Gresham College.21

Gresham College.

"the Payments and other Intents in that his last Will appointed to be done and perform'd." Then the Bill recites the several Payments of Salaries and other Charities mention'd in the Will, and proceeds: "That the Overplus of the Rents and Profits of the Premises, above all the Payments thereout appointed, to issue by the said Will, would soon abundantly recompence such Charge and Trouble as the Trustees should be at. And as to his Mansion-House, now commonly call'd Gresham College, he gave that and all the Appurtenances thereto belonging, to the said City and Company, to have and hold upon this express Trust and Confidence, that they should permit the said seven Lecturers to have Occupation of all his said Mansion-House, &c. for them and every of them there to inhabit, study, read, &c. That the said Trustees did pay the said Salaries and other Charities until the 25th Day of March, 1699; but since that Time, have stopp'd any farther Payment; whereby the Salaries of the Professors are in Arrear from the said 25th of March 1699, to the present October 1700; altho' Application has been several Times made of late to the Trustees for the Payment of the said Salaries; and when the Performance of the Founder's Will has been earnestly press'd upon them, the Answer was, There was no Money to make good the said Salaries &c. on which Pretence the Trustees do absolutely refuse to perform the Will of the said Testator, by paying the said Salaries, but do convert the Rents and Profits of the Premisses devised to them, to their own respective Uses; and their Pretence for this want of Money, is, that, the ROYAL EXCHANGE, and other Appurtenances devised to them in the said Will, were burnt in the Fire of LONDON; that they re built the same at a vast Expence, borrowing Money for that Purpose; that the whole Incomes and Profits arising from the EXCHANGE, thus re built, does not answer the Money that was borrow'd to re build the same; altho' were this true, the same ought not to prejudice the Payment of the said Salaries, &c. for that there was no necessity for them to expend such vast Sums in outward Magnificence; and besides, they had for above an hundred Years enjoy'd all the Rents and Profits of the Premisses being a very great Revenue much above the said Payments charg'd on the same: Besides, had not the Trustees thought it for their Advantage, and so had refus'd to rebuild the same, subject to the Trusts and Payments in the Testator's Will, some other Ways and Means would have been found out and provided for the re-building, without defeating the several Payments appointed; and of this the Trustees are so sensible, that they have, ever since the Fire of London, continu'd to pay the same, and but lately, as is afore set forth, stopp'd Payment, and for some farther Colour to make this Stop, do pretend, that, by a late Act of Parliament, for the Relief of Orphans, &c. the Revenues of the City are appropriated to answer for ever a Fund of 8000l. a Year to pay these Orphans Debts, &c. which is only a Pretence to defeat the Founder's Will. Since this Act cannot affect the Salaries due to the Professors, &c. for that not the whole Benefaction of Sir Thomas Gresham, but only the Surplus of it, after paying the Uses of the Will, can be call'd or taken to be Part of the Revenue of the City. And so bent are the Trustees to defeat the Will of the Testator, that tho' by his said Will his Mansion-House is expressly appointed for the Inhabitation of the said seven Readers, yet, to force the Readers from thence, they have lett the said House run to Ruin, and re- fuse to repair and keep in repair the same. All which Reufsal of paying the Salaries, &c. and of repairing the Mansion House is against all Equity and good Conscience, and directly against the Will and Meaning of the Testator aforesaid, and a Breach of the Trust reposed by the said Will in them. To the End, therefore, that the said Trustees may answer the Premisses, and be decreed to make good the Salaries, &c. and to pay the Arrear, and to put the said Mansion-House, and keep the same in Repair. The Lord Chancellor is prayd to grant his Writ of Subpœna to the Trustees, commanding them personally to appear, &c."

The Consequence of filing this Bill was, that not long after the Trustees met and directed the Professors to attend, and, at their Meeting, order'd the Payment of one Year's Salary; telling them, that they would, in convenient Time, discharge the remaining Part of the Arrear, whereupon all Proceedings in Chancery were suspended: The Trustees said, likewise, that they had a Proposal to make for the mutual Advantage both of the Trustees and Professors, to which they desir'd the Concurrence of the Professors: Which Proposal was to bring in a Bill in Parliament for the re-building Gresham College into a Square, (to be let out for Rent, for the Use and Advantage of the Trustees) and providing Houses more commodious for the Professors than the Lodgings they now enjoy, and to this Proposal all the Professors, save one, gave their Consent; and accordingly the Bill was brought into the House of Commons in 1701, and carry'd there; but at the second Reading in the House of Lords, it was rejected upon the Petition of Dr. Robert Hooke, Geometry Professor, who had before deny'd his Consent to it. The Contents of this intended Act of Parliament, (of which Mention is only made p.129) were as follows: In the Preamble it sets forth, "That the Royal Exchange was given to the Trustees in Trust, to pay out six hundred and three Pounds six Shillings and eight Pence per Ann. That this Exchange was burnt down in the great Fire of London, and so no Revenue left to pay the annual Charge: That the Trustees re-built the Exchange at the Expence of eighty thousand Pounds, or thereabouts, and the Trustees lose thereby, more than two thousand Pounds yearly, the Trade of the Exchange decreasing, and many of the Shops standing empty, altho' considerable Abatements have been made to encourage Tenants: That Gresham College is grown old and ruinous, and the Repairs thereof have been very Expensive; but the said College standing upon a considerable Quantity of Ground, and great Part of it lying Waste, good Improvement may be made by re-building it: That the Trustees and Professors are agreed upon a Scheme of Building seven convenient Houses for the Lecturers, and a publick Hall, and likewise Alms-Houses in a more airy and convenient Place for the Alms-Folks. Wherefore they pray, that it may be enacted, that it may be lawful to pull down the old College, &c. and to convert the Materials to their own Use; and also to let and dispose all, or any Part of the Ground belonging to the said College, except such Part as the Lecturer's Houses and Hall are agreed to be built upon: Provided, however, that the Lecturers Houses and Hall be built in the Manner * specify'd; and that all those New Buildings be lyable, together with the Royal Exchange, &c. in the first Place, and before all other Charges, to the"

Payment of the Salaries order'd in Part.

Bill for rebuilding Gresham College, brought into Parliament.

Carry'd in the Commons, rejected in the Lords House.

*A Plot of the intended Building is annex'd to the Act.