§ Lord Portman
moved the Order of the Day for the House going into Committee on the Charitable Estates Administration Bill.
objected to the motion, as the bill was only a part of a great measure relating to charities generally, which had been introduced by him at an early period of the Session.
§ Lord Portman
was willing to put off his motion, and to withdraw the bill, if their Lordships thought proper, till next Session; but, before doing so, he wished to have their Lordships' opinion on the subject. He could assure the noble and learned Lord, that he was doing a great wrong to the little charities of the country. The noble and learned Lord had brought in a bill on this subject, but no person had seen it, for the proof print of the bill was still in the hands of the noble and learned Lord, who had not yet returned it to the proper officer; and it was not fair, he contended, to lock up the administration of charitable estates in the hands of one noble and learned Lord, more particularly if that noble and learned Lord was unwilling to proceed with his measure. This was a case of a most particular nature, and in regard to which, some measure was absolutely necessary. There was a mass of small charities throughout the country, which could get no person to administer them; and why? Because, when the Municipal Corporations Bill was under consideration, the noble and learned Lord had contended for alterations being made in that bill, so as to admit of a general bill on the subject of charities being introduced, and the noble and learned Lord said, that that bill ought to be carried through the House along with the Corporations Bill. The Municipal Bill provided for the administration of those charities; but by the alterations which were made, the subject was left untouched, and no bill had been passed for administering the affairs of charities up to the present time. The object of the bill under consideration was, to provide for the proper administration of the affairs of small charities, and the noble and learned Lord objected to the bill because it was introduced by a layman; but he had followed the example of the noble and learned Lord, and had adopted the provisions of the noble and learned Lord's bill. He felt, that it was hazardous for him to undertake a measure of this description, but as the noble and learned Lord had not thought proper to proceed with his bill on the subject, he had felt it to be his duty to bring forward the present measure, which he would leave entirely in the hands of their Lordships.
was not, till that moment, aware that his bill had not been printed and distributed; but the bill was, 82 in fact, the very same bill which had last year been before their Lordships. He could assure the noble Baron, that he felt no jealousy whatever as to his interference with this particular subject, and he should have been delighted if any person possessed of adequate power and discretion, had taken up the question. He did not consider, however, that taking a bit out of a most important measure, in order to meet a particular case, was the proper way of proceeding on a subject of so much consequence as the administration of the different charities throughout the country. The bill which he had introduced, was framed on the report of the learned commissioners who had investigated the subject. It had been approved by them, and in fact almost the whole of its enactments, were prepared by them; and the only chance he had of carrying that measure, was by retaining in it the urgent part to which the bill of the noble Baron was directed. The present bill was very different from the first bill brought forward by the noble Baron, which went to make the guardians of the poor the trustees of those charities, and which contained a provision which empowered any two of those trustees to grant a receipt for any debts clue to those charities. That bill containing such monstrous provisions the noble Lord had withdrawn; and this was the second bill which had been introduced, so that it was clear the matter had not undergone that full and mature consideration which the importance of the subject demanded. It was his intention to proceed with the bill which he had introduced, and his noble and learned Friend, who was not then in his place (Lord Denman, we understood), agreed with him, that it was not advisable to pass a partial measure on the subject. As to passing the bill at that advanced period of the Session, they might as soon expect to get a piece of the moon. If the noble Lord persisted in his motion, he reserved for himself the power of giving the bill all the resistance possible during its future stages.
§ The Lord Chancellor
said, that the object of the bill before the House was to remedy a very great evil which existed in regard to those charities. By the Municipal Bill, all the charities of the country were deprived of their trustees, and the consequence was, that they had to apply, as a temporary expedient, to the Court of Chancery for the appointment of new 83 trustees. Now, there were in the country, many charities which could not afford the expense of an application to the Court of Chancery, and the poor were in consequence deprived of that advantage which those charities were calculated to yield. This evil was very general; and it was absolutely necessary that some arrangement should be made to renew the trustees without the necessity of applying to the Court of Chancery. The only question was, whether it was advisable to apply the remedy proposed by the noble Baron; and if the bill of the noble Lord was likely to prevent the passing of a general measure on the subject, he would suggest to the noble Lord the propriety of withdrawing it, at least for the present.
§ Lord Portman
said, that his great anxiety had been, not so much to pass the bill as to get the noble and learned Lord to declare, whether he intended to proceed with the general measure which had been introduced by the noble and learned Lord; and as he understood the noble and learned Lord to express his intention of proceeding with that measure, his object was accomplished, and he should bow to the suggestion of the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack, and withdraw the bill which he had introduced.
said, that if he had the assistance of the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack, and of his noble and learned Friend who had left the House, he had no doubt of being able to carry his measure; and he was most anxious to proceed with as little delay as possible. He wished it, however, distinctly to be understood, that he was not to go on because of the proceeding of the noble Baron in reference to this subject, as it had always been his intention to proceed with the measure he had brought forward, and to proceed with it with as little delay as possible.
§ Lord Portman withdrew his motion.