FOURTH DAY. Wednesday, 29th 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. Sir Richard Assheton Cross,
Mr. Alderman Cotton, M.P.
Mr. Walter H. James, M.P.
Mr. Pell, M.P.
Mr. Joseph Firth, M.P.
Mr. Thomas Burt, M.P.
Mr. H. D. Warr, Secretary.
(fn. 1) Mr. James Beal examined.
Mr. J. Beal.; 29 March 1882.
492. (Chairman.) I think we need hardly ask
you whether you have taken considerable interest in
the subject with which this Commission has to deal ?
493. I believe as a member of the St. James's
vestry you moved a resolution some years ago asking
for an inquiry into the state of these Companies ?—
494. And was a memorial presented in consequence
to the Secretary of State ?—It was.
495. Have you a copy of it ?—I have a copy, which
I will read: "The memorial of delegates representing
certain vestries and district boards in the metropolis, respectfully sheweth : That a resolution was
passed at a meeting of the St. James's Vestry held
on the 11th day of July 1878, asking for inquiry
into the condition and management of property
belonging to the metropolitan parishes, the Livery
Companies of London, and other public bodies.
That in pursuance thereof the assembled delegates
represent, that in nearly every parish of the metropolis there are charitable funds, the bequests of past
benefactors, in doles, in kind, in money and estate.
That if the funds referred to were properly applied
your memorialists believe it would result in a large
reduction of the serious local burdens now laid on
the metropolis. That your memorialists also venture to bring before you specially the present condition of the Livery Companies of the City of
London, and to lay before you the reasons why, in
the interests of the ratepayers of the metropolis,
they solicit that an inquiry should be made into the
present state of the said Companies of the City, as
has been already ordered into the parochial charities
of the City of London, in order that if, as they
believe, property and funds belonging to the said
Companies are now misapplied and wrongfully administered, a measure may be framed to direct a
right application of them. That in the fourth year
of His Majesty King William IV. commissioners
were appointed to inquire into the existing state of
the municipal corporations of England and Wales,
in order that Parliament might be enabled to legislate upon the subject early in the ensuing session,
as it had already done in the cases of nearly all other
corporations. That in their report the commissioners
stated that it was necessary to make the institutions
of the City of London the subject of a special supplemental report; and the second report of the
commission, dealing with this question, was not
presented until 1837. For reasons which were not
in any way consequent upon the character of that
report, it was not followed by any legislation. That
the commissioners reported upon the various Livery
Companies of the City as being within the scope of
their commission, but such report is fragmentary
and inadequate, and now of ancient date. The
reason of its imperfect character is stated by the
commissioners in their report to be the refusal of
some of the Companies to furnish the information
required" (see extract at foot). "That the City
guilds were established for the purpose of benefiting
the particular trades from which they derive their
names, for guarding against bad workmanship, for
training artisaus, and for providing support for
those who were prevented by age from pursuing
their work. They were regulated by royal charter
setting forth these duties, and on condition of their
due performance the Companies were allowed to
purchase lands and to hold them in mortmain.
Membership in the Companies was generally confined to those who practised the particular trade,
and all such in the City and suburbs were compelled
to become members. Large estates and various
sums of money were also left by members to their
guilds, when so composed, to be used for pensioning
decayed tradesmen, or otherwise for the benefit of
the trade. That the Companies ignored the authority of a Royal Commission, and yet it is by a
royal charter only that the Companies are regulated
in their duties and their due performance, and are
allowed to purchase lands and to hold them in mortmain. That your memorialists now beg to call to
your notice that the said Companies, except in a
few instances, have entirely ceased to perform the
objects for which they were constituted, but contrive to enjoy the benefits derived from the royal
charters, grants, and from the bequests given or
left to them when they were such trade organisations. That your memorialists beg further to affirm
that the government and property of these Companies are now kept secret, even from the general
body of members of the Companies, and that vast
estates are held by them upon which no succession
or legacy duty is payable, whereby loss is sustained
by the public revenue. That your memorialists
therefore respectfully solicit that a Royal Commission
with parliamentary powers be appointed to inquire
into the present condition and management of the
property and charities of these guilds, and of the
several parishes of the metropolis, with a view to
consider and determine the proper objects to which
the properly of these Companies should in the
present day be applied, and for the better application of charitable funds. Extract: Some of the
Companies of trades, which still exist in great number in connexion with the Corporation of the City
of London, refused to furnish any information to
the Commissioners, and others furnished it only
under exception and restriction. Although, therefore, sufficient information has been given to show
the general and ordinary constitution of these
bodies, the details as to many of the individuals
Companies have not been obtained." (fn. 2) That memorial was presented to the Home Secretary.
496. (Sir Richard Cross.) Was it sent to me ?—
Yes, and its receipt was simply acknowledged.
497. (Chairman.) I believe you also prepared a
statement for the delegates appointed by the metropolitan vestries ?—I did, and I hand in a copy of it.
498. I think you are also the present chairman of
the Metropolitan Municipal Association, and a member
of the London Municipal Reform League ?—Yes.
499. Will you tell the Commission what is the constitution and the object of those bodies ?—Those refer
to larger questions than those which are before this
Commission. They are for the reform of the local
government of the metropolis by the creation of one
municipality on a representative basis.
500. You have, I believe, under various signatures
written largely in the press on the subject of these
guilds ?—I have.
501. What are the signatures under which you have
written ?—( (fn. 3) "Nemesis" in the "Weekly Despatch"
and "Father Jean" in the "Echo."
502. We may take it, I presume, that you have
formed an opinion as to the reforms which you consider desirable, and that you are prepared to suggest
some plan for carrying into effect those reforms ?—
503. Will you state briefly the nature of what you
propose ?—I can put it briefly, in the shape of a few
resolutions, which have been sent to me to present to
the Commission from the several clubs of working
men in the borough of Chelsea. There are four of
those clubs, and they all met in one meeting and
passed these resolutions: "That in view of an early
report by the Commissioners on the City Livery
Companies, it is desirable that the working classes
of the metropolis should present to the Commissioners the following suggestions:—That the Guilds
having been established for public and municipal
purposes, that no pretext exists for the contention
that any part of their property is private, and that
the whole should be handed over on the creation
of a municipality for London to that body, for the
benefit of the people of the metropolis and in their
interest, and that they be authorised to realise the
whole of the estates of whatever kind, real or personal, and to devote the income of the proceeds to
any or all of the following objects. In aid of the
education of the poorer classes, in establishing high
schools. exhibitions at the universities, technical
education, support of public libraries, acquisition
and maintenance of open spaces, pension funds for
decayed artisans and others, extension of hospital
accommodation and the training of nurses, in aid
of provident institutions, and the promotion of the
physical welfare of the people, and other known
objects of public utility. That it is desirable a short
Act should be passed preventing any company dealing
with their property until its future destination
is settled, except with the consent of the Secretary
of State for the time being, and that they be prohibited from adding to the number of Liverymen
by purchase or creating any fresh offices, entitling
the possessor to a retiring allowance." The others
have come to me in another form through the Liberation
Society, and as they are in print I had better hand
them in. They refer to the ecclesiastical endowments
in the metropolis, and contain the resolutions passed at
a conference at the Westminster Palace Hotel, held last
504. (Mr. Alderman Cotton.) What is the Liberation Society working for ?—They first deal with the
objects that I have referred to, but they refer, mainly,
to that which the Church may claim for Church
505. Is it mainly directed against the Church ?—I
would not say it was directed mainly against the
Church, but against the devolution of property to the
Church where they think it is rich enough.
506. (Mr. Firth.) Will you read that ?—That, "In
the opinion of the Conference, such an appropriation is uncalled for and would be unjust—(1) It
is uncalled for because the intentions of the founders have been already so for departed from, and
are now so incapable of fulfilment that they impose
no obligation in regard to a new disposition of their
gifts, which should now be regarded as being at
the absolute disposal of the State. It would be
unjust because any application of public money for
sectarian objects must, of necessity, benefit only a
section of the population; whereas no such injustice would be involved in the appropriation of the
whole of the funds to the purposes to which it is
proposed that the general charity funds shall be
507. (Chairman.) In the first place, what are
these Chelsea Clubs, the combined committee of which
passed those resolutions ?—They are political clubs
formed by working men in the several divisions of the
borough of Chelsea. There is one in the King's
Road, called the "Eleusis Club;" there is another at
Hammersmith, called the "Hammersmith Club;"
there is another at Notting-hill called the "Progressive Club;" and another at Kensal Town called the
"Cobden Club." Those clubs are composed of a
number of working men in each place.
508. I only put the question to you because I observe in the first paragraph they say that: "It is
desirable that the working classes of the metropolis
should present to the Commissioners the following
suggestions." Now, if I rightly understand you,
though it may be quite possible that those clubs do
represent the general opinion of the working classes;
as a matter of fact they only represent some few hundreds of persons in their borough ?—So far as that is
concerned, that is so; but they are federated as one club
throughout the metropolis, and a copy of that has
been sent to each, and you will, no doubt, receive the
same resolutions from each.
509. Have you any evidence that the opinions expressed in these resolutions are also those of the working classes generally, or of any large portion of them ?
—I must give a personal answer. I have lectured at
all their clubs throughout the metropolis for years
past, and in every case they universally assent to the
ideas there expressed; we have never had an amendment upon this question, or upon the London Government question carried.
510. (Mr. Firth.) Has there not been a federation
of all the working men's clubs throughout London ?—
Yes, there has.
511. (Sir Richard Cross.) As I understand you,
these are political clubs ?—They are.
512. And they are all upon one side ?—Yes.
513. (Mr. Alderman Cotton.) Are you able to give
us the number of members of any one of these clubs ?
—The "Eleusis" is 1,000 strong.
514. What is the smallest number of any one of
the clubs ?—The Hammersmith Club has 460 members; that is the smallest, I think. They are composed
of the most intelligent working men of the district
in all cases.
515. (Chairman.) In these resolutions it is proposed that on the creation of a municipality for
London, the whole of the funds of the guilds should
be handed over to that body for the benefit of the
people of the metropolis; is it meant by that that the
property should be handed over to the absolute discretion of the new municipal body, or that it should
be handed over for certain purposes limited and
defined by Parliament ?—Of which those persons will
form a part.
516. Limited and defined by Parliament ?—Certainly.
517. That is to say, you propose that not the new
municipal board, but that Parliament should direct
the application of these funds ?—If it followed the
precedent of the Act of 1835, it would of necessity
become the inheritor of the estates; but as it is a
totally different constitution to that of any other
municipality in the kingdom, if those properties were
included, then Parliament must secure the future
devolution of the income.
518. One of the objects is defined to be the education of the poorer classes, that is at present provided
for by the rates is it not ?—Yes, and it was that which
was the basis of my demand for a fresh inquiry. I
felt that the burden was very great upon the ratepayers; there was a strong opposition to the Act
constituting the school board, by the rich, by the
clergy, and by the middle classes; and I therefore
looked round, taking a great interest in education, to
see if there were not funds which might be used in
the reduction of the school board rate; and to a certain extent I should claim that part of these funds
should be used for that purpose.
519. Then when you say it should be used in aid
of the education of the poorer classes, you only mean
that inasmuch as the education of the poorer classes
is already provided for, it should be applied in relief
of the rates at present incurred for educational purposes ? — I push it further than that: that the
rich or middle class have taken from the poor great
educational endowments in London, for which they
should make compensation or restitution. I mean
endowments like those of Christ's Hospital, the
Charter House, and St. Paul's School. Those were
absolute endowments in the interests of the very
poorest class, and those endowments have gone
from them; and I think that if the income of those
charities were handed over every year to the London
School Board it would relieve us from the contention
which arises as to the cost of the administration of
that body, which I am most anxious to see.
520. Then your other objects are, "establishing
high schools, exhibitions at the universities, technical education, support of public libraries, acquisition and maintenance of open spaces, pension funds
for decayed artizans and others." Do you mean
that funds should be provided to pension off artizans
in all trades throughout London ?—The right use of
one portion of the funds of these Companies is to pension the decayed members, and I think that by a
proper appropriation of a certain portion of the income
that object could be carried out for the trade specially
known in connexion with the different guilds; I do
not go beyond that.
521. You mean that the funds of each guild should
be in part applied to provide for decayed members of
the trade connected with it ?—Yes, that was their
522. Would you apply that to London only, or extend it to the country generally ?—I would take the
metropolis, not the city of London simply. The
charters of the Companies extend from to three to 10
miles round, and one goes as far as 24 miles.
523. Then you propose an extension of hospital
accommodation, and the training of nurses; does that
mean that hospital accommodation should be gratuitously provided out of the public funds ?—The hospital
accommodation of London at the present time is most
defective; it is chiefly limited within a mile and a
half of Charing Cross; it is largely confined to St.
Bartholomew's and St. Thomas's, and one or two
others. I should go further and say that I think the
day has gone by when hospital accommodation in
London should be dependent upon private subscriptions, and that it should be done by a rate; it should
be done by alliance and association with the poor law
in some form or other. But as we have these large
funds it would be another means of reducing the rates
if the hospitals were to be supported from the rates,
and a portion of the funds were used for that purpose.
524. Then that proposal of yours presupposes the
adoption of another plan, which has not yet been
adopted, namely, the maintenance of hospitals out of
local rates ?—If it were not adopted I should still
press this as a proper use of a portion of these funds.
For instance, if a man be hurt at Highgate he has
to be brought to Gray's Inn Lane, or if he be hurt
at the Crystal Palace he has to be brought up to
Westminster Bridge. We want reconstruction of
our hospital arrangements, and I propose that a portion of the funds should be devoted to the extension
of hospitals or to the erection of other hospitals
which should be taken over hereafter by the new
525. Then there is a further proposition, that part
of these funds should be applied in aid of provident
institutions; will you explain what kind of provident
institutions you mean, and how you think these funds
could be applied in assisting them ?—The Peabody
Trustees have the advantage of borrowing a large sum
of money at a low rate of interest for the extension of
their very munificent work; and I think, when well
established provident institutions for the working
classes required assistance of that kind, and could
give adequate security, it would be an advantage to
them to be able to get a loan at a low rate of interest,
the money to be used in sustaining a pension fund,
and as a guarantee fund; that is one instance.
526. The lending of money upon good security at a
low rate of interest, I understand to be your object ?
—Yes, precisely as in the case of the Peabody Trust.
527. I presume you would not include lending upon
mere personal security ?—No.
528. Is it found where good security can be given,
that there is much difficulty in borrowing money at
present ?—No, I am not assuming that. They have
not had the advantage offered to them in any form at
present. They simply work upon their own arrangement of a Pension Fund, and the reports of Friendly
Societies show that these things want a much better
basis than they have.
529. What do you mean by "the promotion of the
physical welfare of the people." Does that apply
to improved dwellings ?—Yes, and to recreation
grounds, to gymnasia, and baths, and modern requirements of that character.
530. Do you not think that the very large programme which you have sketched out would considerably more than exhaust the funds of the
Companies?—I think not. I see by the Report that
they admit an income of 700,000l, a year, but my own
impression is that it is considerably over a million.
531. With regard to your second resolution, that is
merely intended to prevent any diversion of the funds
until Parliament has time to deal with them ?—Yes,
that is all.
532. I understand that this plan is entirely dependent upon the success of the scheme which we understand is shortly to be brought before Parliament for
creating a great municipality for all London ?—I
would not say that; but I would suggest that the
money should be handed over to a body of commissioners like the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, with
power to lay it out upon those lines.
533. Your idea is that the funds should, in the first
place, be thrown into one mass; that I understand to
be your object ?—Yes.
534. That the total capital should be vested in such
a municipality, if it exists, or in commissioners, if the
municipality does not exist, and should be applied to
the purposes which you have described according to
the directions contained in an Act of Parliament to be
passed for the purpose ?—That is strictly accurate.
535. Would you propose that the special propertions to be applied to each purpose should be defined
beforehand ?—No; I should leave that to either the
municipality or the commissioners to decide upon
evidence which they would hear.
536. You have seen, I think, a report which has
been presented to this Commission, a volume marked
"confidential," it is the return made by the Companies
to the circulars which we sent out last year ?—I
537. We should be glad to hear any observations
which you may have to offer upon that volume ? (fn. 4) —My
difficulty about it is a mere question of sight. I am
not able to read at night time, and I have had to have
it read to me. What I want to explain is this. The
Return of Keble's Charity is 9l. 2s. per annum; I
turn from that to Herbert's "Twelve Great Companies"
for his evidence of Keble's Trust, and I find that includes a mansion in Old Jewry, and houses behind in
Grocers' Hall Court; the site of Grocers' Hall itself
was part of Princes Street behind, and part of the
present Bank of England. I put that modestly at
25,000l. a year, and it is returned at 9l. 2s. One of
those houses is let at a ground rent of 3,360l. a year.
I put it therefore that unless we get a disclosure of
the absolute income, house by house, of the property
held by these guilds, we have not that full disclosure
to which we are entitled.
538. Do I understand you to mean that you consider that the guilds have not included the value of
the houses in the returns which they have made ?—
That return to which I have referred of Lord Robert
Montagu's gives the income which existed at the
time, two or three centuries ago, but I want the
present income, the present profits and rents of the
property which I claim must follow the original devolution. I contend that the whole of this property must be corporate, and, therefore, public; and
that the trust property is separate from it, and
that whatever increase of property there is, flows
into the corporate and becomes, as I think, the property of the people of the metropolis.
539. In other words, for your purposes, and starting from your point of view, you do not admit that
there is any difference between the trust funds of the
Company and the property which they have dealt
with as their corporate fund ?—No, I do not.
540. You consider that they are all equally applicable to such purposes as Parliament or the municipality think fit?—Yes, and follows clause 92 of the
Municipal Corporations Act, 1835, which enacts:—
That after the election of the treasurer in any
borough the rents and profits of all hereditaments
and the interest, dividend, and annual proceeds of
all monies, dues, chattels, and valuable securities
belonging or payable to any body corporate named
in conjunction with the said borough in the said
schedules (A.) and (B.), or to any member or
officer thereof in his corporate capacity, and every
fine or penalty for any offence against this Act,
(the application of which has not been already
provided for), shall be paid to the treasurer of such
borough, and all the monies which he shall so receive shall be carried by him to the account of a
fund to be called 'the borough fund,' and such fund
subject to the payment of any lawful debt due from
such body corporate to any person which shall have
been contracted before the passing of this Act, and
unredeemed, or of so much thereof as the council of
such borough from time to time shall be required,
or shall deem it expedient to redeem, and to the
payment from time to time of the interest of so
much thereof as shall remain unredeemed, and
saving all rights, interests, claims, or demands of all
persons or bodies corporate in or upon the real or
personal estate of any body corporate by virtue of
any proceeding either at law or in equity which
have been already instituted, or which may be hereafter instituted, or by virtue of any mortgage or
otherwise shall be applied towards the payment of
the salary of the mayor, and of the recorder and
of the police magistrate herein-after mentioned when
there is a recorder or police magistrate, and of the
respective salaries of the town clerk and treasurer,
and of every other officer whom the council shall
appoint, and also towards the payment of the expenses incurred from time to time in preparing and
printing burgess lists, ward lists, and notices, and
in other matters attending such elections as are
herein mentioned, and in boroughs which shall have
a separate court of sessions of the peace as is herein-after provided towards the expenses of the prosecution, maintenance, and punishment of offenders,
and towards such other sum to be paid by such
borough to the treasurer of such county as is
herein-after provided, and towards the expense of
maintaining the borough gaol, house of correction,
and corporate buildings, and towards the payment
of the constables, and of all other expenses not
herein otherwise provided for, which shall be necessarily incurred in carrying into effect the provisions
of this Act; and in case the borough fund shall be
more than sufficient for the purposes aforesaid the
surplus thereof shall be applied under the direction
of the council, for the public benefit of the inhabitants
and improvement of the borough, provided that it
shall not be lawful for the council to be elected under
the provisions of this Act in any borough in which
the body corporate named in conjunction with the
said borough in the said schedules A. and B. before
the time of the passing of this Act shall have contracted any lawful debt chargeable on any tolls or
dues belonging or payable to the said body corporate,
or to any member or officer thereof in his corporate
capacity, or towards the satisfaction whereof such
tolls or dues, or any part thereof, were applicable
before the passing of this Act, to alter or reduce
the amount to be levied and payable of such tolls
or dues, or to grant for any consideration any remission of, or exemption from, such tolls or dues or
any part thereof, unless with the consent in writing
under the hands of a majority in number and amount
of the creditors to whom such debt is due, until
after such debt and all arrears of interest due thereon shall have been fully paid and satisfied; and in
case the borough fund shall not be sufficient for the
purposes aforesaid the council of the borough is
hereby authorised and required from time to time
to estimate, as correctly as may be, what amount in
addition to such fund will be sufficient for the payment of the expenses to be incurred in carrying
into effect the provisions of this Act, and in order
to raise the amount so estimated the said council is
hereby authorised and required from time to time
to order a borough rate in the nature of a county
rate to be made within their borough, and for that
purpose the council of such borough shall have
within their borough all the powers which any
justices of the peace assembled at their general or
quarter sessions in any county in England have
within the limits of their commission by virtue of
an Act made in the fifty-fifth year of his late Majesty King George the Third, intituled an Act to
amend an Act of his late Majesty King George the
Second for the more easy assessing, collecting, and
levying of county rates, or as near thereto as the
nature of the case will admit, except as is hereinafter excepted, and all warrants required by the
said Act to be issued under the hands and seals of
two or more justices, shall in like case be signed by
the mayor and sealed with the seal of the borough;
provided that such council shall not be empowered
to receive, hear, or determine any appeal against
any such rate; and if any person shall think himself aggrieved by any such rate it shall be lawful
for him to appeal to the recorder herein-after mentioned at the next quarter sessions for the borough in
which such rate has been made, or in case there
shall be no recorder within such borough to the
justices at the next court of quarter sessions for the
county within which such borough is situate, or
whereunto it is adjacent; and such recorder or
justices respectively shall have power to hear and
determine the same and to award relief in the pre-
mises as in the case of an appeal against any
county rate, and all such sums levied in pursuance of such borough rate shall be paid over to
the account of the borough fund and subject to the
provisions herein-before contained shall be applied to
all purposes to which before the passing of this Act
a borough rate or county rate was by law applicable
in such borough or county. Provided that in every
case in which before the passing of this Act any rate
might be levied in any borough, or in any parish
or place made part of any borough under the provisions of this Act for the purpose of watching solely
by day or by night, or for the purpose of watching
by day or by night conjointly with any other purpose,
it shall be lawful for the council of such borough to
levy a watch rate sufficient to raise any sum not greater
than the average yearly sum which during the last
seven years, or where such rate shall not have been
levied during seven years then during such less
number of years as such rate shall have been levied,
shall have been expended in the maintenance and
establishment of watchmen, constables, patrol or
policemen within the district in which such rate was
levied, and for that purpose the council shall have all
the powers herein-before given to the council in the
matter of the borough rate; and where any part of
any borough shall not at the time of the passing of
this Act be within the provisions of the Act authorizing the levy of such rate for watching as aforesaid
it shall be lawful for the council from time to time
to order that such part or so much thereof as to the
council shall seem fit shall be rated to the watch rate
in like manner as other parts of the borough to be
specified in such order and such watch rate thereupon
shall be levied within the part mentioned in such
order in like manner as in the other parts of the
borough so specified and all such sums levied in pursuance of such watch rate shall be paid over to the
account of the borough fund. Provided always, that
no such order as last aforesaid shall be made for such
watch rate any part of any borough in which at the
time of passing this Act such rate as aforesaid shall
not be levied and which is more than 200 yards
distant from any street or continuous line of houses
which shall be regularly watched within the borough
under the provisions of this Act. Provided also,
that nothing in this Act contained shall be construed
to render liable to the payment of any debt contracted before the passing of this Act by any body
corporate any part of the real or personal estate of
the said body corporate which before the passing of
this Act was not liable thereto, or to authorise the
levy of any rate within any part of any borough for
the purpose of paying any debt contracted before the
passing of this Act which before the passing of this
Act could not lawfully be levied therein towards the
payment of the same."
541. (Mr. Pell.) Would you tell us what constitutes the membership of those clubs which have drawn
up the resolutions which you have presented to the
Commission ?—Certain monthly subscriptions.
542. What are the qualifications for admission to
the club ?—Agreement with the programme of the
543. Did I rightly understand you to say they were
working men's clubs ?—Yes.
544. Are you a member of any of them ?—No, I
lecture at them.
545. How far does that qualification extend ?—It is
confined to the artizan class. Painters, decorators,
plumbers, carpenters, bricklayers, and so on.
546. When have the working men had any chance
of advice from the outside in drawing up the proposals
which you have submitted to the Commission ?—If
you had the pleasure of meeting them, you would
know that they require no such assistance; they are
most remarkably intelligent men, and they read a
great deal. They have good libraries, they have discussions, and they are thoroughly familiar with the
whole scope of this question; and amongst them are
men who have had before them the same material
from which to derive knowledge, that you might have
had access to, or that I might have had access to; I
believe they have all read the letters of mine to which
I have referred, and that has been the basis of their
547. I see that they advocate hospital accommodation to be given, out of these funds ?—Yes.
548. Are they satisfied that free admission to hospital would really be of advantage to the class generally ?—I think not; they are the people who largely
work the Saturday Hospital Fund, with the view of
contributing as large a fund as they can, for the support
of the hospitals; that fund is collected in all their
549. It still appears from what you say, that they
have so little confidence in being able to keep the
hospitals self supporting, that they have suggested
that the funds of those institutions should be supplemented by the rates; and also by a contribution from
the endowments of the Guilds ?— I think it is a disgrace that our hospitals should be supported by charity.
I think it should be part of the work of the municipality; but until that is created, this money should be
used in aid or extension of the existing hopsitals, or
in the erection of new hospitals.
550. Then I gather that the view of these societies,
is adverse to co-operation amongst the working people,
to supply them with needful medical advice ?—No;
if it were put to them that dispensaries should be established to which they should contribute so much a
week, no doubt they would be very pleased to subscribe.
551. Would not the effect of such an institution as
is contemplated in those papers which you have read
to us, running side by side with a self-supporting
institution, be to utterly destroy it ?—No, I am afraid
that I have not made what I wish to convey quite
clear. If the municipality be established, then I think
these funds would be part of the general wealth of
London held by that municipality; but if the municipality be not established, then I want these funds used
for the erection of hospitals for the requisite accommodation of London which is now most insufficient.
There is no arrangement by which the hospital at
Charing Cross, or any other hospital, can place themselves in alliance with the poor law dispensaries; you
want to see where the poor law dispensaries and poor
law unions are, and erect your hospitals in connexion
with them and as part of a complete scheme.
552. Am I correct in saying that these proposals
contain a suggestion that provision should be made
for the sick and injured of the poor, out of the rates,
supplemented by endowments from the guiids ?—Yes,
you can force it to that point.
553. Would that not be a very great injury to the
cause of independence and thrift ?—No, I think these
funds should be used largely for that purpose.
554. I think you stated, that in your mind, the disposable income of these guilds was something like
1,000,000l. a year ?—Yes.
555. And you stated to the president the different
objects over which you think it might be distributed;
do you still think that the distribution of 1,000,000l.
a year; a portion among hospitals for the poor alone
(the qualification being poverty, not disease), and a
portion among provident institutions, would not be,
in the end, a source of very great moral harm to the
people ?—No, it is their property, and I simply ask
that it should be given back to them; for instance, if
they had Christ's Hospital to-day, instead of another
class, they are entitled to it, it is theirs, or if they had
the Charterhouse, it is theirs, or if they had St. Paul's
School, it is theirs, and I want to know why the
rich should take possession of it, and the poor be dispossessed.
556. Then your argument amounts to this, that it
should be given back to them, because it once belonged
to them, irrespective of the question whether it would
do them harm or do them good? — Ruskin said:
Know ye, that the poor have no right to the property
of the rich." I reverse it, and say, "Know ye that
the rich have no right to the property of the
557. (Mr. Firth.) In the answer you gave just now
you said you would go much further than the subject
in the hands of the present Commission, but that, in
your judgment, the property should be given back to
the poor—do you mean to pay it in some form to the
poor, not necessarily in the same form ?—Yes; the
subject to which referred just now. Christ's Hospital should entirely change, and instead of being a
school for the middle classes, it should be a school for
perhaps 14,000 or 15,000 poor boys.
558. Christ's Hospital is not in any way connected
with the Livery Companies, except that it is receiving
doles and payments from most of the Companies, as
part of its revenue ?—That is so.
559. As regards the payments of that class, specific
in amount, do I understand you to contend that all the
present surplus should be applicable to the purposes
ejusdem generis ?—Yes, and of public utility, such as
parks and open spaces for all classes.
560. Have you been able to read these five volumes
of Returns from the Companies ?—I have not seen
them all; I have only seen one.
561. If you were enabled to see them, do you think
you would be able to point out, in many cases, deficiencies, if such exist ?—No doubt I could largely
check the information given as to the property, by
name or number, of the street which the Company
has given, because I took considerable pains in having
the rate books of the city looked up, and I found that
the property which belonged to them was rated to an
extent of over 500,000l. a year.
562. 516,000l. a year —504,000l. a year. I had
special inquiry made, and found that Bradbury's
Charity, returning 30s. in Lord Robert Montagu's
Return, produced 27,765l. a year, according to the
563. Under whose control was the charity you
speak of ?—The Mercers' Company. That is a very
remarkable case; it originally produced 30s. a year,
and was 109 acres. It began at Mercers' Street, Long
Acre, and went right down Long Acre, and passed
Coventry Street into Bond Street, and right away up
Bond Street, and included Conduit Street to Stratford
Place. 100½ acres of that is lost or gone, and is the
property of a city corporation, and is known as the
Conduit Mead Estate, and there are 8½ acres left in
St. Martin's parish; this now on the rate books represents 27,765l. a year.
564. With respect to that estate, you say part is
lost; have you any opinion as to the course which
might be usefully taken to prevent such losses in
future ?—I have only suggested by this resolution that
no property should be dealt with, except with the
consent of the Secretary of State, or of the Treasury;
or if it be handed over to the new municipality, it
should follow the provisions of the Act of 1835,
clauses 92 and 94, which are very important clauses.
565. Are you in favour, or not, of the property being vested, so far as the charity went, in the hands of
official trustees ?—I am in favour of the land being
sold. I do not think land should remain longer in
mortmain in England; it is a loss to the Treasury, and
is an injustice to the mass of the public.
566. You have had great experience in dealing
with land in London, have you not ?—Yes.
567. Speaking from your experience and your standing on this question, will you tell the Commission
what, in your judgment, is the prejudicial effect of
land being held in mortmain; does it affect its commercial value ?—First, as a question of revenue, I
strongly object to land being held in mortmain, as entailing loss to the revenue by the loss of succession
duty. Where it is charitable property, and property
held in mortmain, the property tax is returned by
the Inland Revenue, it would otherwise pay. In
order to make a statement, I have asked and it has
been granted in Parliament, for a return of all property
held in mortmain, and of the official statistics of the
revenue calculated by somebody in the public offices
duly qualified to calculate it; it is a very large
568. Is that all that you have to say as to its effect
upon the revenue ?—Yes, then I take the bolder ground
of free trade in land—I want that land in the market.
569. Upon the question of revenue, supposing the
present tenure, by the corporations, of this land is
continued, is there any way that would suggest itself
to you for dealing with the question of succession
duty ?—Yes, it should be treated as dead every 30
years or every 35 years. I believe the lease of life
used to be calculated at 30 years, and now it is calculated at 35 years; every 35 years the duty should
be charged upon it, as if the owner were dead; but I
prefer the dead hand being taken off altogether.
570. Have you made any estimate of what amount
that would produce to the revenue, upon the present property of the Companies? — Not a reliable
571. Now will you tell me the effect upon land,
treated as a commercial article, free trade in land ?—
My wish and desire has been that we should have
free trade in land, or in other words that every restriction should be taken away from its coming into
the open market. I think having vast quantities of
property like this locked up is very injurious to the
value of property generally.
572. Did I rightly understand you to say that the
effect of your examination of the City Companies'
rate accounts was to show that 504,000l. a year was
the estimated rateable value of the realty held by
these Companies in the City ?—The city land held
by them, to say nothing of the still larger estates held
by them in every county in the kingdom.
573. That amount was in the City alone ?—Yes.
574. From property held in mortmain ?—Yes.
575. Have you formed any estimate apart from the
Irish estates of the property held by them in mortmain outside the City of London ?—It was to get at
that that I suggested that they should give us a return of all the property they held, and the bequests
generally, lands, manors, benefices, estates, some
thousands of acres, and so on; I wanted all earmarked.
576. (Mr. James.) Is that return ordered in the
House of Commons ?—Yes, and they are very hard at
work upon it.
577. (Mr. Firth.) Is it being prepared by the Inland Revenue Office ?—Yes; it would be as instructive
a return as the Domesday book, and more accurate.
578. I notice that upon this point you said that you
estimated the income of the Companies not at the
amount at which it was returned, which was 700,000l.
a year, but at 1,000,000l. a year; what was the ground
of your statement ?—I can only use the information
placed at my disposal by public documents. With
regard to the two cases which I just now mentioned,
the one at the Old Jewry at 9l. 2s. which now must
be worth at least 25,000l. a year, and the other at
30s., which I know is worth 27,000l. a year, I went
carefully through Herbert's "Twelve Great Companies," and Lord Robert Montagu's return, taking
Company by Company, and wherever I could get the
exact information, say a house, No. 15 or 16, Friday
Street, or a house in Plough Court or Lombard Street,
I took the return with the income, and found what
it was to let or leased for, and I found that they
represented a vast total. If I applied the same
process of reasoning to the country estates, taking
half what I put upon the London estates, it would
come to a much larger sum. If you multiply a few
cases in the same way, 9l. 2s. now being worth
25,000l., and 30s. now being worth 27,000l. your
figures at once roll into volumes. Here I have stated
a number of them, making a total of 700,000 which
they call income.
579. You have not seen these reports, and therefore you cannot give an exact judgment upon their
effect, but you will probably find that in the last one
in some of the cases that you are quoting the total
net receipts are returned in one form or other, that is
to say the Grocers' Company are in the companies'
return, they give their net rental on the land in Old
Jewry?—Yes, but what do they return for their hall?
580. You have stated that if you were put in possession of the returns, you could point out their
defects, are you willing to do that if you have them?
—Yes, I will do it with pleasure.
581. Now with respect to the question of the halls,
did you ascertain how much they were rated at in the
City, is the 57,560l. a year taken from the City rate
book? — Yes. Take the Goldsmiths', their hall is
rated at 5,500l. If anybody know the building they
will know that it is a magnificent palace; it would
readily let at say 9,000l. to 10,000l. a year.
582. The Drapers' is rated at 8,000l. is it not?—
That is more than the Goldsmiths', but it is not enough,
it has a magnificent interior, and they have a frontage
of great length.
583. (Sir Richard Cross.) Would they let as halls
for that sum?—No. I would sell them for public
purposes. They can have their dinner at the Cannon
Street Hotel; they do not want the hall to dine in,
but if they did, one hall would do for all of them In
the Drapers' Hall they have let off their gardens, and
therefore I should say, taken in connexion with other
buildings near, they would certainly be worth 12,000l.
a year at least.
584. (Mr. Firth.) I see you have the rateable
value as you took it out of the rate books, up to
57,560l.; have you formed an estimate of what the
real annual value would be ?—As a minimum up to
150,000l. a year. I went to look at all their great
halls. I suppose the staircase of the Goldsmiths' Hall
cost 30,000l. to put up, and I should think the Drapers'
Company spent 80,000l. in decorations and alterations
in the last few years.
585. What purposes, so far as you have ascertained,
do these halls serve ?—They are their offices, the
courts in which they hold their banquets; but they
serve no municipal purpose. That is performed at
Guildhall, and when an election is on you see the
names of the Companies in a horse-shoe shape, and
the liverymen are recognised by their beadle. The
business done at the hall is not municipal business.
They manage their property at their halls, but for municipal purposes the halls are not wanted in any way.
586. Supposing you take the Drapers' Hall and the
property connected with it, is there, so far as you
know, any reason why all the Companies should not
transact all their business in that single hall?— Supposing that they are to continue in possession of all
the property, and to have the administration of it,
that one hall, judiciously used, would meet the entire
question of the banqueting, the most important of all,
and that of the offices in connexion with their rents.
I may illustrate this by the fact that Messrs. Clutton
collect four or five times this amount of rental in one
or two sets of buildings in Whitehall; the London and
Westminster Bank carries on vast operations in a
building which, compared with the halls of these
Companies, is an entrance hall.
587. Would you say that the Fishmongers' Hall
was properly rated at 3,500l. a year, according to
your estimate of property?—No.
588. What should you say was an adequate amount?
—6,500l. a year. Then the only duty there performed,
apart from the banqueting and renting, is that they
have two inspectors who look after the fish at Billingsgate. We could do that by appointing two officers of
the City of London.
589. Who makes the assessment of these halls?—
It is done under the Poor Rate Assessment Act. No
doubt it is done by the Poor Rate Assessment
Committee; that is under Goschen's Act.
590. You do not know who constitutes the authority ?—No.
591. Supposing that their administration was concentrated in this way, what would you suggest might
usefully or legally be done with the remainder of their
property in these halls ?—The whole of them. I think,
should be sold. We do not want them; they have
long ceased to be of any public utility at all.
592. What would you consider to be the sum that
they would be likely to realise if sold; have you
formed an estimate of it ?—Yes. I should think the
saleable value in the market would be something
between 3,000,000l. and 4,000,000l. sterling.
593. (Mr. Pell.) How many years' purchase would
that be on the rental ?—If we put it all into the market
at once we might depreciate it, but the City is selling
to-day ground rents for 27 years' purchase; but in
fixing that value I rely upon many other things. We
might want to widen the street if they were coming
down, and the public would be benefited by that. We
should not get the value in money, but we should
have it in the improvement.
594. (Mr. Firth.) Twenty-seven years' purchase on
150,000l. a year would be about 4,000,000l.?—You
might not get the full value. When a lot of benefices
were put into the market, benefices fell, as in the case
of the Lord Chancellor's livings.
595. You said just now that the municipal functions
of the Companies were discharged in the Guildhall;
have you inquired into the discharge of the municipal
functions by the Companies at all?—No, only what I
have seen. I have seen a common hall, and I have
watched the barrier put round with the name of each
of the Companies, and the beadle watching each
member as he went in, and that was the only municipal function which I have seen performed.
596. You have drawn attention to the fact that the
Municipal Commission of 1833 considered these Companies within the province of their Commission ?—
(fn. 5) Yes.
597. And that was upon the ground that they had
municipal functions to discharge ?—Yes, but the same
was done with Bristol, Nottingham, and Leeds in the
1833 inquiry, and was not disputed; and the reform
which came by the Act of 1835 affected the whole of
598. Are you aware that at the present time they
elect the Lord Mayor, the Bridgemaster, and a number
of other City officials ?—Yes; I have seen the election
of chamberlain in the same way.
599. The office of chamberlain is worth 2,500l. a
year ?—It is an office of great responsibility and great
600. And that election is conducted, is it not, by
the liverymen of the City guilds ?—Yes. If you press
me whether other citizens have the franchise as well
as the liverymen, I could not say, but they have it, I
601. Have you considered the way in which the
liveries of the City guilds are constituted ?—I have
called attention to the modern extension of a number of these guilds, and I have undertaken this
labour, the result of which I will show to his
Lordship. I have gone through each of the Companies on the city voting list, and marked where the
same name occurs more than once, and at the end I
have put in pencil how often it occurs, twice, three
times, four times, and so on; and it occurs 29 and 30
times in some, and they become very happy little
602. I understand you to say that the effect of your
examination of the list of members is to show that the
same families are largely represented in some cases on
particular companies ?—That is one observation I have
to make, the other is that some of these Companies of late
years have added largely to their numbers, by the admission of members who have paid, and this amongst
those which were before, the smallest Companies.
603. Will you give us some illustration of that ?—
The Loriners' Company is one, and the Spectacle
Makers' another, those are administered at Guildhall.
604. And also the Needle Makers' Company ?—
Yes, by a clerk in the chamberlain's office.
605. Which Companies do you allude to as being
administered at Guildhall ?—The Spectacle Makers',
the Loriners', and the Fan Makers'.
606. (Mr. James.) Have you that return ?—You
moved for a return which was given you, with the
then number of members of the Spectacle Makers' and
Loriners' Companies. If you moved for a continuation you would see how the manufacture of voters is
going on in the City; of men who have bought the
franchise, but have no other qualification.
607. (Mr. Firth.) Are the men who so purchased
their rights to parliamentary and municipal votes, in
any case connected with the business of the Company
to which they go, or connected by patrimony with any
member of it?—No, they need not even live in the
City, they may live 25 miles out; they buy this franchise and come and vote.
608. And that has been largely done, I believe ?—
It has been largely done. The attention of the court
was brought to it some years ago by Mr. Alderman
609. As to the Spectacle Makers', Loriners', and
Fan Makers' Companies, which you say are administered at Guildhall, by whom are they managed ?—By
Mr. Sewell, the clerk of the Chamberlain.
610. He is a clerk in the Chamberlain's office, in
the City, with a salary of 400l. a year, is he not ?—I
do not know his salary.
611. Does he, in the same office, manage these
three Companies?—Within Guildhall; they give an
address and an official almanack, at Guidhall.
612. Do you know anything with respect to the
management of any other of the Livery Companies
which you wish to state to the Commission now ?—I
have set out so much in the letters, that I thought if
any gentleman specially representing the City had read
them and cross-examined me upon them it would be
preferable to my repeating what I have so frequently
put in print.
613. Have you endeavoured to ascertain the manner
in which the Companies are controlled, and how their
funds are expended ?—Yes, I have. I wrote to Mr. E. J.
Watherston, a member of the Goldsmiths' Company,
he is a silversmith at the west end, and his father has
been a member of the Court for 33 years; and he wrote
me a long letter in reply, in which he says: " In reply
to your question I have no hesitation in saying that,
in my opinion, the connexion of the Goldsmiths'
Company under prevailing conditions, with the
trades in the precious metals, is one of unqualified
disadvantage to the respective crafts. Fortunately,
as far as respects jewellery (gold and silver) their
powers are too limited to do much harm; and, as a
consequence, the trades flourish, because, to a great
extent, they are let alone; but where their power
is great, as in the case of watches, and more
especially as respects silver and gold plate, the
result of their action is most disastrous. In the
first place, I object altogether to any laws in restraint of trade, other than those which may be
necessary for the health or safety of the people.
Secondly, I object to any self elected body of men
having powers over a given craft. The powers now
in the hands of the Goldsmiths' Company, are a relie
of bye-gone days when the Government exercised
a paternal control over every industry, regulating
modes of production, and pestering manufacturers
with rules and regulations, with what effect we all
know. We need only refer to glass, soap, paper,
and bricks to show the folly of such a system. Such
interference had always its inevitable effect, that of
stopping all improvements. It is laughable now to
read how the soap trade was almost regulated out
of existence; and still more laughable are the facts
relating to the glass and brick trades ! Of course
the raison d'être of all these regulations was protection. It is the same as respects silver-plate. The
laws under which silver (and gold) plate is manufactured in this country were originally framed upon
protection principles, and they are sought to be
maintained and even extended now upon the same
principles, and the good old Tory Goldsmiths' Company oppose the slightest attempt at reform. When
I say the Goldsmiths' Company, I ought to say the
clerk of the Goldsmiths' Company, inasmuch as the
Company, i.e., the governing body, the Court, as a
rule, know nothing of the craft and its requirements.
The Company are in the possession of certain ancient
laws, and by their officers exercise certain functions.
Reform to those officers means revolution. It is
not wonderful, therefore, that they should oppose
reform. It is true that there are some goldsmiths
and silversmiths on the Court; but who are they ?
one, the senior member, is my father—a thorough
reformer—who has had to pay for his reforming
opinions by being kept out of the chair of the Company. He was passed over and not allowed to be
a warden. No. 2 is Mr. F. B. Thomas, of Bond
Street, a dealer in, and therefore a worshipper of,
hall-marked plate; a very unlikely man to want
reform. No. 3 is Mr. Smith, of King Street, a
thorough protectionist manufacturer. No. 4 is Mr.
Lambert, of Coventry Street, also a dealer in secondhand plate. These three gentlemen represent the
entire trades of gold and silver, and watch case
makers in the United Kingdom, inasmuch as my
father has long since ceased to interfere. I think
this alone shows a case for reform. All the rest of
the members of the Court are wholly unconnected
with the crafts as far as the laws relating to hall
marking are concerned. One is an assayer, and
another is a bullion broker, but of really craftmembers there are but four. For many years there
were but two. However, be there four or forty,
Mr. Prideaux, the clerk, is de facto the Company;
there is nothing wonderful in this. Nearly every
vestry clerk in London if a lawyer is de facto, the
vestry. Mr. Dangerfield, vestry clerk of St. Martinin-the-Fields, has for 30 years been the vestry ! !
Such a power in the hands of one man must, I hold,
be most detrimental to the best interests of an artistic
trade such as that of the silversmith. But to return
to the Goldsmiths' Company. I have already said
that I object to being governed in the pursuit of my
calling by 'a self-elected body of men.' I ought to
have said 'self-created.' The modes of election to
the Goldsmiths' Company are threefold, first, by
servitude; secondly, patrimony; thirdly, redemption, i.e., purchase. Certainly more than half the
present Court owe their position to the latter mode.
A., a rich merchant or banker, meets B., another
rich merchant or banker; A. asks B. to dine at
Hall; B. likes it!! (well he may!). A. then asks
B. whether he would like to join Company. B.
having said 'Yes' (as well he may!), A. moves at
next Court that B. be 'admitted to the Freedom of
the Company upon payment of the usual fine and
'fees.' He is so admitted. Every two or three years,
upon death of 10 liverymen, there is 'a call' to the
livery. Wardens nominate 15 freemen, Court elect
10. It need not be said that B. is nominated and
elected. Then upon death of a member of the Court
up goes 'B.' over the heads of 150 older liverymen.
This is the way in which by far the greater part of
the Court have been elected. Be it remembered
that these gentlemen, although wholly unconnected
with the crafts, become ipso facto masters of the
crafts, and being necessarily Conservatives (or they
never would have been elected) reform finds no
friends in them; on the contrary directly they get on
the Court, the little reform they might previously
have had in their composition is snuffed out—or
woe betide them !! What in my opinion is wanted
is this: all their compulsory powers should be take
from them. Under a voluntary system of hallmarking the trade would flourish; under the present
system the trade is rapidly becoming worse and
worse. Of course with their enormous income much
could be done by the Goldsmiths' Company for the
benefit of the crafts—by technical education. At
present but little is being done, and that little all
wrong. They waste annually 500l. in prizes for
drawings. This sum might as well be thrown into
the road. Certain 'pot hunters' run after the
money every year, produce designs not worth sixpence (ask Mr. Poynter, R.A.), which designs never
are carried out; they used to be sent for exhibition
to a place in Tufton Street. I went there one day,
some weeks after the collection had been on view.
I was the second man in the trade who had put in
an appearance. I would not have taken the designs
as a lot if they had involved me in a half-a-crown
cab for their removal. Of course 'prizes for drawings' are not 'technical education.' The laughable
part of it is that whereas the Company do nothing
or nearly nothing for their own crafts they devote
3,800l. a year for the technical education of clergymen and lawyers, by means of scholarships or
rather exhibitions at Oxford and Cambridge, in
sums of 50l. per annum. It is lamentable to think
what good might be done at comparatively but
little cost, if the Company rightly understood their
responsibility to the trades. A few hundreds per
annum would support a technical school in which
much could be done. However, so long as Mr.
Prideaux reigns supreme in Foster Lane, I look
upon the matter of reform as utterly hopeless."
614. Have you formed any opinion as to the advantages or disadvantages to these Companies with
respect to trade, which seems to be the principal
subject of that letter?—Only so as to the Goldsmiths;
there are a few others, the Apothecaries, for instance,
but that is more regulated by Act of Parliament than
it is by their charter, and it is a sort of trading concern, an ordinary chemist's shop, administered by a
company; and then there is the Vintners' one of the
most mischievous powers that can possibly exist. A
man who is a member of the Vintners' Company opens
a house for the sale of wines without a magistrate's
licence. He is under certain control, it is true, but it
is a privilege that is mischievous.
615. (Chairman.) Is that only in the city, or
generally ?—I know one at the West End.
616. (Mr. Firth.) Have any illustrations of the
exercise of that right come under your notice ?—There
617. Was there not one in connexion with the Royal
Exchange ?—Yes. Of course the Stationers' Company presumably exercise some little control, but their
funds are not used for that purpose, fees are paid.
The same with the Gunmakers.
618. The Stationers, I think, have a certain right,
or at any rate they issue a considerable number of
almanacks?—Yes; they had Old Moore's at one
619. And they have Old Moore's still, have they
not?—Yes. What I look at is that their funds are
not used for the purposes of trade; they charge fees
when they do any duty, which cover the cost of it;
and the same with the Gunmakers, if they prove a gun
they charge a fee, which covers the cost. The Fishmongers' Company I have referred to as having two
inspectors, and we could nominate them from the city,
without having a big company to do it.
620. Are you aware of any other Company that at
present exercise any influence, useful or otherwise,
over trade ?—I know of none. The Clothworkers have
not done it for 150 years, and as to the Mercers' Company, there is not a mercer in it. A century ago
they wrote they were different to other Companies,
they had one mercer.
621. How long ago is it since that was written ?—
1760; it is very quaint writing.
622. Have you ascertained, either from the register
or elsewhere, how far members of the Companies are
members of the trades the names of which the Companies bear ?—Knowing a large mass of the public in
London in different trades, I have taken from the
register the names of men who represent the trades;
Distillers and Brewers have more names than any
623. What do you find to be the general condition
of the Companies, from that point of view ?—The
trades are not represented. This illustration of the
Goldsmiths' Company is remarkable. It has the
largest number of any, except the Distillers.
624. Did you look into the case of the Merchant
Taylors?—Yes; the reason I included the Merchant
Taylors is that I do not see their name in the list, and
the same with the Drapers, the Mercers, and the
625. We know something, for example, of the Company you have just mentioned; do you know that 200
or 300 years ago the Merchant Taylors used to go
with a cloth yard into Bartholomew fair ?—That is
part of their history; they boast that a number of
men who were on the craft of their company have been
Lord Mayors of London, and the same with the
Grocers' Company. It was part of their great pride;
and one gentleman in the city, Mr. Orridge, wrote a
book to show the association of those mayors with
their craft, and with the noble families with which
they became allied.
626. You have directed public attention, in the press
and otherwise, to this state of things ?—To the absolute decay of the Companies. They are no longer of
any use whatever; it is absolute desuetude.
627. Now, as to the future, are you of opinion that
any useful service ought to be rendered by all or any
of these Companies to the trades whose names they
bear ?—Of course, we could provide a scheme of
technical education, and from the Companies, assuming that the original craftsmen returned to them, we
could have a devolution of useful work, but not as
they are at present constituted.
628. Would the appropriation of their funds to
technical education meet with your support ?—Yes,
but I should want a much longer inquiry than has
been hitherto made before they began to expend money
for that purpose.
629. Did they begin to expend money for that
purpose before or after the agitation of which you have
spoken ?— (fn. 6) After; and the 25,000l. for the London
Hospital was after that agitation. A vast amount of
money was given in various ways after our agitation,
and I think they are a little premature and hasty in this
scheme of technical education. I admit its value, but
I think we should have more inquiry: men like Professor Huxley, and other men who have expressed
opinions, do not think it is upon a right basis. Professor Huxley wrote to the "Times" strongly about
630. With regard to a Company like the Salters'
Company, what would you think of the possibility of
dealing with those trades in the way of technical
education, or for a trade appropriation of their funds?
—I do not see that it applies to those; modern
legislation has provided an inspector with power
to examine into the proper quality of goods, and an
analyst is appointed to the several vestries of the
631. In the case of a company like the Salters'
Company, what would you say would be the course
which you would suggest ?—They have allowed the
work to pass out of their hands, and they have allowed
public analysts to be appointed to do it throughout the
metropolis; there is nothing for them to do, and we
do not want them.
632. Then do you think the whole property of a
company like that should be made available for public
purposes ?—Yes, the greater includes the less. I include them all in it.
633. Are you aware of the contention which has
been forcibly advanced on behalf of the companies,
that their property is private in the sense that it is
completely at their own disposal ?—Yes.
634. What do you say as regards that contention?—
Having a municipal basis, and being part of the corporation of the city, I think it follows the principle of
the clause of the Act of 1835, to which I have referred, and it is public property, it is in no sense
private. I contend that even their gold and silver,
and their furniture are public property, and that any
devolution of the continuity of this principle to
another concern, it, of right, follows it, as the Bristol
property after reform came to the modern corporation
of Bristol, and Leeds the same; in fact, in the case of
Leeds, it is historic that an action was brought to
recover property which has been sold, and it was successful. I can form no idea of any pretext upon
which the word "private" can attach to property
which has come into the possession of those guilds.
I will even carry it to the extent of including Swaites'
bequest of 20,000l. to make themselves comfortable.
I say, absolutely, that is public property. Everything
belonging to the company is public. If our contention be right, that their charters are gone, and that
they had before the charter a property, then, I say,
you were not content with your title, you asked for the
charter, and if your charters are forfeited then we are
going to deal with an intestate estate, and Parliament
must take it, and must sit down and make new rules
to administer it.
635. (Mr. Alderman Cotton.) May I ask what your
profession or calling is ?—I am a land agent.
636. I think you went some time ago upon a deputation to the Home Secretary, and the Duke of
Westminster was with you?—Yes.
637. Did you, in putting forward your argument
for the widening of the municipality of London, turn
to the Duke of Westminster and address him thus:
"And then you, your Grace, might condescend to
become Lord Mayor of London" ?—I did not say
that; if any one, Lord Elcho did; but I do not think
he used the word "condescend." Sir R. Cross can
confirm this. What he did say was "that his noble
friend (the Duke of Westminster) might aspire to
be the first Lord Mayor."
638. And you acquiesced in that statement ?—Yes,
I should like to propose the Duke of Westminster as
first Lord Mayor of United London.
639. Your political views are very extreme, are
they not ?—No, I am one of the most moderate of
640. Up to the present time the position of Lord
Mayor of London has been filled by the middle classes,
and I understand that you would take it from the
middle classes and place it in the hands of the
aristocracy?—No, certainly not. At present the
aristocracy have not been represented. When we
have this municipality (though it is not within the
scope of this Commission to deal with this) I think
it would be a compliment, when all classes are going
to unite on a representative basis for the formation,
creation, and support of an entire municipality, to make
a man of the eminence of the Duke of Westminster with
his large property the first mayor; and that Ave of the
humbler classes should show that we respect the
owners of property, and that the municipality is not
in antagonism with the aristocracy, but that in the
sense of the words of Lord Derby friendliness exists
between all classes in this country no matter what their
divergence of opinion may be.
641. I believe you agree with me that it has been
the fault of the aristocracy themselves that they have
not been Lord Mayors of London up to this moment?
—If you had let London extend as London was found
to extend into Farringdon Without and Cripplegate,
and had taken in all London then there would have
been a chance for the aristocracy; but they are not
shopkeepers in the city, or tradesmen in the city, and
are not eligible as members of any guild to hold the
post. A man must be a member of a guild to be Lord
Mayor of London.
642. As I understand you are for sweeping away
the whole of the Halls; you would do away with the
whole of them ?—All of them.
643. And you would take all the property which is
now held by the guilds from them of whatever kind?
—I do not take it, I change the body that is to possess
it, that is the municipality of London instead of the
guilds; it is a continuity of the administration; the
heirs coming into possession of their property.
644. Are you aware that the guilds are quite distinct from the corporation ?—They are the municipal
basis of the corporation.
645. But that is only as regards the voting?—What
else would you have, they are part and parcel of the
corporation of the City of London, and you have to present your choice to the Court of Aldermen for approval.
646. Surely you do not believe their property to be
part and parcel of the corporation?—Certainly, I
cannot disassociate it; it would not be theirs were
they not what they are, it would not have been left
647. But if they had been elsewhere would not it
have been left them for the same purpose ?—If it were
a club in Pall Mall, for instance?
648. Yes?—No, there is no municipal franchise
attaching to a club in Pall Mall.
649. You would take their property from them
because they possess the franchise ?—They are municipal public bodies and cannot hold private property.
650. You were instancing just now the case of the
Grocers' Company having property which they paid
9l. 2s. a year for, and you said they had made no
return of it ?—9l. 2s. is the return, that is a trust called
651. They have returned the present rental ?—But
they return 9l. 2s. as the income of the charity.
652. I understood you to say that they had not
made that return ?—Yes, they have done so.
653. And you said that the returns would be much
larger in consequence ?—That is a typical case which
would apply to a great many.
654. I am anxious for the honour of the Company
that that should be set right; they have set forth the
present rental which they are receiving for those
properties ?—In so far as I have attacked their honour
it was upon the ground that they returned the 9l. 2s.
only; they never said there was a return of 20,000l.
behind it, but now we have got it the object of the
Commission is served. (fn. 7)
655. Would you take any of the properties from the
Companies who hold by Act of Parliament ?—So far
as an Act of Parliament would override a charter,
656. It says here that "the title of the Companies is
based upon Acts of Parliament, it has been repeatedly
held by the Court of Chancery that the Companies
are actually entitled to the whole increment of the
rents as corporate and not trust property" ?—
They cannot separate corporate from any property
which I call public; I do not understand the word
"corporate" as meaning "private."
657. Then you do not agree with the Court of
Chancery in that respect ?—That is a decision of a
century ago. The public were not represented when
those decisions were given; and I think if we had
the public represented now we should have rather a
different decision. I do not call in question the
knowledge of Lord Eldon or any of the men who
made these decrees, but the public were not repre
sented. Look at the case of Donkyn; (fn. 8) the public
were represented, and the Attorney-General made a
great fight. The Wax Chandlers' was another case.
658. Had you anything to do with bringing about
the Charity Commission ?—It was before my time, in
1853; I was a very young man then.
659. You are aware that the whole of the charity
property of the guilds held in trust is now under the
control or supervision of that body ?—If that be so,
then the reports of the Charity Commissioners to the
Home Secretary and Parliament are very wrong, because they state the deficiency of their power—that
they have no right to inquire into anything, the income of which is 50l. a year, except with the consent of the governing body of the charity; and that
the only chance they have got of getting into their
secrets is if an improvement takes place touching city
property they must go to the Charity Commissioners
about the re-investment of the money; and then the
Charity Commissioners get hold of it and use their
powers. If you like I will bring the 15th, 16th, 17th,
and 27th Reports of the Charity Commissioners.
660. They say "No account of the rents was
given if the title was not disputed by the Charity
Commissioners." That applies to the case of the
9l. 2s., does it not?— (fn. 9) I do not dispute the Charity
Commissioners' decision. This 9l. 2s. was the income
from six cottages and gardens and yards somewhere
about the year 1500. The entire income was given to
be divided in certain ways; then I say as a matter of
law that every shilling of that property, to whatever
it may amount, must be used for the same purposes.
661. (Sir Richard Cross.) It must depend upon
the deed which gives it ?—If he said the residue or
remainder to same purpose, well and good, but still it
would it would be public property in my point of
662. (Mr. Alderman Cotton.) You spoke of the
Bluecoat School, St. Paul's School, and the Charterhouse as being the property of the poor ?—Yes.
663. And that it ought to return to them?—Yes.
664. Have you any idea as to the relative position
of those who now enjoy the benefits of the Bluecoat
School compared with those who enjoyed them at the
time when the school was founded; may it not be
benefiting a somewhat similar class ?—I do not know
whether you have read Stow's history. He says that
the children were gutter children, and he speaks of
them as such, and he says that 400 children were
taken out of the streets within one month of its
establishment; and I do not think that that is the
class at present in possession. If the school board had
it as a truant school it would be a magnificent use,
with certain changes.
665. Are you aware as to the limit which excludes
children from being admitted into the Bluecoat School?
—Yes, I have all the rules, and how a class of this
kind can go into it I do not know. The father must
state that he is a pauper, and three other people
must bear witness that he is a pauper; the churchwardens of the parish and the rector or vicar of the
parish must certify that the parents have no means of
bringing their children up. I have seen the Bluecoat
boys riding in their carriages and pairs, and I have
seen them coming out of houses in Portland Place.
666. (Mr. Pell.) According to the bequest they
must be in receipt of parish relief ?—No, but in Christ's
Hospital the parents cannot enter a boy unless the
parish gets a certificate that they will take care of him,
if so required by the Hospital.
667. (Mr. Alderman Cotton.) What would be the
wages of an artizan? I suppose you would put an
artizan's child in, would you not, under the new rules?
—No. The pride of an ordinary working man would
not let him sign the certificate.
668. Are you aware that the real exclusion from
Christ's Hospital is the possession of a larger income
than 300l. a year ?—I will bring the report of 1816,
where it is all set out. I will bring Brougham's
report, and Mr. Farren's report, and Mr. Hare's report.
They are most instructive documents, which you
669. Personally, I understand that you have no
objection to the middle class enjoying the benefit of
these schools as they have done for many years past?—
They belong to the poor, and the middle class begrudge
paying even now the school board rate. The "Times"
contention was that you should give compensation
in endowments to the middle class, and the school
board to the humbler people; but do not begrudge the
school board rate, and do not begrudge the education
that is given in the schools.
670. You spoke of technical education, and you
said that you do not approve of it, as at present commenced ?—No. I take the view of Professor Huxley
that sufficient inquiry had not been made, and that
the matter was jumped forward, to appease the demand of public opinion for something. They should
have stopped and have thought more about it, though
I give them credit for what they have done. The
Goldsmiths' Company talked about exhibitions at the
universities, that requires very grave thought and
care; it is put down as a public object, but 3,800l. a
year, to be spent out of their moderate fund, for that
purpose, is an expenditure that I should resist.
671. Would you do away with the fees paid by the
freemen on admission, and the liveryman when he
takes up his livery, and the fees he pays when going
on the court?—I should abolish them altogether.
672. Have they not helped to build up the property
of the guilds?—Which they paid into a public body
with a full knowledge of their duties, and if they
would not perform those duties I claim that money.
673. You have said for many years, at least, they
have not been the inspectors of the various crafts,
and that the crafts have had nothing to do with it ?—
674. Then you cannot accuse those who have
joined the guilds in these days of going into it as a
guild, following a particular craft ?—I do. I draw a
general indictment there. You have raised the fees
of admission to a price which no artizan can pay.
You pay a hundred guineas to the Vintners' and the
Goldsmiths', and you prohibit the artizan from coming
in, and I say on the contrary, you might go to the Court
of Chancery and say, "These men are not legal members of that guild, because they have forfeited their
charter, and you must reduce their fees so as to
enable any member of those trades to join them, as
it was originally."
675. You have not prepared a scheme, have you, for
the use of the money of the guilds, supposing it should
be handed over to you ?—I have mentioned several
subjects of utility, the extension of education and open
spaces, which would benefit all classes, the extension
of hospitals, and the training of nurses, and exhibitions.
676. (Sir Richard Cross.) You stated that you did
not see any difference between corporate property and
trust property. The Charity Commissioners at all
events have the power and insist upon looking at the
accounts, and upon having accounts rendered of what
is called trust property ?—Yes.
677. And there a distinction is made, is there not,
between trust property and corporate property; one
being clothed with a trust and the other not; do you
agree in that distinction ?—I do not think you have
correctly stated it as they state it in their reports;
they set out in their own reports the amount of money
that they have taken into their hands and controlled;
they do not call it corporate property, they call it
678. The Charity Commissioners have had, and are
bound to have, the accounts rendered to them of the
property which is clothed directly with a trust which
amounts to about 200,000l. a year belonging to the
Companies. Then there is other property of about
500,000l. a year, with regard to which the Charity
Commissioners do not call for accounts, it not being
clothed with a distinct trust; do you agree in the
distinction between the two terms ?—So far as the
Charity Commissioners put it, yes; but I do not agree
in the definition of the word "corporate" as you put
679. Is your contention this, that taking the Guilds
as they stand, every property which they hold, down
to their pictures and plate, is all public property to
this extent, that it is meant for public use?—Yes.
680. That it is for the benefit of the public and not
of the individuals for the time being existing in the
681. Has your attention ever been turned to the
body called Serjeants' Inn ?—Yes.
682. Do you believe that they held their property
on the same footing that these Companies do ?—I think
if the sale had been contested it would have been
683. Are you aware that they have divided the property amongst themselves?—Yes.
684. Those gentlemen who sold that property were
very learned people, and were bound to know the law,
were they not.?—Yes. We know also that there have
been a great many errors on the part of very learned
people, as set out by Lord Brougham in his celebrated
letter to Sir Samuel Romilly.
685. I want to know whether you would have contended, as a matter of fact, that the property belonging
to the members of Serjeants' Inn was public in the
same sense that you contend that all the property that
belongs to these Companies is public?—I have not
looked into that as I have into the Inner Temple, which
is distinctly public property; nor do I sufficiently
know the origin of Serjeants' Inn. I only know the
contention of some people and my contention, namely,
that if they had been stopped by legal procedure the
sale would not have taken place.
686. Are you aware having looked into the question
of the Companies that the Crown made great exactious
in early times, in the time of the Stuarts, and the
Tudors, after they got their charters?—Yes, both
in the time of Edward the Sixth and Henry the
687. They suffered very considerably, did they not,
at the time of the fire of London ?—They did.
688. And I believe most of the halls of the Companies were burnt down ?—Yes, public property was
689. And they were restored to a great extent, were
they not, by the munificence of members of the Companies at the time ?—There is a little difference about
that. The City got into debt and became insolvent
and we were taxed in some way, I think it was by a
penny tax upon coal, which has been continued from
that time to this, to pay off that indebtedness. It has
grown as you know from 1d. to 4d., and 1s. 1d., and
690. A good many of the Companies were at that
time almost reduced to bankruptey, were they not?—
691. And did not a great number of men who
belonged to the Companies come forward and advance
large sums?—Herbert, and Jupp in his history of the
Carpenters, in their books represent the indebtedness as
a given time, the sacrifices made, and how they were
692. Still, money was given, was it not, by members,
with which the halls were rebuilt ?—Yes.
693. Then you do not think that any devise or gift
could be made to any of these Companies which would
not practically be public property ?—Certainly not.
694. You are aware, are you not, that there always
has been a distinction drawn in the courts of law
between those deeds which give property to a body or
to a person on condition that he makes a payment to
B., and those cases where there is a devise or a gift for
the benefit of A. and B. ?—I put it as a footnote. I
took legal opinion upon it, in order to know whether
I was right in my view of the law.
695. You do not differ from that, do you ?—No.
696. I am reading from the judgment of Lord
Cairns in the case of the Attorney-General v. the
Wax Chandlers' Company: "As was said by Lord
Kingsdown in your Lordships' House, in the case
of the Dean and Canon of Windsor, there is the
same difference between these two classes of cases
as there is between a devise to A. upon condition
that he makes a payment to B., and a devise of
land for the benefit of A. and B. together"?—No
doubt that is the law. I should like to have this
pamphlet put in (handing in the same).
697. Is your opinion expressed in this foot note at
the bottom of page 15 ?—It is.
698. You say, "The law has in too many cases
applied decisions which would be perfectly just as
between an individual benefited under a will subject
to his satisfying other bequests; but does this rule
of construction apply as to these public and
charitable gifts, which applies to a private will, or
rather a will of private property to relations. Thus
if A. left a house let at a rent of 50l., with a direction that B. should pay 25l. a year to C., and 20l. a
year to D., he is held to have given to B. the
whole estate beyond the 45l., and if it comes to
1,000l. a year B. is entitled to have the whole
residue. If this were a gift for charitable purposes
there should be a different construction for the public benefit, and the charitable objects should justly
increase in proportion as the value or produce of the
property increased. The companies say, in most of
these cases, we pay the fixed sums, and the rest is
given to our use. Our case then is: You are public bodies, and the only uses you have a right to
apply it to are public uses. As the old ones have
failed, it is the duty and business of the Legislature
to find new ones for the public benefit." Do I
understand that your ground for appropriating the
money of these Companies and giving it to the proposed municipality or to any other purpose rests upon
their being municipal institutions to start with ?—Yes,
public bodies. (fn. 10)
699. But the Commissioners who sat to inquire into
the operation of the Municipal Corporations Act some
time ago did not consider them as municipal institutions, did they ?—Clause 92 of the Act of Parliament
of 1835 did. Take, for instance, the report upon
700. I am talking of these Companies ?—The same
thing followed then; legislation took place and included them in Clause 92 of the Act of 1835.
701. I am speaking of the Municipal Commission
of 1834; are you aware that there were serious doubts
entertained at that time as to whether these Companies
were municipal corporations at all ?—I know there were
legal opinions to that effect expressed, and that is the
reason given, I think, for the Merchant Taylors Company not replying to the questions of the Commissioners. That is set out in Herbert.
702. And they did not reply, did they ?—No; they
703. And I believe no action was taken in consequence of their refusal ?—None.
704. They thought they were right?—They were
705. With regard to the trust property that is
administered by these Companies, which amounts to
200,000l. a year, have not the Charity Commissioners
from time to time reported that in their opinion that
part of the business has been managed very well by
the Companies, and that they had no fault to find with
their administration of it?—I am not of their opinion,
taking the Keeble case as an example.
706. You know that they have made that report, do
you not ?—Yes.
707. So far as regards those particular charities,
amounting to 200,000l. a year, would you be content
that the Charity Commissioners should have it in their
power to make fresh schemes with respect to them ?—
No, I should not.
708. Why not?—I want the whole of the 200,000l.
709. Would you be content that the Charity Commissioners should make any suggestions for a new
scheme?—No; I have lost all faith in the Charity
Commissioners after the Christ's Hospital scheme.
710. Why have you lost all faith in the Charity
Commissioners?—They wanted to make Christ's
Hospital a great middle-class boarding school, and
they have assented to the Charterhouse School going
out of London, whereas they should be schools for the
poor of London; they also consented to the removal
of St. Paul's School to Hammersmith. I want a more
popular body represented. I think trades unions
should be represented upon the Charity Commission.
711. Would you trust the Metropolitan Board of
Works ?—Not for anything.
712. Why not?—Because I have no faith in them.
I want a directly elected body. I want brains where
I have a public body.
713. Then I presume you would not trust the
vestries ?—No. I should like to take the whole of
their charitable funds from them.
714. What is your objection to the vestries?—They
are not composed of the class of men who should administer a charity.
715. Do you think that by direct election in such a
great place as London you would get people who
would be the best persons to devise schemes for administering these charities?—Yes, where it is on a
broad basis like the school board, which is an important example.
716. Would you like the election to be conducted
like that of the school board ?—Yes, you may make
variations, but if the municipality is elected direct
from the electors, better men may come forward.
717. Do you not think that if this million a year
which you speak of is to be given to the poor of London,
it will have a very serious effect upon London in the
course of time ?—No, not as we propose to administer
it, for purposes of public utility; it is theirs, and I
do not know any reason why they should not possess
their own property.
718. I will now come to the question of the school.
One of your objections was, and I may agree with you,
that some of the moneys belonging to schools like the
Charterhouse, have been taken away from the poor and
given to the rich, and that the poor are educated in the
rate-paying schools in consequence ?—Yes.
719. And in consequence of that the rate-payers
have to supply the rates ?—Yes, they largely contribute
to it, being the majority; they contribute the larger
720. I believe they get as good an education as you
could wish under the school board ?—No.
721. Do not they ?—No, I want a much higher education at those schools than they are having; the great
inequalities of fortune in life have to be got over by the
highest possible education. To a child coming into the
world, of whatever class he is, the bitterness and antagonism is gone when he is trained for the race with the
highest education you could give him.
722. Could you send a boy into a high school unless
he is fit for it ?—He would pass his examination in the
lower school, and go to a higher school; if he still pursued his career of merit he would go to the universities,
precisely as they do in Christ's Hospital, and I can see
no reason of class why you should not produce many
good men. Louis Cavagnari was a Christ's Hospital
boy, and that man had from Christ's Hospital for
nothing as good an education as he could have got in
20 other schools, but he kept another boy out who
might have been another Louis Cavagnari.
723. If you relieved the rates by this money, you
would devote a good deal of it to relieve the rich, would
you not?—You cannot help that; you do relieve the
rich, no doubt, to that extent; but the public purpose
to which we should devote this money would generally
require new departures. The rate for the Metropolitan
Board of Works, and the rate of the School Board,
you allow to be paid out of another fund altogether.
Parliament passed a Bill which I promoted, in 1860 and
1868, which reduced the income of the Gas Companies
1,209,000l. a year; nobody said that that money should
not keep in the hands of the ratepayers, in fact it pays
the Metropolitan Board rate, School Board rates, and
freeing the bridges.
724. Your great object in that matter was to relieve
the ratepayers' burdens ?—Yes, the Metropolitan Board
of Works gave evidence that the burden was becoming
725. Would it be a wise application of all this
money that it should go to relieve the ratepayers ?—I
do not say all of it. London open spaces take a great
deal of money, only you do not build hospitals out of
the rates as you ought to.
726. May not the Companies themselves be entrusted
with the administration of some of these funds ?—
Why did not they give 25,000l. to the London Hospital before we began our agitation. I admit that
they have done for the London Hospital what is a good
work, but I have not seen that they have used the
money so wisely and well before. A dinner at the
Goldsmiths' Hall is not a very elevating sight, and I
think that the emptying of the Halls is a still less
elevating sight. (fn. 11)
727. (Mr. Pell.) You said that you regarded
everything belonging to the Companies as public ?—
728. Would you tell me what you mean by "public"?—That they are public bodies instituted to perform public trusts, and that everything that goes into
their coffers, or into their possession, is public property,
and should follow the original purpose for which it
was granted to them. They are to control the trades
and keep up the mysteries.
729. What sense do you attach to the word "public"
in respect of property ?—Take a dockyard, that is
nominally called Her Majesty's property, but as a
matter of fact it is national property, and could not be
parted with except with the consent of the Legislature;
this property in the same sense is used for the purpose
and duties of these guilds.
730. Do you not go further and impose a limitation
upon this public property, if it was to serve the interest of the poor alone, which is not the case with
Her Majesty's dockyard ?—That seems reasonable,
but most of these bequests invariably use the term
poorer classes or paupers. Eton College was to be a
school for paupers.
731. When your subsidised hospitals were established, would you deny admission into them, they being
established out of this public money, to the middle
classes ?—Certainly not; but I go much farther. I
want to make the administration of that property the
municipal work of London.
732. Do you hold the same views with respect to
schools as you do with regard to hospitals ?—I should
make them the same as in America, every child should
go to the same school.
733. I thought your contention was that a sum
should be devoted as regards education to the middle
classes ?—You did not take my reservation. I said
that when a compact was made of board schools for
the working class, and endowments for the middle
class, at least we expected in no ungrudging spirit that
they would pay the School Board rate, but they imme-
diately set up an antagonism with the view of reducing
the quality and quantity of the education. I should
look round and see who are entitled to it and have not
734. You think that the hospital should be more
generally open to the public than the free schools?—
No, I would put everybody into schools; I would not
have a voluntary school.
735. And everybody might have in the same sense
the free use of the hospital ?—Yes, and pay rates
736. (Chairman.) When you say that all the property of these Companies in your view is public
property, I did not understand you to be describing
what you supposed to be the actual legal position of
the law, but rather that you were speaking of what
in your view ought to be if the law were modified
to make it so ?—As a popular view outside the legal.
737. You did not describe what has been, but what
in your judgment ought to be ?—Yes.
738. (Sir Richard Cross.) Is that so ?—I say "in
my judgment is so."
739. (Chairman.) How do you say "it is so,"
do you mean that it is so legally ?—I say so, my
Lord. I say this is part of the corporation.
740. If your view is correct, there would be no
necessity for application to Parliament at all, in order
to deal with the property of the Companies, because
if it is legally applicable to public uses a court of law
would give the redress which you think desirable ?—
No; we must first of all repeal the charters which
give them the power to hold it. Then when you have
repealed their charters you must ask somebody to say
what other body may be entrusted. So long as they
hold the charters, and the land is left in mortmain, it
cannot be so. I say their charters should be declared
741. (Sir Richard Cross.) Surely if it is public property, the Chancery Division of the High Court of Justice,
or some other division, would enforce its being applied
to public uses ?—Take the case of Donkin's Charity
as an example, but where will you get an attorney
general to fight a battle again like that? (fn. 12)
742. Then it is because you think attorney-generals
are weak ?—No; the office of attorney-general ought
to be a department of the Government, so as to deal
with these things.
743. (Mr. Pell.) Did not you say that the old
judgments of 100 years ago were very different from
what you might expect to obtain from courts of the
present day ?—Yes; if they had our modern interpretation of that one case of Keble's, they would have
given us the relief we asked for.
744. (Sir Richard Cross.) But as often as it has
been tried in the courts of law, the attorney-general
has been beaten ?—Yes, but Donkin's case is a very
745. They have been beaten in 99 cases out of 100 ?
—Before those two, but an individual cannot do it.
We have often thought of trying to raise money to
have a suit.
746. (Mr. James.) I believe it is the case that in
a debate which took place in Parliament upon the
corporation, and upon the Report of the Municipal
Commissioners of 1837 (I have been unable to get
the exact reference), it was stated by the attorneygeneral of the day, after the debate in the House
of Commons, and an examination of the case, that
the general sense of the House was that these bodies
were municipal corporations. Have you that passage ?
—I thought I showed it to you some time ago.
747. Your allegation is that the Companies hold a
position analogous to that which was held by the old
municipal corporations, previous to the Act of 1835 ?
748. And under the Act of 1835, special trustees
were appointed for the trust property, under the
Court of Chancery?—Under a particular clause,
where the property belonged to the Church of England, and the corporation did not appoint a sufficient
number of trustees, the Court of Chancery was to do
it before June of the following year.
749. That was suggested in the House of Lords ?—
750. And the corporate property was transferred
from the old corporation to a great body of ratepayers
in the new ?—Yes.
751. When you speak of the property of the Companies being public property, you mean that it is
property which should be under the control of a body
in some sense analogous to the town council in our
municipal corporations?—Precisely the same, except
that it is an unformed corporation, and those were
752. If you were to transfer all this property in
this manner from these old bodies to any other new
body, what provision would you make for compensation ?—Why should we have to compensate ourselves.
753. Supposing there was a clerk to one of the
Companies, what would you do with him ?—You must
protect all life interest.
754. Have you any scheme, or have you any suggestion to make with regard to that ?—In every Bill that
I have introduced we have had a clause for compensation of two thirds the salaries, but some of these
salaries are astounding; take Mr. Prideaux, 1,800l.
a year besides his fees as a lawyer for the Goldsmiths'
Company, for instance, and so on.
755. You would introduce the question of compensation ?—Certainly.
756. Now as to the vested interests of an individual,
take subscriptions given to public institutions; the
Goldsmiths' Company gives an enormous amount in
subscriptions, do they not ?—Could not we do that
with our own money, as well as the Goldsmiths' Company.
757. You would not provide for compensation in
those cases?—No, I think they have had it long
758. Are not there many of these objects you would
not dispute ?—Yes.
759. Then why take it from them ?—Because it is
other people's money, it is ours; let us administer it
760. To what purpose would you transfer it?—I
would put it into the common stock, to become the
property of all London, used for public purposes of
761. You spoke to Mr. Firth about the six different
Companies; the Apothecaries' Company, the Vintners'
Company, the Goldsmiths' Company, the Fishmongers'
Company, the Stationers' Company, and the Gunmakers' Company, all of which in the present day
retain some connexion with the trades. Would it be
well to dissever that old connexion which has existed
so many years, would you lose sight of that?—What
connexion is there between the Apothecaries' Company and an ordinary chemist? A public analyst
appointed to do work they ought to have done.
762. The Apothecaries' Company is rather a peculiar Company; the powers and regulation over trade
exercised by the Apothecaries' Company are extremely
large, and it is in a different position to that of any
other Company, is not that so ?—It does not exercise
them. You can take a drug to the Apothecaries'
Company and have it analysed, but the Apothecaries'
Company do not send round.
763. You must pay the license to the Apothecaries'
Company before you can sell drugs ?—It is under an
Act of Parliament.
764. The Apothecaries' Company is hardly a fair
case ?—Take the Gunmakers, they charge a fee; anybody else can do what they do down at Woolwich.
765. You think it is desirable to dissociate the Companies entirely from the old connexion they have
maintained ?—Out of 89 you come down to five or six,
who do nominally pursue something in the trade.
766. But still the old association which has so long
existed, would you have it entirely dissevered ?—I
would have it entirely ended.
767. You would have it entirely put an end to ?—
768. You have been acquainted with a great
number of members of these Companies, have you not,
at different times ?—They will not know me now; if
I have known a man for 20 years he does not know
769. May I ask whether you ever had an invitation
to join the Companies ?—Yes; many years ago a
member of the Corporation invited me to join a Company; they were then trying to resuscitate its numbers.
770. Have you frequently received such invitations ?
—No, that is the only time. I have often tried to
get information about the accounts of many Companies, but I have never succeeded in doing so.
771. Is it not the case when you are a member of a
Company, as a freeman or otherwise, that you take an
oath ?—Yes, I have brought the oaths here, and I
have marked here and there where it sustains that
contention of mine as to its being a mystery, or craft,
or trade guild only, and municipal in its objects.
772. Will you give us one sample ?—One is a
sample of the whole. "Declaration of a Freeman: I
solemnly, sincerely, and truly declare that I will
be good and true to our Sovereign Lady Queen
Victoria, and be obedient to the wardens of this
Company in lawful manner. I will also keep
secret the lawful councils of this fellowship. And
all manner of rules, impositions, and ordinances
that are now or hereafter shall be made and lawfully ordained, for the ordering and well governing
of the said fellowship, I will truly observe and obey
to my power. God save the Queen."
773. When you have met any members of the Corporation, and discussed this question with them, I
believe you usually find a distinct denial that the Companies and the Corporation are identified ?—Yes, as
Alderman Cotton has put it to-day, it is the universal
774. How do you account for that ?—The desire of
man to keep that which is good, and keep others out
who are trying to get in.
775. As to the trust property and the Corporate
property, the whole of the trust property is accounted
for by the Charity Commissioners, is it not ?—We
differ as to that. Where the trust is 9l. 2s., and
they return it to the Charity Commissioners, I admit
that the Charity Commissioners are satisfied that their
duties are fulfilled, but where the income is 25,000l.
a year, then I want it to come into trust property.
776. Into trust property or into public property ?—
I call them both public.
777. You do not dispute the judgment of Lord
Cairns ?—I say this paragraph of his Lordship meets
it, but it meets it on the exact lines.
778. I do not see how you reconcile that with what
you told me a moment ago, that you thought trust
property was to be treated in the same sense as public
property?—It belongs to the Corporation, but say it
is a fund of 25l., and a man left 5l. to A, 10l. to B,
and the rest to C; they might very easily pay the
amount to A and B, and keep the balance of the property; but if he left the whole income of the 25l. to
charity, then I do not care what form it assumes; you
must pay 25l. if it is so, for ever, to the same object,
and I put it that that is sound law.
779. (Mr. Alderman Cotton.) If it accumulated to
25,000l., would you divide it between the three men?
—That is what you do at the Charterhouse. You
have eighty old men living there, at a cost of 250l. each.
I would make to each an allowance of 80l. or 100l. a
year, realise the site, and convert the whole into a
780. (Mr. Pell.) How do you connect the Charterhouse with the Corporate Companies ?—I would have
the money used for the same objects, but extend its
benefits. Four nobles were left for dinners at St. Paul's
School, and they spend 200l., and have 153 scholars.
I would either go back to the four nobles, or increase
the number of scholars.
781. Would you say the same with regard to Eton ?
—Eton is a pauper school, but it does not belong to
London. The original statutes of Eton distinctly
define it as a pauper school.
782. Take the case of Christ's Hospital; are you
aware that the original endowment of Christ's Hospital was the endowment of old Grey Friars, and
that the large increase in the revenues of Christ's
Hospital have been in consequence of the large
bequests which have been virtually given during the
last 200 years ?—It is left to a certain object, and I
claim it for the original object, for the poor, destitute,
and homeless children.
783. Are you aware that a great deal of that money
was not left for that object, but that some of it was
left under specific trusts?—King Charles the Second's
School is one I would not touch, but the original
bequest of King Edward was for poor, fatherless, and
destitute children, and he went beyond that, for he
founded other institutions for men and women.
784. Because a man leaves 10,000l. in the year 1800
for the education of children in Christ's Hospital, he
meant that that 10,000l. was to be given to the education of gutter children; is that what you say ?—No, I
take the actual words, and the historic fact that 400
poor children were in a month taken from the streets.
I stop at that, and I would administer it as they administered it.
785. You only use this as an illustration as to how
you think the property should be dealt with ?—I use
it as an illustration to show how badly it has been administered in modern days.
786. I understand you to say as to corporate trust
property you would not allow the Charity Commissioners to have any control over it ?—If the body called
Charity Commissioners were much changed from what
it is at present, I would.
787. What body would you have ?—You have two
Bills before the House how, to make two bodies of
Commissioners to deal with large City Charities.
788. Would you put it entirely in the hands of an
elected body ?—If it came to be the Municipality of
789. (Mr. Aderman Cotton.) Are you aware that
a new Governor of Christ's Hospital pays 500l. ?—It
is the best investment a man can make; I have five
boys and I could have educated them all for 500l.,
instead of spending that per annum for years and
790. That is part of the charity which you would
not object to ?—I would abolish it to-morrow.
791. It keeps up the funds of the Hospital, does it
not ?—I would not allow a master to take pupils on his
own account in a school, or any governor to nominate
scholars, because by so doing the poor go to the wall,
and the rich take the most.
792. (Mr. James.) You have said you have seen
children riding in carriages educated in Christ's Hospital; that does not show that they are not the children
of comparatively humble persons?—It is a tolerable
proof to the contrary. In that particular case I do not
know that I could prove that they were rich, but in
Farren's Reports he states that the boys come back to
school suffering from a surfeit of cake; that would not
happen to the gutter children of London, or the poorer
793. Have there ever come within your knowledge
individual cases of malversation as to the management of these properties with reference to the duties
discharged by the members of the Companies ?—The
administration is so secret that I have not learnt anything about it, except from public documents.
794. Is there not a pamphlet written by Mr. John
Robert Taylor?—You might call Mr. John Robert
Taylor himself, and no doubt he would produce his
795. Do you recollect the individual against whom
he makes a charge in connexion with the mismanagement of property of a Company ?—I remember the
796. There were certain charges made by Mr.
John Robert Taylor against Sir Thomas Owden ?—
797. You are not acquainted with any others ?—
No, I do not know that I searched for malversations;
it was not so much my contention that these men
were doing a dishonourable thing, as that they were
not doing right; and not knowing what was the true
devolution of this property, I do not think I ever
inquired whether this property belonging to guilds was
ever let to a relative of a governor or warden.
The witness withdrew.
Adjourned to Wednesday, 26th April, at 4 o'clock.
FIFTH DAY. Wednesday, 26th April 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. Sir Richard Assheton Cross,
Sir Nathaniel M. de Rothschild, Bart., M.P.
Sir Sydney Waterlow, Bart., M.P.
Mr. Walter H. James, M.P.
Mr. Pell, M.P.
Mr. Joseph Firth, M.P.
Mr. H. D. Warr, Secretary.
Mr. James Beal recalled; further examined.
Mr. J. Beal.; 26 April 1882.
798. (Mr. Firth.) Have you to-day brought with
you the evidence of the Charity Commissioners themselves through their reports as to the point raised
last time, that they possessed sufficient control over
the charities connected with the City Companies?—I
have brought several reports of the Charity Commissioners, the 10th, the 11th, the 17th, the 18th, the 21st,
the 24th, the 25th, and the 29th to show that in each
of those reports they ask Parliament for further powers
to enable them to deal adequately with the great
trusts, and I have marked passages which sustain the
799. Is this one of them, in the 10th report, on the
4th page: "We are confident that the voluntary
resort to this simple and inexpensive jurisdiction
may be relied upon for producing progressively a
large improvement in the administration of endowed
charities, notwithstanding that our inability to exercise many of the most important powers vested in
us by the Charitable Trusts Act, 1860, except upon
the application of the trustees only in cases of charities possessing more than an inconsiderable income,
or of prescribed parties in other cases, involves an
important limitation of those beneficial provisions.
If the Legislature should think fit to remove hereafter or relax that restriction, we humbly consider
that great advantage would result from that change
of the law to the objects of the charities"?—That
800. You are aware that the Legislature has not
hitherto seen fit to remove or relax the restriction
there complained of?—I am; an effort was made
last year, but it failed.
801. With respect to the 11th report, you wish to
direct the attention of the Commission to the paragraph on page 5, in which the Charity Commissioners,
speaking of the Charities generally, say: "A considerable addition to the former income of many
charities comprised in those reports has resulted
from legal proceedings instituted since their date for
the restitution of charitable rights which had been
in suspense, and a yearly income of 22,420l. 3s. 2d.
is derived from new charities founded since the
former reports in the proportions of 11,780l. 9s. 4d.
arising from foundations made by will, and
10,639l. 13s. 10d. from charities founded by deed
or other acts, inter vivos. The remainder of the
increase is due in a very principal degree to the
improved productiveness of the endowments, the
value of which especially in the Metropolis and its
vicinity, has been very largely augmented, resulting
in some instances, especially of charities applicable
within the City of London, in a disproportion of the
endowments to the purposes or objects of the foundations, which may well deserve at no distant period
the interposition of the Legislature to regulate their
802. You also wish to draw the attention of the
Commission to the suggestions made at pages 5 and 6
of the 17th Report of the Charity Commissioners as
to the necessity of amending the Charitable Trusts
Acts in the direction of giving increased control over
charities of the kind with which we are dealing ?—I
do; there is the repetition of the same demand there.
The Charity Commissioners with respect to that
matter say: "In former reports we have adverted to
certain provisions of the Charitable Trusts Acts,
which in our judgment detracted more or less
seriously from the beneficial efficacy of those laws
for their designed objects, and have instanced particularly two of the most important of those provisions. The first, creating an uncontrolled right
of appeal from our most important orders if affecting any but minor endowments, exposed the
charities to a liability of becoming involved in illadvised and costly legislation contrary to their true
interests. The second restricts us from making
orders for the reconstitution of any considerable
charities, except upon the application of their
actual administrators, who may be opposed to all
reformation of their management. The Charitable
Trusts Act, 1869, passed during the last session of
Parliament, besides removing several minor imperfections, and improving the effect in other respects
of the previous Charitable Trusts Acts, has provided an effectual remedy for the first of the defects
to which we have referred. Requiring that all
appeals from our orders shall be made with the
approval of the Attorney-General, it has at the
same time preserved the right of the public to have
those orders revised in all proper cases, and has
placed as substantial a safeguard on appeals as the
Act of 1853 placed on all litigation affecting charities,
but which the Act of 1860 (probably without foreseeing the consequences) removed in the case of such
appeals only. This enactment has had the effect of
facilitating our proceedings and relieving us from a
very prejudicial constraint in the discharge of our
duties. We should look for a yet larger amount of
public benefit if the Legislature for remedying also
the second defect to which we have referred of the
existing Acts, should think fit to enable us to act
upon all endowments alike, upon other applications
than of their existing managers only, if not also to
act upon our own knowledge alone of the existence
of sufficient occasion for our intervention. The
Act of 1869, section 9, received a modification in
the course of its progress through Parliament,
which appears to us to deserve regret. It has been
our duty to prevent rigidly the charge on the public
purse of all expenses within our control connected
with the administration of particular charities. The
practice of requiring upon all applications for our
warrants for the disposal of charity properties, that
the surveys and other information required for our
guidance shall at the outset be provided by the
trustees from the funds in their hands exemplifies
this principle, to which we are able to adhere in
many other cases. The Act as originally framed
proposed that the Commissioners should have a
larger power of requiring the trustees of charities
to provide from the funds at their disposal certain
classes of expenses incurred at the instance and for
the necessary information of our board, but the
limitation of that provision to expenses only incurred
on the application of the trustees or other applicants has greatly lessened its beneficial operation.
The general law of charities, as distinguished from
the provisions made by the Charitable Trusts Acts
for its administration is matter for wider consideration. We have ventured in our former reports to
suggest that an expansion of that law is greatly
needed in the public interest for authorising a
larger latitude than is now permitted in the reappropriation of endowments of distant date to new
uses, and our whole experience impresses on us that
conviction. We think that such re-appropriation
might be made with great advantage in very
numerous cases, and that they might be accounted
to be in furtherance rather than to the disappointment of the general designs which it is just to
attribute to the founders of the endowments. Our
authority to propose legislative schemes for particular charities may be considered as of no effect
for the preceding general purpose." Then, as an
illustration, they refer to the case of Owen Jones's
Charity, at Chester: "In the case of Owen Jones's
Charity an endowment producing at the present
time upwards of 600l. per annum, is held for the
benefit of the poor of the several City Companies
in Chester. These Companies are 23 in number, and
whatever may have been the importance of their
functions at the time of the foundation of this charity,
they have, with the single exception of the Company
of Goldsmiths, long wholly ceased to have any
duties to perform for the public benefit, and with
that exception they continue to exist apparently for
no other object than to be enabled to divide amongst
their members the income of this endowment. They
exhibit, as is forcibly observed by Mr. Martin, the
anomaly of a body of recipients being continued for
the sake of the charity instead of the charity for the
sake of the recipients. The moral working of this socalled charityis sufficiently illustrated by the statement
of the case given in the Appendix; but mischievous
as its effects undoubtedly are, the evil in the present
state of the law is virtually irremediable, for so long
as these Companies, who are the declared objects of
the foundation, shall continue to exist, no scheme
can be established, either by the Court of Chancery
or by our board, which shall have the effect of compulsorily depriving them of its benefits, and of
transferring the endowment to really useful objects;
nor should we expect (with the experience we
possess) that any legislative scheme proposed by
our board for a similar object would succeed, in the
face of opposition from persons interested to maintain the existing state of things. The result is,
that an endowment, which, if placed under effective
regulation, might furnish largely the means of advancing the welfare of the industrial classes in the
important town for whose benefit it was designed,
will. unless some new legislative remedy shall be
applied, continue to operate to the degradation only
of its recipients."
803. With respect to the answer you gave as to the
limitation of 50l. you wish to direct the attention of
the Commission to the 18th Report of the Charity
Commissioners, pages 5 and 6. Perhaps I might be
permitted to read the first of those sentences:—"We
should anticipate especially much advantage from
the removal of the restriction, which is still placed
upon the exercise of our jurisdiction to make
orders for the regulation of any charity having a
gross yearly income of 50l. or more, except upon
the voluntary application of the trustees themselves,
who may be the persons most interested in preventing action in the matter. In our humble judgment, the authority of this Commission to take
measures for the correction of any maladministration of charities brought to its knowledge, or for
effecting any fit improvement of their application,
should not be dependent on the accidental disposition of individuals to appeal to its jurisdiction for
such purposes. But the specific restriction on its
authority, which has been referred to, appears to
be open to peculiar objection." And there are
further notes which you wish to put before the Commission?— Yes, as confirming the same answer. The
Charity Commissioners further say: "Our increasing
experience, moreover, has strengthened us in the
opinion, which we have repeatedly expressed, in
favour of a judicious relaxation of the law, which,
with more or less strictness, though with some embarrassing uncertainty, either prohibits or confined
within narrow limits all deviations from the trusts
of the original foundations of charities. In our
Report for the year 1868, without entering into
the question how far the intention of founders
ought to be allowed to govern distant generations, we suggested that those intentions would,
in spirit and substance, be more effectually promoted by the abrogation of prescribed details
of administration unsuitable after the lapse of
long periods of time, and that the practice which
enjoins the continued observance of such details, at
the cost of the efficiency and usefulness of the
charity, must be subversive of the object of the
trust. Retaining the impressions we should anticipate, as then, that if all tribunals having power to
establish schemes were enabled to modify any of
the original trusts found, after the lapse of time or
under altered circumstances, to be no longer beneficial to the object of the charity, this wise extension of power would be followed by a progressive
amelioration of the management and extension of
the benefits of endowed charities, which being
effected through existing agencies, and a familiar
course of procedure, would to a great extent be
exempt from such undue distrust and apprehension
as not unfrequently create serious impediments to
improvement. The reasoning in favour of this
suggested modification of the law may be held to
apply with even greater force to future foundations,
which would be created with a knowledge by the
founders of the effect of the new law subjecting the
trusts to subsequent revision." And then they
further remark:—"We have also explained that
after many earnest attempts to give effect to this
important part of the Charitable Trusts Acts, the
conclusion has been forced upon us that the
attempt to procure the establishment of such legislative schemes in opposed cases is vain, and that
our exertions may be more usefully devoted to the
other pressing business in our office than to the
promotion of any such scheme, unless there shall
be a reasonable certainty of its being substantially
804. Then you wish to draw the attention of the
Commission to the observations of the Charity Commission in the 21st Report, on pages 4 and 5, as to
the desirability of corporations being allowed to remain as trustees of charities at all?—I do.
805. "It must be observed that, according to past
experience, corporations cannot generally be regarded as eligible trustees for the administration of
charities. It has been found that through the use
of a common seal a veil is thrown round the decisions and acts of the individual trustees, which
tends to weaken their sense of personal responsibility, and hence to produce laxity of administration.
There is great difficulty, moreover, in providing
against the misuse of the common seal by insufficiently constituted meetings of the corporate
trustees, or in securing regular renewals of the
corporate bodies with any due control over the
selection of the new members. It is a further objection to these incorporations that neither the
courts nor this board has the power to vary
the constitution given to them upon their creation,
or to divest such bodies (as in the case of an individual trustee), of the trusteeship with which they
had once been clothed. It may be mentioned, as
an instance of the mischief which may thus be
occasioned, that the important advantage of uniting
the several charities of a locality under the management of one body of trustees, might be lost by their
separate incorporation. Hence it has been the
current of modern practice, in the settlement of
new schemes for charities, whether by legislative
or other special authority, to substitute, as far as
possible, individual trustees for previously existing
corporate bodies. This policy has been signally
affirmed by the Legislature in the Municipal Corporation Act. (5 and 6 William IV., chapter 76)
whereby the several municipal corporations dealt
with by that Act were displaced throughout the
kingdom from the trusteeship of the borough charities in favour of bodies of individual trustees. We
may also mention the contrivance to which the
Court of Chancery has found it necessary to resort
of oppointing boards of managers for controlling at
least the acts of the corporate trustees whom it is
unable to remove. It is also the almost invariable
practice of the Endowed Schools Commissioners in
framing schemes for incorporated charities to provide for the extinction of the corporations, and the
substitution of individual trustees or governors in
their place." With respect to that, have you any
opinion of your own as to the desirability of the control of these charities remaining in corporations,
which you wish to express ?— I support the principle
of the Charitable Trusts Bill of last session, which
would have handed them over to the charitable
806. (The President.) Just let me ask one question
upon that. I understand that the answer you have
given refers not exclusively to these City charities
with which we are dealing, but to all charities of
whatever kind?—It would have a general application.
807. (Mr. Firth). You wish in the same matter of
their control and limitation to 50l. to draw attention to the 24th Report, on pages 6 and 7?— Yes,
referring to every report. I say they have not the
requisite powers, and cannot deal adequately with
them. The Charity Commissioners in that report
say :— "In these circumstances we are compelled to
recur to the suggestion made by us as long ago as
the year 1866 in the report quoted above, that these
funds are in effect so far liberated by the altered
circumstances of the locality in which they are
applicable, as to require re-appropriation to new
charitable uses, a work which can be carried out
only by some special extension of existing jurisdictions by the authority of Parliament." And they
further say :— "Since the passing of the Charitable
Trusts Act, 1860, we have repeatedly had occasion
to mention in our annual reports, and especially in
our 15th, 16th, and 18th Reports, the disadvantage
of the restriction imposed by the 4th section of that
Act, upon our exercise of the jurisdiction created
by the Act. The general nature and effect of this
restriction are fully stated in the following passage
of our 15th Report:— If the gross yearly income of
a charity amounts to 50l. or more, our jurisdiction
can be appealed to by a majority only of its trustees,
or actual administrators, to the exclusion of the
Attorney-General, as well as all other parties; and
we venture to express our opinion that so absolute
and irresponsible a discretion to limit the application
of a beneficial law is not conveniently entrusted to
private persons. The inconvenience of this restriction will be especially apparent when it is considered
that in cases most requiring the interposition of our
board, the trustees, who are alone capable of setting
our jurisdiction in motion, may be the persons most
interested to exclude it. may be added to this
statement (which applies now with special force to
the existing circumstances of our jurisdiction), that
the restriction in question appears to be foreign to
the practice of the Court of Chancery in charity
matters, which it was, we believe, the object of the
Act to make the basis of the new jurisdiction
thereby vested in the Commissioners. The rules
of that practice permit all persons interested in a
charity to invoke the assistance of the Court to
correct abuses in its administration. But the practical effect of this restriction is found to be, to deny
to all persons interested in a charity which falls
within its limits, a resort to the cheap, simple, and
expeditions remedies against the defective adminis
tration of trusts, which are created by the Charitable
Trusts Act of 1860. But the direct abuse of
charitable trusts is not the only mischief for which
this restriction forbids the remedy. The jurisdiction of the Court of Chancery, transferred to our
board by the 2nd section of the Charitable Trusts
Act, 1860, includes the power of making orders in
charity matters under the Trustee Acts 1850 and
and 1852, upon the application, either of any person benefically interested in the trust estate, or of
a duly appointed trustee. It was one of the main
objects of those Acts to facilitate the appointment
of trustees, and the transfer and vesting of
trust property, where a trustee, either solely or
jointly possessed of the trust estate, was incapable
or inaccessible, or where his existence was uncertain.
But in the case of charities, the gross annual income of which exceeds 50l., the exercise of this
remedial jurisdiction is frequently obstructed by the
operation of the restriction imposed by the 4th section of the Act of 1860. A direct consequence of
this restriction is, in many cases, that the existence
of the very mischief which the Trustee Acts were
designed to obviate, operates to prevent the application to that mischief of the jurisdiction created
by those Acts. For where the trustee whose disability or other incident of his relation to the trust
forms the ground for an application to the Court
under the Trustee Acts, happens to be either a sole
trustee or a co-trustee with no more than one other
person, it is obvious that no application can be made
to the Commissioners by a majority of the trustees
in compliance with the requirements of the 4th section of the Charitable Trusts Act, 1860. We continue to entertain the opinion so frequently expressed
in our previous reports that the removal of this
restriction on our jurisdiction would be attended
with distinct public advantage, and would obviate
much of the disappointment and delay which now
embarrass the attempts by individuals to invoke our
assistance to remedy glaring misapplication and
waste of charity funds."
808. With respect to the question of accounts and
returns, you wish to draw attention to the paragraph
on page 4 of the 25th Report, which shows that those
are imperfectly supplied now ?—Yes, and that they
have no power of audit, one of the most essential
powers omitted to be granted to them. In that report
the Charity Commissioners say:—"In our 14th
Report we laid special stress on the fact that the
obligation to make returns, and a liability to have
that obligation enforced, induces accuracy on the
part of administration of charities in the discharge
of their duties. We are of opinion, however, that
this advantage would be more certainly secured if
further provisions were made by law for giving
increased publicity to these statements of accounts
when thus rendered. By section 61 of the Charitable Trusts Act, 1853, it was enacted that the statement of account and balance sheet thereby required,
should, in the case of every charity whose gross
annual income for the time being should not exceed
30l., be delivered, and sent by the trustees of the
charity to the clerk of the county court to which
the charity was subject, or of the county court for
the district adjacent; or, in the case of a charity
whose income exceeded 30l., to the clerk of the
peace of the county where the charity was established or its property was situated. Besides other
provisions for the inspection and obtaining of copies
of these accounts, power was given to our board to
make such orders and directions as to the delivery
and publication of accounts as we should think fit,
and thus the fullest publicity as to the income, expenditure, and financial condition of every charity
was amply secured. By the Charitable Trusts Act
of 1855 these provisions were repealed, and as the
law now stands, the accounts of every charity are
required to be transmitted to our office in London,
with the further provision, that in the case of parochial charities a copy of the accounts shall be delivered to the churchwardens to be by them presented
to the vestry of the parish, and to be open to public
inspection. In the case, therefore, of the considerable number of charities which cannot be classed as
parochial, it may be said that little or no provision
is made for ensuring that publicity which appears to
us to be so necessary and so valuable. It is true
that copies of the accounts are or should be sent to
our office and may be inspected there; but to the
many applicants interested in distant charities, and
desiring information as to their condition or administration, but who do not visit the metropolis, or to
whom a payment for an office copy of the accounts
may be a matter of inconvenience, such a provision
is of no use. We think that a recurrence to the
enactment of 1853, to the extent of giving to our
board power to make such orders for the delivery
and publication of accounts of charities, as they
may think necessary, would be highly advantageous
and would greatly contribute to the satisfactory
execution of charitable trusts." The same is repeated
in the 29th Report, that is the last one, and which is
just issued; and the Endowed School Commission say
precisely the same thing in four lines.
809. The Endowed School Commission of 1861 ?—
810. The Endowed School Commission say: We
are of opinion that the power of inquiry should
be extended to title deeds by which an endowment
has been created, in whatever hands they may be,
and that it should be such as is now exercised by
courts of law and equity;" that is what you wish to
draw attention to?—It is.
811. In question 555. Mr. Pell asked you this:
You stated to the President the different objects
over which you think it might be distributed; do
you still think that the distribution of 1.000,000l.
a year, a portion among hospitals for the poor alone
(the qualification being poverty, not disease), and a
portion among provident institutions, would not be
in the end a source of very great moral harm to the
people?" and your answer was, "No, it is their
property, and I simply ask that it should be given
back to them; for instance, if they had Christ's
Hospital to-day, instead of another class, they are
entitled to it, it is theirs; or if they had the
Charterhouse" and St. Paul's; do you wish to give
any fuller answer as to that?—I want to bring forward
Mr. Pell as a witness in favour of my contention in respect of a very interesting memorandum he gave to
the City Parochial Charities Commission on the use
of surplus funds of this kind for provident purposes.
812. This memorandum of February 1880 deals
with that question: "Assuming that in many parishes
the charities are out of all proportion to the needs
of the locality, and that after these have been
adequately satisfied a large surplus will remain for
distribution, I am of opinion that this surplus in
each case should be brought into a common fund,
and administered by a newly created authority, for
the general benefit of the metropolitan poor; with
this limitation, that the fund should be so applied as
to encourage any legitimate effort which the poorer
classes may be themselves now, or hereafter, making,
to meet the wants and attain the objects which the
founders of these charities had in view, where these
may be in harmony with the conditions of society
in modern times. In other words, that provident
institutions supported by the poorer classes should
have the first claim on the fund. One exception
might, I think, be made in favour of the acquisition
and preservation of open spaces in the neighbourhood of the districts crowded with the homes of the
poor. I think the report should have distinctly
and emphatically condemned the application of the
charities to the provision of articles of first necessity, such as food, clothing, and fuel, the distribution of which has proved universally mischievous;"
is that the point?—No; that the surplus in each case
should be brought into a common fund and administered by a newly created authority for the general
benefit of the metropolitan poor.
813. Now I will ask you some questions upon the
relation of the Companies to the Corporation which is a
corporate body. Is it your opinion that those Companies
form an integral part of the Corporation of the City
of London ?—That is my contention.
814. What historical basis have you for that contention?—I propose to put in as evidence the fact that from
1189 till to-day, every Lord Mayor of London is a
member of a City Guild or Company, and would not
be eligible for the office if he were not a member of
such a Guild; and that he is elected in Common Hall
composed of the Liverymen of the City of London,
and that that has gone on for 700 years in unbroken
815. Beginning with Henry Fitz-Alwin, in 1189
(which is the date of legal memory), the first 26 Lord
Mayors were members of the Drapers' Company ?—
Yes. That is stated in Mr. Orridge's book, called
"Some account of the Citizens of London and their
Rulers," in which he sets out the successive mayoraltie
from the date I have mentioned up to within a year
or two of the present time. Of course, I can complete it, and show that up to the present time it has
maintained the same form.
816. Are you aware that it has been always the
contention of the Corporation of the City, that the
Livery Companies were an integral part of it, and
subject to its jurisdiction ?—I have here a book published by the Corporation itself when Sir William
Rose was mayor, with the addresses and remonstrances presented from the City, and petitions to the
Throne from the Court of Aldermen, the Court of
Common Council, and the Livery in Common Hall
assembled, for a century, ending in 1860. I have
marked every one of those where the term is expressed, "the Mayor, Aldermen, and Livery." I have
specially marked one or two where they raise the contention against the Crown, as in Wilkes's time, and
they assume the privileges that they possess as an
integral part of the Corporation, and where they
otherwise set out how else they may approach the
Crown by Lord Mayor, by the aldermen in their inner
chamber, by the mayor, aldermen, and council in their
Common Council assembled, and the mayor, aldermen,
and livery in the Common Hall, which is the meeting
of the electors, the base and root of the Corporation.
They are all set out here to the extent of 100 years,
ending in the reign of Queen Victoria, and the address on the death of the Prince Consort.
817. The history of the method in which the Corporation has approached the Throne by petition, I
think, shows that they have approached it in three
capacities, which may be taken to be illustrated in the
last case in 1861. The court of mayor and aldermen
in the inner chamber, the court and mayor, aldermen,
and commons of the City of London in Common
Council assembled. And the meetings of the Lord
Mayor, aldermen, and liverymen of the several Companies of the City of London in Common Hall
818. Are you aware that those three methods of
approaching the Throne have been in use for a very
long period in the City of London ?—I have over 200
illustrations of them.
819. And that on the last occasion, on the death of
the Prince Consort, the Corporation, in those three
capacities, approached the Throne with condolences?
820. Upon three days during one week ?—Yes.
821. (fn. 13) Have you read the address presented on
behalf of the Lord Mayor and the livery companies
in common hall in 1775, in respect to an answer of
the King?—Yes, in the reign of King George III.
822. With respect to what the rights of the liverymen were ?—Yes; and I think it is very important
that that should be read, because it sets out in the
strongest possible form that they are and they
claim to be an integral part of the Corporation.
823. Is this it :—"The King has directed me to
give notice that for the future His Majesty will not
receive on the Throne any address, remonstrance,
and petition but from the body corporate of the
city. I therefore acquaint your Lordship with it,
as chief magistrate of the city, and have the honour
to be, my Lord, your Lordship's most obedient humble
servant, Hertford. Grosvenor Street, April 11,
1775. The Right Hon. John Wilkes, Lord Mayor
of the City of London." This is the answer to
that, signed by the Lord Mayor:— "It is impossible
for me to express or conceal the extreme astonishment and grief I felt at the notice your Lordship's
letter gave me, as chief magistrate of the city,
'That for the future His Majesty will not receive
on the Throne any address, remonstrance, and
petition but from the body corporate of the city.'
I entreat your Lordship to lay me, with all
humility, at the King's feet; and as I have now
the honour to be chief magistrate, in my name to
supplicate His Majesty's justice and goodness in
behalf of the livery of London, that he would be
graciously pleased to revoke an order, highly injurious to their rights and privileges, which, in this
instance, have been constantly respected and carefully preserved by all his royal predecessors. The
livery of London, my Lord, have approved themselves the zealous friends of liberty and the Protestant succession. They have steadily pursued only
those measures which were calculated to secure the
free constitution of this country, and this your
Lordship well knows has created them the hatred
of all the partisans of the exiled and proscribed
family. They form the great and powerful body of
the Corporation, in whom most important powers
are vested; the election of the first magistrate, the
sheriffs, the chamberlain, the auditors of the receipt
and expenditure of their revenues, and of the four
members who represent in Parliament the capital of
this vast empire. The full body corporate never assemble, nor could they legally act together as one great
aggregate body, for by the constitution of the City,
particular and distinct privileges are reserved to the
various members of the Corporation, to the freemen,
to the liverymen, to the common council, to the
court of aldermen. His Majesty's Solicitor-General,
Mr. Wedderburn, was consulted by the city in the
year 1771, respecting the legality of common halls,
and the remonstrances of the livery; in conjunction
with Mr. Serjeant Glynn, Mr. Dunn, and Mr.
Nugent he gave an opinion, which I have the
honour of transcribing from our records :—'We
apprehend that the head officer of every corporation may convene the body, or any class of it,
whenever he thinks proper; that the Lord Mayor
for the time being may, of his own authority,
legally call a common hall, and we see no legal objection to his calling the two last; we conceive it to
be the duty of the proper officers of the several
companies, to whom precepts for the purpose of
summoning their respective liveries have been
usually directed, to execute those precepts; and
that a wilful refusal on their part is an offence
punishable by disfranchisement ?'"—That is the
824. ( (fn. 14) ) ( (fn. 15) ) ( (fn. 16) ) I will leave that branch, as to the
action of the City, and ask you one further question;
have you read the decision in the case of the refractory
Companies in 1775, when between the Corporation and
the Goldsmiths' Company the question was contested ?
825. (fn. 17) What was the effect of that decision ?—The
Companies were found to be in the wrong, and that
they were an integral part of the Corporation, and it
is fully set out in your own book, "Municipal
826. At the present time the Companies exercise
the powers which are alluded to in the address which
I have read of the Lord Mayor in 1775?—They do.
827. Now with respect to the charters of the Company, I should like to ask you this: You have, I think,
for some time advanced a very important contention
as to the effect of these charters, having regard to
some provisions in Magna Charta itself; can you
tell me what those are?—The City in every one of
their published works take credit to themselves for
the part they took as to the agreement with the
Prince of Orange (which was afterwards confirmed by
William and Mary as the Bill of Rights), that they
thereby preserved and maintained the liberties,
charters, and franchises of the City of London and the
Companies, but there is a very important reservation
there which, if you think fit at some later period to
refer this question to the Law Officers of the Crown,
you will find to be of supreme importance. By the
Act of William and Mary, they only confirm that
which they "lawfully had." That may be colourable
language to hold in reserve some important contention,
but when it is read by the light of Magna Charta
there is no doubt that the whole of those charters were
bad; that the King had parted with his right to grant
charters, and that they are ultra vires.
828. Upon what section of the Magna Charta do
you rest that contention ?—The 16th.
829. "Furthermore, we will and grant that all
other cities, and boroughs, and towns, and ports
shall have all their liberties and free customs; and
shall have the common council of the Kingdom
concerning the assessment of their aids, except in
the three cases aforesaid"? ( (fn. 17) )—The "three things
aforesaid" included three Feudal Aids. The right of
search granted in the charters is not consistent
with liberty of trade; the right of search was granted,
and is bad, and if that is bad the charter is bad, and
I fall back upon simply their municipal rights; I
say that they are simply municipal bodies, and if this
is argued as it should be, and must be, I suppose,
before it is done with, before some great officer of
State, that contention I think, could be maintained;
at all events it is thought so by a very great many
able men who have thought upon the question, that
they are simply municipal bodies.
830. I understand you to quote the Act of William
and Mary to show that there has not been, at any
rate through that Act, any parliamentary title given to
the companies ?—Only as they lawfully had it before,
and if it were not lawful there was an end to the whole
thing. The question was, in fact, put before me as to
whether the then Law Officers of the Crown used this
as colourable language. I presume for the purpose for
which it was used it was good, so far as they lawfully
had it they granted it, but they granted nothing more
than existed, and they have nothing more than existed,
and if it were nothing, then they have nothing.
831. Is this the clause that you mean :—"And be it
enacted by the authority aforesaid, that all and every
of the several companies and corporations of the
said City, shall from henceforth stand and be incorporated by such name and names, and in such sorts
and manner as they respectively were at the time
of the said judgment" (that is the judgment quo
warranto of 1684), "given, and every of them are
hereby restored to all and every the lands, tenements, hereditaments, rights, titles, estates, liberties,
powers, privileges, precendencies and immunities
which they 'lawfully had' and enjoyed at the time of
giving the said judgment"?—Yes, and the "lawfully
had" is in inverted commas.
832. Is there anything further which you wish to
say with respect to the validity of the charters at the
present time ?—No, but after the doubt which has
been thrown out, it might be proper, perhaps, simply
to say, supposing the question arise and have to be
taken in greater form, that I possess at every one
of the places marked by those little slips of paper
evidence of control, either by the Crown or the City
over every Company of the City by what they are
pleased to call "exactions of the Crown"; in the 1st
vol. of "Herbert's History of the Twelve great Livery
Companies of London," pp. 47, 55, 105, 113, 114,
117, 159, 177, 179, and pp. 213 to 220, but I have no
wish to press so voluminous a matter if it be not
thought proper to-day.
833. As to the validity of the charters, you advanced
a contention just now which was not taken down by
the shorthand writer; would you state what that was
with respect to the effect of the cessor of trade by
these Companies?—My contention would be that if
they had only been trading companies, then when they
ceased to trade there was an end of their charter, and
that Parliament must have decreed new Uses, or the
property must have gone to the heirs of the original
donors of the property, if they could have been found.
Then there remained the municipal franchises, and
so long as they have that, they are permitted to
exist under their charters if their charters be valid,
but if the recommendations of the Commissions of
1837 and 1854 were adopted, and their right to the
franchise taken away from them, they would cease to
exist as companies, and the Crown and Parliament
must settle the new devolution of the property.
That is following the contention I put forward the
other day, that in no case can a single thing they
possess be considered private property, even to the
last postage stamp in their office.
834. You have told us the grounds on which you
contend that they were public bodies; is there any
other ground upon which you contend that they are
public bodies, besides that of their being municipal
bodies?— (fn. 18) No, only as part and parcel, as I have said
before, of the Corporation, because they meet in common hall, and are the very root of that Corporation.
835. Have you any evidence that you wish to give
with respect to the area over which the chartered
rights of those companies extend ?—The Commission
have that in their own hands in these reports before
them, by which they will see in the case of every company that they are not limited to the City area. Some
go over the whole kingdom, others three miles
round, others 10 miles, some 20 miles, some 24 miles.
That I could make out as a table if you would allow
me, because it is a little interesting as showing the
position of one or two of the companies whose returns
you have, and I could put that in as part of the
evidence; in no case is it limited to the area of the
836. You have raised some rather difficult questions
with regard to the legal position of these companies
in relation to Magna Charta, the effect of the Act of
William III. and the effect of the cessor of their
trading operations; is there any suggestion which you
could make to the Commission, embodying your
opinion as to how it should be dealt with ?—Whether
any value could attach to my opinion or not, I have
thought right to put forward contentions held by a
large number of persons, and I should most respectfully suggest that a case should be prepared for the
opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown, or that
some important lawyers of eminence should be called
upon to give an opinion upon the points raised.
837. (The President.) What points do you refer
to ?—Particularly as to the existence of the charters
at the present time, whether they are valid, whether if
they be not valid, and the companies ceased to be
municipal electors of the City their charters will expire,
and whether when they ceased to trade their charters
would also have expired except that they had the
838. (Mr. Firth.) You are aware that there exists
a vast body of evidence extending over centuries, of
the control by the Crown and by the City of these
companies?—I am, and I have it here.
839. Without going through hundreds of instances
of this kind, in what form can you present the evidence of such complete control to the Commission ?—
That is very difficult to say, when I have marked so
much of that evidence.
840. Does it extend to the extinction of the Company, to the election and control of its officers, and
the settlement of its byelaws ?—You mean the powers
of the City Corporation ?
841. Yes ?—Yes, certainly, and even to their disfranchisement.
842. The disfranchisement of the members, the extinguishment of the Company, and the settlement of
byelaws ?—That right has been asserted in the Court
of Aldermen within the last few years by the objection of Sir Andrew Lusk to the conduct of a company
in the election of persons whom he called faggot voters.
843. Is that the Fan Company, or the Needlemakers'?—The Needlemakers', I think.
844. With respect to the extension of the livery of
those companies, have the Court of Aldermen recently
claimed the right of regulating the numbers ?—I am
not specifically aware of that.
845. Perhaps you can prepare some evidence for
the Commission ?—I can make a brief analysis by
reference to the pages of Herbert's "History of the
Twelve Livery Companies of London," which is, of
course, a standard book, and well known to every City
846. As you have made reference to the law officers,
I may ask you, could you make any suggestion as to
any means by which there might easily be obtained
the opinions or evidence of liverymen upon the subject
of this inquiry ?—I think what was done in 1834
would be useful to suggest now, namely, that the
Commission should meet in the City at the Guildhall,
and invite the liverymen to attend and give evidence.
847. In that case I think the result was not very
encouraging, was it?—It is not encouraging to the
Commission to do it, but I think it would be as well
to do it, so that no contention might hereafter arise
that they had not the opportunity to attend and give
848. Might not you extend the invitation to the
commonalty and freemen as well ?—Yes, I would
extend it to all persons who were dwellers in the City,
and who were pleased to come.
849. Perhaps I may ask you whether, in your
opinion, the Commission in the examination of witnesses should have further power than exists at
present ?—My great desire before the Commission
was appointed was, that it should be a Statutory Commission and not a Royal Commission, because this
Commission falls short of the real powers which, I
think, it should have, as will be seen when you make
an analysis of the accounts which are presented to
you. However admirable and full they are, I think
you will want information which you could only get
by being able to call upon the clerk or some other
witness to attend on your order, and not merely at
your request. I refer particularly to a parallel case,
that of the Winchester Commission, which was presided over by Lord Brougham. The contention in
that case was set up that their charters were secret;
but that Commission had parliamentary power, and
Lord Brougham told them that if they did not return
within an hour with their minds changed he should
commit them. That was a power which brought forward most important evidence, and evidence which
would never have been otherwise received, and that is
a power which you have not got to-day.
850. I will ask you only one other question of procedure. You have had some opportunity of examining
the returns sent in by the Companies in answer to our
questions, have you not ?—I have.
851. But I think you have not yet had time to prepare the complete body of evidence upon the subject?
—No, I have gone very much through them. They
are most admirably prepared, and, I think, with the
greatest frankness and candour, but they require a
much larger analysis than I have been able to make,
and put to you in very few words. As part of your
work you are to give an idea of the value of those
estates. If I begin, say with the Goldsmiths' Com
pany, and I take the property in Lombard Street,
occupied by Glyn, Mills, and Co., I find that it is a
lease dated from 1828, at a ground rent of 180l. To
get a possible idea of the value, I have to look to the
reversionary interest which is coming into effect within
a very short time of a property which ought to be rated
at some 6,000l. or 7,000l. a year. That is one case, but
taking property let at ground rents of 2, 10, 25, and 50
years, Mr. Warr has put them at about 20 years' purchase, clearly they should be at 27 or 28 years' purchase; I could get it out in schedules fairly enough to
give a general idea of the total value, but it cannot be
done in a day or two.
852. But you are preparing for the Commission
evidence upon that subject, and therefore I had better
pospone the examination until that is ready ?–Yes, I
have prepared many sheets upon that subject.
853. (Sir Sydney Waterlow.) Taking your last
answer first, you consider that Mr. Warr is wrong in
assessing ground rents having a period of say, 15 to 30
years to run, at 20 years' purchase?—I do. Some of
them would fetch 50. Some were sold the other day
at 45 years' purchase. I have referred to the rent
reserved in 1828 on one property which to-day is
rated on the books of the parish at about 1,000l. a year,
the reversion of which will fall in in a comparatively
brief period; and then they come into the 7,000l., or
whatever its then annual value may be.
854. May I take your answer to mean that you
would take 27 or 28 years' purchase as an average of
the ground rents generally ?—Clearly. Good ground
rents, such as the companies possess. I am not referring to suburban ground rents. You might even go to
30 years' purchase.
855. Do I understand you to suggest that this Commission should have statutory powers to compel
persons to give evidence, those persons being members
of the livery companies ?—Yes.
856. How do you reconcile that with your statement which followed that the companies had given
most full and ample returns with the greatest frankness and candour?—I think it is perfectly reconcilable.
So far as they have given them, it is so; but if you look
at it you will see where the defects are. For instance,
they put the rental, the number of years lease, and
then they are asked whether they have had a valuation
of this property, and although they have a surveyor,
there is no valuation. Then they are asked to give the
rental gross and net, the money they receive; that they
do not give. This information some of the larger companies have given, and all of them could do it, but it
is a most important guide in estimating the value. If
they let a place at a rent of 180l., and it be rated at
1,500l., we want to know what was the building lease
or the consideration for so small a rent with so large a
857. You do not imply for a moment that the companies have given any improper evidence or false
evidence ?—I am not here to make an imputation.
858. You suggest rather that they have not given sufficient evidence ?—I am not here to make an offensive
imputation. I say we have got an immense volume
of facts and evidence of permanent value. Suppose it
be subsequently decided that my contention is wrong,
and that they are private bodies and not public bodies,
we do not care two straws about its value; then it is
their property, and let them have it. But suppose my
contention be right that it is public property, we have a
most important schedule of property to take possession
of in the public interest; when I come to that I want
a little more information than they have given me,
but I make no imputation whatever.
859. I think I may say, with the Chairman's permission, that the companies have not been asked, with
one or two solitary exceptions, for any information
that they have not supplied?—I am looking at the
want of better information.
860. (Sir N. M. de Rothschild.) Do you not think
we all understand pretty well that property in the
City increases in value; we take the present annual
income of the companies and know that there is a
gradual increase, and do not require them to detail
that, because it is a thing so palpable ?—But you have
it in the schedule, and some companies have returned
it, and it is most instructive as regards the value, but
others have not done so. Then of course I know the
growth of this City property as well as any man
living, but when I get a remarkable case like that of
Glyn's at 180l. a year, the property being rated at
under 1,000l. when it is worth at least 6,000l. or
7,000l. a year, I think it raises a good many contentions, if we want to go into minute detail, if the
company has returned the true answer.
861. (Sir Sydney Waterlow.) Then the company
having returned the true answer, you think it the
function of this Commission in consequence of information they receive, to raise the question as to whether
the assessor of taxes in the City has properly assessed
the property or not?—I say it raises that contention.
862. You say that that is the duty of this Commission ?–I do not, but I say that that is a fact,
and that the City's contribution to the poor fund is
863. You have told the Commission, I think, that
in your opinion the Crown and City have power to
exercise very large control over the companies, even
to the extent of altering and varying their bye-laws at
the present time ?—Yes, they have. (fn. 19)
864. Can you give any illustration within the last
half century of the exercise of any such power;—Not
within the last half century. Herbert deals with it up
to 1836, and I will give you a schedule from his book,
if you like.
865. Has not the position of the companies in
relation to the City of London very materially
changed during the last two centuries ?— (fn. 20) Do you
mean that there have been a less number of men of
eminence connected with it, and fewer Lord Mayors ?
866. No; have not the City ceased for nearly two
centuries to exercise any marked or powerful control
over the management of the funds or business of the
livery companies ?—I think that is very likely.
867. Can you quote any instance in which the
Corporation of London, as a Corporation, have materially interfered in the management of the funds of
the livery companies in the character of the interference that existed two centuries ago?—No, there
is no necessity for my doing so. They elect the
Lord Mayor, by virtue of their suffrage rights, and
vote for him and the most important officers.
868. Then do I understand you to rest your assertion that the companies are an integral part of the
Corporation simply upon the fact that they elect the
Lord Mayor ?—What more do you want ?
869. I am asking you whether you rest it upon
that ?—I was doing so.
870. And you are satisfied ?—They have elected
the Lord Mayor, the Chamberlain, the Bridge Masters,
and held common hall at fixed dates, as they have
done for centuries, and never ceased to exercise
municipal authority within the City.
871. Are you satisfied to rest your assertion that
they are an integral part of the Corporation upon that
connexion ?—More, I also rest it on the fact that
they have elected the Lord Mayor for 700 years. I
have set out the addresses to the Crown in which
they have asserted their rights, even to the extent
of being received by the King on his Throne, not
in the ordinary way of Levee, because they are an
integral part of the Corporation. I have read those
872. Is it not the fact that while there may be a
ceremonial connexion and a political connexion betwen the companies and the Corporation of the City
of London, that there is practically no connexion
which gives the Corporation power to exercise any
control over the administration of their funds?—I
should say that that is a delusion, in whosoever mind
it is fixed.
873. Have not the livery companies for the last century exercised an absolute control over the disposal and
management of their property, without interference
on the part of the Corporation ? —Very likely; it is
within their privileges, except the Corporation please.
874. If purchasers of real property belonging to the
livery companies had thought that the Corporation had
any power of control over their property, would they
have purchased, and thought they had a good and
sufficient title ?—I do not know that they have purchased; I should be very sorry to hear that they
had, except under the compulsory powers of Act of
875. Are not you aware that the livery companies
have sold real property without any interference on
the part of anyone, and given good titles, and made
good their titles in the courts of law continually,
during the last century ?—I have heard you state
it, and I take you as the authority for it; otherwise I
do not know it.
876. You are not in a position to contradict the
assertion, are you?—No, certainly not; I am very
sorry to hear that they have been selling. I know
the Bakers and Stationers have sold property to the
Skinners, and that the Skinners have paid for it and
invested it again.
877. Are not you aware that the companies have
dealt with large and small pieces of real property
belonging to them in the same manner as private
individuals?—They would have to do it for public
878. I mean other than by the exercise of compulsory power ?—No, I am not aware of it.
879. Would you be astonished to hear that it is
so?—I am not astonished at anything when you say
that so broadly. I am sorry to hear it, but I think
it raises the contention that they should not be allowed
to do it.
880. You have called the attention of the Commission to-day to the reports of the Charity Commissioners asking Parliament, from time to time, for
further powers for dealing with charities over 50l.
a year can you point to any statement in any one
of the roports which seems to indicate that that refers
particularly to the charities managed by the livery
companies ?—Certainly not.
881. Can you point to any specific complaints of
the Charity Commissioners of the management of the
charitable trusts by the livery companies ?— No,
there is no necessity for it.
882. But surely if there are no complaints, the
question of further powers cannot refer to the livery
companies ?—The Charity Commissioners say that in
so far as you have sent in returns to them they are
satisfied, but they have no power to make you send in
any return of property over 50l., but they are not
satisfied that they have not that power, and I ask for
them to have that power.
883. Can you refer to any statement of theirs showing that they are not satisfied with the trust properties
in the hands of the livery companies ?—Certainly;
that very statement is sufficient to show that they are
not satisfied with their powers to deal adequately with
884. Does not that statement refer to many thousand charitable trusts throughout the whole of the
country ?—Of course it must. They were a charitable
Commission, I believe, for all England, and the greater
includes the less.
885. You have told us that you are of opinion that
the charities should be handed over to the official
trustees; I suppose you mean vested in the official
trustees?—As provided by the Charitable Trusts Bill
of last year.
886. You do not contemplate that the management
of those charities should be handed over to the official
trustees ?—No, but that the property should be in the
hands of the official trustees; the property held in fact
by the Government—by the nation.
887. Can you point to any instance in which the
livery companies, being trustees of charitable properties, have objected to the property being vested in
the official trustees ?—I have no chance of knowing it.
I complain of the administration by them of their
trust in this, that where a small sum was given (say,
two or three centuries ago), which then represented
the entire income of the property, you still distribute
amongst the poor, or the freemen, as the case may be,
that modicum, but the greater income you claim as
private property. I say it must go to the same public
uses as the smaller sum.
888. Are you not aware that the Charity Commissioners have from time to time investigated a large
number of such cases, and that their decisions in the
matter, whether confirmed by courts of law or not, are
now being acted upon, and that the Charity Commissioners have themselves allowed the sum which was
allocated to the charity to be redeemed, and the property realised ?—Yes, I have heard of it with regret.
889. And that they have done that after a careful
investigation of all the legal rights ?—We differ as to
that legal question altogether. I say we have not had
the decision we ought to have as to whether the property, having been originally devoted for public uses,
can go into the private exchequer of the Company.
890. Do I understand you to say that you consider
the Charity Commissioners have not exercised a wise
discretion in that respect?—I have already said so, and
I think they have failed in their duty in that respect.
891. Are you aware that the Charity Commissioners,
by the Act of 1853, have an absolute discretion as to
whether they should allow a compromise of that kind,
or not ?—Yes.
892. And whether it should be the specific amount
originally left, or whether it should be an increased
amount ?—Yes, I know they have that power.
893. I will read to you the words of Clause 25 of
the Act. "The said Board shall have the authority
upon such application as aforesaid to authorise the
sale to the owners of the land charged therewith of
any rentcharge annuity, or other periodical payment
charged upon land, and payable to or for the benefit
of any charity or applicable for charitable purposes
upon such terms and conditions as they may deem
beneficial to the charity"?—Kindly read the limitations again; it is not general.
894. The point I want to put to you is this : that as
the Charity Commissioners have discretion to determine what the amount shall be, whether you object to
their decisions in the cases in which they have so
determined and have adjusted the amount payable to
the charity, and the amount to which the Company is
entitled for its corporate purposes ?—If they have a
rentcharge of 10l. or 6l., it might be sold with their
sanction for 300l. or any similar sum; that is perfectly
legitimate, but they are not selling the income of the
property plus the 10l. a year. If you notice the
words there, you will find they refer to an annuity, a
rentcharge, or a quit rent, or something tangible in
895. Do I understand that you demur to the decisions of the Charity Commissioners in the cases brought
before them in which the rentcharges have been redeemed ?—I say you are giving a larger interpretation
to that clause than it is possible to give. You want
to make it general instead of special.
896. I do not want to give any interpretation to it ?
—I object to your interpretation.
897. Do you object to the interpretation which the
Charity Commissioners have put upon the clause, and
to the decisions which they have given under that
clause ?—I do not know what it means in your view
and your way of putting it. I know what it means
in my own mind. Those are fixed quantities that they
are selling—rentcharges, tithes, annuities, and so on.
898. In question 521, this was put to you: "You
mean that the funds of each guild should be in part
applied to provide for decayed members of the
trade connected with it. (A.) Yes, that was their
original purpose." Do you mean to suggest to the
Commission that the companies should, out of their
funds, pay pensions to decayed members belonging to
the old trades, leaving out in the cold artizans and
persons working in new trades which have come into
force, such as the iron and steel trades and the textile
manufactures, rather than to distribute their money
in promoting technical education, which would be an
advantage to all trades ?—I object to their present
scheme of technical education. I think they are in
too great haste. I think it ought to have been begun
in the school board with children of 10 or 11
years of age, rather than in the way it is being
done; but I would have the money distributed
either by the Corporation, on whom the property
might devolve, or the Commissioners to whom it
might be entrusted, on rules they might lay down;
and, as a matter of course, that would include the
growth of all modern trades.
899. You do not want them to limit it to decayed
members in connexion with the particular guilds ?—
There is another answer of mine in which I have said
so, but it is not so big a sum as some gentlemen here
seem to think. A million pounds per annum is only
5s. per head per annum of the population of London.
900. In answer to Question 523 you suggest that
part of the money should be given to the extension
of hospital accommodation and the training of nurses.
Are you aware that nearly all the leading companies
are very large and liberal contributors to almost every
one of the metropolitan hospitals ?—Of course I am.
901. And that they give many thousands a year to
the hospitals ?—Of course.
902. Do you think that that portion of their funds
could be better distributed by some other body than it
is now distributed ?—That is not the question. The
question is, is it their's to distribute, or is it our's, and
if our's, can we not distribute our own money on rules
that we should lay down ourselves.
903. The question whether it is theirs, I presume,
the law has decided from time to time?—I say that it
904. In answer to Question 530 you say, "I see by
the papers that they make an income of 700,000l.
a year, but my own impression is, that it is considerably over a million;" do you mean to suggest
that the companies have not made a faithful and proper
return ?—You do not seem to follow that answer that
you have got there in the Keeble's case, which I took
to be a sort of test. They return Keeble at 9l. 2s. a
year; that property consists of No. 8, Old Jewry,
with Grocers' Hall Court behind, and the hall of the
905. Excuse my interrupting you, but I want to
bring you to your own answer ?—There is my answer.
Is the 9l. 2s. a year there returned the rent or the full
value of the property ?
906. The companies return the amount which they
receive. I will put it in this way : do you suggest
that they have returned 700,000l. a year as their income
when they ought to have returned 1,000,000l., and
that they know it ?— (fn. 21) You will not take my answer.
If you will let me give you the book and turn to the
Grocers' Company you will see the whole thing set
out. In the first schedule of property of the Grocers'
Company you will find Keble's Trust. That is part
of Grocers' Hall, as I say, and they put down the
little figure of 3,000l. a year there, whereas No. 8,
Old Jewry, lets at 3,360l., one sixth of the whole; and
then there is the hall behind and Grocers' Hall Court,
and their entrance in Princes Street, and the property
they sold to the Bank of England, in Princes Street.
What does that represent ? If we had these gentlemen here and asked them questions about it we should
change the face of those returns.
(fn. 21) 907. I will ask you as to Keble's benefaction.
Was not Keble's benefaction subject originally to
certain superstitious uses, which were redeemed by a
payment of 20 years' purchase to the Crown; and was
not their title confirmed by an Act of Parliament of
the 4th year of the reign of James I. like the title of
other lands of the City companies ?—It does not say
so in Herbert (page 356, Vol. I.).
908. Is it not held as part of the corporate property
in consideration of this payment out of the corporate
funds of the Grocers' Company ?—No; I have here
what Herbert says.
909. Is not 9l. 2s. the annual sum charged for
charitable purposes upon the property, and has not a
Charity Commission fully investigated the whole
matter, and given that as their decision, and sanctioned
the present condition of things?—One of my contentions is, that that decision is wrong. If Keeble left
9l. 2s. there is no power in any man to divert the
surplus income of that two centuries after, when it has
grown to a much larger sum. It is left to the poor,
and must go to the poor.
910. Although the Charity Commissioners have
confirmed the payment of 9l. 2s. only, you think they
are wrong, and that legally a much larger sum ought
to be paid ?—Certainly they are wrong.
911. If that is so, should not the Company have
been reached by legal process ?— (fn. 22) Who is to begin all
this ? The Attorney-General began Donkin's case,
and won; the Attorney-General began the Wax
Chandlers' case, and won that; but where are the
funds to come from, until we get the municipality to
take them by the throat and to deal with them.
912. Would you contend that property which has
been left for superstitious uses, and redeemed by the
payment of money, is not the corporate property of
the Company ?—It is corporate, of course, but not
private. I do not care whether it is for superstitious
uses or not. I say that every atom of their property,
whatever it is, is public property, and that the term
private cannot be applied to it.
913. I must refer you to the Grocers' returns, and
until they are challenged I must ask you to accept
them ?—This is the return of 1834; I will look at the
more recent ones as against that.
914. I turn now to Question 541; Mr. Pell asked
you what constituted the membership of the working
men's club which prepared the resolutions which were
presented to the committee, and you stated "Certain
monthly subscriptions," may I ask whether the working men's clubs possess any more exact views as to
the guilds and members of the guilds with respect to
their property than you yourself possess ?—I think
they possess the same, and that it is equally accurate.
915. Have you read the cases of the Attorney-General v. the Fishmongers' Company in the Preston
case, and of the Kenworth Charity and the AttorneyGeneral v. the Grocers' Company ?—I do not know
that I have. I have read Donkin's and the Wax
Chandlers', which are leading cases, but I have not
read those you have mentioned.
916. And in which the decisions were in favour of
the Company ?—I am not quarreling with the fact as
to the decisions, but I say these questions have not
been properly argued except in two or three cases,
and those we won. The law has been administered
as to the public trust as if it were a private one. We
consider that it is wrong, and I know that several
members of the Charity Commission agree with me.
917. Are you aware that in the case of the Wax
Chandlers' (Kendal's Charity), the Master of the Rolls,
Lord Romilly, and Lord Chancellor Hatherley decided
in favour of the Company and against the charity ?—I
do not think you are right.
918. That was afterwards appealed against, and the
decision was reversed, is not that evidence to be considered?—The fact is we won in Kendal's case, and
they had not the pluck to go to the House of Lords.
919. Are you aware that out of 100 cases, 80 have
been decided in favour of the Company ?—Sir Richard
Cross said so the other day.
920. Is not that some evidence that if the Companies have made a mistake in law they do not make
intentional mistakes in misappropriation of their property ?—So far as the contention goes, that they went
to the courts to administer so much of the money as
they call "trust," the decisions are to be accepted;
but when it is contended that the surplus of that, they
may take into their corporate trust and call it private,
I say the law has decided no such thing; the law has
decided that it is corporate property, and it cannot be
921. Are you sure that the words are not "private
property"?—It is very possible, but it is a contradiction in terms.
922. Are you aware that the Companies, as a whole,
paid to King Edward VI. 18,700l., which was a very
large sum of money at that time, as the price of the
property dedicated to superstitious uses ?—What does
it matter ? what remains must be corporate however
923. And that the title to the land so bought has
been confirmed by Act of Parliament ?—It is money
going into the coffers of the Corporation, and it is
corporate; it does not matter to me how they get it,
or where from.
924. I take it you consider that the issue which the
Commission has to consider is the question of whether
the corporate property is now properly applied or
not?—I do not care about that; I am asking, you
see, for a change of administrators, because it is corporate property, and seeking to change the corporators.
I fall back upon the 92nd section of the Municipal
Reform Act, which we had here the other day, which
shows that the natural heir to that property is a new
925. Do I gather that you ask that the property of
the livery companies should be handed over to other
persons to be administered?—I say it must follow; it
must go to the new Corporation when it is created.
926. Do you think that is just to persons who have
acquired their rights and privileges in recent years by
purchase ?—They pay about 7,000l. a year, and the
purchase is a wonderfully good investment.
927. I do not understand you ?—The total sums of
money paid per annum by members of the bodies
comes to about 7,000l. a year. If you wanted a life
interest out of it I suppose we should have to give it
you in some form, if it were a matter of compromise;
but I say when you paid your money into these companies you knew what you were doing, and you knew
what the body was; you also knew that their property was corporate property, to be kept for corporate
uses, and I claim it as such. I have nothing to do
with your parting with your money.
928. Have you a right to make that assertion ? I
will give you one example. I paid 300l. at the age
of 50 for the privilege of becoming a member of a
company; do you not think persons in that position,
who brought into the company, assuming the existing
state of the management, to be recognised by the law,
might consider that that was a thing on which they
could rely ?—They should have inquired into the title,
and seen whether they had a right to admit, or whether,
when the money got into their coffers they could get
it out again.
929. Do you not think those who bought were
entitled to regard that recognition of the management
by the law as some guarantee for paying their money?
—No, they knew that they were corporations.
930. Do I understand you to admit that persons
who have bought in, and are now living, should have
compensation ?—I did not mean to give that as a
specific answer when I said that we might, for the
sake of peace, give something, though they were not
entitled to it; no doubt, when we come to settle the
question, some compromise may be made.
931. May I take my own case; I paid nearly 300l.
at the age of 50 to become a member of the Clothworkers' Company, taking the probable duration of
my life, do you say that that would entitle me to the
return of that money ?—I do not say that it would
entitle you to any return whatever. You went and
put your 300l. in; it went into a sieve; you have got
a certain body (in the election of whom you have no
voice unless you happen to be one of them yourself)
to manage it. The livery have no power over that
money; it is corporate property, and they could not
part with it at all.
932. You think, because I have invested 300l.
in the membership of a company which had existed
upon certain recognised rules and regulations, undisturbed by the law for the last century, that I am not
entitled to be compensated if the management of the
property is disturbed in such a manner as to take
away my privileges ?—If we reform that Corporation
you are not entitled to any compensation.
933. Then I presume that that answer of course
would cover the case of all persons who have obtained
their position by patrimony or in any other way?—Of
934. That you think would be fair, and could not
be regarded as confiscation of private rights ?—I can
give you no other answer, in the case of a corporation;
if it were a benefit club it would be different.
935. I am speaking of the livery companies ?—They
936. In the case of the livery companies you think
all persons having rights and privileges, whether by
redemption or patrimony, ought to have them taken
from them without compensation ?—They are not
entitled to compensation; but I say that no doubt
some mode or means would be found of meeting cases
of that kind, so as to have an amicable settlement and
avoid a great dispute. Commissioners, I have no
doubt, would be appointed to set out how to deal with
those cases. I do not go into that case; it is too small
a question in so large a matter; really, I am looking
to the property.
937. In reply to Questions 562 and 563 you call the
attention of the Commission to what is known as the
Bradbury's Charity, asserting that the return was
only 30s. a year ?—That is the Mercers', I think.
938. Yes, and that it was 109 acres in extent ?—
939. Are you not aware that the amount, instead of
being 30s. is, as given in the Mercers' own return,
9l. 10s. a year?—In Lord Robert Montagu's return
it is 30s. It is rated on the books of St. Martin's
parish at 27,700l. a year at the present time.
940. That is the rateable value of the property, not
the value of the ground rents ?—Of course we have
no evidence as to what ground rents they have got.
941. Is it fair to take the value at which property
is assessed to the poor, and say that is the value of
the ground rents payable to the freeholders ?—No;
let them set out their ground rents, and set out their
942. Are you aware that the Mercers' Company
have set out their ground rents at 13,000l. a year ?—
The Mercers' Company is not in any of the returns
before me; I have it in Herbert. I only know Herbert
as to that; he sets out the history of Bradbury's trust;
100½ acres were sold to the City, and 8½ acres remain,
and that is as well known a property as any in London.
943. Is it fair to assume that that property was
worth 27,000l. a year, when as a matter of fact it is
only worth 13,000l.?—Is that so ?
944. It is so ?—As a ground rent.
945. If you quote Herbert as an authority for that
statement, does not that lead us to infer that we cannot
rely upon that, and much of the other information that
you give ?—It is the Mercers' Company's own information. Herbert's is official; but even if it be 13,000l.,
I claim the difference between the 9l. 10s. and the
13,000l. a year as available for Bradbury's trust, and
not for the Mercers' Company, and I say that claim is
a good one.
946. Although the Crown has been paid by the
Mercers' Company and the Corporation for that part
of the property which was left for superstitious uses ?
—109 acres were so left, if the figures be correct in
Herbert. 100½ acres were sold, some being in Conduit
Street, Bond Street, Grafton Street (the street at the
end), and on the left Woodstock Street and the whole
of Stratford Place. They have the 100½ acres to
answer for, whatever they paid to the Crown.
947. Have they not admitted the rental of 13,000l.,
and the Charity Commissioners agreed that that was
only liable to the payment of 9l. 10s. a year for
charitable use?—You will not see my contention,
which is that the Charity Commissioners are wrong,
and that that 13,000l. must follow the 9l. 10s.
948. (Sir R. Cross.) Does not that depend upon
the way in which the property came to them?—Not
when the surplus comes to the Corporation.
949. Do you not remember the judgment of Lord
Cairns?—Yes, I do; I put it before you the other
day, and when it comes into the company as income
it is public income.
950. That is another question altogether, is it not?
—It is public income, and cannot be considered as
951. (Chairman.) I think we are getting into a
little confusion, when you say the Charity Commissioners are wrong in certain decisions they have given,
I do not apprehend you to mean that they are legally
wrong, and that they could legally have given any
other decision, but that you think the principle upon
which by the law they are compelled to act is not that
which ought to be applied to the cases of Corporations;
am I right in putting that construction upon your
answer?—No, the Corporation being a public body,
as I contend, the money must go to public uses, and
as near like the original uses as possible.
952. In short, in the case you mention, whether
the Company has a legal right or not to the funds in
question, you consider that it has not a moral right,
is that your distinction?—No, I take it the words
legal right to mean established legal right. It has
the right to pay 9l. 10s., but not the right to put the
other part of the income into its coffers. I say that
that income must be equally applied to public uses,
the Company being a corporation.
953. (Sir R. Cross.) I think you said that the
particular charity which was entitled to the 9l. 10s.
would be entitled to the 13,000l. a year also?—No,
I say that it should be applied to the like uses.
954. What you mean is to get it quite clear, that
the 9l. 10s. must go to the particular charity, and
that if the 13,000l. goes to the Corporation under the
decision of Lord Cairns, the Corporation can only use
that for some public trust, not for their own purposes,
—that is what you meant?—Clearly.
955. (Sir S. Waterlow.) Following out Sir Richard
Cross' question, does not that really involve the whole
question of whether, whatever property the Livery
Companies have they have no right to exercise absolute control over it, dealing with it as they see fit?—
That is the whole contention.
956. (Sir R. Cross.) That is your whole case in
fact?—Yes, we want a new departure.
957. (Sir S. Waterlow.) As regards this particular
Bradbury's trust you are willing to admit, as I understand, after the decision arrived at by the Charity
Commissioners, that assuming the Corporations to be
entitled to that which they thought and paid for out
of their corporate funds, they are now appropriating
what by law they are required to appropriate to trust
purposes, and only dealing corporately with that
which the law has permitted them hitherto to deal
with?—As a Corporation that is quite right. You
have ear-marked all that property, it is at the present
time corporate property, and we now know all about
958. Is it not a fact that the 100 acres which the
Mercers' Company lost out of the 109 acres were
conveyed from the Mercer's Company by an Act of
Parliament in the reign of King Henry VIII., and
have not been held by them since that time, and that
the Company have had no control over it at all?—I
am not blaming them, I only say it mysteriously disappeared. Herbert tells us in his book that the City
bought it under an Act of Henry VIII.
959. How can you call it a mysterious disappearance when openly known to everybody by the Act of
Parliament?—We did not find that out for a very long
time; we have had most important hints as to its arising
out of church property in Conduit Street.
960. You cannot impute any blame to the Mercers'
Company can you in reference to it, assuming that
they have the right to deal with their corporate
funds?—I say they have that right only for the like
uses to which that 9l. 10s. a year was left.
961. That is the main question, is it not?—Yes.
962. The Mercers' Company cannot be blamed for
what they have done in the matter can they?—Why
should not they do what is right?
963. They contend, of course, that they have the
right to deal with their own property and that is the
whole issue?—That is a matter which you gentlemen
are here to say something about hereafter.
964. In question 567 you refer to the operation of
the law of mortmain as regards the livery companies,
I presume that your objection is a fiscal one?—
Largely, but of course there is the other objection, that
I do not like to see land locked up unnecessarily.
965. With regard to the fiscal part of the question,
can you point to any company that has ever objected
to a consideration of what they ought to pay in consequence of their not paying succession duty, and is
it not a fact that two of the companies—the Clothworkers' and the Goldsmiths'—have in their reports
suggested that some payment should be made by the
companies in consequence of their not paying succession duty?—Yes, there is that, but it is a death-bed
966. Would that remove your fiscal objection?—
No, my objection of course is to any land being held
in mortmain at all. If you get rid of fiscal payment
every 30 or 35 years, you do not get rid of the fact
of land being locked up in the market.
967. I think you objected to the companies not
continuing their connexion with trade, are you aware
that there are some of the companies which still carry
on the trades with which they were originally connected?—I think we had that all out last examination
in connexion with the Apothecaries' and Gunmakers'.
968. I have looked over the report of the evidence given last time, and I should like to ask you
whether you are aware that the Stationers' only elect
members of their own body or members of their own
trade?—There is another argument put forward by the
Goldsmiths' Company, namely, that they ought to
represent the public also.
969. I ask you whether you are aware that the
Stationers' Company only elect members connected
with their own trade?—Yes, the Stationers' are a
small Company chiefly dealing in old almanacs, and
having some privileges in regard to copyright, for
which they charge fees.
970. Do they not still carry on their trade in the
publication of almanacs?—Yes, a small trade.
971. That is some evidence, is it not?—If the
publication of Old Moore's Almanac is a great and
beneficent purpose of a great City Company, I agree
that it is some evidence.
972. Do they not exercise powers under the Copyright Act?—Yes, for which they charge fees.
973. Do you question the legal right of the Companies to divide among themselves, if they thought of
it to do so, their private corporate property?—They
have no private corporate property.
974. I thought we agreed those were the words
used by the judges?—I said it was a contradiction in
975. I refer to what they call their private property, as distinct from their trust property?—They
cannot have any right to distribute it among themselves, it is public property.
976. Are you aware of the case of Brown v. Dale,
which was tried before the Master of the Rolls in the
High Court of Justice on the 21st of March 1878, in
which the contention as to the right of the Fullers'
and Dyers' of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, to divide the
whole of their property amongst the then members of
the guild was raised?—No, I am not aware of it.
977. I call your attention then to the decision of
the Master of the Rolls in that matter. The Master
of the Rolls there says, "Yes, it is a common trade
guild, and they have absolute control over the property. These trade guilds are common enough, or
were at one time, singularly common. There were
many thousands of them, which have now disappeared, they were clubs, or voluntary associations,
or members of a craft or trade, and they dealt with
their own property as they liked without any trust
whatever. They had a right to do so, and this
property must be divided accordingly"?—That
does not touch our case in the least, which is separate
from that of the Corporation of Newcastle.
978. If the livery companies have not absolute
right to deal with their property, how do you reconcile
the fact that the courts have recognised their rights
and have admitted their power to deal with it by confirming conveyances of all kinds within the last 50
years?—Then they must re-invest the proceeds. So
long as the corpus does not go out of the Corporation,
I do not mind if the court assent.
979. If they do not assent, what then?—Then I
say it is a fraud if they do not.
980. I gather your answer to be, that if properties have
been so sold, and the proceeds have not been re-invested
for the same purposes, it has been a fraud?—Certainly.
I do not know of any instance. I regretted to hear
what you said as to its having been done. I was almost
thinking that it had not been done, and that they were
so honourable that they would not do it. If every
case stand upon its own footing and you will let me
know of any such case I shall be very happy to
answer your question. My point is that the money is
divided. In the case of the Leeds Corporation the
sale had taken place before the Municipal Reform Act
981. Question 670, referring to technical education
runs thus:—"You spoke of technical education, and
said you do not approve of it as at present commenced?" In reply to which you say, "No, I
take the view of Professor Huxley that sufficient
inquiry had not been made, and that the matter
was jumped forward to appease the demand of public
opinion for something." Are you aware that before
the Livery Companies did anything in the way of promoting their scheme for technical education they took
the opinion of Professor Huxley, and that their scheme
is based upon his opinion and his recommendation
jointly with the opinions of two or three other professors?—Yes, Professors Donelly, Armstrong, and
so on. I had the document here last time. You will
see that in Professor Huxley's letter to the "Times,"
he rather complains that they have departed from
their views, but I go further about that. I think
they began altogether wrong in this vast expenditure
of money before inquiry by men of the same stamp as
Professor Huxley, and that they should have begun in
our school boards,—I think that technical education
really begins there.
982. How can you make that assertion when the
Livery Companies in announcing their scheme, printed
and published the opinions of those various professors
and based their scheme upon their recommendations?
—I must bring Professor Huxley's letter, if you will
allow me, to show the variation they made between
his scheme and the scheme they adopted.
983. You are probably aware that such men as
Mr. Spottiswoode, the President of the Royal Society,
and Sir Frederick Bramwell are acting conjointly with
the livery companies who propose the scheme?—
Yes, I am aware of that.
984. Is it not a fact that the Court of Chancery
has lately recognised the City Guilds' Institute as the
best channel through which bequests for the purpose
of technical education could be promoted?—I was
not aware of it, I have not followed the legal intelligence lately.
985. But the Court of Chancery in appropriating
some charitable trusts on the ci pres principle have
recommended that the money should be placed at the
disposal of the Guilds Institute, and I ask you
whether that is not some evidence that in the opinion
of the Court of Chancery the scheme has been well
prepared?—That is not evidence that a much wider
scheme would not have been better.
986. (Chairman.) I should like to ask one or two
questions in explanation. I understood you to say
that you thought it doubtful whether the charters of
the companies would not be found to be legally
invalid if the question were tested?— (fn. 23) The extract
I put in from Magna Charta distinctly states that
the King will not grant charters against the privileges of the citizens, and certainly it was against their
privileges to give a right of search against any trader,
and the Bill of Rights expressly regrants the charters,
"so far as they are lawfully good."
987. Has that question ever been tested?—Not to
988. Has there not been every opportunity of testing
it for an indefinite time past?—I think not; they have
ceased to trade and therefore so far as the offensive
character of their charters is concerned there was an
end of it. For two centuries and more they have not
traded, except as regards the small things to which
Sir Sydney Waterlow has referred. But the words
are in inverted commas, and it seems to me a sort of
mental reservation. Of course there are lawyers
who have paid great attention to the subject. I only
refer to it so that their opinion might be obtained.
The words are to the effect that they so far confirmed
the charters which they "lawfully had." My contention is that they had some unlawfully.
989. Do you think it likely that any court of law
would determine that a charter which had been acted
upon for 200 years, and more, was invalid from the
beginning without any substantial alteration? Would
it not be held to have become valid by long usage?—
The Court might decide that, but I say, if it were bad
in the commencement nothing could make it good.
990. (Sir R. Cross.) Is that a tenable point now?
—I am told that it is a good point.
991. (Chairman.) You spoke of its being desirable
to take other means to obtain the evidence of the
companies than those existing at present. Do you
not think that it would be premature to suggest the
use of compulsion until we know that the information
we want will not be voluntarily given?—We did
suggest it before the Commission was granted, and
you will remember Sir William Harcourt's answer
was, that he would try this means first, and as you
have a large mass of information given to you, you
were probably wise in doing so, but I should have
liked a Statutory Commission. That is only my
992. (Mr. James.) If you had a Statutory Commission, how do you think it would have been possible
by having statutory powers to produce the evidence?—
I do not think it would have produced it; on the contrary, I think that it would very largely have extended
it; you would then have the power to send for persons,
books, and papers, as I instanced in the case of Winchester College and Lord Brougham.
993. You cannot compel or force people to speak,
can you?—Lord Brougham did so somehow; he
threatened to commit them if they did not.
994. Have you ever read a pamphlet on the reform
of City guilds, by Mr. John Robert Taylor?—Yes.
995. There are a variety of personal and other
charges made against members of the companies in that
pamphlet, are there not?—That is the one in which
he attacked Alderman Owden, is it not?
996. It is, but there are a good many charges
against the companies and those connected with them.
Do you know whether those charges were correct or
not?—They were never replied to. I do not know
whether that may be taken as an inference that they
were correct. The parties concerned may have
thought them too bad or too mean to reply to.