[From Cannell's Guide, 1843]


When the Island was an independent feudal sovereignty, under the Earls of Derby and Dukes of Athol, the government was administered by their officers, sent over expressly for that purpose, who acted according to the directions of the Lord for the time being. Since 1829, when it became the property of the Crown, there has been no Governor-in-Chief. The present Lieutenant-Governor, Colonel John Ready, is the representative of her Majesty, and is vested with the same power as was held by the former Governor-in-chief. He is Captain-General of what military there may be upon the Island ; is judge in the Courts of Chancery and Exchequer, and president of the Courts of Common Law. The Council advise and assist him in legislation, and the administration of justice ; they consist of the

LORD Bishop of the Diocese. Rt. Rev. H. Pepys, D.D.
Attorney-General James Clark, Esq.
Northern Deemster John Christian, Esq.
Southern Deemster John J. Heywood, Esq.
Receiver-General & Water Bailiff, George Quirk, Esq.
Clerk of the Rolls John M'Hutchin, Esq.
Archdeacon Rev. Cecil Hall.
Vicars-General T. A. Corlett, Esq.{Rev. F. B. Hartwell.

These constitute the upper branch of the legislature.


constitute the lower branch of the Legislature, and consist of twenty-four of the most respectable gentlemen in the Island, one of whom is chosen Speaker or President. They join the Council in making all new laws, and in settling and determining the meaning of all the difficult ancient ones. It is supposed they were first called Keys, from their unlocking, or solving the difficulties of the law. They were originally called "Taxiaxi." The body is certainly self-elected, a veto however being possessed by the Governor. On a vacancy occurring by death or resignation, two gentlemen are nominated by the remaining twentythree, of whom the Governor selects one. This body have always possessed the confidence of a majority of the people, and, though self-elected, which has been the mode pursued since the year 1430, seem never to have abused their power. If any "discontent" was manifested by the majority of the people, or if the Governor considered it necessary for the 'real interest' of the Island, there can be no doubt that the Tynwald Court could, with her Majesty's consent, call another assembly, as was done many centuries ago; but there is no necessity for disturbing, the present legislative body. No 'discontent' of any magnitude has been observed amongst the people. It would be strange indeed, if in these revolutionary times a few Radicals should not obtrude themselves into our peaceful community, and disseminate their pernicious principles, but they are few and powerless. Some petitions, privately and clandestinely procured, have been, presented to the Governor, and we believe forwarded to, the Home Secretary, but they were too insignificant to carry weight, as it is the opinion of the most enlightened inhabitants of the Island that the Constitution is particularly good,, and more likely to be injured than, improved. by change. The excellence of our laws, and the impartiality of their administration, make the poorest man feel that his interests are fully represented and carefully guarded. As no people are more blessed, so none are more happy and content, than the Manx under their venerable, laws,, and simple primitive constitution. Universal suffrage - vote by ballot - annual, triennial, or septennial parliaments, are terms scarcely ever heard amongst us; and Heaven defend us from ever knowing them, Our flourishing and orderly state was well and truly described by a traveller on the Continent, a few years since : "I have lately been visiting," said he, "the Isle of Mann, and I found there what I did not believe existed - a legislature governing wholly and solely for the public good, a people desiring nothing less than to send members to parliament, and a Bishop happy in his freedom from the House of Lords."

The services of the Keys are entirely gratuitous the office is attended with much trouble, loss of time, :and heavy expense, unaccompanied with either power, patronage, or emolument. An appeal from their decision must be to the Queen in Council The members at the present time are

General Goldie Nunnery.
John Moore The Hills
John C, Crellin Castletown.
Caesar Tobin Middle.
William Farrant Ballamoar.
John Teare Glentrammon.
John Goldle Taubman London.
Edward Moore Gawne Kentraugh.
William Watson Christian Douglas.
John Kneale Regaby.
'Thomas Moore Crescent Cottage.
Thomas Carran Peel
Edward Forbes Thornton.
Colonel Murray Mount Murray-
John Kelly Castletown.
William Hinds Crowville
John Quayle Castletown.
J. Anderson Cooley Lodge.
William Christian Claughbane,
Phillip Garrett Douglas.
William Kinley Peel
John Bridson Ballavarvane.
Francis Matthews Douglas
George William Dumbell Belmont

The civil magistrates next in authority, are


or judges of the land ; these have generally been two, and divide the Island into two districts, one taking the southern, the other the northern part. They are stiled in the ancient court rolls "Justiciarii Domini Regis. " They are appointed by the Crown at a salary of £800 each, per annum. Their courts are held alternately., at Douglas and Castletown, by the southern, and at Ramsey and Peel, or Kirk Michael, by the northern Deemster. To them every department of the Legislature and Government look for advice in all difficult parts of law. They take cognizance in a summary manner of all breaches of the peace, and can hold courts instanter on all criminal informations. Appeals from their decision can be made to the Governor in Council, styled the Staff of Government. The present Deemsters are,

John Christian, Esq. Northern District.
John Joseph Heywood, Esq. Southern District.


The principal Courts are Tynwald - Chancery Exchequer - Comrnon Law - General Gaol Delivery -Admiralty - Deemsters- High Bailiffs - and the Ecclesiastical viz. Consistory and Vicar-General.


The Governor, as Representative of her Majesty presides in this Court, which, in matters of civil property, has the most extensive jurisdiction of all the Courts in this Island, and is both a Court of law and of equity. He is assisted by the Deemsters, the Attorney-General, the Clerk of the Rolls, and the Admiralty judge. The Court is held at Castletown, the first Thursday in every Month. Its powers are similar to the English Court of Chancery, the proceedings being conducted without the intervention of a jury. On the equity side the proceedings are carried on by bill and answer, as in the English Court.


Here also the Governor presides, and determines all matters connected with the revenue, and right to, tithes. Proceedings are here carried on for the recovery of all penalties, or for forfeitures due to the Crown, incurred by frauds upon the Customs. An appeal from this Court, as also the Court, of Chancery, lies to her Majesty in Council.


is held at Castletown four times a year. It takes, cognizance of all actions that require to be determined by a jury, composed of respectable individuals from, the different sheadings, from whose verdict an appeal lies to the House of Keys, who possess the power of affirming, reversing, or altering a verdict at Common Law; subject to appeal to her Majesty in Council.


consists of the Governor and his Council, and is held, twice a-year for the trial of prisoners charged with, felonies, or other offences against the law. Formerly the Keys used to form a part of this Court, but their right having been questioned, some time since, by the then Governor-in-Chief, - the late Duke of Athol,- the Keys failed in establishing their claim, and it has since been abrogated, and the Keys no longer form a component part of the court. Formerly it was held in the open air, and after the proceedings were gone through, and the jury were about to return their verdict, one of the Deemsters demanded of the foreman, in the Manx language " Vod fir charree soie ?" in English-"may he who ministers at the altar continue to sit?" or " whether such of the Council as are Ecclesiastics could remain in Court or not?" and if the foreman of the jury gave for answer, they could not, then the clergy withdrew : the reason being, that such a reply was the forerunner of a verdict implying a sentence of death - the form is still observed. No sentence in this Court, in case of treason, murder, or other capital offence, is ever carried into effect until the Royal assent be obtained.


are hold every Saturday, in the towns of Douglas, Castletown, Ramsey, and Peel, for the recovery of debts under 40s. Manx. The proceedings are similar to the Courts of Request in England. A High-Bailiff is appointed by the Governor, and holds his office during his Excellency's pleasure. He is conservator of the peace, and superintendent of police in his district. They are

John Kelly Castletown. James Quirk Douglas.
Richard Harrison Peel. Frederick Tellett Ramsey.


The Water Bailiff, or High Admiral, is sole judge in this court, which is held every Saturday, at Castletown. It takes cognizance of all matters connected with maritime affairs, and of all offences committed against the laws within three miles of the Manx shore. The herring fishery, and the boats employed in it, are under his charge, and he is empowered to redress wrongs, and enforce the regulations of the fishery. He has also civil jurisdiction in questions of salvage, from his judgment, an appeal lies to the staff of government, and thence to her Majesty in Council.

The office is held by
George Quirk, Esq Castletown.


are the Consistorial Court, in which the Bishop presides, or one or both of his Vicars-general, and Episcopal Registrar. It takes cognizance of all matters relating to wills, administrations, minors, alimony, &c. The Vicar's-general Court takes cognizance of all offences against good morals and religion, and the interests of the Church. The Chapter or Circuit Courts are held by the Bishop or Archdeacon, for regulating all matters connected with the See, the internal arrangements of the various churches, and the general affairs of the Diocese.


The Seneschal of the Lord of the Isle has his office in Douglas, which is an office of record, or deposit of all deeds of sale, mortage or transfer of real property.

The Lord's Seneschal holds a circuit of Baronial Courts twice a-year, in the four towns, and at Kirk Michael, for the entry of sales, and transfer of property, and for the regulation of fines and quit rents of land, due to the Lord. The present Seneschal is
James Quirk, Esq... Douglas.


in Castle Rushen, is also an office of record, connected with the Court of Tynwald, the Chancery Court, and the general affairs of Government. In it are deposited all the statutes and judgments of the Legislature, and all public deeds and examinations relating to the general affairs of the country. The Clerk of the Rolls is
John M'Hutchin, Esq. Castletown.


is one of legislation, consisting of the Governor and Council and the Keys. It is called the Tynwald from the Danish word " Ting," that is Forum Judiciale, "a court of Justice," and " wald," that is " fenced." Before any laws can become statutes of the land, they must be promulgated in Manx and English, before an open court, at Tynwald Mount, the form and ceremony of which will be described in another place. At this court, which is held on the 5th of July, annually, whether there be laws to promulgate or not, a Coroner for each of the six sheadings, or great divisions of the Island is appointed, who is vested with power in many respects, analogous to those of an English sherif. He is both a ministerial officer and a conservator of the peace, and according to an ancient statute holds his office for one year only. The duty of the coroner is highly important ; he is vested with-the power of carrying into execution, both the civil and criminal laws of the Island. Besides the duty of holding inquests, in cases of violent and sudden death, all judgments for debt or damage are levied by him, from and out of the property of the debtor. A salary of only £20 is annexed to the office, but as he obtains a poundage upon all effects sold under execution, and has other emoluments, the situation must be a very lucrative one; and none but respectable, intelligent men of education, ought to be appointed to fill the situation.

In all the courts of the Island the parties are at liberty to plead their own cause in person, but it is seldom practised, as there are now so many able, intelligent advocates to undertake the business.

The enactment of laws, the levying taxes, and the superintendence of roads, constitute the various duties of the Legislature; but they have become very light indeed. The laws are few and defined, and since the reformation of the code, have required little alteration. The expenditure of the Island consists chiefly in the cost of keeping the high-roads and bridges in repair, which is defrayed by taxes on wheeled carriages, dogs, and licenses. The superintendence of the above works is entrusted, by the Legislature, to a committee of their own body; and certainly their attention to this portion of their duty is highly meritorious, for in no part of the kingdom are there better roads than in the Isle of Man. The public cost which they occasion is much lightened by the ancient custom of statute labour, which compels every land-holder to contribute an annual portion of labour to these works, and thus tolls are rendered unnecessary. The Committee of high-roads are:
Colonel Murray Mount Murray
Matthew Dawson Castletown.
Thomas Arthur Corlett Ramsey.
Francis Matthews Douglas.
John Kneale, Esqrs Regaby.
John Moore, Esq., Surveyor General Douglas.


Additional Magistrates have lately been appointed in the Island. This measure was effected by the issuing of a commission of the peace under the great seal. The following gentlemen are named in it, and their powers have been enlarged by an act which has recently been passed by the insular legislature. Their duty however, is very small.

Sir William Hillary, Bart Fort Anne.
Sir George Drinkwater Kirby.
John Goldie, [chairman] Nunnery.
Richard Murray Mount Murray.
John C. Crellin Michael.
Thomas Carran Peel.
John Anderson Cooley Lodge.
William Farrant Ballamoar, Jurby.
William Christian Claughbane.
Godfrey Tate Ballameanagh.
David Stewart Santon.
James Campbell, Esqrs. Ravensdale.
G. W. Dumbell, Esq., Clerk to the Justices Belmont.

The following are the Members of the Manx Bar,

Robert Kelly Douglas.
William Corlett Ballamona.
Thomas Arthur Corlett Ramsey.
Frederick Tellett Ramsey.
James Quirk Douglas.
John Kelly Castletown.
Evan Gill Ramsey.
William Stephen Douglas.
Frederick L. Gelling Castletown.
James Quirk, jun Douglas.
William Christian Kirk Andreas.
William Kinley Peel.
William Kewley Douglas.,
Philip Moore Douglas.
Richard Harrison Peel.
William Clague Peel.
Edmund George Douglas.
John Courtney Bluett Douglas.
Mark H. Quayle Douglas.
George William Dumbell Douglas.
Frederick J. D. La Mothe Ramsey.
Henry B. Watts Douglas.
Edward Wilmott Ceylon.
Frederick B. Clucas Ramsey.
John C. Stephen Ramsey
John D. Gelling Peel.
James W. Moore Castletown.
A. C. Kayll Peel.
Thomas Haining Douglas.
Edward Frizelle Peel.
Senhouse Wilson Douglas.
Robert Kelly, jun. Douglas.
R. J. Moore Peel.
Thomas Howard Douglas.
J. M. Jeffcott Castletown.
E. C. Fleetwood.. Douglas.
Laurence Craigie Douglas.



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