Wednesday, 28th February 1883.
The Right Honourable LORD COLERIDGE, in the Chair.
His Grace the Duke of Bedford, K.G.
The Right Hon. Viscount Sherbrooke.
Sir Sydney H. Waterlow, M.P.
Mr. Alderman Cotton, M.P.
Mr. Walter H. James, M.P.
Mr. Pell, M.P.
Mr. J. F. B. Firth, M.P.
Mr. Thomas Burt, M.P.
Mr. H. D. Warr, Secretary.
Deputation from Grocers' Company.: 28 Feb. 1883.
The following gentlemen again attended as a deputation from the Grocers' Company:—
Mr. J. H. Warner, a member of the Court, and
Mr. W. Ruck, the clerk.
2184. (Chairman to Mr. Warner.) I believe we
have all read your paper with care. I do not desire
to contest questions with you, but merely to draw out,
as far as I can, your own views. If I understand
rightly, your view is that except as regards a very
small proportion of the property of the Company they
are under no legal obligation to dispose of it in any
particular way?—Yes, I should say that is the case.
Of course, I should admit a moral obligation.
2185. Yes, but we are all under moral obligations.
2186. But you would not admit, if I understand you
rightly, that there is more moral obligation on the part
of the Company than on the part of any large possessor
of income to dispose of it in any particular way?—I
think a little more than that. I think we must look
to the original constitution of the Company, which
was that of a benevolent, religious, and social fraternity.
The objects of that constitution still remain, and, I
imagine, still have to be observed in the disposition of
2187. When you say that, do you mean that the
Company could be compelled to observe them, or that,
merely a matter of good feeling, they would observe
them?—That is a very difficult question to answer.
It is possible, I think, that the members of the Company
might have some sort of right to enforce them, but I
do not think there can be any other right except as
between members of the Company.
2188. You say that there is no external obligation ?
—No external obligation.
2189. I daresay I have misunderstood it, but speaking broadly the revenue of the Company is about
40,000l. a year, is that so?—About that.
2190. And the extent to which you consider there
is any legal obligation is about 500l.?—Yes, about
500l.; I do not think quite so much, if we exclude the
fixed payments of 315l. a year mentioned in the statement.
2191. I put it roughly. I only speak in round
2192. You are aware, I daresay, or I will ask you
whether you are aware that that is a claim that is very
much in excess of that made by any other particular
Company?—I believe we stand quite alone in that
respect. Of course the Commission is aware that the
Company has got rid of very many of their trusts
by the middle class schools scheme under the Endowed Schools Act.
2193. As I understand, your view is that the Company received land originally with some trusts attached
to it?—In some cases; in others it was an absolute
devise and gift to the Company with no trust at all.
2194. But at all events in some cases with a trust
attached to it?—I should rather say with conditions
to be performed.
2195. That then that property, or large portions of
it at all events, was parted with and regained by the
Company without the conditions; is not that your
view?—That would apply to the particular portion
of the Company's property which was regained by the
Company, and the re-acquirement confirmed by the
Act of James I.
2196. I mean your view is that portions of the
property of the Company are held by them free from
any conditions at all from the beginning?—Yes.
2197. And that considerable portions, though
saddled originally with conditions, have now become,
by the events that have taken place, free from those
conditions in the hands of the Company?—The conditions that have been got rid of in that way were
connected with trusts which have been appropriated
by the middle class schools scheme or else with superstitious uses. I think there are no others.
2198. Do not I understand from the paper you have
handed in that there was a getting back of some considerable portion of the property from, I think,
Edward VI.?—That applied to so much of the Company's property as was devised for or in connexion
with superstitious uses.
2199. That was parted with, and then got back
from Edward VI. free from those uses; is that so ?
—I think it was not parted with. It became
the property of the Crown under an Act of Henry
VIII. and was afterwards regained by the Company.
2200. Parted with, I mean by that lost to the Company?—Lost to the Company.
2201. And that it was then re-annexed to the
Company free from the uses that had theretofore
attached to it?—On payment to the Crown.
2202. And on that ground you say it is the private
property of the Company?—Yes.
2203. I understand you also to say that the Company, and I suppose you would say other companies
too, but I confine you to your own, has nothing to do
with the Corporation of London, and is no part of the
Corporation of London?—Certainly it is no part of
the Corporation of London. That was decided by
Lord Chief Justice de Grey in Plumbe's case.
2204. That is your view?—Yes.
2205. The members and Livery of the Companies
as such form part, do they not, of the Corporation?—
I should say not. The livery form part of a particular
branch of the Corporation, the Common Hall, but only
for very limited and special purposes.
2206. But the Common Hall is a body, is it not,
which elects the Lord Mayor?—It elects the Lord
Mayor from among the aldermen.
2207. It elects him as the head of the Corporation ?
—Or rather it is a body which recommends to the
Court of Aldermen two members, and the Court of
Aldermen chooses one of the two as Lord Mayor.
2208. I will put it as low as possible, for I do not
want to dispute with you but merely to draw out your
view. It performs some function in connexion with
the Lord Mayor, does it not?—Yes, I should say a
2209. It may be so now, but at one time, I presume,
it was a real election. Is it so entirely ceremonial
now?—Have there not been instances of aldermen
being passed over within recent times?—That I cannot answer of my own knowledge. If there has been
any such case I should think it was only by arrangement.
2210. Arrangement with the Common Hall do you
mean ? However, it is enough to say that they do
still perform a function now (you may call it ceremonial, I will not dispute with you) which is essential
to the election of the Lord Mayor?—Yes.
2211. And they perform that function as a portion
(however unimportant you may regard it) of the Corporation, do they not?—That is, the livery perform it.
2212. The livery perform it?—The livery is only
part of the Company.
2213. My question was intended to be accurate.
The members of the Company as such perform a
function (which, if you please, you may call now
ceremonial) in relation to the head of the Corporation
of London, do they not?—Yes, if your Lordship would
allow me to say "some of the members of the Company as such."
2214. Well, the livery as such?—Just so: One
class of members of the Company.
2215. Do you think that that which has now become
(I adopt your own phrase for I do not want to dispute)
ceremonial, was in former times entirely ceremonial?—
I really have not information enough to answer that.
2216. You know history—nobody knows it better—
what do you say to that?—Do you think the Common
Hall was always a mere ceremonial institution?—I
should think we must go back some 200 years.
2217. Be it so, but you do not doubt, I suppose,
that some considerable time ago the Common Hall
was performing an important function in the municipal
system of the City of London, do you?—I think the
importance of the function must always have been
very much limited from the fact of the members from
whom they could elect being previously limited in
2218. We know what the function was. We need
not dispute about it. By what process is it your view
that the livery of the Grocers' Company became part
of the Common Hall—was it by Royal Charter?—Not
that I am aware of.
2219. How do you suppose?—Some 500 years ago
the livery, or rather the Companies, became the
governing power of the City of London.
2220. You could not, I suppose, question that the
existence of the Companies as corporate bodies depends
upon charter?—There are authorities to the contrary.
The learned authors of "English Gilds" hold that
English Gilds were not established by Charter at all,
and that a charter was unnecessary to their incorporation.
2221. I do not at all wish to dispute, as I have said
all along; but how can a Corporation exist except by
charter?—There is no question that by the civil law
no charter or Act of the Sovereign was necessary to
constitute a Corporation.
2222. When did the civil law obtain in England ?
—It would be difficult to say when the common law
2223. Very difficult I should think, but since there
has been common law in England, by what mode only
can a Corporation exist?—The passage which I was
about to read—
2224. Never mind about the passage:—They can
only exist by prescription.
2225. Does not prescription always imply a charter ?
—It implies a charter no doubt.
2226. You might have said so. They may have
been created by charter. Is it your view that a body
created by charter (I do not wish to dispute, I merely
wish to get your view) is in exactly the same position
as to its existence, and as to its property as a private
individual?—I believe that there is no doubt that a
Corporation, quâ Corporation, can hold land exactly
as a private individual.
2227. I am not doubting that at all?—But of course
that must be subject to the terms of the charter.
2228. Is there not in this charter, as well as in all
others, certain terms upon which the charter is
granted; I will not say terms upon which it is
granted, but conditions which are imposed upon the
Corporation at the time of its creation?—I think that
in the case of the charter of the Grocers' Company,
the incorporation of the Company is not accompanied
by or subject to any conditions.
2229. I have got before me an extract from the
charter of Henry VI., which states that the King grants
That the wardens and commonalty of the said
mystery may acquire lands, tenements, and rents,"
and so on, of a certain value, "to have and to hold
to them and their successors for ever towards
the support as well of the poor men of the said
commonalty as of a chaplain to perform Divine
Service daily for our condition while we live and
for our soul when we are dead, and also for the
condition and souls of all persons of the said mystery
and commonalty, and of all the faithful deceased
according to the order," and so on. You are aware
that at that time the grant of the Crown to hold in
mortmain was necessary, was it not?—Yes, no doubt.
2230. You will correct me, if I am wrong, but it
would seem that the license to hold in mortmain was,
at all events, if not made subject to these conditions,
accompanied with these conditions?—I think it was
originally. But when the Act of Henry VIII. made
the superstitious uses absolutely void, the courts of
law held that as the amount of rent given for the
support of the poor of the Company could not be
distinguished from the amount given to superstitious
uses, the whole was forfeited to the Crown. Then,
under the Act of James I., the whole was re-acquired
by the Company with a Parliamentary title for good
2231. Then since that it has been the private property of the Company, you say?—Yes.
2232. Your position, as I understand it is, that
their being a portion of the Common Hall does not
make them at all a part of the municipality of London;
that the superstitious uses having come to an end
they are discharged from all trusts upon lands that
were held for such purposes; and that except to the
extent of 500l. a year, the property of the Company
is absolutely private property, subject to no control
except that which the good feeling of the members of
the Company may impose?—Subject to the moral
obligation which has always been held to apply to it
for 500 years or more.
2233. You mean that the administration of the
funds has been good for that time?—Yes, and I think
upon the original lines of the foundation.
2234. What do you say the original lines of the
foundation were?—I should say those of a religious,
benevolent, and social fraternity.
2235. Do you mean that there is an obligation to
administer the property for religious, social, and
benevolent objects ? — I should say there is, undoubtedly, a moral obligation; whether it is an obligation which could be enforced in a court of law or not
I am not prepared to say.
2236. But, as I understand, in your view there is
no legal objection to the Company meeting and dividing their lands and property to-morrow except to the
extent of 500l. a year?—There may be no legal objection possibly, but such a thing I should regard as
impossible. When I say there is no legal objection,
I will add that under the Reform Act there may be
some sort of inchoate right in the sons of the freemen
of the Company to become freemen and liverymen,
with a right to vote, and that might possibly prevent
the Company being put an end to legally.
2237. (Viscount Sherbrooke.) Granting, for the
sake of argument, that you have these things by Act
of Parliament, and that you have a right to them, do
I understand you to contend that under no circumstances whatever Parliament might alter or do away
with that which it has originally given?—Parliament
2238. So I thought. Then I do not exactly understand the force of this insisting so much upon law, if,
after all, there is something above the law that can
alter it. I do not see exactly what the bearing of it is ?
—I understood Lord Coleridge to be asking me questions as to the legal position of the Company's property.
2239. Just so. I mean to say this, that there is a
great deal said about law, but, after all, has not Parliament repeatedly taken away again things which
were given by law; has it not been constantly done
in this country, and, therefore, is not the question
rather whether it is desirable or expedient to do it
than whether there is a law to do it?—I was only
answering questions put to me.
2240. (Sir Sydney Waterlow.) I should like to ask
you upon which charter you consider the Company
now rests, and which charter guides or properly
influences its course of action. Four charters are set
out in the return you have made. Do you consider
the last as most operative, or is there any other?—I
think the larger portion of the last charter was
2241. (Mr. Firth.) The charter of William the
Third, do you mean?—The charter of William the
Third. The whole of that charter is not operative.
It is impossible that the Crown could without authority from Parliament compel persons to become members of the Company.
2242. (Sir Sydney Waterlow.) I will put it in this
way, so far as the last charter is operative in the present state of the law do you consider that that is the
charter which should control and bind the action of
the Company?—I consider that all the charters must
be read together. The last charter confirms the first,
and makes that charter of the same value and importance as the last.
2243. Then reading all the charters together which
have not been repealed or which have not been
annulled by any law of the land, may they all be
taken as indicating the purposes and objects of the
Company now?—I should say the original purposes
were indicated by the first charter, the charter of
incorporation; certain purposes may have been to
some extent superadded afterwards by later charters.
2244. You do not think it right that the Company
should rest upon that part of the latest charter which
is still operative, that is to say, not at variance with
the law of the land?—So far as the last charter and
the first agree, the Company would rest upon the
2245. Now may I call your attention to the first
charter, No. 1 of Henry the Sixth, 1428, on page 3
of the first return, "By this charter the Company
became a body politic by the name of 'Custodes et
communitas mysterii Groceriœ Londini'"; does
not that point to its being a Grocers' Company; that
is to say, a Company having a trade and a craft. Does
not the word "mysterii" mean craft?—I think it is
a larger word than craft.
2246. But it includes craft?—It includes craft.
2247. The next charter of 1447 you say does not
affect the constitution of the Company, but grants
certain rights of garbelling to the wardens?—Yes.
2248. Is not garbelling a trade action?—It is a
trade action, undoubtedly; it is superintendence of
2249. That is all you say about that in your return.
Then does not the third charter contain these words,
"It incorporates the freemen of the Mysteries of
Grocers and Apothecaries of the City of London by
the name of the wardens and commonalty of the
Mystery of Grocers of the City of London, or (in
one instance, possibly by error) the wardens and
commonalty of the Mysteries of Grocers." Does
not the word "mystery" twice repeated imply that it
was a trade society?—No, I think not.
2250. Does it not imply that it was a society
having a particular craft?—No, I think not. I think
the word "mystery" includes craft, but is not synonymous with it.
2251. Would you please explain what you think to
be the distinction between the old word "mystery"
and the word "craft"?—I think "craft" probably
means something like a handicraft, and would properly
apply to trade gilds; "mystery" would apply to all
(fn. 1) 2252. To bring you to modern times, do you know
the City indenture which is not in use, I believe, in
all, but certainly in some, of the halls of the companies. Does it not contain these words, "You shall
teach the said (stating the name of the boy apprenticed) the art and mystery" of whatever it may
be?—I do not know. I should be quite willing to
take your account of it; I am not acquainted with it.
2253. There the word is used as indicating the
trade, is it not?—I think the word has changed its
meaning very much.
2254. At the present time it conveys the word
"trade," does it not?—Apparently.
2255. Now we come to charter No. 4, dated 1640,
The wardens and commonalty of the mystery of the
Grocers of the City of London are incorporated and
empowered to take and hold lands." Does not the
word "mystery" govern that sentence and the word
"Grocers"?—I do not know that there the word
"mystery" means anything more than the wardens
and commonalty of the body of Grocers. It was the
common word used at that time for all corporations in
the nature of gilds.
2256. May I still take it from you that, in your
opinion, it did not really at that time mean the craft
of the grocers?—I think it certainly did not mean
the craft, because we know there were members of the
Grocers' Company then who had nothing to do with
2257. Now I take the charter No. 5 of William and
Mary, dated 1690. "Upon the petition of the wardens and commonalty of the mystery of Grocers,
and for the good government of that society, it is
declared that all persons who now exercise, or who
shall ever hereafter exercise the mystery or art of
Grocers, and the several arts or mysteries of confectioners, druggists, tobacconists, tobacco cutters,
and sugar bakers, or refiners of sugar in the City,
or within three miles round it, are, and shall be,
part of the body corporate and politick of the aforesaid wardens and commonalty of the mystery of
Grocers of the City of London." Now, looking at
the manner in which the word "mystery" is used in
connexion with all those trades, does it not seem to
you that at the time that sentence was written the
word "mystery" implied trade uses?—In connexion
with the words "or art," I think it undoubtedly does
mean "mystery or art of Grocers."
2258. "The mystery or art of Grocers, and the
several arts or mysteries of confectioners, druggists,
tobacconists, tobacco cutters," &c. That is the last
charter you recite, is it not?—Yes.
2259. Does not that strictly imply that the petitioners, the wardens and commonalty to whom the
charter is granted, apply for it for trade purposes,
and direct that all persons in the trade shall be mem-
bers of their company?—Yes; but it is equally clear,
I think, that it was ultra vires of the Crown to grant
anything of the kind.
2260. Is it ultra vires now for an association of
persons to combine themselves together and say we
will not have anybody but grocers, or any other
particular business; may they do that now?—Undoubtedly they may.
2261. And might they not have done it then?—
Yes, but the Crown had no power to compel other
people to join their body.
2262. But you may make it the rule of the society
that only certain persons shall belong to your society;
is it not the custom now-a-days to make it a rule of
clubs that only certain persons holding certain opinions
shall belong to certain clubs, and this is a rule that
only persons in a certain trade or company should
belong to a particular craft?—That was not so. Freedom by patrimony was introduced into the Company
so long ago as 1460.
2263. Did not the Company accept that charter;
they were the petitioners for it?—Yes, but they never
enforced it; in fact there is an entry in the minutes
of the court at the time pointing out that they never
regarded it as a compulsory power at all.
2264. Yet they ask the Crown to confine their
Company to persons of the mystery of the trades set
out in the charter?—I think not to confine it; I do
not think there are any words confining it.
2265. They petition for a charter in these words
and they get it?—They petition that everybody exercising that particular craft or art shall be made a
member of the Company, but not that the Company
shall consist only of persons exercising the particular
craft or art.
2266. Will you turn to the third line of page 11 of
the statement which you read the other day. "The
Ordinances of the Grocers' Company of 1376 expressly ordain that no one of any other mistery
shall be admitted into the Company without the
common assent, and should pay for his entry 10l."
Does not that imply that it is the mystery of Grocers,
but that other persons may be admitted by consent
upon payment to a fund to which those who belong to
the trade are not subject?—That is to say, that it was
not from its beginning an exclusive mistery.
2267. Those in the trade were members, I presume,
and those who paid their fine were honorary members?—I do not think there is any trace whatever at
any part of the history of the Grocers' Company that
a member of the trade could as such become a member of the Company, or that the Company was confined
to members of the trade.
(fn. 2) 2268. I will pass from that point. Are apprentices
bound at your hall now?—They are.
(fn. 2) 2269. Are they bound under the City indenture the
same as the apprentices of other Livery Companies ?
—Mr. Ruck tells me that they are, according to the
usual form; I suppose it is the City form.
(fn. 2) 2270. Mr. Ruck will help you probably in answering this question. Is there not a covenant in that
indenture, first that the apprentice shall be taught the
art and mystery of grocers, and is there not another
covenant that the master shall provide board and
lodging for the apprentice in sickness and in health,
and that he shall see that he does not play at dice and
other things?—And not marry without leave I
(fn. 2) 2271. As a matter of fact are the lads so apprenticed at your hall apprenticed to persons who are
grocers ?—No, certainly not; not grocers by trade.
(fn. 2) 2272. Then how do they perform the covenant as
to teaching the boy who is apprenticed in the face of
your court, the elders of your Company, the art and
mystery of a grocer?—I should say that the art and
mystery of a grocer in those indentures means the
art and mystery of the original Company; that is to
say the religious, social, and benevolent objects.
(fn. 2) 2273. Then do I understand you to say that this
apprentice is not a trade apprentice at all?—Not in
these days certainly. I do not know that he ever
(fn. 2) 2274. Then for what object and purpose is he
apprenticed at the hall?—In order to keep up the
(fn. 2) 2275. But the body may be kept up, may it not,
by redemption and patrimony?—Not by redemption;
we have no redemption.
(fn. 2) 2276. By patrimony?—Yes; by patrimony.
(fn. 2) 2277. Then do I understand you to say that, in
order to keep up the body, persons who are not
grocers take boys and undertake to teach them the
art and mystery of the trade of a grocer, and yet do
not intend to do anything of the kind?—It is the
"art and mystery," is it not?
(fn. 2) 2278. Yes, those are the words, "art and mystery
of a grocer"?—I do not think it is the "trade."
(fn. 2) 2279. But there is no intention to teach them the
art and mystery of a grocer is there?—To make him
a good member of the Company is to teach him the
art and mystery.
(fn. 2) 2280. You say the Company is not a grocers'
Company; how is the boy to learn the art and
mystery of a grocer ? Now may I ask you whether
you do not think that that part of the duties of the
Livery Companies, which are not now trading companies, had better be given up, and that they should
not enter into contracts, which those companies which
are not now trading do not perform, and do not
intend to perform?—So far as the Company is not a
trading company I see no objection to the contract
being entered into. The difficulty arises from the
use of the words "art and mystery of the trade."
(fn. 2) 2281. Surely where the Company is a trading
company and a member of the Company bonˆ fide
intends to teach the art and mystery, that is an
apprenticeship which should be rather cultivated than
given up, is it not?—The Grocers' Company I say
is not a trading company.
(fn. 2) 2282. You are aware, I presume, that some of the
companies are still trading companies, and that the
apprenticeships are just as bonâ fide as they were
when they were originally instituted, for instance,
those of the Stationers' Company?—I would rather
not speak about other companies, as to which I have
not accurate information.
2283. Can you tell me whether it is the practice
of your Company to grant leases of all their property
at rack rents, or is it sometimes the practice to grant
at lower rents taking a premium?—We never take a
2284. Do you always grant at rack rents?—Or on
building leases at the best rent that can be obtained
2285. Since you have had a knowledge of the
Company, have the Company parted with any portion
of their real estate?—They sold their Irish estate.
2286. But beyond that?—Mr. Ruck tells me there
have been small cases either of sale or exchange.
2287. When property has been sold have the
proceeds been treated as part of the corpus of the
Company, or have they passed into the revenue
account?—The proceeds are treated as capital.
2288. That, I presume, you consider is the proper
way of dealing with them?—I should say so, but on
the other hand I see no difficulty in taking part of
the capital for charitable purposes if required, as in
the case of the London Hospital.
2289. I presume you would not see any difficulty at
all in taking any part of it, because you consider that
the Company holds it just as any private individual
would hold property?—I think we should be very
unwilling to diminish the general amount of the
Company's property; for instance, in the case of a
large gift, such as the gift to the London Hospital of
25,000/., the amount probably would be made up by
savings in other years.
2290. And having the absolute control of your own
property you, of course, consider that a proper discretionary use of it?—I do, in the case of such a gift
as that, undoubtedly, provided that it is made up in
2291. May I ask how the members of your court
are elected, whether by the court or by the livery?—
They are elected by the court.
2292. Having regard to the views held by some
persons that the whole of the property of the Livery
Companies is the property not of any section, but of
all the members of the Company; should you think it
more wise and fair that the court should be elected by
the general body of the Company, namely, the livery?
—I should say it would certainly not be wise that
that should be the case.
2293. As the property belongs to the livery as well
as the court, how do you give them the representation
or control over it unless you give them the power of
electing the court?—The property belongs to the
Company as a corporate body subject to the terms
of constitution. By the terms of constitution the
Court of Assistants elect into their own body.
2291. Have not the court absolute power over the
the property, as regards selling and dealing with it in
any way that they, in their discretion, think fit. Of
course, I refer to the corporate property?—Yes.
2295. Would you think it unfair to ask that the
members of the Company—the livery, the general
body—should elect those who have absolute control
over their property?—I do not know that it would
be unfair; I think it would be unwise.
2296. Do you think it would be wrong of the livery
to expect that they should have a voice in appointing
those who are to have absolute control over their
property?—That I am not prepared to say. Of
course I do not admit that it is the property of the
livery; it is the property of the Company.
2297. Are not the livery the larger number of the
Company?—The freemen are the larger body; the
property is the property of the Company subject to
the terms of the Company's constitution, and one term
of the Company's constitution is that the members of
the Court of Assistants shall elect into their own body
as they elect on to the livery.
2298. May I ask you whether they are elected by
seniority in your Company?—No.
2299. They are elected from the livery by the
choice of the court?—By the choice of the court.
2300. In the last paragraph but one of your statement, on page 24, you say, "It may be a fair question
for consideration whether the Company should pay
a composition equivalent to succession duty on their
corporate property;" do you mean an annual sum
which being a per-centage on their annual income
may be regarded as equivalent to the succession duty
payable by ordinary holders?—That is what is intended.
2301. (Mr. Pell.) Did you prepare this statement?
— I had a great deal to do with it.
2302. It was a joint production, was it?—A small
committee of the court superintended it; but I make
myself responsible for the whole statement.
2303. Was anybody associated with that small committee of the court in the production of this document?—Two or three persons, officers of the Company, assisted; the senior warden, a member of the
committee, gave very valuable aid.
2304. I will put the direct question at once. It
appears to me that this has been prepared by a professional man; by a lawyer. Is not that the case?—
Well, I am a professional man, though not in practice
at the bar; it was prepared by myself as a member
of the court simply, not professionally at all.
2305. What would you say with respect to the
livery of the Company, are they all members of the
Common Hall?—All the livery are members of the
Common Hall, as far as I am aware.
2306. Are you clear about that; I do not know in
the least?—I believe, as a matter of fact, it is the
practice of the Company not to admit any man on the
livery who has not taken up the freedom of the City,
and a freeman of the City who is a liveryman of one
of the companies is a member of the Common Hall.
2307. That is a very marked tie, is it not, with the
Corporation of the City. Does not that connect you
very intimately with the Corporation?—I am disposed
to think that the Common Hall is an institution of the
past, and that election by the Common Hall is a little
more than a ceremonial election. I should compare
it to a congé d'élire more than anything else; it is a
survival of old custom.
2308. Still, such as it is, it is in existence and is
operative?—It is operative, certainly.
2309. Then the chairman asked you something with
reference to the origin of your Company and other
companies, too, but of your own in particular. Would
you repeat again what you understand to be the origin
of your Company; what called it into existence?—
That is mentioned very fully in the statement.
2310. Yes, it is, but it is rather obscure there, I
think. You seem to trace your origin, do you not, to
a body which did not exist very long, called the
Pepperers?—They existed certainly as long back as
the year 1180.
2311. Yes, 1180, undoubtedly; but it was not of
very long duration as a body, was it?—No, the bankruptcy of the Italian merchants in 1345 seems to
mark the date, after which we hear nothing more of
2312. You do not assume that you came into being
by spontaneous generation?—No; the records of the
Company exist and the actual names of the founders.
2313. Then you connect yourself, do you not, with
the Pepperers through a link which was a religious
fraternity, that of St. Anthony; then the religious
fraternity of St. Anthony are transformed ultimately
into the Grocers' Company as we have it now?—Yes.
2314. How do you think that this recital of the
Pepperers and the religious fraternity of St. Anthony
strengthens the case of the Grocers' Company as
against the reformers of the day?—It possibly is more
a question of antiquarian interest than anything else.
2315. You are no more, I suppose, like the Pepperers than a frog is like a tadpole?—I imagine the
Pepperers were traders; the fraternity of St. Anthony
was a religious and social guild.
2316. But the Pepperers undertook other business
or connected themselves with other business than that
of spice and trade, did not they; they were canvas
makers, and also had to do with the adjustment of
weights, had they not?—It appears so.
2317. But you do not think your case rests strongly
upon your connexion with the Pepperers?—No, the
reference to the Pepperers was inserted to explain
why the original founders of the Company in 1345 are
so called; they are mentioned there as Pepperers.
2318. You did not insert that part of your state
ment relating to the religious fraternity in order to
attempt to show that the Grocers had no craft, did
you?—No, it was not inserted with that intention.
The description of the foundation of the Company,
which we have in the records, undoubtedly shows to
my mind that there was no craft originally.
2319. What is, roughly speaking, the annual income
of your property; the corporate and the charitable
property?—About 40,000l. a year.
2320. And there is only a very small portion of
that I think you say that is charitable property?—
Yes, it may be regarded, as I have said, as being about
500l. a year; but, of course, we are concerned, if I
may say so, with schools and other institutions which
involve a very large outlay, and which must be kept up.
2321. That, I think you have said, was of your own
good will?—Yes, but there are the institutions and
they must be maintained.
2322. Then is it your contention with regard to
this very large property that the Grocers' Company
have just the same rights as persons owning private
property?—I should say so, subject to the undoubted
moral obligation which has always governed our
2323. Moral obligation is not always very strong
with private persons; but I will not go into that?—
It has lasted for 500 years with us as a Company.
2324. You mean the way in which you deal with
this property is a moral question, and to be referred
to moral law and not to anything else?—I should say
there is no legal obligation.
2325. You say that the Grocers' Company has a
conscience?—I hope so.
2326. Which it obeys?—Which it obeys.
2327. And which governs it in its dealing with this
2328. Then you say, I suppose, that you are not
fettered with any special conditions as to the use you
make of this property, and that you are not answerable
to any external authority ?—No.
2329. And, so far, your case is very like the case of
a private owner; do you say that you have no advantages conferred upon you by the law, by the State, or
by the charters, that private persons have not got with
respect to this property ?—Of course we could not
hold land at all without a licence in mortmain, which
involves a charter.
2330. You pay no succession duty ?—No.
2331. And, I suppose, you pay no property duty
with reference to the charitable trusts of the estate;
at all events you need not ?—No.
2332. Do you pay the property duty upon the corporate property ?—Upon the whole of the corporate
2333. You talked a little time ago of the property
of the Company when Sir Sydney Waterlow was
asking you some questions with regard to the livery.
Now, what is the Company, what is it composed of;
do you exclude the livery ?—No, the Company is the
whole body of liverymen and freemen.
2334. You admit that the liverymen are a part of
the Company ?—Undoubtedly.
2335. Did not you say that you thought it would
be better that they should not interfere in any way
with the administration of the Company's affairs ?—
Not so: for the members of the court are liverymen
and represent the livery. I stated my opinion to be
that the present mode of election by the court into
themselves is the best, having regard to the constitution
of the Company and the application of the income.
2336. (Mr. Alderman Cotton.) A great deal has
been asked you with reference to the right of the
livery going into Common Hall, and as to whether it
did not make you a part of the Corporation of the
City of London; do not the livery go into the Common Hall more as freemen of the City of London;
and in accordance with the ancient right of freemen
than of liverymen?—I think it is put in our statement that they go as freemen who have the status of
liverymen of the Company.
2337. Yes, but they could go as freemen without
being liverymen, and they could not be liverymen
without being freemen, is not that so ?—I was not
aware that they went as freemen.
2338. The beadle of your Company passes them
through the gateway, knowing them to be Grocers,
but they go as freemen into the Common Hall, and he
admits them because they possess the united office or
powers of freemen and liverymen too ?—Undoubtedly.
2339. But without being freemen they could not be
liverymen, could they ?—No, by the practice of the
Grocers' Company they must be free of the City of
2340. Therefore the Commission may assume that
they go as freemen ?—Yes, undoubtedly.
2341. (Chairman.) You do not mean to assent to
that, do you; they cannot go unless they are liverymen, can they ?—They may go, I imagine, as freemen,
but whether they would be admitted to vote unless
they were liverymen, I cannot say.
2342. (Mr. Alderman Cotton.) The liverymen have
a vote ?—Yes.
2343. That is as freemen, because in addition to
that you are aware that every man upon the register
of voters for the City of London has a vote for the
Common Council of the City of London ?—Yes.
2344. So that it does not really constitute a monopoly upon your part of voting for members of the
Common Council, or other civic offices ?—No.
2345. With regard to the apprenticeships of the
City of London, Sir Sidney Waterlow has made much
of that point with you, but you know that to apprentice them to a member of the guild is more an
honorary apprenticeship than an actual intention of
training him to the craft or mystery of your business,
or any other business; is not that the case?—Of
course it is never regarded as a trade apprenticeship
at all; it is not a trade company, and there could not
be a trade apprenticeship.
2346. It is done in order that when he attains his
majority he may come on to your company at a less
fee than that at which he would otherwise be allowed
to join you, is it not so?—It is done to recruit the
2347. Then with regard to the election to the
court you have very properly said that the court
elects its own members from the livery. In course
of time if the court died off fast enough, and the
members of the livery lived to a sufficient age each
member of the livery would become a member of the
court would he not ?—Possibly.
2348. You say in your Company you do not elect
by seniority ?—We give some weight to seniority, but
that is not the qualification.
2349. Some members you mean are passed over as
not being fit for members of the court, is not that so ?
—I prefer to say that we select.
2350. But putting it as an extreme case in the
course of time every member of the livery would come
on to your court, if they could live long enough and
there were vacancies enough, that would be so would
it not ?—That might happen.
2351. So that the privileges of each member of the
Company could they live long enough are equal ?—
From that point of view.
2352. Much has been said about the inequality;
but when a man joins a company and takes up his
freedom, and takes up his livery, he lives in hope
hereafter of becoming a member of the court by the
accustomed mode of election, does he not ?—Perhaps
it will explain the matter to the Commission better,
if I say that the work of the Court of the Grocers'
Company is so heavy, and there are so many charities to be attended to that we have to select men
carefully to administer them. It is a very doubtful
point whether it is an advantage to a man to be on
the court or not; it is doubtful whether it is any
social advantage to a man; it is certainly no pecuniary advantage.
2353. I am going more to the facts as regards
election, and keeping to that as near as possible; I
want to put upon the minds of the Commission,
through your answers, this fact, that the members of
a City guild are all co-equal; if not to-day they
might be to-morrow ?—Yes.
2354. And you yourself think the present mode of
election from the livery to the court by the court is
the best mode that could be followed?—I think under
the circumstances and the constitution of the Grocers' Company, it is undoubtedly the best for that
2355. Then I think the Charity Commission have a
high opinion of this Company. Mr. Hare says, "The
Grocers' Company decline to exhibit any statement
of their property not specifically charged by the
respective founders of the charities. It has not
been an uncommon circumstance in the case of the
other City Companies that charitable funds given
them are not found at present set apart in any
definite form of investment, whilst the Company
generally admit their liability and pay the interest
on dividends from their general property. There
can be no doubt that in the case of these ancient,
wealthy, and liberal bodies the funds are practically
"secure." Then he submits the circumstances to
the Board ?—Yes, that was his report.
2356. It is also a fact that the court fees amounted
in 1879 to only 762l., out of an income of 37,200l. ?—
Yes, I believe that is correct.
2357. The Grocers' Company have given away to
charitable objects more than 200,000l. out of their
corporate income in the last 10 years, have they not?
—Yes, we give upwards of 22,000l. a year to charitable and educational purposes.
2358. That would be about 200,000l. ? — Rather
2359. Yes, it is rather more. Two chief objects
of your charity have been your school at Hackney,
an excellent middle class school, and the London
Hospital?—Yes, and Oundle School.
2360. Any other ?—There is the first grade school
at Oundle and the middle class school at Hackney;
schools at Witney and Colwall, the London Hospital,
and the great London hospitals and charities generally.
2361. Then it has been judicially decided that the
Company is not a part of the Corporation of London,
has it not ?—That is so; Lord Chief Justice de
Grey decided that in Plumbe's case, I think.
2362. Some few years ago you were very wide
apart from the Corporation of London; I think there
was quite an ill-feeling between the guilds and the
Corporation, was there not ?—Ever since I have been
a member of a City Company I have considered that
there was no kind of relation between the two.
2363. Then "after the great fire the Company became extremely poor, owing to the destruction of
their hall, almshouses, and house property. They
mortgaged their whole estate in order to provide
for the support of their charities. The then members also subscribed a very large sum for this purpose out of their own pockets. This transaction
amounted, in the judgment of the Company, to a
second foundation. Their present estate represents
the subscription raised after the fire; and, for this
reason, in addition to that of the law being on their
side, the Company contend that they have a moral
claim to treat their whole estate as private property" ? — Yes, I consider that that is a fair
2364. That is using your own word "moral" ?—
2365. "It has been judicially decided that the Company have a right to sell and divide; not that they
really wish to do this, or would think it right.
This has been done in the case of innumerable provincial guilds." Is it a fact that "there are several
towns in England where there are rich guilds, e.g.,
Bristol, where the Merchant Adventurers own all
Clifton, and have 20,000l. a year; Sheffield, with
its Cutlers' Company, which has a hall and a considerable revenue" ?—I am not well acquainted
with this: I believe the Cutlers' Company of Sheffield
has a hall and a revenue.
2366. You object to London being dealt with
2367. Your own opinion is most positive as to the
fact that the property which you are enjoying, with
the exception of the 500l. a year, is your own private
2368. (Mr. James.) You stated in the statement
which is before the Commission that your Company
entirely endorsed the letter which was sent to the
Commission by the clerk to the Mercers' Company on
the 14th of December 1882 ?—I think the expression
is that we "adhere to the views expressed generally in
2369. Exactly, do you adhere to that ?—I do.
2370. I believe it is the case that at the time of the
appointment of this Commission, or shortly before,
there was every wish expressed by the members of
your court that the fullest information should be given
to such inquiries as the Commission might think proper to address to them ?—Yes, we were always willing
and thought it right to give any information in our
2371. The fullest information in your power ?—
2372. I believe you were extremely anxious that
there should be no supposition whatever on the part
of the public hereafter that any charges of any sort or
kind made against the Company should be made without receiving on your part the fullest explanation and
the fullest answer ?—That, undoubtedly, was the wish
of the court.
2373. Then I will ask you one or two questions
with regard to the charters which are set out in the
commencement of your returns. Take, for instance,
Return B., Part I., will you kindly tell me how the
committee of your Company, which you referred to in
reply to a question from Mr. Pell, decided what
portions of these charters should form part of your
returns—what should be included and what should
be omitted?—I am responsible for that. I believe
the returns state fairly everything. They were intended to state most fairly everything that is material
in the charters.
2374. I do not want unfairly to press you, but
what would you consider "most fairly"—from what
view ?—From the point of view of the Commission,
2375. Not of the Company ?—Not of the Company.
2376. In the returns of those charters have you
everywhere, where you have been able, inserted merely
the recitals of the charters or have you taken the
operative part of the charters?—In the case of the
charter of James I., for instance, the return undoubtedly recites the operative part.
2377. Would you mind looking at page 4 of your
return where you refer to the first charter of James I.
You mean that this is the operative part "to have
supervision, correction, and governance of all persons
carrying on, exercising, or using the mystery of
Grocers and the art of Apothecaries, and power and
authority to punish all delinquents unduly or unsufficiently carrying on or exercising the mystery or
art of Grocer or art of an Apothecary" ?—I think
the fact that in the preceding words the charter incorporates the freemen of the mystery of Grocers and
Apothecaries, and so on, clearly shows that what you
have read forms a portion of the operative part of the
2378. Was the same course pursued with regard to
all the other charters ?—I believe so. I really cannot
tell you, for it is so long ago now, but I will gladly
obtain for you any information on the subject.
2379. I suppose you would have no objection to
produce for the purposes of the Commission, if hereafter desired, the whole of the documents ?—Not the
2380. Perhaps it is a question relating rather to the
historical part of the question, but it bears somewhat
upon the immediate purposes of the inquiry; I suppose
towards the end of the 17th century, that the companies were in a very destitute and shattered condition ?—That is so; bankrupt in fact.
2381. And that the great wealth of the companies
has been acquired chiefly by the great development
that has taken place in the value of metropolitan property in comparatively recent times ?—Yes, but it was
the money subscribed by members of the court of the
Grocers' Company which restored the Company to its
2382. I do not want to dispute with you, because
we have entered into the question of its being a
trading community; you do not consider it a trading
community; you say that it was a social community
originally, and that that social community afterwards
became connected with the Corporation ?—Yes, so far
as it ever became connected with the Corporation.
2383. And then at a subsequent period that connexion seems to have become gradually less ?—For
the last 200 years there has been no connexion at all
that I am aware of, except only that the livery
might attend in Common Hall for the election of
Lord Mayor, and, I believe, one or two other officers.
2384. Was it not the case that at certain periods
the Corporation made demands upon some of the companies for pecuniary subventions for the purposes of
the Corporation ?—I am not aware of that in the case
of the Grocers' Company, or, indeed, at all. I believe
the Corporation on some occasions collected money for
the Crown by demand upon various companies.
2385. Is it not the case that it sometimes collected
money for the Corporation ?—Not that I am aware of,
but of course in a history of 500 years it is very difficult to say what may have happened.
2386. Then, so far as this connexion between the
relations of the court and the Corporation is concerned, I dare say you are familiar with the Report of
the Municipal Commissioners of 1834 ?—I am not
very familiar with it.
2387. Have you never read that document ?—I
have never read the whole of it, I think.
2388. Would you allow me to read you just one or
two extracts from it. It is signed by John Blackburne, Francis Palgrave, D. Jardine, T. F. Ellis,
junior, and J. E. Drinkwater Bethine. It says, "No
one can become a freeman of the Corporation but
by previous admission into these companies, except
in some cases in which the honorary freedom is
presented by a formal vote of the Corporation"?—
That is incorrect. Whether it was so at that time or
not I am not quite sure, but certainly at the present
time a man can be free of the City without being
free of any company.
2389. How can a man become free of the City
without being free of a company?—Through the
Chamberlain's office. I think the change was made
in 1835, and if so, that report would be correct at
the time it was written.
2390. Then it goes on to say, "the freemen, therefore, may be considered as divided into two classes,
the one comprehending such as are, and the other
such as are not, liverymen in their respective companies." Then again it says, "the principal privileges of the freemen consist in their right to take
part as electors in the concerns of the Corporation,
in their exemption from certain tolls in the City
and elsewhere," and so on. The Court of Common
Hall consists of such freemen of the Corporation as
are liverymen of the several companies, does it not ?—
2391. That is still the case at the present moment,
is it not ?—I understand that to be the case, but I am
informed by Mr. Alderman Cotton that it is not so;
he has stated that all freemen can attend.
2392. Can freemen who are not members of a company become members of a livery and attend the
Common Hall ?—They cannot, I believe, become
members of the livery of a company.
2393. Then the Common Hall consists exclusively
of liverymen ?—I do not know whether that is the
case; it seems that it consists of freemen of the City.
2394. Upon what do you base that statement, are
you speaking from your own knowledge ?—No, from
what Mr. Alderman Cotton says: he must know very
much better than I do.
2395. Can anybody but a liveryman vote in the
election of a Lord Mayor—I believe not.
2396. (Sir Sydney Waterlow.) Therefore at a
Common Hall for the purpose of electing a Lord Mayor,
practically, no man can come to be of any use except
a liveryman ?—Not to exercise the power of voting,
but I believe the power of voting to be a mere form.
2397. (Mr. James.) Still you admit that the Common Hall is composed exclusively of liverymen?—So
far as voting goes, that is my opinion.
2398. Have you in the records of your Company
any accounts which show the expenditure and the
income of the Company at different periods of your
history?—Yes, to some very considerable extent, I
2399. Do you think that in the present day the
proportion for social and the proportion for benevolent
and educational purposes would bear a fair proportion
at all to the proportion existing at those different
intervals ?—At what intervals would you make the
comparison ? But perhaps it would save you trouble if
I say this, that undoubtedly the proportion of the
money given to educational and charitable purposes
has very largely increased.
2400. That may be so, so far as money is concerned ?—The proportion has increased, I intended to
2401. I hope you will not think that I put the
question in a way that would be at all offensive to you,
but looking at Return H., at the end of page 42 of
your returns, if I take some of those items with regard
to your expenses for entertainment, I see from items
of the "tradesmen's bills" (and there are numbers of
items you will see below there which relate mainly, if
not exclusively, to matters connected with your entertainments) that in the year 1879 you spent nearly
7,000l. for the purposes of entertainment, and barely
6,000l. were expended on education. The object of
my question in the first instance was to know whether
you think that in the early days of the Company the
amount that was expended for education and the
general improvement of the youth of the Company,
that is to say, for purposes which would be in those
days analogous to what educational purposes are now,
would bear a fair proportion to the large sum given
for entertainment ?—I think you would find the entertainment bore a larger proportion in former days.
(fn. 3) 2402. You think there was a larger proportion
then ?—Yes, at present, if the Company's expenditure
is put at 35,000l. a year, and is divided into five parts,
you will find a little more than one fifth is expended
in the maintenance of the hall, salaries of officers,
court fees, rates and taxes; considerably less than one
fifth on hospitality, and more than three fifths on
education and charity. This does not include outlay,
wholly or partly, on capital account, such as the gift
of 25,000l. to the London Hospital, and 28,000l. at
2403. And I think about 10 per cent. goes exclusively for the purposes of managing; is not that so ?—
I suppose so, taking management to include court
fees, and the salaries of officers and servants; but I
do not like to answer that off-hand. Of course I
ought to look into the figures.
2404. (Sir Sydney Waterlow.) Those figures only
refer to the corporate estate, and have nothing to do
with the trust estate ?—The trust estate is, for this
purpose, practically of little importance; it is only
about 500l. a year. But the expenses of management
include management of trusts.
2405. (Mr. Burt.) With regard to the school at
Oundle to which you pay so much, it is a middle-class
school, is it not, entirely ?—No, it is a first-grade
school. It is a good classical and mathematical school,
but the future of the school is under consideration at
the present time, and possibly it may be made more
of a commercial school, but that is uncertain.
2406. How is access obtained to the school ?—Just
like any other public school.
2407. Is there any sectarian test at all?—None
2408. It is open to dissenters or nonconformists, or
anybody, I suppose ?—Yes, as far as I am aware.
That is really left to the head master, and the Company do not interfere about it.
2409. You state on page 22 of your statement that
you pay large sums for technical education; may I ask
how much you expend ?—We are giving 2,000l. a
year. Of course you will understand it is an annual
gift; we do not bind ourselves to give it, but it has
been given the last two years.
2410. Through what channel is that given, may I
ask ?—The City and Guilds' Institute.
2411. Has it been given for long?—For two years.
2412. I think you said, in answer to Mr. James,
that you pay a greater proportion than formerly for
educational purposes ?—For educational and charitable
2413. Does that apply to general public objects as
well ?—I should call the large London hospitals public
objects. The same thing with the Mansion House
funds; those, I suppose, would be called public
2414. I think that formerly the Company was liable
to pay to supply coals and corn to the very poor at
cheap rates ?—There was such an obligation, or at
least a practice for a time, I think.
2415. Is there anything equivalent to that now ?—
There are large gifts for the poor; large sums of
money are given to the poor, of course indirectly,
through hospitals, dispensaries, magistrates' poor boxes,
and other similar means.
2416. And is that distributed generally, or is it
restricted to the members of the Company and their
connexions?—Not at all; it is given for the poor
generally. You will understand that we also provide for our own poor members. That is a distinct
2417. At present the Company has not any real
connexion with the grocers?—Not the least. The
meaning of "Grocer" as applied to the Company is
totally different to "grocer" as commonly used in
connexion with trade; it scarcely seems to be the same
2418. Of course formerly the connexion really
existed, and it was part of the duty of the Company
to look after adulteration, and so on, was it not ?—
Yes. I do not know whether you would quite call
that connexion with trade. Undoubtedly the Company, as a very important body in the City of London,
had certain powers of trade superintendence.
2419. And at that time it was incumbent upon
them to make provision for their old members, and so
on ?—Yes; I think provision for the poor members
is one of the original ordinances of the Gild as long
back as 1345.
2420. (Mr. Firth.) You say in this statement that
"the Company respectfully submit that this action on
their part shall not be considered as an admission
in any sense of any special jurisdiction of the Crown
over the Livery Companies, or of the right of the
Crown without the authority of Parliament to institute an inquiry into what has been judicially
declared to be private property"; and on the last
page you state that you "are not aware that they are
in a different position to any other of Her Majesty's
subjects." Are you aware that the Crown has
already instituted, upon two previous occasions, inquiries of this kind ?—Do you mean Royal Commissions?
2421. Inquiries of this kind. I draw your attention to the first one; it is on page 36 of Herbert.
Have you read the letters mandatory which were sent
out in the 12th year of Richard II., as to which Herbert says: "By letters mandatory of his twelfth year
he enjoined the Mayor of London to make proclamation—That all and singular masters and wardens
of Gilds and fraternities within the City of London
and suburbs of the same, should deliver in to the
King and Council, in the Chancery, a full, distinct,
and proper account in writing of the manner and
nature of their several foundations, their beginning
and continuance, together with the rules of such
fraternities: the manner and kind of oath to be
taken by the community or assembly of brothers
and sisters and others, and all other particulars
appertaining to such Gilds; as likewise respecting
their liberties, privileges, statutes, ordinances, usages,
and customs. Moreover, an account of all lands,
tenements, rents, and possessions, whether mortgaged
or not mortgaged; and of all goods and chattels
whatsoever belonging to the said Gilds, in whosesoever hands they might be holden for the use of
such Gilds; and to return with the answers to these
queries the true yearly value of the same; and
whatsoever in any manner or form concerned, all
and singular the premises, together with all other
articles and circumstances whatsoever touching or
concerning the same, under penalty on neglect to
forfeit for ever such lands and other things to the
King and his successors; also that the said master
and wardens should have before the King and
his Council at the same time whatsoever charters and letters patent they possessed, from any
grants of the King or his predecessors to the said
Gilds and fraternities, under further penalty of
having all such grants and privileges contained in
them revoked and annulled." Have you read that ?
—I should think the legality of that is extremely
2422. Have you read that ?—It is in Herbert, I
believe, and I think the legality, if it could have been
tested, in such days as those were, would have been
2423. You say the legality of the letters mandatory
of Richard II. is, in your judgment, doubtful?—
2424. Is it not a fact that various London Companies, including the Grocers' Company, have been
compelled by almost all the English Kings and Queens
down to William III. to pay them money on precept ?
—Not all the companies I think. Some of the companies did so, in the time of the Stuarts particularly.
2425. Did not Queen Elizabeth send precepts to
your Company to pay money ?—Yes, and to many
private individuals as well, I think.
2426. Yes, but we are examining into the companies now. Is it not a fact further that you obtained
from all the Sovereigns new charters ?—Not from all,
not from Henry VIII., or from Elizabeth, or from
Henry VII. I think.
2427. Do I understand you to say that ycu did not
obtain one from Queen Elizabeth ?—I think not.
2428. Well, but I am bound to draw your attention
to this, that on page 3 of this statement you say
that these difficulties have arisen from the imperfect
acquaintance which we have with the early history of
the present management of those Trusts. I would
now ask you, are you not aware that both in the reign
of Philip and Mary and Elizabeth your Grocers' Company's charters were renewed and confirmed ?—No, I
am not aware of that. Of course you will understand
that in the case of charters extending over a period
like this of 400 years, it is very difficult to vouch the
contents of each individual charter, but I believe that
to be the case.
2429. You have prepared a list of charters and have
not inserted a number of charters; for example, I put
it to you that the charter of Philip and Mary, and the
charter of Elizabeth, are not inserted amongst others ?
—Then we have not them in our possession. I think
the question addressed to us was what were the
charters in our possession, or of which we had knowledge.
2430. Of which you had knowledge ?—I see the
words are:—"A list of charters which have been at
any time in the possession of the Company."
2431.—I think this charter of Queen Elizabeth is
in Herbert. You had new charters granted, as you
admit, I think, by James I., Charles I., Cromwell,
Charles II., and James II., is that so ?—Would you
repeat them ?
2432. All the Stuart sovereigns and Cromwell ?—I
believe it is doubtful in the case of Cromwell.
2433. With respect to the rest you have, have you
not ?—James I., Charles II., and James II.
2434. And Charles I.—And Charles I.
2435. Those were new charters were they not?—
They were new in one sense undoubtedly.
2436. Just let me read you a quotation from your
journals. "In 1605 a new charter was read to the
Company by the clerk, when the whole of the Company with one voice and free consent gave great
"approbation and allowance thereof." Now are you
prepared to meet the contention (if so, how) that every
Sovereign down to William III. granted you a new
charter ?—I believe it not to be the case.
2437. I understand you here to say that you are not
in any way subject to the right of the Crown, and
that, therefore, these questions of precedent are not in
point. I should like to ask you one more question
of precedent. At the time of the quo warranto when
the Grocers' Company's Charter was given up, the
Grocers' Company never carried the quo warranto, as
you know, into a court of law. They did not resist
to the point of having a decision upon it. Are you
aware of that ?—I believe that is so, but I think other
Companies did, and they probably waited to see the
result as in Plumbe's case.
2438. At present I am dealing with the Grocers'
Company. I do not concede your proposition. Did
you in your Company proceed to surrender your charter by petition?—I do not know; I should think it
2439. Surely you must know, however you do not
know, therefore you cannot tell me. I read from
Herbert, and ask you whether that is correct. It is
at page 215, "The surrender of their charters was in
most of the Companies preceded by a petition stating
their having been chartered and incorporated by
former royal grants, which conferred on them divers
immunities, privileges, and franchises. That his
sacred Majesty having in his princely wisdom
thought proper to issue a quo warranto against them
they had reason to fear they had highly offended
him, and they therefore earnestly begged his pardon
for what was past, and to accept their humble submission to his goodwill and pleasure, and that he
would be graciously pleased to continue their former
charters." After that you surrendered your charter ?
2440. At the time you surrendered your charter did
you ask the King to give you such powers as he should
think "most conducive to the government of the said
Company, and with and under such reservations, restrictions, and qualifications as His Majesty shall
please to appoint" ?—What page of Herbert are
you reading from, may I ask ?
2441. I am reading from a note at the bottom of
page 216. Are you prepared to say whether that is
or is not correct ?—I cannot say of my own knowledge of the Company's records, but I think it is
likely to have been the case. Of course the
quo warranto was a very arbitrary proceeding altogether.
2442. Do not let us misunderstand the fact. Is it
not the fact that immediately they obtained the writ
the assistants of your Company were called together
and soon resolved upon their duty; and that without
one dissentient member they agreed that a humble
address should be presented at His Majesty's feet?—
That is so stated in Herbert.
2443. Is that according to your examination of the
Company's records correct ?—That I cannot say.
2444. Still you contend that you are not in anyway subject to the jurisdiction of the courts?—The
whole proceedings under the quo warranto, as you are
aware, were afterwards declared to be illegal and
annulled by the Act of William and Mary, and it
became unimportant to look at it.
2445. You see I put to you your voluntary action.
The very point was that you did not contest the quo
warranto by an action. Now, with respect to the next
part of your statement, you say that you could not
appear before the Commission of 1833 without admitting
yourselves to be a Municipal Corporation. Is it your
suggestion then that all the companies that did appear
before the Commission of 1833 admitted themselves to
be Municipal Corporations ?—That I cannot say. It
would undoubtedly have been dangerous to have
appeared, because it would have seemed like admitting
ourselves to be a municipal corporation.
2446. Have you the case you submitted to Chief
Baron Pollock ?—It is at Grocers' Hall.
2447. Have you any objection to supply us with a
copy ?—Not the least. The opinion is word for word,
I believe, set out here.
2418. I see Chief Baron Pollock said you had
nothing to do with the government of the City.
Herbert, I believe, was the librarian of the City Corporation, was he not ?—Yes.
2449. He says that the City Companies are a branch
of the Corporation ?—Yes, he does, but I think Herbert is inaccurate. There are many inaccuracies in
2450. Is it not true now that no one can become
free of a company, unless he is also free of the City ?
—No, I think not.
2451. Have you any member who is free of your
Company who is not also free of the City ?—That I
cannot tell you; but to become free of the City is a
separate act and a subsequent act. A man becomes
free of the Company before he becomes free of the
City; therefore if he does not take up the freedom
of the City subsequently he remains free of the Company without being free of the City.
2452. You recollect that in your reading the converse was formerly the case. Under the articles of
Edward III., which governed the City for centuries,
no one could be free of the City unless he were first
free of a Company; are you aware of that ?—I believe
that was so up to the year 1835. I am speaking of
the present time.
2453. 1835, you say ?—Yes, I think it is so.
2454. Are you not aware that many persons came
before the Commission of 1834, and complained that
they were compelled to take up their freedom in various
City Companies, the Grocers' amongst the rest, before
they were allowed to trade ?—I do not see how that
could have been correct.
2455. As to the election of City officers, it is the
sheriffs, the bridge masters, and the auditors, in addition to the Lord Mayor, who are now elected by the
livery, is it not?—I really do not know as to the
sheriffs; as to the bridge master it is so I think.
2456. Down to the time of the Reform Act is it not
the fact that the livery of London were the only
electors of the members of Parliament ?—After what
I have heard read by Lord Coleridge, I must say so.
2457. Do you consider that the right of electing
members of Parliament should be continued in the
livery ?—That really is a public question. Do you
wish for my own opinion about it.
2458. Yes. I should like to ask you afterwards,—
if so upon what ground ?—I should say that it is desirable that it should be continued, and I think upon
this ground among others that the Livery Companies
are freeholders in the City of London and that their
freehold interest is to some extent represented by the
2459. Occasional freeholders, only freeholders as
members of the Company ?—The Livery Companies I
say, as such, are freeholders.
2460. And you are aware that in many of the Livery
Companies the livery is obtained by purchase?—That
is so, but that does not give a vote.
2461. The livery gives a vote, does it not?—No,
not in the case of liverymen by redemption.
2462. Freedom is obtained by purchase, and then
there is freedom to the livery which gives a vote; is
not that so ?—It is correctly stated in your own book.
Will you allow me to read an extract from it.
2463. Yes :—"The Reform Acts of 1832 and 1867
regulate the electoral body voting fcr Members of
Parliament. The former restricted the liveryman
suffrage by confining it to liverymen who were also
free by birth or servitude, and who resided within
25 miles of the City." That is correct, I believe,
except that the qualification of residence within 25
miles was fixed by the Act of 1867, not by the Act of
2464. You were asked a question by my friend
Mr. James whether the City itself had not raised
money from you. I understood you to say not ?—Not
that I am aware of.
2465. I ask you whether in 1559 (one of many
cases) the Mayor of the City on behalf of the City did
not send precepts to the various Companies commanding them immediately to collect and pay money
for civic purposes ?—I have no knowledge of that.
2466. Are not you aware that in subsequent years
the City imprisoned, and claimed the right to imprison,
those that did not pay, you are not aware of that ?—
Not at all. Of course I speak only as regards my own
2467. I am speaking of your own Company, I am
quite keeping to that. Now I want to ask you a
question with respect to the Mayor and the control of
the City, and then I will leave this subject of the
Municipal Corporations. Was it not the fact that the
Lord Mayor down to Sir John Wilmot in 1742 was
always a member of one of the 12 great Companies ?—
I believe that to have been the case.
2468. Are you not then aware that if the alderman
elected as Mayor, was a member of a minor Company
he was required to join one of the 12 great Companies ?—There seems to have been some such custom,
but whether it was binding or not I should not like to
2469. That I am going to ask you now. Are you
not aware that the City claimed the power and exercised it, of committing the alderman if he declined to
join one of the 12 great Companies?—No.
2470. Then I put to you a note on page 316 of
Herbert, and ask you whether you have ascertained
that it is or is not, true that the City claimed the
right. "An Alderman being next to the Mayoralty and
declaring his purpose to take the Company of
Drapers and that Company refusing they were
enjoined to receive him," so that there was the
action of both sides. Did not the Corporation compel
the Company to receive the alderman ?—I have no
information except from this note in Herbert.
2471. Now I will go on with your statement for a
moment if I may do so. We, you say, were imperfectly acquainted with the management of the guilds.
Was there any document from which an acquaintance
with that management could be obtained until you
made your return ?—I do not know that there was
any public document except, possibly, some returns
to the Commission of 1835.
2472. But you made no return ?—The Grocers'
Company did not.
2473. Are you aware that there has been very great
complaint amongst liverymen of your own Company
of the want of information as to the way in which it
was managed ?—I am not aware, and I believe that
that is not the case. The clerk of the Company says
that he has never heard of anything of the kind.
2474. I find, leaving many of these matters, that
you come to some observations with respect to what
Mr. Beal said about Keble's Trust, beginning on page
5 and going on to page 7, and you say that you could
not have a better instance of the worthlessness of
some of the charges made against the Companies ?—
2475. He sets out the fact that you receive 9l. 2s.
a year from certain property in Old Jewry, that is
the sum which you yourself in your return set out as
the amount you have received ?—Oh no; that is set
out as the amount that we are bound to pay to the
2476. The amount you are bound to pay ?—I think
we state that the amount we receive is about 8,000l.
2477. Then I understand the observation to which
you apply these strong terms is that the site of Grocers'
Hall ought also to be brought under Keble's Trust ?—
No, I think not more than to the observation charging
the Company with breach of trust, namely, the statement "The entire income was given to be divided in
certain ways," (that is what I particularly object to)
and I say, as a matter of law," (which would be quite
correct) "that every shilling of that property to whatever it may amount, must be used for the same
purposes. Keble's case I take to be a sort of test."
2478. As to the Grocers' Hall site, you take strong
exception to Mr. Beal saying that that is included ?
2479. Are you not aware that in Herbert it is so
stated, "A messuage then called Grocers' Hall near
the Poultry" ?—Yes, but that is an obvious error,
taken from the old inquisition.
2480. Are you aware that in a book called "the
Endowed Charities of the City of London," published in 1829, the same statement is contained that
Sir Henry Keble devised to the Grocers' Company
certain premises, and it says the premises are Old
Jewry and a messuage called Grocers' Hall ?—Yes;
it is all taken from the mis-statement in the inquisition copied word for word. If we consider the matter,
it is quite clear that at the time Sir Henry Keble made
his will Grocers' Hall was an important building.
Keble describes accurately the houses left by his will,
and it is impossible that he could have called Grocers'
Hall simply a messuage like the other houses. I think
the charge of breach of trust against the Company is a
most serious thing.
2481. But there are these two authorities?—
There is no authority whatever as to the breach of
2482. Now we come to the breach of trust, which
I understand to be the gravamen of this statement.
Have you a copy of Keble's will ?—We have a very
2483. Have you supplied it to us ?—You have not
asked for it.
2484. Will you supply it ?—We have no objection
to your seeing it.
2485. I should like to have a copy. It says, according to your statement, "that the Company should
with the rents provide a chaplain, pay 6d. a week
to seven poor freemen, and keep a yearly obit with
a gift over if the Company should make default."
Do these two properties, Warnford Court and Old
Jewry, under Keble's will, bring in the former something over 6,000l. a year and Old Jewry 3,300l. You
do not return anything as the value of the Grocers'
Hall site?—Because that is not included in the will.
There is little doubt, I think, that the Warnford
Court property was not included in the will either,
that is beneficially.
2486. Have you had a legal opinion as to whether
it is included in the will ?—I think it is hardly a case
for a legal opinion.
2487. You say 6d. per week to seven poor freemen;
what was the income of the property at that time ?—
That I cannot tell you.
2488. How much was it over 9l. 2s. ?—It would
depend upon how much property is comprised in the
will, and whether the Warnford Court property is
comprised or not. I am disposed to think that Sir
Henry Keble, as to the Warnford Court property, was
a bare trustee.
2489. Do you consider that you are, with respect
to this property, fulfilling what Sir Henry Keble, if
he were here, would call the intention of the benefactors, and that you are carrying out your moral
obligation. Do you consider Sir Henry Keble contemplated the present state of things in which the
poor should have 9l. 2s. and that you should have
10,000l. a year ?—But you have not read the statement; we explained to you that we give 4,000l. a
year to the poor of the Company. We give as much
to the poor of the Company as is good for the poor of
the Company, and as can be properly applied.
2490. Do you consider that you are carrying out
that moral obligation when you specifically appropriate
only 9l. 2s. That is all you return ?—Undoubtedly
we carry out the moral obligation.
2491. Then I come to what you say about some
observations of mine on page 9. You say, "Nothing
could be more baseless than the imputation made by
Mr. Firth." Now let us see what imputation this
is. On page 8 there is this statement. "Mr. Firth
says, 'It is not without a certain aptitude that one
recognises the motto of the Company, 'God grant
grace.' " As you have put that in I will ask a
question upon it. Is not that statement in "Municipal London" made after your letter to the Municipal
Commissioners of 1835 ?—I will look and see.
2492. Well it is so, I should like to ask you
whether you have a copy of the letter you sent to
the Commissioners of 1835, because you see the suggestion is that this was a graceless act. However, you
have nothing to say about that ?—What act do you
refer to ?
2493. I mean your declining to give evidence before
the King's Commission in 1835. Now we come to
the rest. "It would have been interesting to know
how the Grocers do dispense their vast trust property" ?—You say the "graceless Grocers."
2494. You do not suggest that your act of 1837 was
other than graceless, do you?—I think under the
circumstances it was quite right and proper.
2495. Then let us have the letter. However, we
will go on. "It would have been interesting to know
how the graceless Grocers do dispense their vast
trust property. For example, in 1636 one William
Pennefather by his will gave 233l. 6s. 8d. to buy
land of the yearly value of 11l. 13s. 4d., such sum
to be divided yearly amongst seven poor almspeople.
How much does the land bring in, and how much
is paid over ? So a house given to the same Company to provide 4l. a year for an iron and glass
lantern to be fixed in Billingsgate, and 6l. 10s. to
the poor. If the house brings in (as it probably
does) 300l. a year, how much is given to the poor ?"
Are those imputations do you consider ?—Clearly.
2496. Was there any means of ascertaining how
they did dispose of that property at that time ?—I
should think not, but still one does not make imputations because one is ignorant.
2497. Then we come to the fact that Pennefather
(according to Herbert) left this money to be divided
amongst the poor,—the whole of it. Is a single
farthing of it now divided amongst the poor ?—A very
much larger amount than he left is divided amongst
2498. "The income from my property" is the
question; is that divided amongst the poor?—It is
not possible to ear-mark the actual sovereigns which
come from that property.
2499. But just let me point out that in this very
statement you say that you have appropriated it to the
middle class school scheme, hence my question ?—Of
our corporate property we give to the poor at least
that amount, and very much more.
2500. That is a different issue.—I beg your pardon,
I do not so understand it.
2501. If a question then is asked which you regard
as an imputation as to how much of the Company's
property is given to the poor you are not prepared to
show that any of it is. So with respect to the next,
—Wardall. In Wardall's case the surplus was specifically given to the poor, you say that you have put
it in a middle class school scheme ?—It is all explained
in the statement.
2502. (Mr. Pell.) Will the witness explain what is
meant by the poor ?—It is the poor of the Company.
The trust is for the poor of the Company in each
2503. (Mr. James.) The poorer brethren you mean,
do you not ?—The poorer brethren, members of the
2504. (Mr. Pell.) Not what you would call the
poor generally ?—Not in that case.
2505. (Sir Sydney Waterlow.) Are they freemen
of the Company ?—All freemen of the Company or
widows or unmarried daughters of freemen.
2506. (Mr. Firth.) Wardall's gift was to the poor
almsmen or the Company's poor almsmen; do you say
members of the Company?—I should think so. I do
not know for certain that they were, but I believe
they were members of the Company and lived in the
almshouses in Grocers' Hall Court.
2507. With respect to this question of the poor the
charter of 7th Henry VI. gives the power to purchase
land to sustain poor men of the community; were any
such poor men carrying on any business, except that
of grocers; were they not all poor grocers ?—No, I
think not. The Company at that time consisted of
other persons besides grocers.
2508. Honorary members ?—Not at all; you find
in the original ordinances that other persons could be
2509. Have you any evidence of any persons being
admitted who were not members of the Grocers' Company ?—Not the actual names in the case of poor
members, but I think you must assume that there were
poor members who were not members of the trade.
2510. I see you state in your report that there is
only one list that you have of the Grocers, which is
in 1795. That is in your first report. Are not you
aware that there are several lists of Grocers in Herbert ?—Not lists of the whole Company, freemen as
well as liverymen.
2511. Are you aware that the whole of the managing body and the bulk of the members of the Company
when all these bequests were given for the poor were
grocers ?—They were Grocers as members of the
gild but not grocers by trade, I believe.
2512. I mean by trade ?—I believe not; not all of
them by any means.
2513. You have a contention here on page 11 that
this was not a craft guild. I do not quite understand
from your answer to Sir Sydney Waterlow, what
you mean by a craft guild ?—A craft guild is a
gild which, as you state in "Municipal London,"
consists exclusively of members of the trade. That is
one of the leading tests of it.
2514. Did this consist exclusively of members of
the trade in 1365 ?—No.
2515. I am giving you a particular year ?—Not in
1365, certainly not, because there were two clergymen
who were members of the Company at that time.
2516. You say there were two clerygmen in the
year 1348; the Company of Grocers was not in existence in 1348, was it ?—I should say the Company of
Grocers and the fraternity of St. Anthony were one
and the same. It was not in existence by that particular name.
2517. Are you aware that the name of the Company, the Grocers, was not taken at all until the year
1376 ?—1373, or a little earlier.
2518. I am speaking of the Company of Grocers.
You say here on page 11 that there could not be a craft
of general merchants; therefore there was no craft.
That is because of a complaint made in 1363 you say.
Are not you aware that that was a petition against the
Grocers' Company, or, at least, against a body of men
for collecting various goods, and keeping them until
they became dear ?—Yes, so it was alleged.
2519. Then, are not you aware that in the following
year, 1364, an Act of Parliament was passed to deal
with that very matter ?—So it is stated; but I believe
there is some doubt about that.
2520. And by which artizans were compelled to
choose their own mystery ?—Yes.
2521. If they did not do so they might be punished
by imprisonment, and the Grocers then became a
separate body ?—I think more information is wanted
about that Act of Parliament. It is a very doubtful
question. The Grocers could hardly be included in
the term "artizans."
2522. You have not put that in your statement ?—I
do not consider it material.
2523. Are you aware that at that time the oath
taken by the wardens and members of the Company
was that you shall swear to truly oversee the craft, and
so on; perhaps you are not aware of that?—No, I am
2524. I should like to ask you a question or two
more about that. Do you admit that your Grocers'
Company had a weight and oversight over many
articles for a long series of years ?—Yes, but they
have not exercised the power since the great fire.
2525. Over grocery articles, for example, being sold
in the street, in 1562 ?—Yes, at one period.
2526. Then you come down later to 1564. Do you
recollect that the Physicians' Company obtained a
charter, and that your Company contested it, because
they said it would interfere with your rights in your
trade ?—Yes, that is very likely, as regards contesting
2527. Then we come down lastly to the question as
to this charter to which allusion was made of William
the Third. I was hoping that Sir Sydney Waterlow
would have read the end of it, but I must read the
end of it to you. The end of your quotation is this,
that the "confectioners, druggists, tobacconists, tobacco-cutters, and sugar bakers, or refiners of sugar
in the City, or within three miles round it, are and
shall be part of the body corporate and politick
of the aforesaid wardens and commonalty of the
mystery of Grocers" (it does not say "art and
mystery" in that part of it) "of the City of London,
and that every person now or hereafter exercising
or using any of the said arts or mysteries who is
now free of any other society or mystery in the
City, shall and may be able to be made free of the
society or mystery of Grocers of the City of London." What do I understand you to say is your
construction of those words; do you say they are
perfectly innocuous or ultra vires ?—Perfectly ultra
2528. When was that contention ever raised on
behalf of the Grocers' Company?—It was never contended that the words had any operation.
2529. Then I may take it that in your opinion a
mandamus would not go to the Grocers' Company to
compel them to admit a grocer under that charter ?—
Yes. Perhaps you will allow me to read the minute
of the Court of Assistants of the 25th of July 1690;
that is just contemporaneous with the grant of the
charter, and clearly shows the Company's own view
about it, and that the view of the court at that time
was that the charter was not compulsory. "The
Court being informed that His Majesty having been
graciously pleased to incorporate the sugar-bakers,
and make them a part of this mystery, and that the
byelaws are again pursuant to the order of the
assistants prepared and approved of so as to include
them in the regulation and government of the members and mystery, and that several of them seem
willing to comply with the charter and ordnances
of the Company, provided they may be admitted
into the fraternity on easy terms; to the end, therefore, they may have all due encouragement, and that
the wardens and assistants may omit no opportunity
of advantage to the Company, it is wholly referred
to the wardens to treat with any persons relating to
that affair, and to make their report to the Court of
Assistants of their opinion therein that they may
make such further order as may be for the public
good of the fellowship and the members of it."
2530. But do not you hold your lands under this
charter ?—Under some charters, no doubt.
2531. And all the charters under which you hold
lands (if there is any exception, I should like to have
it) contain conditions that you shall teach the trade,
and maintain the poor?—Certainly not. The first
charter does not say a word about it.
2532. You mean the charter of 7th Henry VI. ?—
Yes; and I doubt whether any of our charters involve
any duty of teaching the trade; I do not recollect it.
2533. We shall have them in full, and shall see.
Then on page 15 you say, "These charters were
abolished, and annulled by the Act of 2 William and
Mary, session 1, cap. 8, which gave a parliamentary
sanction to the status of the Company as it existed
before the judgment on the writ." Do you contend
by that paragraph (which is somewhat obscure) that
you are in a stronger position now than you were
before William the Third ?—I consider that the Act
of William the Third places the Company in the same
position as if the writ on the quo warranto had never
been issued, and that it recognises by a Parliamentary
title, I think I may say, the previous status of the
2534. But with all the conditions under which it
existed ?—Subject to any conditions, no doubt, so far
as they were legally binding.
2535. The exact words were, that all and every of
the companies should stand and be incorporated by
such name and names and in such sort and manner as
they respectively were at the time of the said judgment given. Therefore you rest your case upon your
old charters ?—I do not admit that entirely.
2536. On page 19 you deal with the question of
the refractory companies' decision ?—Yes.
2537. Is that published anywhere; where is it to
be seen ?—It is to be seen in Baron Heath's History
of the Grocers' Company.
2538. You state that that is a work which has been
published; has that work ever been published ?—I
do not know whether it could be publicly bought.
There is a copy in the library of the Reform Club, if
you desire to see it. I sent one there myself.
2539. When ?—Many years ago the club possessed
a copy of the first edition, which I afterwards
exchanged with the consent of the library committee
for a copy of the third edition, which is more perfect.
2540. Herbert says it is not published. I should
like to have a copy ?—But Herbert, which you have,
tells you that that decision was reversed; that is the
decision in Plumbe's case.
2541. The decision about the refractory companies?
2542. Perhaps you have not heard that that decision
is one that is held to be of doubtful authority ?—I
should have thought that the Lord Chief Justice and
four judges being unanimous it could hardly be of
2543. That did not give the assistants the election of Common Hall, if I recollect rightly, it is many
years ago since I read it in the Guildhall library ?
—No, but it is important; the words are important.
2544. What are you going to read from ?—This is
Baron Heath's History of the Company.
2545. (Chairman.) Is there a report of this case to
be found anywhere but in Heath ?—It refers to
Payne's "Treatise on Municipal Rights," and also to
the London Magazine for July 1775. The Lord Chief
Justice de Grey says, "Thus far we know, that the
constitution of the City of London does not contain
these companies, I mean originally and from their
charters, and all prescriptive rights; it is by subsequent accident that they came now to bear the
relation they do to their companies as livery. The
livery are not formed out of their corporate body;
for whatever their constituent parts, their obligations, duties, powers, customs, and rights are, either
as altogether, or as individuals, they are no part of
the City customs or rights, but a subordinate, detached, and independent body, I mean independent
with regard to the original constitution."
2546. (Mr. Pell.) That is a sort of obiter dicta, is
it not; it does not form part of the judgment ?—I
certainly understand it to form part of the judgment.
2547. (Mr. Firth.) Have you before you Herbert
on the City Livery Companies in 1635, in which he
says, there is no doubt they are a branch of the
Corporation ?—Yes, but I think Herbert is full of
2548. Still he was the City librarian, and one must
get a standard somewhere. The quotation you give
in answer to what Mr. Beal read, and in answer to my
question, was in connexion with a petition to the
2549. (Sir Sydney Waterlow.) And the City in
their petitions to the Crown all through last century
and through this century have treated the livery
companies as being part of the Corporation of the
City, has it not ?—The City has treated the companies so ?
2550. Has regarded them so and spoken of them so
in the petitions ?—I think that is very likely. I
think for ceremonial purposes that may be so.
2551. (Mr. Firth.) There is only one question that
I should like to ask you further upon this statement,
that is on page 24, you say that you sold your Irish
estate. I notice in the Irish Society's accounts for
last year there is a 20l. quit rent still payable to you;
is that in respect of the land? —I am informed that
the purchaser pays that 20l. a year to the Irish
Society under covenant with the Company.
2552. And on page 9 you say the price realised
was 157,256l. What year was it sold in ?—1874 to
1876, I think.
2553. Does that amount appear in your report, if
not, can you tell me what was done with it ?—It is
invested in the names of the wardens for the Company.
2554. With respect to the Company's balances, I
should like to ask you a question. I find that their
very large balances are thus carried forward from
year to year. They are on page 39 of your first
report, "a return of the balance of monies, 11,969l.,
8,272l.," and so on. Are they carried forward or
divided amongst the members, or what is done with
them ? I cannot trace out what is done with them
from these accounts. It says, whether they can be
considered as unappropriated is at least doubtful, but
the balance remains to meet the demands upon the
Company ?—They are simply carried forward to the
income of the following year.
2555. Do I understand that where you have given
the income you include or exclude the balances ?—I
think the balances are excluded; but I would not be
sure about that.
2556. You must have done; you give us your income under various heads, and none of them are in
that. "Rents, dividends, &c., Irish estate, Vintners'
Company, interest on Irish mortgages, Forden,
fees, and fines, miscellaneous." That is the reason
of my question ?—Mr. Ruck, the clerk of the Company, explains to me (but I will look into the matter)
that the balances are excluded from the gross amount
received for rents. (fn. 4)
2557. I should like to ask you some questions on a
point that Sir Sydney Waterlow questioned you
about; that is, as to the apprenticeships. You have
apprenticed about 180 people in 10 years; has any
one of those been apprenticed to a grocer ?—Do you
mean a grocer by trade ?
2558. Yes?—I cannot say. There are some mem
bers of the Company probably who might come within
the term "grocer by trade."
2559. Have you any objection to sending us a form
of indenture ?—No.
(fn. 5) 2560. Then leaving that question, do I understand
that in your company a boy with all the form and
solemnity of oath, and so forth, is apprenticed to a
member, they do not live together and never have any
connexion the one with the other, notwithstanding
that the one has undertaken to teach the other the
art and mystery of a grocer; is that so ?—Mr. Ruck
tells me that no oath is taken. (fn. 6)
(fn. 7) 2561. Well, a declaration; it used to be an oath ?
—1 should say for myself and other members of the
Company that we should consider it our duty to look
well after our apprentices. If I took an apprentice I
should consider myself responsible for him.
(fn. 7) 2562. Would it not be competent for your son to
be apprenticed to a clergyman in Yorkshire under the
arrangement of your company ?—If I thought fit, and
the clergymen consented, it might possibly be so.
(fn. 7) 2563. And he could live in London ?—That might
happen if his master allowed it; I should not do it.
2564. I want to ask you what the use of your livery
now is. From a statement on page 29 of your report
I find that they have three functions, first, a parliamentary vote; secondly, four dinners in the year,
with a box of sweatmeats; and third, a municipal
vote; is there any other purpose for which they
exist ?—They are the body from whom the court is
2565. There is no other purpose ?—That is the
most important purpose.
2566. Are these accounts open to the livery ?—Not
2567. Have the livery of the Grocers as a body ever
seen the accounts to this day ?—Certainly not as a
body, not within my knowledge. I should add that the
livery have never asked to see the accounts within
2568. On pages 29 and 30 you say that you give
about 4,000l. a year in pensions, are any one of those
persons to whom you give pensions grocers by trade ?
2569. To your knowledge ?—I will find out for you
if you wish to know; I cannot say of my own knowledge.
2570. Will you tell me on what principle they are
selected, is it a matter of simple patronage ?—Certainly not. The Master and Court of Wardens look
very carefully indeed into all the circumstances of each
2571. (Sir Sydney Waterlow.) Referring to the
question last asked with reference to pensions, are the
persons qua grocers by trade or qua grocers as members of the Company ?—Qua grocers as members of
2572. Did I understand you to say in answer to a
question that a gentleman may be free and have the
livery of your Company without being free of the
City ?—I believe we make it a condition precedent to
his being a liveryman that he shall take up the freedom of the City.
2573. Is it not a fact that having taken up the freedom of the City he has to go to the Guildhall to get
the freedom of the City before you grant him the livery
of the Company ?—I believe that is the practice of the
2574. Then as a fact you do not admit a man to
your Company until he has become, to a certain extent,
a member of the Corporation of the City of London ?
—Oh, yes, he is a member of the Company as soon as
he is a freeman.
2575. Then you do not admit a man to be a liveryman of your Company until he has first, as a condition
precedent to his admission, become a member of the
Corporation of London by becoming a freeman ?—That
is the practice, I believe, of my Company.
2576. Then upon that same question are you aware
that in all the processions of the Corporation to the
judges at Westminster when they come to claim their
rights annually they are always attended by a certain
number of the members of the Livery Companies in
coaches, such members being appointed by the Companies themselves ?—The Grocers' Company certainly
never take any part in that.
2577. You are not aware that other Companies do ?
—I believe that some other Companies do.
2578. Then passing from that, may I ask you if
premiums are paid on the apprenticeship of apprentices
at your Hall, that is to say, are premiums ever paid to
the master who takes the apprentice ?—No premium
is paid, so I am informed by Mr. Ruck.
2579. Then did I understand you, in answer to a
question, to say that, as far as you know the history
of your Company, the Corporation have never levied
sums of money upon it ?—I am not aware of any
2580. Did not the Corporation levy the sum 4,200l.
between the years 1608 and 1610 for the purpose of
paying for the colonisation of the province of Ulster?
—I think it was rather the Crown that levied it in
that case. The Corporation was the hand that
received the contributions from the Companies, but the
contribution was called for by the Crown, as I understand
2581. Was it not that the Corporation entered into
a contract with the Crown, and not having the money
themselves levied it from the Companies, each of the
twelve Companies paying their share or finding their
share ?—I believe it was one transaction, but I have
no very accurate knowledge of the circumstances.
2582. Did not your Company receive, in consideration of their contribution towards the expenses of
colonisation, a portion of the contiscated lands which
formed your Irish estate, but which you sold ultimately ?
Adjourned to Wednesday next, at 4 o'clock.