§ The DUKE of CAMBRIDGE
presented a petition against the Bill from the Trustees of the Foundling Hospital.
§ The DUKE of WELLINGTON
presented a similar petition from the Trustees of the Lying-in-Hospital in Brownlow Street.
My Lords, I have a similar petition to present from the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers; and also four petitions, with a like prayer, from different Trustees of Charities in Coventry, administered both by members of the Church and Dissenters. I do trust, my Lords, that my noble and learned Friend (Lord Brougham), whose opinion has so much weight with the Lord Chancellor, will exert his powerful influence to induce the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack to relieve the country from the anxiety which this Bill occasions. There have been a vast number, I may say an absolute showever, of petitions presented to your Lordships against this Bill; but although my noble and learned Friends have exerted all their great influence with the country to induce petitions in its favour, I can only hear of one which either has been, or is likely to be, presented; and that one is signed by a solitary individual. I do not believe that that solitary petition will weigh for one moment with your Lordships against the general expression of public opinion, and therefore I trust the Bill will be withdrawn, and the country thereby be relieved from its anxiety.
The LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, I do not believe that the withdrawal of this Bill would be a relief to the public mind in any way whatever, though it might, indeed, be a relief to the minds of some of these petitioners, who, as I shall soon have an opportunity of showing you, have been proceeded against, in consequence of the reports of the Commissioners of Charities for the recoveries of moneys which have been entrusted to them for charitable purposes, but which they have applied to their own private and particular purposes.
§ LORD COTTENHAM
then presented petitions from the Trustees of a Charity in Coventry, and from the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, both deprecating the passing of this measure into law.
My Lords, I also have a petition to present on the subject of this Bill. It is from a private but a very respectable individual, who prays your Lordships that the Bill may pass into a law. He says, my Lords, that it is not only his opinion, but the opinion of many others, that the funds consecrated by the pious munificence of individuals to charitable purposes, are too often perverted to purposes of jobbing and of corruption, to guzzling and to gluttony, which my noble and learned Friends near me (Lords Campbell and Cottenham) appear to patronize—not in their own persons, of course. Oh no! not in their own persons, but in endeavouring, as they are endeavouring, to excuse these persons, and to exempt them from the operation of an efficient remedy and consequent punishment for their abuse of the property committed to them. [A cry of "Name."] Oh! I do not wish to conceal the name; the petition proceeds from Mr. Henry Walker, a chemist, I believe, in St. John Street, Clerkenwell; and when my noble Friend talks of this being the only petition in favour of the Bill, and of its proceeding from a private individual, I beg to remind him that the question is not as to the number of persons who may sign a petition, but whether they are right or wrong. Now, Mr. Walker happens to petition for what is right, whilst those who confide their petitions to my noble Friends petition for what is wrong; and therefore, of the two, I think Mr. Walker's petition, though it is only the petition of an individual, is entitled to the greater weight. But I will say nothing further on the subject at present, excepting only this, that I 1252 trust the measure will be brought forward as soon as possible, that we may be able to give it due consideration, and pass it into a law during the present Session.