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of Commons, but none which very essentially interfered with its efficiency, as it respected the inquisitorial and visitatorial powers of the Commissioners. It was in the House of Lords that it received its material alterations. To these alterations we will now advert. The bill, as it passed the House of Commons, had provided, that, for the double purpose of economy and dispatch, the Commissioners, being eight in number, should have the power of dividing themselves into committees which should be at liberty to pursue their local inquiries in different directions at the same time, and of visiting with that view all parts of the country. These visiting Commissioners were originally to have travelled in pairs, thus forming four efficient ambulatory committees. But in the House of Lords the number two was changed into three, although the whole number of Commissioners was not increased, thus affording the means of having only two itinerating parties instead of four, while, according to Mr. Brougham, two of the Commissioners would necessarily be unemployed.
We agree with Mr. Brougham in thinking that this change was for the worse; and yet, as the House of Lords judged it right greatly to contract the sphere of the commission, it might be less necessary to multiply its subdivisions. As for the two Commissioners who are excluded from the itinerating boards, we trust they will not be unprofitably employed in the investigation and arrangement of documentary evidence, and in various other ways, all tending to forward the general object.
The changes made in the powers of the Commissioners were far more important than those which respected the forms of their proceedings. And here we shall allow Mr. Brougham to speak for himself and his coadjutors.
"We had originally given the Commissioners the same authority which CHRIST. OBSERV, No. 204.
rendered the naval and military inqui ries so effectual. Imagining that persons concerned in any abuse might be
unwilling to give evidence against themselves, or to produce documents which lances due to the poor, we had armed made them liable to refund large bathe Commissioners with the power of compelling the production of papers, and obliging every one to answer such questions as did not criminate himself. The ministers in the House of Lords peremptorily insisted upon this provision being struck out. They said it was harsh-but why should any one complain of being forced to do what it is every one's duty to do, and what no one can refuse to do unless with the de
sign of concealing some malversation? They represented it as indelicate to respectable trustees-but can any respectable trustee complain of being called upon to disclose the particulars of his conduct in the execution of his trust? They described it as unconstitutional-yet the same powers are possessed by all courts, even by commisunprecedented-yet they themselves, sioners of bankrupt. They called it when in office with a truly great minister, the renown of whose naval exploits alone eclipses the glory of his civil administration, had furnished the precedent which we followed; had passed the very act from which we
Copied verbatim the clause in our bill. They attempted, indeed, to escape from this dilemma by various outlets. My lord Chancellor said that he had always disproved of that provision in lord St. Vincent's act; yet he suffered it to pass without a division, and was, with my lord Ellenborough, the principal advocate of the measure. My lord Sidmouth contented himself with observing, that many persons had objected to lord St. Vincent's bill; but assuredly his Commons, was not of the number; for lordship, then minister in the House of he strenuously defended it against Mr. Canning, who alone, of the present cabinet, opposed it. A feeble effort was made to distinguish the objects of the two inquiries. But as to their importance can any one maintain that the expenses of the dock-yards demand more rigorous investigation than the disposal of funds destined by benevolence for the relief of wretchedness; or that the conduct of the person who uses a sum of the public money, without authority, and then replaces it, shall 5 L
be sifted by every means of examination which can wring the truth from interested reluctance; while he who pockets thousands a year belonging to the poor, shall only be invited to disclose the state of his accounts in order that his undue gains may cease, and his past accumulations be refunded? Then as to the nature of the two inquiries-can it be contended that the power of examining all private merchants' accounts, in substance possessed by the naval commissioners, was less liable to abuse, or in itself less vexatious, than the power of examining the accounts of trustees filling a public office? As for the cla'mour excited against the clause respecting title-deeds, no one who had read our bill could be deceived by it for a moment; because the possessor of a deed was only obliged to produce it, in case it related wholly to the charity; if any other matter whatever was contained in it, he was allowed to produce a copy of the part relating to the charity. -All our arguments, however, were unavailing." Brougham. pp. 10–13.
To us Mr. Brougham's reasoning on this point appears conclusive.
But the changes which the bill underwent in the House of Lords respected not merely the powers of the commission, but the very objects it had in view.
"First, They were prohibited from inquiring generally into the state of education, although a great saving both of time and expense to the public would have been effected by allowing them to
make that inquiry when they visited any district for other purposes.
Secondly, They were no longer to examine abuses of all charities, but only of those connected with the education
of the poor. A most unfortunate change
in the constitution of the Board-for every one was aware how many malver. sations existed in charitable institutions wholly unconnected with education; and it was obviously a more natural as well as more economical course of proceeding, to authorise the Commissioners to look into these at the same time that they were examining the others, than to send one set of functionaries to investigate school charities, and then dispatch a second body to go over the same ground, in order to see what the former had been ordered to overlook." Brougham, pp. 13, 14,
Thirdly, Among charities connected with education, there was introduced a large class of exceptions, comprehending, not only the Universities and the public schools down to Rugby, bat generally all charities having special 'visitors, governors, or overseers.' Now it happens that almost every considerable charity is subject to special visita. tion; consequently what remains for the operations of the Commissioners lies within a sufficiently narrow compass." Brougham, p. 16.
The comments of Mr. Brougham on these changes, and especially on the last, must be acknowledged to be very forcible; nor, in our view, would their weight be dimi nished, even if it should turn out that the particular facts by which he illustrates his general reasoning are, as has been alleged, incorrectly stated.
"This last alteration of the bill," observes Mr. Brougham," we justly viewed as a matter of extreme regret. For of the many instances of gross abuse, which had come to our knowledge, and some of which will be seen in the evidence now made public, there was hardly one which this clause did not withdraw from the jurisdiction of the Commissioners." Brougham, pp. 36, 17.
He then proceeds to shew that the Pocklington school, the school of St. Bees and that of Reading, and the hospital at Croydon, founded by Archbishop Whitgift; all cases of admitted abuse, are provided with special visitors, and therefore secured, as the act now stands, against all inquiry by the Commissioners. The arguments employed to justify this sweeping limitation are ably exposed by We have room Mr. Brougham. for only a small part of his exposure.
"If any person," he says, "should still conceive that the eye of the visitor is sufficient, I would beseech them to consider two things-the slowness with which the knowledge of the evil reaches him, and the risk of his requiring superintendance himself. Abuses are, generally speaking, of slow growth; they creep into public institutions with a sure pace, indeed, if unchecked, but they move on by degrees; and those
who are constantly habituated to see their progress, become accustomed to it, and cease to think of it. These, however, are chiefly the persons on whom the visitor must rely for his in formation; and, even where the change is more rapid and the abuse more glaring, men who live on the spot are not likely to court the odious office of accusing their neighbours. The grand
Brougham conceives that the pub-
difference between the visitor and the
plaining, although nobody may have actually preferred a complaint. Then
what security have we against negli gence or connivance in the visitors themselves? Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? True, the founders have intrusted them with the superintendance; but, where no visitation is appointed, the founders have reposed an entire confidence in trustees; and yet no 'one has ever contended that they should be exempt from the inquiries of the Commissioners? What good reasou, then, can be assigned for investigating abuses committed wholly by trustees, and sparing those committed by trustees and visitors jointly? St. John's College is visitor of Pocklington school: for years the gross perversion of its ample revenues, known to all Yorkshire, had never penetrated into Cambridge. The Dean and Chapter of Lincoln have the patronage as well as the superintendance of Spital charity; yet they allow the Warden, son of their Diocesan, to enjoy the produce of large estates, devised to him in trust for the poor of two parishes as well as of the hospital, while he only pays a few pounds to four or five of the latter. The Bishop himself is patron and visitor of Mere, and permits the Warden, his nephew (for whom he made the vacancy by promoting his predecessor) to enjoy or underlet a considerable trust estate, paying only 241. a year to the poor. The evidence shews that the visitors of the Huntingdon hospital are the parties chiefly concerned in misapplying its funds being themselves trustees-occupying the charity lands for trifling rents-and using the estate for election purposes." Brougham, pp. 24-26.
Such having been the changes introduced into the bill, Mr.
But loudly as Mr. Brougham complains of the changes which his bill underwent in the House of Lords, he seems to feel still more keenly the mode in which the appointment of the commissioners was conducted by ministers. Instead of fulfilling the wishes of the framers of the bill by appointing commissioners favourable to its object, and pledged by former declarations, as well as qualified, to pursue it, Mr. Brougham alleges, that of the eight stipendiary commissioners, only two had been recommended by the Committee, and that the rest, he understands, are men who either "look forward to the duties of the office as quite compatible with those of a labo rious profession, or who are supposed to regard the existence of abuses, generally, in any establishcredulous mind." ment, with an unwilling if not in
With respect to the list of honorary commissioners, Mr. Brougham complains, that while neither himself, whose zeal in the cause was unquestioned, nor Mr. Babington, who had shared with him the principal labours of the Committee, and whose name was ́a guarantee for labour, talent, and integrity, was included, individuals were appointed, Sir William Scott, and Mr. Yorke, distinguished for their opposition to inquiry into almost every species of abuse, Nor
was this the only disadvantageous change, in the view of Mr. Brougham, which took place in forming the honorary commission. For the Marquis of Lansdown and the Bishop of London, both admirably qualified for and avowedly favourable to the inquiry, were substituted two bishops, one of whom had shewn his hostility to the bill by voting against its commitment, while the other had quitted the House, as was supposed, from his unwillingness to vote for it.
Mr. Brougham concludes his statement on this subject by observing:
"Of the ministers who first mutilated the Act, and then entrusted the execu tion of it to its enemies rather than its authors or supporters, no man can long hesitate what opinion he should form. Their conduct can only be accounted for upon the supposition that they do not wish to see a zealous and unsparing investigation of charitable abuses. That they should favour neglect or peculation for its own sake, is inconceivable; but they may be deterred from fearlessly joining in the exposure of it by the clamours of those who are interested in its concealment, or the alarms of men easily disquieted, willing to believe that there is safety in supporting whatever exists, ready to fancy that there is danger wherever there is movement, and to forget that in the neighbour hood of mischief repose is perilous." Brougham, p. 45.
Now in the whole of this statement there is evidently far more of personal irritation and party feeling, than of sober and unbiassed reflection. Some parts of it reminded us forcibly of one of those sarcastic tirades against ministers to which our ears have been accustomed from certain members of opposition in the House of Commons. Mr. Brougham, we admit, had just cause to complain; but be has impaired the sympathy which his complaint might have excited in the public mind, by greatly exaggerating both the evil in question and the inconveniences likely to result from it; and by
permitting his political hostility to ministers to mix itself up with his observations on this particular transaction. The Commissioners, whether stipendiary or honorary, are still untried, and are to be judged by the manner in which they shall have fulfilled their duties, rather than by invidious anticipations, arising from a suspected political bias. Men, we trust, are to be found of all shades of political sentiment, who would resolutely and assiduously conduct such an inquiry as that of which Mr. Brougham enjoys the eminent distinction of being the author.
Having thus done what justice we are able to Mr. Brougham's argument, let us next consider the reply which is set up by his anonymous antagonist.
This gentleman begins by affirming, that the House were surprised into an intemperate pursuit of the object which the Education Committee had in view.
"So far indeed as respects the House of Commons I would observe (but with all due deference) that the House and the leading men were in a degree surprised into their acquiescence. This particular impression, as respects the House of Commons, was further strengthened by the nature of the Committee and its immediate relation to the House. So many gentlemen of high character in the country coming immediately from the committee-room into the House, and yet warm with a stated to them, necessarily con.manigenerous indignation at the abuses just cated a portion of their feelings to the House itself, and thereby excited that favourable prejudice for the objects of the forthcoming reports, which almost precluded any cautions examination into their details." Letter to Scott, p. 4.
But here we are compelled to ask, ought not such feelings to have been excited? And would it not be a matter of sincere regret if such feelings were extinguished? Is it not the fact that the large mass of busy and especially of party men, far from indulging themselves in romantic sensations,
are more apt to sacrifice right feeling to interested or party motives? The age of chivalry is gone," if indeed it ever existed, as to points such as these. Indeed, when we consider of what materials the House of Commons was composed; how many members in leading situations had accustomed themselves to investigate, and analyse, and distrust every proposition proceeding from certain quarters; how frequently the subject underwent discussion; and what abundant time was allowed for the warmth of first impressions to evaporate; we cannot but regard
this insinuation as at once absurd and disingenuous. It weakens our confidence in the author from the very outset of his work.
In a very early part of his pamphlet he has also thought it right to adopt a mode of attack, to which he frequently recurs, and which we must regard as highly reprehensible, that of insinuating hypothetical charges against the plans and motives of Mr. Brougham, and of some of those who thought and acted with him. We have already objected to this practice on the part of Mr. Brougham. In the pages of our anonymous author, it wears a still more offensive as
pect. He scatters throughout his pages a variety of imputations, irrelevant at least, if not unfounded, against Mr. Brougham, and those with whom he is associated in his honourable labours, which are obviously intended to produce a prejudice against the measure they have espoused, by exciting feelings of political jealousy and alarm respecting its authors. What good design might not be defeated, if insinuations such as the following are to be allowed any weight; and against what individual might not similar prejudices be excited?
"Indeed, those who had observed the proceedings of the more active members of the Committee, with cautious attention, could not altogether silence some suggestions which arose
in their minds, that their spirit and proceedings were not altogether favourable to the existing establishments of the country, and particularly to the Church of England. They thought they saw something of that dissenting leaven, which, under the name and pretext of liberal principles, was for relaxing that union of church and state, which those educated in ancient opinions consider to be a part of the constitution of the country as much as Parliament and the Crown itself. They could not forget, that the leading gentleman in this Committee had very eminently distinguished himself as the advocate of this liberalism, and was the avowed and eloquent patron of that system of education, which, under the
name of Lancasterian, is directly opposed to that of Dr. Bell and the Church of England. It was strongly impressed upon their minds, that the honourable gentleman was one of a school and fraternity, which in passing from the con
dition of scholars to that of masters to their southern neighbours, was superseding all ancient doctrines and prac
tices by new modes and maxims; reducing all useful knowledge to the compass of political economy and the elements of the human mind, and expel ling all the ancient masters, for Hume, Adam Smith, and Dugald Stewart. They could not divest themselves of a persuasion, that all the established institutions of the country, and even the constitution itself, received much of their best character from the existing system of British education, and that the church, the law, and the state, were mutually united, and therein supported, by a community of feeling, taste, and instruction, originating in an education under common masters and a common system. They looked, therefore, with some apprehension to such improvements' in education, as might supplant classics by metaphysics, grammar by political economy, and the established masters of English truth and morals, by Scotch lecturers on the human mind, and essayists upon the errors of Bacon, Newton, and Locke. They had seen, and perhaps often admired, the talents with which that honourable gentleman condescends to embellish a periodical review, in which the learning and utility of the universities had been frequently assailed, and in which more reforms are recommended in the constitution of the