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STATUTE OF MORTMAIN.
It is well known that, by the Statute of 9° Geo. II. c. 36, no lands or tenements, or money to be laid out thereon, shall be given for, or charged with, any charitable uses whatsoever, unless by Deed indented, executed in the presence of two witnesses twelve calendar months before the death of the Donor, and enrolled in the Court of Chancery within six months after it's execution (except Stocks in the Public Funds, which may be transferred within six months previous to the Donor's death), and unless such gift be made to take effect immediately, and be without power of revocation,—and that all other gifts shall be void.
This Statute it appears, was enacted, on the apprehension grounded upon experience, that persons on their death-beds might make large and improvident dispositions even for these good purposes, and defeat the political ends of the Legislature. And it will be seen by the Reports, how largely the benevolent intentions of well disposed persons have been frustrated by it's operation. They are Eighty in number.
There are, however, several bequests which, although void under the provisions of the Statute of Mortmain, have nevertheless been continued, or established by the Relatives of the deceased, and in some cases, have even been augmented by the Piety of their surviving friends.3 These monuments of conscientious affection are all faithfully recorded under the respective names of the Donors.
Rep. VII. p. 264.-Rep. XI. p. 19.
STILL IN EXISTENCE.
HOSPITAL OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST,
IN RIPON. AMONG the ancient Establishments, which are still in existence, may be mentioned The Hospital of St. John the Baptist, in Ripon,—to which THOMAS the Second, who was Archbishop of York, in the
year 1109, gave certain lands for it's support.
HOSPITAL OF ST. MARY MAGDALEN,
IN EXETER. The Hospital, dedicated to St. Mary Magdalen, in the City of Exeter, and appropriated for the reception of Leprous persons, existed at a very early period.
Rep. vii. p. 768.
BARTHOLOMEW, who was Bishop of Exeter from the year 1161 to the year 1184, was a Benefactor to it,--and his charter was confirmed by Pope CELESTINE the Third, in the second year of his Pontificate, 1192.
The application of the revenues of the Hospital to the support of the description of persons now inhabiting it, is as near as circumstances will permit to the original object of the Charity,—as, happily, the dreadful disease of Leprosy no longer exists in England.”
The Leprosy, which is a disorder of the most malignant and disgusting nature, was once common in Europe. Those infected with it, were called “ Lazars” who were separated from all human society (the disease being highly contagious) and were confined in Hospitals, called “ Lazarettos,” of which it is said there were no less than Nine Thousand at one time in Europe. For the last two hundred years this distemper has almost entirely vanished from this and other Countries of Europe, and an instance of it now is but seldom to be met with. In the East it still exists to a certain degree ;--and there, in former ages, it had it's source and origin, and raged for a great length of time with extraordinary violence.
2 Rep. viii. pp. 54, 60.
The separation of Leprous persons from their fellow creatures, has been an established rule from the earliest antiquity. Among the Israelites, during their pilgrimage through the Wilderness, it was a solemn command, as mentioned in Leviticus, cap. xiii. ver. 45, 46.
" And the Leper in whom the Plague
is, his clothes shall be rent, and his “ head bare, and he shall put a covering “upon his upper lip, and shall cry, Un“ clean! Unclean!!”
“ All the days wherein the plague shall “ be in him, he shall be defiled,—he is “ unclean,-he shall dwell alone,-with“ out the camp shall his habitation be."
3 Bishop Porteus's Lectures, vol. i. p. 226. Edit.