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IT is thought that the first number of a Statistical Journal, published in the metropolis, cannot commence more appropriately than with a copy of the last report of the Municipal Corporations' Commissioners to the Crown, relative to the corporation of the city of London. This document is valuable, not only as presenting the results of a searching inquiry prosecuted by the Commissioners, but as forming the groundwork of a measure to be submitted to Parliament.
In the report already made by the commissioners appointed by your Majesty for inquiring into the existing state of the municipal corporations in England and Wales, it was stated that it was necessary to make the institutions of the city of London the subject of a special supplemental report. In accordance with that statement, we, your Majesty's commissioners, whose hands and seals are hereunto set, humbly certify the result of the inquiries which, under the authority of your Majesty's commission, have been made into the existing state of the municipal corporation of London.
We propose to offer in the present report such general remarks as suggest themselves to us respecting some of the peculiarities of the corporation of London, as distinguished from others. The details will be best furnished, as in the instances of the other corporations, by the particular report.*
The inquiry was conducted nearly on the same method as in the case of the other corporations; but several of the civic officers having expressed, at the commencement of the public examination, an unwillingness to give evidence upon oath before the commissioners, it was considered advisable not to propose the oath in any instance.
The corporation directed that all its officers, with the exception of the recorder, the common sergeant, and the judge of the sheriffs' courts, should attend the commissioners and furnish full information, excepting as to any matters pending in any courts of law or equity. With respect to the functionaries excepted from the order, full information was obtained from their own written statements, and from the oral examinations of the officers who did attend. Unlimited access was also given to the documents of the corporation.
These were the principal sources of the information obtained. Not much evidence was tendered by corporators not holding official situations, and very little by any persons who were not corporators; but we have no means of judging whether this should be attributed to a want of interest in the subject matter of the inquiry, to confidence in the evidence given by the corporate functionaries, or to an unwillingness to come forward to contradict it.
Some of the companies of trades, which still exist in great number in con
* We may hereafter give abstracts of some portions of this report, which are extremely interesting.-ED.
VOL. I.-NO. I.