[pp 1321- from Cubbon - Bibliography, Vol 2, 1939]
[Class L 8.]
THE MANKS MERCURY AND BRISCOE'S DOUGLAS ADVERTISER.
This is the first newspaper to be published in the; Isle of Man, the first number appearing on November 27th, 1792. It was printed by Christopher Briscoe, at 'the Printing Office, Douglas.' The exact situation of this office is not indicated, but we know that Christopher resided in Back Strand Street. His parents had come to the Island from Cumberland, and he himself was a private in the Strangers' Volunteer Company, which was formed in the time of the French wars (Journal of the Manx Museum, Vol. II, p. 220).
When the Manks Mercury first made its appearance many of its readers had seen great development in the commerce of the Island. Trade was booming in England, and the scenes at the old quayside at Douglas must have been very animated. Most of the adult population were unable to read, but groups of men met regularly in the public houses to hear the news read out to them.
In England and Ireland at this time there was a stamp duty on newspapers which had been in operation in the former country since 1712, and in Ireland since 1774. The stamp for each newspaper was one penny. The duty did not exist in Man, and that fact must have encouraged the sales of the Mercury (see 'Early Postal Facilities,' ante pp. 1181-1185).
The paper sold at 'Two Pence British,' and was of four pages, with twelve equal columns, each 18 ems wide. The page measured 450 x 270 mms. No imprint appears until April 29th, 1794 (see No. 63). The Museum. Collection (Reg. No. 612 A, L 8) commences with Vol. I, No. 12, and ends with Vol. II, No. 80, which, however, was almost certainly not the last to be published (q.v.).
TYPOGRAPHICAL CHANGES, &C.
No. 51, Tuesday, November 12, 1793: This issue bears the words 'No. 51, being the last but one of Vol. I. The first vol. is completed with No. 52, Tuesday, November 19, 1793, and Vol. II commences with No. 53 on Tuesday, November 26. The final paragraph of the last issue is interesting: 'By a casualty which occurred in our weekly process, the publication of this paper has been delayed considerably beyond the limited time. As the circumstance was unforeseen, and therefore unavoidable. we trust our readers will pardon the seeming omission; and we pledge ourselves in future for the greatest punctuality.'
No. 54, Tuesday, December 3, 1793: A single-page supplement was issued with this paper, containing the address: 'The subscribers of the Manks Mercury are respectfully informed that, in order to obviate a difficulty which has hitherto subsisted in the circulation of the papers through the interior parts of the country, and for the purpose of giving more early information of Foreign affairs, the proprietor has been induced to alter the time of publication. from Tuesday to Saturday.-By this alteration (agreeable to the time the packet usually arrives) he wil! be enabled to give the Foreign Intelligence nearly three days sooner than by a Tuesday's publication; and have a better opportunity of sending the papers to those persons who may live at a distance from the circuits of the regular newsmen.' Vol. II, No. 54, therefore appeared on Saturday, December 7th.
No. 61, Saturday, March 31, 1794: There is the following address:-'The publisher of this paper presents his most respectful compliments to hia numerous friends and sub- scribers; and humbly begs leave to inform them, that, having now got proper assistance in his business, the work will be carried on with the greatest regularity. For par- ticular reasons a paper will be published on Thursday morning next, and another on Saturday, after which it will continue to come out every Saturday morning at 8 o'Clock precisely.'
No. 63, Saturday, April 29, 1794: The first appearance of an imprint, worded as follows: `Printed by C. Briscoe, at the Printing Office, Douglas, Isle of Mann: / Where Advertisements, Essays, Articles of Intelligence, &c., &c., are received; and where Printing Work is neatly and expeditiously executed. / ' In the next and subsequent issues a third line is added: 'No Advertisement hereafter can possibly be inserted in this Paper the same Week that it is not sent to the Office before Friday Noon.'
No. 80, Saturday, August 16, 1794: The last issue in the Library, and the last we have traced.
The M e r c u r y contained but little Manx news, the majority of the items being news of affairs in England and abroad, culled generally from other newspapers brought from Liverpool or Whitehaven by the packets. Some Manx items are the following:-
Agricultural (Mannan), Feb. 19, i 13.
Bounty Mutineers - Trial and Execution - Letter by an Officer, Feb. 19, i 13; Feb. 26, i 14.
Courts Baron, March 31 (1794), ii 60.
Duke of Athol (John) - Poem by J. Stowell (?) of Peel, March 5, i 15. Also Arrival of Duke. Fencibles, Royal Manx; Officers, June 4, i 28; June 14, 1794, ii 71.
Friendly Society, I.M.; May 28, i 27; June 14, 1794, ii 77.
Hand-Bellows Maker, Peter Johnson, March 31, ii 60.
House-Carpenter, William Taggart, Feb. 8, ii 58.
Tynwald of 1793, July 30, i 26.
The first issues of the Manks Advertiser, which commenced in 1801, contain no reference to the Manks Mercury. There is, however, the mention, and the suggestion of the demise of a 'Predecessor' in the Advertiser of Saturday, January 29, 1803 (q.v.), and which lends colour to A. W. Moore's statement ('History of the Isle of Man, p. 596) that the Mercury 'came to an end in 1801.' Train ('History of the Isle of Man,' p. 382), on the other hand, says the Mercury 'continued for 15 years,' which would give 1807 as the date of its cessation, but he gives no authority for his statement.
1801 - 1842.
THE. MANKS ADVERTISER (1801 - 1803),
THE MANKS ADVERTISER AND JEFEERSON'S WEEKLY INTELLIGENCER (1803 - 1819),
THE MANKS ADVERTISER AND WEEKLY INTELLIGENCER (1819 - 1842).
THE MANKS ADVERTISER AND FARMERS' JOURNAL (1842- . 1845).
Probably this newspaper made its appearance when the Manks Mercury was already struggling hard to keep going, and its immediate success may well have been a strong contributory factor in the M e r c u r y ' s demise. In a note in No. 78 (January 29, 1803), acknowledging the patronage and encouragement he has received in his undertaking, the publisher, George Jefferson, mentions that 'the difficulties he 'at first laboured under, from his being a stranger in the 'Island, and from the irregular conduct of his predecessor ' (which prepossessed the minds of many), are removed.' This 'predecessor' can be none other than Christopher Briscoe of the Mercury, and the note surely implies that at that date the older paper was extinct. Thus, from its inception on August 8, 1801, the Advertiser appears to have met with public favour.
In common with the Mercury before it, the Advertiser gave for the most part important news of home and foreign affairs, particularly the stirring military events in Europe and America. Recording so little of insular :natter the A d v e rt i s e r was necessarily dependent for prompt publication on the arrival to schedule of the Packets. The apology in No. 27 (February 16, 1802) is only one of several similar apologies made for delay in publication during the early years of the paper's career:
As some of our readers may not have been acquainted with the cause of our having delayed this Paper two days later than the day of publication - it may be necessary to observe, that in consequence of the want of London and Foreign Intelligence, of a recent and interest- ing nature, it was considered most eligible to wait the arrival of the Packet.
The following notices, which appeared in 1804 and 1805, show us something of the difficulties the printer-publisher had to face at this period.
No. 130, Saturday, February 4, 1804:
The Printer takes the liberty of informing the Subscribers, and the public at large, that having in the ensuing week, to go round the Island (as usual every six months) for the purpose of collecting the subscriptions due for this paper, he will be prevented from publishing a number on Saturday next. It is presumed that, on such an occasion, any further apology will be considered unnecessary.
The next issue appeared on February 18.
No. 209, Saturday, September 28, 1305: The editor states that 'Having been under the Necessity of going to England 'on Business, he has consequently been prevented from pub- ' lishing this paper for the last three weeks. The Public in 'general may, however, rest assured that every possible care 'will, in future, be taken to guard against a similar delay.' The previous issue, No. 208, was on August 31, 1805.
A further difficulty in the early days was in the distribution of newspapers throughout the towns and villages. Jefferson had agents in Peel, Castletown and Ramsey, and for some time in Kirk Michael and Ballaugh. In 1813 the printer engaged carriers, whose task it was to deliver the papers to these agents, and to subscribers en route, but who also accepted parcels and letters for delivery to private addresses (No. 597, March 13, 1813).
Jefferson experienced some three months delay in securing his supply of types and equipment, and apparently (according to an apology made in the first issue) he had intended com- mencing publication in May or June, instead of at the beginning of August. The Manks Advertiser was first issued, under that title, each Saturday, and comprised a single sheet of four pages measuring 430 x 270 mms., with three columns to the page, each 74 mms. or 17 pica ems. wide. The crest used (see title) was a simple Three Legs design rotating anti - clockwise, and contained within a plain square - very different from the florid crest of the Mercury. The price of the paper at the outset was 3d. British, and the first imprint, which runs in two lines across the full width of the page, at the bottom of p. 4, reads:
Douglas: Printed and Published by G. JEFFERSON and sent to Capt. Fell's, Castletown; to Mr. Clucas's, Peel; and to Mr. Sayle's, / Ramsey; where Advertisements, Articles of Intelligence, Orders, &c. are received. - N.B. Ready Money for Advertisements.
Typographical Changes, &c.
The chief typographical and other changes which took place during the Advertiser's 40-years' career are summarised below:
No. 125, Saturday, December 31, 1803: The title was altered to The Manks [crest] Advertiser / and Jeffer- son's Weekly
No. 352, Saturday, June 25, 1808: The crest hitherto used is replaced by a circular design of the Three Legs with the ' Quocunque Jeceris Stabit' motto within a laurel surround.
No. 483, Saturday, January 5, 1811: The size of the page was altered to 442 x 284 mms., with the width of the centre column 84 mms. or 19 pica ems.
No. 552, Saturday, April 25, 1812: The size of the page is now 454 x 300 mms., with four columns, each 70 mms., or 16 pica ems., across.
No. 568, Saturday, August 22, 1812: 'The arrival of the mail put us in possession of the highly gratifying intelligence of the Confirmation of Lord Wellington's Great Victory!- Anxious to afford our readers the earliest information on this important subject, hand-bills were printed and forwarded to every part of the Island, in less than an hour after the papers were delivered at the Post Office.'
No. 570, Saturday, September 5, 1812: Enclosed with this issue is a single sheet, printed on both sides, and headed in bold type 'Capture of Madrid.'
No. 609, Saturday, June 5, 1813: 'We lately apprized our Readers, that we had ordered, from London, an entire new and beautiful Type, to be used in the printing of this paper, and they will observe, from this day's impression, that it has come to hand.'
No. 725, Saturday, August 26, 1815: It was announced that the day of publication would be changed from Saturday to Thursday. The next issue, No. 706, appeared or, Thursday, August 31, 1815.
No. 901, Thursday, January 7, 1819: The title was altered to The Manks [crest] Advertiser / and Weekly I n t e l l i g e n c e r . A new crest, very like the previous one, was adopted. There is also the following address: 'To com- mence the labours of the present year, we have procured at a considerable e pense, though without any additional charge to our Subscribers, a new Fount of types, to be used in the Printing of this Paper . . . .
No. 937, Thursday, December 26, 1819: The size of the page was again increased, to 497 x 320 mms.
No. 1178, Thursday, April 29, 1824: 'We have attended to the kindly suggestions of our friends, and, in compliance with their wishes, intend to enlarge our Paper, so as to comprise five columns of letter-press in each page.' It was announced in the next issue that the price would be 4d. British, an advance of one penny on the original price.
No. 1414, Tuesday, November 4, 1828: The previous impression was on Thursday, October 30. 'From the conviction that it will be more gratifying to our readers to see the earliest news, we have determined to meet their wishes, by changing the date of our publication from Thursday to Tuesday..
No. 1521, Tuesday, November 23, 1830: A single-page supple- ment was issued with this paper giving ' A List of Subscrip- tions towards the building of a new Mansion on the Glebe at St. Marks' . . . 'as it may lead to utility, and encourage others to 'Go and do likewise."
No. 1665, Tuesday, September 3, 1833: The price was reduced to 3d. British, and the Volume number makes its initial appearance-Vol. XXXIII.
The numbers between 1734 (Vol. XXXIV) for December 30, 1834, and 1846 (Vol. XXXVI) for February 21, 1837, are absent from the Library collection.
No. 1847, Tuesday, February 28, 183'.': The following changes have been made: (1) The size of the page is now 650 x 490
mms., with six columns of 14 ems width, (2) the crest of the title again shows a panel with the Three Legs design incorporated
with the Royal Arms.
No. 2090, Tuesday, October 26, 1841: Notice was given that owing to the change in the days of sailing of the Packet, publication in future would be on a Wednesday.
No. 2113, Wednesday, March 30, 1842: Notice was given that from April 5 publication would be on Tuesday morning, owing to a change to Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the days of arrival of the Packets.
No. 2141, Tuesday, October 18, 1842: In consequence of further revision of the sailing times of the Mail Packets to operate during the winter months, tire Advertiser reverts to Wednesday as publishing day.
One of the early apologies for delay (of two days) in publication points to the publisher's having been concerned in a law-suit, but unfortunately there is no further reference to this suit, nor any indication of its nature or cause, beyond the notice in No. 211 (October 12, 1805)
As the generality of our Readers are already acquainted with the Cause of the Delay of this Paper, we shall only, at present, congratulate the Public on the happy issue of a late Suit. MONA can yet boast of a FREE PRESS; -and (so long as we enjoy that privelege), it will be our uniform Study, to preserve it inviolate and irreproach- able.
In 1826 the printer was concerned in another law-suit, Christian v. Jefferson, an action for a libel which was alleged to have appeared in the Advertiser of December 28, 1826. The libel was directed against the chaplain of St. George's Church, and Robert Fargher, the future editor of s' s Herald, gave evidence. The jury returned a verdict of guilty, and Jefferson was called upon to pay £50 damages.
As is only to be expected Jefferson ,though he tried hard to avoid controversy) was not infrequently inveigled into ovoi°dy war.,re with other newspaper proprieuors. We hava seer. that he apparently had trouble at the outset wit1-r Briscoe of the M e r c u r y, and he was, on one occasion, stung into retalia- tion by harsh criticism in the Weekly Gazette (No. 550, April 18, 1812). Beatson, whose paper had just been enlarged, could not resist a dig at 'the little Manks Advertiser and its proprietor, of whom he wrote: 'Mr. J. probably finds himself, Tantalus-like, immersed in obscurity, condemned to an everlasting thirst for that publicity and approbation which he hopes we may place within his reach!'
A long calumny of the Weekly Gazette and its editor, Mark Anthony Mills, appeared on page 3 of No. 853 (February 5, 1818), in which is mentioned 'the ludicrous strut of a squat editor, pompously detailing the wonder of his career,' Mark Anthony Mills is exposed as ' a fellow who would have been a judge, but could not; who might have been an advocate, if he had had but a character; who might have been a member of the D L-1 if he had not been black-balled; and who might, with some reformation, have been a gentleman printer, ' if he had paid for his types . . . . [See p. 1143.] The sequel to this calumny is to be foand in the issue of April 2 (No. 861), where a half-column appeared under the 'Law Intelligence,' headed 'Libel: Mark Anthony Mills v. George Jefferson.'
This trial came on, at Castletown, on Tuesday last, before the Honourable Deemster Gawne, and a respectable and enlightened jury. It excited considerable interest, and occupied a great portion of the day. The prosecutor stated . . . that the defendant did print a certain scan- dalous, false, malicious, and libellous paragraph, directed and pointed at the prosecutor. The prosecutor, made an impressive speech of great length. The counsel for the defendant . . . spewed that the publication was not libellous, and quoted several paragraphs from the W e e k l y _ Gazette which had given occasion for the cutting paper under discussion. The jury returned a verdict of acquittal.
In the spring of 1840 the Advertiser succumbed to the temptation to make strong reply to a long series of weekly calumnies and persistent baiting that had become part of the stock-in-trade of the Manx Liberal. They call Joseph Ritson Wallace, the L i b e r a 1 proprietor, 'Satan's representa- tive in the Isle of Man,' and his 'vile publication' is nick- named 'Paddy Kelly's Budget.' Here are some of the Advertiser's opinions (No. 2010, April 14, 1840)
We beg . . . to tell Mr. Joseph Ritson Wallace, the infidel philosopher, that he is a fiend more cruel than a heathen brute, for the lion doth not follow the lion for his prey . . . but he (Joseph) manifests a blood-thirsty disposition, and skews that he possesses a heart that would glory in the destruction of his fellow-man. To gratify the propensities of his corrupt and depraved soul, he has called to his aid some of the basest of mankind, as wicked and abandoned as himself, to slander all the authorities of the island, and to abuse everyone else who may be opposed to him in religion and politics. These miscreants . . . he has hired to assail us with the most mendacious impudence, because we maintain . . . those scriptural doctrines and articles of faith in which all true Christians can unite.
In a notice two weeks later (No. 2012, July 7, 1840), the editor regrets having let his temper get the better of his judgment, and apologises to readers for having devoted so much space to so unworthy a subject.
However, Wallace persisted in his slashing attacks, and eventually some member of the Advertiser camp waylaid him in the street and, with ' a powerfully Celtic arm,' publicly horse-whipped him! An interesting notice to this effect appeared on September 15 (No. 2032)
We understand Mr. Wallace is not the first person con- nected with the Press to whose shoulders the lash has been publicly applied, for we understand that Mark Anthony Mills, the proprietor and editor of the P h o e n i x, received a flagellation from the hands of one of the Manx Bar, since raised to the dignified station of a judge. Mark, however, appealed to law for redress, and the jury decreed that he merited the chastisement he received. We understand that Mr. W. would have made a similar appeal, but he anticipated a similar verdict.
The next trouble (for Wallace appears to have learnt his lesson) was with s ' s H e r a 1 d. On January 12, 1841 (No. 2049), it is revealed that this contemporary had the effrontery and bad manners to 'print a little paltry slip contain- ing a short account of the late Transactions in China, and to engage a running stationer to hawk the same through the town at the price of one penny' on the Advertiser ' s morning of publication! The complaint continues::
In times gone by the person guilty of such dereliction from rectitude, and such an act of turpitude to a brother journalist, would shortly have had a blanket reeking from the pelt tub round his : houlders, and richly would he have deserved it. To interfere with a contemporary's publish- ing day is rascally and unjustifiable.
In the following issue that 'low, vulgar, upstart publication vauntingly styled the Central Advertiser of the British Empire' is shown to have repeated the act:
On the arrival of the mail containing the Queen's speech . . . . 100 copies were printed off upon spec, and two running stationers, with labels round their hats, and penny trumpets in their mouths, were hired to hawk them about the town.
Jefferson's address, as given in the imprint, does not change from Duke Street, where the printing was first carried out in premises behind his stationer's shop. In February, 1816
(No. 748), he announces that 'he intends to remove to the office on the Quay, lately built by Messrs. Beatson and Co.' Presumably the paper was printed there until September, 1821, when an announcement was made in No. 1044 (October 4), that the printing office would be moved to ' a commodious building in the rear of the shop in Duke Street.' A reference to Beatson appears on p. 1141 of this Bibliography.
Vicar-General Thomas Stephen, the son of Daniel Stephen, the Parish Clerk of Ballaugh from 1770 to 1792, was 'for several years editor of the Manks Advertiser' (A. W. Moore MSS, Manx Families, pp. 88-89). Associated with him as editor was another clergyman residing at Cooilley Lodge, Kirk Michael - the Rev. William Mitford, or 'poor old Mitty' of the rival Press. He died in 1832.
In Pigot's 1837 Directory the editor at that time is given as Joseph Lovell, and at the time of open strife with the Manx Liberal, in 1840, the editor was a certain 'J. Bedford.'
The final issue of the Manks Advertiser was published on Wednesday, November 16, 1842, and was No. 2145. The newspaper changed hands, Jefferson selling to Messrs. Dillon & Co., who changed the name of the publication to The Manks Advertiser and Farmer's' Journal. Jefferson gave as his reason for retiring that ' declining years incapacitated him from any longer taking that active part which is so essential in the publication of a newspaper' (No. 2142). The new paper ceased to issue in 1845.
The following bound volumes are in the Manx Museum Library. From most volumes there are a few odd numbers missing.
Reg. No. Nos. Date.
2598 1- 52 Aug. 8. 1801 to July 31. 1802.
490 1- 104 Aug. 8, 1801 to July 30, 1803. Missing Nos. 26, 92, 96, 97.
554 105- 208 Aug. 13, 1803 to Aug. 31, 1805. Missing Nos. 108, 109, 129, 152, 154, 181, 200, 201.
554 313- 482 Sept. 26, 1807 to Dec. 29, 1810. Missing Nos. 355, 367, 406, 478.
557 483-- 550 Jan. 5, 1811 to April 18, 1812. Missing Nos. 495, 508, 551.
558 552- 743 May 2, 1812 to Dec. 28, 1815. Missing Nos. 554, 577, 596, 685. 558 (a) 551- 583 April 25, 1812 to Dec. 5, 1812.
(b) 796- 846 Jan. 2, 1817 to Dec. 18, 1817. Missing Nos. (a) 582, (b) 844. 559 744- 846 Jan. 4, 1816 to Dec. 18, 1817.
560 847- 936 Dec. 25, 1817 to Sept. 9, 1819.
561 937-1040 Sept. 16, 1819 to Sept. 6, 1821.
1762 1906-1086 Jan. 11, 1821 to July 25, 1822. 1763 1087-1182 Aug. 1, 1822 to May 27, 1824. Missing No. 1160. 562 1183-1300 June 3, 1824 to Aug. 31, 1826.
563 1183-1421 June 3, 1824 to Dec. 30, 1828.
564 1301-1472 Sept. 7, 1826 to Dec. 15, 1829.
565 1425-1632 Jan. 27, 1829 to Jan. 15, 1833.
566 1475-1577 Jan. 5, 1830 to Dec. 27, 1831. Missing Nos. 1473, 1474. 1407 1578-1664 Jan. 3, 1832 to Aug. 27, 1833.
1764 1581-1733 Jan. 24, 1832 to Dec. 23, 1834.
567 1847-1924 Feb. 28, 1837 to Aug. 21, 1838. Missing Nos. Dec. 30, 1834 to Feb. 21, 1837.
568 1925-2003 Aug. 28, 1838 to Feb. 25, 1840.
569 2004-2145 March 3, 1840 to Nov. 16, 1842. Missing Nos. 2081, 2082, 2099, 2120, 2130, 2133.
1812 -- 1822.
THi, ISLE OF MAN WEEKLY GAZETTE AND GENERAL ADVERTISER (1812-1819).
THE ISLE OF MAN GAZETTE AND GENERAL ADVERTISER (1819-? 1822).
The first issue of the Weekly Gazette appeared on April 8, 1812, but No. 3, of April 22, is the earliest in the Museum's collection. The Advertiser, on April 11, hailed its inception with the bleak words 'the paper which has been so recently ushered into the world will find but few admirers.' The size of the page was 495 x 310 mms., and the column was 18 pica ems width. The imprint, 'Douglas: Printed by J. Beatson and Co., at the Phoenix Press, on the Custom House Quay,' appeared beneath the title, which had no crest; also the motto 'Nothing Extenuate nor Aught set down in Malice.' Manx-made paper was used, having the Three Legs water- mark, and the date.
Beatson appears to have been very prone to the publication of broadsides and supplements whenever he considered the news merited the extra trouble and expense, adopting this medium of communication out of 'anxiety to furnish the earliest information respecting important occurrences.' It was consciousness of the same desire that prompted an announcement in No. 45 (February 11, 1813) which throws a most interesting sidelight on insular newspaper services at the time. Publication had been delayed some hours in expectation of the arrival of the Whitehaven Packet, but the boat had been forestalled 'by the Duchess [of Atholl] and William Leece in ten hours from Liverpool,' which enabled Beatson 'to give intelligence from London to Wednesday last, inclusive, being a period of only forty-six hours!'
In March, 1814, the Gazette announced the death of the editor, Mr. John Vint. He had lived in Newcastle, where he edited 'the first county newspaper ever published in the North of England.' He had also edited the Morning Post and The Courier.
On July 7, 1814, the Weekly Gazette (No. 118), in 'mourning' with the rules surrounding the pages reversed, announced the death on July 4 of Mr. John Beatson, 'the original publisher of this paper,' at the age of forty-four. The Advertiser of July 9 in the same year recorded his death, adding: 'as a proof of his worth, his remains were attended to his last home by the most respectable inhabitants of Douglas and its neighbourhood.'
The firm was carried on by Copeland, who shortly after this called in the card-money which Beatson had issued. Beatson could not have profitted much, if at all, by his Gazette for in 1822 his widow pleaded pitifully in the Advertiser for relief, ' being in the extremest necessity for every article of life.' ' Mrs. B. more particularly applies to her late husband's friends and her own, hoping their benevolence and kind interference will prevent her falling a victim to actual starvation, which in her present state appears to be inevitable,' is one extract from this remarkable appeal. Another and a longer appeal, addressed from Kirk Michael village, appeared in the Advertiser for July 8, 1823.
The main typographical changes which occurred during the three years of the Beatson-Copeland regime were as follow:- No. 4, Thursday, April 30, 1812: Publication changed to Thursday morning, instead of Wednesday evening, as formerly. No. 18, Thursday, August 6, 1812: A notice appears announc- ing an extension of typographical limits, 'the columns of the first or front page being each twelve, and those of all the others six lines longer than before; of course, The Isle of Man Weekly Gazette is now actually larger than any of the diurnal London prints.' The imprint is transferred to the foot of the fourth column of the last page, and reads: ` Printed by J. Beatson and Co., on the Custom House Quay.'
No. 23, Thursday, September 10, 1812: The imprint becomes ' Printed by J. Beatson on the Custom House Quay.'
No. 77, Thursday, September 23, 1813: The imprint becomes 'Printed by Beatson and Copeland, Custom House Quay.'
No. 106, Thursday, April 14, 1814: A crest, of Britannia, with the Three Legs emblem on her shield, is introduced into the title.
No. 126, Thursday, September 1, 1814: Volume number (III) introduced.
No. 157, Thursday, April 6, 1815: Commences Volume IV. No. 175, Thursday, August 10, 1815: Last issue in the Museum collection.
There are two volumes of the Isle of Man Weekly Gazette in the Library, from the R. J. Moore Collection: No. 3 to No. 90 (April 22, 1812 to Dec. 3, 1813).
No. 93 to No. 175 (Jan. 13, 1814 to Aug. 10, 1815). Missing Nos. 1, 2, 91, 92. Reg. No. 1760 and 1761, L8.
Mark Anthony Mills.
In the year 1815 the firm of Beatson and Copeland became insolvent, and, there being no bankrupt law in the Isle, the creditors of the firm appointed trustees for their mutual benefit. As it did not appear likely that the affairs of the estate could be settled without a good deal of litigation, the trustees authorised the Coroner of Middle Sheading, John Collister, to take charge of, and sell by public auction, the stock-in-trade of the estate. Accordingly, on January 16, 1816, the auction was held, and Mark Anthony Mills, a 'hedge lawyer' practising in Douglas, purchased the whole of the printing plant for £301. By the terms of the sale Mills was allowed three months credit on finding good and sufficient bail, and the Rev. William Fitzsimmons guaranteed security for the payment of the sum in that period. Mills, however, did not pay; and according to the law no call could be made on the Rev. Fitzsimmons until all Mills' personal effects had been sold and found insufficient to pay the debt.-
Litigation continued until, on May 24, 1820, Collister was enabled to enforce a Deemster's order (made in September, 1816) for Mills' imprisonment. For the second time (for he was in gaol in 1812) Mark Anthony Mills was confined to Castle Rushen, and Collister made application for the sale of his effects in order to satisfy the outstanding debt. Execution was granted on November 2, 1820.
+ For further particulars about Fitzsimmons see p. 678 and Journ. Manx Museum, vol. ii, p. 137.
Mills later complained in a memorial to the Duke that the sale was an infamous plot on the part of Collister and the proprietors of two other papers, one of which was the Rising Sun, to suppress the Weekly Gazette altogether. The type and equipment were valued by the said proprietors, and sold for £70 - Mills said they were worth at least £700 - and the Coroner and his associates 'caused the fixtures of the printing concern to be instantly torn down, and with the other implements of printing thereof to be removed from the premises.'
Mills was released in February, 1821, without the knowledge or consent of Collister, and a subscription, to which the Lieut.- Governor, the Lord Bishop, the Southern Deemster, the Receiver-General, the Deputy Attorney-General and others contributed, provided sufficient money to enable the unlucky Mills to discharge the rest of his debt.
An informative paper dealing with the chequered career of Mark Anthony Mills, written by David Craine, M.A., appeared in the Journal of the Manx Museum for March, 1938 (Vol. iv, No. 54, pp. 7-10). See also the present work, pp. 1143-1145.
Mills retained the original title, but introduced a phoenix as the crest, and the following motto beneath the title: ' Ne Quid Falsi Dicere Audeat, Ne Quid Veri non Audeat.' The price was unchanged at 4d. British, and the size of the page was 512x330 mms. with four columns of 18 pica ems each. The imprint read: 'Printed for M. A. Mills and Co., at the Phoenix Press, near the Parade, Douglas,' and there were agents in Castletown, Peel, Ramsey, Ballasalla, and Kirk Michael.
There are only a few issues in the Library, bound with the Rising Sun of 1821-23:-
Vol. iii, No. 124; June 11, 1818. 'Printed for M. A. Mills and Co., at the Phoenix Press, near the Parade, Douglas.' The
imprint appears beneath the title, which is unchanged, and a crest comprising the head and wings of the mythological phoenix.
Size 510 x 320 moms.
Vol. iii, No. 137; September 10, 1818. Vol. iii, No. 138; September 17, 1818. Vol. iv, No. 187; August 26, 1819. Imprint now' Printed at the Phoenix Press, for M. A. Mills, and Published at the Office, near the Parade, Douglas.' Size 520 x 320.
Vol. iv, No. 188; September 2, 1819.
Vol. iv, No. 189; September 9, 1819.
Vol. vii. No. 290; February 6, 1822. No crest; title and motto the same. Size 485x320. Imprint 'Printed and Published by T. Davies for the Proprietor, at the Phoenix Press Office, Parade, Douglas.'
The above is the last issue of the newspaper in the Museum collection, but it is knows. to have continued publication until July, at any rate. There is in one of the bound volumes of pamphlets in the Cronkbourne Collection (Reg. No. 8028) a 'Supplement' to the Isle of Man Gazette dated Wednesday, July 10, 1822, and giving an account of the proceedings of an adjourned Tynwald Court. It is a broadside measuring 400 x 280 mms, and without imprint.
1821 - 1906.
THE RISING SUN, or MONA'S HERALD (1821-1824).
THE MANX RISING SUN (1824-1826).
THE MANX SUN (1826-1906).
Inception. In January, 1821, the coming appearance of the Rising Sun or Mona's Herald was announced in the Manks Advertiser, but for some cause the first issue was delayed until April. In the meantime the editor of the new paper, Captain Samuel Martin Colquitt, R.N., was allowed to air his views in the Advertiser, and several of his letters were published. Samuel Martin Colquitt was a rear-admiral; he came of a Liverpool family, and had been educated at Rugby. In 1825 he describes himself, in a letter to the Rt. Hon. W. Huskisson as 'an Officer of his Majesty's Navy authorised by Act of Parliament to assist in the prevention of smuggling on this Island.' He resided at Fort Anne, and was a Persian scholar and something of a poet, some of his verses being published in the Rising Sun.
In his first address to the public he says that the paper will be ' devoted to the best interests of the Island, politically, intellectually, and commercially.' At the close of the first year he wrote, 'we promised a paper superior to any before published in the Isle of Man-to prefer the public good to party feelings and considerations-to expose delinquency, and uphold the dignity of the Press, uncontaminated by licentiousness, undebased by servility.' He also claimed in the first issue that so long as the Rising Sun was received by one respectable native, it should never set.
The first issue of the paper is dated Tuesday, April 24, 1821, and the next issue was four days later-Saturday, April 28. The Rising Sun subsequently appeared each Saturday. It was a four-page sheet on paper manufactured at Topliss' Laxey Paper Mills*, and measuring 510 x 375 mms., with five columns each of 16 pica ems width. Local news and law reports were given under the heading The Mona's Herald ; the price was 4d. British or 4s. 6d. quarterly; and the motto appearing in the title, which had no crest, read 'Fiat Lux, et Lux Fuit -et Eundo Lucemus.'
The imprint was at the end of the paper: 'Printed and published every Saturday morning by John Penrice for Mr. Denman, General Agent to the Proprietors, at the Newspaper and Print- ing Office, North Quay, Douglas.' For a biographical note of John Penrice, see pp. 1145-1146 of the present work.
Vol. i, No. 15, July 28, 1821: Imprint: 'Printed and Published by John Penrice for Mr. Denman, General Agent to the Proprietor . . . .
"' In this connection it is worth recounting a curious mishap which occurred to the Sun of May 11, 1824. T. Topliss had failed to forward the usual supply of paper in readiness for that week's issue, and an urgent message for sufficient material was sent to Liverpool. There came by the next Packet paper of a size too small-so small that each column had to be shortened. The size of this flimsy sheet was 495 x 360 mms. as against the usual 510 x 375 mms. Practical printers will appreciate the enormous difficulty Mr. John Penrice had to overcome on the eve of going to press.
Vol. i, No. 35, December 22, 1821: Imprint: 'Printed and Published by John Penrice for the Proprietor,
at the Newspaper and Printing Office, North Quay, Douglas.'
Vol. ii, No. 82, November 9, 1822: 'In consequence of it having been arranged that the Packet from England is to arrive at the Port of Douglas from Liverpool every Monday during the ensuing winter, T h e Rising Sun will, in future, be published on Tuesday.'
Vol. iv, No. 192, December 14, 1824: Title altered to The Manx Rising Sun. Motto the same, but sub-title Mona's Herald dropped. On all pages except the first the title The Manx Sun is used. Imprint the same, and local news and editorial now under the heading of The Manx Sun instead of The Mona Herald as before.
Vol. iv, No. 195, January 8, 1825: Returns to Saturday issue. Vol. iv, No. 206, March 26, 1825: Imprint: 'Printed by John Penrice for the Proprietor and published by L. Lane at the Public Reading Room, Rising Sun Office, North Quay, Douglas.'
Vol. iv, No. 213, May 14, 1825: Imprint: 'Printed by John Penrice, for the Proprietor, and published at the Manx Rising Sun Office.'
Vol. v, No. 247, January 7, 1826: Latin motto replaced by 'For our King, and for our Country,' with the following: 'We point out Abuses and criticise the Measures of Public Men, in order that the Fruits of the glorious British Constitution- public rights-may be protected and equally enjoyed by all.'
Vol. vi, No. 263, April 20, 1826: Title changed to T h e Manx Sun. Crest, Three Legs in circle, with motto, surmounting 'For our King and Country.'
Vol. vi, No. 278, August 12, 1826: Imprint: 'Printed and Published by J. P. Wright at the Manx Sun Office, North Quay, Douglas.
Vol. vi, No. 290, November 7, 1826: Reverts to Tuesday issue. Vol. vi, No. 307, March 6, 1827. Imprint: 'Printed and Published by John Penrice at the 111 a n x Sun Office, North Quay Douglas.
Vol. vii, No. 368, May 6, 1827: Imprint: For 'John Penrice' read 'J. Quiggin.'
Vol. viii, No. 389, September 30, 1828: Crest reverts to Three Legs with a laurel surround. There are frequent changes in the days of issue, owing to changes in the sailing of the Packets.
Vol. xi, No. 563, January 31, 1832: Title now printed in old English lettering instead of fancy capitals.
Vol. xiii, No. 638, July 12, 1833: Price reduced from 4d. to 3d. British.
Vol. xv, No. 740, June 6, 1835: Change in size of sheet to 8 pps., 440 x 320 mms., with four columns of 16 pica ems. Crest changed to a variety of the Royal Arms, flanked on either side by Three Legged designs.
Vol. xvii, No. 855, June 30, 1837: Crest returns to the Three Legged design within motto and laurel surround. Sheet now measures 480x330 mms., with four columns of 17 pica ems width.
Vol. xxi, No. 1054, April 30, 1841: Imprint: 'Printed and Published at the Manx Sun Newspaper and General Printing Office (removed a few doors higher up the Quay).'
Vol. xxi, No. 1057, May 21, 1841: Imprint: 'Printed, Pub- lished and sold, by and for the Proprietors at the Manx Sun Newspaper and General Printing Office, North Quay, near the Bridge.'
Vol. xxi, No. 1059, June 4, 1841: Imprint: 'Printed for the Proprietors by Wm. Powell at the Manx Sun and General Printing Office, North Quay.' ,
Vol. xxi, No. 1062, June 25, 1841: Style of title altered, The Manx Sun in fancy capitals surmounting the crest-an ugly change. Motto: 'Honor All Men. Love The Brotherhood. Fear God. Honor The King.' Page now 510 x 340 mills, four columns of 17 pica ems width.
Vol, xxi, No. 1068, August 6, 1841: Title reverts sto Manx Sun and style similar to the one previous to No. 1062.
Vol. xxi, No. 1070, August 20, 1841: Crest dropped and title returns to The Manx Sun.
Vol. xxi, No. 1090, January 8, 1842: Imprint: Printed and Published by James Brotherston Laughton at the Manx Sun and General Printing Office, North Quay.
Vol. xxii, No. 1118, July 23, 1842. Imprint: For 'Jas. Bro. Laughton ' read 'for the Proprietors.'
Vol. xxii, No. 1134, November 12, 1842: Sheet now 485 x 340 mms.
Vol. xxiii, No. 1209, April 20, 1844: Imprint: Instead of 'for the Proprietors ' read 'by Peter Curphey, No. 6 North Quay.' Vol xxiv, No. 1238, November 16, 1814: Imprint: 'Peter Curphey' becomes 'Peter Curphey and Co.'
Vol. xxv, No. 1312, April 18, 1846: Imprint: 'Peter Curphey and Co.' reverts to ' Peter Curphey.'
Vol. xxviii, No. 1469, April 18, 1849: Imprint: 'No. 6 North Quay' becomes 'No. 31.'
Vol, xxix, No. 1506, January 5, 1850: Sheet now 500 x 320 mms. Vol. xxxii, No. 1662, January 1, 1853: Size of sheet now 510 x 320 mms.
Vol. xxxiv, No. 1735, June 3, 1854: Imprint: Printed and Published by Peter Curphey of No. 2 Windsor Road at the Manx Sun and General Printing Office, No. 13, King Street, Corner of Thomas Street, near the Post Office.
Vol. xxxv, No. 1795, July 21, 1855: Size altered to five columns of 16 ems. Page 560 x 380 mms. Still 8 pp. Imprint the same.
Vol. xxxviii, No. 1942, May 15, 1858: Imprint: Printed and Published by H. Curphey, of No. 40 Derby Square, at the Manx Sun General Printing Office, No. 13 King Street, corner of Thomas Street.
Vol. xl, No. 2003, July 16, 1859: Size of page altered to 580 x 420 mms., with six columns of 15 pica ems.
Vol. xl, No. 2004, July 23, 1859: Imprint: 'H. Curphey' becomes 'Harriet Curphey.' No. 2101, June 1, 1861 to No. 2141, October 19, 1861, issues missing.
Vol. xlix, No. 2593, July 2, 1870: First noted registered for transmission abroad. Price, unstamped 2d., stamped 3d.
Vol. xlix, No. 2610, October 29, 1870: Stamped 22d.
Vol. lviii, No. 3011, July 6, 1878: Eight pages. Size altered to seven columns, each 15 ems, page 650 x 500 mms. Imprint: Instead of ' corner of Thomas Street' read 'Victoria Street.'
Vol. lxi, No. 3183, October 22, 1881: Imprint: In place of 'Harriet Curphey' read 'Peter Curphey.'
Vol. lxix, No. 3498, November 5, 1887: Imprint: ' Printed and Published by Frank William Spencer, of No. 4 Rosemount, Douglas . . . .'
Vol. 1xix, No. 3520, April 7, 1888: Imprint: 'No. 4 Rosemount' becomes 'No. 3 Osborne Terrace, . . . General Printing Office, Victoria Street and 13 King Street.'
Vol. lxxvii, No. 3888, April 27, 1895: Imprint: ' 3 Osborne Terrace, Douglas,' becomes 'No. 3 Swiss Villas, in the parish of Conchan.'
Vol. lxxviii, No. 3953, July 25, 1896: Imprint: Instead of ' 3 Swiss Villas ' ' No. 1 Ridgeway Terrace.'
Vol. lxxviii, No. 3981, February 6, 1897: Imprint: 'Printed and Published by Lewis George Hannay, of No. 32 Victoria Street . . . .
Vol. lxxix, No. 4004, July 17, 1897: Imprint: 'No. 32 Victoria Street ' becomes '51 Victoria Street.'
Vol. lxxxii, No. 4161, July 21, 1900: Imprint: 'Printed and Published by William Cubbon, Thomas Norris and Horace Lightfoot, at the Manx Sun, etc.'
Vol. lxxxii, 4163, August 4, 1900: Thomas Norris drops out. Vol. lxxxiii, No. 4355, May 14,1904: Imprint: 'William Cubbon and Horace Lightfoot' replaced by 'the Proprietors, the Manx Sun Limited.'
Vol. lxxxiv, No. 4485, Saturday, October 27, 1906: 'From this date the Manx Sun newspaper is amalgamated with the Is1e of Man Times, Printers and Publishers, Brown and Sons, Ltd.'
The newspaper was disposed of by public auction in October, 1824, when the editor wrote, 'it will become the property of several shareholders, and its continuance will depend upon the subscriptions filling up ir. a given time.' Mr. William Walls (see p. 1150) was authorised to receive these. It is known that the new owners were not Manxmen. Colquitt wrote of the impending changeover in the editorial column on October 19, 1824, saying that 'our successor is a gentleman who has been long distinguished in England as a newspaper editor,' and that he would continue the Sun on the same principles as formerly. This man was said to be an ex-editor of the Yorkshire Gazette, and there can be little doubt but that he was Captain Thomas, alias Trevor, Ashe. We know from a statement in 'Notes and Queries' (4th Series vol ii, p. 449) that he resided in York under the name of Philip Francis Sidney, from 1820 to 1823. He edited The Yorkshire Gazette for little more than a year, and then published a small sheet called 'The Yorkshire Observer, which lived only a few weeks. In these papers he published essays which he later collected under the title 'The Hermit in York; a Series of Essays on a variety of Subjects', and which were published in Hull in 1823.
That Trevor Ashe had had previous journalistic experience we know from a letter which appears in the Sun of October 19, 1824, on the same page as Colquitt's final address. It is obi-ions from this letter (which, fron: its date, must have been written actually in the Sun office) that he is about to take over the reins of editorship of the Sun . His term, however, was very short: James Grellier, an ex-army surgeon from London, had relieved him by December 14, in which issue he stated his policy, and also changed the title to The Manx Rising Sun, abbreviated to The Manx Sun elsewhere than on the title page.
Trevor Ashe, however, continued on terms of intimacy with Grellier and the Sun, and, indeed, on March 5, 1825, the editor found it necessary to deny, in rebuking a statement in The Advertiser, that Ashe had any official connection with the paper. He had many contributions in the Sun during 1824-25, including criticisms of the Amateur Theatre and New Theatre performances*; a description of a historical played called ' Goddard, or the Hero of Mona' (December 21) ; proposals for instituting a Manx Building Society, which was actually founded on February 25, 1825 (January 7 et seq.); a defence of Eliza S. Craven's first poem, 'The Legend of Mona,' against attacks of plagiarism (April 30) ; and a description of his Manx Museum on the North Quay (July 25).
Grellier, on March 19 of 1825, published an 'Isle of Man Literary Journal' containing excerpts from English contemporary magazines and reviews, but despite its failure to live beyond the first issue, Trevor Ashe published on April 23 proposals for an ambitious 'Isle of Man Magazine,' the first number of which was to appear in June (see pp. 1189-1191). It saw the light only in a very modified form, his 'Manx Sketch Book, or Beauties of the Isle of Man,' in which the lithographs enumerated on p. 1190 were used. An earlier scheme, his projected 'Views of the Ocean from the Isle of Man; or, Companion to the Sea-side, serving as a Cure for Ennui, and all other Distempers of the Mind,' a prospectus of which he published on December 7, 1824, came to naught.
Trevor Ash, was an adventurer, a man of ambitious, hair-brained schemes, and certainly one of the most colourful figures in Douglas at that time. He is as romantic an individual--and as much a renegade-as the famous Mark Anthony Mills. A writer in 'Notes and Queries' (4th Series, vol ii, p. 340) said of him: ' I have the smallest opinion of Captain Ashe's morality, integrity or judgement, the largest of his impudence, conceitedness, unfaithfulness.' He says in his 'Manx Sketch Book' that his association with the Isle of Man was upwards of thirty years standing, and certainly he was on the Island betweeen 1790 and 1793, during which period Christopher Briscoe published his short novel 'The Manks Monastery; or Memoirs of Belville and Julia.' By his own confession he composed this little romance in order to release himself from debt, and free him from the Island (pp. 1100-01).
* In the issue of February 19, 1825, is a three and a half columns report by Ashe of a case brought against him by three members of the Theatre Management Committee.
JAMES GRELLIER Editor- of the Manx Sun 1824 to 1842.
Accusations, which were not denied, were made against Ashe at a special court at Castletown, before Deemster Heywood, in which William Roper, lately expelled from the Manx Bar, accused Deemster Christian of libel and defamation of character. The Deemster Christian was acquitted after a long overnight sitting of the jury. Roper said of Ashe that he 'did on the 6th of April last send a letter to Mr. M'Crone, agent to the Duke of Athol and the Bishop, containing a multitude of charges against Deemster Christian respecting ' me; and amongst other charges he states, that Deemster Christian employed him to write against, and provoke me in the public papers; . . . that, in short, the whole scheme of my destruction was planned and settled by Christian and Ashe! -that Christian had constant clandestine communications with Ashe, and paid him sundry sums of money for his exertions to ruin me!-that Ashe afterwards furnished him with a bill of the particulars, which bill he was, with some difficulty, paid by the Deemster,-and Ashe positively says that he did, at the Demster's desire, and under his employment, work for my destruction, until he effected my dismissal from the bar. . . . I have since found that Mr. Ashe is, if possible, worse than I expected to find him: he has refused to come forward unless bribed!'
During late 1825 and early 1826 Ashe was confined to the debtor's cell at Castle Rushen. His petition for bankruptcy was heard on February 9, 1826; he offered his creditors the contents of his Museum in payment of his debts. He resided in 1824-25 at Shaws' Brow.
James Grellier was the editor of the Sun until 1826, and on November 21 of that year an action for libel was brought against him as editor and proprietor of the paper by Vicar- General Thomas Arthur Corlett, who lost his case. The Manks Advertiser of December 28 devoted the whole of the front page and two inside columns to an account of the proceedings. A statement was made in the court that the press and types which had belonged to the Manx Patriot had come into the possession of the Sun through Thomas Gawne, advocate, of Ballachurry, Kirk Christ Rushen, but in the issue of November 28 Grellier denied this.* During his editorship Grellier. incurred a sentence of eight days' imprisonment and a fine of £20 for committing a libel.
* In an early issue of the Sun the editor makes the astonishing assertion that the Attorney-General, Mr. R. Cunninghame, was 'the proprietor of a certain quantity of printing materials lately seized by the Officers of the Customs in an attempt to smuggle them ashore, and that they were intended for the establishment of a newspaper under his auspices.'
It was said in the issue of August 5, 1826, that 'arrangements being now completed with a gentleman who has lately been principally concerned in the conducting of an extensively circulated English provincial newspaper, and by whom the direction of this office will now be taken, the Manx Sun will, under his management, assume new features.' The im- print of the following issue contained the name of J. P. Wright, but as the name of John Penrice reappeared on March 6 of the following year, the new editor could not have remained long in the Island. The Manks Advertiser of September 3, 1833, records the death at Caernarvon of a John Pindar Wright, for the past few years the editor of The Caernarvon Herald, and adds, 'We believe that Mr. Wright formerly resided on this Island, and was for a short time, to his disappointment, connected with the Manks Press. He was highly esteemed as an artist and a warm-hearted friend.'
There was an amusing editorial apology in the issue of July 1, 1826, as follows:-
We hope our subscribers will excuse the irregularity of our publication for the last three weeks, which will not occur again, as it arose from our foreman's being called upon to England, and our eldest apprentice gone an excursion of pleasure to Liverpool.
An article by a correspondent of the Liverpool Albion entitled 'The State of the Manx press - addressed to the Nobility, Clergy and Gentry of the Isle of Man,' appeared in the Manx Sun on February 27, 1827.
The newspaper was in the hands of the Quiggins, who are dealt with on pp. 1149-1150, between 1828 and 1841, and in the latter year the name of William Powell appeared, being replaced by that of Joseph Brotherston Laughton in 1842.* During the final years, at any rate, of the Quiggin regime, a partnership existed between them and James Grellier, who was editor, under the name of John Quiggin and Co. This partnership was dissolved on June 4, 1841, and Powell was appointed to settle up the accounts (p. 1154). Grellier was still editor of the Sun in. 1845, when he sued Penrice and Wallace for a libel which had appeared in The Liberal, and secured £100 damages.
* John Brotherston Laughton is the author of the well known Visitors' Guide, the first edition of which appeared in 1842.
Grellier died in 1860, and the following obituary appeared in the Manx Sun of May 12 of that year: 'On Tuesday, May 8, at the Hills House, James Grellier, Esq., Army Surgeon. He was a resident here for nearly the last forty years, during which he lived on terms of great intimacy and friendship with many of the best Manx families.' Elsewhere in the issue it was stated that Grellier was in early life an army surgeon in India under the command of Sir Arthur Wellesley, and that on his return he lived in London for a short time before coming to the Isle of Man. 'For a long-protracted period, his conversational powers and anecdotal reminiscences were known and highly appreciated in our foremost social circles.' He is described also as 'for a long time the proprietor and editor of this journal, but having sold his right therein to Mr. Peter Curphey, he retired to the enjoyment of private life.' His age was 83.
Grellier was a great friend of the Forbes family, and up to 1835 was in partnership with Edward Forbes at a cloth- works in Union Mills. He was one the first men to recognise the genius of his partner's famous son, who became Professor Edward Forbes, and during his editorship of the Sun he published a number of poems by the young naturalist (see Proceedings of the Antiquarian Society, Vol. II, p. 503). The Professor's youngest brother, James Grellier Forbes, was named after him.
In the most prosperous years of the Sun, the early sixties, a young reporter named Teare was on the staff. He had served his apprenticeship as a printer at the Herald , and afterwards became attached to the literary side of the Sun. He died at the early age of 33, on June 11, 1867, and is buried at Kirk Braddan. His portrait, along with that of Robert Bowring Fargher and John Archibald Brown, appears under the heading of the Isle of Man Times.
The Rev. George Paton, the Chaplain of St. Paul's, Ramsey, was for a long time a leader-writer for the Sun ; he is credited with writing eleven verses entitled 'The Good Old Island Newspaper,' which, naturally enough, were published in the Sun. During the time of the General Election in 1892 the Sun was published twice daily, and special editions were frequent between July and September.
Cubbon and Lightfoot took over the Sun on July 21, 1900, on which date it was stated that the aim of the paper would be to promote Manx national interests, to create a higher ideal among the people as to their duty to the country, and to influence a higher degree of patriotism. The paper was finally taken over by the Isle of Man Times on October 27, 1906.
The Museum, under the Accession No. 5344, has an almost complete file of the Manx Sun, presented by Brown and Sons, Ltd., in July, 1925. There are also (5354/5) copies of The Manx Sun Special Edition (issued daily) for Monday, July 3, 1893; Friday, September 23, 1893; Monday, July 2, 1894; and Saturday, September 21, 1895.
1823 - 1824.
The following announcement was made in The Manks Advertiser of September 5, 1822: 'Early in October will be published No. 1 of a newspaper to be entitled The Comet, or True Manksman, to be published every Tuesday and Friday Afternoons, in large Royal 8vo, containing 8 pages, price 2d. each. Prospectuses will be issued in a few days, and further particulars obtained, on Application to John Sumner, Heywood-Place.' The quotation 'Be just and fear not; Let all the ends thou aim'st at, be thy Country's, Thy God's, and Truth's' was included.
The next mention of the forthcoming paper in The Advertiser occurred on October 10, when Sumner inserted a notice apologising for the delay in publication, due to the typefounder not having completed his order. The True Manksman finally appeared on January 21, 1823, and there is only one copy, that of January 28, in the Library, the gift of Archdeacon Kewley.
This copy shows the newspaper to have had a most attractive format for the time, the page being about royal quarto in size, and the paper hand-made, and probably Manx. There were eight pages, and the size of the sheet was 375 x 265 mms. The price was 4d. Manx, whereas in every other case of contemporary Manx newspaper the price was British. The paper was published every Tuesday morning by John Sumner at Heywood Place, at the corner of James Street.
The crest was a Three Legs emblem rotating clockwise, with the customary motto encircling it, and a scroll below reading ' Manninagh Firrinagh.' Underneath this again was the quotation 'Be just and fear not,' etc. The very small size of the page was explained by a note to the right of the title: ' This paper is printed on a convenient size for the purpose of being bound every year, and preserved by the subscribers as a work of reference and amusement to which a copious index will be annually published.'
A case for libel was brought against Sumner as editor and publisher of this his first newspaper on January 21, 1824. The plaintiff was Deemster Christian, who alleged that in a 'Letter to the Editor' published by Sumner it was stated that he (the Deemster) had received the gift of a salmon from a defendant in a case which was to be heard by him. Sumner conducted his own defence, and gave a lengthy address, in which he said he had come to Douglas as a journeyman- printer. He had already been four weeks in Castle Rushen; his office had been shut up; £130 worth of Almanacks had been nearly lost to him; he had had to leave a wife on a bed of sickness, and his two helpless children to the care of strangers. He pleaded that he was innocent of any libel.
The jury returned a verdict of guilty, and the Duke of Atholl, the President of the Chancery Court, imposed a fine of £100 and sentenced Sumner to Castle Rushen for six months- the maximum penalty. This setback spelled the ruin of The True Manx man . He wrote from Castle Rushen on January 7, 1824, that all just demands against him would be paid. The types and entire establishment of the printing office were sold by auction for £141, on February 17th of the same year, and a bookbinder named W. Tickell purchased the unsold copies of the Almanack and offered them to the public at 12d. Manx each.
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