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rarely attempted the exercise of this power. In a celebrated instance, those who asserted this power in Parliament vindicated its exercise only in a case in which it could be shown, first, That the charter in question was a charter of political power; second, That there was a great and overruling State necessity, justifying the violation of the charter; third, That the charter had been abused and justly forfeited. The bill affecting this charter did not pass. Its history is well known. The act which afterward did pass, passed with the assent of the corporation. Even in the worst times, this power of Parliament to repeal and rescind charters has not often been exercised. The illegal proceedings in the reign of Charles the Second were under color of law. Judgments of forfeiture were obtained in the courts. Such was the case of the quo warranto against the city of London, and the proceedings by which the charter of Massachusetts was vacated. The Legislature of New Hampshire has no more power over the rights of the plaintiffs than existed somewhere, in some department of government, before the Revolution. The British Parliament could not have annulled or revoked this grant as an act of ordinary legislation. If it had done it at all, it could only have been in virtue of that sovereign power, called omnipotent, which does not belong to any Legislature in the United States. The Legislature of New Hampshire has the same power over this charter which belonged to the king who granted it, and no more. By the law of England, the power to create corporations is a part of the royal prerogative. By the Revolution, this power may be considered as having devolved on the Legislature of the State, and it has accordingly been exercised by the Legislature. But the king cannot abolish a corporation, or new-model it, or alter its powers, without its assent. This is the acknowledged and well-known doctrine of the common law. “Whatever might have been the notion in former times,” says Lord Mansfield, “it is most certain now that the corporations of the universities are lay corporations; and that the crown cannot take away from them any rights that have been formerly subsisting in them under old charters or prescriptive usage.” After forfeiture duly found, the king may regrant the franchises; but a grant of franchises already granted, and of which no forfeiture has been found, is void. Corporate franchises can only be forfeited by trial and judgment. In case of a new charter or grant to an existing corporation, it may accept or reject it as it pleases. It may accept such part of the grant as it chooses, and reject the rest. In the very nature of things, a charter cannot be forced upon anybody. No one can be compelled to accept a grant; and without acceptance the grant is necessarily void. It cannot be pretended that the Legislature, as successor to the king in this part of his prerogative, has any power to revoke, vacate, or alter this charter. If, therefore, the Legislature has not this power by any specific grant contained in the Constitution; nor as included in its ordinary legislative powers; nor by reason of its succession to the prerogatives of the crown in this particular, on what ground would the authority to pass these acts rest, even if there were no prohibitory clauses in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights? But there are prohibitions in the Constitution and Bill of Rights of New Hampshire, introduced for the purpose of limiting the legislative power and protecting the rights and property of the citizens. One prohibition is, “that no person shall be deprived of his property, immunities, or privileges, put out of the protection of the law, or deprived of his life, liberty, or estate, but by judgment of his peers or the law of the land.” In the opinion, however, which was given in the court below, it is denied that the trustees under the charter had any property, immunity, liberty, or privilege in this corporation, within the meaning of this prohibition in the Bill of Rights. It is said that it is a public corporation and public property; that the trustees have no greater interest in it than any other individuals; that it is not private property, which they can sell or transmit to their heirs, and that therefore they have no interest in it; that their office is a public trust, like that of the Governor or a judge, and that they have no more concern in the property of the college than the Governor in the property of the State, or than the judges in the fines which they impose on the culprits at their bar; that it is nothing to them whether their powers shall be extended or lessened, any more than it is to their honors whether their jurisdiction shall be enlarged or diminished. It is necessary, therefore, to inquire into the true nature and character of the corporation which was created by the charter of 1769. There are divers sorts of corporations; and it may be safely admitted that the Legislature has more power over some than others. Some corporations are for government and political arrangement; such, for example, as cities, counties, and towns in New England. These may be changed and modified as public convenience may require, due regard being always had to the rights of property. Of such corporations, all who live within the limits are of course obliged to be members, and to submit to the duties which the law imposes on them as such. Other civil corporations are for the advancement of trade and business, such as banks, insurance companies, and the like. These are created, not by general law, but usually by grant. Their constitution is special. It is such as the Legislature sees fit to give, and the grantees to accept. The corporation in question is not a civil, although it is a lay corporation. It is an eleemosynary corporation. It is a private charity, originally founded and endowed by an individual, with a charter obtained for it at his request, for the better administration of his charity. “The eleemosynary sort of corporations are such as are constituted for the perpetual distributions of the free alms or bounty of the founder of them, to such persons as he has directed. Of this are all hospitals for the maintenance of the poor, sick, and impotent; and all colleges both in our universities and out of them.” Eleemosynary corporations are for the management of private property, according to the will of the donors. They are private corporations. A college is as much a private corporation as a hospital; especially a college founded, as this was, by private bounty. A college is a charity. “The establishment of learning,” says Lord Hardwicke, “is a charity, and so considered in the statute of Elizabeth. A devise to a college, for their benefit, is a laudable charity, and deserves encouragement.” The legal signification of a charity is derived chiefly from the statute 43 Eliz. ch. 4. “Those purposes,” says Sir William Grant, “are considered charitable which that statute enumerates.” Colleges are enumerated as charities in that statute. The government, in these cases, lends its aid to perpetuate the beneficent intention of the donor, by granting a charter under which his private charity shall continue to be dispensed after his death. This is done either by incorporating the objects of the charity, as, for instance, the scholars in a college or the poor in a hospital, or by incorporating those who are to be governors or trustees of the charity. In cases of the first sort, the founder is, by the common law, visitor. In early times it became a maxim, that he who gave the property might regulate it in future. “Cujus est dare, ejus est disponere.” This right of visitation descended from the founder to his heir as a right of property, and precisely as his other property went to his heir; and in default of heirs it went to the king, as all other property goes to the king for the want of heirs. The right of visitation arises from the property. It grows out of the endowment. The founder may, if he please, part with it at the time when he establishes the charity, and may vest it in others. Therefore, if he chooses that governors, trustees, or overseers should be appointed in the charter, he may cause it to be done, and his power of visitation may be transferred to them, instead of descending to his heirs. The persons thus assigned or appointed by the founder will be visitors, with all the powers of the founder, in exclusion of his heir. The right of visitation, then, accrues to them, as a matter of property, by the gift, transfer, or appointment of the founder. This is a private right, which they can assert in all legal modes, and in which they have the same protection of the law as in all other rights. As visitors they may make rules, ordinances, and statutes, and alter and repeal them, as far as permitted so to do by the charter. Although the charter proceeds from the crown or the government, it is considered as the will of the donor. It is obtained at his request. He im

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