Mr. J.R. Phillips
The witness withdrew.
Mr. John Roland Phillips was called in and examined as follows:—
Mr. J. R. Phillips.
1276. (The Chairman.) You are a barrister and a
police magistrate, I believe ?—I am.
1277. We understand that you have given a good
deal of time and attention to the subject of the city
Companies ?—Yes, I have.
1278. And that you have written articles which
have appeared in various periodicals upon the questions
which in this Commission we are considering ?—I
have in the "British Quarterly," "New Quarterly,"
"Fraser's," and in other reviews and magazines.
1279. I think, among other things, you have come
to the conclusion that the estimate which has been
made by the Companies themselves as to the value of
their property is considerably below the mark ?—
If they have represented 700,000l. a year as the value
of their property and not the actual income that
they receive, from an inquiry that I have made I
think that they have under-estimated it. The value
of their property must be considerably more than
700,000l. a year.
1280. How have you arrived at that conclusion ?—
I very carefully went through the rate books of the
city, and in the rate books I found that the gross estimated rental of the property that they had in the city
alone was worth about 516,000l. a year. Then I examined the Domesday Book (that is the new return of
landed proprietors), and so far as the Companies are
concerned I find that they there own a very large
amount of property in various counties to the extent
of about 100,000l. a year. I estimate that their property in the metropolis outside the city (that is in the
parishes which are not included in the Domesday
Book), although I have not been able to go through
all the parish assessment books, comes to at least
200,000l. a year, and their estate in Ireland amounts
to 77,000l. a year, and their personal property I estimate at something like 150,000l. a year, making
1281. Then I think you consider that there is some
question as to whether we have full information as to
the amount of trust property in the hands of the
companies ?—I think so, and for this reason. The
Charity Commissioners, so far as I understand from
their return, have adopted and accepted as almost conclusive the reports made to Lord Brougham's Commission in 1819–21. The title deeds of those trust
properties were exhibited to the Commissioners. The
Charity Commissioners have adopted those as showing the whole of the trust properties the Companies
have. Lord Robert Montagu's return, which was
published I think in 1868, shows that the Companies
themselves have since disclosed some trust property
which was not included in the first reports to the
Charity Commissioners,—that is Lord Brougham's
Charity Commissioners. That in itself, I think, clearly
shows that further inquiries ought to be made, and
that they ought to exhibit their title deeds as to all
their property in order to enable the Charity Commissioners to see whether the trust is impressed upon
such property. The Charity Commissioners have
hitherto accepted the admissions of the companies as
a complete disclosure.
1282. Then I understand you to contend that much
of what is not acknowledged by the Companies as
being trust property is so in reality ?— (fn. 1) I think so.
1283. Do you mean that it is legally trust property
as the law stands, or that there is a moral claim upon
it ?—I mean that the property is itself impressed with
the trust. There is an extraordinary case to which I
may call the attention of the Commission. Some time
ago a book was published by the Clothworkers' Company called a "Register for 1838 of the Charities and
" Properties of the Clothworkers' Company," from
which it appears that some suspicion of the integrity of a former clerk of the Clothworkers' Company occasioned the appointment by the court of that
Company of a committee of investigation. The
president of this committee was the Master of the
Company, Mr. Alsager, who seems to have been
indefatigable in his endeavours to discover the truth
of matters. And a very extraordinary state of things
was discovered. The clerk appears to have had
everything his own way; charities were kept back,
and the deeds and wills creating them were alleged by
him to have been burnt in the great fire of London.
No entries were made in the accounts of the proceeds
of some trust properties, and it was actually discovered
than an important suit in Chancery respecting one of
the trusts had been instituted against the Company
and had been carried on through all its stages by the
clerk without the knowledge of the Court of Assistants,
who were never informed of any such proceedings
whatever. In one of the answers in the Chancery
suit the clerk stated that all the records of the Company and their muniments had been destroyed in the
great fire, which was simply untrue. It is beyond
doubt that similar statements kept from the Commissioners of 1818 much information which they were
entitled to, and that in this way many deeds and wills
of vital importance in an investigation of the kind they
were making were withheld.
1284. In the case of such property as is not invested with the legal character of a trust, do you
consider that nevertheless it is property applicable to
public uses only?—Certainly. I think it is perfectly
clear that those companies are in no sense private
companies, and that in no sense can their property be
deemed private property, and in support of that view
I think I may quote from a speech made by Lord Selborne in a debate in the House of Lords in 1877 on the
Inns of Court and General School of Law Bill. There on
the second reading Lord Selborne said this, "He" (that
is Earl Cairns) had spoken of what he called the
private character of the Inns of Court, but he (Lord
Selborne) confessed that he knew no single circumstance which gave them the character of private societies unless it was that they were not incorporated.
He declined to look upon incorporation as a test for
that purpose; some private societies, such as clubs
and trading companies might be incorporated,"
(trading companies, as such, do not include these
trade guilds, and there is a great distinction between
trading companies and trade guilds) "and institutions
not incorporated might be of a public character.
Looking back to the history of the four Inns he
could not find a single fact which went to establish
that they were private societies. Not one of them,
he believed, had ever applied one shilling of their
funds to private uses. As to two of these Inns, the
properties which they possessed were held under
charter of James I., as the Royal Commissioners
had pointed out, expressly for the purpose of legal
education. There was a well-constituted trust for
the purposes of education. As to the other two
Inns he was not aware that there was the same kind
of proof of any express trust, but their endowments
had been acquired in times when a trust for public
purposes might be constituted without writing, and
they were so alike in other respects that there was
no single fact to justify the conclusion that they
were institutions of a private character, and therefore their property could not be treated as private."
And again, speaking of the fees paid on admission to
the Inns of Court (the fees are paid on admission to
the city Companies in almost a similar manner), Lord
Selborne said this, "These fees were not voluntary
subscriptions but compulsory payments." (So were
the fees of the city Companies.) He then says this,
It therefore seemed to him that as the position and
functions of the Inns were recognised by law, and
as every shilling they possessed was legally the result
of ancient endowments, or of fees so received, no
element of a private character could be recognized in
them." If it is thus with regard to the Inns of Court,
which are not incorporated, much more so, I contend,
is it with regard to the property of the city Companies, which are incorporated companies enabled to
hold property for certain specific purposes.
1285. Then that being so, you consider that they
ought to be dealt with by legislation rather than by any
attempt at legal action ?—There is not sufficient power.
The principles of the Court of Chancery as they exist
do not enable the Charity Commissioners to move in
the matter, therefore I suggest that Parliament should
come in and deal with the property of these Companies,
that is the corporate property, which they claim to be
private property, as Parliament has before this dealt
with property of a similar character.
1286. In the event of Parliament dealing with those
bodies as having an exclusively public character, do
you consider that there are any functions which may
be usefully performed in the present ordinary condition
of society ? We know what the functions of the Companies were in the middle ages; we know that the
performance of those functions at the present day is
impossible ?—It would be almost absurd to apply the
property in the way the Companies applied their property 300 years ago at this day; but I think inasmuch
as it is now admittedly a perfectly sound principle for
Parliament to interfere with property and dispose of
property of which no proper use can be made according
to the original intention of those who gave the property, that Parliament should set forth some other
public use for that property.
1287. Do you conceive it to be practicable to bring
these Companies into closer connexion with the trades
which they ostensibly represent ?—I can hardly think
so, unless it is in the way of the extension of technical
education. I think that is about the only proper use
that can be made of their trade functions at this day.
1288. Then have you formed any idea as to what is
the use to which you desire to put these very large funds
if they are no longer to be applied as at present, but
treated as public trusts ?—Yes; my idea is this, that the
whole charitable educational endowments of the metropolis, including all property which Parliament should
take cognisance over, such as the corporate property
of these city guilds, should be brought into hotch-potch
or into one mass, selling all the real estate and converting it into funds, and that when so brought
together into a mass Parliament should devise some
scheme for its application and administration suitable
to the wants and exigencies of the time we now live
in, and that all the mischievous charities—that is
charities which have really a bad influence upon the
recipients—should be absolutely suppressed, such as
doles of bread and doles in kind, and that the objects
to which Parliament should apply the revenue should
be mainly educational, and that in this, technical education should be liberally provided for, that elementary
education should be subsidised, so as to decrease the
school board rates, and intermediate and university
education provided for the metropolis.
1289. Can you show any special reason why the
rates of the city of London or of the metropolis generally should be relieved from a charge which falls upon
the rates everywhere else for educational purposes ?—
London stands in this way; there is this vast amount of
wealth which requires to be properly utilised, and inasmuch as the wealth was given by Londoners to Londoners, Londoners should reap some benefit from the
value of the property so taken.
1290. Have you considered what, under any such
plan as yours, you would do with the halls, the buildings, of the Companies ?—I would sell the halls, every
one of them. I do not think they are wanted at all;
the Guildhall is quite enough for any municipal functions that the city Companies might wish to give effect
to. I think the halls are not wanted and they would
realise a large amount of money which could be much
more usefully applied.
1291. (Sir Richard Cross.) Do you say that all this
property that they possess is clothed with a trust ?—In
the sense that Lord Selborne stated I think it is, except
in this way. I may say in regard to a gift which the
Commissioners no doubt know of, a member of the
Clothworkers' Company gave some 20,000l. to the
Clothworkers' Company simply for the purpose of
making themselves comfortable with.
1292. What do you say to that?—In that case the
gift is quite a recent one, long after the Company had
ceased to perform any of its trade functions, so that
it cannot be considered as clothed with a trust for
trade purposes, but I further say, inasmuch as we
prevent lunatics from disposing of their property, I
think Parliament should in the same way prevent a
lunatic bequest of money. It is perfectly absurd to
give 20,000l. to a city Company with which to make
1293. It was not necessary in early times that all
the members of a Company should be craftsmen, was
it?—It was necessary that all craftsmen should be
members of a Company.
1294. That is not the question I put. Was it necessary that all the members of the Company should be
craftsmen ?—Patrimony in itself would do away with
that to a certain extent.
1295. Then it never was so really ?—I do not say so.
1296. At all events so far as the patrimony goes it
clearly could not be?—In course of time it would
1297. Do you not think that a great deal of this
property was left to them quite irrespective of their
having any trade at all ?—Then we must go to the
origin of the Companies, and what were they intended
for and what were they incorporated for, and what they
were doing with their wealth when property was so
left to them.
1298. I mean to say in the case of many Companies
long after they had ceased to have anything to do
with the trade after which they are named they had
received many gifts of property, bequests, and otherwise, from members of their body ?—I do not think
the gifts are numerous, and if they are they should
probably be dealt with in the way the Irish Church
property was dealt with. All grants to the Irish
Church for the Irish Church antecedent to 1660 were,
I think, dealt with by Parliament as absolutely public property and disposed of so by them; as to gifts
subsequent to 1660 (I do not know exactly why the
line was drawn at 1660) the donor's intention was a
little more respected.
1299. I see you draw a distinction in some of your
writings between the case of some of the Companies
and the case of Serjeants' Inn ?—Yes, there is a very
great distinction, I think, between them. Serjeants'
Inn in the first place was not an incorporated body.
Serjeants' Inn in the second place had no functions to
perform. The appointment of serjeant did not vest
in them, but in the Lord Chancellor, who could submit
any barrister's name to the Queen, the Queen would
appoint him, and Serjeants' Inn could not say nay to
1300. You think Serjeants' Inn was not such a body?
—To a certain extent. The order of serjeants has
never been extinguished even to this day. Although
the Judicature Act of 1875 stipulates that it shall
not be necessary for the judges to be members of
Serjeants' Inn, Lord Cairns stated, in a debate in the
House of Lords—I think he was actually the promoter
of that Act—that it was never contemplated that the
order of serjeants should be extinguished.
1301. I do not want to go into the whole story,
but I want to know whether you approve of the action
of Serjeants' Inn ?—I do not.
1302. You think they had a right to do what they
did?—I doubt it; morally they had no right.
1303. (Mr. Firth.) Have you any ground upon
which to support that contention that they had no
right ?—No, without involving an argument.
1304. (Sir Sydney Waterlow.) I think you told the
Commission just now that the Companies' property
was worth a great deal more than they returned, and
I think you based that on the statement that you had
examined the rate books ?—Yes.
1305. Are you not aware that in many cases or in
all cases the amount in the rate book is the value of
the property as rated to the poor, and that in a very
large number of cases the city Companies are only
the owners of the ground rents, which are perhaps a
twentieth part of the property?—I guarded myself
against that. I said if you return 700,000l. a year
as your income that is really larger than ever I
thought the income was, but the value of the property
from which the income is derivable is a great deal
more as shown by the rate books. The value is shown
by the rate books.
1306. I want to know how you can get any correct
information from the rate books, when such a very
large quantity of property on the rate books is assessed
at the full value, whereas only the ground rent belongs
to the Company ?—I do not know whether it is
proper or right for me to put a question to you; but
can you show me any land owned in the city of
London by a Company of which they own simply the
ground rent and not the freehold ? Of course it may be
that they have leased the property out, and that a
man has built upon it and only pays the ground rent
to the Company, or a small nominal rent to the Company, still they are the owners of that property, and
the value of the property will ultimately be what it is
now rated at.
1307. I thought you wished to lead the Commission to the conclusion that the amount the Companies returned was not anything like what it ought
to be, because of the rateable value in the rate book?
—I said the value and not the income.
1308. You asked me whether I could call your
attention to any instances where the Companies are
only the owners of the land and not of the buildings.
Are you not aware that the majority of the large
buildings in and around Fenchurch Street and
Draper's Gardens are not the Companies' buildings,
but that a very large acreage has been let by the
Companies for buildings of late years, and that they
receive only the ground rent?—There is no doubt
about it; therefore I was surprised at the admitted
income of the Companies being 700,000l. a year.
1309. Are you still anxious to express to the Commission the opinion that the Companies have not made
a faithful return of their income?—Certainly not.
1310. Then do I understand you to say that you
think that they have made a faithful return of their
income?—I say the return of actual income they have
made exceeds my anticipation. I had no idea they
were in actual receipt of 700,000l. a year, and never
so stated; but the property of which they are the
owners is stated in the rate books to which I had access
as being worth a great deal more. They may have
let out the ground for building purposes, and may
only be in receipt for a time of the ground rent, but
the property is the property of the Companies nevertheless.
1311. Then if the Companies return their income
at 700,000l. a year or thereabouts, do you still wish to
lead the Commission to the conclusion that it is worth
1,200,000l. as you said?—I have repeatedly stated my
answer. The Companies have returned their income
at 700,000l., that is very nearly 200,000l. more than I
ever anticipated their income was; but what I said was
that the property, the property of which they are the
freeholders, is worth more than 1,000,000l. a year, not
that they are in receipt of 1,000,000l. a year. I do not
question their returns at all.
1312. (The Chairman.) Do you mean it would be
worth that amount if it were sold?—Exactly.
1313. Are you taking prospective value into consideration?—The actual value.
1314. (Sir Sydney Waterlow.) If you say that it
will ultimately be worth that amount I am satisfied?
—It is actually.
1315. You think that the Companies have made a
faithful return of their present income, but you wish
to convey to the Commission that their reversions are
very valuable and would increase that income if sold?
—I have seen no return of the Companies. I have
seen simply one statement that they are in receipt of
an income of 700,000l. a year, and I have no means
of saying whether they have made a faithful return
or not, but I can say this that the return they have
made of their income exceeds what I thought they
1316. I understood you to convey to the Commission an impression or to state that with regard to trust
property, the whole of the trust property was not fully
and faithfully disclosed, because the Charity Commissioners have not sufficient powers to compel them to
disclose it? — Not because they have not sufficient
powers; I am arguing from the fact that the reports
made to Lord Brougham's Commissioners did not disclose the whole property clothed with a distinct trust,
and since the appearance of that report they have
made confession of other property which they ought
to have returned at that time which they did not, and
arguing from the dishonest proceedings of the Clothworkers' former clerk, I think there is ground to believe that they have not disclosed the title deeds of
their whole property.
1317. Do you believe in the return that they have
now made?—I do not, and I suggest therefore that
further inquiry should be made.
1318. You have told us of an instance in which a
servant of one of the Companies dealt improperly
with his employers' property. That of course may
always happen, but subject to that kind of exception,
do you believe the Companies have made faithful
returns of their trust properties to the Charity Commissioners?—I say this, that arguing upon the basis
which I have given you, I have the right to draw
this inference, that until absolute proof is given to
me that every title deed in the Companies relating to
every inch of ground which they hold has been exhibited to the Charity Commissioners the Charity
Commissioners have not a full account of their property.
1319. Can you refer the Commission to any statement of the Charity Commissioners in support of your
belief that the Companies have not returned their trust
property faithfully?—I cannot. I have stated my
reasons fairly, I think. So far as they have disclosed
they have, I have no doubt, disclosed fairly, but my
contention is that every title deed belonging to these
companies should be produced to the Charity Commissioners, who would then see whether all the trusts
had been disclosed.
1320. You have no other reason except that which
you have stated?—Certainly.
1321. I think you told the Commission that in your
opinion the corporate body is impressed with a public
trust?—( (fn. 2) ) Clearly, and that in no sense is it private
1322. Are you aware that the Livery Companies
have constantly during the last quarter of a century
sold their property and conveyed it and made a title
satisfactory to the courts?—They may have done so,
but people accept titles that are not always good.
1323. I say to the satisfaction of a court of justice?
—It may not have been brought up in the way I
suggest before a court of justice. I do not know of a
single case upon which a court of law was called upon
1324. In what way do you consider their property
is held?—They were entitled to hold land in mortmain
simply for the use of the poor and the advantage of
their trade, that is, of decayed members of their trade,
and for the advancement of their trade. That was
the license in mortmain which they had, and it is
subject to that license alone that they hold lands.
1325. Do you consider that the courts of law have
been wrong in allowing them to deal with their property?—I am not aware that the courts of law have
ever been moved in the matter.
1326. You are aware, I presume, that they have
sold their property and made a good title to it, and not
a single suit has been brought in which the title to the
property has been overthrown?—I am not aware that
there has been a single dispute which would have
brought the matter before a court of law. It cannot
therefore be said that this title has ever been sanctioned by a legal tribunal.
1327. Do I understand you to say you cannot refer
the Commission to a single instance in which the
right of the Companies to deal with their corporate
property has ever been successfuly challenged by any
individual in a court of law?—I am not aware of any.
1328. Then we must take it simply as your opinion?
—I have stated it as my opinion.
1329. Apart from the question of legal right, I want
to ask you this as a question of fairness. I think you
have told the Commission that for very many years,
or for centuries, the majority of members have obtained their membership by patrimony or purchase?—
I have made no admission to that extent. I said, in
answer to Sir Richard Cross, that the effect of patrimony in course of time became manifest, and that there
were persons who were not connected with the trade
who were freemen of the Company.
1330. Is it not a fact that for some centuries past
a large mass of the members have obtained their
membership either by patrimony or redemption, by
paying a sum of money?— (fn. 3) The first severance from
the trade of the governing body of a Company I
think is that of the Skinners', in which a complaint
was made, and James the First provided in his
charter that the master at least should be a skinner,
if not every year, alternately. That is the first proof
of severance from trade that I have seen.
1331. Have not the majority of members obtained
their membership by patrimony, or purchase, or
redemption?—I suppose so.
1332. Has not that tended to bring the Companies
into a condition in which a very small number indeed of the members belonged to the trade which
the Company was connected with?—In so doing I
claim that they exceed their charter rights.
1333. I want to know whether you agree that
that is the fact?—It must be so; looking at the Court
of Assistants of these Companies, there are very few
members of the trades upon them now, and that is
1334. If for nearly two centuries persons have so
acquired their membership, are they not really more
like private bodies than public bodies?—There is no
statute of limitations as regards trust property.
1335. Has not the trust property been largely
built up during the last two centuries by persons
unconnected with the trade?—I doubt it very much.
The gifts since 1668 have been exceedingly few.
With the exception of the 20,000l. given to the
Clothworkers' Company quite recently I suppose I
could on my fingers count the gifts of any substantiality made to the Companies during the last 200
1336. Have you had the means of examining the
accounts and returns of the Companies before expressing the opinion that you could count them upon
your fingers?—I can only go upon the declarations
made to Lord Brougham's Commissioners, Lord
Robert Montagu's return in 1868, and upon Herbert's
1337. Are you aware that for the last 10 years
large donations have been made to the Clothworkers'
Company, and the Stationers' Company, the latter
especially being left residuary legatees to a large
estate?—I am not aware of that.
1338. I presume that really you have no means
of knowing to what extent moneys have been left to
the Companies since the beginning of the century?
—I have not.
1339. Supposing money has been left for such a
purpose as Mr. Thwaites left his money, do you
think the Companies are not fairly entitled to deal
with it as much as any other society with its funds?
—They can never unclothe themselves, as I may say,
from their original constitution.
1340. Then, although a testator leaves them 20,000l.
to make themselves comfortable with, they are not
entitled to make themselves comfortable with it?—
He gives the bequest subject to the chances of
1341. With regard to the persons who have purchased by redemption and paid large sums of money
for privileges as members, do you propose to compensate them?—They have had their advantages.
1342. Have they?—They have had their dinners,
representing quite the money they have paid in; they
have had a vote, which is an essential thing; they
have had votes as liverymen. If I wanted to have a
vote in the city I should have to buy property; this
is property they have bought, and they have exercised
1343. Have you any idea what money would be
paid for a position on the Company by redemption for
persons 50 years of age?—I do not know.
1344. Should you be surprised if I told you it is as
much as 300l.?—I do not know.
1345. I may tell you that I paid more than 300l. at
the age of 50; do you think I am not entitled to the
benefits and privileges of the Company as long as I
live?—What are the advantages you get?
1346. Whatever they are do you think I am or am
not entitled to that which I paid for?—If by getting
on the livery you either win a position which you
would not otherwise win, that is a compensation itself,
and you cannot claim a double compensation.
1347. Particular rights are not to be extinguished
without compensation, are they?—I do not say that.
1348. Then you say they ought to be?—Dinners
compensate to a certain extent, and the position you
acquire on the livery to a further extent, unless the
liverymen are disenfranchised by an Act of Parliament; I should allow them to continue to give their
votes until they died, and I think that would be the
value of the property for which they invested in the
1349. Do I understand you to say that all other
privileges, except the right of voting, you would take
away from a man who purchased his membership by
redemption?— He has had the benefit of that.
1350. And that whenever Parliament chooses they
are entitled to take them away without compensation?
—He must have joined the Company knowing very
well that his membership was incident to all the
chances which the Company itself was incident to.
1351. I think you told the Commission that the fees
to city Companies were not voluntarily paid; do I understand you rightly?—( (fn. 4) ) Yes; a fine is not voluntarily
paid; everybody was compelled to join his guild, and
it is that which made the bulk of their property in the
olden time, which has aggregated to the great wealth
they now have.
1352. Until what period?—Until severance from
the trades when they last exercised their chartered
rights and insisted on the trades joining the guilds.
1353. When you state that they were obliged to
join the guilds you refer to a period two centuries ago,
do you not?—I say not 30 years ago.
1354. Quote me an instance in which 40 years ago
fees were compulsory?—I do not remember the case,
but I have a distinct recollection of one in which
there was an enormous hardship. I think it was the
Barbers' Company. Every barber was compelled to
join his guild, and there was a great noise about it in
the city. If you will allow me I will supplement this
evidence on another occasion; I am perfectly certain
they have exercised it harshly and lately.
1355. I will not trouble you to do that; is there
any other case existing where a person can be compelled to pay fees whether he liked it or not?—If
they could be compelled then they can now; they have
never lost their rights.
1356. Can you quote a single instance in which a
member of a trade has been compelled to pay fees?—
I am not aware that the Company has lost the right if
they choose to exercise it.
1357. Do you know a case in which they have
exercised it?—I have stated that within 30 years a city
Company has exercised the right of compelling members to join it and to pay the fees.
1358. Do you know one now?—I do not. There
are certain Companies which exercise powers under
Acts of Parliament which are compulsory certainly.
The Gunmakers' and the Apothecaries', for instance.
1359. I understood you to object to the moneys of
the Company being used for doles of bread. Can you
quote an instance in which doles of bread are given
away by a Company at the present time?—It is given
to the city parishes and the parishes distribute it. I
mentioned that in my answer upon what should be
done with the endowments of the whole metropolis.
1360. Are not the contributions to the parishes compulsory by law?—I do not suppose the Companies
would give the money unless they were compelled to
1361. Then the Companies are not responsible for
distributing any doles of bread?—The distribution is
according to the bequest of the donor.
1362. Have the Companies any control over it?—
They have no control.
1363. Are they responsible if they have no control?
—They have no control.
1364. Is it not the fact that the Companies have
given up all such distributions, and that there is not
one instance in which a Company doles bread?—I
never knew that the Companies themselves actually
distributed the bread, but they hold property clothed
with trusts for that purpose, and it has to be distributed through another channel.
1365. I think you said that the funds should be
applied largely for educational purposes?—Mainly, I
1366. Are you aware of the amount which is now
paid annually in support of that object?—Since we
started the agitation some seven years ago the Companies have made some strides certainly in that respect,
and have come forward somewhat liberally, though I
1367. Are you aware that by their returns they
show payments of 155,000l. a year for education for a
considerable time?—I have not seen that return.
1368. You have no reason to challenge it?—No;
but it is all within the last seven or eight years.
1369. Did I understand you to say that Mr. Thwaites
in making a bequest of 20,000l. to the Clothworkers'
Company was acting like a lunatic?—He did a most
foolish thing, in my opinion. Of course you ask my
opinion upon it. I say that he did a most absurdly
foolish thing. They had plenty already to make
themselves comfortable with. It was simply overloading them with the means of gorging.
1370. Are you aware that Mr. Thwaites was not a
clothworker?—I am not aware of it, but it would be
equally foolish, I think.
1371. Then you think that for any person to spend
money or to leave money to be spent in public entertainment must be almost a lunatic?—I think he could
find better purposes for it.
1372. That may be a matter of opinion, I suppose.
Do you really mean seriously to tell the Commission
that the Companies' halls should be sold?—I think so,
most certainly. I think they are not needed at all.
For what purpose is that great Drapers' Hall wanted?
For what purpose is the Clothworkers' Hall wanted?
Simply for festivities, and I say it is time to put an
end to the waste of money in these festivities, because
it is trust money, which ought to be applied to other
and better purposes; and inasmuch as the halls are
not wanted for other than feeding purposes, they should
1373. Do you think the halls of the Livery Companies under any management could not be utilised
for public purposes, and that they are not an ornament
for the city?—We do not want so many museums in
the city, but if you could convert them into educational
museums they would be very good. I cannot see any
other purpose for which they could be used. They
are unsuitable for any business purposes, and in order
to be utilised they would have to be pulled down and
rebuilt. They are certainly an ornament to the city;
they are beautiful buildings, and I admire them very
1374. Do you not think they may still continue to be
used for public purposes?—I cannot understand what
the grand staircase of the Goldsmiths' Hall could ever
be used for.
1375. Perhaps you do not admire beautiful public
buildings?—I do, very much indeed.
1376. (Mr. Pell.) Are the guilds under any obligation to reveal the amount of their corporate property?—Unfortunately this Commission cannot drive
them to it. I think if there had been a proper Commission, that is, if there had been a Parliamentary
Commission, giving the Commission power to enforce
divulgement, it would have been better.
1377. I did not ask you that; I said are they under
any obligation?—No, they are not.
1378. Without giving such power to a Commission,
or without such an enactment, can you suggest to the
Commission any way by which the amount of their
corporate property could be revealed?— Except by
those who have influence with the Companies inducing
them to do so.
1379. Apart from that, from the outside?—It is
impossible from the outside; I wish I had the power.
1380. By any civil power could it be enforced?—I
do not know about that. I do not know how far a
member of a particular trade might not move in the
matter to get a mandamus or quo warranto or something of that sort. I have not considered the point.
1381. You have not considered the question of
whether they are in the nature of trust property?—I
have stated that in my opinion all the corporate property is coupled with trusts, and I base that opinion
not only on my own legal knowledge, which is very
humble in itself, but upon the opinion of Lord Selborne, the present Lord Chancellor, with regard to
the property of the Inns of Court, which are not
1382. Would the line be a very distinct one that
could be drawn between property of a trust nature
and that of a corporate nature?—The trust of course
would be a distinct trust apparent on the title deed of
the gift itself. If I had a house and were to say I
give you my house, but you are to pay the rent to
poor people, that would be a distinct trust; but if I
gave it to the Company, and the Company had certain
functions which it was its duty to perform under its
charter, functions which were performed when the
gifts were made, that property would be applicable to
those purposes and to those purposes only.
1383. Might there not be some property which
these Companies hold which would be of such a doubtful nature that an honest man, even a lawyer, might
have a difficulty in impartially settling?—There is no
doubt about it. Thwaites' gift is a case in point.
Parliament alone can deal with that by legislation.
1384. Let us keep away from Parliament at present.
If it be the case that the nature of some of this property may be doubtful and there has been misstatements (supposing that that is conceded) as to the
real value of this property, might it not have arisen
from the guilds being really unable themselves to say
with respect to some of the properties whether they
were corporate or whether they were trust properties?—I should think there could be no question
whatever that all the property held by guilds from
the time anterior to 1688 ought to be considered
strictly corporate property, and public property.
1385. From when?— (fn. 5) 1688; that is when the
severance from the trades began. I should draw that
line for this purpose, just as the line of 1660 was
drawn for the purposes of the Irish Church.
1386. I think you said no question had been raised
before the court as to whether corporate property is
trust property or not?—No, I do not know that it
has as regards the property of these guilds.
1387. With regard to this trust or charitable property, as matter of history, when did it have its
origin?—All of it before the time of James I., with
the exception of a trifling part.
1388. Was it not after the Reformation?—A great
deal of it after the Reformation, because the Church
was the principal recipient of charity before that,
and when the Church was no longer permitted by
law to take gifts for what was called superstitious
uses the Companies became the channel for the charitable to give their property to.
1389. Do you explain the origin of this large amount
of corporate property to be this: that society (or the
so-called charitable portion of it) was disturbed by the
revolution of ideas as to the sanctity of property at
the time of the Reformation, that they felt there was
no longer the Church to leave the money to, and that
then the charitable people cast about to see in what
way they could get rid of their money very much
like Mr. Thwaites has done at the present time, so as
to satisfy their charitable impulses?— ( (fn. 6) ) There is no
doubt that that is so. No doubt the charitable people
found the Companies after that a suitable medium for
distributing their alms, and therefore left their property to them, but anterior to that the Companies
were very wealthy, in fact long before that time.
1390. You are familiar with the uses to which the
founders of those charities left them generally?—Of
course I have seen the reports of Lord Brougham's
Commissioners, and there I find they give them for
various purposes, some of which are no longer applicable.
1391. Do you think, to use your own term, that
they were as foolish as Mr. Thwaites was in leaving
his money?—As I did not live in those days I cannot
form an opinion as to what the opinions of those days
were. They might have thought it very proper to
do what they did, but now we do not think so.
1392. Coming down to the time of Mr. Thwaites,
or the present time, have you anything to say as to
the unlimited right to dispose of property by way of
gift or bequest to these Companies or Corporations?—
Parliament has not interfered so far, and I do not
think for some time Parliament will be advanced
enough to do so; but I think in time we shall have a
Parliament that will do so, and which will prevent
these foolish bequests being made.
1393. You think that they will put some statutory
limits on the power of testators?—Yes, it must come
1394. Would you consider the revising the dispositions of property every 50 years a proper limitation?
—50 years I think a very favourable period in the
case of property so given.
1395. You think, as I understand, that the whole
of the funds and the property of these Corporations
should be brought into hotch-potch, and that some
scheme suitable for the present condition of society
should be made for the redistribution of it?—Yes.
1396. You did not exactly say what the scheme in
your mind was, except that the funds should, for the
most part, be appropriated to education? — They
should be used for educational purposes, I think.
1397. 700,000l. a year appears to be the present
value?—That would be nothing to the scheme which I
have in my mind. I would have the city parochial
charities dealt with in the same way; I would have all
the big charity schools dealt with in the same way; the
whole of the educational endowments and all corporate
property held by these Companies should be brought
into one mass, and I would establish large day schools
in the various parts of London, and I would have no
charitable schools like Christ's Hospital, where boys
are clothed as paupers or anything of that sort.
1398. What sort of life would the boy of the future
period lead with something like a million pounds
devoted to his education?—A far brighter one than
boys now can have.
1399. Your idea is that it would mainly go to
education?—And technical education. It would be
an extension of the purposes of the Companies.
1400. (Mr. James.) When you commenced your
investigations into that matter you encountered a good
many difficulties in finding any materials for the
articles which you wrote, did you not?—Enormous
difficulties. The only things I went upon were the
public reports, which were very defective, as I found.
Then I made a diligent search of the rate-books, and
I myself went all through the city rate-books and
found this out.
1401. I think you have seen a paper which has been
circulated amongst the Commission, in which some
extracts have been made from some letters which you
wrote to the "Weekly Despatch," and which are signed
"Censor"?—Yes.( (fn. 7) )
1402. I do not know whether you wish to say anything upon them to the Commission?—At the time I
wrote "Censor's" letters—that was at the very outset
of the agitation—very little was known. As we went
on we gathered further information and became more
authoritative. I think the only inaccuracy was this, that
I said four-fifths of the entire city was vested in those
Companies. I did not state it on my own ipse dixit,
but I quoted it from an answer given by a common
councilman to a Royal Commission in 1854. That is
the only inaccuracy in all those 13 letters, notwithstanding the enormous difficulty we had in finding out
anything about these Companies. Of course the others
are mere argumentative matters, remarks, and observations. For instance, I have here the poor prisoners'
charges. That is a thing as to which I found out
afterwards that a scheme had been in Chancery which
did away with the expenditure of this money in aid of
"poor prisoners," and that it was used for a better
purpose. To the contention that the guilds are private
bodies like clubs "'Censor' answers that the Companies
exist and hold their property by force of their incorporation and under charters, so that there is no
analogy between them and these mere voluntary
associations." Then I find it stated in this paper
of "Observations" on my letters that the theory of
the Companies themselves is that "they are (1)
chartered Companies, (2) guilds by prescription,
and (perhaps) that as guilds by prescription they
cannot be legally dissolved or disendowed." Reverting to the subject of the corporate property of the
Companies, "Censor" says:—"It is quite clear that
the open gifts to the Companies were bestowed upon
them when they took active part in the regulation
of the trades, when they insisted upon a due course
of apprenticeship, and not since the Restoration,
when they began to give up that control over trade
which they had exercised for so long a time." I
state almost identically the same opinion to-day. "Their
private estates consist of the accumulation of funds
and gifts made to them in their direct connexion
with trades, and for the regulation and advancement
of trade." I have said so to-day. Then these
remarks are made in this paper of "Observations:—
It is true that a very large proportion of the city
property now held by the Companies has been held
by them since before the Restoration. The charters
of James II. often contain long lists of houses.
But the Companies must at all times have been
full of non-craftsmen, and there is no evidence that
any considerable amount of city property was left
for any trade purpose. The searches and apprenticing were mostly paid for by the fees of the convicted tradesmen and the parents." I say that all
the property which they had so long as they carried
on the functions which they had under their charters
was given to them and held by them for the purposes
of those functions alone. In the same paper is this
further contention, "The Companies might also urge
that much of the property alluded to is 'chauntry'
land, which is absolutely theirs by Act of Parliament." When superstitious uses were declared
illegal the Companies bought their property back from
the King, that is the land forfeited; but with what
money did they buy it? The accumulated fees and
funds. They did not waste their wealth in festivities,
as they do now. It was with the wealth accumulated
by the exercise of their chartered functions that they
were able to buy these lands back, and all the "chauntry" land bought back was bought back with money
received under the charters, and is trust property.
1403. At the bottom of page 3 you speak of the
Innholders' Company "spending its whole income in
court fees, and entertainments." I believe that
relates to a statement which actually appeared in the
"Morning Advertiser"?—Yes, it is a statement that
was actually made.
1404. It was reported in the paper, was it not ?—I
heard it from the very man in reference to whose
speech that remark was made—that was Mr. John
1405. You thought some of the money which had
been spent by the Companies in connexion with educational movements in the last few years has been
mistakenly spent?—I think so. At the time when this
technical college idea at South Kensington was promulgated I thought a good deal of the matter, and
having given a good deal of attention to it I wrote
an article in "Frazer's Magazine," in April 1881, in
which I stated that I thought the hurry in maturing a
scheme like this was rather disrespectful to your Commission, because until the Commission had finished
their labours it would have been as well and more
decent in my opinion if the Companies had held their
hands before establishing such a college as this, because
the conclusion to which the Royal Commissioners
might come might not be quite in keeping with such a
1406. You think if they had awaited the report of
the Commission they might have acted in concert in
some better matured scheme?—I think so. I think it
is absurd to have a technical college at South Kensington far away from the artizans who can never go
to it. Like the School of Cookery it will become
fashionable, and the artizan will be elbowed out just as
I say in the article referred in "Frazer's Magazine,"
Sarah Jane is ousted by Lady Georgiana from the
1407. You stated that the funds would be well
given for educational purposes, and what you meant
generally by that answer was that the funds of the
Companies ought to be much more utilised at the
present time for education than they are?—If you can
find some better purpose than education well and good,
but let it it be the very best purpose that can possibly
be found. If you could have open spaces, or something of that sort, or hospitals, I should have no objection to that mode of applying some of the funds.
1408. You think the schools or colleges ought to be
accessible to the people themselves, and not established
at any distance from them?—Most certainly.
1409. If you think that the whole of these funds
should be brought into hotch potch, and brought together, can you suggest any body that you think
ought to undertake their control for the future?—The
charities of London are so enormous that either there
should be a separate Charity Commission for London
alone, or the staff of the present Charity Commission
should be increased, and there should be a sub-body,
as it were, for London; but it would be far better, in
my opinion, that it should be a representative body, a
duly elected body, elected by the whole of the metropolis having control over these vast funds.
1410. You think that there might be some popularly elected body who might control them ?—Yes.
1411. Suppose the affairs of all the Companies
were to be placed in liquidation, have you thought out
any scheme under which you would provide compensation for vested interests, and what vested interests
should be compensated, such as officers, for instance ?
—The only vested interests are those of the officers.
I know nobody else who would suffer by it. Those
who have joined the guilds have had their benefits out
of them already.
1412. You stated at the commencement of your
evidence that you contended that the Companies were
public bodies, and you made some quotations from
speeches by Lord Selborne. Do you not think that
they may be also considered public bodies by reason
of their connexion with the corporation ?—I think so,
1413. Do you consider that they form part of the
corporation?—I think they are municipal bodies.
1414. Do you think they form part of the corporation?—Yes, they do.
1415. Do you not think it may be urged that their
connexion with the corporation is only an incident of
their existence?— I do not think it was so. I think
they are an essential and integral part of the corporation. The Lord Mayor is elected by them, the Chamberlain is elected by them, the Bridge-master is elected
by them, aud the auditors are elected by them, such
auditors as they are.
1416. No control whatever has been exercised by
the corporation over the funds of the Companies
within the last 200 years. I believe that is so?—No,
unless you come to the Irish estate; and, really, the
Irish estate is public property. It is in no sense private
property. The contributions made by the Companies
were simply got from the Companies as the instruments
of raising rates in the city of London; nothing more
than that. They were not voluntary gifts at all.
1417. That would be 200 years ago ?—200 years ago.
1418. In the last 200 years do you know of any
case in which the corporation has interfered with the
property of the Companies?—No.
1419. Notwithstanding that you clearly think the
Companies form an integral part of the corporation ?
—( (fn. 8) ) I do. They exercise municipal functions.
1420. (Mr. Firth.) There was a period a few
centuries when no one had any rights whatever in the
corporation, unless he were a member of one of those
Companies, was there not?—He could not carry on
anything within the walls of the city unless he was a
member of one of those guilds.
1421. And the corporation itself was elected by
liverymen of the guilds in the time of Edward III.; is
not that so?—Do you mean the common council?
1422. Yes?—I am not aware of that, but the aldermen were, and the Lord Mayor. I am not aware as
to the common council; in fact there was no common
council, originally it was the Lord Mayor, aldermen,
1423. At the present time every alderman of the
city of London is a member of one of these Companies.
Are you aware of the fact that every alderman must
be?—I will not say must be, but necessarily is so.
I am not aware of any alderman of the city of London
who is not a member, and, as a rule, men who have
aldermanic ambition join three or four of the biggest
Companies, and directly they are made aldermen they
are placed on the courts of those Companies and made
1424. The election as alderman is, according to your
investigations, one of the qualifications for the Court of
Assistants of the Companies?—It is a great one.
1425. I notice in this paper which has been sent
round that at the bottom of page 4 it is stated, "an
aldermanship, a seat in the court of one of their
friends, and its etceteras, are worth from 4,000l. to
5,000l. a year." Is that your writing?—I am not
responsible for "Nemesis;" "Nemesis" is another
gentleman. I think you have had him before you
already from what I understand, but I can say that I
think I am responsible for the allegation.
1426. Tell us what the justification for it is?—I
was in the city and I had a conversation with a gentleman who had aldermanic ambition and was actually put
up for the aldermanship, but was not elected. He had
a very large business in the city, and he said he meant
to join three or four of the biggest Companies, and
as soon as he was an alderman he would go on to the
courts of each of those Companies, and he said that that
would double his income, and from my estimate of his
business I imagined that that would be 3,000l. or
1427. You did not in going through this paper of
"Observations, Censor's Letters," make any observation about the comment number 3. It was suggested "that the Companies might also urge that
their London house property was burnt in the fire
and restored by individual members at a time when
the Companies had little to do with the trades, and
(2) that the great increase in its value has taken
place during the last half century;" have you any-
thing to say upon those two points ?—Certainly. If
the increase in value has occurred in the last half
century it is an increase that ought to be applied to the
same purposes as the original property was, and as
regards saying that property was burnt in the great fire
and rebuilt by individual members it is not so. The
land was let for building purposes in the same way as
that suggested by the Commissioner opposite me; the
Companies received ground rents and afterwads they
became proprietors of the buildings as well as the
ground. They were not the property of individual members in any shape or form.
1428. You have not seen these returns of the Companies, have you ?—I have not seen the returns, but I
have seen a paper which sets forth an abstract of the
returns, and there is a large sum there applicable to
educational purposes. At page 2 I find there for
educational purposes 115,000l., of which 75,000 is
trust, and only 40,000l. corporate property 75,000l. is
actually trust educational funds, and 40,000l. is the
amount of the corporate funds.
1429. With respect to that 40,000l., so far as it is expended on technical education, that has been a device
or an arrangement that has been developed since the
agitation against the Companies ?—Undoubtedly.
1430. And in consequence of it you think ?—So far
as I can judge.
1431. You have not seen the returns of the Companies themselves; could you form any opinion if you
saw the returns as to whether they were complete or
not ?—I have not seen the returns.
1432. For instance, take the history of the Mercers'
Company; if you had a return of the Mercers' Company could you from your knowledge tell us whether
it was complete or not ?—If they divulged the places
they own, described the property, and so on, I could
very soon find out whether it was true and exhaustive
or not; that is if they specify the actual properties.
1433. (fn. 9) You have been asked as to members of the
trade not being members of these Companies; is there
any case that you have found in your investigation
where any Company was ever formed that at the
time of its formation, or at the time of the grant of
the charter to it, had any member belonging to it
who was not a member of the trade ?—No.
1434. So far as you are able, from your investigation to form an opinion, is it not a fact that at
the time of the formation of the Company every
member of the Company was a member of the trade ?
1435. Just one other question about mortmain.
You say you think the real estate of these Companies ought to be sold ?—I do. I think it is impolitic
that any land should remain in the hands of undying
1436. What are the disadvantages of its remaining
in the hands of bodies like these Companies?—It is an
advantage to have land in the market that it may
change hands. It is also a great disadvantage that
these Companies pay no succession duty. They do
not pay one farthing succession duty. I have gone
over the Domesday Book very carefully, and I think
from what I have found out in that book, and having
regard to the information obtained on the examination
of the city Companies' property also, there seems to
be something like a loss to the country (putting only
10 per cent. on it, which is treating them as intestate
strangers) of over a million a year.
1437. I will just put this question to you upon that
point. The total rental, or the total yearly value of
land held in mortmain in this country, is slightly over
10,000,000l. stering, is it not ?—It is more than that.
1438. You may take it that it is slighty over
10,000,000l. sterling—how then do you make out
your calculation ?—I would consider them as dying
every 20 years, that is really the average lifetime of an
owner of land so far as I can find out. It is not to
extend to a life of 30 to 31 years, as it has been suggested here, and I should impose the "stranger in
blood" duty of 10 per cent., which would be half per
cent. per year, and I should have re-valuations of the
property made every 20 years.
1439. (Mr. Alderman Cotton.) Are you aware of
the number of liverymen and freemen in the city
interested in this 700,000l. a year ?—The only parties
that I know interested in it are the members of the
Courts of Assistants, and they are somewhere between
10 and 30 in number to each Company.
1440. Would you not admit that the whole of the
18,000 liverymen are interested in it?—7,000 liverymen and 14,500 freemen.
1441. I mean 18,000 freemen and liverymen.
Would you not admit that all those have an interest
in the property as time rolls on?—A very remote
1442. It comes in time to very many of them, does
it not ?—There seems to be great grumbling against
the formal character of the courts, and with respect
to persons who are passed over and who, according to
seniority, ought to be admitted into the courts.
1443. You are aware that the guilds of the city of
London are, as it were, middle class institutions, are
you not ?—Yes.
1444. And that it is really a pride for citizens of
London and well-to-do men to attain a position on the
court of a Company and to become the warden and
master of it in good time ?—I have no doubt that it is
an inducement to them to join the Companies, but
there are other inducements also. They have the
management of large estates, and they actually get
very good fees for their attendance upon these courts,
which I cannot find any reason whatever for their
taking. I find nothing in the world in any of the
charters about these fees to the courts. I do not know
when they began to take fees for courts.
1445. In unity with that question, you do not
seriously believe that the position of a liveryman is
worth from 4,000l. to 5,000l. a year, from the simple
fact that he might be a member of three or four of the
guilds and have fees from those guilds, do you ?— (fn. 10) I
do not say so. I simply state that a gentleman who was
nominated for alderman, who was a prominent member
of the Common Council of London so stated to me,
that he would double the value of his business, and
his business I estimate really at 3,000l. or 4,000l. a year.
1446. You intimated just now, at least so I understood it, that the fees alone that he would derive from
those Companies would give him that 4,000l. to 5,000l.
a year ?—I never said anything of the kind. It was
simply a correction of a remark made in this paper
upon a statement in a letter of "Nemesis," and I said
I was the father of that allegation by "Nemesis." I
believe I must have told Mr. Beal so, and it was stated
to me by a gentleman in London who was a member
of the Common Council, and nominated for the portion of alderman, that that was so, and that generally
in anticipation of becoming an alderman it was usual
to join two or three or four of the biggest Companies, and as soon as they became aldermen they
were, as a matter of course, promoted to the court.
1447. Are you aware that for the court fees that they
receive they give from three to five hours' work when
they attend their courts ?—I have no doubt that they
give their time; there is no question whatever as to
that. But inasmuch as this is all trust property, I do
not think the trustees have any right to take any payment whatever.
1448. The court fees are not from their trust properties ?—That is the questioin. I submit that all the
property is trust property, not trust property, accountable to the Charity Commissioners, but trust
1449. You will admit, just for my argument, that
we do not touch the properties recognised by the
Companies and the Charity Commissioners as trust
properties ?—The admitted trusts which you give an
account of to the Charity Commissioners are distinctly
trusts, but the other corporate property I claim also
to be trust property.
1450. I am not quite certain about this, and hardly
wanted to put the question to you on that account,
but I fancy at the time of the formation of the Charity
Commission they sent down persons to examine the
deeds of the respective Companies, and then determined which were trust deeds and which were not,
is not that so ?—The Companies had the selection of
what deeds they should produce. They did not exhibit
all their title deeds, and according to this story of the
Clothworkers' clerk they denied many of the deeds,
and said that they had been burned in the fire, and
afterwards admitted that they had not been so burned.
1451. That might have arisen from ignorance on
the part of the clerk, might it not, for the time being ?
—The fraud, admittedly in that case.
1452. The clerk is responsible for that, is he not ?
—Admittedly; he was expelled.
1453. That could hardly apply to all the other
guilds, could it ?—I do not think it appears anywhere
(and I am not under that impression) that the city
Companies did at the time of Lord Brougham's Commissioners exhibit all the title deeds of all their property. I think they themselves made the selection,
and said what was trust and what was not, and exhibited the title deeds only of those that they admitted
to relate to trust property.
1454. Do you believe that a body of citizens who
compose the court of a Company, and under whose
directions all these returns have been made, would be
capable of doing what you assert here that they
would, namely, that they have not produced the title
deeds of all their property ?—I contend that they have
not produced every title deed in their possession.
They made a great fight against it, and quoted some
Lord Chancellor who said, "Never produce your title
deeds." And it is a fact that they have not exhibited
all their title deeds.
1455. Do you give that as evidence from facts you
have ascertained, or are you merely giving it as an
opinion or conclusion of your own ?—What I have
stated as opinion I have so stated; what I have stated
as fact I have so stated it.
1456. (Viscount Sherbrooke.) Would you sell the
whole of the property of the Companies ?—Yes, I
think I should.
1457. And you would devote the money to educational purposes, as I understand ?—Mainly to education.
1458. Is not education provided for already ?—
Primary education only; this would be for intermediate education, University education, and the promotion of deserving objects from the board schools
and passing them upwards to the Universities. I
should also devote a large sum to technical education.
1459. Are you of opinion that you would necessarily
do great good by giving people a very high education
without giving them any means when they had got it
for employing it? Is there not very considerable
difficulty in that ?—I do not think so.
1460. If you make of a man a good Greek scholar
and he has not a shilling in his pocket, what would be
the result ?—The German nation are very highly educated, but they do not disdain doing menial labour.
The Americans also are a very highly educated
people; they do all sorts of laborious and manual
labour though they are so educated. It is an advantage to everybody, no matter what his position in the
world is, to have the best possible education; there
can be no question about that.
1461. Are you quite clear that that is the best way
in which the money could be employed ?—I think so.
I should also apply some towards hospitals and open
spaces, and some such worthy objects.
1462. Supposing that London were made into one
great municipality, do you think the money might be
properly employed in relieving the rates ?—If the
municipality were a truly representative one I think
the management of the funds should be entrusted to
that body, Parliament having decided how the funds
should be applied.
1463. Not for municipal purposes ?—No; I think
Parliament should decide what should be done with
1464. Would you trust any municipal body with
the expenditure of a sum of money of that kind?—If
an elected body.
1465. You think the result of experience is that
election is a sufficient safeguard ?—I think the public
voice would soon put out anybody who would tamper
with their interests.
1466. That has been your experience ?—I think so.
1467. Even in matters in which the people were
not themselves very much concerned?—They soon
would be concerned in the application of this vast
fund, and the education which is now being given to
the working classes would make them all the more
on the alert for the proper application of these funds.
1468. You think that really by raising very highly
the education of the people who have not got any
immediate means of employing that education you
would be conferring a great benefit upon them, are you
satisfied of that ?—There is a question as to the making
use of particular means of education. I think that education is good in itself; whether the man educated is likely
to elevate his position and get out of one class or rank
into another is another matter.
1469. By giving a man a certain taste of knowledge
who has no money or position to support it, do you
think you are necessarily making him a happier, wiser,
or better man ?—He would have so much self-respect
encouraged by this education that he would work and
obtain the money, and so live a happier and better
life, and the taste he would acquire would elevate him
1470. (Lord Coleridge.) Let me ask you one question which may possibly alter somewhat the tone of
the examination. I do not know whether you would
admit that it may be very possible for a system to be
bad without the men who come into it to administer
it being themselves dishonourable or bad ?—Never in
my life by one word that I have ever written have I
suggested any dishonour to any single member of these
Companies. They have learned to administer the
property in this way; they think it is no harm so to
do; they contend that it is theirs, and that being so
they are acting as any other honest men would do
having such views. (fn. 11)
1471. It is open to the suggestion that this is not
the best way of managing the property without suggesting that the people who manage it are not honest?
—I have never suggested that they are not honest.
They contend that it is their own property to do what
they like with.
Adjourned to Wednesday next at 4 o'clock.