HC Deb 28 July 1836 vol 35 cc638-49
Mr. Bernal

brought up the Report of the Committee on the Charitable Trustees Bill.

On the question that the amendments be read a second time,

Colonel Sibthorp

had such strong objections to the Bill altogether, that he would move as an amendment that the Report be taken into consideration that day three months.

Mr. Arthur

Trevor would certainly support the amendment.

The House divided on the original question:—Ayes 81; Noes 36: Majority 45.

List of the AYES.
Adam, Sir C. Lushington, Dr.
Baines, E. M'Namara, Major
Bannerman, A. Murray, rt. hon. J. A.
Baring, F. T. O'Connell, J.
Barnard, E. G. O'Connell, M. J.
Beauclerk, Major O'Connell, M.
Bernal, R. O'Loghlen, M.
Blake, M. J. Palmerston, Ld. Vist.
Blamire, W. Parker, J.
Bowes, J. Parnell, rt. hon. Sir H.
Brady, D.C. Parrott, J.
Brotherton, J. Pelham, hon. C. A.
Bulwer, E. L. Potter, It.
Campbell, Sir J. Price, Sir R.
Chalmers, P. Pryme, G.
Chichester, J. P. B. Rice, right hon. T. S.
Codrington, Admiral Robinson, G. R.
Donkin, Sir R. Roche, W.
Evans, G. Rolfe, Sir R. M.
Ewart, W. Seale, Colonel
Fielden, J. Smith, R. V
Fitzgibbon, hon. Col. Smith, B.
Fitzroy, Lord C. Stanley, E. J.
Folkes, Sir W. Strickland, Sir G.
Gordon, R. Strutt, E.
Goring, H. D. Stuart, Lord D.
Grattan, J. Tancred, H. W.
Grey, Sir G. Thomson, right hon. C. P.
Gully, J.
Harvey, D. W. Thompson, Mr. Ald.
Hastie, A. Thompson, Col.
Hawes, B. Thornley, T.
Hawkins, J. H. Townley, R. G.
Hobhouse, right hon. Sir J. Tulk, C. A.
Wakley, T.
Howard, P. H. Wallace, R.
Howick, Lord Vist. Warburton, H.
Hume, J. Williams, W.
Humphery, J. Wood, C.
Labouchere, right hon. H. Wood, Mr. Ald.
Leader, J. T. TELLERS.
Lefevre, C. S. M. O'Ferrall
Lennox, Lord G. R. Stewart.
List of the NOES.
Arbuthnott, hon. H. Lincoln, Earl
Baring, T. Lowther, hon. Col.
Boldero, H. G. Lowther, Lord Vist.
Brownrigg, S. Neeld, J.
Campbell, Sir H. Neeld, J.
Charlton, E. L. Parker, M.
Clerk, Sir G. Perceval, Col.
Corbett, T. G. Praed, W. M.
Fielden, W. Price, S. G.
Gladstone, T. Reid, Sir J. R.
Gladstone, W. E. Richards, R.
Gore, O. Sandon, Lord Vist.
Goulburn, rt. hon. H. Somerset, Lord G.
Hale, R. B. Stewart, J.
Halford, H. Vere, Sir C. B.
Hardy, J. Walter, J.
Inglis, Sir R. H.
Knightley, Sir C. TELLERS
Lawson, A. A. Trevor
Lees, J. F. Col. Sibthorp

Amendment read a second time.

The Solicitor-General

rose to move the insertion of a clause, to the effect, that in all cases in which, at the time of the passing of this Act, the body corporate of any borough named in either of the said schedules A and B, or any one or more of the members of such body corporate, in his or their corporate capacity, stood solely or together, with any person or persons elected solely by such body corporate, or solely by any particular number, class, or description of members of such body corporate, seized or possessed of any real or personal estate for the absolute use and benefit of such body corporate, subject only, for the purpose of some charitable trust, to the payment of a fixed sum, or to a charge wholly satisfied by less than the whole of the rents and profits of such real estate, or of the interest and dividends of such personal estate, all such real and personal estate shall immediately after the passing of this Act be vested in the mayor, aldermen, and burgesses of the borough, subject in the first instance to the charge created for the purposes of the trust, and the amount of such charge shall be accounted for by the said mayor, aldermen, and burgesses, and paid by the treasurer of the borough to such persons as a majority of the trustees under this Act shall appoint, under their hands and seals, to receive the same, and shall be paid over to such person at such time or times as the disbursements have usually been made for the purposes of the trust, and the receipt of such person shall be a good discharge to the treasurer, and to the said mayor, aldermen, and burgesses; neither shall the said mayor, aldermen, and burgesses, nor the treasurer of the borough, be bound to see to the due application of the said charge and subject to the said charge, and to any claim which any person or body corporate may have at law or in equity, or which may be made on behalf of any trust or charitable institution, to or upon the said hereditaments or personal estate, the rents and profits, interest and dividends, of the said hereditaments and personal estate shall be carried to the credit of the borough fund.

Mr. Goulburn

inquired whether, under the effect of this clause, property left to freemen would not go to the borough fund?

The Attorney-General

said, that where freemen had any particular interest in the charitable property, they would continue to possess it; but where funds had been vested in the corporations, subject to specific charities, the surplus would go to the borough fund.

Mr. Charlton

put some question relative to the disposal of the existing surplus in the case of some charitable foundation in Ludlow. The property which had been bequeathed for certain charitable purposes having greatly increased in value, the surplus had hitherto been applied by the corporation to the general purposes of the town. Would that state of things be allowed to continue under this clause?

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

thought the clause so very explicit that he was surprised such a question should have been put by the hon. Member for Ludlow. The clause would not perpetuate but remedy abuse. Where charity was impressed on the entire fund, the charity would be entitled to the whole; but if not, the surplus would go to the borough fund.

Mr. Charlton

did not think his question had been either distinctly or satisfactorily answered. He wished to know—[cries of "Spoke, spoke," "Order, order."]

The Speaker

The hon. Member has already spoken on the subject.

Mr. Charlton

Sir, you must have misunderstood me; I merely put a question; I did not speak.

The Speaker

It is perfectly true, as the hon. Member has just stated, that he put a question; but it is also true that he followed it up with some observation.

Mr. Charlton

I put a question, and in order to elucidate the matter, I certainly did accompany it with an observation.

The Earl of Lincoln

rose to order. The Attorney-General had been heard, and might be heard again, without any interruption from that (the Opposition) side of the House. Why should not the same courtesy be extended to the hon. Member for Ludlow? The general convenience required, that the strict rule of form should not be so stringently applied in such cases as the present.

Mr. Charlton

had hoped that the object of hon. Gentlemen opposite was to make this Bill as perfect as possible; but he certainly did not think that was the wish of his Majesty's Government. The right hon. Gentleman (the Chancellor of the Exchequer), in his extreme cleverness, thought no one could compete with him, and therefore he attempted, instead of ex- plaining the Bill, to throw dust in their eyes. If the right hon. Gentleman understood the clause, he took very good care to misstate its effect. [Laughter.] No doubt there was a great deal to laugh at. The hon. Member for Cricklade laughed as if he would split his sides.

Mr. Gordon

I did not laugh at you.

Mr. Charlton

You have no right to laugh at me. ["Order," and Chair."]

The Speaker

I hope the hon. Member will see the propriety of not abusing the indulgence of the House beyond what the necessity of the case requires.

Mr. Charlton

Sir, I maintain I have a right to speak. ["Order, order;" Chair, chair."]

The Speaker

The House, I am sure, will agree with me, that the hon. Member, in strictness, has no right to speak more than once. If he is allowed to do so, it is by the courtesy of the House, and under the special circumstances of the case. The hon. Member has already spoken once.

Mr. Charlton

Sir, I say I only asked a question, and you decided I had a right to speak.

The Speaker

Whether I was right or wrong in my decision, the hon. Member himself furnished me with an answer, for he said, having put a question, he proceeded to elucidate it by some observation.

Mr. Arthur Trevor moved the adjournment of the House.

Mr. Charlton

I rise to order. I have just heard the hon. Member for Cheshire observe—"It is really disgraceful." He dare not use that expression elsewhere, I will make him remember it. ["Chair, chair."]

Mr. Goring

The hon. Member for Cheshire did not make use of that expression. I will answer for that. Under all the circumstances of the case, I hope the hon. Member for Ludlow will see the propriety of at once withdrawing from the House.

Mr. Charlton

My duty to my constituents will not allow me to withdraw. If the hon. Member for Cheshire did not make use of the term "disgraceful," I beg leave to recall what I said.

Mr. Arthur Trevor

persisted in his motion for the adjournment of the house.

The Speaker

The hon. Gentleman has used expressions in the heat of debate which he ought not to have used; I am quite sure he will be ready, at once, to withdraw them.

Mr. Charlton

Sir, I have already done so, and in the most handsome manner. I never make any observation, much less a charge against an hon. Member, which, if wrong, I am not ready to retract; but if in the right, not ten or twenty shall intimidate me. The hon. Member then adverted to the Ludlow charity, where, under a charter of Edward 4th, property amounting to between 100l. and 200l. a-year was given to support certain alms-houses, a school, and a clergyman; the income now amounted to 1,500l., and the allowance to the charitable objects named having been considerably increased, there still remained a surplus of 700l., which the corporation, until recently, had applied to improvements in the town under certain doubtful words in the charter; and he wished to know how, in such a case, the ascertained surplus, under this dangerous, because most ambiguous, clause, would hereafter be dealt with? If it were to be appropriated to the three charitable objects specifically named, he should heartily concur in it; but he very much feared that would not be the case, and he should strenuously oppose its being devoted to municipal purposes. He regarded the whole Bill as a direct violation of the Municipal Reform Act, the darling measure of last year, which was then pronounced perfect, the great object being declared to be, to keep charitable property quite distinct from municipal funds; but now Ministers, thinking it likely to forward their party purposes, had purposely mixed and confused them together, and placed the administration of both in the town-councils.

The Attorney-General

said, if under the charter of Edward 6th the whole property was devoted to the almshouses, the school, and the clergyman, they would under this clause continue to receive the benefit of it, and if the corporation of Ludlow had improperly applied any part of it for the improvements of the town, the present town-council would have no such power. But if only specific sums were to be paid to each of those charitable objects, the surplus belonging to the corporation, it would now be applicable to municipal purposes.

The clause was agreed to.

Mr. T. Gladstone moved the introduction of a clause, enacting, that in all trusts specially bequeathed for the use or advancement of the Church of England, no trustees shall be allowed to act or vote in the disposition of the funds thereof, unless they be bona fide members of the Church of England.

Clause read a first time.

On the motion that it be read a second time.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

opposed the Clause, on the ground that it implied distrust of the new Corporations on account of their religious faith. Under the law, since the Repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts, Dissenters being members of corporations might be trustees for these charities, and he saw no reason for now-making an alteration in it. The members of the new Corporations were at least as worthy of trust as the members of the old Corporations.

The House divided:—Ayes 35; Noes 82:—Majority 47.

List of the AYES.
Boldero, H. G. Lowther, hon. Colonel
Bonham, R. F. Neeld, J.
Bramston, T. W. Neeld, J.
Brownrigg, S. Parker, M.
Burrell, Sir C. Perceval, Colonel
Charlton, E. L. Polhill, F.
Corbett, T. G. Praed, W. M.
Eaton, R. J. Pringle, A.
Gladstone, W. E. Read, Sir J. R.
Gordon, Hon. W. Richards R.
Gore, O. Shaw, rt. hn. F.
Hale, R. B. Sibthorp, Colonel
Halford, H. Somerset, Lord G.
Henniker, Lord Stewart, J.
Hoy, J. B. Trevor, hon. A.
Inglis, Sir R. H. Vere, Sir C. B.
Knightley, Sir C. TELLERS.
Lawson, A. Gladstone T.
Lincoln, Earl of Hardy, J.
List of the NOES.
Adam, Sir C. Ewart, W.
Aglionby, H. A. Fitzgibbon, hn. Col.
Astley, Sir J. Folkes, Sir W.
Attwood, T. Grey, Sir G.
Baines, E. Gully, J.
Ball, N. Hall, B.
Bannerman, A. Harland, W. C.
Baring, F. T. Hastie, A.
Beauclerk, Major Hawes, B.
Bernal, R; Hawkins, J. H.
Blake, M. J. Hindley, C.
Blamire, W. Hobhouse, right hon. Sir J.
Bowes, J.
Bowring, Dr. Hume, J.
Brady, D. C. Hutt, W.
Brotherton, J. Kemp, T. R
Buckingham, J. S. Labouchere, hon. H.
Bulwer, E. L. Leader, J. T.
Campbell, Sir J. Lefevre, C. S.
Chalmers, P. Lemon, Sir C.
Codrington, Admiral Lennox, Lord G.
Lennox, Lord A. Russell, Lord J.
Lushington, Dr. Seale, Colonel,
Lushington, C. Smith, J. A.
Lynch, A. H. Smith, B.
M'Namara, Major Stanley, E.J.
Maule, hon. F. Steuart, R.
Murray, rt. hn. J. A. Strutt, E.
O'Connell, J. Talbot, C. R. M.
O'Connell, M. J. Thompson, Colonel
O'Connell, M. Thornley, T.
O'Ferrall, R. M. Townley, R. G.
O'Loghlen, M. Tulk, C. A.
Palmerston, Visc. Villiers, C. P.
Parker, J. Wakley, T.
Parrott J. Wallace, R.
Pelham, hon. C. A. Warburton, H.
Potter, R. Ward, H. G.
Price, Sir R. Wilbraham, G.
Pryme, G. Williams, W.
Rice, rt. hon. T. S. TELLERS.
Robinson, G. R. Gordon, R:
Rolfe, Sir R. M. Smith, V.

Clause rejected.

The Solicitor-General moved, in the absence of the hon. Member for Lambeth, (M. T. D'Eyncourt) a clause bringing the Grammar School at Louth under the operation of the Bill.

The clause having been brought up was read a first time, and the question being put that it be read a second time,

Mr. Leader

said, he should support the clause. He was aware it was argued that the school having been anterior to the Corporation, it was not proper that it should be placed under the supervision of the Corporation. But, in his opinion, that made no difference whatever in the question:—and that, if the House thought fit, it had just as much right to place the school under the charitable trustees, to be appointed under this Bill, as if the Corporation had the priority of existence. He believe, it would be advantageous so to do, and therefore he should, as he had said, vote with the Solicitor-General.

An Hon. Member said, that all those hon. Gentlemen, who were of opinion that the will of the testator should be considered as well with regard to the administration of his trust, as to the disposition of the trust, should vote against this clause. For who would affirm that Edward 6th, when he granted his Royal Charter to this school, constituting a warden and six assistants a permanent Corporation for its management, contemplated the possibility of that Corporation ever becoming a popular body,—a popularly elected body? On this ground alone he, for one, should feel bound to oppose this clause. He did so with some regret, because he believed the school might possibly be rendered of more general utility by the introduction of a more general system of education. But it appeared to him, that, by the Charter, the school was distinctly "a Grammar School," and a grammar school, under the exclusive management of a warden and six assistants; and the interpretation of the term "Grammar School" did not vest in this or that body of trustees but in the Lord Chancellor. Therefore he did not feel justified in so far violating the provisions of the trust as to transfer the management of this school from the body to whom it was intrusted by the Royal Charter of Edward 6th to the popularly elected trustees appointed under this Bill, even though by so doing the school might be rendered of more general utility.

Mr. V. Smith

The question was not so much as to the state of the school, though in the Report of the Municipal Corporation Commissioners, great complaints were stated to have been made by the inhabitants of Louth upon that subject. The question was, is it proper that the management of this School should be transferred to the charitable trustees to be appointed under this Bill. Now, he (Mr. V. Smith) believed the great majority of the inhabitants of Louth to be desirous of that transfer. A petition had been sent up to that House, signed by a large proportion of them in favour of it. No arguments had been urged against this clause, which, in his opinion, were of any weight, and indeed he might state, that in the other House the clause exempting this school from the operation of the Corporation Bill was moved by Lord Rosslyn, without any reasons being given for it, and agreed to without any discussion as to its propriety. Under these circumstances he hoped the House would support his hon. and Learned Friend.

Mr. Goulburn

quite agreed that the state of the school had nothing to do with this question, which was, whether an enactment having been introduced into the Corporation Act last Session, exempting this school from the operation of that Act, any valid reason had been given why that enactment should be repealed by a clause in this Charitable Trusts Bill? The facts of the case were these:—a petition was presented last Session to the other House of Parliament (during the progress of the Municipal Corporation Bill) on behalf of this school of Louth, representing that the School Corporation was created by Royal Charter, in the reign of Edward 6th; whereas the Municipal Corporation had no existence till the reign of James 1st; and praying that the school might be exempted from the operation of that Bill. Now he (Mr. Goulbum) never understood it to be the object of this Charitable Trusts Bill to interfere with cases not properly connected with a Corporation. In this instance, it was evident that the school having been long anterior to the Municipal Corporation, they stood on totally distinct grounds; and he could not think it proper, with no further discussion, merely upon the suggestion of an individual Member, to repeal an enactment in the Municipal Corporation Act—an enactment, be it remembered, which was not objected to when that Bill came down from the other House.

Lord John Russell

With reference to the last observation of the right hon. Gentleman, that when the Corporation Bill came down from the Lords, no objection was made to the introduction of the clause exempting Louth school from the operation of the Bill, I am certainly responsible for that. A deputation from Louth waited upon me, to whom I stated, that in my opinion it was not wise to insist upon that particular point at that time, as it was highly important that the Bill should pass that Session, and I believe that was the sole reason why this point was not then pressed. The right hon. Gentleman has stated the facts of this case as they are given in the Report; and it appears that the Charter of Edward 6th established a Corporation, consisting of a warden and six assistants; the original intention being that this body should have the management of the school at Louth; but in the reign of James 1st, the Corporation was enlarged, and invested with all the rights annexed to a Municipal Corporation. Now, really I cannot see that it makes any difference in this question, whether we have first a Municipal Corporation, to whom is afterwards intrusted the management of the school; or first, a Corporation for the management of the school, enlarged subsequently into a Municipal Corporation. We are to look at them as they exist in the reign of William 4th; we find them both now forming one body—we find the warden and six assistants, along with the management of the school, exercising the functions of a Municipal Corporation; and that being the case, it seems to me that it was an error in the Bill of last year, to except this school from its operation, and that this is a fit opportunity for repealing that enactment.

The House then divided:—Ayes 65; Noes 33.—Majority 32.

Clause read a second time, and added to the Bill.

Mr. Lechmere Charlton moved, that the Report be brought up that day six months.

The House divided:—Ayes 7; Noes 82:—Majority 75.

List of the AYES.
Hale, R. Sibthorp, Col.
Halford, H. Vere, Sir C. B.
Henniker, Lord
Knightley, Sir C. TELLERS.
Lowther, hon. Col. Charlton, E. L.
Perceval, Col. Praed, W. M.
List of the NOES.
Adam, Sir C. Murray, hon. J. A.
Aglionby, H. A. O'Connell, J.
Astley, Sir J. O'Connell, M. J.
Baines, E. O'Connell, M.
Baldwin, Dr. O'Ferrall, R. M.
Baring, F. T. O'Loghlen, M.
Baring, T. Palmerston, Viscount
Beauclerk, Major Parker, J.
Bernal, R. Parrott, J.
Blake, M. J. Pelham, hon. C. A.
Blamire, W. Potter, R.
Boldero, H. G. Price, Sir R.
Bowring, Dr. Pringle, A.
Brady, D. C. Pryme, G.
Brotherton, J. Price, rt. hon. T. S.
Buckingham, J. S. Robinson, G. R.
Bulwer, H. L. Rolfe, Sir R. M.
Campbell, Sir J. Russell, Lord J.
Chalmers, P. Ruthven, E.
Ewart, W. Smith, R. V.
Fitzgibbon, hon. Col. Smith, B.
Gordon, R. Stanley, E. J.
Harland, W. C. Strutt, E.
Hastie, A. Thompson, Colonel
Hawes, B. Thornley, T.
Hawkins, J. H. Townley, R. G.
Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J. Trevor, hon. A.
Howard, R. Tulk, C. A.
Howard, P. H. Vere, Sir B.
Hoy, J. B. Villiers, C. P.
Hume, J. Wakley, T.
Hutt, W. Wallace, R.
Labouchere, rt. hon. H. Warburton, H.
Leader, J. T. Wilbraham, G.
Lennox, Lord G. Williams, W.
Lennox, Lord A. TELLERS.
Lushington, C. Steuart, R.
M'Namara, Major Grey, Sir G.

Mr. A. Trevor moved the insertion of the word "freemen" after "burgesses," in line 2 of clause 3, in order to give freemen the right to vote for the nomination of charitable trustees.

The House divided:—Ayes 21; Noes55:—Majority 34.

List of the AYES.
Alsager, Captain Lincoln, Earl of
Baring, T. Lowther, hon. Col.
Bramston, T. W. Perceval, Col.
Brownrigg, S. Praed, W. M.
Chisholm, H. W. Pringle, A.
Clerk, Sir G. Shaw, rt. hon. F.
Eaton, R. J. Sibthorp, Col.
Gladstone, T. Wakley, T.
Hale, R. B. Williams, W.
Halford, H. TELLERS.
Hoy, J. B. Trevor, A.
Knightley, Sir C. Charlt
List of the NOES.
Aglionby, H. A. O'Connell, J.
Baldwin, Dr. O'Connell M. J.
Baring, F. T. O'Connell, M.
Beauclerk, Major O'Loghlen, M.
Bernal, R. Palmerston, Lord Visc.
Blake, M. J. Parker, J.
Blamire, W. Parrott, J.
Brady, D. C. Pelham, hon. C. A.
Brotherton, J. Potte, R
Chalmers, P. Price, Sir R.
Ewart, W. Pryme, G.
Fitz Gibbon, hon. Col. Rice, rt. hon. T. S.
Gordon, R. Rolfe, Sir B. M.
Grey, Sir G. Russell, Lord J.
Harland, W. C. Ruthven, E.
Hastie, A. Smith, R. V,
Hawes, B. Stanley, E. J.
Hawsins, J. H. Strutt, E.
Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J. Thompson, Col.
Howard, R. Thornley, T.
Howard, P. H. Townley, R. G.
Hume, J. Tulk, C. A.
Hutt, W. Villiers, C. P.
Labouchere, rt. hon. H. Wallace, R.
Leader, J. T. Warburton, H.
Lennox, Lord. G. Wilbraham, G.
Lennox, Lord A. TELLERS.
M'Namara, Major Bowring, Dr.
Murray, rt. hon. J. A. Steuart, R.

Report agreed to. Bill to be read a third time.