Page images
PDF
EPUB

ance, on the very altars on which they have been offered.

§ XII. General Committee.- Fraud involved in the

title thus given to the Managing body.

Of whatever in the course of this discussion there has been occasion to say of the Governing body, one source of perplexity has been a perpetual accompaniment :--this is the impossibility of giving to it, without joining in a system of misrepresentation, the style and title given to it throughout the whole course of these Reports :-viz. the General Committee. By the word Committee, in every instance, is, or ought to be, meant to be designated a subordinate assemblage of the members of the artificial body in question,--to which assemblage, on some particular occasion, a particular portion of the business is, by the whole body committed, i. e. entrusted : entrusted-viz. for the purpose of exercising some preparatory function.

· A Committee is a relative term : and, though as in the case of a trustee, and so many others, the current language, (such is its imperfection,) has not, in the compass of a single word, afforded to it its correlative-yet to the existence of the object thus designated, the existence of a correlative object is not in this instance less undeniably necessary, than in the case of father and son, or that of grantor and grantee. A Committee ?--and without a person or set of persons by whom the business in question is committed ?--not less self-contradictory would be the supposition of a deputy or set of deputies, without a person or set of persons by whom he or they had been deputed. As well might you speak of a son who had never had a father, as of a Committee to which the business performed by it had never been committed to it.-Committee of the whole House? -Yes: in the practice of Parliament this locution is to be found, though in that instance alone. And why?-only because, to the exercise of those preparatory functions, for the exercise of which a select portion of the body in question is in general regarded as most competent,-in some particular instances nothing less than the whole is regarded as being sufficient. But even in this case, -in which, for reasons foreign to the present purpose, a sort of fiction has been recurred to,-even in this case the offspring is no more unprovided of its parent than when, as in general, the Committee is a select one. True it is, that for any sort of

purpose,—with any sort of intention, good or bad,-a set of men self-chosen may, on this or that occasion, have gone about calling themselves a Committee. But, for any such purpose never did any set of men ever go about under that name, by whom,-were any such question put to them as--by whom was this business committed to you?, the impropriety of the appellation thus assumed would not immediately have been recognized.

In this respect, how stands the matter in the present instance ?

The name given to the governing body is, as above, the General Committee. But the expression is elliptical: and, ere any determinate import can be attached to it, the ellipsis must be filled up. Committee ?-of what body ? - In the business of Parliament the answer is in every case given without difficulty.-Committee of the House :-Committee of the House of Lords ;-Committee of the House of Commons.

Well then-the filling up-how shall it be performed in the present instance? The General Committee ?-of what? The answer insinuated, is the General Committee of the Society, styled by this same pretended Committee the National Society.Insinuated ?-Yes.-Asserted ?-No.-Why not?Even because, if asserted, the assertion would have been too notoriously false. For, in addition to the Members of this self-styled General Committee, of what Members can the Society, styled the National Society, have been composed ? - Answer.–Of those and those alone, who, from the birth of the Society down to the present time, have, by their subscriptions, contributed to the formation of that fund, which, in consequence of their acquiescence, has been disposed of by unknown persons, whom the

fifty-two Members, of the body, in the name of which, under this falsely assumed, or, at any rate, falsely attributed name, the business has been conducted, have suffered to act in their names.

Now then-of this supposed governing body, by the self-concealed person or persons, who, without any produced or probably producible warrant, have been acting in its name, so groundlessly styled the General Committee,-what is the true genealogy ?-Supposing it to have had any real existence, by whom was it formed ?- The Members of it—by whom were they nominated ?-By the whole number of the Contributors, reckoning down to this or that day? or by any meeting to which that whole number had been invited ?-No such thing. Of the persons, in relation to whom, by means of this fraud, the authors of it endeavour to cause it to be believed that, under the name of the General Committee, they were named and appointed members of the governing body by the Contributors at large, the nomination was in fact begun by an unknown small number, in which were included-of a certainty, the present Archbishop of Canterbury, as certainly the late Bishop of London, and perhaps another or two of the Bishops:by these were put down, and in each instance with or without consent, the names of the remaining Bishops and Archbishops: with or without whose concurrence, they went on to name certain Peers and Privy Counsellors: which body, in some not

P

fully declared way and proportion, composed of Archbishops, Bishops, Peers, and Privy Counsellors, made up the nominated number, to a total of fifty-two, out of lay men and clergymen of inferior dignity.

To form a fund for the purpose in question, these fifty-two,--some of them at least-not improbably, upon looking over the list of contributors, it would appear all of them, -contributed respectively so many sums of money: inviting persons at large to become contributors along with them. But, to no one individual, other than those fifty-two persons themselves, is any part in the management-any share in the power of disposing of the money, or in any other of the powers exercised-allowed by them.

Now then, as to this principal point, what is the true state of the case ?-By the whole number of the Contributors, of whom the assemblage of persons,

, styled in these Reports by their collective name the National Society, is composed misit by this body, that the members of the body, in these same Reports styled the General Committee, were appointed ?-or are so much as here represented as having been appointed ?

-No such thing. It is by themselves or one another, that these members of the governing body were appointed.-Appointed ?-and to what?-to the function of disposing of whatsoever monies should by the several contributors be eventually put into their hands.

« PreviousContinue »