§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
, in moving the second reading of this Bill, said, that formerly the funds of small charities were greatly wasted in litigation, and as a check Charity Commissioners were appointed—learned, assiduous, and able men, the Chief Commissioner, Mr. Erle, being almost as great a lawyer as his brother, the Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas. Still it was found that there were many matters of great importance which properly fell within the province of the Commissioners, in which they were at present unable to act; and many more of a merely formal character, which nevertheless necessitated an application to the Court of Chancery, at an average expense of £50 for each application. By this Bill it was therefore proposed to give to the Charity Commissioners power, under certain restrictions and conditions, to make such effectual orders as might at present be made by a Judge at Chambers, or by the 1189 County Courts or district Courts of Bankruptcy for the appointment or removal of any trustees of an endowed charity, or the removal of any schoolmaster or mistress or other officer, or for dealing with the property of the charity. Their power was to extend over any endowed charity the income of which did not exceed £50 a year; but not to charities whose income exceeded that amount without the consent of the majority of the trustees. Much litigation had arisen in compelling discharged schoolmasters to deliver up the schools and buildings; and a clause therefore enabled the magistrates, in the case of the proper removal of any schoolmaster or mistress, or any officer, or any recipient of a charity, to give possession of any buildings or other property held over. A clause also facilitated the removal of schoolmasters by the trustees, with the approbation of the Commissioners, and of the visitors, if there were any. He believed the Bill deserved the approbation of their Lordships, and he hoped they would assent to the second reading.
§ Moved That the Bill be read 2a.
entirely concurred in the panegyric which the noble and learned Lord on the woolsack had pronounced on the Charity Commissioners, and felt sure that the Bill would receive the unanimous assent of their Lordships.
§ LORD CRANWORTH
congratulated his noble and learned Friend on the introduction of so excellent and useful a measure. The fact that the annual amount transferred to the Charity Commission had risen from £1,000 the first year to £129,000 in 1859, and that no less than £600,000 now stood in the name of that body, proved the confidence which the public reposed in it.
§ LORD CHELMSFORD
concurred with the object of the Bill, that of saving the expense which was now uselessly imposed upon small charities by their being compelled to go to the Court of Chancery. The Bill, however, gave additional powers to the Charity Commissioners, and he should like to know whether the Charity Commissioners were to have any powers beyond those now possessed by the Court of Chancery.
§ LORD CHELMSFORD
Then there could be no objection to what was proposed; for it would be simply saving the expense of going to the Court of Chancery; but he had thought it right to watch carefully to see that no powers should be con- 1190 ferred on the Commissioners which was not now possessed by the Court of Chancery.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ Bill read 2a accordingly, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Tuesday next.
THE MARQUESS OF CLANRICARDE: moved—
Select Committee be appointed to inquire how far it may be practicable to afford better Shelter for Shipping upon our Coasts than is at present afforded by the Adoption of some Plan for the Construction of Breakwaters and Harbours less costly and better adapted for certain Localities than the System of solid Masonry hitherto in use; and whether any such Plan appears likely to be also serviceable for the Improvement of our National Defence.
§ The Lords following were named of the Committee:—
|D. Somerset.||L. Colchester.|
|E. Shrewsbury.||L. Ravensworth.|
|E. Caithness.||L. Somerhill. (M. Clanricarde).|
|E. Stradbroke.||L. Wynford.|
|L. Colville of Culross.||L. Stanley of Alderley.|
|L. Mont-Eagle (M. Sligo).||L. Aveland.|
§ House adjourned at Seven o'clock, to Monday next, Eleven o'clock.