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CORPORATION AND CHURCH PROPERTY 1833 - John Stuart Mill, The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume IV - Essays on Economics and Society Part I 
The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume IV - Essays on Economics and Society Part I, ed. John M. Robson, Introduction by Lord Robbins (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1967).
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CORPORATION AND CHURCH PROPERTY
D&D, I (2nd ed.), 1-41, where it is headed: “The Right and Wrong of State Interference with Corporation and Church Property.” Reprinted from “Art. 1.—Corporation and Church Property,” The Jurist, or Quarterly Journal of Jurisprudence and Legislation, IV (Feb., 1833), 1-26 (unsigned). Issued also as an anonymous pamphlet: Corporation and Church Property Resumable by the State. London: Sweet, Stevens, and Maxwell, 1833. Identified in JSM’s bibliography as “An article on Corporation and Church Property in the 10th number of the Jurist (in February 1833) printed also as a separate tract and entitled ‘Corporation and Church Property resumable by the State’ ” (MacMinn, 25). In his Autobiography (128), discussing this article, JSM comments that in “the whole mass” of his writings prior to this and “The Currency Juggle” he considers nothing to be “of sufficient permanent value to justify reprinting.” He then remarks: “The paper in the Jurist, which I still think a very complete discussion of the rights of the State over Foundations, showed both sides of my opinions, asserting as firmly as I should have done at any time, the doctrine that all endowments are national property, which the government may and ought to control; but not, as I should once have done, condemning endowments in themselves, and proposing that they should be taken to pay off the national debt. On the contrary, I urged strenuously the importance of having a provision for education, not dependent on the mere demand of the market, that is, on the knowledge and discernment of average parents, but calculated to establish and keep up a higher standard of instruction than is likely to be spontaneously demanded by the buyers of the article. All these opinions have been confirmed and strengthened by the whole course of my subsequent reflections.”
The following text is collated with that in D&D (1st ed.), that in The Jurist, and that in the pamphlet reprint. In the footnoted variants, D&D (2nd ed.) is indicated by “67”; D&D (1st ed.) by “59”; The Jurist by “33” (there are no substantive variants between the pamphlet and The Jurist, except the correction indicated at 196s-s). In the Somerville College copy of the pamphlet reprint, there is one inked variant (see 204c-c); there are no corrections or variants in the Somerville D&D. In The Jurist and the pamphlet the article is divided into nine sections, indicated by arabic numerals (which are here omitted) at the beginnings of the paragraphs at 197.1, 198.4, 201.12, 203.21, 205.12, 209.4, 210.18, 218.9, and 221.29.
Corporation and Church Property
ait is intendeda , in the present bpaperb , to enter somewhat minutely into the subject of Foundations and Endowments, and the rights and duties of the Legislature in respect to them: with the design, first, of showing that there is no moral hindrance or bar to the interference of the Legislature with endowments, though it should even extend to a total change in their purposes; and next, of inquiring, in what spirit, and with what reservations, it is incumbent on a virtuous Legislature to exercise this power. As questions of political ethics, and the philosophy of legislation in the abstract, these inquiries are not unworthy of the consideration of thinking mindsc . But to this country, and at this particular time, they are practical questions; not solely in that more elevated and philosophical sense, in which all questions of right and wrong are emphatically practical questions; but as being the peculiar dtopicsd of the present houre . For no one f can help seeing that one of the g most pressing of the duties which Parliamentary Reform has devolved upon our public men, is that hof deciding what honestlyhmay, and, supposing this determined, what should, be done with the property of the Church, and of the various Public Corporations.
It is a twofold problem; a question of expediency, and a question of morality: the former complex, and depending upon temporary circumstances; the latter simple, and unchangeable. We are to examine, not merely in what way a certain portion of property may be most usefully employed; that is a subsequent consideration: but, whether iit can be touchedi at all without jspoliationj ; whether the diversion of the estates of foundations from the present hands, and from the present purposes, would be disposing of what is justly our own, or krobbingk somebody else of what is his; violating property, endangering all rights, and infringing the first principles of the social union. For the enemies of the interference of the Legislature assert no less. And, if this were so, it would already be an act of immorality even to ldiscussl the other question. It is mnot am fit occupation for an honest man, to cast up the probable profits of an act of plunder. If a resumption of endowments belongs to a class of acts which, by universal agreement, ought to be abstained from, whatever may be their consequences; there is no more to be said. nWhether it does so or not, is the question now to be considered.n
If the inquiry o were embarrassed with no other difficulties than are inherent in its own nature, it would notp, we think,p detain us long. Unfortunately it is inextricably entangled with the hopes and fears, the attachments and antipathies, qof temporary politicsq . All men are either friendly or hostile to the Church of England; all men wish either well or ill to our universities, and rtor our municipal corporations. But we know not why the being biassed by such predilections or aversions, should be more pardonable in a moralist or a legislator, than it would be in a judge. If the dispute were, whether the Duke of Wellington should be called upon to account for s100,000l.s , it would be tat perversion of justice to moot the question of the Duke of Wellington’s public services, and to decide the cause according as the judge approves, or not, of the war with Bonaparte, or Catholic emancipation. The true question would be, whether the money in the Duke’s possession uwas his or notu . We have our opinion, like other people, on the merits or demerits of the clergy, and other holders of endowments. We shall endeavour to forget that we have any. General principles of justice are not to be shaped to suit the form and dimensions of some particular case in which the judge happens to take an interest.v
By a foundation or endowment, is to be understood, money or money’s worth (most commonly land) assigned, in perpetuity or for some long period, for a public purpose: meaning by public, a purpose which, whatever it may wbe, is notw the personal use and enjoyment of an assignable individual or x individuals.
The foundations which exist or have existed, in this or other countries, are exceedingly multifarious. There are schools, and hospitals, supported by assignments of land or money; there are also almshouses, and other charitable institutions of a nature more or less analogous. The estates of monasteries belong to the class of endowments: so do those of our universities; and the lands and tithes of all established churches. The estates of the Corporation of London, of the Fishmongers’ and Mercers’ Companies, &c., are also public foundations, and differ from the foregoing only in being local, not national. All these masses of property originally belonged to some individual or individuals, or to the State; and were, either by the rightful owner, or by some wrongful possessor, appropriated to the several purposes to which they now, really or in name, continue to be applied.
It ymayy seem most natural to begin by zconsideringz whether the existence of endowments is desirable at all; if this be settled in the affirmative, to inquire on what conditions they should be aalloweda to be constituted; and, lastly, how the Legislature ought to deal with them after they are formed. But the problem, what is to be done with existing endowments, is paramount in present importance to the question of prospective legislation. bIt is preferableb , therefore, even at the expense of an inversion of the logical order of our propositions, to consider, first, whether it is allowable for the State to change the appropriation of endowments, and, afterwards, what is the limit at which its interference should stop.
If endowments are permitted, it is implied as a necessary condition, that the State, for a time at least, shall not intermeddle with them. The property assigned must temporarily be sacred to the purposes to which it was destined by its owners. The founders of the cLondon Universityc would dnot have subscribed their moneyd , nor would Mr. Drummond have established the Oxford Professorship of Political Economy, if they had thought that they were merely raising a sum of money to be placed at the disposal of Parliament, or of the Ministry for the time being. Subject to the restrictions which we shall hereafter suggest, the control of the founder, over the disposition of the property, should, in point of degree, be absolute. But to what extent should it reach in point of time? For how long should this unlimited power of the founder continue?
To this question the answer is ein principle so obvious, that it is not easy to conceive howe it can ever have been missed by any unsophisticated and earnest inquirer. The sacredness of the founder’s assignment should continue during his own life, and for such longer period as the foresight of a prudent man may be presumed to reach, and no further. We do not pretend to fix the exact term of years; perhaps there is no necessity for its being accurately fixed; but it evidently should fbe only a moderatef one. For such a period, it conduces to the ends for which foundations ought to exist, and for which alone they can ever rationally have been intended, that they should remain undisturbed.
All beyond this is to make the dead, judges of the exigencies of the living; to erect, not merely the ends, but the means, not merely the speculative opinions, but the practical expedients, of a gone-by age, into an irrevocable law for the present. The wisdom of our ancestors gwas mostly a poor wisdom enoughg , but this is not even following the wisdom of our ancestors; for our ancestors did not bind themselves never to alter what they had once established. Under the guise of fulfilling a bequest, this is making a dead man’s intentions for a single day, a rule for subsequent centuries, when we know not whether he himself would have made it a rule, even for the morrow.h
There is no fact in history which posterity will find it more difficult to iunderstandi , than that the idea of perpetuity, and that of any of the contrivances of man, should have been coupled together in any sane mind: that it has been believed, nay, clung to as jsacredj truth, and has formed part of the creed of whole nations, that a signification of the will of a k man, ages ago, could impose upon all mankind now and for ever an obligation of obeying him:—that, in the beginning of the nineteenth century, it was not permitted to question this doctrine without opprobrium: though for hundreds of years before, a solemn condemnation of this very absurdity had been lincorporatedl in the laws, and familiar to every judge by whom, during all that period, they had been administered.
During the last four hundred years or thereabouts, in England and Wales, the power of a landed proprietor to entail his land in favour of a particular line of his descendants has been narrowed to a very moderate term of years after his decease. During ma similarm length of time, it has been laid down as a maxim of the common law, in the sweeping terms in which technical jurisprudence delights, that “the law abhors perpetuities.” It is now a considerable number of years since a London merchant* having by testament directed that the bulk of his fortune should accumulate for two generations, and then devolve without restriction upon a person specified; this will, rare as such dispositions might be expected to be, excited so much disapprobation, that an Act of Parliament[*] was passed, expressly to nenactn that nothing of the same sort should be done in future.
Is it of consequence to the public by whom and how private property is inherited, which, whoever possess it, will in the main be spent in ministering to one person’s individual wants and enjoyments—and is the use made of a like sum, specifically set apart for the benefit of the public, or of an indefinite portion of the public, a matter in which the nation has no concern? Or shall we say it is supposed by King, Lords, and Commons, and the Judges of the land, that a man cannot know what partition of his property among his descendants, thirty years hence, will be for the interest of otheo descendants themselves; but that he may know (though he have scarcely learnt pthep alphabet) how children may be best educated five hundred years hence; how the necessities of the poor may then be best provided for; what branches of learning, or of what is called learning, it will be most important to cultivate, and by what body of men it will be desirable that the people should be taught religion, to the q end of time?
Men would not yield up their understandings to doctrines like these, if they were not under some strong bias. Such thoughts never sprung from reason and reflection. r The cry about robbing the Church, spoliation of endowments, &c., means only that the sspeakers likes better the purposes to which the monies are now applied, than those to which he thinks they would be applied if they were resumed:—a feeling which, twhen founded on conviction, is entitled to respect;t but were it even just, we do not see why a upersonu , who has got at his conclusions by good arguments, should defend them by bad. It may be very unwise to alienate the property of some particular foundation; but that does not make it robbery. If it be inexpedient, v prove it so; but do not pretend that it is a crime to disobey a man’s injunctions who has been dead five hundred years. We fear, too, that this zeal for the inviolability of endowments proceeds often from a feeling, which we find it more difficult to bear with—that unreasoning instinct, which renders those whose souls are buried in their acres, or pent up in their money bags, partizans of the uti possidetis principle in all things; the dread that if anything is taken from anybody, everything will be taken from everybody; a terror, the more passionate because it is vague, at seeing violent hands laid upon their Dagon money, though it be but to rescue him from the hands of those who have filched him away.
That this is the real source of much of the horror which is felt at a bare proposal that the Legislature should lay a finger upon the estates of a public trust, although it be to restore them to their original purposes, is manifest from this; that the same persons can witness the most absolute perversion and alienation of the endowment from its destined ends, by the slow, silent creeping-in of abuse in the hands of the trustees themselves, and not feel the slightest discomposure. Wherefore?—wBecausew their solicitude was not for the objects of the endowment, but for the safety and sacredness of “vested rights.” They dislike the example of searching in a person’s pocket, although it be for stolen goods. For them, it is enough if the nine points of the law maintain their wonted sanctity. Those they are sure they have on their side, if any troublesome questioner shouldx , in their turn, incommode them. The tenth point is much more intricate and obscure, and they have not half so much faith in it.
To every argument tending to prove the utility of the Church yEstablishmenty , or z any other endowed public institution, aunprejudiced attention is duea . Like all reasons which are brought to show the inexpediency of a proposed innovation, they cannot be too carefully weighed. But when it is called spoliation of property, for the State to alter a disposition made by the State itself, or by an individual who died six hundred years ago, we answer, that no bpersonb ought to be exercising rights of property six hundred years after his death; that such rights of property, if they have been unwisely sanctioned by the State, ought to be instantaneously put an end to; that there is no fear of robbing a dead man; and no reasonable c man who gave his money when living, for the benefit of the community, would have desired that dhisd mode of benefiting the community should be eadherede to when a better could be found.
Thus far of the imaginary rights of the founder. Next, as to those rights of another kind, which, in the case of an existing endowment, have usually sprung up in consequence of its existence; f the life interests of the actual holders. How far are these analogous to what are deemed rights of property?—that is, rights which it is unjust to take from gthe possessorg without his consent, or without giving him a full equivalent.
There are some endowments in which the life interests amount to rights of property in the strictest sense. These are, such as are created for the application of their revenues to the mere use and enjoyment of individuals of a particular description: to give pensions to indigent persons, or htoh persons devoted to particular pursuits; to relieve the necessities, or reward the services, of persons of a particular kind, by supporting them in alms-houses or hospitals.
There are probably ibut a small proportioni of these endowments which are fit jfor indefinite continuancej : mankind have begun to find out that the mass of poverty is increased, not diminished, by these impotent attempts to keep pace with it by mere kgivingk . All, however, who are l actually benefiting by such institutions, have a right to the continuance of the benefit, which should be as inviolable as mthe rightm of the weaver to the produce of his loom. They have it by gift; nas much son as if the founder owereo alive, and had settled it upon them by deed under hand and seal. To take it from an existing incumbent would be an ex-post-facto law of the worst kind. It would be the same sort of injustice as if, in abolishing entails, the existing landed proprietors pwere to bep ejected from their estates, on the plea that the estates had qcomeq to them by entail from their predecessors.
These rights, however, are never anything but life interests. Such pensions or alms are not hereditary. They are not transmissible by will, or by gift. There is no assignable person standing in remainder or reversion; no individual specially designated, either by law or custom, to succeed to a vacancy as it arises. No person would suffer any privation, or be disappointed in any authorized expectation, by the resumption of the endowment at the death of the existing incumbents. There is no loss, where nobody will ever know who has lost. To say that the funds cannot rightfully be resumed at the expiration of the life interests, because somebody or other would succeed to them if they continued to exist, is tantamount to affirming, that the army or navy can never be reduced without an act of spoliation, because, if they were kept up, somebody, to be sure, would be made a cadet or a midshipman, who rotherwiser will not.*
But there is another and a far more important class of endowments, where the object is not a provision for individuals of whatsoever description, but the furtherance of some public purpose; sas the cultivation of learning,s the diffusion of religious instruction, t or the education of youth. Such, for instance, is the nature of the Church property, and the property attached to the Universities and the foundation schools. The individuals through whose hands the money passes, never entered into the founder’s contemplation otherwise than as mere trustees for the public purpose. The founder of a College at Oxford did not bestow his upropertyu in order that some men then living, and an indefinite series of successors appointing one another in a direct line, might be comfortably fed and clothed. He, we may vpresumev , intended no benefit to them, further than as a necessary means to the end he had in view—the education of youth, and the advancement of learning. The like is true of the Church property: it is held in trust, for the spiritual culture of the people of England. The Clergy and the Universities are not proprietors, nor even partly trustees and partly proprietors: they are called so, we know, in law, wand for legal purposes may be so called without impropriety; but moral right does not necessarily wait upon the convenience of technical classificationw . The trustees are indeed, at present, owing to the supineness of the Legislature, the sole tribunal empowered to judge of the performance of the trust: but it will scarcely be pretended that the money is made over to them for any other reason than because they are charged with the trust,—or that it is not an implied condition, that they shall apply every shilling of it with an exclusive regard to the performance of the duty entrusted to the collective body.
Yet of persons thus situated, persons whose interest in the foundation is entirely subsidiary and subordinate, the whole of whose rights exist solely as the necessary means to enable them to perform certain duties—it is currently asserted, and xin the tone in which men affirm a self-evident moral truthx , that the endowments of the Church and of the Universities are ytheir propertyy ; to deprive them of which would be as much an act of confiscation as to rob a landowner of his zestate.z
Their property! In what system of legislative ethics, or even of positive law,* is an estate in the hands of trustees the property of the trustees? It is the property of the cestui que trust: of the person, or body of persons, for whose benefit the trust is created. This, in the case of a national endowment, is the entire people.†
The claims of the Clergy, and of the various members of the Universities, to the retention of their present incomes, are of a widely different nature from those rights which are intended when we speak of the inviolability of property; and stand upon a totally different foundation. The same person who is a trustee, is also a labourer. He is to be paid for his services. What he is entitled to, is his wages while athosea services are required, and such retiring allowance as is stipulated in his engagement. All his just pretensions depend on the terms of his contract. bHe would have no ground of complaint, unless on the score of inhumanity, if, when his services are no longer needed, he were dismissed without a provisionb ; unless the contract by which he was engaged had expressly corc tacitly provided otherwise.
It is, however, dthed fact, that in the majority of cases, and particularly in the case of the Church and of the Universities, the incumbents hold their emoluments under an implied contract, which fully entitles them to retain the whole amount during the term of their lives.
If the army were to be remodelled, or to be reduced, and the whole of the officers changed, or a part of them discarded; and if these were thrown e upon the world, without allowing them half-pay, or the pension of their rank, there would not (fit will probablyf be allowed) be any spoliation of property. But it might be said, with g justice, that there would be a breach of an implied contract; because the State would be defeating an expectation raised by its own uniform practice. Half-pay, or a pension, is certainly not promised to an officer when he enters the army; he does not give his services on that express hconditionh . But the regulations of the army have from time immemorial sanctioned the practice, and led the officers to count upon it, and they give their services on that iunderstandingi .
The case of the clergyman only differs from that of the military officer in this, that the one, by custom, may be deprived of his place, but retains a part of its emoluments; the other, by a different custom, retains his place, emoluments and all, jfor the remainder of his lifej . If this were the practice in the army, then instead of half-pay an officer would never retire on less than full; and all persons would see that, whether this was a good practice or knotk , it ought not to be abolished retrospectively. The same argument holds good in the case of the clergyman.
It cannot be doubted that where the emoluments of a public officer have, by the uniform practice of ages, been considered as placed out of the control of the Legislature, to exercise that control to the disadvantage of the individual, without giving him notice before he accepts the office, is an injustice to him. It gives him reasonable ground for complaining of a breach of contract, and should be scrupulously avoided; even if it were not something more than merely impolitic, to immolate large classes of lpersonsl for the pecuniary gain of the remainder; and most unwise to teach a multitude of influential persons that their only means of maintaining themselves and their families in their accustomed comfort is by m a successful resistance to political reforms.
In return for the continuation of the life interests after releasing the incumbents from the performance of nthen accompanying duties, the State, of course, would acquire a right to the services of the individuals in any other mode in which it could turn them to ouseo ; provided it were one suited to the station they had formerly filled.
We have endeavoured to make as clear as possible the real grounds of the moral question respecting the interference of the Legislature with foundations. We have paffirmedp that it is no violation of any right which ought to exist in the founder, to set aside his dispositions many years after his decease; but that where individuals have been allowed to acquire beneficial interests in the endowment, these ought in general to be respected; being, in most cases, either rights of property for life, or rights for life by virtue of an implied contract. But, with the reservation of these life interests, the Legislature is at liberty to dispose, at its discretion, of the endowment, after that moderate number of years has elapsed from the date of its formation, beyond which the foresight of an individual cannot reasonably be supposed to extend.
We feel certain that the conclusion which we have just stated is fully made out, and that nothing in the nature of an argument, capable of bearing examination, can be brought to invalidate it. But it is harder, in some cases, to convince men’s imagination than their reason; and qscarcely anything which can be said isq enough to destroy the force of an objection, which is yet a mere illusion of the imagination, by the aid of a collective name.
Would you rob the Church? it is asked. And at the sound of these words rise up images of rapine, violence, plunder: and every sentiment of rrepugnancer which would be excited by a sproposals to take away from an individual the earnings of his toil or the inheritance of his fatherst, comes heightened in the particular case by the added idea of sacrileget .
But the Church! Who is the Church? Who is it that we desire to rob? Who are the persons whose property, whose rights, we are proposing to take away?
Not the clergy; from them we do not propose to take anything. To every man who now benefits by the endowment, we have said that we would leave his entire income; at least until the State shall offer, as the purchase money of his services in some other shape, advantages which he himself shall regard as equivalent.
But if not the clergy, surely we are not proposing to rob the laity: on the contrary, they are robbed now, if the fact be, that the application of the money to its present purpose is no longer advisable. We are exhorting the laity to claim their property out of the hands of the clergy; who are not the Church, but only the managing members of the association.
Qui trompe-t-on ici? asks Figaro.[*]Qui vole-t-on ici? may well be asked. uWhat man, woman, or child, is the victim of this robbery?u Who suffers by the robbery when everybody robs nobody? v But though no man, wwoman, orw child is robbed, the Church it seems is robbed. What follows? That the Church may be robbed, and no man, woman, or child be the worse for it. If this be so, why, in Heaven’s name, should it not be done? If xmoney or money’s worthx can be squeezed out of an abstraction, we ywould appropriate it without scrupley . We had no idea that the region
was an Eldorado of riches. We wish all other abstract ideas had as ample a patrimony. It is fortunate that their estates are of a less volatile and airy nature than themselves, and that here at length is a “chimæra bombinans in vacuo” which lives upon something more substantial than “secundas intentiones.” We hold all such entia rationis to be fair game, and their possessions a legitimate subject of invasion and conquest.
Any act may be a crime, if zgiving it a bad namez could make it so; but the robbery that we object to must be something more than robbing a word. The laws of property were made for the protection of ahuman beingsa , and not of phrases. As long as the bread is not taken from any of our fellow-creatures, we care not though the whole English dictionary had to beg in the streets. Let those who think it a robbery for the nation to resume what we say is its own, tell us whose it is; let them inform us, what human creatures it belongs to; not what letters and syllables. The alphabet has no property, and if it bbringb an action for damages in any court where we are judge, it shall be nonsuited.
But the Church, it will be said, is a corporationc, (or, in strictness of legal language, an aggregate of many corporations)c ; and a corporation is a dpersond , and may hold property, and bring an action at law. A corporation never dies, but is like a river, ever flowing, yet always the same; while it empties at one extremity it fills at the other, and preserves its identity by the continuity of its existence. Whatever is acquired for the corporation belongs to the corporation, even when all its members have died out, and been succeeded by others. So London stands upon the Thames as it did at the Conquest, though not one drop of water be the same.
It is quite unnecessary to remind us of all this. It is true that such is the law. We admit that the law can call a man now living, and a man not yet born, the same person; but that does not hinder them from being e different men. fHaving declaredf them one person, it may ordain that the income held by one in a certain capacity, shall pass, on his death, to the other. There is nothing at all inconceivable in the idea; so far from it, that such is actually the fact. It is as simple and as easy as to say that a man’s income shall pass to the man’s own son. It is one of the modes in which property may be legally transmitted. It is part of the law of inheritance and succession.
There is not the slightest intention entertained of disputing all this. The law is precisely as it is said to be: but because the law is so, does it follow that it ought to be? or that it must remain protected against amendment, more than any other of the laws which regulate the succession to property?
All, or almost all, laws give rights to somebody. By the abrogation of any, or almost any laws, some rights would gbe prevented from existingg . But because a law has once been enacted, ought it to subsist hfor everh ? We know that there are some alterations in the law, which would be, morally speaking, infringements of property. What makes them so? Not, surely, the mere fact, inseparable from the repeal of any law whatever, that the iclass of rights which it created ceasesi to exist. Where then lies the distinction? There is no difficulty about it, nor ever was. The difference is, that some laws cannot be altered without painfully frustrating existing and authorized expectations; for which, therefore, compensation is, in all or most cases, due. Now in the case of church property no authorized expectations are defeated, junlessj those of existing incumbents: this evil is prevented if the life interests of the incumbents are preserved to them.* To make the semblance of an injury where there is none, nothing better can be thought of than to lump ktogetherk the living incumbents and their unborn successors into one undivided mass, call the entire heap one person, and pretend that not to give to the unborn man, is to take from the living one.
l To resume endowments would incontestably be to set aside, by an act of the legislature, a disposition of property lawfully made. It would be a change in the laws; but a change which is allowable, if to alter a disposition of law be ever allowable. The fact of its being a disposition of property can make no difference. Property surely may be appropriated by law, to purposes from which it may be highly desirable that it should be alienated. Much property is set apart by the laws of all idolatrous nations, for the special use and service of their gods. Large revenues are annually expended in offerings to those gods. To resume those revenues would manifestly be robbing Baal; they are his by law: law cannot give a clearer right of property than he has to them. A lawyer, addressing a court of justice, would have nothing to object to this argument: but a moralist or a legislator might say, that the revenues were of no use to Baal, and that he would never miss them.
We, of this generation, are not addicted to falling down before a Baal of brass or stone: the idols we worship are abstract terms: the divinities to whom we render up our substance are personifications. Besides our duties to our fellow-countrymen, we owe duties to the constitution: privileges which m landlords or n merchants have no claim to, must be granted to agriculture, or trade: and when every clergyman has received the last halfpenny of his dues and expectations, there oremaino rights of the Churchp , which it would be sacrilege to violate.
qToq all such rights we confess our r indifference. The only moral duties which we are conscious of, are towards living beings, either present or to come; who can be in some way better for what we do or forbear. When we have done our duty to all these, we feel easy in our minds, and sleep with an untroubled conscience the sleep of the just; a sleep which the groans of no plundered abstraction are loud enough to disturb.
If sthes case were not already far more than sufficiently made out, it would be pertinent to observe that the Church of England, least of all religious establishments, is entitled to dispute the power of the legislature to alter the destination of endowments, since it owes to the exercise of such a power all its own possessions.
The Roman Catholic Church derived its property from an earlier source than any of the existing governments of Christendom: it is moreover a society within itself, which existed anterior to the State, which is organized independently of the State, and no changes in the State can affect its identity, or its constitution. Its endowments, too, or a great part of them, came into its hands not for public purposes but for private; not in trust, but by fair bargain and sale; the donor taking out the value in masses for his private salvation; tthereby, as he hoped,t effecting an earlier liberation of his individual soul from purgatory. If any ecclesiastical establishment, therefore, could be entitled to deem itself ill-used in having its property taken away from it, this might. Not so the Church of England; she, from her origin, never was anything but a state church; all the property she ever had, the State first took from the Roman Catholic Church;* exercising therein a just and proper attribute of sovereignty; but perpetrating a flagrant wrong in paying little or no regard to life interests, and consigning the incumbents to penury. The corporation which was then turned out of house and home, still exists, and is in every respect the same as before: but if the Church of England were separated from the State, its identity as a corporation would be gone: the present religious society would be dissolved, and a new one formed, under different rules and a different principle of government; from a monarchy it would be changed to a republic, from a system of nomination to one of u election. A Catholic bishop can look out upon the fair and broad domains of his Protestant substitute, and say, all this would have been mine. But let the State endowments be once withdrawn from the Church of England, her mitred but unpalaced prelates will indulge in no such delusion: nobody, we suppose, will then stand up for the v simoniacal abuses of lay-patronage and congés d’élire; and the divine who for his piety and learning shall have been elected rector of Stanhope, or bishop of Winchester, if he ever cast a wistful thought towards the pristine appendages of his dignity, will check it by the reflexion, that they would not have belonged to whimw , but to some political tool, some tutor or chaplain of a minister, or xthe stupidest son of somex squirearchal house. A Catholic prelate, no doubt, believes at heart that he has been robbed; as the descendants of the Pretender would have believed to the latest generation, that they ought to be Kings of England. But an English Protestant bishop who (after his church in ceasing to receive state pay, had ceased also to be fashioned as a state tool) should still fancy that he was the ypersony losing by the zabolitionz of the salary, must be strangely ignorant of the history of England’s political religion, as well as of something else which would have taught him that a person honestly selected to serve God, was not a likely individual to have been appointed high-priest of Mammon.
aConsidering it, then, as indisputablea , that endowments, after a certain lapse of time, may, at the discretion of the legislature, be diverted from their original bpurposes; itb remains to consider by what principles or rules the legislature is bound to govern itself in the exercise of this discretion.
We would prescribe but one rule: it is somewhat general, but sufficient to indicate the spirit in which the control of the legislature ought to be exerted. c When a resolution has been taken (which should never be, except on strong grounds) to alter the appropriation of an endowment; dthe first object shouldd be to employ it usefully; the second, to depart as little from the original purpose of the foundation, as is consistent with that primary object. The endeavour should be, even in altering the edispositione of the founder, f to carry into effect as much of his intention as it is possible to realize without gtoo great ag sacrifice of substantial utility.
This limitation of the discretionary power of interference residing in the legislature, would meet, we suspect, with as much resistance (though from a very different sort of persons) as the discretionary power itself. It hwouldh be objected to by some, because they are desirous to confiscate the existing endowments towards paying off the national debt, or defraying the current expenses of the State: by others, because they deem foundations altogether to be rather mischievous than useful, and the intentions of founders to be undeserving of any regard. This last opinion is the more entitled to notice, as among its supporters is to be numbered the great and good Turgot. That eminently wise man thought so unfavourably of the purposes for which endowments are usually made, and of the average intelligence of the founders, that he was an enemy to foundations altogether.
Notwithstanding our deep reverence for this illustrious man, and the great weight which is due to his isentimentsi on all subjects which he had maturely considered, we must regard his opinion on this subject, as one of what it is now allowable to call the prejudices of his age. The wisest jpersonj is not safe from the liability to mistake for good the reverse of some inveterate and grievous ill. The clearer his discernment of existing evils, and the more absolutely his whole soul is engaged in the contest against them, the more danger that the mischiefs which chiefly occupy his own thoughts, should render him insensible to their contraries, and that in guarding one side he should leave the other uncovered. If Turgot did not wholly escape this error, which was common to all the philosophers of his time, ample kallowancek may be justly claimed both for him and for them. It is not the least of the mischiefs of our mischievous prejudices, that in their decline they raise up counter-prejudices, and that the human mind must oscillate for a time between opposite extremes, before it can settle quietly in the middle. The prejudices of the French philosophers were such as it was natural should exist, l when all established institutions were in the very last stage of decay and decrepitude, preparatory to the catastrophe by which, soon after, they were swept away:—when whatever was meant to transmit light, had become a curtain to keep it out, and whatever was designed mfor them protection of society, had turned n to preying upon society; when every trust which had been reposed in individuals for the benefit of the species, had degenerated into a selfish job, and the canker had eaten so deeply into the heart of civilization, that the greatest genius of his time deliberately preferred the condition of a naked savage.
oAt the head of the foundationso which existed in the time of Turgot was the Catholic hierarchyp, then almost effete; whichp had become irreconcilably hostile to the progress of the human mind, because that progress was no longer compatible with belief in its tenets; and qwhichq , to stand its ground against the advance of incredulity, r had been driven to knit itself closely with sthes temporal despotism, to which it had once been a substantial, and the only existing, impediment and control. After this came monastic bodies, constituted tostensiblyt for purposes which derived utheir value chieflyu from vsuperstitionv , and now not even fulfilling what they professed; bodies, wof most of which thew very existence had become one vast and continued ximposturex . Next came universities and academical institutions, which had once taught all that was then known; but having ever since indulged their ease by remaining stationary, found it for their interest that knowledge should do so too—institutions for education, which y kept a century behind the community z they affected to educate; who, when Descartes appeared, publicly censured him for differing from Aristotle; and when Newton appeared, anathematized him for differing from Descartes. aTherea were hospitals which killed more of their unhappy patients than they cured, and charities, of which the superintendants, like the blicentiateb in Gil Blas,[*] got rich by taking care of the affairs of the poor; or which at best made twenty beggars, by giving, or pretending to give, a miserable and dependent pittance to one.
The foundations, therefore, were among the grossest and c most conspicuous of the familiar abuses of the time; and beneath their shade flourished and multiplied large classes of men, by interest and habit the protectors of all abuses whatsoever. What wonder, that a life spent in practical struggles against abuses should have strongly prepossessed Turgot against foundations in general. Yet the evils existed, not because there were foundations, but because those foundations were perpetuities, and dbecaused provision was not made for their continual modification, to meet the wants of each successive age.
The opinion of Turgot was sufficiently in accordance with the prevailing philosophy of his time. It is rare that the same heads and the same hands excel both in pulling down and in building up. The work of urgency in those days was to make war against evil: this the philosophers did, and the negation of evil was nearly all the good which their philosophy provided for. They eseemede to have conceived the perfection of political society to be reached, if man could but be compelled to abstain from injuring man; not considering that men need help as well as forbearance, and that Nature is to the greater number a severer taskmaster even than man is to man. They left each individual to fight his own battle against fate and necessity, with little aid from his fellow-men, save what he, of his own spontaneous seeking, might purchase in open market and pay for.
If this be a just estimate of the exigencies of human society; if man requires nothing from man, f except to be guarded against molestation; undoubtedly foundations, and many other things, are great absurdities. But we may conceive a people, perfectly exempt from oppression by their government, amply protected by gitg , both against foreign enemies and against force or fraud as between its own citizens; we may conceive all this secured, as far at least as institutions can secure it, and yet the people in an abject state of degradation, both physical and mental.h
The primary and perennial sources of all social evil, are ignorance and want of culture. These are not reached by the best contrived system of political checks, necessary as such checks are for other purposes. There is also an unfortunate peculiarity attending these evils. iOfi all calamities, they are those of which the jpersonsj suffering from them are apt to be k least aware. Of their bodily wants and ailments mankind are generally conscious; but the want of the mind, the want of being wiser and better, is in the far greater number of cases unfelt: lsome of its disastrous consequences are felt, but arel ascribed to any imaginable cause except the true one. This want has malsom the property of disguising from mankind not only itself, but the most eligible means of providing even for the wants of which they are conscious.
On what, then, have mankind depended, on what must they continue to be dependent, for the removal of their ignorance and nofn their defect of culture? Mainly, on the unremitting exertions of the more instructed and cultivated, whether in the position of the government or in a private station, to awaken in their minds a consciousness of this want, and to facilitate to them the means of supplying it. The instruments of this work are not merely schools and colleges, but every means by which the people can be reached, either through their intellects or their sensibilities: from preaching and popular writing, to national galleries, theatres, and public games.
Here, then, is a wide field of usefulness open for foundations; and in point of fact, they have been destined for such purposes oftener than for any ootherso . We are of opinion that such endowments are deserving of encouragement, where a sufficiency do not already exist; and that ptheir fundsp ought not to be appropriated in another manner, as long as any opening remains for their useful application in this.
A doctrine is indeed abroad, and has been sanctioned by many high authorities, qamong others byq Adam Smith, that endowed establishments, for education or other public purposes, are a mere premium upon idleness and inefficiency. Undoubtedly they are so, when it is nobody’s business to see that the receivers of the endowment do their duty; when (what is more) every attempt to regulate, or so much as to know (further than the interested parties choose to make it known) the manner in which the funds are employed, and the nature and extent of the service rendered in consideration rofr them, is resented and exclaimed against as an s interference with the inviolability of private property. That this is the condition of most of our own endowed establishments is too true.* But instead of fixing our eyes exclusively upon what is nearest to us, let us turn them towards the endowed Universities of France and Germany, and mark if those are places of idleness and inefficiency. Let us see whether, where the endowment proceeds from the governments themselves, and where the governments do not, as here, leave it optional whether that which is promised and paid for shall or shall not be done, it be not found that, notwithstanding the acknowledged defects of tthoset governments, the education given is the u best which the age and country can supply. Let us even look at home, and examine whether, with all the grievous abuses of the endowed seminaries of Great Britain, they are, after all, v worse than, or even so bad as, almost all our other places of weducation?w We may ask, whether the desire to gain as much money with as little labour as is consistent with saving appearances, be peculiar to the endowed teachers? Whether the plan of nineteen-twentieths of our unendowed schools, be not an organized system of charlatanerie for imposing upon the ignorance of x parents? Whether parents do, in point of fact, prove themselves as solicitous, and as well qualified, to judge rightly of the merits of places of education, as the theory of Adam Smith supposes? Whether the truth be not, that, for the most part, they bestow very little thought upon the matter; or if they do, show themselves in general the ready dupes of the very shallowest artifices? Whether the necessity of keeping parents in good humour does not too often, instead of rendering the education better, render it worse; the real ends of instruction being sacrified, not solely (as would yotherwise be the casey ) to the ease of the teacher, but to that, and zalsoz to the additional positive vices of clap-trap and lip-proficiency? We may ask whether it is not matter of experience, that a schoolmaster who endeavours really to educate, instead of endeavouring only to seem to educate, and laying himself out for the suffrages of those who never look below the surface, and only for an instant at that, is almost sure, unless he have the genius and the ardour of a Pestalozzi, to make a losing speculation? Let us do what we may, it will be the study of the amerelya trading schoolmaster to teach down to the level of the parents, be that level high or low; as it is of the trading author, to write down to the level of his readers. And in the one shape as in the other, it is binb all times and in all places indispensable, that enlightened individuals and enlightened governments should, from other motives than that of pecuniary gain, bestir themselves to provide (though by no means forcibly to impose) that good and wholesome food for the wants of the mind, for which the competition of the mere trading market affords in general so indifferent a substitute.
It may be said, however, that where there is a wise government, and one which has the c confidence of the people, whatever expense it may be requisite either to defray or to advance for national education, or any other of the purposes for which endowments exist, ought rather to be furnished by the government, and paid out of the taxes; the government being probably a better judge of good education than an average man—even an average founder.
To this dit may be answeredd , that the full benefit of the superior wisdom of the government would be obtained, in the case of old foundations, by that discretionary power of modifying the dispositions of the founder, which e ought to be exerted by the government as often as fthe purposes of the foundation requiref . We certainly agree, that if the government is so wise, and if the people rely so implicitly on its wisdom, as to find money out of the taxes for all the purposes of utility to which they could have applied the endowment, it is of no consequence whether the endowment be alienated or gnotg ; the alienation is merely nominal. But all know how far the fact at present differs from hany suchh supposition. iIt is impossible to be assured that the people will be willing to be taxed for every purpose of moral and intellectual improvement for which funds may be required.i But if there were a fund specially set apart, which jhad never comej from the people’s pockets at all, which was given to them in trust for kthe purposek of education, and which it was considered improper to divert to any other employment while it could be usefully devoted to that; the people would lprobably be always willingl to have it applied to that purposem . There is such a fund, and it consists of the national endowments.
If, again, it be said, that as the people grow more enlightened, they will become more able to appreciate, and more willing to pay for, good instruction; that the competition of the market will become more and more adequate to provide good education, and endowed establishments will be less and less necessary; we admit the fact. And nit might be said with equal truth, that as the people improve, there will be less and less necessity for penal laws. But penal laws are one among the indispensable means of bringing about this very improvement; and in like manner, if the people ever become sufficiently enlightened to be able to do without educational endowments, it will be because those endowments will have been preserved, and prized, and made efficient for their proper purpose. It is only by a right use of endowments that a people can be raised above the need of them.n
So much with regard to old endowments; the application of which, to the purpose for which they were destined, ought to be as completely under the control of the government as if the funds were taken directly out of the taxes. But in addition to these old endowments, the liberty of forming new ones, for education and mental culture in all shapes, seems to us of considerable importance; and a limited number of years should, we think, be allowed, during which the disposition of the founder should undergo no alteration.
We deem this advisable, simply because governments are fallible; and, as they have ample means both of providing and of recommending the education they deem best, should not be allowed to prevent other people from doing the same. No government is entitled (further than is implied in the very act of governing) to make its own opinion the measure of everything which is useful and true. A perfect government would, no doubt, be always under the guidance of the wisest members of the community. But no government can unite all the wisdom which is in all the members of the community taken together; much less can a mere majority in a legislative body. o A nation ought not to place its entire stake upon the wisdom of one man, or one body of men, and to deprive all other intellect and virtue of a fair field of usefulness, pwhenever they cannotp be made to square exactly with the intellect and virtue of that man or body. It is the wisdom of a community, as well as of an individual, to beware of being one-sided: the more chances it gives itself, the greater the probability that some will succeed. A government, when properly constituted, should be allowed the greatest possible facilities for what itself deems good; but the smallest for preventing the good which may chance to come from elsewhere. This will not be disputed if the government be a monarchy or an aristocracy: it is quite equally true when the constitution is popular. The disapprobation of the government, in that case, means the disapprobation of the majority: and where the opinion of the majority gives the law, there, above all, it is eminently the interest of the majority that minorities should have fair play. Sinister interest indeed is often found in a minority, but so, it must also be remembered, is truth: at qitsq original appearance ritr must be so. All improvements, either in opinion or practice, must be in a minority at first.
We deem it important that individuals should have it in their power to enable good schooling, good writing, good preaching, or any other course of good instruction, to be carried on for a certain number of years at a pecuniary loss. By that time, if the people are intelligent, and the government wisely constituted, the institution will probably be capable of supporting itself, or the government will be willing to adopt all that is good in it, for the improvement of the institutions which are under the public care. For, that the people can see what is for their good, when it has long been shown them, is commonly true; that they can foresee it—seldom.
Endowments, again, are a snaturals and convenient mode of providing for the support of establishments which are interesting only to a peculiar class, and for which, therefore, it tmightt be improper to tax all the members of the community. Such, for instance, are colleges for the professional instruction of the clergy of a sect; as Maynooth, uManchesteru , or Highbury.v
If, then, it be in truth desirable that foundations should exist, which we think is clear from the foregoing and many other considerations; it would seem to follow, as a natural consequence, that the appropriation made by the founder should not be set aside, save in so far as paramount reasons of utility require; that his design should be no further departed from than he himself would probably have approved, if he had lived to the present time, and participated to a reasonable degree in its best ideas. If foundations deserve to be encouraged, it is desirable to reward the liberality of the founder, by allowing to works of usefulness (though wnot a perpetuityw ) as prolonged a duration of individual and distinguishable existence as circumstances will admit.
But this is not the only nor perhaps the strongest reason for keeping to a certain extent in view, even in an alienation of endowments, the intention of the founder. xAlmostx any fixed rule, consistent with ensuring the employment of the funds for ysomey purpose of real utility, is preferable to allowing financiers to count upon them as a resource applicable to all the exigencies of the State zindiscriminately. Otherwisez they may be seized on to supply, not the most permanent or essential, but the most immediate and importunate demands: one year of financial difficulty might suffice to dissipate funds that centuries would not replace; and the time for an interference with foundations would be determined, not by the necessity of a reform, but by the state of the quarter’s revenue. aNor would it be right to disregard the great importancea of the associations which lead mankind to respect the declared will of every bperson,b in the disposal of what is justly his own. That will is surely not least deserving of respect, when it is ordaining an act of beneficence. And any c deviation from itd, not called for by high considerations of social good, even when not a violation of propertyd , runs counter to a feeling so nearly allied to those on which the respect for property is founded, that there is scarcely a possibility of infringing the one without shaking the security of the other.
It is no violation of these salutary associations to resume an endowment, if it be done with the conscientious reservation which we have suggested. Respect for the intentions of the founder is not shown by a literal adherence to his mere words, but by an honest attempt to give execution to his real wishes; not sticking superstitiously to the means which he hit upon accidentally, or because he knew no better; but regarding solely e the end which he sought to compass by those means.
The first duty of the Legislature, findeedf , is to employ the endowment gusefullyg : and that in a hdegreeh corresponding to the greatness of the benefit contemplated by the donor. But it is also of importance, that not only as great a benefit, but as far as possible the same kind of benefit, should be reaped by society, as that which the founder intended. iIt is incumbent on the State to consider, not to what purpose iti , under the temptations of the moment, jwouldj like best to apply the money; but rather what, among all kobjectsk of unquestionable utility, which a reasonable lpersonl in these days would value sufficiently to give this sum of money for, is the particular purpose most resembling the original disposition of the founder.
Thus, money assigned for purposes of education, should be devoted, by preference, to education: the kind, and the mode, being altered, as the principles and practice of education mcomem to be better understood. Money left for giving alms, should certainly cease to be expended in giving alms; but it should be applied, in preference, to the general benefit of the poorer classes, in whatever manner might appear most eligible. The endowments of an established church should continue to bear that character, as long as it is deemed advisable that the clergy of a sect or sects should be supported by a public provision of that amount: and under any circumstances, as much of these endowments as is required should be sacredly preserved for the purposes of spiritual culture; using that expression in its primitive meaning, to denote the culture of the inward man—his moral and intellectual well-being, as distinguished from the mere supply of his bodily wants.
Such, indeed, as has been forcibly maintained by Mr. Coleridge, n was the only just conception of a national clergy, from their first establishment. To the minds of our ancestors they presented themselves, not solely as ministers for going through the ceremonial of religion, nor even solely as religious teachers in the narrow sense, but as the lettered class; the clerici or oclerks;o who were appointed generally to prosecute all those studies, and diffuse all those impressions, which constituted mental culture, as then understood; which fitted the mind of man for his condition, destiny, and duty, as pa human beingp . In proportion as this enlarged conception of the object of a national church establishment has been departed from, so far, in the opinion of the first living defender of our own establishment, it has been perverted both in idea and in fact from its true nature and ends. A national clerisy or clergy, as Mr. Coleridge conceives it, would be a grand institution for the education of the whole people: not their school education merely, though that would be included in the scheme; but for training and rearing them, by systematic culture continued throughout life, to the highest perfection of their mental qandq spiritual nature.
The benefits of such an institution, and how it ought to be constituted r to be free from the vices of an established church as at present understood, are questions too extensive to be further adverted to in this place. We will rather say, as being more pertinent to our present design, that if endowments (like the Church property) originally set apart for what was then deemed the highest spiritual culture, were diverted to the purposes of the highest spiritual culture which the sintellects of ta subsequentt age could devise, there would be no departure from the intentions of the original owners, but, on the contrary, a faithful fulfilment of them, when a literal and servile adherence to the mere uaccidentsu of the appropriation would be the surest means of defeating its essentials. vThev perfect lawfulness of such an alienation as this, is explicitly laid down by the eminent writer to whom we have referred. It is part of his doctrine, that the State is at liberty to withdraw the endowment from its existing possessors, whenever any body of persons can be found, whether ministers of religion or not, by whom the ends of the establishment, as he understands them, are likely to be more perfectly fulfilled. It is the more important to place this admission upon record, as the most able and accomplished of the rising defenders of the Church of England have evidently issued from Mr. Coleridge’s school, and have taken their weapons chiefly from his storehouse.
If, however, we seize upon the endowments of the Church, not for the civilization and cultivation of the minds of our people, but to pay off a small fraction of the National Debt, or to supply a temporary financial exigency—we shall not only squander for the benefit of a single generation, the inheritance of w posterity; we shall not only purchase an imperceptible good, by sacrificing a most important one; but by disregarding entirely the intentions of the original owners, we shall do our best to create a habit of paltering with the sacredness of a trust. It matters not that the property has now become res nullius, and is therefore, properly speaking, our own. It is xnotx of our earning; others gave it to us, and for purposes which it may be a ydutyy to set aside, but which cannot honestly be sacrificed to a zconveniencez . We have not the slightest reason to believe that if the owners were alive, and still masters of their property, they would give it to us to be blown away in gunpowder, or to save a few years’ house and window tax.
On a pressing exigency, as to avert a national bankruptcy, or repel a foreign invasion, the whole or any part of the endowment might be borrowed; as, in such a case, might any other property, public or private: but subject to the promptest possible repayment.
If any surplus remains, after as much has been done for cultivating the minds of the people, as it is thought advisable to do without making them pay athe cost ofa it, the residue may be unobjectionably applied to the ordinary purposes of government: though it should even then b be considered as a fund c liable to be drawn upon dto its full extentd , if hereafter required, for purposes of spiritual culture.
No endowment should be suffered to be made, or funds to be legally appropriated, for any purpose which is actually gunlawfulg . If the law has forbidden any act, has constituted it an offence or injury, heveryh mode of committing the act, inot some particular modes only, ought to be prohibitedi . But if the purpose for which the foundation is constituted be not illegal, but only, in the opinion of the Legislature, inexpedient, jthis is by no meansj a sufficient reason for denying to the appropriation the protection of the law. The grounds of this opinion may be sufficiently collected from the preceding observations.
The only other restriction which we would impose upon the authors of foundations, is, that the endowment shall not consist of land. The evils of allowing land to pass into mortmain are universally acknowledged; and the trustees, besides, ought to have no concern with the money entrusted to them, except to apply it to its purposes. They may desire landed property as a source of power, which is a reason the more for refusing it to them: but as a source of income, it is not suited to their position. They should konly havek to receive an annuity, and that in the simplest and least troublesome manner: not to realize a rental from a multitude of small tenants. Their time and attention ought not to be divided between their proper business and the duties of a landlord, or the superintendence and management of a landed estate.l
[a-a]33 We intend
[c]33 , nor of a conspicuous place in the pages of a work like the present
[e]33 : on which to postpone forming an opinion, would be to abdicate the rank of thinking beings, and consent to be driven by the mere force of circumstances
[f]33 , capable of looking a quarter of a session before him,
[g]33 first and
[h-h]33 to which we, as public writers, are now about to address ourselves; namely, to decide, what righteously
[i-i]33 we can touch it
[n-n]33 [paragraph] It is under this aspect, then, that we propose first to consider the subject of an interference with foundations. We leave it to others, or perhaps ourselves at another time, to discuss whether existing foundations require to be resumed. What must be first decided, and what we are now about to attempt to decide, is, whether the Legislature is at liberty to entertain the question.
[o]33 which we have now undertaken
[q-q]33 these excited times
[s-s]33 £100,100 [printer’s error corrected in pamphlet reprint]
[t-t]33 an infamous
[u-u]33 is his or no
[v]33 [paragraph] Our assertion with respect to the Church of England, and the trustees of all other national foundations, is, that the funds which they are in charge of are not theirs, but the nation’s, and that the nation may justly resume them. But we would rather a hundred times that the property should remain in the present hands, than that it should be taken otherwise than by a high and solemn act of duty. No use to which it would be possible to convert the endowments would do so much good, as an act of doubtful morality would do harm. The passions which prompt men to seize and take, are never let loose with impunity, and never require to be more tightly curbed than when they are indulged. If there be any one who, in supporting a general resumption of endowments, thinks of the convenience first, and of the justice only second, we have nothing in common with him. It is as much the bounden duty of a nation as of an individual, to exact from itself a survey of the moral bearings of an action, the more deliberate in proportion as it is itself a party concerned, and tempted to the proceeding by other motives than a sense of moral obligation.
[w-w]33 be, is not
[b-b]33 We prefer
[c-c]33 University of London
[d-d]33 never have subscribed
[e-e]33 so simple and obvious, that we may venture to express a doubt whether
[f-f]33 not be a long] 59 be but a moderate
[g-g]33 is, we fear, a sorry wisdom
[h]33 It is as if one who was an infant when his mother died, should dress himself all his life in a frock and petticoats, because his mother clothed him in them when he was a baby.
[m-m]33 the same
[* ] Mr. Thelusson, ancestor of the present Lord Rendlesham.
[[*] ]39 & 40 George III, c. 98.
[r]33 The affections have here usurped the judgment-seat, and pronounced in place of the intellect.
[t-t]33 if it be founded on conviction, we must be contemptible to blame:
[v]33 try to
[x]33 come, and
[y-y]33 of England
[a-a]33 we shall at all times lend an open ear
[f]33 we mean
[g-g]33 a man
[i-i]33 very few
[j-j]33 to continue
[p-p]33 had all been
[q-q]33, 59 come
[* ]Charities or liberalities of this kind are not always unconditional; they may be burthened with the performance of some duty. Still, if the duty be merely an incidental charge, and the main purpose of the endowment be a provision for the individuals, the Legislature, though it may release the incumbents from the performance of the duty, is not at liberty, on that pretext, to make them forfeit the right. This they ought to retain for their lives, or for the term of years for which it was conferred; provided they hold themselves in readiness to fulfil its conditions, so far as they lawfully may.
[t]33 for example,
[v-v]33 be sure
[w-w]33 for the convenience of classification; but it is a classification which only tends to mislead
[x-x]33 that not modestly, and in a tone of discussion, but angrily, abusively, and in the spirit of arrogant assumption
[* ]If any caviller should say [33 (and he must be a caviller who would say)] that the English common law is an exception, inasmuch as trusts are not recognised or enforced by the common law courts, the legal estate vesting in the trustee; we answer that we cannot consider anything as law which does not actually obtain as such, but is superseded by the contrary mandates of the rival power Equity.
[† ]In the case of endowments which, though existing for public purposes, are not national but local, such as the estates of the City of London, the cestui que trust is not the entire people, but some limited portion of them, namely, those who are directly reached by the benefit intended to be conferred. To apply such property to national purposes, without the consent, duly signified, of the fractional part of the nation which is interested in it, might be wrong. But that fractional portion is generally far larger than the body which the law now recognises as the proprietor. We hold [33 We are ready to maintain], for example, that if the Legislature (as it ought) should unite the whole of the metropolis into one body for municipal purposes, the [33 all the] estates of the City of London, and probably those of [33 and of all] the incorporated trades, might be applied to the benefit of that collective body without [33 a particle of] injustice.
[b-b]33 Though there might be inhumanity, there would be no injustice, in turning him out into the streets, when his services are no longer needed
[c-c]33 and [printer’s error? Altered in ink in JSM’s copy of pamphlet reprint, Somerville College]
[f-f]33 we think it will
[h-h]33, 59 condition
[i-i]33, 59 understanding
[j-j]33 to the very end of his days
[o-o]33 useful account
[q-q]33 we are not sure that we have said
[[*] ]Beaumarchais, Pierre Augustin Caron de. Le Barbier de Séville, III, xi. The line is spoken by Basile, not by Figaro.
[v]33 Show us the man, woman, or child who is to be robbed, and he shall be forthwith unrobbed; we will warrant him harmless at our own risk.
[w-w]33 no woman, and no
[x-x]33 any hard cash
[y-y]33 are for appropriating it at once
[[†] ]Butler, Samuel. Hudibras, I, i, 145-6.
[z-z]33 calling names
[d-d]33, 59 person
[f-f]33 After declaring
[g-g]33 cease to exist
[h-h]33 till the end of all things
[i-i]33 rights which it created, cease
[* ] To make the proposition absolutely unassailable, instead of “existing incumbents,” it should [59 perhaps] be said, persons actually in orders. All authorized expectations of unbeneficed clergymen, and beneficed expectants of promotion, would [59 expectations of unbeneficed expectants would] be satisfied by postponing the resumption for a sufficient number of years to enable their expectation, if well grounded, to become possession.
[l]33 Our argument, it is true, professes only to hold good in morality; we do not affect to believe it would hold good in law. What we propose would be contrary to law. Repealing a law is generally contrary to that law.
[t-t]33 and thereby
[* ] We know it is contended that there was no transfer of property at the Reformation from one church to another, but that it was still the same church, which had merely changed a portion of its opinions: but were not many prelates expelled from their sees, and parochial clergy from their benefices? And was not this done by the Act of Parliament which imposed the oath of supremacy [26 Henry VIII, c. 1], and not by the canonical authority of any merely ecclesiastical tribunal?
[v]33 unscriptural and
[x-x]33 some stupid younger son of a
[z-z]33 cutting off
[a-a]33 We have now arrived at the commencement of the second, and only remaining part of our task. We have contended
[b-b]33 purposes. It
[c]33 It is this.
[d-d]33 let the first object
[l]33 in an age
[m-m]59 for [printer’s error?]
[o-o]33 The principal foundation
[p-p]33 ; when, if it had lost some part of its capacity of evil, it could less than ever pretend to contain any spark of good; when it
[u-u]33 all their value
[v-v]33 false religion
[a-a]33 Then there
[[*] ]Lesage, Alain-René, Gil Blas de Santillane.
[f]33 except not to be molested by him, nor from government,
[g-g]33 that government
[h]33 We should not despair of proving, that only in certain critical and transitional periods of history is the government itself the cause of much evil, or would a change in the government produce much good: at all other times whatever evils exist in the government, are but the too faithful picture of the evils existing in the national mind: of little importance compared with these last, and incurable except in proportion as these are cured.
[i-i]33 While they are so much the greatest of
[l-l]33 misery indeed is felt, but is
[m-m]33 , moreover,
[o-o]33, 59 other
[q-q]33 beginning with
[* ] Happily now no longer so [because of, e.g., 17 & 18 Victoria, c. 81, and 19 & 20 Victoria, c. 88].
[v]33 a particle
[y-y]33 be the case under other circumstances
[d-d]33 we answer
[e]33 , as we have contended at so much length,
[f-f]33 it sees cause
[h-h]33 the above
[i-i]33 We can scarcely look forward to a time when it will not be extremely difficult to raise any considerable sum by taxation for any new purpose.
[j-j]33 never came
[l-l]33 be willing enough
[m]33 if the government chose
[n-n]33 we, for our share, will let the state do what it likes with the endowments, so soon as the legislature, being well constituted and composed of the élite of the nation, shall be of opinion that the generality of the private schools and colleges are equal to any which itself can provide.
[o]33 And it must be a very conceited government which would shut the door in the teeth of all wisdom but its own.
[p-p]33 unless they can
[s-s]33 national [printer’s error?]
[v]33 Such, perhaps, (but on this we do not pronounce a decided opinion) is a national gallery.
[w-w]33 a perpetuity is impossible
[x-x]33 We conceive that almost
[z-z]33 indiscriminately: otherwise
[a-a]33 A still more cogent consideration, is the immense importance to society
[d-d]33 (if not, strictly speaking, a violation of property)
[e]33 , as he himself did,
[g-g]33, 59 usefully
[h-h]33, 59 degree
[i-i]33 We are not to consider to what object we
[m-m]33 came [printer’s error?]
[n]33 [footnote:] *See his little work on Church and State. [On the Constitution of the Church and State. 2nd ed. London: Hurst, Chance, 1830.]
[o-o]33 clerks : whose highest concern indeed was religion, as it was of all other men; but
[q-q]33 or [printer’s error?]
[r]33 so as
[s-s]33, 59 intellects
[t-t]33 the present
[v-v]33 We may add, that the
[a-a]33, 59 for
[b]33 , we think,
[e-e]33 We have still to add a few words
[i-i]33 or of instigating others to commit it, ought to be prohibited: not some particular modes only
[j-j]33 we do not deem this to be
[k-k]33 have only
[l]33 [paragraph] The very first step in a general revision of Foundations, and one which would be desirable even if the reform should go no further, would be to dispose of the estates of all the public trusts in Great Britain, by sale to the highest bidder, and to invest the proceeds in the stocks or other monied securities. If the legislature were then to assert its right of control over all endowments of an origin anterior to a certain recent date, the exercise of this control should become a regular department of the administration, and the expenditure of the interest should be brought under the consideration of parliament in an annual report. For until the execution of these trusts shall be subject to the common responsibility which attaches to other public functions, the endowments (at least the greater part of them), for any useful purpose, might fully as well not exist.