Wednesday, 7th March 1883.
The Right Honourable LORD COLERIDGE, in the Chair.
His Grace the Duke of Bedford, K.G.
The Right Hon. Viscount Sherbrooke.
The Right Hon. Sir Richard Assheton Cross,
Sir Nathaniel M. de Rothschild, Bart., M.P.
Sir Sidney H. Waterlow, Bart., M.P.
Mr. Alderman Cotton, M.P.
Mr. Pell, M.P.
Mr. Walter H. James, M.P.
Mr. Joseph Firth, M.P.
Mr. Thomas Burt, M.P.
Mr. H. D. Warr, Secretary.
The following gentlemen attended as a deputation
from the Goldsmiths' Company :—
Sir Frederick Bramwell, F.R.S., and
Mr. Walter Prideaux.
2583. (Chairman to Sir Frederick Bramwell.) I
understand you attend on behalf of the Goldsmiths'
Company, and that you desire to offer some observations on their behalf?—I do, in company with Mr.
Prideaux. Those observations your lordship has also
in print, I believe.
2584. Yes, I have read them.—We desire and
trust that they may be taken as having been given
here as oral evidence.
2585. Have you anything to add to this statement ?
—Nothing has occurred to me since that was drawn
up. I do not know whether anything has to Mr.
2586. You will understand me as wishing my questions not to take the shape of cross-examining you,
because I do not wish to do so; I have no desire to do
more than to possess the Commission and myself of
exactly what I understand to be your contention; as
I understand, you contend that the great bulk of the
property of the Goldsmiths' Company is absolutely
their private property; is that so ?—Yes.
2587. And that it is subject to no legal restraint
2588. And might, if the Company chose, be divided
amongst the members of the Company to-morrow ?—
Legally, I presume it might be. I have not in the
slightest degree suggested that anything of the kind
would be done.
2589. Neither do I suggest it; I only say that it
might be so, according to your view.—I hardly like
to talk law to your lordship, but certainly that is our
view; and I am fortified in that by the opinion of the
Lord Chancellor, with whom I had the honour of
attending the Commission on a former occasion.
2590. I suppose your legal position, in your view,
would be the same if the Companies, or your Company, had 10 times or 20 times the amount of property
that they now possess ?—That is so.
2591. Or if they owned half England ?—Or if they
owned half England. It does not appear to me that
the fact that I have got something which is doubly
coveted, makes it doubly the property of somebody
who would like to get it.
2592. And in your view, the State would be guilty
of spoliation, as I understand ["confiscation," I think,
is the expression that you make use of], or something
approaching to confiscation, if in the general interest
it interfered with the holding of property on the part
of any one, however exaggerated and large that holding might be ?—I should certainly think so. It is the
first time I ever heard it suggested that there should
be a limit to the property held by an individual
2593. I suggest nothing.—I will not say that your
lordship suggests it. It is a new proposition to me
that there should be a limit to property held in one
Deputation from Goldsmiths' Company. 7 March 1883.
2594. Even when those lands are mortmain ?—I
believe so; but as these are legal points, I should
prefer your lordship would allow Mr. Prideaux to
break in and give answers upon these matters.
2595. I only want to know what is the extent to
which you push your view.—The extent to which I
push my view is that which your lordship has stated,
viz., that the property is legally ours, except that part
of it on which there are direct trusts.
2596. And that the right of the State to interfere,
is neither more nor less in the case of very large properties held in mortmain than it is in the case of very
small properties held in the hands of private persons ?
—Upon that point I should be glad if your lordship
would allow Mr. Prideaux to answer. So far as I am
competent to express an opinion, I should say "Yes"
to that, but if Mr. Prideaux might answer it I should
2597. (Sir Richard Cross.) As I understand, you
consider that it is the origin of the property more
than the size of it which you have to look at, that is
to say, how you got the property ?—How we got the
property. It appears to me to be a somewhat dangerous doctrine to say, "I will consider whether this
property is large or small, and if it is small you may
keep it; if it is not I will consider whether it shall
not be taken from you."
2598. (Sir Sydney Waterlow.) Do you know what
proportion of the property held by the Goldsmiths'
Company consists of property formerly held for superstitious uses, and which was purchased by the Goldsmiths' Company from the Crown in the reign of
Edward VI., and the holding of which was confirmed
by the present Act of 4 James I. ?—I know it by referring to the Returns. But if you will be good enough
to allow Mr. Prideaux to speak upon that point, he
can do it with more particularity than I can.
2599. May I ask you whether your Company has,
since the establishment of the Charity Commission,
applied to the Commissioners for any scheme of alteration of the administration of your settled charities ?—
I know as a matter of fact that they have, but again I
would refer to Mr. Prideaux for the detail.
2600. Now I turn to another subject. In your
observations you state that at the commencement of
this century the income of the Company was very
small. Can you inform us what it was at any earlier
period, say five or six centuries ago?—I cannot; but
again I refer you to Mr. Prideaux.
2601. May I ask you whether you consider that
there is, or is not, a very close connexion between the
Livery Companies and the Corporation of London ?—
I should have thought it but a remote connexion.
2602. You are probably aware that as late as the
14th century the Livery Companies appointed the
common councilmen, each Company sending so many ?
—I was not aware of that; I am speaking of the
2603. Then as to the present connexion, you are
aware that the Livery Companies appoint the Lord
Mayor, I suppose?—I am aware that they vote, I
think, for two aldermen, and the Court of Aldermen
from them appoint the Lord Mayor.
2604. Is it not that they can vote for any two
aldermen of the 26, although custom has led them to
select two in rotation?—I believe so, but it is not in
their power, as I understand, to appoint which of
those two shall be Lord Mayor.
2605. No; they must select two from the 26, must
they not ?—Yes.
2606. And the aldermen must elect one of the two ?
2607. Then practically they appoint the Lord
Mayor, do they not ?—Yes; but in my judgment they do
not do that as liverymen but as freemen, that is to say,
suppose a man is a liveryman of a Company and not
a freeman of the City of London, he does not appoint,
and that is why I say the connexion is a remote one.
My opinion is subject to correction, but I believe that
if a man be a liveryman of a Company and not a freeman of the City of London he has no voice in the
election of Lord Mayor.
2608. Precisely so, but as a matter of fact are not
99 out of every 100 freemen of the City of London as
well as liverymen ?—That I cannot tell you. I cannot
say what the proportion is, but I do know of instances
where there are men who are liverymen of Companies,
who are not freemen of the City of London.
2609. Precisely, but is it not a fact that unless they
are free of the City of London they cannot exercise
the privilege of voting as liverymen in the Parliamentary elections ?—I do not know how that is. I
am not aware that that is so, but I am speaking now in
reference to the voting for the election of Lord Mayor.
2610. Then will not that lead you to the conclusion
that the large majority of the liverymen are free of
the Corporation of the City of London ?—I think the
large majority probably are.
2611. And that they have the sole right of electing
the Lord Mayor ?—In the manner I have mentioned.
2612. And the sheriffs ?—I believe so.
2613. From all qualified persons ?—I believe so.
2614. And the Chamberlain and Treasurer of the
City of London ?—I do not know whether they have
the right of electing the Chamberlain, but the bridge
masters, I believe, they have.
2615. Have not the Court of Aldermen as a part of
the Corporation a very large power of control over
the persons who are admitted to the Companies as
liverymen ?—I was not aware that they had any.
2616. Have you not known orders made from time
to time directing that persons should be regarded as
members of particular companies ?—Not to my knowledge.
2617. I have here three extracts from the proceedings of the Court of Aldermen. The first is, "Upon
the application of William Charles Woollett, who
was bound apprentice to Frank Singer, citizen and
grocer, and duly served him seven years, but having
contracted matrimony within the term, could not
obtain the freedom of this city, and therefore prayed
to be admitted into the Company of Grocers; it is
ordered that he be admitted into the freedom of
this city by servitude, and in the said Company of
Grocers." Is it not a fact that these records occur
at almost every Court of Aldermen ?—That I do not
know, and I do not know even if they do how far
they are operative. I am perfectly aware that by the
custom of our Company when a man has contracted
matrimony during his apprenticeship there is no objection to his being made a freeman of the Company,
but I am informed there is an objection to his being
made a freeman of the City; which objection the
Court of Aldermen has power to do away with; but
although it may be competent to them to order that
he shall be made a freeman of the City, I do know
that it is not competent to them to order that he
shall be made a freeman of the Goldsmiths' Company.
2618. I will not trouble you by reading any other
extracts, but you may take it from me that I have
many others, and that the same thing occurs in all of
them ?—I take it that the Court of Aldermen are in
the habit of making such resolutions, but how far
they are operative in that part which relates to the
Companies I must leave to those who know more of
the subject than I do. It certainly is new to me in
respect of the Goldsmiths' Company.
2619. Looking at the fact that the liverymen of
the City of London appoint these important officers
of the Corporation, the Lord Mayor and the others,
do not you think that that shows a close connexion ?
—No, that is what I call a remote connexion. I
should like to explain precisely what I mean by it. As
I understand it they only appoint if they are, as I have
said, freemen of the City; and it appears to me perfectly reasonable, and that the Corporation may have
said, "We have a number of freemen—we will not
have the whole of those as electors, but we will
have so many of them as happen to be liverymen
of companies, as giving them a status." But that
does not appear to me to be a very close connexion.
I believe that is the only connexion, and that does
not appear to me to be a very close one. If I may
put this illustration; I am a visitor of the Cooper's
Hill College. The authorities of Cooper's Hill College choose that I and certain other gentlemen shall
be visitors of that college; but I do not think that
that gives me a close connexion with Cooper's Hill
2620. May I put the proposition the other way.
Instead of liverymen appointing the officers of the
Corporation, suppose the Corporation appointed the
master and wardens, the accountant, the beadle, and
the clerks of the livery companies, would not you
think that a very close connexion ?—Yes.
2621. Is it not a fact that the liverymen appoint
the lord mayor, the sheriffs, the treasurer, and the
other officers similarly ?—No; to my mind certainly
not, because I have given you this reason, they do not
appoint as liverymen but they appoint as freemen,
which to my mind is a great distinction.
2622. May I call your attention to what the chairman has already referred to. They do not as liverymen meet in Common Hall, but is it not a fact that
lists are furnished to the beadle to see that none other
than liverymen enter the Hall, and is it not the rule
also that none other than liverymen shall enter the
Hall ?—But, Sir Sydney, you appear to overlook that
which I point out as a great distinction that although
it may be the fact that none other than liverymen
shall enter the Hall, it is equally the fact that liverymen who are not freemen shall not enter the Hall.
That is what I am pointing out.
2623. Because a liveryman who is not a freeman is
not a perfect liveryman ?—That I cannot assent to for
2624. He has not all the rights and privileges,
has he ?—Yes, he has all the privileges of a liveryman
according to my view.
2625. He cannot vote as a liveryman if he is not
free of the city, can he ?—He can do all that a liveryman need do within his own company, but he has not
the right to vote because he is not a freeman of the
City of London.
2626. You admit that he cannot vote ?—He cannot
vote; that is not one of his privileges as a liveryman,
but one of the privileges of a liveryman who happens
to be a freeman, which is a very different thing.
2627. Do you consider that the Livery Companies
and the Corporation have kindred rights and privileges in common, which they hold by charter or by
prescription from the Crown ?—I am not able to
answer that question, because I do not know what the
rights of the Corporation are. I should think it is
very likely they may be different interests, and not
interests in common, but I am not able to say. That
is the short answer.
2628. Is it not a fact that three or four of the
liverymen, sometimes more and sometimes less, proceed
with the Corporation of London periodically to claim
from the Crown all the rights, privileges, and immunities of the City of London ?—That I would rather
not answer, I not being able to tell you.
2629. I will call your attention to the last occasion,
the 9th of November last, do you think it possible
that the Goldsmiths' Company could have appointed a
deputation for that purpose without your knowing it ?
—I do not know to what you allude. I do not know
what deputation you speak of.
2630. Have you not appointed a deputation to join
with the Corporation in claiming the rights, privileges,
and immunities of the City ?—I have not sufficient
information upon the matter to answer you. I leave
that to Mr. Prideaux.
2631. Then I will disclose more clearly what I
mean. I have in my hand here an account of the
proceedings of the 9th of November last, and I find,
among other companies, that the Goldsmiths' Company attended on that occasion by their master, their
warden, the clerk of the Company, the beadle of the
Company, members of the Courts of Assistants in
carriages, and their banners, to form part of the procession proceeding to the Barons of the Exchequer to
join with the Corporation in claiming from the Crown
the rights, privileges, and immunities of the Corporation of the City of London ?—I do not know what it is
that they claim from the Crown at that time, or whether
they join in that claim at all. That they join in the
procession may be the fact, but that may be done
to do honour to a person or a body of persons without
being associated with that body.
2632. Is not the legal object of the procession to
claim the legal right, privileges, and immunities ?—I
do not know; that I leave to Mr. Prideaux. The
"legal object" I do not know. I thought the object
of the procession was to keep up an old custom which
was very much liked by a good many people.
2633. Is it the custom for apprentices to be bound
in the presence of the master and wardens at the hall
of the Goldsmiths' Company to members of the Goldsmiths' Company ?—Yes.
2634. Are the persons who take the apprentices, as
a rule, goldsmiths by trade ?—Not as a rule; but
very many of them are. They all are in the sense, of
course, of being freemen of the Goldsmiths' Company,
but if you mean goldsmiths by trade—
2635. I mean goldsmiths by trade ?—Then, certainly not, but very many of them are.
2636. Should you think one fifth of them are ?—
Yes, more I should say.
2637. More ?—Yes, I believe so.
2638. Then some of them are not?—Some of them
2639. Do they bind the apprentices under the
ordinary form of the City indenture ?—I do not know
what the form of the City indenture is.
2640. Mr. Prideaux has it in his hands ?—I was
bound, but it is a good many years ago, and I have
forgotten the form of my indenture. (A document
was handed to the witness.) "This indenture witnesseth that (—) doth put himself apprentice
to (—), a citizen and goldsmith of London,
to learn his art of" so-and-so.
2641. That, I think, is delivered under seal, is it
not ?—Yes, I believe so.
2642. And is witnessed by the clerk of the Company ?—Yes, I presume so.
2643. Then in the case of persons who are not
goldsmiths, how does the Company get over being
parties to a document under seal which they sanction
by their presence and which it is impossible for either
party to perform ?—I do not see any impossibility;
the obligation is not that he is to teach him the art of
2644. Yes, surely it is ?—I beg your pardon; the
obligation is that he shall teach him the particular art
that he himself follows.
2645. Is it not the "art and mystery of a goldsmith "?—Certainly not.
2646. Then do you say that a person who may be
a tallow chandler and a liveryman of your Company,
if he takes an apprentice, is to teach him the art and
mystery of a tallow chandler ?—A freeman of our
2647. May he take an apprentice and bind himself
to teach only the mystery and art of a tallow chandler ?
2648. Then do I understand, as to the apprentices
taken at Goldsmiths' Hall, that the parties who take
them are in a position to teach them that which they
undertake by indenture ?—Yes, and we never allow a
man to take an apprentice unless he really bonâ fide
intends to teach him the particular business that he
himself carries on.
2649. I am very glad to hear it, because the last
witness we had on this subject gave entirely different
evidence?—Not with respect to the Goldsmiths' Company.
2650. No. I know there are other companies in a
similar position to yours; at the same time we know
there are others in a very different position ?—
2651. Some of the representatives of companies
who have attended before the Commission have verbally, and some of them in documents laid before us,
expressed an opinion that it would be fair for the
Livery Companies to pay succession duty in some
form or other, either by an annual payment or by
some compensatory payment in a form to be agreed
upon. May I ask whether, speaking for yourself, or
for the Company, you coincide with the opinion which
has been expressed by the other companies in that
respect ?—We do.
2652. And looking at the fact that the property
descends in the Livery Companies partly by patrimony,
and sometimes to strangers, should you consider that
half the duty payable by strangers would be a fair
amount to take, or would you rather not express any
opinion as to the amount ?—I would rather not express any opinion as to the amount. I have not
studied the details of the question, but the principle I
think would be fair that something as representing
succession duty should be paid.
2653. It has been suggested before the Commission
that it might be advantageous, and that it might not
be objectionable if the Livery Companies filed accounts
of their corporate property with some Government
office, the same as Fire Insurance Companies file their
accounts, and for the same reason, because every Company, although they hold their property by the same
rights as private individuals according to their own
claim (which I do not wish to dispute at present),
hold it also in trust for those members of their body
who come after them. May I ask whether, under
those circumstances, you would think it objectionable
if they had to file a copy of their accounts with some
Government office ?—I should think it undesirable
and unnecessary. I am not asked to file a copy of
my accounts for income tax. People take my word
for it. If I make a false return I get into trouble;
and in the case of succession duty also, it appears to
me it might very well be that the Company should
make their own return with the liabilities which
attach to a man who makes a false return as to his
2654. Then in fact, you think it would be sufficient
simply to give the same kind of return as that which
is given to the Income Tax Commissioners now ?—I
should have thought so.
2655. (Mr. Pell.) You state I think in the returns
of your Company that the trust funds applied to
charitable purposes amount to something like 10,000l.
a year ?—Between 9,000l, and 10,000l. a year.
2656. We will take them at about 10,000l. The
application of those funds I suppose is limited to
persons who are in some way connected with the
Company ?—I am not quite sure that that is so in
every instance, but of course it is limited to the class
of persons designated in the trusts.
2657. Could you at all say what the number of
persons is to begin with among whom this 10,000l. a
year is distributed by way of charity ?—You have the
actual returns of the numbers. I can refer to the
2658. I tried to make it out from the return, but I
could not ?—A matter of minute detail of that kind, if
you please, I would rather leave to be answered by
2659. If you could give it me within a score or even
within a hundred I should be glad ?—I could only do
it by referring to the return. I do not keep it in my
2660. It appears from the return to be about 326,
at all events may we take this as an answer, that this
sum of 10,000l. a year is distributed among persons
who are directly connected with the Company as freemen's children, it does not go beyond that, does it;
the charities are not general, are they ?—No, generally
not. They are generally the poor of the Company;
but I think you will find in certain charities, especially
the Blind Charity, if I am not mistaken, Mr. Prideaux will correct me if I am wrong, that it is not
confined to the poor of the Company.
2661. You do something for the Blind Charity I
know ?—I mean for individuals; I do not mean in
donations towards the Blind Institution or anything
of that kind, but pensions to individuals.
2662. I do not know who prepared this abstract of
the tables of your Company, but I suppose it is taken
from your own returns. I am reading from that abstract which is taken from the returns of the Company,
and it is stated there that "the advantages of membership consist to freemen in the prospect of charitable
assistance"?—I think it states something more than
2663. "For themselves, their widows, and daughters"?—Yes, that is a paraphrase. I have got the
actual return before me.
2664. I will ask you this question, do you consider
that to be an advantage to a man starting in life, to
select his line of life with reference to the prospect of
receiving at some period of it a very large amount of
charitable assistance ?—Yes, I certainly do, and I
should like to give my reason for that answer. If a
man falls into poverty unless he gets relief of this
kind, or unless he has got relatives who can relieve
him he has nothing but the poor law to fall back upon.
Now you cannot have a first and second class poor
law, and to my mind there is nothing so shocking as
the position of people who have been better off, and
who are left to the relief which must expose them, if
they go into the workhouse, to associations which in
themselves are simply terrible to people of this kind.
I will put it in this way, a man falls into trouble who
has a brother in a good position; what would be
thought of that brother if he did not help him ? He
would be thought very badly of, all political economy
apart. Another man falls into trouble who has got
no brother. What is the objection to the last one
being dealt with as though he had a brother and
raised up ? I know that people say it tends to cause
habits of carelessness and things of that kind. I do
not think that for one moment, and I do not think for
one moment that when a man comes into these Companies he comes into them for purposes of relief, and
if it is not taking up the time of the Commission too
long I should like to give two instances where the
establishment of a means of relieving members has
been found to be a necessity. I belong to the
Institution of Civil Engineers, a body that is 65
years old. For a long time they had no benevolent
fund. I do not want to arrogate to myself the credit,
but it is a fact that 17 years ago I got that fund established. It has existed now for 17 years, and the
result is that we give secret relief to our members.
We enable them to tide over their difficulties. No
one except the Committee knows who has had the
relief and it has been of the very greatest benefit.
But I think I may refer to Lord Coleridge, when I
speak of another profession, and one of which he is an
ornament, the members of which some years after the
establishment of the Civil Engineers' Fund found it
necessary to institute the very self-same kind of fund
in connexion with the Inns of Court. I look upon
this as one of the things which is of a most desirable
2665. I want to call your attention to the advantage stated to consist in the prospect of charitable
assistance. Now I will ask you to direct your atten
tion not so much to the end of a person's life as to
the beginning. I suppose that which stimulates human
beings very largely to exert themselves is the knowledge that unless there is some interfering agency of
this sort they will suffer for it at the end of their
lives if they do not do the best they can for themselves ?—Well, it is a low stimulus; however, it may
be a stimulus.
2666. Is it not, at all events, a natural stimulus ?—
It is one, but I should hope that the absence of it
would not prevent a man from doing his duty, to use
the words of the catechism, in that station of life
in which it has pleased God to place him, but one
has a better chance under such circumstances.
2667. I ask you whether it is not a natural stimulus;
one that is inherent in all men ?—Yes, it is one, no
doubt. I should like, if you please, to have the exact
words of our return which do not appear to be in the
paraphrase which you have there. May I read
2668. By all means ?—"A freeman of the Company has no advantages, as such, except that if he
be a deserving man and in need of pecuniary assistance he is eligible to receive, and would certainly
receive, aid from the Company, either by pension
or donation." I must say that when I took up my
freedom I did not do it with the object of at some
time obtaining pecuniary relief from the Company,
and I trust I may never have occasion for it.
2669. I suppose you would admit, would you not,
that a great many members do connect themselves
with a Company with that view ?—No, I do not
believe it. If you will let me put it to you I would
do so in this way : he cannot connect himself with a
Company unless he be eligible to take up his freedom
from patrimony, eligible to take it up from servitude,
or else that he is sufficiently well off to purchase it.
2670. I think you state in your returns that the
Company is under some apprehension as to the effect
of this enormous sum which is spent in this way, and
the probabilities of its increasing very much ?—Would
you be kind enough to refer me to the statement to
which you allude ?
2671. It is page 14 of the Return of the Company,
you say "An examination of this Return will
show that four fifths of the income of all the
charity property vested in the Goldsmiths' Company is applicable to the poor of the Company";
and then, furthermore, it is stated that an addition is
made to that. I suppose out of the corporate fund,
as if that was not quite sufficient; and then, "No
deserving member of the Company, no deserving
widow, or unmarried or widow daughter, of a freeman falls into poverty or decay without receiving
on application to the Company pecuniary assistance." Then further, I think you, or the Company, or whoever wrote this for you, say, "The
number of persons applying for pecuniary relief,
however, diminishes year by year, and the time
may probably come, when the improved annual
value of the Company's trust property and a diminution of the number of persons requiring relief,
will render it desirable for the Company to take
into consideration the expediency of applying some
portion of the income of the trust estates under a
scheme to be approved by the Charity Commissioners, in a manner different from that provided
by the wills of benefactors." Do you agree with
that ?—I agree with that, certainly.
2672. Does not that imply some apprehension in
the minds of the Company, or whoever wrote this,
that some mischief, if it has not already come to the
society by this distribution of money, may come either
by the funds that have to be applied to this purpose
becoming so very very much larger, or by the number
of applicants becoming fewer ?—I do not see any apprehension whatever. We have certain Trust funds
which at present very nearly satisfy the demands upon
them. The applicants it appears are becoming fewer
and thereupon we say when that stage of things
arrives, we will go to the Charity Commissioners for
a scheme for the appropriation of such funds as we
have not applicants for according to the present
scheme; I should have not applied the word "apprehension" to that, I should apply "foresight" or
"forethought," or any other term indicative of good
2673. The number of applicants who receive relief
if I understand you, I do not know whether I gather
that from this return, would depend upon the
character that they bear ?—The number does not
depend upon the character; that is to say if you have
a sufficient number of good character and sufficient
funds to relieve them, and also the other conditions as
to age; but we make the strictest possible inquiry
into the character of the applicants by personal visits
and examination of every kind and description, and
no person not of good character gets relief or keeps
a pension, for these are only given during pleasure.
2674. Therefore this relief does not go to the poor
of the Company generally, but to so many of the poor
of the Company as the Company thinks have a
sufficiently good character to entitle them to receive
it?—Quite so, it is not lavished upon unworthy
objects. It is lavished upon those of good character
who need it, or rather not lavished but spent.
2675. With reference to the old term with which
we are so familiar "the deserving widow" and "the
deserving poor," I am curious to know what is the
standard of a deserving person in your Company and
how you arrive at the test you apply ?—Here is a book
(producing same) which comes before the Court when
the matter has to be considered, and if you will be
good enough to open it anywhere you will find the
amount of information that we insist upon having
before any relief whatever is given.
2676. I will take the first case ?—Here is another
book of men's cases (producing same).
2677. "Fanny Wall age 56, the unmarried daughter
of a freeman, and she is at present residing in Wales
with her friends and dependent upon them and the
donation from the Company." Did she come up
from Wales to satisfy you or those who examined her
as to whether she was deserving or not ?—I do not
know that she came up from Wales, but you will
see by the reference there that that must have been
not a first application.
2678. I took this quite by chance ?—Quite so, and
you see the words "and the donation from the Company." It is clear, therefore, that she had applied
on a previous occasion.
2679. May I ask has that woman ever been seen,
has she ever been up to London to give any account
of herself, or how did you ascertain that she is
deserving ?—I cannot tell you whether that particular woman ever came up. Those who reside in
London certainly are seen, and in many cases we pay
their fares to come up to London, but one is content
to take a good deal of evidence from the parson of
the parish and persons of that character.
2680. You fall back upon the clergymen ?—Yes.
2681. Is his opinion invariably taken with reference
to these people?—I do not know about "invariably
taken," but if I get a recommendation from a clergyman of the Church of England, or any other minister,
I think I have a very good foundation to start from.
2682. That a person was deserving?—I say I
think that, if I have got a recommendation from a
clergyman or any other minister, I have a good
foundation to start from. But we should not limit
ourselves to that. We should not say at once that
having got the recommendation that precludes all
inquiry; on the contrary we make every inquiry.
2683. Supposing the father of this woman had
been an improvident man, and she herself had perhaps
not done the best that she could have done for herself,
would that be taken into consideration, would that
affect her character as a deserving person ?—As far
as her own conduct was concerned, unless there had
been reform, that would be taken into consideration
as affecting her character. As far as the sins of the
parents are concerned we should not think of visiting
them upon her.
2684. You do not visit the sins of the parents upon
the children ?—No.
2685. Now as to the deserving widow, take a case
of that sort—suppose the husband had been an improvident man and had made no provision for the
widow, what view would you take of such a case as
that ?—We should inquire into the character of the
woman herself, and if we thought that she was doing
all that she could and struggling to keep herself, as
these poor creatures do, trustworthy, honest, sober,
and respectable, we should not visit her husband's sins
2686. You would not go so far as to inquire whether
she, during her married life, had tried to check her
husband ?—No; I should think that those are details
which one could hardly go into. All I can say is,
that we make a very exhaustive inquiry.
2687. As long as she is a deserving widow you are
content; if she had not been a deserving wife it would
not be a matter of so much importance ?—I cannot
help thinking that that is a technical criticism. As
long as she was a deserving woman and in a state of
widowhood, we should relieve her. If she had been
a very unsatisfactory wife, and there was no great
change since, we should not relieve her. I should like
to put this case to you. I will not mention names,
because these reports are printed, but in my young days
you could not take up a pack of cards without seeing
the name of a particular card maker upon it, a man in
very good business indeed, who was a freeman of this
Company. That man died, his business fell away, he
left children without any sufficient property; the little
that they had dwindled year by year, and at the present moment one of his daughters (who, I should think,
is 75 years of age) is living, having been brought up
in the better middle class with all its associations and
surroundings; and there is nothing but this Company
between that unhappy lady and the workhouse. Now
that is my notion of a deserving case, and such as
that these companies very properly relieve.
2688. Where does that unhappy lady live now.
Does she live in England ?—Yes.
2689. What part ?—In London.
2690. In the City ?—No; she cannot afford to live
in the City; she lives in the suburbs.
2691. Has she no one to lend her a helping hand ?
—She has no one to lend a helping hand. Every one
who would have done so has died off. I know the
2692. Is that very creditable to the community in
which we live ?—I think it would be very discreditable
to the community it the work which is done by bodies
such as these companies (which is very often difficult
work) were left to be done by private individuals.
2693. I think there are about 1,000 freemen, are
there not, in your Company ?—It is a matter of estimate by an actuary, but that is what is supposed.
2694. About 1,000 ?—Yes.
2695. And out of that number does it not appear
from this return that you have something like 300, or
more than 300, persons in receipt of charity which,
as far as I understand you, is required to find the
necessaries of life, because I understood you to say
with respect to this widow (which we take as an
example) that it was not for any little luxury or any
little amenities of life that these charities are formed,
but absolutely to keep her from the workhouse ?—To
keep her from the workhouse.
2696. And to provide her with bread ?—30l. a year,
which I think is about the very outside amount that
we give, will not provide very many luxuries even for
2697. Does it strike you that there is an unusually
large amount of destitution in connexion with this
number of 1,000 and odd freemen, something under
1,100 ?—I do not know that there is, having regard to
the fact that they belong to the artisan class, they have
kept themselves during their lives without being able
to save much, and then they have come to us in old
age, some of them paralysed and blind, and otherwise
incapable of work.
2698. Have not you in that answer made a great
reflection upon, and one that is most damaging to,
your own craft, namely, that these people have been
employed, as I understand you, by goldsmiths, and
have received such inadequate wages that they have
not been able to lay anything by for future sustenance ?
—I cannot help it if that is the course of trade. I am
not here to state what is the course of trade.
2699. Surely it must be so; either the employers of
these people have been paying proper wages (I am
talking of the whole craft. I am not going to take one
particular case), and those who have received the wages
have been improvident, which, I think, is not unlikely
with the temptations held out before them by these
charities, or, on the other hand, that your craft themselves who are goldsmiths have been paying inadequate
wages in the hope that the charities of the Company
will at the end of life make good that which ought to
have been supplied by the employers in the beginning ?
—To begin with, your fraction is entirely wrong;
you put down as the numerator of the fraction of
which the denominator is the whole number of freemen, all the wives, widows, and daughters as well as
the actual freemen themselves. Now if you will but
eliminate those and take the number of freemen receiving relief as the numerator, you will see that your
fraction is a very different one indeed.
2700. Perhaps I am not well informed ?—We have
no free women.
2701. I thought the daughters were begotten by
freemen ?—They do not count among the 1,000.
You have a numerator and a denominator. The
denominator is 1,000. I say that you make use of a
numerator which is not the true numerator; you
import into the numerator persons who do not belong
to the class of the 1,000.
2702. The freemen themselves, I think, are given
here ?—And do not amount to 300.
2703. Still these are the daughters of the freemen ?
2704. And the freemen, you would admit, are
bound to make provision for their children ?—If they
can. I have felt it my duty to do so.
2705. Do you imagine that in other businesses or
other employments—we will not go so low as the
agricultural labourer—that this is the condition of the
workpeople generally in England, because it is a very
sad picture, that they require such enormous sums of
money to enable them to terminate their days in anything short of destitution ?—I cannot compare. I
know that I belong to a profession which has 4,000
members belonging to their institution, and I know
that their case is a very bad one, but, as I say, we
have not the fraction before us of the 1,000 freemen
who thus receive relief.
2706. Now let me go back to the sort of examination that these people undergo, because it is an enormous sum of money, it appears to me, that is distributed either right or left. I do not say that
offensively ?—I cannot agree with you in that view,
I think, when we find that we are not distributing
more than 30l. a head. The fact that we have a
large number of worthy recipients may be a matter to
be deplored, but not a matter to be complained of.
2707. Will you tell me the course which is pursued before one of these persons gets on to the relief
list. Who do they speak to first?—They apply to
the office of the Company.
2708. They do not appear in the first instance,
they petition ?—They petition.
2709. They send in a written petition ?—Yes.
2710. Can we see the form of that petition, is there
a printed form for that purpose ?—No.
2711. Then what takes place next ?—It is read at
the next court; it is then ordered or not according to
the opinion of the court (and they almost always
order these cases for examination) to be referred to
2712. Is that the Committee which deals with the
charity ?—It is a committee of the court formed of
13 members, four wardens and nine members of the
Court of Assistants. They, if they think well, direct
inquiry to be made; then it comes up at the next
court for confirmation. An inquiry is personally made
by the beadle of the Company in all cases where he
can obtain access to the person to be relieved.
2713. The first direction of the Committee is that
the beadle should inquire into it ?—It follows as a
matter of course; it is his duty to do it.
2714. Does the beadle inquire into the moral
character of these people ?—Yes.
2715. Is he a good judge of morality?—He is not
the judge, he is the person who makes the inquiries,
we are the judges.
2716. Does he judge of the morality of these
people by their appearance or by their dress, or what
takes place. I want to know exactly what takes place ?
—He makes the usual inquiries that a prudent man
would make whose business it is to ascertain the facts,
and the answers to those inquiries having been written are read out to us, and if we do not think them
sufficient we order further inquiries to be made.
2717. Still keeping the beadle as the inquiring
officer?—Still keeping the beadle as the inquiring
2718. He takes the statement of the applicant, I
suppose ?—He is furnished with the petition; he then
goes and makes full inquiry into the circumstances.
As to how the beadle inquires into the circumstances,
I should say that I presume he does it very much in
the way one of us would do it if we were sent.
2719. And when does the clergyman come in ?—
2720. I thought in one earlier case you stated that
probably in such a case as that the clergyman would
come in?—I thought you meant the chaplain of the
Company. The clergyman comes in when we want
corroboration that we may not be able to get by personal inquiry, but it need not be of necessity that of a
clergyman. It may be a magistrate or any person of
position, a person whom you believe to be a gentleman, and whose word you would trust.
2721. Are any of these recipients of charities Dissenters?—I do not know. We do not inquire into
their religion. We inquire into their moral character.
2722. Does it come to this, that the beadle is the
person who inquires into their moral character, and
who lays the facts before the court, and that the court
are the persons who judge of the facts ?—Yes.
2723. But you get the idea of morality strained
through the beadle, and the facts of the case ?—The
beadle makes inquiry, and then the applicant comes
before the court before the donation is given.
2724. And through the intermediate agency of the
beadle 10,000l. a year goes out to the deserving poor,
deserving in the view of the beadle ?—You can put it
in that way if you please. I know that the word
beadle has become a sort of joke, that the beadle is a
man in a cocked hat and with a staff in his hand, and
so on, but I do say that we have a competent and
intelligent person. It is the particular duty of his
office, as a competent and intelligent person, to collect
the facts, those facts are brought before the court,
and are weighed, and if they are not thought to be
sufficient, others are asked for, and finally the applicant
himself or herself is seen.
2725. I do not wish in any way to make any reflection upon the beadle, and I will use another word.
I know the office of beadle has been connected with
Oliver Twist and all sorts of things, and I do not
wish to treat it in that way for a moment. I have no
doubt that your beadle is a well-paid man and an efficient man, but may I ask another question ? In the
selection of the beadle,—I will come to that,—do the
Goldsmiths' Company endeavour to obtain a man who
shall be a judge of morals, and a judge of nature and
character, because that seems to me to be very important ?—We endeavour to obtain a man who shall
be a man of very considerable intelligence, as a matter
of fact, the man that we have got at present was
master of St. George's workhouse.
2726. Which St. George's ?—St. George's, Hanover
Square, I believe, a position which we thought was
not a bad training for a man who was required to discriminate between imposition and non-imposition.
2727. You are surely aware that the master of a
workhouse has nothing to do with inquiring into the
character of people, but has merely to receive the
result of the inquiries made by the relieving officer ?—
I should think he must have very great experience,
from the class of cases coming before him, as to
whether there is imposition or there is not; however,
be that as it might, we thought it not a bad training,
and the man is besides a man of great ability and
2728. Then we have got this, that the officer of the
Goldsmiths' Company, to whom is deputed the duty
of reporting to the Company whether people are
morally deserving or not, is the ex-master of St.
George's Workhouse?—Yes, he was master of that
workhouse very many years ago before he joined us.
2729. I think you said in most cases this official, or
this officer, inquired personally into them, but that
into some he does not inquire personally?—I believe
that he does in every case where they are sufficiently near for him to reach, certainly in all metropolitan cases; of that I have not the slightest doubt.
2730. Getting away from the question of morals,
do you require him to prove to you, as far as he is
able to prove it, that those persons are not in receipt
of either charitable or poor law relief?—We do.
2731. Does he make it his business to see the
relieving officers of the union to know whether they
are in receipt of relief ?—He would do so no doubt
where there was any suspicion.
2732. Only if he has suspicion ?—You know a man
must use his discretion.
2733. He is not instructed by you as a sine quâ non
that he is to inquire whether these persons applying
for relief are in receipt of relief from certain sources,
the poor law and the City and parochial charities
among others ?—He is instructed to inquire, but I do
not know of any binding regulation calling upon him
to test the accuracy of the information; to some
extent that is left to his discretion. The final decision
is left to the discretion of the Court, who hear the
2734. Do you suggest any improvement upon this
method of inquiry into these cases, or are you content
to rely for the future upon this officer; I will not call
him the beadle ?—I am content to rely upon the prior
practice of the Goldsmiths' Company.
2735. Do not you think that this system is one
that is productive of lying, before all things, when
you come to morality ?—I do not.
2736. Do not you think that it is an enormous
temptation to a poor woman, when visited by a person
of this character, to conceal facts from that person
with a bribe held out before her, I think you said, of
30l. a year ?—I say that that is the maximum
amount. (fn. 1)
2737. That amount being within her touch, within
her grasp, and such a person as the ex-master of St.
George's Workhouse coming to her and putting his
feeble questions to her, do not you think that it is a
great inducement to that woman to make extremely
false statements in order to get it; I am coming now
to the deserving part, because you have dwelt largely
upon morals ?—I think it is no more an inducement
than there is an inducement for a person in need to
take a handkerchief out of another person's pocket.
If you suggest that that need is so great that it will
cause lying, that is equally true in a vast number of
instances. If you leave out of consideration the desire
of telling the truth, there is still the apprehension
that they may be found out, then their hope of relief
would be gone for ever, that is absolutely certain.
2738. Gone for ever from what ?—As far as we
2739. Are there not other charities in the City of
London ?—I am speaking of our own Company; but
if there be other charities, then the temptation to lying
in order to get the pension from the Goldsmiths'
Company becomes less; but you were putting here the
one thing, the temptation to lie in order to raise the
person from poverty, and, I say, upon that there is
the fear that if the deceit be attempted, and found
out, that person's hope from the Goldsmiths' Company
2740. The question I put to you pointed to the
beginning and end of life. I should like to be clear
upon that point. You do not agree with me in the
suggestion that I made, that the prospects that the
Company say they hold out of charity at the end of
life do mischief and injury to the class to which they
are offered, and, further, I understand you to say that
you do not agree with me in what I have suggested,
namely, that your sysem of distributing relief conduces to duplicity, and lying and deceit ?—I do not
agree with you that the prospect of relief being needed at
the end of life does do anything to lower the character
of those who originally become freemen, because that
is the point we start from.
2741. I never suggested that it would lower their
characters ?—I do not agree with you in the suggestion that the prospect held out of relief at the end
of life, does do injury to the possible recipient, and
my reasons for it among others are these. The time
when a person becomes a freeman is usually when he
is young. He either acquires his "freedom" immediately after his apprenticeship, or as soon as he
becomes 21, by patrimony, or else he purchases it,
and he purchases it at a considerable sum of money,
and at that time, certainly, would not belong to a class
who contemplated relief. If he derives it otherwise
than by purchase, I think it is pretty evident that if
he has been an apprentice he became an apprentice
with an honest desire to work at his business and to
learn his craft, and not with the object of being a reliefreceiving freeman in his old age; and I do not believe
at the time the freedom is taken up that this prospect
of relief is held in view or that it is a temptation to
laziness throughout life.
2742. Although he can calculate upon it ?—
Although he can calculate that if he comes to want
instead of going to the workhouse he may get this
relief. Then in answer to the latter part of your
question, I do not agree that our system of distributing
relief contributes to duplicity, lying, and deceit. I
only know two ways of distributing relief. One is
to make no inquiry at all; the other is to make
inquiry; and to my mind the better way of the two
is to make inquiry, to make it by intelligent persons,
and to determine on the result of that inquiry by
persons equally, if not more, intelligent.
2743. Are we to understand that that inquiry is
made into these very difficult cases by the ex-master
of St. George's Workhouse, do these people ever come
up before the Court to be personally examined ?—I
think I have said at least three times in the course of
my answers to your questions that those persons are
finally seen by the Court themselves.
2744. Seen by them ?—They come before us, we
question them, and I do not know any more painful
duty than that of sitting in the prime warden's chair
and having to ask these poor wretched creatures about
their previous life and condition.
2745. All of them who are within reach appear
before the Court, you say?—They do. Occasionally
we have cases of bed-ridden persons, and so on, whom
we do not insist upon being produced.
2746. Do you hold the opinion that it is not desirable to apply for any scheme to regulate the administration of these large charitable funds, or to apply
them in any other way ?—I hold that it is desirable to
apply for a scheme to regulate those funds whenever
they happen to be in excess of the objects for which
they were originally designed, but with respect to the
funds which have at present an object, I believe that
we ourselves are perfectly competent and do quite
properly administer those charities, and I am at a loss
to see that, because persons happen to be in a particular Charity Commission, or anything of the kind,
they are more competent than we are.
2747. You do not think the time has come yet at all
events for any such scheme ?—I trust not; a scheme
for applying surplus funds has been applied for since
the Return was sent in. Mr. Prideaux will tell you
more about it.
2748. That means the surplus beyond 10,000l. ?—
I do not think it is 10,000l. Mr. Prideaux will give
you the details of the scheme.
2749. (Mr. Alderman Cotton.) Much has been said
about the properties of the Companies, and their ultimate distribution. Do you think that the property
of your Company could be better administered or do
more good if placed in other hands than your Company
is now doing with it ?—I do not.
2750. You are in the habit of subscribing liberally
to all schemes for the public good, and perhaps I
might say that the other large Companies are in the
habit of doing so ?—I know, as a matter of common
report, that they are. I know in my position as the
chairman of the Executive Committee of the City and
Guilds of London Institute that they subscribe most
largely to that, and with respect to my own Company
I know, of course, its very large contributions to all
matters of public utility.
2751. Much has been said as to the hospitality of
the Company; I suppose it is a question that must
come out, do you consider the hospitality of your
Company to be beneficial in any view at all ?—I do.
I think there is very great social benefit arising from
it. I wish to say this; in answer to the chairman [
have already expressed my views, so far as they are
worth anything, not being a lawyer, as to what our
position is with respect to our property, and that, therefore, even if we had not used it well it is very doubtful to my mind whether we ought to be the subject of
inquiry; but I should like to say this, and I say it
boldly, that I believe we have used our property as
creditably as ever property has been used by any
private owner of property, and that we have done
everything which a right-minded, high-minded private
owner of property would have done, with the one exception that we have not used any part of it worth
talking of (a wretched fifty guineas a year, or something of that kind) for ourselves.
2752. (Mr. James.) With reference to what has
fallen from my friend, Mr. Pell, perhaps you are
aware that there are some persons who say you cannot
spend money badly, so long as you do not give it
away. I suppose you are not one of those ?—There
are persons who say that if you find a man lying in
a ditch with a broken leg, you ought not to pull him
out, because it may encourage others to fall into
2753. I suppose you would admit that in the distribution of charity, I do not wish to go too closely
into motives, I only wish to speak in general terms;
there are usually only two motives for distributing
money, one to benefit the recipient and the other a
certain amount of notoriety, cr affection (or whatever
other term you may wish to describe it by), on the
part of the donor ?—No, really I cannot assent to that
2754. Do you think that money is never given
away rather with a view of increasing the importance
and the self-satisfaction of the donor ?—I think the
question you put to me previously was not that. I
think your question was, are there not usually two
motives. If you ask me do I think it is never given
away for such a reason as that, of course my answer
to you is that there may be occasionally some such
unworthy motive as that.
2755. You think the general distribution of charity
is usually from perfectly worthy motives ?—I do. I
suppose that it is germane to your question to say that
it is so with us.
2756. Do you think that those engaged in this
matter usually put themselves to any personal trouble
or make any personal sacrifice, or put themselves to
any personal inconvenience when they desire to confer
such a benefit ?—Yes. As I say, I know nothing
more painful (and nothing but a sense of duty would
induce me to do it) than to attend the courts on the
days when these unhappy creatures come before us.
2757. No doubt that would be so in your case, but
can you tell me within your knowledge of any members
of your own court who have investigated any of these
cases by making personal visits to the recipients of
the charity ?—I cannot. I daresay there may be such,
but I cannot tell you.
2758. You cannot speak of your own knowledge of
any one single case ?—I cannot speak of my own
knowledge in any one single case, but I think if you
put the question to Mr. Prideaux that he can tell
2759. Are you aware that in those areas or in those
districts where you find public charity prevails most
largely, and there are the largest funds for the distribution of public charity, the number of poor relieved
by the rates always enormously increases ?—I cannot
say that I am not aware of some statements of that
kind, but not sufficiently well to be able to answer
2760. Have you ever entered into or examined
those statements ?—I have never entered deeply into
2760a. Have you entered at all into them ?—Only
2761. If it could be shown to you, that wherever
these charities are distributed in large sums, with the
distribution of charity so you find an increase in the
rates, would it at all shake the opinion and views that
you have expressed to my friend on my left, Mr.
Pell?—I should like to know something more than
that very vague term "these charities." There may
be charities and charities. It would not shake my
opinion, I should look upon it as a coincidence. If in
a particular district, where the unhappy widow or
daughter of a man who had been better off was saved
from the workhouse by 30l. a year, there was more
poverty and more rates, it would not occur to me that
the two things had any connection.
2762. No doubt we are all acquainted with cases in
which a little charitable assistance is most advantageously bestowed and is of the greatest advantage,
but we must look at these things in a more general
way, I believe there is no part of England in which
there are larger funds for charitable distribution
amongst the poor than in the City of London Union ?
—That I do not pretend to be able to tell you.
2763. Are you aware that the number of poor in
the City of London Union enormously exceeds that
of every other union in the metropolis ?—I am not
2764. I do not happen to have the exact figures,
but they are within reach. If these facts were placed
before you would it alter the opinion you have expressed
to Mr. Pell with regard to the distribution of charity?
—With regard to the distribution of these charities,
certainly not. The best answer that I can give is
that which I have already stated, that according to
my lights I was a busy man some 17 years ago in providing the Institution of Civil Engineers with the very
thing that it had not got, and that the Goldsmiths' Company has got, that is the means of relieving its poorer
members, and if you were to bring all the statistics
from all the unions in England you would not persuade
me that I have done a bad thing.
2765. You are speaking of the charities of the
Institution of Civil Engineers: they are not by endow
ment, but they are subscriptions from individual members of the society, are they not ?—We endowed ourselves. We subscribed a certain large sum of money,
and have got now a capital of some 25,000l.
2766. Do not you think if it could be shown that in
those particular districts, the distribution of charity had
a mischievous effect, that the opinions which you have
given in answer to Mr. Pell's questions must have a
mischievous effect upon the whole community ?—If
you could show me that the distribution of the particular charities about which I am here to speak have
any mischievous effect, I should be obliged to accept
that which you put to me, but until you do so I cannot
accept generalities about charities, and apply them to
the particular charities that we have to distribute and
do distribute. As I state, acting upon my light or
want of light, I did this for the Civil Engineers, and
I know the members of the Inns of Court have done
the same thing for their profession.
2767. I believe it was the wish of your Company
when this Commission was first announced, to give
every possible information it could to the Commission,
and that every charge and that every fact should be
brought under their notice ?—It was.
2768. Did you take any collective action or act individually as a company, speaking merely as a company ?—We acted individually.
2769. I suppose there have been some communications pass between you and the other companies ?—I
do not know that there has been anything official. I
can quite well imagine that a matter of this kind
cannot be going on without there being very frequent
opportunities of meeting each other.
2770. There must have been some inter-communications, because I see in your statement you refer to
a memorandum sent to the Commissioners by the
Merchant Taylors' Company with regard to Donkin's
Charity ?—Yes, I had a copy of that sent to me by a
friend of mine, a solicitor.
2771. You do not set out your charters at length ?
—As to that, I must, if you please, refer you to Mr.
2772. I do not think you would object to reply to
the point I was going to put to you; in your Returns
you state that your Company had its origin as a combination of goldsmiths ?—Before we were a company
it had its origin as a combination of goldsmiths; as
an association of trade individuals, I think, we state.
2773. You state in your Returns that it "doubtless
had its origin in a combination of goldsmiths for
their mutual protection, and to guard the trade
against fraudulent workers ?"—Yes; that being
prior to any charter whatever; I think you will find
2774. Recognised by statute in 28th Edward I. ?—
2775. That is carried down through a long series of
years; then you go on to state the various Acts of
Parliament, the last of which is the 18th and 19th
Vict. cap. 60 ?—That, I think, relates simply to the
2776. That is a point to which I was coming; can
you tell me the cost of maintenance of the Assay
Office ?—I have not the figures in my mind; Mr.
Prideaux can tell you; but one item of our expenditure in a particular year I remember is 80l. The
payments for assaying had not met the expenses of the
office; the difference, the 80l., is the cost to the
Company. The object is to make such charges for
assay as shall leave no profit whatever, but just pay
2777. Time is getting on, and I do not wish to
detain the Commission by going into these matters in
great detail or at great length, but can you tell me
now whether at any time, instead of raising revenue
from your trade by payments to the Assay Office, your
Company having been formed as a company of goldsmiths, and through a long series of years having been
closely connected with this trade, any proposals have
at any time been made to relieve the trade of goldsmiths to some extent of those public burdens which
are placed upon them in connexion with the marking
of plate, and the charges which are made in connexion
with the Assay Office ?—I am afraid I do not follow
you. We raise no revenue whatever from the office.
2778. You raise no revenue for yourselves ?—
2779. Why should not you relieve your trade of
some of the burdens placed upon them by doing so ?—
I know of no burden except the duty upon plate, and
the obligation to hall-mark, and I should be very
sorry indeed to see that obligation done away with.
2780. I think we should all agree in that; but do
not you think that that is a duty; that is to say,
lightening some of the burdens upon your trade,
which you might undertake with advantage ?—I
hardly follow you. Is it your suggestion that we
should charge ourselves with the 1s. 6d. an ounce on
all the plate that comes to our office, and pay the
Government the duty ? I presume you cannot go that
2781. No; but might you not do something in
connexion with that office for your trade ?—In connexion with the Company we have done a very great
deal; we have for many years past, at very considerable expense, done what we could in the way of
technical training, and since then, indirectly, we
benefit all trades by our Technical Institution. We
subscribe also largely to the various trade charities,
and many of our pensioners, you will find, to go back
to that subject, are of the artisan craft, working goldsmiths and silversmiths.
2782. That may confer a certain amount of benefit,
no doubt, upon particular individual members of the
trade, but what have you done generally to benefit
the trade of goldsmiths ?—One thing we have done is,
that we have upheld its respectability and prevented
fraud, and, to my mind, that is the very best benefit
you can confer upon it, looking at the prevalence of
fraud. I was shocked the other night when I was at
the Society of Arts (I ought not, perhaps, to take up
the time of the Commission in this way), when there
was a question relating to agricultural machinery
before us, to find that so great is the adulteration
practised that one particular hay-compressing press
was received with great favour by manufacturers and
merchants, because the hay that was compressed by
it was compressed in rope-like form, so that every
part had to come to the outside, and that rendered it
impossible to conceal in the compressed hay the
various matters that were not hay or that were bad
hay, and which would be concealed in it when the oldfashioned presses were used. That which has been
done by this Company to secure the purity of that
which is produced has conferred the very greatest
benefit upon the goldsmiths' trade.
2783. Do you not think, turning to your corporate
property and corporate funds, that it would have been
better if you had done more for the trade and less for
the indiscriminate objects mentioned in the Appendix,
such as the London Hospital, the London Rifle Brigade, and so on. Do you not think that your trade
has a much larger claim upon the funds, and that it
would be a better way of using them than giving it in
this somewhat indiscriminate way ?—I do not see
that we could profitably employ more of our funds in
benefiting the trade than we do, nor that the others
are not very well expended. Take the Architectural
Museum for instance. We look upon all that as somewhat cognate to our trade; we look upon matters of
art as cognate to our trade. Take the case of chemical research. We gave 1,000l. to aid in chemical re
search. We did that in our capacity as assayers.
2784. But there are a great number of objects
which can have no possible connexion with it ?—No
doubt there are a great number of objects, but there
are a very great many on the other hand which have.
2785. Do you look upon your position as that of a
private individual with regard to the distribution of
your corporate funds or money ?—So far as legal
obligation goes, not so far as moral obligation goes.
2786. You state in your letter that you do not
think that out of your gross income 6,000l. a year is
a large sum to spend in entertainments ?—I do not.
I think those entertainments are of very great use
indeed. They bring together different classes of
society. I know that I, who have not very much
opportunity of mixing with men of very high position, have that opportunity there: and there has been
a certain amount of utility in it. I believe that these
meetings really do very great good, and that if they
existed elsewhere they would be found to do good in
other countries I must put this to you. When a
successful general comes home the first thought of
the people is to give him a dinner. They give one at
Willis's Rooms. They spend as much rateably upon
that dinner as we spend upon ours. That is looked
upon as perfectly legitimate, but if the same man is
invited to come and dine at our hall, and the dinner is
paid for out of our funds, some very hard words are
used about it. Some witnesses who have been before
you have said that which is not true about the unedifying scene at the hall, when visitors are leaving.
All I can say is, that our members are a body of
gentlemen, and I have never seen anything contrary
to that character. I repeat that in the view of some
people that thing which is right in itself when done
by subscribing and entertaining at Willis's Rooms,
becomes wrong directly it is done within a city hall.
I cannot understand that.
2787. Do not you think that those things are very
much matter of opinion ?—I think they are, but I
think that my opinion and that of those who have got
the property is quite as good as that of those who
have not, but who want to take it. I think it is very
like the case of a private individual being subject to
the criticisms of a censor who might come, for instance,
to me and say, "You keep very good books, Sir
Frederick Bramwell. I have looked over them,
and I see that you have so many dinner parties
in a year, and they cost you so much."
2788. You look at it in that light ?—I do.
2789. You do not think that the goldsmiths of the
United Kingdom are entitled to their opinion ?—I do,
and I think that the goldsmiths of the United Kingdom have expressed their opinion pretty strongly;
there might be one who wishes the Company disestablished, but, with that exception, I would appeal to
the goldsmiths of the United Kingdom.
2790. Can you tell me the proportion of the cost of
entertainments to the expenses of management ?—
You have it in the returns.
2791. Do you know whether it is a sixth ?—It is
more like one-tenth, I believe, or one-eleventh.
2792. (Mr. Firth.) You have told us that, subject
to moral obligation, you think this property might be
divided amongst the members of the Company ?—No,
I did not; I beg your pardon.
2793. What did you say upon that?—I said I
believed it was our own, and that might import that
which you state, but I did not use those words.
2794. Are you aware that some of the companies
have passed resolutions upon that question ?—No.
2795. Are you familiar with these accounts of the
Goldsmiths' Company ?—Yes.
2796. I find upon analysis the gross income is
566,000l. in 10 years ?—Yes.
2797. I am going to ask you about the management afterwards. I find that the current expenditure
is 442,000l., omitting the hundreds ?—I do not understand "current expenditure." Do you mean including all that we have given away for all purposes,
for technical education, and so on.
2798. Yes, I am taking it from your accounts. I
will give you the items if you wish, but I find that you
have expended upon capital account about 98,000l.,
and have a balance in hand of about 26,000l., which
makes the difference between 442,000l. and 566,000l. ?
—I take the figures from you without referring to the
2799. They have been carefully analysed; now
with respect to this current expenditure; you answered my friend, Mr. James, just now with regard
to the proportion for management. I make the cost
of management 200,000l. out of this 442,000l., which
would be 45 per cent. I will tell you how ?—I was
going to say that I should like the details.
2800. Cost of courts and committees, 344,000l.; cost
of entertainments, wine, and housekeeping, 73,873l. ?
—I should not suggest that "entertainment" was part
2801. I am putting under management, rightly or
wrongly—That which is not management.
2802. No, I was going to say I am putting under
management, rightly or wrongly, the total cost incurred
by you in controlling the whole of this estate ?—But
I demur to the cost of entertainments being used either
as to management or control. If I do not take care
we shall get it down on the notes that I assent to
your statement that the management is 45 per cent.
I do not assent to that.
2803. I do not wish to put to you anything more
than to know if you assent to it ?—I do not assent to
those things being management.
2804. The cost of buildings and maintenance of
buildings, you do not think properly can be put under
the head of management ?—I say certainly not.
2805. I find with respect to repairs of the buildings
that you have expended on your repairs altogether
33,259l.; is the sum of 22,309l. of that expended
upon a staircase ?—I do not remember the exact sum,
but there was a time when the scagliola work having
become shabby, we, from two motives, one artistic, and
the other the desire for future economy of repair, took
away all the sham and put in real.
2806. Would you include salaries or think them
properly included under management, 37,530l. ?—
Certainly. I presume those are salaries really of the
Company and not of the Assay Office. I do not know
whether they are separated.
2807. Yes. With respect to the Assay Office, I find
in your account you only give us something over 600l.:
that is what it has cost you as you told my friend ?—
Yes, the effort is to make the Assay Office nearly pay
2808. It does not pay by about 600l. in 10 years I
2809. Then you would say that rates and taxes and
insurance of buildings would not properly be included
under management ?—I should not so class them.
2810. I find that in the voluntary gifts you have
given altogether 131,406l., donations 69,588l., University exhibitions 25,508l., subscriptions 10,853l., technical education 8,658l., schools 7,137l., almshouses
7,405l., and annuities 2,257l.; that is outside the gifts
and charities provided for by the wills of donors.
Now with respect to technical education down to 1877,
I see you did not give 500l., but since that time you
have gone up to 2,400l. ?—In 1877, the Livery Companies (certain of them) came together for the purpose of establishing the City and Guilds Technical
Institute, and the amount that our Company returns
under this head prior to that date is that which was
given for the support of that special technical education which we had ourselves instituted some years before, for the encouragement of our own craft in artistic
design, travelling scholarships, and so on, but after
1877 when the Companies met together to establish
the City and Guilds of London Institute, the Goldsmiths' Company determined to become one of the
body, and then the contributions appear, and those
contributions have very considerably increased since
2811. There are four societies in connexion with
your trade I think specifically mentioned. The silver
Trade Pension Society, The Watch and Clock Makers'
Asylum,. The Goldsmiths' and Jewellers' Annuity
Institution, and the Goldsmiths' Benevolent Institution ?—Yes.
2812. To those four you have given 6,448l., 1½ per
cent. upon your expenditure. Are you aware that
they have made complaint about not having more ?—I
do not know it, but I do know that without complaint
we have very largely increased our contributions.
2813. These statements, in which you have done
me the honour of referring to something I have
written, were not submitted and explained to the
Court of Assistants, I think ?—They were not.
2814. The accounts are not open to any, I think, of
the Court of Assistants ?—Yes, to every one, emphatically every one.
2815. Has Mr. Watherston seen them ?—If he has
not it is his own fault, but I have very little doubt
that he has.
2816. I should like to ask you about this apprenticeship. Can you tell me how it is that this kind of
apprenticeship has to be registered in the Chamberlain's office ?—So far as the Company is concerned it
has not, but the probability is, that a man who has
become free of the Company will desire to become free
of the City.
2817. I want to call your attention to this. It says
this indenture must be immediately enrolled at the
Chamberlain's office in Guildhall ?—It is as if it went on
to say if he wished to become a freeman of the City.
2818. This you say is now applied to cases where
neither of the parties have anything to do with the
craft of goldsmiths ?—Yes. If we have a freeman
of the Goldsmiths' Company who is not a goldsmith,
and he brings a person there to apprentice him to
learn a trade, not being the trade of a goldsmith, we
allow him to be apprenticed.
2819. Is this term of seven years generally served?
—Always, invariably. We never admit a man to the
freedom afterwards if he has not served it fully.
2820. Are you always careful that the business he is
apprenticed to is one to which an apprentice can be
2821. Can you tell me how many of the poor of the
Company whom you benefit are connected with the
craft of Goldsmiths ?—I almost think it is in the
return, but I would rather leave that to Mr. Prideaux.
2822. When you become a freeman of the Goldsmiths' you make a declaration that you will warn
the wardens of every deceit in everything that belongeth to the craft of goldsmiths, and so on ?—
2823. Is that done, or is that intended for anybody
except the craft of goldsmiths ?—It is intended specially
for the goldsmiths.
2824. Have you ever warned the wardens of any
deceit, if it is not too personal a question ?—I have
never had occasion to do so. Any fraud in the goldsmiths' craft has never come to my knowledge, but if
I had become aware of anybody endeavouring to sell
plate with a false stamp upon it or anything of that
kind I most certainly should have warned the wardens
2825. Are the wardens, men skilled in the craft ?—
One of them, as a rule, is always an actual craftsman, a man engaged in the trade.
2826. Always?—I say as a general rule; then
they have their deputy, who is a man thoroughly
well skilled; and the other wardens, I think, generally,
are very competent to entertain a question of that
2827. You are aware that under the charter you
must elect from yourselves men best skilled in the
craft. Have there not been many cases in the last
50 years in which no warden has been connected with
the craft at all ?—I do not think there have been
many cases; I do not say that there have not been
some. I think on one occasion, during the time I
was warden, it so happened, for one year, that there
was no one of the four wardens connected with the
craft. That is the only instance that I recollect,
although, I dare say, there have been others.
2828. Then in that case the control of the trade
would not be in skilled hands?—Yes, it would, the
control of the court; it would be in the hands of men
amongst whom are many craftsmen.
2829. How many ?—I think at the present time
five or six, without counting bankers.
2830. A number of the leading firms in London
have endeavoured to become members of your Court,
I think, have they not?—No; we do not admit a
partnership. You say leading firms.
2831. Leading individuals; say Mr. Hunt, of the
firm of Hunt and Roskell; he has put up, I think, six
times unsuccessfully ?—I do not know that. I do
2832. And that the Court preferred a stockbroker;
was not that so ?—I have no recollection of that being
2833. Have not Messrs. Garrard ?—I have no recollection that they have.
2834. Or Mr. Hancock ?—I have no recollection
that he has.
2835. You recollect Mr. Brogden?—This question
applies, I understand, to the Court of Assistants.
2836. Yes?—I recollect Mr. Brogden, and another
craftsman was elected instead of him.
2837. Who was that?—Mr. Smith or Mr. Lambert.
2838. Is Mr. Lambert on the Court of Assistants ?
2839. And Savorys have put up unsuccessfully,
have they not ?—Not to my knowledge.
2840. I see in this paper you object to a statement
which I have written as to the value of the membership on the Court of Assistants; that is not specially
stated as to the Goldsmiths' Company; some Courts
of Assistants are very valuable, is not that so ?—Not
to my knowledge. Not what any of us round this
table would call very valuable. I know that my Conrt
is to me a source of loss, but I do not want to be
relieved of it, because I like the position.
2841. I see afterwards you give us your belief as to
an observation I made as to the question of the bank
notes; you do not believe there is any foundation for
that in any other Company?—No; I think it a most
improper observation to have made at all. I must
2842. It was made upon a series of facts with
respect to several Companies ?—I should like to have
the fact before me. Certainly nothing of the kind
was ever done with us.
2843. You also state your belief with regard to the
value of a seat on the Court of Assistants ?—I do.
2844. We have this, that in the Mercers' Company
they divide for the Court of Assistants 8,760l. a year.
Do you still hold to your belief?—I do not know the
number who attend. I believe that Company is one
in which the Livery are compelled to attend under
certain circumstances, and that the Livery are paid as
a body also for doing so. I think that is one of the
reasons for the high expenditure.
2845. Supposing that turns out to be incorrect,
would you hold to your belief ?—I believe the property
being that of the Mercers, they are entitled to pay
what they please for attendance.
2846. My question was, would you put your belief
against a statement of fact ?—Certainly, because the
suggestion in the work referred to, I think, is that the
position was equal to 4,000l. a year. Now even assuming the expenses of the Mercers to be 8,000l. a
year, unless you have not got more than two persons
to partake of it there is no foundation for the remark
that the position is worth 4,000l. a year.
2847. I do not wish to delay you very long, but I
should like to ask you one question about a matter
connected with the trade which has been put under
my notice, and I suppose I ought to ask you a question about it; that is, with respect to some jewellery
that has been sent to you from India as to which a
man says that he lost 100l. Do you recollect that
case ? What do you say about that?—I do not recollect it.
2848. He says that Indian silver was sent over, and
that it was rather under the standard, and that it was
all smashed by you?—I am told that Mr. Walter
Prideaux, who is here, can answer as to the particular
case alluded to. I cannot; but I presume if it were
below the standard we could not legally pass it. I
brought some silver over the other day from America,
I tool care that it was standard before I brought it,
and I have had it hall-marked.
2849. This is Indian silver ?—Yes, I took the precaution to find out that mine was standard before I
2850. (Chairman.) I should like to ask you one
single question which your examination has suggested
to me. I observed that you stated that 30l. was the
maximum amount given as a fixed pension ?—I say
in almost all cases.
2851. Are the Commissioners to take it that it is
not practically exceeded in many cases?—They are to
take it that it is not practically exceeded in many
cases. It is exceeded in some cases, but not as a
2852. When you say a " fixed pension," is the
donation made annually and not withdrawn ?—As a
rule it is repeated, but it is not annual. I think you
will find that certainly 13 months must elapse.
2853. Then the Commission understand that anything more than that is not fixed and is not a pension ?
—Anything more than that is not fixed, and is an
Adjourned to Wednesday next at 4 o'clock.