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In treating of the important duties of Trustees, The Commissioners have thought it incumbent upon them to observe, that the Irregularity which frequently occurs in filling up the places of deceased Trustees, is productive of great inconvenience, —the management of Charitable Funds being in many instances, by this omission, thrown into the hands of persons who are invested with no legal authority. In the case of the small Charities, the formal appointment of new Trustees, by regular instruments, is often prevented by the want of funds to defray the expense. It seems, therefore, highly desirable that some easier and less expensive mode should be devised of perpetuating such Trusts. 1
1 Introduct. Report, vol. iii. p. iv.
IGNORANCE OF THE EXISTENCE OF
SOME irregularity has occurred in the disposition of a few of the bequests, which may fairly be attributed to the ignorance that prevailed, as to the existence of such Charities,—or the parties not being aware of the precise nature of the endowments, until the investigation of The Commissioners was instituted.1
Judging, however, of the prodigious number, and the variety of the Charities, it is rather a matter of astonishment that so few deviations have been committed, than that misapplication should have prevailed. And in many places where The Commissioners have suggested to the Parish Officers, that the property bequeathed has not been applied in the manner and
1 Rep. II. pp. 34, 53.-Rep. III. pp. 66, 86, 189, 246, 254, 255.-Rep. V. p. 84.
according to the intention of the testators, they have had the great satisfaction to state, that very shortly after their inquiries took place, Vestries were called for the express purpose of taking their suggestions into consideration, when the Parishioners unanimously entered into several Resolutions, by which, they hope, a correct distribution of those Charities will be secured for the future.”
· Rep. iv. p. 112.-Rep. v. p. 154.-Rep. YIII. p. 84. -Rep. xl. p. 483.-Rep. XIV. p. 476.
COURT OF EQUITY.
In the year 1819, when it was thought expedient that the provisions of the Act, under which The Commissioners were first appointed, should be extended to other Charities and Trusts created for Charitable uses or purposes,- it was at the same time deemed expedient by the Legislature, that additional facilities should be afforded for applications to the Courts of Equity regarding the management of Estates or Funds appropriated to Charitable
purposes. And an Act of the 59° Geo. III. c. 91., received the Royal Assent on the 12th of July, 1819,-by which it is ordained, that if any Case shall arise in which it shall appear to The Commissioners, that the directions of a Court of Equity are requisite, they may certify the particulars thereof to His Majesty's Attorney General, who, if he shall so think fit, may apply to or commence a Suit in. The High Court of Chancery, or The Court of Exchequer, praying such relief as the nature of the Case may require.
In pursuance of this authority ONE HUNDRED Cases have been submitted to the consideration of His Majesty's Attorney General.
It is, however, proper to remark, that all these Cases do not absolutely certify abuse or misconduct, --- but occasionally require only the directions of The Court, in what manner The Trustees shall in future deal with the Charitable Funds under their care.