[pp 1181 from Cubbon - Bibliography, Vol 2, 1939]




Some particulars of the early postal facilities enjoyed by the people of Man would be useful in considering the next section of this Bibliography - namely, that dealing with the printing and publication of Periodicals and Newspapers. The earliest record of an Insular Post Office being established is in 1767. Letters had previously been conveyed to and from, the Island by private enterprise, and examples of such packets sent from abroad and from England are in the Manx Museum.

A. W. Moore, in his history (p. 614) states that in 1767 the Governrnertt chartered a packet for the conveyance of the mails between Douglas and Whitehaven, which sailed once week,. Later on the service was transferred to Liverpool.

In 1821 the postman belween Douglas and Ramsey got; 2½d. Manks for every letter and newspaper packet he delivered, exclusive of the postage marked on the letters.- Gazette, 18th Jan, 1821.

In 1842 the rate of postage for a letter and newspaper was as in England, one penny; but people had to call at the office in each town for their letters and newspaper packets. After 1842 postmen were engaged. Ira 1845 there were only two postmen in Douglas. The Post Office was then in Thomas Street close to Thomas Street Methodist Chapel.


These came about in the followirng way*: In the year 1834 the Colonies obtained the boon byAct of Parliament of transmitting journals printed therein free by post to any part of Great Britain and Ireland. No such right was granted to the press of the Isle of Man or, the Channel Islands by the Act; bill but upon special application of the newspaper proprietors in the Isle of Man and in the Channel Islands a similar boon was extended to them. In 1840 the privilege was extended, by fotmal Act of Parliiainent, to each of these places, and a most useful boon it must have been to all classes. Shortly after the last mentoned Act certain 'irregular' practices sprung up in the publishing trade in. Jersey and Guernsey, and were adopted in Man. The Manx Sun remarked that 'unprincipled 'adventurers got up extensive issues of newspapers ' exclusively for English circulation and deluged the mother ' country with Chartist and Socialist and other dangerous 'publications through the medium of a free postage transit.'

*Manx Sun, 18th April, 1849.

These non.-Manx journals - which will be enumerated in the following pages - printed and posted in Douglas, thereby escaped the heavy duties on paper, newspapers and advertisements which were current in England, and the English papers were, of course, jealous of the grant of these privileges. The duties were 3d. per lb. on paper, 4d. on each newspaper, and 3s. 6d. on each, advertisement. In Man these duties did not exist. It is stated too that the local printers actually received et drawback front the Excise of three-halfpence per pound upon every ream imported by them.

The same conditions existed in the Island of Jersey, and it was stated by the Athenĉum that in that isle there were thirteen periodicals having free postage and having a circulation of 60,000 copies weekly over the whole of England.

The following Notices wore inserted in. the press about these facilities

The Liberal, 22 Oct., 1839: 'This paper can be sent post free to any part of Great Britain, the Channel Islands or France.'
The Manx Sun, July 2nd, 1842: 'This paper may be sent, post free, to all British Colonies, or ports under the domination of Great Britain, and to the following foreign kingdoms and towns:-Denmark, Spain, Hamburg, Lubeck, Cuxhaven, Bremen, Hayti, Peru, Honduras, Brazils, Buenos Ayres, La Guayna, Colombia, Caracas.'
The Mona's Herald, 4th June, 1845: ' The Mona's Herald may be sent, postage free, to any part of the United Kingdom, the West Indies, and North American Colonies; Malta and British India, via, Southampton; France, Denmark, Spain, Hamburgh, Lubeck, Cuxhaven, Bremen, Hayti, Peru, Honduras, Brazils, Buenos Ayres, La Guiana, Columbia, Carracas; to the United States on payment of 2d.; and to Australia and New Zealand on payment of 1d. on each paper.'
The Manx Cat, of 11 May, 1848, states: Two individuals come to the Isle of Man and erect a printing press. They print a local newspaper. . . . They print one, two, three, four, five publications not of a local character at all, and not a. single copy of which is circulated on the Island. . . . The post bags must be enlarged for their convenience, the publishers receive a drawback on paper from the English Customs; the post office clerks have additional labour; the British Government is defrauded by trickery; the people of the Isle of Man gain nothing. This sort of thing cannot long continue.'

Tynwald in, 1846 passed an Act which provided that no persons should print or publish a periodical till they had signed a declaration specifying their names, descriptions, and place of abode, the places where their papers were printed and the titles of their papers.* These regulations had no checking effect; and to such an extent did they interfere with, the circulation of some English papers that many angry criticisms were printed in their columns. It was not surprising that on 3rd Sept., 1848, an Imperial Act was passed + to make all papers sent from Man and the other islands liable to the full rates of postages to Great Britain and Ireland.

They were permitted for some years longer to send them free to France, Belgium, Spain, and any British Colony. When this last privilege was withdrawnc in April, 1849, they soon disappeared.

In the National Temperance Advocate, as well) as other locally-printed journals of any date prior to April, 1849, the following notice to subscribers appeared in each issue :

This Journal is privileged with a free postage from the Isle of Man to every part of the United Kingdom, and can be reposted.

Within seven days of publication it can also be sent free to the West India and North American Colonies, to Sidney (by packet), France (via Dover), to Hamburg, Lubeck, Cuxhaven, Bremen, Oldenburgh and Denmark, to Spain, Gibraltar, Greece, Ionian Isles, Malta, and East Indies (all via Southampton), to Algiers, Hong Kong, New Granada, Havana, Venezuela, Peru, to Hayti (via Southampton), to Honduras and the Bahamas, and to the Brazils and Buenos Ayres, &c. (via Falmouth).

Within seven days of publication the postage per copy is as follows, to other foreign countries: Holland (and through Holland to the German States, Austria, Prussia, Sweden), 1d.; to Russia, Portugal, Switzerland, Italy, Turkey and the Levant, China, Syria and Egypt, 2d. each; to the Cape, Id.; to Western Africa and the United States, 2d.; Madeira, 2d.; South Australia and New Zealand, Id.

* A. W. Moore Hist., p. 595.
+ Gell Manx Soc., Vol. xii.

The following order was issued from the General Post Office in April, 1849:

Henceforward, newspapers printed or published in any of the Channel Islands or in the Isle of Man, and sent by the post between any of such islands and Great Britain and Ireland will be liable to the full letter rates of postage according to the scale for charging Inland Letters by weight; with the exception of such of the Newspapers alluded to as may be printed in the French language.

The postage charge on each paper, if Prepaid, then became 4d., and if not prepaid 8d. on reaching its destination. In the course of time the rates became the same as in the other Parts of the British Isles.


The publishers of the temperance monthly journals claimed a different status to that of the political; ventures, and appealed to the Government for a continuance of the privilege. The leaders of the British Temperance Association, which published the National Temperance Advocate and the Youths' Temperance journal, issued from Douglas, interviewed the Government in London. The deputation included Joseph Brotherton, M.P. Salford, L. Heyzeorth, M.P. Derby, and Sir Joshua Walmsley, M.P. Bolton. One of the Lords of the Treasury promised to give consideration to the appeal, but at the end of a fortnight they were told that all papers published in Man must henceforth pay one penny or use a postage label on passing through the Post Offices of Great Britain and Ireland. But even this would not be allowed without permission first being obtained from the Board of Inland Revenue.

In the Report submitted to the Conference of the British Temperance Association in July, 1849, it was stated that regarding

An Act passed in the last session of Parliament assurances were given by members of the Government that such an Act was not intended to interfere with any but political papers. Our privilege ended by the sudden abolition of it in April, 1849. All our difficulties were laid before the Government, the character of our papers, their influence on the general wellbeing, &c. On behalf of the Government it was stated that the privilege had been much abused by political papers of a violent type.

The Sun and the other genuine Manx papers were from May, 1849, sent by post to Great Britain and Ireland on the affixing of a penny postage stamp. To France, Belgium and Spain and the British Colonies the papers were forwarded free of any postage. This was continued to the end of 1851.

Re-posting papers. The following intimation was sent from the General Post Office, London, or. 3rd November, 1846:'Newspapers published in the Isle of Man may be re-posted in the United Kingdom without being subjected to any additional charge.--Signed, Chas. Johnson, pro. sec.'


In the issue of the Manx Liberal for the date 21st April, 1849, a leading article appears under the above heading

The evil so long complained of printing papers here for English circulation and designed exclusively for English readers has become so notorious that to have longer countenanced it would have been little better than an open flagrant robbery.

At the close of the year 1846 a ntemorial was addressed to the Governor, who wrote to the authorities in London. The reply, dated 1 Jan., 1847, stated that ' the postage revenue of the Isle of Man scarcely exceeded the expenses of collection.'*

After 13th June, 1849, the ' legitimate' Manx papers were authorised to send by post copies to Great Britain and Ireland by affixing a penny stamp. To France, Belgium and Spain and the British Colonies they continued to be forwarded free of any postage. Papers in. the French or in Manx language were not affected by the restrictions, and could still enjoy the privileges as far as the transmission by free post was concerned. The last date on which free postage to France, Belgium and Spain and the British Colonies appears to be in April 1855.

By the provisions of an Act passed by the House of Commons in. July, 1855, to amend the laws relating to the stamp duties on newspapers, every newspaper passing through the post and intended for transmission abroad had to be registered at the General Post Office in London. This regulation has governed all newspapers printed in Man since that date.

* Manx Sun, 2nd January, 1847.

At intervals one or two publications of the character of magazines appeared, but they had short lives. The first to be announced was called the Masonic Quarterly Visitor or Manx Repository, a half-crown quarterly, the first number of which was to be issued in 1815. The promoters were connected with the Gazette, with which paper Mark Anthony Mills was associated. The proposed magazine, which was advertised in the Gazette of 27th April, and 4th May, 1815, was never published.

The first number was to contain biographical sketches, essays, tales, bon mots, the Chronicle of Man, Manx Jurisprudence, poetry, etc. It was to be published ' as soon as a sufficient number of subscribers shall appear to patronise the work,' but, as in many other similar cases, there was a lack of support, and the enterprise of the printer brought no response.

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