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for the church, and had too much sense to suppose it could be endangered by the restitution of charitable funds to their proper objects, worked upon the apprehensions of their weaker brethren, and made them cry out, that nothing was sacred from our inquisition, while certain secular abuses, cherished for convenience, rather than consecrated by time, were the only objects of their own veneration. Above all, advantage was taken of the romantic attachment which English gentlemen feel towards the academic scenes of their early life; and the generous natures of persons who had honored those retreats of learning by their acquirements, or at the most, only made them the abodes of harmless indolence, were enlisted in the defence of practices from which they would have revolted, had they not suffered themselves to be persuaded that our object was an illiberal, unlettered, gothic invasion of all classic ground.
Accordingly, we were severely reproved for pushing our inquiries into establishments, destined, it was said, for the education of the upper classes, while our instructions confined us to schools for the lower orders. Unfortunately, we no sooner looked into any of those institutions, than we found that this objection to our jurisdiction rested upon the very abuses which we were investigating, and not upon the real nature of the foundation. For as often as we examined any establishment, the production of the charter or statutes proved that it was originally destined for the education of the poor—<< One free schoolefor the instructing, teaching, maintenance and education of Poor Children and scholars,"1 says the charter of the " Hospital and Free Grammar School in the CharterHouse." "Pauperes et Indigentes scholares," say the statutes of Winchester College.1 " JJnum collegium perpetuum Pauperum Et Indigentium scholarium Cantabrigice, et quoddam alium collegium perpetuum Aliorum Pauperum Et Indigentium scholarium Etonian" say the statutes which founded King's College Cambridge, and Eton College;3 and they further require the scholars to take a solemn oath, that they have not five marcs (31. 6s.) a-year to spend. The Westminster statutes expressly prohibit any boy being elected on the foundation, " who has, or at his father's death will inherit a patrimony of above ten pounds.""' "The same poverty is the qualification required by the statutes of Trinity College, Cambridge: the scholars are there called " Pauperes," and in choosing them, where other merits are equal, the preference
* Report, 1816, p. 128.
* Rep. 1818.
3 Vid. Slat. 1. intitled " mens el histiluturnJ'undatoris'' Rep. 1816.
*Report, 1816, p. 109.
is ordered to be given " Inopije."1 In choosing the fellows of St. John's College, a preference is prescribed in favor of the most deserving, " et inter hos, illis qui Indigentiores fuerint; for scholars, the " Inopes" are directed to be preferred, and an oath of poverty,similar to that of Eton and Winchester is solemnly taken.1 There is no doubt that some other institutions, as St. Paul s School, and St. Saviour's in Southwark, were intended for the rich; the former by manifest implication was founded for them only; the latter by the express terms of the foundation was meant for rich and poor indifferently ;3 but in the original statutes of the great schools and colleges, as far as we examined them, there was to be found no provision except for the poor. Nor are the committee the first persons who have regarded those magnificent endowments in this light. Lord Coke, and the other judges of England so considered the two universities in general; for in his report of a decision touching a charity school, he says, that they all held it applied to Oxford and Cambridge; he mentions those foundations as works of charity, speaks of their members, as "poor scholars," and in reference to the misapplication of their funds, quotes the text, "panis egentium vita pauperiim; et qui dcfraudat eos homo sanguinis est."* The application of such expressions to those rich endowments, has, indeed, given offence to many. They think it hard that they should be obliged to take the name with the estate; probably because the property came not by inheritance, and because the appellation is very inconsistent with the possession.
I presume, however, that I have said enough to justify the committee for venturing to consider those great establishments as within its jurisdiction. But situated as they are in the eyes of all the world, administered by highly gifted personages, superintended by visitors of exalted station, it might be deemed superfluous to exercise, with respect to them, the inquisitorial power which our instructions gave us. Now, whether beneficially or not, I have no right to determine, but certainly the fact is that great deviations have been made from the original foundation in all those venerable establishments. For the particulars I must refer to the evidence.s
1 Cap. 1 and 13. Report 1818. * Cap. 12, 15, 16. Report 1818.
3 Report 1816, 244, 170. 4 8 Rep. 130.
5 The Report 1818 contains copies of the statutes of Eton and King's College, Trinity and St. John's, Cambridge, and a part of the foundation of Christ Church, Oxford. The singular accuracy with which they are printed does gr.at credit to the industry and skill of Mr. Ellis ol the British Museum, who has been employed for some months in superintending the press. This part of the report will in a few weeks be in circulation; the part about to appear immediately contains important extracts from the Winton statutes. The report of 1816, contains the foundation of Westminster, Charter-House, St. Paul's, and others.
I shall here only mention a few things relating to Winchester College, which may serve to show that such endowments are not less liable to perversion, than more obscure charities. The statutes, as has already been observed, require in the most express terms, that only"the poor and indigent," shall be admitted upon the foundation. They are in fact all children of persons in easy circumstances; many of opulent parents. The boys when they attain the age of fifteen, solemnly swear that they have not Si. 6s. a year to spend ; yet as a practical commentary on this oath, they pay ten guineas a year to the masters; and the average of their other expenses exceeds fifty. It is ordered that if any boy comes into the possession of property to the amount of 51. a year, he shall be expelled ; and this is construed 661. 15s. 4d., regard being had to the diminished value of money, although the warden, fellows and scholars all swear to observe the statutes, "according to their plain, literal, and grammatical sense and understanding." It is strictly enjoined that no boy shall be admitted above twelve years of age. This is wholly disregarded. The fellowships are augmented in revenue by a liberal interpretation of the terms describing their money payments; while the strictest construction is adopted as to the payments to scholars, including even the founder's kin, the peculiar objects of his bounty. Thus, too, while the latter are refused the convenience of knives, forks, spoons, plates, &c. on the ground that such articles of furniture were unknown in the time of William of Wykham, the fellows are allowed those accommodations, although the fellowships were founded at the same early period. The revenues are between 13 and 14,000/. a year; the yearly expense of the foundation scholars, as now borne by their parents, is between 60 and 70/.: so that there cannot be any fair reason for not defraying the whole of this out of the revenues, as the founder obviously intended; and thus restoring the school to its original state. Nor would it be a deviation from his plan by any means so wide as many which have been adopted, were the number of seventy scholars enlarged, which the opulence of the establishment would render very easy. The fellowships would still be lucrative, if reduced to the ordinary value of those at Oxford and Cambridge, and they are tenable with church preferment. The infractions of the original statutes are sought to be justified by the connivance of successive visitors, and it is alleged that they have even authorised them by positive orders (injunctions). But the statutes appointing the visitor, expressly prohibit him from altering them in any manner of way directly or indirectly, and declare all acts in contravention of them absolutely null.1 I must add, that notwithstanding the disregard shown to some statures and some oaths, there was a strong disposition manifested in the members of the college to respect those which they imagined bound them to keep their foundation and their concerns secret.
I am very far from taking upon me to decide, that in all those great institutions, many deviations from the letter of the original statutes, may not have been rendered necessary, and some infractions of their spirit advantageous, by the change of circurnstances. But let it be remembered that the committee only investigated, leaving others to act upon the result of the inquiry. We contend for nothing beyond the propriety of having the whole matter examined, and the real state of things exposed to Parliament, and the country. They who object to our proceedings, on the other hand, begin by assuming either that all is right, or that the subject is too sacred to be touched; and they oppose every attempt to let in the light upon what is passing within their precincts, as if the hand of destruction were lifted against establishments, while in truth, we are only for subjecting them to the public eye. Nevertheless, in all such matters, it is consistent with a wise policy to respect even the prejudices of worthy men ; and where voluntary improvements in any institution may reasonably be expected, a short delay is well bestowed, to attain the advantages of a reform at once safe and durable. Acting upon this principle, the committee hardly touched the universities, leaving to the distinguished individuals intrusted with their concerns, the task of pursuing the general suggestions of the report, and of adopting such measures, as their more intimate knowledge of the details might point out.
it is natural indeed, even at this early stage of the inquiry, to carry forward our views to the ultimate result, and to ask what measures may arise out of it. For the present I consider that it would be premature to enter minutely into this subject; but some consequences likely to follow from the proceedings in question, appear to deserve attention.
In the Jirst place, if they only lead to an accurate knowledge of all the charitable funds in the kingdom, without detecting a single abuse, we shall owe to them very valuable information, which has never yet been obtained, notwithstanding frequent attempts for that purpose by different legislative provisions. The inaccuracy of the former returns may be perceived at once, by looking at the abstract of school charities, which Mr. Rickman was kind enough to make from the returns under Mr. Gilbert's act.1 To take only two examples—In the East Riding of Yorkshire, 73 places are said to possess 67 charitable donations for schools, and their united revenue is stated at 881* ;whereas we now have as
'Report 1818. 1 Report 1816, p. 169.
oertained that one school alone, that of Pocklington, has a revenue of about 900/. a year.1 In Middlesex the whole revenue is returned under 5000/., in 151 donations possessed by 64 places; but the revenues of three schools, the Charter-House, Christ's Hospital and St. Paul's School, are proved to exceed 70,000/. a year.3.
Secondly. It must be of the greatest importance, to investigate all the instances of the mismanagement and abuse in charities, although nothing shall be done, except to make them public in all their details by a high authority. When this publicity is given to them, a step is made towards their correction. Where the evil arises from error of judgment, discussion may rectify it, as we frequently have found in the committee, when, examining subscription charities administered on a bad principle, we convinced their patrons of the error, and induced them to amend their plan. Where neglect or breach of trust is committed, the exposure is likely to check it; nay the knowledge that an inquiry is approaching, has in many instances already had this effect. Where further steps become necessary, the interposition of the tribunals now constituted for such superintendence, the visitors and the courts of equity, must be ensured by the attention excited, and facilitated by the information obtained. And if, as is too probable, this remedy should be found inefficacious, both in respect of economy and dispatch, the surest foundation is laid upon which new legislative measures can be grounded. It may therefore fairly be assumed that the inquiry will end, if rightly conducted, in throwing complete light on the state of charities, and in correcting all the abuses, to which they are now liable. The estate of the poor will be, as it were, accurately surveyed, and restored to its rightful owners; or rather rescued from the hands which have no title to hold it, and placed at the disposal of the legislature, the supreme power in the state, to be managed in the way most beneficial to those for whose use it was destined. If it were merely given to those portions of the poor who are literally pointed out by the original destination, and bestowed strictly in the manner described, a great benefit would be gained; and among other advantages, this would result, that charitable persons, confiding in the secure application of their benefactions, might be encouraged to new acts of liberality. But we may reasonably expect a further improvement to follow, from attending to the great changes in the circumstances of the times, and in the revenues of most charities. The will of the donor, which ought to be closely pursued, may often be better complied with, by a deviation from the letter of his directions: an alteration which no man can doubt that he
Report 1818. 1 Report 1816.