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ment of charitable trusts, the risks to which charity property is exposed, and the benefits likely to arise from an easy plan of effecting exchanges, &c., he recommends the establishment of a permanent board of Commissioners of Charities, with a fixed office in Westminster, and a limited jurisdiction, proposing to follow the 43 Eliz.c. 4. in making the Court of Chancery the depository of their reports and orders; the
of that court available for the enforcement of their orders ; and their orders subject to be altered or rescinded by the Court of Chancery, on appeal of any person aggrieved, giving security for costs. The late bill, however, it will have been seen, goes far beyond the recommendations of Mr. Hine, as well as of the late Commissioners, or of the Select Committee of the House of Commons.
Mr. Palmer is of opinion that, with reference to the jurisdiction of the Commissioners as indicated in the late bill by the provisions thereto appertaining, the latter might often lead to oppression, expense, and irremediable wrong; and prove subversive of the intention of the donors, which the law of England has endeavoured sacredly to fulfil. “ Where is the justice, or policy, or wisdom,” he asks, "of establishing one tribunal for the rich, and another for the poor?-one tribunal to-day, and another for the same charity (the income varying), to-morrow?-of regulating the jurisdiction of the Commissioners by a difficult and fluctuating criterion, uncertainly applied at the outset ?-of vesting in these Commissoners, holding their court in any hidden room or corner of the kingdom, greater power in making orders and schemes (irrespective of the will of the donors), than is conceded to the High Court of Chancery?--of authorizing their proceedings upon any complaint, perhaps contained in an anonymous letter, when all experience testifies the necessity, to prevent oppression and groundless complaint, that the complainant failing should be responsible for costs ?-of allowing no appeal from the orders of the Commissioners to the higher Courts, though security might be offered for costs to prevent groundless appeals, thus omitting a safeguard most necessary to secure the equity of the Commissioners' decisions, and making them arbitrary judges?—and of not even allowing them to revise their own summary orders, unless on complaint within two months, though the
subsequent finding of any mislaid old document, or other discovery, might justify their reversal ?
The injustice and impolicy of such provisions appear too plain for comment. The powers of removing trustees, and enforcing the transfer or payment of stock or money, seem altogether too great to be entrusted to the Commissioners without appeal. The power also of authorizing trustees to remove a schoolmaster, or other officer, upon proof to the Commissioners' satisfaction of past negligence or present incompetency, appears too great to be exercised, in derogation of a freehold office, either without a hearing or without the right of appeal. It exceeds the power of authorizing the removal of schoolmasters which was entrusted to the Court of Chancery by a recent Act.”*
The onerous offices assigned to the Commissioners by the late bill, namely, those of inspectors, accountants, auditors, and registrars general of Charitable Trusts throughout England and Wales, would have left them but little time for the exercise of their judicial functions. In any future bill, their duties (if indeed we are to have Commissioners), might be usefully abridged. The oversight and publicity necessary for the due administration of Charitable Trusts might be required, but nothing
On good cause shown for their interference by any responsible informant, or by any trustee or other interested party, there would probably be little objection to their possessing full powers of inquiry, as well as some powers to aid and correct, under due limitation, and subject to appeal. “But," as Mr. Palmer well observes, “ to regulate the mode in which the accounts of every charitable trust are to be kept and audited; to generally require the transmission of all such accounts, and the vouchers to the Commissioners; to require annual returns of the particular receipts and expenditure of every charitable trust; and to require the transmission, for registry at their office, of copies of all existing and future muniments of title, perhaps the originals also for custody, would, I apprehend, be a very unnecessary interference with those to whom the administration of the Trust property belongs, and occasion great inconvenience, without any counterbalancing benefit.
Why, also, when so much information respecting charities has been
* 3 and 4 Vict. c. 77, s. 17.
obtained at great cost, and may be readily collected, is a new, costly, and more cumbersome registration to be attempted, including the exposure of the title-deeds of the estates belonging to all charities, or to those whose estates
may be subject to any charge for a charitable trust?
be also observed, that Trustees of Charities should not be subjected to useless trouble and annoyance. The office of a Trustee is already sufficiently onerous ; and it is not for the public benefit that all prudent or respectable persons should be deterred from becoming Trustees of Charities."
The endowments of colleges and chapels and Dissenting places of worship and schools are considered by the law as charities; and the late bill proposed to extend the guardian care of the Commissioners over chapels and schools. The Commissioners were to be empowered, under certain contingencies and conditions, to declare that the intention of the donor of any charity to these establishments could not be carried into effect, and therefore to alter the application of the funds. It will be recollected that they were enjoined to state in their reports what charities had “ceased to be beneficial or become injurious, and what required to be regulated and reformed.” What, then, was there to prevent these Commissioners from some day agreeing that certain chapelries had ceased to be beneficial, or that certain schools were positively injurious ? But the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge were expressly exempted from the operation of the bill, and the temporalities of the Church were jealously guarded. In every case of a Charitable Trust for the benefit or education of members of the Establishment, no trustee could act until he made and signed a declaration before some judge of one of the superior courts at Westminster that he was really and bona fide a member of the United Church of England and Ireland, as by law established.”
Why were the interests of Dissenters to be left unguarded, and exposed to the encroachments of a law which called forth such vigilant precautions from the dominant Church? Why was not the property of Nonconformist congregations protected by some exceptional safeguards, which were admitted to be necessary for the security of the Establishment? Thus treated, the Dissenters could
but perceive in the late Charitable Trusts Bill (and we trust they will be equally vigilant in respect to any future project of a similar kind) a measure intended to convert to other purposes the benefactions which they and their forefathers had devoted to the support and advocacy of their respective faiths. For, be it recollected that, according to the 19th clause of the bill, if a majority of the trustees and the special visitor for the time being of any charity, i. e. of any Dissenting chapel or school, could be gained over, the Commissioners might “settle or approve a scheme for the application of the property to any purposes they shall think fit.”
There is a palpable and marked difference as regards the spirit in which Churchmen and Dissenters are uniformly treated, in such measures as the one under our notice. On behalf of the Church protecting clauses are introduced, and concessions made, to which Dissent is looked upon as having no claim. The Establishment, as the dominant party, is cautiously and smoothly handled, while Nonconformity is regarded as of inferior caste, and, therefore, entitled to little or no respect. Such is the natural result of conferring exclusive privileges upon any one sect. The major part of mankind are unconsciously disposed to pay more deference to privileged sects just as they concede it to privileged individuals.
Granting, as we must, the existence of considerable abuses the administration of the ller charities in particular, we should not object to some judicious and constitutional measure for their remedy ; and, therefore, we cannot but concur generally in the pertinent remark of the Times on the late bill, that “the chief fault of the measure, looking merely to the provisions contained, was this—that for the purpose of securing the due administration of a certain description of charities, it instituted a machinery which might have been so detrimental to others as to leave a balance of loss upon the whole-a very serious fault it cannot be denied. But if it is really decided that the proper Court existing already for the remedy of these abuses, established for this very purpose, with its officers enormously paid, with its staff recently increased, and its work diminished; if this Court is inevitably and essentially so costly that for such purposes its existence is a nullity, we do hope that some new mea
sure for the accomplishment of these righteous ends may be speedily introduced—if possible, at the expense of the Court itself-and that no suggestions of jealousy or representations of interest may prevent its becoming law.”
A FEW WORDS ON JUDGMENT.
BY JAMES HENRY, D.D., DUBLIN.
(Continued from a preceding Number.) Then the Chief of the peace-officers rose and said, "The advice both of Justus and Liber is good, and I recommend you to adopt it without delay, and ye
shall have every
assistance both from me, and from the judges who are over me, and from the peace-officers who are under me ; for the greater the number of informations and convictions, the greater is the reward of each and all
But there is still one thing necessary to give efficiency both to what ye have done already, and to what Justus and Liber advise you further to do.” And when all the people cried, “What is it? what is it?” the Chief of the peace officers answered, “Notwithstanding all your laws, and all your judges, and all your peace-officers, and all your soldiers, with their bludgeons, and their swords, and their bayonets, and their guns, and their pistols, and their cannon, offenders will still escape, unless you command us to circumvent them by artifice, and by fraud, and by lying, and by treachery, and to employ practices against them more wicked in the sight of God than those breaches of your laws for which ye desire to bring them to judgment." Then the people answered, “Doth not the end sanctify the means? And is it not lawful to do evil that good may come? Therefore make haste and do as thou sayest, and take heed that no man escape, else thou shalt be superseded and another Chief of the peace-officers be appointed in thy place.”
So the Chief of the peace-officers did as the people of those islands desired, and greatly multiplied the numbers of the officers under him, and stationed them in all the streets, and before all the houses. And they watched every man both day and night, both when he went in and when he came out; and they wore disguises,