
schools which they go to, which would begin with
public elementary schools, taking them there, and
giving rewards and prizes, and exhibitions at technical
colleges, and giving travelling fellowships to workmen
going to other countries where their trades are carried
on, a good deal would be expended.
155. How do you propose that these members
should be elected?—A certificate that a man has been
carrying on a certain trade, and the payment of a
small admission fee, should be sufficient to entitle him
to be elected.
156. And with an annual payment too?—A small
annual payment to keep up his connexion.
157. But I understand you to say that there must
be a sufficient payment, either at starting or year by
year, to cover all the pecuniary benefits which he
would receive from the company?—All the benefits
which he would be entitled to receive from the company
covering those, but not covering the advantage which
his children would gain by being encouraged to exertion by getting prizes for exertion, and not covering
the advantages which he would have by his procuring lodgings and being able to purchase a house in
which to live without any profit being exacted from
him by a speculator. In work of this nature there
are an immense number of details.
158. I only wanted to get the facts of the scheme,
because I understand that in a benefit society the
members always pay sufficient to cover everything
which they can possibly receive afterwards?—That
is so, I suppose.
159. (Sir Sidney Waterlow.) Did I rightly understand you to say, in answer to the President's general
question, that you would divide the responsibility
of the Companies under four heads: first, that they
were to be a centre of information for the trade, in
order to look after the interests of the workmen;
then, that they were to promote technical education;
then, that they were to provide houses for the
workmen; and then, that they were, fourthly, to
make eleemosynary and charitable contributions?—
They will do all those things; but I do not limit it
160. With regard to the first, do you not think that
the workmen, as a body, would object to the regulations affecting their personal or trade interests being
deputed to the masters, when they have organisations
for controlling and managing them themselves—
places where persons wanting workmen may go, and
places where workmen seeking employment may
wait. There are, connected with each trade in
London, places of that kind; do you not think the
workmen would be jealous, and think it an undue
interference by the masters, if they undertook that
work?—I do not propose any interference. I thought
that the officers of the Company might collect the
best information they could get, and communicate
that information to the members; but I did not
presume to propose any interference.
161. Take the case of the Company which has
the most connexion with the trade to which its name
is attached; namely, the Stationers' Company, which,
I think you are aware, is still carrying on the trade
of printing, as it did under its original charter; that
Company still only admits persons connected with
the trade, and that the workmen in that trade have
organisations of their own for controlling the matters
which you have referred to; do you not think that
if the Stationers' Company, consisting of masters,
interfered with that, they might feel that they were
not the persons who ought to regulate the men's
matters?—That Company, and also the Scriveners'
Company, and one or two others, might be excepted.
I speak of the larger and richer Companies, embracing
trades in which thousands of persons throughout
the country have employment, and who have now no
162. I think you have told us truly that the
members of the majority of Companies are not
connected with the trades which the names of the
Companies indicate?—I imagine that that is so.
163. Do you think that it would be wise to entrust
a person, unconnected wholly with the trade, with
the management of hiring and settling the wages of
persons wholly unconnected with the trade?—I
would immediately introduce into these Companies
persons fully connected with the trades and perfectly
acquainted with them; in their present condition that
could not be done. But my first proposal is to
introduce members who shall be perfectly well
acquainted with the trades.
164. Would you begin by confirming the right of
membership to persons connected with the trade?—
By confining the right of membership to those
connected with the trade.
165. Would you compel a Company to admit a
person connected with the trade, whether they liked
it or not?—Certainly a person connected with the
trade, I should do so, unless there were objections
with regard to character.
166. Then any workmen connected with the
Coachmakers' trade you think should be admitted
as members of the Coachmakers' Company?—If he
is a workman actually employed in that trade, that
fact should entitle him to admission.
167. What status would you give him, that of a
freeman?—That of a member of the Company, call
him what you please, "freeman" is rather an
invidious title now, when most persons are free more
or less; I should give him the title of member of the
trade of Coachmakers.
168. Would you entitle him to become a member
of the trade without payment of any entry fees, and
would you permit him as such member to take his
share of the funds of the Company?—I suggest the
payment of an entrance fee.
169. How could a workman pay an entrance fee
which would be at all approximate to the benefits
which he would be entitled to derive?—I think that
his benefits would be much more than his entrance
fee, but I think an entrance fee may be properly
required. I mean a small entrance fee; an entrance
fee of a few shillings only would be enough.
170. Can you tell the Commission how long you
think it is since the Companies generally, leaving out
the exceptional ones, were connected with the trades
to which their names belong?—When did they cease
to admit members from servitude or patrimony?
171. I was admitted by servitude?—You were connected with your trade?
172. I was admitted to my Company by servitude,
but my Company constantly admit, every month,
persons by servitude without patrimony?—You take
the appellation and call yourself a member of that
trade. You were admitted as a member of the
Stationers' Company by servitude.
173. Would you entitle everyone to be admitted?
—I do not know whether there is anything exceptional in the Stationers' Company, knowing no
more about the Stationers' Company than the Mercers'
Company, or any other. I should say that everybody
should be admitted. There may be special advantages
in the Stationers' Company which require exceptional
rules; I cannot say whether it is so or not.
174. Turn from that, and take the Companies
generally; how long is it, so far as you know from
your researches, since the Companies generally were
connected with the trades to which their names
belonged?—I do not know when they were disconnected; if you mean by "connexion" actually prosecuting those trades themselves individually, that is
another thing. I want to know when the Companies
became disconnected with their trades. It seems to
me that as long as you admit a member by patrimony
or servitude, according to the original constitution of
the Company, he does not cease to be a member of
175. Have you not stated that in the reign of
Queen Elizabeth there was only one mercer in the
Mercers' Company?—I was told that Queen Elizabeth sent to inquire why silk was so dear, and her
Majesty marvelled much to find that there were only
one or two mercers actually members of the Mercers'
176. Did not that arise from the very early practice
of admitting by patrimony only?—I daresay it did,
but they were admitted as mercers, and the circumstance that the members of the Company ceased to be
members of that trade was a mere accident; they
might have ceased at one time, but they might have
become so again the next year; it is merely an
accidental circumstance that at one time, or for a
certain period, they had ceased to be members of the
trade, but they still went on taking that appellation of
mercers, admitting their children by patrimony, and
admitting other persons by servitude; and they still
therefore, claim to have the title and benefit of the
177. From your knowledge of the constitution of
the Companies generally, do you think there is more
than one per cent. of the members of the Company
connected with the trade to which the Companies
belong?—They may not be actually carrying on the
trade; probably they are not.
178. Has not that been the condition of things for two
or three centuries?—That they are not actually carrying on the trade, I daresay, but I think they preserved
their connexion with the trade; and they have
recognised it now in their attempt to set up technical
colleges, and in the other great efforts which they are
making—they have always recognised their connexion with the trade, and have preserved it, and it
has never ceased.
179. Have they recognised their connexion with
the particular trade by establishing a system of
general technical education?—I presume it is being
180. What would you do with the Companies
where the trades are extinct?—I should endeavour
to find out what the article of necessity or convenience
was which the Company was in the habit of making.
I should then find what had supplied the place of
that article, and I should say that those who now
supply the article substituted for the original one
should be members of that Company. Take the
bowyers; they were makers of small arms, and all
makers of small arms would be properly the successors
181. Do I understand you seriously to suggest that
a part of the duty of the Livery Companies should be
to search for good lodgings for the working men connected with their trade?—What I say is this, that
there are now great difficulties in finding lodgings; it
is recognised by Sir Thomas Brassey in his book, and
recognised in other books, that one of the modern
difficulties not known to workmen when these Companies were established has arisen in consequence of
the growth of the population covering the different
places with houses, and the difficulty of obtaining
comfortable lodgings in which they can feel themselves
at home; it has grown up in modern times, and that is
one of the difficulties which, if the Company had the
means of doing it, should be part of their function to
get rid of; they are great owners of real property,
and that property may be exchanged, but they may be
still owners of real property in great cities; they may
still have the fee, and the right of dealing with it, so
that the subordinate interests of the workmen may be
carved out of it.
182. Do you not think that providing houses for
the working classes would be better done by an
organisation specially established for that purpose
than by the Livery Companies?—I should think it
would be one of such a great benefit to their members
that the Livery Companies, supposing them to be
actuated by a high sense of public duty, would be very
anxious to assist in maintaining, and also thus in
encouraging, the associations that are doing the
183. If the Coachmakers' Company established and
constructed a block of model lodging-houses, would it
not be very difficult to confine them to coachmakers,
considering the migratory tendencies of all trades?—
If a building of this kind existed in many great
centres of trade, and a man chose to move from one to
another, the Companies might easily arrange for his
transportation from one place to another, as a co-operative body.
184. Then the Companies must act in unison, and
not separately?—Yes, the Companies must act in
unison, if they could; I do not see any difficulty in
their doing so. Take one of the model dwellinghouses, for instance, where a man became a purchaser
of two, three, or four rooms, and he has purchased
them for a term of 30 years; he applies to remove to
Birmingham, and he says, "Give me the value of the
rest of my term of years. I want to exchange it for
some premises where I am going if they can be had;"
and the Company as a co-operative body may do so,
not receiving any benefit, and not sustaining any loss.
It seems to me that a great co-operative body of this
kind is what you stand in need of to give the working
men some interest in the institutions of the country in
which they live.
185. You agree with me that it must be done
collectively, and not by each Company specifically?—
When a Company is wealthy enough to do so, if they
have affiliated companies in Birmingham, Manchester,
and other places, there may be communication between
them enabling all this to be done. In a book which
I published in the year 1862, on the Improvement of
the Dwellings of the Poor, I said, "If the homes of
the artisans in London were such as they ought to
be, it might be possible to adopt a mode of interchange of labour, beneficial both to London and
country workmen. With our facilities of transit the
town workmen might often exchange his employment
and his residence for a month or two with the workmen in the country or at the coast. This would
offer again not only health and mental improvement,
but some of the advantages to skilled labour afforded
by the German system of travel amongst artificers."
186. (Mr. Pell.) I suppose you have given this
question of the uses to which the funds of charities
should be applied a great deal of consideration ?—I
have endeavoured to do so.
187. Have any other schemes presented themselves
to your mind except the one which I have got here in
print ?—I am not at this moment prepared to say.
Many suggestions cross my mind at different times,
but I am not now prepared to go into them.
188. The result of a life's consideration is this which
you have presented to us. Would you admit this
much, that it is extremely difficult to apply any
charitable funds without doing mischief?—Certainly.
189. And you think this is the least mischievous ?—
I am not dealing with charitable funds at all there—
I deal with co-operative funds.
190. I thought the principle of a charity was
embodied in your scheme; you are to find better
dwelling-houses or means by which houses could be
acquired, and leisure ensured for the workmen, which
could only be done by the use of corporate funds ?—
By themselves becoming the owners of the fee, and
by allowing the members of their body to take an
interest to be carved out of it, either a life-interest or
for short terms, not making a profit for the Company,
but securing the Company from loss.
191. You concede this, that your scheme is in the
nature of assistance to different workmen ?—Yes,
when people help one another, it is always in the
nature of assistance.
192. You admit that at present they have the
means of helping each other; that there is a constant
intercommunication going on between the workmen
of the different trades, and that there are newspapers
started, Mr. Alsager Hill's for instance, by which people
can ascertain where workmen are required ?—Yes, I
wish if possible to make the workmen feel that they
have an interest in these great Companies, an interest
which may make them friends of law and order, rather
than feeling that the legislature regard them as persons
having no interest in the country at all.
193. A sort of parental attention ?—Brotherly attention.
194. (Mr. Walter James.) Have you ever thought
what you would do under your scheme with the
municipal franchise, or the parliamentary franchise,
which is possessed by the Guilds ?—What I have
suggested in another place, as to the constitutional
municipality of London, is that if you have a municipality for London, as has been suggested, with 240
members of the council, 40 of them should be chosen
by the proprietors; and I would give to all these
Companies, who are great proprietors, the amount
of influence which their property would give them,
which would be very considerable.
195. Then you would not altogether favour the
connexion between the Companies and the Corporation,
of which the Companies at the present time form an
integral part ?—No, I should not favour it; I should
recommend no greater connexion than that of any
other citizen of London.
196. You are aware that there have been for the
last 30 years two Commissions which have very
closely investigated all the affairs of the colleges of
the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge?—Yes.
197. And we have had it stated before us that the
funds of the Companies are equal to the collective
funds of both the Universities, and also the colleges?
—It is so stated.
198. Can you imagine any reason, if there have
been two inquiries into bodies like the Universities
and colleges, why a public investigation should not
be entered into of the affairs of the Companies ?—
Certainly not; it seems to me that you are dealing
with public property, which is distinct from private
199. You recollect all the investigations which have
taken place, commencing so far back even as the year
1818, under Lord Brougham; there was great reluctance, was there not, during the progress of all these
inquiries into the charities in the country, to give
evidence?—I do not know that I have had an opportunity of communicating with any person as to what
took place so long ago; there was an inquiry in the
latter part of the last century, when returns were
200. But Lord Brougham's Commission acted under
statutory powers ?—Yes.
201. There was great reluctance, was there not, on
the part of all the trustees, to give evidence ?—Probably
there might have been; they never would have obtained
the information without statutory powers.
202. Your opinion is they would never have obtained
the information without statutory powers ?—Yes.
203. Why do you think statutory powers in that
case were of such value in compelling the Companies
to give information, because statutory powers cannot
compel persons to speak ?—No, but if the question
was not answered with reference to a trust, it would
be contempt of the Court of Chancery, for which they
might be committed.
204. There has been great opposition, at different
times, ever since the year 1853, since the establishment
of the Charity Commission, to any extension of the
law of charitable trusts; that is so, is it not?—Several
attempts have been made, but they have all failed. A
bill was brought in by the present Commissioners
last year, which did not pass. Great difficulty has
always existed in getting any additional powers.
205. Did not the great opposition to any amendment of the law of charitable trusts or any interference with charitable bodies, and funds held by
trustees for charitable purposes, arise about the year
1863, at which time, I believe, Mr. Gladstone proposed to impose taxation upon the charities, and other
proposals of that kind were made ?—Yes, to get rid of
the exemption; there is at present an exemption.
206. I do not want to go into that, but there was
great opposition at that time; and I ask, has not the
same opposition reappeared every time that any
proposal has been made for altering the law with
regard to charitable trusts ?—I do not think that
many attempts have been made in the legislature to
alter the law of charitable trusts.
207. An attempt was made in 1873, by Mr. Winterbotham; did he not introduce a bill with
Mr. Forster ?—That was a bill giving certain powers
to the Charity Commissioners.
208. If you had those powers which it was proposed to give you under the Act of last year and by
that bill, do you not think there would be means of
dealing with charities connected with the Companies,
by which you would be prepared to put forward
schemes for dealing with them with great public
advantage ?—I daresay there would be.
209. Why is it that the Companies themselves do
not propose to put forward schemes and put forward
proposals ?—I apprehend that no public body likes to
diminish its own power; and having now power to act
according to their own discretion, they would see no
necessity themselves, being satisfied with the way in
which they administered their funds, for abrogating
the powers and placing themselves under another
210. If it was for the interest of the public, do you
think that they would diminish their own powers ?—
In many cases no doubt they would do so; in distributing pensions or benefits of that kind, which is a
mere matter of favour; if it were done with a full
regard to deserts of every kind, I daresay their powers
would be diminished.
211. Their powers would be diminished; it would
diminish their power of conferring personal favours,
and to a certain extent also political favours ?—I suppose so.
212. But, looking at it from a public point of view,
do you think that the benefit which they would confer
upon the public, in their capacity of distributing
public favours, would be diminished ?—It is difficult
to say. The question is so general that I feel a
difficulty in answering it.
213. In the report which was published two years
ago by the Commission appointed to inquire into the
City parochial charities, there is this passage: it says,
"Many parishes receive small payments from divers
of the City Companies, the origin of some of which
is unknown or very obscure. It would be desirable
that this matter should form the subject of inquiry
in the event of the appointment of any Commission
hereafter to be entrusted with the task of dealing
with the City charities." Are you acquainted with
that passage ?—I do not know where it is found.
214. It is from the Report of the Committee
appointed to inquire into the City Parochial Charities?
—I know that there are many small sums which have
been left by men who lived in a particular City
215. I can give you any number of them; your
reports which you publish are full of them?—Yes.
216. Why is it that the Charity Commissioners
have not attempted, under their present powers, to
deal with any of those charities ?—They have not
power to initiate any proceedings unless an application
be made to them by some of the inhabitants of the
parish interested, or by a majority of the trustees
administering the fund.
217. You can do so in any case, can you not, if it is
under 50l. ?—If it is under 50l. it must be an application from the inhabitants; if it is more than 50l.,
then it must be an application from a majority of the
218. Cannot anybody put the Charity Commission
in motion if it is under 50l.?—No, only a motion to
inquire; they can tell them that it is being very badly
managed, and there must be inquiry into it.
219. I will give an illustration at random. Here is
the charity of Lynn John Bradbury, who left a
property to the Mercers' Company—this is the parish
of St. Stephen's, Coleman Street: the Mercers' Company pay 38s. a year in respect of this charity, and
the value of 2s. 6d. in coals to the occupiers of certain
almshouses; you have no power to deal with a small
charity of that kind ?—None, unless an application
from the persons interested be made.
220. These reports are absolutely full of such cases
—you find them almost on every page; do you think it
desirable there should be an extension of the law of
charitable trusts, to give you power to deal with such
a case ?—Certainly.
221. (Mr. Burt.) I understand you to make a
distinction in your suggestions between the producers
and the distributors; you said that you would confine
the producers to London ?—I would confine the
distributors to London.
222. And the producers you would extend to the
provinces; why do you make the distinction ?—
Because the work of production, since the establishment of the Companies, has been spread so much
more beyond the Capital, to all parts of England;
whereas the work of distribution is applicable to
London and the suburbs alone. The business of
manufacture has spread through all parts of England;
and therefore I think it would be desirable to connect
the whole of the associated trades together, inviting,—
and I think we might well expect our invitation would
be accepted,—the other great centres to become
affiliated societies, having the same object in view.
There is now an opportunity of commencing a great
co-operative movement; an opportunity which has
never occurred before.
223. You have expressed your opinion that the
property of Companies is public property, and that
applies of course to trust and to corporate property?
224. Your object is to utilise it as much as possible,
especially in the direction in which the Companies
were originally established ?—Exactly; that is my
225. Do you know how much of the expenditure of
the Companies is for entertainments ?—I see some
large sums are stated in the papers which have been
lately brought before me, but I have not had an
opportunity of verifying the sums; they are probably
226. If we were to assume that it is above 100,000l,
a year, would you consider that a proper expenditure?
—I should hope that there would be a better mode of
expenditure devised; which would be the case in the
system which I propose.
227. (Mr. Firth.) I should like to ask you how a
scheme like yours would work out in the case of such
a Company as the Vintners'?—I am not at the moment
especially aware of the condition of the Vintners'
228. It is one of the twelve Companies; I ask you
how would it work out with such a Company as the
Vintners'?—It might probably not be adapted to them
in all its forms.
229. I should think probably that that would be so;
could it be extended so far as the Vintners'?—It might
in some of its forms; as regards instruction, I suppose
there must be some special qualification, even for
that business, and they ought to know something of
the articles in which they deal. There might be part
of a scheme of technical education for the children of
persons connected with them, and for assisting persons
in visiting foreign countries and making themselves
thoroughly acquainted with all the subjects which
form part of their commerce; there is something even
that the Vintners may have to learn.
230. Supposing that it were applicable to the case
of the Vintners, would you include in the benefits of
your scheme the whole wine trade of this country?—
I suppose, with regard to the Vintners it would be
especially matter for the distinction which I have
taken, of producers and distributors. I suppose no
article which the Vintners' body need would be produced in London, and perhaps not much in the other
parts of England; therefore I think it might be only
necessary to connect the Company of Vintners in London and the suburbs, the original area of the Society.
231. Supposing I give you the Grocers' Company
as an instance; would you allow people following that
business all through England to have the benefit of
this scheme ?—I think that there should be associations
throughout England, if it could be extended so that
there would be each member contributing at least as
much as the cost which his association with the
Company would impose upon him, contributing
annually a fee of entrance; and that union may be a
matter of great value to that very large body coming
under the head of grocers.
232. In technical education it might be so, but I
am speaking with reference to workmen's dwellings?
—That is a special matter; I should think it would
not apply to that, because the grocery trade is not anywhere congregated like large manufactories. I speak
of those trades where there is a great organisation of
workmen in a particular spot.
233. Have you considered that the scheme might
result, in some cases, in removing the benefits altogether
from London; such a trade as the salters', for example?
234. In the case of the salters, all the money would
go into Cheshire ?—It might do so. It would be a
benefit to the body contemplated; it would be of very
little difference to anyone in London if removed from
235. Do I understand that you would not preserve
in any form the present governing framework, so to
speak,—the master, wardens, and so on ?—I think
there would be no difficulty in preserving the present
framework, by admitting a method of election and
enlarging the body. I do not see why the present
framework should not be preserved.
236. You are aware that members following certain
trades are considered as having the right of entering
the Companies bearing the name of those trades in
London ?—It is not the case with all of them, I suppose. Who would be considered as having the right
of entering the Mercers' Company?
237. As you know, the Companies vary immensely;
no single principle applies to all of them ?—No, and
therefore it is exceedingly difficult, in suggesting a
reform, to suggest anything applicable to all.
238. Would you entertain the system of apprenticeship ?—I think the system of apprenticeship would be
superseded by a system of instruction other than
apprenticeship; the system of apprenticeship is one
that is going out in every case almost.
239. Would you entertain a division similar to that
between freemen and liverymen now, which is a division of status?—No; I do not think such a division
as that should be retained. I do not see the value
240. I noticed your answers as to the connexion
with the trade continuing so long as they admitted
people by patrimony and servitude—that was so
down to the reign of William the Third to a very
large extent, was it not?—Yes.
241. Are you aware that many charters were
granted during the time of the Stuart sovereigns
specifically dealing with them as trade organisations?
242. We have not had any discovery of the titledeeds of the Companies; do you consider it a matter in
which the Charity Commission ought to have larger
powers than it has?—No, I cannot venture to say
that, because if you had that, it would give to a special
body the power of inquiring into private titles; so
long as they claim to be private titles, I do not think
we could have power given to us to inquire into
them—we can only deal with that which affects the
matter of the Charity.
243. Do you not consider, in addition to the objects
which you said the money of these Companies was
available for, having regard to the fact that they are
an integral part of the Corporation of London, that
much of their funds is rightly available for general
municipal purposes?—I should say not. I think the
municipal purposes of London would be provided for
in other ways than by a tax upon particular trades.
I say a tax upon particular trades, assuming, as I do,
that the property belongs to the trades.
244. Would you consider, when a Company was
empowered to purchase land contrary to the Statutes
of Mortmain, and did so purchase it, being at that
time an active trade organisation, that that money
ought not to be made available for the trade ?—No,
it has been taken by the Company and held by the
Company during a long period, by which a title would
be gained by prescription.
245. I will put the case rather more definitely. If
we take a case of which there are scores of illustrations in these reports; take the case of a charter
granted by a sovereign of the House of Lancaster,
and the condition precedent to the holding and purchasing of land is that the proceeds shall be used for
the benefit of the poor practising a particular trade;
as, for example, in the Goldsmiths' Company—those
who suffered from the Fire; would you not say in that
case, the present condition and income and receipts
from that property should be available for the benefit
of the poor of that trade, no matter what has happened
to that Company ?—Available for the trade, but I do
not think that it should be limited to the poor of the
trade—it should be to help to keep them from ever
being poor. In the case of moneys given for the poor,
instead of applying it in that way, one likes to apply
it to prevent poverty; one likes to deal with the
disease itself rather than the symptoms.
246. Have you an opinion to offer with respect to
the question of trusts being dealt with by a court of
law, whether they ought not to be dealt with by a
State department ?—I think no court of law has
power to deal with this matter; they could not be
dealt with. I do not think there is any appeal to a
court of law which would be of the slightest benefit, or
would do more than incur the cost of the proceedings.
247. In such a case as that alluded to by my friend
Mr. James, where funds have been left and a certain
sum payable to one of the City parishes, where the
amount is under 50l., would you not give complete
power to some authority to deal with cases of that
kind, without initiation by the parties interested ?—
248. To what authority would you give the power?
—A well-constituted body. It might be a fixed number of commissioners, or it might be a body (as has
occurred to me) composed of certain qualified persons,
say 10, and in every instance professors of political
economy in the Universities, or persons of a certain
status in society; they should form a board, and at
their meetings questions with regard to the extension
and distribution of charities should be referred to the
board thus formed, and their advice should be followed.
249. In the Endowed Schools Act of 1868 there is
section 30, which provides that in case of trusts failing
or that have become in such a condition that they
cannot be perfectly applied with the consent of the
governing body, such trusts or their income may be
applied to educational purposes ?—Yes.
250. Do you consider that the words "with the
consent of the governing body" might be usefully
excised from it?—Yes, I think so; in many cases it
might be well done, but the legislature have been
unwilling to give that power to anyone.
251. Is it not the fact that, owing to the existence
of those words "with the consent of the governing
body," that section has become practically inoperative?
—No, it is not inoperative.
252. In a large number of cases is it not so?—In
a large number of cases, but it has been operative also
in a large number of cases.
253. (Mr. Alderman Cotton.) You have been
answering some questions as to vestries; this inquiry
is only with reference to the Guilds. You are aware,
are you not, that the whole of the charitable trusts of
the Guilds have been placed in the hands of the
Charity Commissioners, under the old scheme, and
under the improved scheme?—No; they are not vested
in the Charity Commissioners at all. I am not aware
of any scheme that has been settled by which the
charities of the Guilds were vested in the Charity
254. The Charity Commissioners have taken possession lately of the whole of the charitable trusts of
Guilds—I speak with authority upon that matter; and
if you will make inquiries, you will find that it is so
—the only moneys which the Guilds are now dealing
with are those which they consider to be their own
property?—What you mean is, that the funds are
administered under the direction of the Charity
255. The schemes are submitted to the Charity
Commissioners, and when they are widened we have
to ask their consent to the widening ?—Perhaps you
will refer me to one scheme ?
256. There are a great many small schemes in connexion with the Saddlers' Company under which
pensions and things of that kind are made ?—I am
not aware of any.
257. Are you aware that the Haberdashers' Company's schools are under the control of the Charity
Commissioners ?—Perhaps you refer to the accounts
being given ?
258. I call it a very strong control when the Company are not allowed to spend any money whatever
without the consent of the Commissioners?—We have
no power of auditing.
259. You have an audit, have you not ?—We make
inquiries, but cannot disallow anything.
260. You say that you would bring the artisans of
each trade in connexion with the Company which
bears its name; do you mean that to apply to the
whole of the artisans of the United Kingdom?—So
far as production is concerned.
261. For example, you would bring in the carpenters ?—Yes.
262. Can you give any idea how many thousands
of carpenters that would introduce into the Carpenters'
Company ?—A great number, I daresay; but it would
also afford to them much information they could not
now obtain, and the fee which they would pay would
meet the expense.
263. Do not you think that your scheme for the
United Kingdom is a very ambitious one, and totally
out of the power of any one Guild to perform and
carry out?—You could only do it tentatively. You
could carry it out first to a certain extent, but by
making it open to all it would not necessarily follow
that all would join; all those who desire to do so
should be permitted.
264. You would give them full power of joining?
—Yes, on the payment of an admission fee.
265. But you said you would do away with the
livery and Guilds, and let them only be freemen; have
you any reason for suggesting that ?—No, the only
reason is that I do not see any use in it; I see no
objection to it, but I see no use in it.
266. The Guilds, in consequence of the absence of
craftsmen belonging to them, have been used for
the last two or three centuries in the light of a middleclass club, have they not, for the master, wardens,
and liverymen, and freemen who belong to it?—Yes,
to which club I wish to associate their workmen.
267. And to associate them with it upon application;
but they are in the nature of clubs, are they not ?—I
268. And as much entitled to immunity as any
club at the West End ?—The clubs at the West End
are subscription clubs, without property.
269. (Sir Nathaniel M. De Rothschild.) You say
you have no power to control the charities or the way
in which the charities are dispensed by the different
Companies ?—None at all.
270. But you have the power of observation ?—
271. Having the power of observation, do you think
as a rule that the Companies, as trustees, have behaved
honestly, or behaved dishonestly ?—I am not able to
place my hand on any act of dishonesty that I know
of. I believe they have acted honestly, to the best of
272. Whenever there have been any cases, you
have taken notice of them ?—Yes.
273. You took notice of it in the case of the Mercers'
Company once ?—I am not aware of the case.
274. You brought an action against them which
you won, when you said that they had not applied all
the funds to a certain school ?—That was not the
Mercers' Company; there were two cases, one the
Merchant Taylors' Company and the other the Wax
275. You have power of observation; so that if
there were any gross violation of trust, you would
know it, though you have no power of management?
276. (Viscount Sherbrooke.) Supposing the plan
you propose were carried out, what good do you think
it would do ?—In the first place, I think it would
give a vast number of workmen throughout the
country a feeling that they are cared for; it would
give them an amount of information which they at
present are unable to obtain; it would afford them
advice with reference to the education of their children;
and it might afford them in a great centre of population
the opportunity of obtaining by their own means a
home in which they could live in comfort, without
being exposed to the surroundings which are now of
a demoralising character; and by all this, and a variety
of other consequences that would flow from the
same condition of things, make a vast number of
persons interested in order being preserved in the
country, interested in the security of property,
and interested in the vital preservations of our institutions.
277. What do you think would be the relations
between such a body as you have described—this
subsidised and petted body—and the rest of the
community that have no such advantages; have you
considered what effects it would have ?—I do not
think that the rest of the community having none
of those advantages would be the worse for it.
I think it would encourage the rest of the country
not having those advantages to do much in imitation in endeavouring to secure the same benefits with
those who had the advantage; for instance, if a man
brought up a family living in his own house, he would
be an example to his neighbours, and be much
more beneficial to them than a drunken family; and
by everything by which you encourage morality, and
encourage exertion, and encourage industry and
culture, and by every step of that kind, he would be
doing good to all those surrounding him.
278. Is not your plan really that you would have
a privileged class of these working people, some of
whom would have benefits which are denied to the
rest of the community ?—There would be no privileged class; it would be a case of no more privilege
than persons who subscribe to a club are privileged.
279. Do you mean that everybody who likes may
subscribe to it?—Everybody who likes cannot now
subscribe to a club.
280. That is not what I ask; is it your intention
that everybody should be able to subscribe to this
club?—Everybody connected with the trades—
281. With these particular trades ?—With these
particular trades, should be enabled to subscribe.
282. And do you command money sufficient to
give those advantages to the persons who do subscribe,
or is there any probability that you would command
it ?—Yes; I think the advantages I give in the first
place are the information and guidance with
reference to the manner in which a family is brought
up; guidance and instruction where their business is
prosecuted, where they can do it at the most advantage; and in a great many cases assistance, not in the
way of charity, because they pay as much as it costs
283. But other people who are not so fortunate
pay a good deal more than the cost ?—Others may
join the corporation, if they think proper.
284. Is it not quite evident that the plan you
suggest could not universally be carried out throughout the whole of the country ?—I think universally
it could not be carried out; but it could be carried
out amongst a vast number of the working classes.
285. Would not it really necessarily come to be a
sort of petted trades union, established by the Government?—I think it would be so far a benefit that it
would be a visible diffusion of benefits, which every
other class, by uniting in the same manner, might gain
286. I thought you told me you did not think it
could extend to all classes?—The privileges of the
Companies could not be extended to all classes, but
this mode of operation being set on foot by the Companies, the same mode of organisation might be
established by other persons not having the advantages of these Companies.
287. Is it your experience that combination among
the working classes produces good either to the
working classes themselves or to the rest of the community ?—There are a variety of combinations;
there are combinations for good and combinations for
evil. Combinations which interfere with industry and
other things may be evil; but I observed in one of
the periodicals of this month a society for taking care
of servant girls, finding them homes when they were
out of work, and finding them employment; and it is
found to be so beneficial that 3,000 or 4,000 girls
have joined the society who might have been wandering about the streets, without the means of getting a
situation, who are assisted by the society. That is a
mode of co-operation which is beneficial, and might be
extended to every other person.
288. That is rather a question of chastity and
morals than trade and labour, is it not?—No;
chastity and morals may be much promoted by it, no
doubt, but what is particularly promoted is that these
persons can find employment, and good masters and
mistresses are found for them, and arrangements are
made by which, when they leave one home, they can
find another; no doubt chastity and morals in reference to dwellings are promoted by such a scheme as
mine, instead of the system of living in lodgings in
which a woman may find in the next room a person
of bad character.
289. Is it not quite evident that a system of this
kind, carried on on a small scale,—for it is evident that
it cannot go through the whole country,—would really
be only spending a great deal of money to form a
trades union ?—So far from that being the case, my
opinion is, that it would be copied by other societies;
the benefit would be so obvious that, though it could
not cover the whole country, yet other associations
would be framed, in imitation of this, which would be
capable of extending its benefits very largely.
290. Is it your opinion then that the desirable state
for the working classes of this country is that they
should be all in a state more or less of dependence
upon somebody that takes them in hand, instead of
being free to act exactly as they please?—On the
contrary, I think that nothing is so desirable as that
they should be in a free state, and not in a state of
dependence; a state of dependence would not be
created by co-operation.
291. Is it not a state of dependence when you
provide people with lodgings, and all the different
things you have spoken of that are to be done for
these people who are happy enough to get into privileged bodies ?—Not if they pay the full value of
what they receive.
292. There is an ambiguity there; you say they
pay what the thing costs, but the people pay a good
deal more than it costs who have not got these advantages ?—That is the benefit I want to give to the
working classes of the country.
293. To the whole of the working classes of the
country ?—As many as we can reach.
294. The effect of it would be that you would
establish a privileged class, which would have great
benefits, while other classes would not?—No; I
establish a class, some of whom would have a benefit
which they are entitled to, and which their own care
and prudence will entitle them to, and their good
example will in all probability influence a vast number
295. Is it your experience that people who have to
work hard for their living thrive more in proportion
as the work is made light and easy to them than
people who have to work harder ?—Certainly not.
296. Is not that the effect of what you are doing?
—I fancy not.
297. Is it not merely setting up a trades union ?—I
think it is not setting up a trades union, except that
any association combined together for trade must be
technically called a union; but not a union in any of
its evil senses.
298. What reason have we to suppose that it
would not be in its evil sense; has it not always been
found that when the working classes unite together,
it almost invariably ends in limiting the hours of
work, and in the compiling of different rules that
are made for the purpose of making the work easy
and light for them ?—I am not aware that it is so.
The witness withdrew.