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declined a course so perilous, and contented himself with erasing Fox's name from the list of Privy Councillors.
A Duke of Norfolk of a later period,—he in fact who died in 1856,designed to celebrate the completion of his restoration of Arundel Castle, by inviting as his guests all the living descendants of his ancestor, Jockey of Norfolk, who fell at Bosworth. The assembled cousins were to drink continued good fortune to the House of Howard ; but when the duke discovered that to carry his project out, he should have to invite six thousand persons, he relinquished his intention, and the toast was not given.
Some toasts, and those special and proper for the occasion," speedily die out of memory. Fourscore years ago, Baddeley, the actor, left funds wherewith to procure cake, wine, and punch, on Twelfth Night, for the Drury Lane players, in green-room assembled, “ for ever.” An old formal toast used to be given on those occasions—" The memory of Baddeley's skull !” -in honour of the brain in that skull which had conceived the thoughtful kindness. It is long since this toast has been given, but on the last “cutting of Baddeley's cake," one of the guests proposed that it should be revived; and the veteran actor, Mr. W. Bennett, the trustee of the fund, gazed with an air of quaint reproof at this audacious guest, and then solemnly gave " The memory of David Garrick!” All knowledge of the original toast had perished; but that obtrusive guest ceased to wonder when an actor, who was drinking Baddeley's wine or punch, and eating his cake, asked, “ Who was Baddeley, and why did he do this ? ” Poor Baddeley! The visitor, as he withdrew by the dark back of the stage, saw, " in his mind's eye, Horatio," the figure of the benevolent old player, as he used to come to rehearsal, in scarlet and gold—the uniform of the gentlemen of the household, who were “ their Majesties' servants,” playing under royal patent at Drury Lane. Baddeley was the last actor who wore that uniform.
COMPOSED of Government stocks, of various other securities, and of cash uninvested, the funds belonging to the Suitors of the Court of Chancery amount in the aggregate to nearly 60,000,0001. Acting on behalf of the
. court, the Masters had, prior to 1726, committed to their care the moneys and effects in the suits referred to them, while the Usher of the court took charge of any property involved in causes which required no reference to the Masters. In a manner somewhat analogous to the system of modern banking, these functionaries employed for their own benefit the moneys placed in their hands, reserving of course such balances as were deemed sufficient to meet the recurring claims of the suitors. Investments in the stock of the South Sea Company had been made by several of the Masters on their own account; and on the failure of that scheme it was found that defaults on their part amounted to over 100,0001. This sum was ultimately made good out of the public revenue ; but precautions were taken to prevent the recurrence of so great an abuse.
The Lord Chancellor, by an order of 17th December, 1724, directed cach Master “ to procure and send to the Bank of England a chest with one lock and hasps for two padlocks." The key of the lock of each chest was to be kept by the Master, and the key of one of the padlocks by one or other of two of the six clerks in Chancery, and the key of the other padlock by the Governor, Deputy-Governor, or Cashier of the Bank. Each Master was ordered to deposit in his chest all moneys and securities in his hands belonging to the suitors ; the chests were then to be locked and left in charge of the Bank. But as the vault where the chests were kept could not be opened unless two of the Directors of the Bank were present, it of course happened, on every occasion when access was wanted to them in order to comply with the mandates of the court, that the attendance of all these high officials was necessary.
The inconvenience and trouble so caused became at length too great for endurance, and led to a change. On the 26th of May, 1725, a general order was made by the Lords Commissioners holding the Great Seal, which directed the money and effects of the suitors to be taken from the Masters' chests, and given into the direct custody of the Bank. A subsequent order extended the plan to the moneys in the hands of the Usher. These orders still remain in force ; the Bank of England from that time until the present has acted, and now acts, as the custodier of the Chancery funds.
In 1726, an officer under the designation of the Accountant-General was appointed, pursuant to Act of Parliament, to keep the Chancery accounts, and to carry out the orders of the court respecting the receipt
and disposal of the funds. This officer, by the Act creating his office, is not allowed to meddle with the actual money either in receipt or payment. All dealings with funds are to be accomplished under his direction, and with his privity ; but he himself is debarred from touching a single coin ; yet his office is not the less one of great responsibility. At the period of the appointment of the first Accountant-General, upwards of 140 years since, the cash and securities made together a total of 741,9501., and the number of accounts was 415. The amount, as we have already stated, now verges upon 60,000,0001., and the number of accounts have increased to well nigh 30,000. Almost without exception the volume of the funds in court has year by year shown a steady increase. Of late that increase has been at the rate of about half a million annually. This is only what might be expected from the growth of the population and the everaugmenting national wealth. Litigation is, of course, one of the main feeders of the Chancery reservoir. Upon the application of a party to a suit, the court orders the property under dispute to be placed in its ands where it is retained until the question of right is settled, or until such time as the interests of those entitled are most fully secured. It is then, upon petition, transferred out of court. Legacies bequeathed to minors are not unfrequently paid into court by executors. The sums of cash so paid are in every case invested in consols without expense, and the interest also from time to time as it accumulates ; so that the amount of the legacy with compound interest is, in the form of stock, when application is made, transferred to the person entitled, on the attainment of majority. A kindred source of supply is furnished by trust moneys. Trustees or executors who may have doubts of the legality of their proceedings in carrying out the provisions of a trụst, or who may be at a loss as to the rights of parties claiming under a will, and desiring to free themselves from responsibility, may, under what is known as the Trustee Relief Act, transfer or pay the trust funds into court. Such funds, if not already in the form of stock, are, as a matter of course, invested by the AccountantGeneral, and the accruing dividends are also invested solely for the benefit of the parties entitled, who may at any time apply to have the funds paid to them.
For the enfranchisement of land under the Copyhold Acts, and in connection with railway undertakings, very many payments of cash are made to the Accountant-General. These latter are usually for the purchase of land and houses. Where parties labour under a disability to convey, or where an agreement cannot be come to, the railway company, on an award being made by two surveyors, pays the sum into court, and at once takes compulsory possession. The promoters of new undertakings, whether railways, docks, or waterworks, and such like, for which the sanction of the legislature is necessary, are required to deposit with the Court of Chancery a sum amounting to one-eighth of the estimated cost of the undertaking, as preliminary to the application to Parliament. Such deposits in the aggregate usually reach a large annual amount. The present year, however, owing to the collapse of railway enterprise, has proved a signal exception : very few new schemes indeed have been launched, and consequently but a trifling accession made from this source to the Chancery funds. These deposits are made in the month of January, and being for large sums, are reclaimed as early as possible, generally before the end of the parliamentary session, thus remaining in court for only about six months. The proceeds of estates sold under the direction of the court are paid in, as likewise money realized under Private Estate Acts. The property of lunatics and persons of unsound mind is also placed in the custody of the court, and administered under its sanction. Many other minor rills, such as appeal deposits and payments under the Burial Board Act, serve to swell the stream of money ever flowing to its destined receptacle in Chancery.
It thus appears that no inconsiderable portion of the funds in court are quite unconnected with litigious proceedings. Indeed but comparatively few of the vast number of sums appearing in the AccountantGeneral's books are so. Litigation doubtless in many cases originally brought the money into court; but, the contentious stage passed, as it does in time pass, the funds are not seldom retained purely for purposes of administration. Where, for instance, persons have a life-interest in funds, the dividends are paid to them during their lives (the principal being in the meantime kept securely), and not until their death is a distribution effected. The court thus acts as a trustee, taking safe custody of property and administrating the funds, and when the proper time arrives it deals out to claimants their just and respective shares. In the case of property belonging to rectories, corporations, or other public bodies, it is of signal advantage that the security should be undoubted, and the dividonds duly paid. A double service of trustee and banker is thus discharged by the Accountant-General, and that too without fee, percentage, or commission charged for the management of such accounts.
There are not a few accounts which may be termed dormant; that is, accounts from which no payments have been made for many years. These are of two kinds—such as consist, first, of sums of stock with the accumulated dividends; and, secondly, of sums of cash only. From time to time investigation is made into the former; and when it is found that no payment of dividends has been made for fifteen years preceding, the titles of the accounts are extracted, and arranged alphabetically; and the list printed, and copies exhibited on the walls of the different offices of the court for the information of attorneys and all persons concerned. The first investigation was made in 1854, when it appeared that the entire number of accounts, the dividends on which had not been dealt during the timo specified, was 566, and the total amount of stock and dividends on such accounts 256,1761. 2s. 81. The result was, that many persons came forward and preferred claims, and about one half of the above total amount was transferred out to the successful claimants. A second list with new accounts added was published in 1860, and recently a third list has appeared. When the first list was published in 1854, certain solicitors specially devoted themselves to the work of tracing out claims. Guided so far in the first instance by the lists—which, however, contained only the bare titles of the accounts, and in no case the amount of the funds—these gentlemen burrowed among the old orders and other musty documents to which they had access in the Record Office, until such knowledge was gained as enabled them to communicate with the persons whom they had discovered to be entitled to the funds. It was as if treasure had been found.
The happy attorney who had successfully struck upon the right clue and followed it out to certainty, offered to make over the spoil to the rightful owner or owners, who in most cases were entirely ignorant of its existence, on condition that no slight share of the same should be retained by himself.
We have known as much as fifty per cent. asked ; but whatever were the amounts of the shares parted with by those fortunate persons who thus “ heard of something to their advantage," and actually received that something, it is an undoubted fact that very considerable sums of money were pocketed by some of these persevering and successful Chancery excavators.
As a security against dishonest dealing with these accounts, the Accountant-General, when asked for information of the precise amount of the fund, in every case requires evidence that the solicitor is acting for a bond fide interested person. And every petition to the court regarding the disposal of any such fund must state on the face of it that the fund in question belongs to the fifteen-years' published list.
A return made in 1850 of the dormant cash accounts showed that for ten years previously, there were in that state 1,220; for twenty-five years, 1,056, and for fifty years, 975. No list of these accounts upon which unclaimed cash only is standing, has up to the present time been published. There are nearly 1,200 accounts upon which the stock and cash remaining would not cover the cost of an application for the payment of the fund ; and 351 accounts showing sums under 11., while on 831 more the sums range between 11. and 51.
It may be well to give some notion of the nature of the transactions performed by the Accountant-General and his staff of clerks. In tho various modes we have indicated cash is paid and stock is transferred into court. These sums remain for a longer or a shorter period, and usually become subject to various operations, always, however, under the direction of the court. Dividends are received on stocks, and when received aro either paid out to persons or invested or suffered to accumulate without investment. As the interests of the persons entitled may require, the fund on any particular account, consisting of stock, or cash, or both, may be carried to new accounts and retained in Chancery, or at once paid or transferred out. And just as the Accountant-General is required to invest sums paid into court, and dividends as they accumulate, so he is, when the occasion arises, ordered to sell stocks. The cash so raised may be needed for very various purposes. It may be required to pay legacies, to clear