« AnteriorContinuar »
Inquiries of The Commissioners to Charities for purposes of Education, with an un-' derstanding that additional powers would be given next Session to extend the Inquiry to all other Charities. There would be ample employment for The Commissioners for a considerable time in the Metropolis, and twenty or thirty miles in it's neighbourhood, and this would give time for finding out the sort of persons who could most efficaciously execute the provisions of the Act. When, therefore, it would be necessary to appoint additional Commissioners next Session, it would be more proper persons for that
would be gained by the delay,—it would serve as a warning to those great Bodies by whom Charitable Funds were at present abused. From what had happened already, he was confident this time would not be lost. 8
The Bill was then read a second time.
On the 8th of May, 1818, the order of the day for going into a Committee on 8 The Parliamentary Debates, vol. xxxvii. p. 1297.
easy to find pose. Another
this Bill, being read,—Mr. BROUGHAM rose to perform the duty cast upon him by The Education Committee, of describing to The House the progress of it's inquiries, -and after adverting to the apparently slow
progress they had made in the investigation, he confessed, that to him this delay appeared salutary. It had afforded ample time, for the serious and repeated consideration which the vast importance of the subject prescribed to those, who would legislate upon it,--and an opportunity had likewise been given, of obtaining the most valuable information from various sources.
He regarded the subject in two distinct points of view,- first, attending to the situation of the people in Cities, and Towns of considerable size,-and, secondly, to the circumstances of the people in small towns or villages, and in districts wholly agricultural, where hardly even a village exists.
Being aware how dry and uninteresting this subject was to many persons present, and there being considerable noise in some parts of The House,,he exclaimed in that animated apostrophe,—" It has nothing of a political, or party, or personal nature. It involves no inquiry into the conduct of the Royal Family. It regards no violation of the Privileges of The House. It is alike unconnected with the
preservation and the pursuit of Place, and can afford gratification to no malignant or interested feeling. It has but a sorry chance, then, of fixing the attention of such as love to devote their minds to those higher matters. But I stand here to do as Chairman of your Committee, and if the task which interests me should
prove dull to others, I only beg to assure them, that I neither desire their attention nor their presence,--and if, perchance, they have any more pressing avocation elsewhere at this particular moment, I should feel obliged, by their pursuing it, and leaving us, without disturbance, to the dull, plodding, ignoble work, of vindicating the cause of the Poor,-of sup
my duty by the
porting those, who can have no other advocates,—of urging the necessity of Universal Education, and imploring Parliament to impart that Blessing which can alone preserve the Virtue of a populous, commercial, and luxurious Empire, and prevent it's stability from being shaken
progress of it's Refinement." In describing the qualifications of The Commissioners, he observes,—“ I trust that the time is now come, when Parliament will adopt the only measure which can secure a real, effectual investigation of all Charitable abuses. For this purpose it is absolutely necessary, that able and active men of business, chiefly Lawyers, should be engaged to devote their whole time to the inquiry. They must be persons not only of incorruptible integrity, but of a stern disposition, and inaccessible to the cajolery which oftentimes shuts the eyes of those, whom grosser arts would assail in vain. They must be easy of approach to all accusers,-never closing their ears to suggestion or information,
because it may proceed from spiteful or malicious motives, or may denounce abuses too enormous to be credible, or accuse parties too exalted to be suspected,-not even rejecting the aid of informers who may
withhold their name, as well aware that their office is to investigate and not to judge, and that anonymous, or interested, or malignant sources may supply the clue to guide inquiry,—in a word, their propensity must be to suspect abuses, and lean towards tracing them,—their principle must be, that no man who complains of an evil is to be disregarded, be his apparent motives what they may."
In justice to individuals whose characters might seem to be aspersed, Mr. BROUGHAM could not conclude without observing, that many abuses exist without blame being imputable to any one. Neglects may be handed down as it were from father to son, until the right course of administration is forgotten. A person máy hold funds as his own, which some remote ancestor diverted from their