[from History of IoM, 1900]
" The continual watch kept on the Sceaful, yea, also from the opposite sea shore, and the lords prospective glass on the battlements of his castle of Rushin, takes notice of your ship's approach long before your arrival, they then curiously observe to what part you steer, thereby conjecturing into which of the lower parts or havens you purpose to put in; the Governor of the Island is presently informed, thither doth he most commonly send the controuler of the Island or some other of the lord's officers in post, who faileth not to be there at the same time of your ship's arrival, you no sooner set your foot on shore within the haven, but that the Constable of that fort accosteth you, and if he observe you to be a gentleman or one of greater quality, will civilly salute you and give you the parabun (sic) of your safe arrival, and altho' it be in effect a summons to appear, yet he inviteth and intreats you to be pleased to speak with the lord's officers, who do expect you at such a place hard by. So you are by him conducted to a house in the town, which the lord of the Island hath for such and the like occasions, which are for his service, there you shall not fail to find sitting at a table not only the controuler of the Island or other officers of the Lords (at my reception there was one of the Deemsters also, but I suppose he came casually), but 6 or 8 more of the best sort of the inhabitants of the town where you land, all bid you land, all bid you welcome thither, but you are more or less respected according to your quality. The townsmen you will find to be rneer Athenians, their coming and cornunication being only to hear what news you will relate, it being then the time of troubles in England, and they will endeavour to pump you of all you know, but your discre.tion shou'd advise you so to order your discourse as to reserve the chiefest and choicest until such time as you shall and must appear before the Lord of the Island (if he then be there) and the Governor, but the Controuler is there amongst the rest, for other purposes he will say little, but will observe who you are, whence you came, and wherefore, etc. Thus are you entertained by these with very familiar conference, wine, beer, and tobacco, and in the close of all they will not appoint but recomend you, if you be not known otherwise directed from whence you came, to some convenient lodging.
" This being to entertain and welcome you into the Island, and therefore they will not permit you to pay any part of the shot. If your arrival be at any time of the day (except it be too late), it will be expected that you presently make a journey to visit the Lord of the Island himself if he then be in the Island, as he was when I came thither, or the Governor in Castle Town. . . . And this they exact and expect of every one, of what quality soever, that cometh into this Island as a customary duty. James, Earl of Darby, late Lord of the Island, was thus respectful of any gentleman, and therefore much more of any greater quality that arrived there in his time, I suppose the Governor, in the absence of the Lord of the Island, doth the same.
" If you be unprovided of a horse of your own, the Controuler, as himself told me, by his place hath power, and will and did for me conrand the constable of the Fort of Douglas, or of any Fort where you land except it be in the haven of Castle Town, where the Lord of the Island and his Governor hath his constant residence, for then it needeth not to provide and further you with a horse to transport you to them at the Lord's and without your charge. From the tower or turret of the castle of Rushin the time is observed, and into what part you make your entrance into Castle Town by a prospective glass, wnd no sooner shall you be descended from your horse but you are presently saluted and welcomed again into the Island by a gentleman of quality, who is sent unto you from the Lord himself, he inviteth and proffercth to conduct you into the castle, where you are admitted into the Lord's presence; he will only enquire of all occurrences, and what you have observed from any material passages in parts from whence you came, or have heard anything which concerneth any of the 3 neighbouring kingdoms, England, Scotland, or Ireland, or other where, if you have none or no more than you discovered before at your landing, which now is no news to him, the Controuler having certified him of all that you had discovered there, your audience then will be very short yet complimental, for he will tell that he shall be desirous to speak with you another time, so you are dismist. Now the Governor expccteth you at his house, which is hard by over against the Castle. The same gentleman that conducted you to the Lord doth now accom pany you to the Governor. He receiveth you courteously and affably, according to your quality, but he knowing as much as you have to relate, he will frame his discourse as if he had no notice of you before, and as he examined you upon interogatories. What you are ? whence you came'? and what your business is? how long you purpose to stay ? etc., if you be a merchant what conrodities you bring? what you intend to carry thence ? and if he find that you vary in one point from what you related before at your landing, he will send for and examine every one of the company that came with you, and all those of your ship, etc., if not you are dismissed and free to return to the town from whence you came."
* Blundell's Hist, of Isle of Man, vol. i. Manx Soc., vol. xxv. PP. 70-72. Camden's account in his Britannia (1695) is an abstract of the above (see Manx Soc., vol. xviii. 1). 18).
" Whereas the Farmers generall throughout this Isle that holdeth their quarterlands and Tenements by the Tenure of the straw did willingly and freely condescend unto and promise before the Captain and myself to yeild and give unto our honourable Lord and Master one whole year's rent as a gratuity and Benevolence, and the same for an acknowledgement of the better strengthening of their said Tenure (only they desired the Tyme for the one half till at this Michaelmas which is now run up and past, and for the other half till midsuiner next yet to come which was granted them), and so our honourable Lord made acquainted therewith who both was and is very honourably content to accept and allow of that their Love and Willingness herein and so in Expectation of performance thereof at these haves (sic) path willed and commanded the same forthwith to be collected accordingly. These therefore are to will and require you with these persons whose names are hereunder subscribed and for the same purpose appointe3 to collect and receive this first part of the said benevolence, being one half year's rent, of and from every the said farmers that holdeth by strawe within the Sheading whereof you are Coroner according to the several Rents, as in the Rental and Charge that is layed upon every man's several holding and quarterland and so to make up in writinge a true book of all your receipts and of the severall sums and of all such monies as from time to time shall be payed over to you. Not doubting but if every man will be as forward and as ready to pay over the same unto you, as they were at the first lovingly and willingly to promise ; (sic) so shall they not only be well thought of (of there honourable Lord and Master), but also deserve to have an honourable respect and favour at his honour's hands whensoever it shall please God his hour shall come among them (which God willing the next spring is intended). And if any shall deny you present payment contrary to their words and promise (as I hope there is none such) then you are presently to destrayne upon there goods and pawnes, and so without delay to give and make thereof for so much as shall amount to the first lialf year's promised and now due at this Michaelmas last past. And requiring you and every one of you that are for and in the Lord's behalfe in your several parishes not to fayl in performance of your Duty as you and every of you will answer the neglect at your peril.
"daited this 15th daie of October, 1682."
The following account of certain events, which occurred in 1600, gives an amusing description of the course of proceedings when a danger threatened: " Certen shippes passed alongst the coast neere the land, which seemed unto the Govnor and others . . rather to be enemy's than otherwise by reason of their continued coming so neere the sayd castle, and being shott att from the sayd castle with three peeces of ordnance never hayled nor made skew nor any signe." * Thereupon the governor sent word to " all men within the pshes neer adjoining to make their speedy repayre unto him with their weapons and furnitures fitt for the warres and therewith all caused the drummes to be sounded and the coloures to be spread, notwithstanding all which none but a very few number came but stayed abroad." * In consequence of this " slackness and default " the Keys were called together " to determine how to provide in law against the said neglecte," '= and they docided " that all such persons as have disobeyed . . . do by these lawes deserve death." * But, notwithstanding this Spartan resolution, we find, some years later, that some of the inhabitants were guilty of even worse crimes than " slackness and default," for the Countess of Derby, who was then ruling the island, gave notice that " certain Pirottes had been in and about my Isle of Manne, and also have been relieved by some of the officers and inhabitants . . . so have constituted, authorized, and appointed John, Lord bishopp, Ed. Rigby and Henry Radcliffe Water bayliffe to call before them any offenders suspected of dealing with the Pirottes," and if convicted to put them " in safe custodie untill my pleasure therein shall be knowen " (Lib. Scacc.). We may note that, in 1610, the "orders and dntys that the Soldiers of the Castle Rushen and Peele " kept " in the times of the Right Honourable Lords Edward and Henry, late Earles of Derby," i.e., between 1522 and 1593, were put on record for future reference (Statutes, vol. i. pp. 77-9).
Ordinarily, by the Common Law of the island, except in the case of debts due to the lord and sovereign, a native could not be imprisoned in the temporal courts for the purpose of ernforcing payment of a debt under final process, that is, after judgment. Imprisonment under mesne process, that is, pending an action or suit for recovery of a debt or damages, where the defendant was not a native or a " landed man " (i.e., possessed of land to the extent of a quarterland), or naturalized, or where in any such privileged cases he was about to leave the island, was allowed by law, and so was imprisonment after judgment, where the defendant was not resident in the island. It was given as the law, in 1418, that no coroner can " arrest any man for debt owinge, unless he have a special warrant from the Lord or his Lieutenant; " in 1422, it was enacted that " noe man be in prisson at the suite of the party for noe debt nor trespass . . . but as the Deemster will order by process " ; and, in 1577, that " no officer may imprison a man for debt, nor any other cryme, but as the Deemster shall appoint by law and process." 1 In 1594, the Deemster and Keys declared the law to be that no officer could imprison for debt, except in cases where the lord was interested, 2 "but as the Deemster 3 shall appoint by law and process." 4 This refers to imprisonment on final process ; also that no officer could order an arrest except the captain and the water-bailiff. By Act of 1737 it was provided that no action of arrest could be granted against any " landed man " or native, unless he had obtained the governor's pass to leave the island. A defendant could recover damages for vexatious and wrongful arrest. (It was at this time that the clause about arrest for foreign debts was passed. See p. 413.)
In 1777, it was enacted that all arrests for debt, or for debt or contract without speciality, should only be granted on affidavits in writing. 5 But, in 1820, the law for the recovery of debts not having been found sufficiently coercive, it was enacted that if the defendant had no effects he was to be committed to jail.6 The abolition, in 1846, of the distinction, except in a trifling particular, between Manxmen and strangers as to arrest for debt has already been referred to in the text.
1 Statutes, vol. i. pp. 5, 17, and 55.
2 There were a few other exceptions both after judgment and under mesne process.
3 Ibid., p. 68.
4 It would seem that the deemster is specially referred to because at that time most cases of debt were brought in his court.
5 Statutes, vol. i. p. 331.
6 Ibid., p. 414.
Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received
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