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Abstract of the Charitable Donations at the Disposal of the Court of Assistants of the Worshipful Company of Stationers. I have selected those Donations only which relate, directly or indirectly, to Printers:
William Norton, a printer of great note, lived in St. Paul's Churchyard, who died in 1593. He gave six pounds thirteen shillings and four pence, yearly to his company, to be lent to young men, free of the same Company. The Company in their Abstract of Charitable Donations say “to the Poor of the said Company.”
Mr. Christopher Meredith, in 1655, gave £10. a year, to be paid in quarterly pensions to the poor of the Company.
Thomas Guy, Esq., M. P., an eminent bookseller, and the munificent founder of the hospital which bears his name, gave to the Company, in 1717, £1,000. “to enable them to add £50. a year, by quarterly payments, to the poor members and widows, in augmentation of the quarterly charity.”
Mr. Theophilus Cater, in 1718, gave £1,000. to the Company, on condition of their paying him an annuity of £50, for his own life. — After his death, £40. to be thus disposed of: to the minister of St. Martin's, Ludgate, for a sermon, £1. 10s.; to the reader, 5s.; to the clerk and sexton, 2s. 6d. each, 5s.; to fourteen poor freemen of the Company, £14.; to ten poor men of St. Martin's, £10.; to ten poor men of Christ-church, £1. each. The remainder, (being £4.) towards a dinner for the master, wardens, and assistants.
Mrs. Beata Wilkins, in 1773, gave the picture of Doctor Hoadly, lord bishop of Winchester, now in the Stock-room; and the interest and produce of all the money arising from her forty-pounds share stock (computed at £320.) to he distributed, annually, amongst six poor men and six poor widows, not pensioners to the Company, in the month of December, before Christmas. — Note. The produce of the share was laid out in the purchase of £358. 11s. 4d. five per cent. Navy annuities. The yearly dividend is £17. 18s. 6d. To which the Court add 1s. 6d. to make the dividend to each annuitant £1. 10s.
William Bowyer. See Bowyer.
William Strahan, Esq., M. P., in 1784, gave 1,000£, one half of the annual interest to be (divided in equal shares or proportions to five poor journeymen printers, natives of England or Wales, freemen of the Company; the other half in equal shares or proportions to five poor journeymen printers, natives of Scotland, without regard to their being freemen or being non-freemen of the Company. — Note. The yearly dividend of this bequest is £39. 14s. l0d. — to which 5s. 2d. (part of a subsequent donation by Andrew Strahan, Esq.) has since been added, to make the dividend to each annuitant £4.
Thomas Wright, Esq., late alderman of London, in 1794, gave £2,000. four per cent. Bank annuities, the dividends to be distributed as follows; upon the first day of January £50. 8s. amongst twenty-four poor freemen of the said Company, not receiving any other pension from the Company, £2. 2s. each. To the clerk of the Company £3. 3s. for his trouble upon this occasion. And £26. 9s. residue of such dividends, for providing a dinner for the master, wardens, and assistants, of the Company, upon the day of distribution.
Mr. Richard Johnson, in 1795, gave all the remainder of his property whatsoever, to the Company, upon the following conditions: that they allow his sister, Mary Johnson, £50. per annum, and £10. per annum to his uncle Lockington Johnson, or to his wife, Elizabeth Johnson, during their natural lives. After the deaths of his sister and uncle, and his wife, the whole property to be divided half-yearly, “among five very poor widows, who have seen better days, above the age of sixty, whose husbands were liverymen, and in a good way of business; were either stationers, printers, booksellers, or binders.”
Charles Dilly, Esq., in November, 1803, (being then a member of the Court of Assistants,) transferred £100. three per cent, annuities to the Company, the dividends to be “paid equally to two widows of liverymen “of the Company, who have lived in better circumstances, and met unexpected misfortunes, but who, through their conduct and manners in life, are deserving of superior help. And if there should be candidates of sixty years of age, or upwards, I should wish them to have the preference.”
Mrs. Elizabeth Baldwin, widow of Mr. Richard Baldwin a liveryman, gave 2£50. stock in the three per cents, the dividends to be laid out and expended in the purchase of five great coats, to be annually given to five poor liverymen or freemen of the said Company in the first week of the month of December for ever. — Note. Mrs. Baldwin died 19th August, 1809.
Andrew Strahan, Esq., M. P., (first benefaction,) in January 1815, transferred £1,225. four per cent, annuities to the Company, the interest, viz. £49. to be applied as follows, viz.,
“Eight pounds per annum to each of the six pensioners amongst my father's annuitants who shall have been earliest elected into that list, in lieu of the £4. which they at present enjoy. And whenever any of the pensions of 8£ each shall become vacant, the pensioner who shall stand first on the list of my father's annuitants of £4. to succeed to such vacancy, without troubling the court to make a new election, except for the vacancy occasioned thereby in the annuitants of £4. And as 5s. 2d. is added by the court to make up the pensions of my late father £4. to each annuitant, I would have the sum of 5s. 2d. (part of the surplus of 1£.) applied to that purpose. The remaining 14s. l0d. I would have given to the beadle of the Company, who has some trouble in receiving the petitions.
“The pensions above given it is my wish should be paid twice in the year; the one half at the same period as the pensions given by my late father, and the other half at midsummer.
“I observe that my father's pensioners are to be elected annually, which, I believe, may not always have been strictly complied with; but, by being so bequeathed, it enables the court to displace any individual who may at any time after his being elected appear to the court not to be deserving; and it is my wish that the court should have the same power of displacing any of the pensioners of eight pounds who shall appear to them undeserving.”
John Nichols, Esq., transferred to the Company, in June, 1817, £500. four per cent, annuities, “as an addition of a small supplement to the works of my late friend and partner, Mr. William Bowyer,” [See Bowyer.] “to pay the dividends to the persons mentioned in the following list; one of whom has worked for me more than fifty years, another much more than forty, and the others nearly thirty years.
“£15. a year to Thomas Bennett, in addition to the annuity he now enjoys.
“£5. a year to William Morlis, in addition to what he now enjoys, or may hereafter enjoy.
“On the death of Bennett, his £15. to be divided into three annuities, for James Rousseau, John Meeson, and James Robinson, if then living, otherwise to any other compositor or pressman of good character, not less than forty-five years of age, and who shall have been at least twenty-one years free of the Stationers' Company.
“On the death of Morlis his five pounds to be added to the person who then stands first on the list; so that eventually there will only be one annuitant of ten pounds, and two of five pounds each.
“The annuitants to be paid at the same times as those of Mr. Bowyer.” J. N.
Andrew Strahan, Esq., M.P., (second benefaction,) transferred in March, 1818, the further sum of 1,000£. four per cent, annuities, “to pay the dividends half-yearly in portions of ten pounds to four distressed old printers. No person to be eligible till he be sixty-five years of age: he may be freeman or non-freeman, compositor or pressman, or have been for many years employed regularly as corrector or reader in a printing-office within the Bills of Mortality, and not necessarily one of my late father's annuitants or of mine.”
Luke Hansard, Esq., (first benefaction,) on the 11th of July, 1818, transferred to the Company £1,000. four per cent. annuities, the interest to be given, in two annuities of £10. a year each, to such objects above sixty-five years of age, free of the Company, and letterpress printers, (compositors or pressmen,) as the court shall judge proper.
The other £20. to he given yearly to four freemen of this Company, printers, booksellers, stationers, warehousemen, or bookbinders, above sixty years of age, at £5. a year each, as the court shall think proper objects of this donation.
Luke Hansard, Esq., (second benefaction,) in September, 1818, transferred to the Company £1,500. three per cent. annuities; in trust to give to every youth bound at their hall, a neatly bound Church of England Prayer-book, as printed by his majesty's printer in London, bound up with the New Version of Psalms.
The number of Prayer-books thus to be disposed of, are taken at 200, which at a presumed price of 2s. 7d. each, will cost yearly £25. 16s. 8d.
Then to give yearly to two of his warehousemen (named) £6. 6s. each.
Also to “such warehouseman, or binder, or stationer, or other person in the class to whom the court has been accustomed to give such annuities, above sixty years of age,” £6. 6s.
The residue of 5s. 1d., and whatever residue may be left from the 200 Prayer-books not being wanted, or from the cost being less, to be applicable for such purposes as the court shall think proper.
Beale Blackwell, Esq., gave, July, 1817, so much Bank stock as at the time of his death would produce the annual sum of 100£, to be every year distributed equally amongst twenty deserving journeymen letterpress printers; the first distribution of which took place in October, 1821.
A more detailed account of these charitable donations and benefactions will be found in a pamphlet of 32 pages, printed by order of the court in 1819, and given to each liveryman.
This account is copied from Hansard's Typographia.