[From Our Centenarian Grandfather]
[ Please note that the author's grasp of Manx history in this chaper is somewhat loose and one wishes more space had been given to the Archdeacon's memoirs than rehashing Callow and Scott neither of whom were accurate historians]
IN the course of time my grandfather's religious ardour and his desire "to spread the light of the Gospel in dark places," overmastered his pleasure in the lay pursuits that had hitherto so amply flavoured his life. He began to feel urged towards a wider sphere of action than his own countryside seemed to offer. Probably a love of travel and adventure had unconsciously something to do with this. But of his deep and single-minded sincerity, then, as always, there was not a shadow of doubt. That side of his nature which now prevailed began to feel cramped. He longed for a wider field, and greater difficulties to overcome, and was ready to give up a comfortable life if need be and a good position in his own neighbourhood for any other, to use his own words, "to which the Lord's work might call him." If he had been unmarried it is quite possible that some remote heathen country would have secured his services. But, after rejecting various fields of action as not sufficiently stimulating, he was at length attracted by one that seemed to offer as many difficulties and sacrifices as his ardent soul could desire within the bounds of the United Kingdom to which his increasing family practically tied him. Its very strangeness and remoteness possibly touched the impulsive and imaginative side of his nature which was so oddly blended with his literal interpretation of religious truths and uncompromising attitude towards any other point of view. At any rate Bishop Murray of Sodor and Man now made him an offer which promised sufficient difficulties to a Suffolk man to gain its acceptance at once, by this particular one.
The Duke of Athol as will be seen later had just completed the gradual sale of his feudal interests and his suzerainty of the island to the Crown, though the family were still occupying Castle Mona, near Douglas, in after years converted into a hotel. Bishop Murray was a nephew of the Duke and at this time living at the castle with his noble relatives. The Bishop's invitation to my grandfather gave him to understand that the Manx clergy as a body lacked social and educational qualifications and that he was anxious on that account to enlist the services of a gentleman and a scholar who would be a congenial coadjutor in his episcopal labours. His actual office for the present would be incumbent of St. George's Church at Douglas, one of the three chief rectories [incorrect !] ; the other fourteen parishes being vicarages and of less consequence.
So my grandfather settled up all his affairs in Suffolk, bestowed his Walpole living on "a true Christian and preacher of the Word " and sold some of his property, preparatory to disposing of all of it later on. . Why he should have done so we never could quite make out. Moreover he was one of those people who consistently through life sell at a low price and buy at a high one, as his journals indicate if such reference were necessary. He was much aided too in this amiable failing by the various imposters that find the profession of religion an admirable cloak for extorting money from the upright, the kind-hearted and the unsuspicious. Like so many great-hearted and honest people he was slow to believe evil of others. It was really a severe wrench for this thorough-going East Anglian, as he remained in spirit to the end of his days, to break with it all. But convinced that he was called to a more laborious and spiritually profitable field, he left Suffolk for the Isle of Man with a stout heart in 1828. His wife had brought him six children in six years, five of whom were living. So with nurses, servants and a selection of household gods, this adventurous champion of the Gospel truth and incidentally of many other desirable gospels to a wild island in the northern seas, started in two carriages to post once again from one end of England to the other. The long journey was naturally a period of much excitement, and doubtless no little discomfort to this uprooted Suffolk household. The head of it, however, took these trifles with coolness, unconcern and philosophy, being as always, deeply interested in the farming, flora and fauna, the customs and dialect of the hitherto unknown regions traversed between Suffolk and Lancashire. The whole company crossed to the Island in a sailing packet from Liverpool to Douglas, whose custom it was to go straight on to Glasgow its ultimate goal if weather conditions proved unpropititious-a pleasant alternative for a migrating household! There was then apparently no direct service to the island. If there was anything of the kind it plied from Whitehaven. In this case, however, the wind proved favourable, but they were met in the open sea off Douglas by boats on a pouring wet night and there dumped out on the quay to find such temporary quarters as were available. For there was no rectory attached to the living at that time and after an interlude of domiciliary makeshifts the new incumbent found a suitable house facing the sea and there for acouple of years as it proved set up his lares and penates.
The Isle of Man in these days is chiefly suggestive of trippers to most of us ; though like many other popular resorts it will be found on experience that these exuberant visitors stick a good deal to the coast places. But some of the then wild glens, that the subject of this memoir used to traverse on horseback, with a sense of adventure in storm or darkness are now provided with tea gardens at an entry of 6d. a head! A hundred or more years ago it was estimated that an average of fifteen persons crossed by the " weekly packet " from Whitehaven that alone linked the ancient little kingdom with the mainland. The authorities of the island in those halcyon times, as represented by the Lieutenant-Governor, had the priceless privilege not only of rejecting the entry of persons considered undesirable, but of summarily ejecting any that made themselves or were likely to make themselves a nuisance. They possess it, I believe, still. Many communities must envy them at the present moment if the power be still a living reality.
But the trippers who are said to be an intolerable nuisance to the residents, and even to the more serious tourists, are an important part of a trade nowadays forms a leading feature in the industrial life of the island, greater even than its herring fishery, agriculture, or mining. And if the shores at Douglas and other points with empty whisky and ginger-beer bottles, conveyed from Lancashire, and with papers that have enclosed sandwiches cut in Liverpool or Manachester, as the more fastidious natives complain, they, at any rate, remove themselves by the evening steamers, even if some of them have to be assisted on board. But the resident, or even the summering population, has increased out of all reckoning since the year 1827, when my grandfather landed his family and household gods at Douglas quay on a dark and stormy night, and found quarters hard to come by. For you couldn't wire ahead and make arrangements in those old days.
Now, as every one knows, the Isle of Man, like the Channel Islands, still enjoys a modified Home Rule, which, though of the purely loyal and picturesque kind, has quite sufficiently substantial advantages for the native-enough, at any rate, to compensate him, if he needs compensation, for the inconveniences of a long sea journey when pleasure or business call him from home. I need only mention the almost entire freedom from income tax, for nothing else at the present moment would seem to matter much. But the origin of this quasi independence is a long and tangled tale of which nobody but Manxmen; and if Manxrnen have as little sense of the past as most other people, very few even of them could give a lucid account. Not for a moment that the island lacks historians and patriotic antiquaries. My grandfather himself was very well up in its lore when he left it, and retained much of it, and was fond of talking over it to the last. But then it had fallen to him to assist in administering its laws, and, furthermore, for a long time to act on his own responsibility as a sort of deputy bishop. "Such laws," wrote the famous Lord Coke, " the like whereof are not to be found in any other place." This was particularly in relation to the connection between Church and State. Burke, discussing its interesting code with Dr. Johnson and Boswell, wittily quoted Pope's well known line: "The proper study. of mankind is Man! " The late Mr. Edward Callow, member of one of its ancient families, who has carried out more thoroughly Pope's injunction as paraphrased by Burke than any other recent historian of the island, declares it to be the birthplace of Constitutional. and Representative Government and the cradle of England's Parliament, possessing in the House of Keys the oldest Legislative Assembly in the world. Though it has belonged in turn to England, Scotland, and Ireland (the claim of the last must have been a confusing one to all concerned), it was never actually absorbed by any of them.
If trial by jury and a representative Parliament in the House of Keys and Court of Tynwald were introduced by the Norsemen in the tenth century, before those free institutions were known in Britain, the little island took the lead of the greater neighbouring nations in cutting themselves free from the Papacy by a hundred years. The Manx also claim to be the only Protestant nation in Europe never to have been excommunicated by a Pope. Whether their comparative insignificance caused them to be overlooked by His Holiness, and thus immune, we may not inquire, having no equipment whatever wherewith to confront the local experts. It boasts, moreover, of the earliest bishopric in the British Islands- Germanicus having been instituted to that dignity by St. Patrick on his way to Ireland. The Welshmen might dispute this for aught I know, for Wales was full of bishops by the time Augustine landed in Kent, as the Latin saint found to his annoyance when he ran up against them on the banks of Severn. The reader would not, I am sure, put up with a list of the Kings of Man, interesting though the earlier story of the island is. But the line dates from King Gorree or Orry, who, with his Norsemen, conquered the island in 938, built Castle Rushen, still standing at its southern extremity and used for official purposes, and instituted all the chief good and wise customs that in modified form are the pride of Manxmen to-day.
A long succession of his descendants, despite occasional disputes among them, ruled the little kingdom for nearly three centuries. Their people were hardy navigators and fighters and were continually in the thick of most of the wild work going forward in these northern and western seas. Sometimes they owed allegiance to the Kings of Norway or Orkney; later on, when the Norse powers had to cease from troubling Britain, to England or to Scotland. They fought under their King with the Norwegians against Harold at Stamford Bridge, just before the battle of Hastings and succeeded in getting their beaten remnant back in safety to their island. When the ninth and last genuine King of Man, Magnus IV, after doing homage to Scotland died, the Scottish Kings, having purchased the hereditary overlordship of the island from Norway for cash, proceeded to govern it by Viceroys. But the Manxman resented the sale and indeed fought a battle against King Alexander's invading army at Ronaldshay to their great loss. The Scottish Viceroys continued to oppress the islanders and they rose again, till ultimately it was decided to settle the matter with thirty champions a side. Five Scotsmen alone of the whole company survived this bloody fray and so the Manx submitted peaceably, according to agreement.
But when the great Edward I appeared in the north as referee between Bruce and Balliol, he annexed Man, and handed it back to a female descendant of the ancient Kings who had married one of his knights, De Montecute. This young blood not relishing the prospect of an exile in a remote island and being moreover, hard up, mortgaged his kingship to his uncle the Bishop of Durham. At the latter's death Edward II got hold of it and gave it to all his court favourites in succession, none of whom, however, though drawing the revenues, felt more inclined towards setting up house there than Montacute. This gave Robert Bruce his opportunity and after a long siege he annexed the island, but only for its re-capture in the avenging days of Edward III.
To shorten the story, in 1344, the Earl and Countess of Salisbury were formally crowned with the golden crown, King and Queen of Man in the Church of St. Germains in Peel Castle. This nobleman's son, however, sold the island and its Kingship to the Earl of Wiltshire fifty years later, who being one of those many rash persons to cross the path of Henry IV at his usurpation, lost his head. The then favourite Henry Percy was now made titular King of Man and we all know what a mess he and his son Hotspur made of their later lives. So in 1406 King Henry made a firm grant of the island to Sir John Stanley " to him and his heirs for ever " to be held from the Kings of England subject to an annual tribute of a cast of falcons. This fixed matters definitely, for in their descendants it remained, under slightly modified terms of ownership till the time when my grandfather first set foot on its soil at Douglas. Since the advent of the Stanleys, however, the title has been Lord not King, of Man. In the Civil War, the Lord Derby of that day, the noblest of the whole worthy line, after the sacking of Lathom, his English house, pluckily defended by his French Countess, repaired to Man which was strongly royalist and one of the last places to give in to Cromwell.
Scott, it may be remembered, deals with this period in "Peveril of the Peak." The Earl was offered not only his pardon but the restitution of his English estates if he would deliver up the island in 1649. He replied in an eloquent letter, indignant at the suggestion that he should prove traitor to his sovereign, With a company of Manxmen, he joined in the unfortunate rising of 1657 [sic 1651] which terminated at Worcester and was there captured and executed. His widowed Countess, however, put Castle Rushen and Peel Castle in a state of defence and prepared to fight for her dominions. But as soon as the Parliamentary fleet appeared, the commander of her troops played her false, and gave up the keys of the fortress. The la,dy was imprisoned in Castle Rushen till the Restoration, when all the Derby estates were restored. William Christian who surrendered the island, was at the moment, its treasurer and chief official. ultimately convicted of fraudulent practices and after the Restoration was executed on the island casting a passing slur on the name of the largest and most notable of Manx families.
The Stanleys had always been popular, but in the early eighteenth century, the island passed by marriage through a female to the Murrays, Dukes of Athol, who earned a very different reputation. It was only now, on account of certain Imperial excise measures, needless to elaborate here, that smuggling, for which the island became so notorious acquired formidable dimensions. It became in fact a vast depot, having no import duties to speak of, for foreign produce, which was run from hence to every part of Great Britain. Fast cutters and schooners that could outsail all pursuers, were built cheaply from untaxed Scandinavian timber. This " Free Trade " at length reached such a pitch that the English Government tried the same scheme they had attempted on the shores of Kent and Sussex and blockaded the coast with armed ships. But this as in the other case merely added a further spice of danger to a trade that exercised an enormous fascination over its adventurers, as well as bringing them immense profits. Upon this the Government, and very naturally, in view of the losses inflicted on the Treasury, thought it would be desirable to get rid of the quasi-sovereignty of the Athol family, who seem to have regarded the island rather as a place for serving their own interests than as an honourable appanage. The islanders strongly objected to being thus bartered away, but the Duke was quite ready to accept £70,000 and an annuity of £2,000 for his sovereignty and revenues. But the Government, that of North and Grenville, now free of vested interests, imposed much higher duties without any legal warrant and though less than those of England they were high enough to put a considerable spoke in the wheel of the smuggling business, which had gradually become the chief occupation of Manxmen. The latter were still further disgusted by only receiving a small portion of the largely increased revenue.
The lordship of the island was now vested in the Crown, though its laws and independent form of government were left intact. Nor had the Athol family parted with anything like all their rights. On the contrary they were active for the next half century in endeavouring to dispose of the manorial and mineral rights and church patronage which they still held, to the Crown. They succeeded in getting a large increase to their pension and in the end the British Government, in other words the tax-payers, who seem to have been almost born to be bled through all time, bought them out for the trifle of £416,114. The appointment of bishop had always pertained to the Duke and he signalized his final exit. from power by appointing his own nephew George Murray to the post in 1823[sic 1814]. This, in a way, brought to a head the growing unpopularity of the family in the island ; not so much on account of this appointment, for after all jobs and nepotism were the order of that day. But this injudicious young man, not appreciating the limited income of the See-about £1,000 a year I think-attempted to raise the sum of £6,000 a year out of the green crops. There was some old right of this kind that if only a technical one nevertheless entitled the bishop to a tithe of all the green and growing crops in the island. That on potatoes, which was a most important local crop, was brought to the judgment of the King in Council who pronounced in favour of the bishop.
But this decision only promoted riots and tumults in all quarters. The local garrison and volunteers were called out but not proving effective, troops were brouoht over from England. The resistance, however, was so strong that it produced a deadlock, which apparently decided the Government to buy out all the remaining rights of the Athol family and relieve the island and themselves of the constant friction they occasioned. The large price agreed upon has been already mentioned. The Bishop, according to the Philpot MS., though the writer of it was ignorant of all this till his arrival, had been compelled by the threats and behaviour of the mob to leave Bishop's Court in a hurry and was now living at the Duke's seat of Castle Mona, on the shore near Douglas, with his relatives Lord and Lady Strathallan. This was the bishop who had applied to my grandfather to come up and act as his spiritual henchman and ally, and such was the state of things that the unsuspecting East Anglian enthusiast found awaiting him. He was longing for active work of a pioneering kind, flavoured with, no doubt, some touch of adventure and romance, while opposition his theologically combative soul was quite prepared for.
But he had hardly reckoned on making a start under quite such unpropitious and adverse conditions, for Bishop Murray was not at loggerheads with the people only, but was unpopular with most of the clergy of the seventeen historical parishes which constituted the little diocese, chiefly it appears from a certain haughtiness of manner, which wounded their susceptibilities by a suggestion of social contempt. Indeed the bishop had actually expressed something of this in his invitation to my grandfather by implying that there was not a gentleman with a white tie in the island. This was not fair, as the Manx, whatever their standard may have been, rather prided themselves on their parsons. A good many of them were doubtless at that time of day pretty rough, and few I think were University men. All of them farmed their glebes and an admiring native chronicler says that they were always the best farmers on the island. That, however, would hardly have commended them to the supercilious prelate! My grandfather was so absolutely free from any arrogance of this kind that he sheds no light on their breeding. He was wholly taken up with their character and efficiency in their duties or their lack of it. From his point of view, though it must be admitted to be an exacting one, he found the latter vastly in the ascendant. But he found himself confronted at once with a Duke's party and a Manx party at bitter feud with one another, the former in a deplorable minority, while he was an importation, branded beforehand not merely as an alien but as a Duke's man, that is to say a Bishop's man. It was assuredly an unpleasant position. But the greater the difficulties the more he seemed to enjoy taking of his coat to tackle them. He spent some days soon after landing with his Bishop at Castle Mona and took his measure fairly accurately and much more reasonably than the heated Manxmen. He had great difficulty in finding a suitable house in Douglas which was a small place in those days, though he ultimately succeeded in securing one that served his purpose till he moved into the country. His church, St. George's, was the only one of the Establishment in the town, the parish church in fact, save for a small Manx church where services were conducted in the Manx tongue that had not then died out among the lower classes. Here is a specimen of it in verse 21 of Isaiah XIII from the Manx Bible beginning: "The wild beasts of the desert shall lie there, &c."
Agh beishlyn oaldey yn aasagh nee cammal ayn, as bee nyn dhieyn lane dy chree loom agglagh ; nee hulladyn baghey ayn plynodderree dawsin ayus shew.
The living of St. George's, Douglas, being one of the most important in the island, had been held vacant by the Bishop for some time. He was waiting, apparently, to find a man to suit him, and his views upon that subject we already know. This prolonged vacancy was another pin-prick to the Manx, and it proved a good deal more than this when an alien and a stranger was brought in to fill it. The prospect was not cheerful! Many a man, independent of his profession, as was the case here, and with the world to choose from, would have declined to face such odds at the eleventh hour. For the new appointee had not even an acquaintance, but his newly-made one with the bishop, in the island, much less a friend, and the whole population very naturally regarded him as an intruder, and yet more, a supporter of the regime they hated. But I do not think this disturbed him much. He knew no fear either physical or moral, and he had a quiet conviction that he had work to do according to his lights, and his lights certainly shone very brightly.
The more difficult the task and the stronger the opposition, the more resolutely and the, more cheerfully he faced it. He had neither vanity nor self consciousness. He was quiet, but ready in speech and courteous in demeanour to a fault, though when occasion demanded, he could speak his mind with uncompromising directness, and could occasionally do more than speak it, as will be seen. In any line he took he was persistent, and nearly always got his way in the end, whether the end was a religious or a practical one. He had no personal ambition or desire for place or preferment whatever, and I am sure at this apparently forlorn moment he would have been surprised if told that in a few years he would be Archdeacon and Vicar-general of the Island, and for a long period acting as its bishop, with the full approval of all the best elements in the country.
He spent about eighteen months in Douglas before he found a house more adapted to his needs in the near neighbourhood. Everything parochial was in a state of abeyance. There had not merely been a long hiatus occasioned by the bishop, but the previous administration of the most difficult charge in the island appears to have been slack and negligent. The new rector soon made friends with the few educated residents of leisure, that even in those days were settled in Douglas, and enlisted not only their sympathy and support, but in some cases their active help. He started Sunday schools and lectures to young men, and open-air addresses at outlying places, which drew increasing numbers, and no little animadversion from the local clergy. He regularly visited the poorest parts of the town, then miserable slums "often inhabited by rough ignorant Irish, many of whom were refugees from the law in their own country." He used to lay down brief rules for his own conduct in writing at this time, some of which remain among his notes, and as I am quite sure he acted on them to the letter, not merely then, but for the last sixty years of his life, at any rate, I feel almost tempted to reproduce some of them, and break the rule I had laid down for myself in extracting from these memoirs only such as would seem to me of general interest as pictures of the past. I may say at once, however, that his religious and spiritual reflections and notes as to individuals whose lives he had redeemed from wreckage, " converts," to use his own phraseology, would in themselves half fill a moderate book. But the channels through which some of the best of men laboured in those days were not the methods of these. The rigid views of life and conduct for which some would have laid down their lives have passed away, or at any rate, are rarely met with in the more liberal outlook of the Church to-day.
. " There was a great deal of poverty in Douglas, and there were no poor laws in the island. In the country districts the family considered it a point of honour, and the neighbours an obligation of charity to help their more unfortunate brethren. But here it was different. There was a half alien population, too, in the low parts of the town, Irish and others, besides the fishing people, who were often in trouble from the accidents and misfortunes incidental to the sea. There was a household of Campbells from Scotland, of the Oban family living in the town, and a Miss G-- who helped my wife and myself nobly in this early work. We opened a weekly soup kitchen, and laboured to relieve the destitution. The congregations at St. George's greatly increased, and the collections for the poor grew in proportion. I soon opened a room for receiving applications and distributing relief. Dear old Mr. H-- stood bravely by me every Tuesday. Indeed, we were after a time compelled to lock the door and open communications through the window! Drink was the curse of the place, and indeed of most of the island, for there were no excise duties, and it was dirt cheap."
"There lived with me as servants at this time one John Lang and his wife. Captain Bacon had recommended him I to me without mentioning the fact that a very little liquor affected his brain and drove him absolutely mad. He had been a soldier, served at Waterloo, and been there shot in the head. On one or two occasions I suspected he was drunk in the house but was shielded by Margaret his wife. I at length detected him issuing from a low public house quite drunk and told him he must leave my service. However, Margaret pleaded so hard for him that I consented to give him one more chance. Soon after this Captain Bacon and I rode over the mountains to his place near Sulby Glen and on the way the Captain told me that there were times when John was dangerous and that he once pulled up in the middle of a deep stream which crossed the road and threatened to throw him in if he didn't accede to some request which had been refused him. This made me a little anxious to get home that night, and on doing so I found poor John had gone to the tavern as soon as I was out of the house and when he got back had been asking some men how to tie a hangman's knot. Contrary to custom I locked our bedroom door that night. About one in the morning an attempt to open it was made which woke up and alarmed my wife. I was very tired after a long day and John did not occur to me in connection with that sort of thing and indeed I thought it was probably fancy. But to assure my wife who was very positive about it I got up and took my sword stick and searched the house, finding nothing as I expected. But Margaret told me afterwards that John had tried our door and was concealed behind the drawing room screen when I passed through the room. In the morning he was absent from prayers and his poor wife looked like a ghost. Immediately after breakfast I set out to hunt for him, going at once to the stables a little distance from the house. I there found the door locked and no key in evidence. On looking through the key hole to my horror I could see John's legs apparently hanging. Taking a run at the door I succeeded in kicking it open and there was the unfortunate maniac suspended from the roof beam quite dead. I instantly cut the rope but it was all long over. His feet were so near the ground he could have saved his life at any time. There was then a sudden noise in the lane. It was Margaret who had looked in and discovered the situation, screaming 'Oh, his poor soul ' over and over again. I picked her up and carried her bodily into the house, and the usual coroner's inquest followed. I have not the slightest doubt but that the unfortunate man meant to murder me before he hung himself but the sight of my naked sword checked him when he had the chance. Poor Margaret was taken home to her parents who lived at the north of the island at the edge of the Curragh between Bishop's Court and Ramsey. She remained in a shocking state of semi-aberration for two or three years, wandering over the Curragh by night and day. At length I went after her myself and by persuasion and kind words, for she was much attached to us, got her into a quieter mood. When we moved to Andreas she came back to us as cook and remained our faithful and efficient servant till we left the island."
The orgy of smuggling combined with its isolation from the.mainland through the eighteenth century one can well believe had left its mark on the lower classes in the island. It was not merely cheap drink which still prevailed, but a poisonous spirit far worse than brandy or gin that used periodically to be shipped there from Spain. "During this year (1828) there had been brought to Douglas by Mr. B- a cargo of that Spanish spirit Aqua Ardente, called in the island 'aquardent.' It was frightfully strong and exciting. Drinking was much encouraged by the cheapness of spirit but it became so fatal by the introduction of this Spanish liquor that in many cases it led to insanity. Such a thing had never occurred to me with our beer drinking Suffolk people, but the only alleviation for the trouble seemed to me a Temperance society; I believe the first started in the island. I got the splendid Vicar of Braddan, Mr. Howard, to join me and we held meetings and gave addresses and got a fair number of members. But the native clergy and gentry looked coldly on it. We tried the ' moderation ' system but that after a time proved futile and we were obliged to extend the pledge to total abstinence. We did I think some good, but I soon came to realize the only effective plan was to reduce the inordinate number of public houses to which I bent my later efforts. Apropos of our endeavour, Mr. Drinkwater (of a well-known Manx family) wrote me a jesting letter saying we ought to change names 'for you evidently intend to drink water while I continue to fill my pot! '"
The organizer of the movement of course felt it incumbent on him to set an example of total abstinence and manfully stuck to it. But it didn't agree with him or at least with the hardworking life he was leading and further urged by his family, he felt himself compelled to return to a moderate use of wine. He proposed to resign from the society on this account but they wouldn't accept his resignation and he still preached for them occasionally, a perfectly reasonable procedure in the eyes of any but fanatics. I don't think the most rigid Evangelicals ever made mortification of the flesh in these respects a part of their creed. Most of them would doubtless have regarded it very much as equivalent to castigating themselves or wearing a hair shirt. The most vociferous Pussyfoot could hardly claim that a moderate use of the good wine they drank in those days could either shorten or embitter life. But self denial in order to prevent the Manx proletariat from poisoning and maddening themselves was a very different matter. As the great age my grandfather achieved with so little inconvenience makes him an interesting physical illustration, it may be worth noting that all his life he was a small eater which is much more to the point, and what is rather curious,. he was accustomed to say that five hours, since his early years at any rate, had been his regular modicum of sleep. As an instance of the Manx craving for fire-water he writes :
" I was one morning in the shop of Mr. Lewin on the quay when a rough-looking man came in and asked for a glass of hi's rum which he tossed off and handing it back said: 'Come, old man that's nothing but water, give me a glass of the real thing', on which Lewin went to the corner of his shop and brought him a glass of dirty-looking liquid, which the man was obliged to drink slowly. Then laying down his coppers he said: 'That's the stuff, keep some of it till I come back, which won't be long.' I asked Lewin what he gave the man at first. 'Oh,' he replied, 'a glass of good Jamaica rum, too good for a fellow like that.' 'And how about the second glass ? ' ' I will tell you, Sir, if you will not split on me.' The other nodded and the publican replied: 'You remember the storm last month. I had a keg of cayenne pepper on board the boat which the water got into and spoiled. Knowing the taste of these people I mixed it up with the rinsings of some spirit casks and these aquadente drinkers come for it from all over the island.'"
Alluding to a lady in Douglas who stood by him in his church work from the first, my grandfather writes that he also probably owed her his life. " I sometimes rode my mare out to sea opposite our house and that of the C--'s and getting out of the saddle would swim back beside her holding the reins. On one such occasion, I found myself rather further out than usual. This would not have mattered in general, but something or other had slipped in my dress and I found I couldn't strike out and what was worse had lost the reins and was in imminent danger of sinking. Mrs. C-- luckily saw my situation from her window and rushing down to the shore got some men to put out in a boat for me. The mare went ashore among the large boulders under the Orchan [sic Onchan] cliffs, injured but not seriously damaged."
In connection with temperance meetings an amusing episode occurred at a parish gathering a little later on in the north of the island in which the narrator was in the chair. " A Scotchman of loose religious opinions appeared as an advocate of the cause. I only said a few words but supported my point of view by quoting certain texts. But the Scotchman was bent on insulting some of us, myself especially. 'We don't want any college men,' he said, 'and them old books, I'll defy them to show that the wine or any drink mentioned in Scripture contained alcohol.' I replied, ' I am a college man and happen to have an old book in my pocket and I will read you a passage from it,' and I gave him Genesis ix, 21 and xix, 33. 'Perhaps now you will explain how Noah and Lot became intoxicated ?' He then began to be still more rude and abusive. 'These Manxmen,' I replied, 'are plain straightforward people and require an explanation of what you asserted and if you don't give it civilly I shall turn you out.' On this he blustered still louder. I gave a glance to my coachman, William Christian, who was 6 ft.. 3 in. and of great strength, very useful at times, and he at once took the man by the collar and shot him out of the door." The chairman did not always depend alone on his redoubtable and faithful henchman for direct action, as will appear later.
But while still occupying the house in Douglas in 1828, a great calamity fell on that corner of the island. " A heavy gale of wind from the S. E. had blown for some weeks and an immense depth of sea-weed had accumulated on the beach, from below Douglas to the rocks under Orchan[sic Onchan] and Bank-How. It was a valuable manure for potatoes which were the main green crop of the island. From all quarters came carts to haul it away. But in doing so much was left on the shore in a crushed condition and I believe it was from this that the fatal fever arose which raged through the summer months. It was like the judgment of Pharaoh. Every family on the wide bay (except thank God my own) had one or more dead. The Deemster Christian lost his eldest son. Major P--, near us, lost six of his children. On all sides was lamentation, weeping and woe. Nor did our own household escape the fever. William (eldest son) lay for days all but dead ; I could only detect life by holding a glass to his mouth. L-- lay in nearly the same state. C-- and G-- not quite so bad. I admit at this time I was sorely tried."
One may well think so, and my grandfather determined not to stay in the town another summer, but take a house in the neighbouring country, which he did in the following year. Before shifting, however, he took his entire family to Suffolk for a change of air, an enterprise at that time almost equivalent, only much more difficult, than a trip to Canada to-day. It was the year too before the first railroad was opened, that frorm Liverpool to Manchester, which ceremony he went over to witness.