[From Sketches of the Coast, 1836]
ISLE OF MAN, HISTORY, GOVERNMENT, CIVIL AND CRIMINAL JURISPRUDENCE, SPIRITUAL COURTS, BISHOP, CLERGY, CHURCHES, COLLEGE, DISSENTERS, EDUCATION, RELIGION, MORALS, SUPERSTITIONS, CUSTOMS, ANTIQUITIES, AMUSEMENTS, CHARACTER, LANGUAGE, LITERATURE, NAMES, SOCIETY.
No good history of the Isle of Man has yet appeared. Its dependence upon neighbouring countries has rendered its foreign transactions subordinate ; and its domestic annals, though interesting, as indicating the fortunate struggle of a small state for its rights and privileges, afford no examples of distinguished heroism or ability, with the single exception of the renowned prelate, Wilson, who, though not a native, contended with equal success, as well for the civil rights as for the ecclesiastical privileges of the island.
After being subject to the Saxons, having been added together with Anglesea to their dominion, accortling to Bede, by Edwin, one of the first of their kings who embraced Christianity ; and successively afterwards to the Danes for a century, to the Norwegians, and to the Scotch, this Island was surrendered by the latter to Edward the First, king of England ; and after having been possessed by the Scrope and Montacute families, was granted to the house of Stanley, in the beginning of the fifteenth century, by king Henry the Fourth. To the Danish prince Orry, who conquered the Hebrides in the tenth century, the Manks are indebted for their representative government. Castle Rushen is a noble monument of their sway : the names of places in the island are mostly derived from the Danes, and also the name of Christian, in one parish, borne by the principal part of the inhabitants1. The title of king was retained by the Lord of the Island till 1504, when it was renounced by the second Earl of Derby.
The Stanleys, whose predecessor, the then Earl of Derby, had passed some popular laws for preventing arbitrary imprisonment, for regulating inheritances, and recovering debts, in Queen Elizabeths reign, appear, during the seventeenth century, to have infringed on the rights and liberties of their subjects, and to have found in the officers of government, whom they appointed, willing instruinents of their tyrannical encroachments. " It was in 1643, that through the fraud of a Deemster, the people surrendered their estates under the idea that they held them as tenants at will : but in 1703, the Keys stepped forward and obtained the act of settlement, which restored the violated tenures, the magna charta of the island2." The states were placed by this act on their actual basis." Bishop Wilson was instrumental in obtaining it from the Earl of Derby3" The principles of civil and religious liberty, established in Great Britain by the Revolution of 1688, gradually extended their beneficial influence to an island, the constitutional privileges of which had suffered from infringements, similar to those which had been practised in Great Britain on a more extensive scale, by the abdicated monarch. The arbitrary proceedings of Lord Derbys governor and the principal law officers, roused the House of Keys on an occasion some years subsequent : and they presented to the Earl of Derby a list of the grievances of which they complained, consisting of a series of encroachments on the civil privileges and ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the island, enumerated under twenty-five heads. It appears from this petition, and from the representation of an individual, who suffered much from the oppressive practices of the government, and from other transactions, that the Earl had countenanced the invasion of the rights of the Church by his officers, required all appeals from the ecclesiastical courts to be made to him, as the dernier resort, and even assumed the power of appointing the officers of the spiritual courts, contrary to the established custom of the country, claiming moreover the metropolitan jurisdiction of the island, in virtue of its having been exercised by his family during one hundred years4. But the differences were at length brought to a crisis by the violent proceeding of the governor, in regard to the bishop and his vicars-general. The governor procured a sentence of a temporal court, inflicting the punishment of a fine on the bishop and his vicars general, for suspending the archdeacon ; and pn their refusing to pay it, committed them as felons to the gaol in Castle Rushen, in 1722. They appealed to the king in council, who decided finally, in 1724, that the governor and deemsters had no right to fine and imprison them, as their jurisdiction did not extend to spiritual matters, and that their decree at a Tynwald Court was invalid, as it was not legally held. Thus the ecclesiastical privileges of the Island were secured.
In 1739, the lordship of the Island devolved on the Duke of Athol, by marriage, in consequence of the Earl of Derby dying without issue; and in 1765, the sovereignty was purchased by the crown. The statute authorizing the transfer is technically called in the Manks code, the Revestment Act. The constitution of the Island remained unchanged, and " the courts were untouched by it, except that the court of His Majesty in Council became the immediate, as well as last court of appeal. And the governor, lieutenant-governor, deemsters, clerk of the rolls, attorney-general, admiral and water-bailiff, held their offices of the crown durante beneplacito5." The tenure of the judges is therefore less independent than that which the English judges acquired about the period of the Revestment Act. The royal franchises of patronage of the bishopric, escheats, forests, parks, &c., were reserved, in 1765, to the Duke of Athol, under condition of rendering two falcons to His Majesty on the coronation6. These have been sold by degrees to the King, and the duke has received nearly half a million for them.
The King, or Lord, the Governor in Council, and the House of Keys, constitute the legislature of the Island. This body was represented in an assembly held in 1422, by Sir J. Stanley, as existing since the days of Orry. The latter are twenty-four in number : they are the representatives of the people : but the mode of electing them is much less free than that which prevails in other parts of the kingdom. They are chosen by their own body, as vacancies occur from death or resignation, naming two persons, of whom the governor selects one ; and they are the principal landholders of the Island. fhe possession of landed property, and the age of twenty-one, are necessary qualifications, and foreigners are not excluded. The laws which they enact must be promulgated, according to ancient usage, by proclamation on the Tynwald Hill, and are not valid until ratified by that ceremony.
This singular remnant of ancient out-door legislation, on which the insular laws are still annually promulgated, is near Peel, and is preserved with care, and regarded with veneration. It derives its name from two words, Ting, signifying a court of justice, and wald, fenced. Its shape is that of a truncated cone : steps are formed in its sides con-ducting to its summit, on which the governor, or lieutenant-governor, attended by the House of Keys and officers of state, performs the ceremony, repairing thither in procession from the neighbouring church. It is a question, which probably will be brought to a practical issue, whether the Kings acts of the British Parliament would be binding on the Island, except in matters of revenue.
The royal interference in matters relating to the internal regulation of the island, would certainly be a direct infringement on the constitution, unless sanctioned by the local legislature.
The enactment of laws, the levying taxes, and the superintendence of roads, constitute the various duties of the legislature ; but they are now so light, that the office has become almost a sinecure. The laws are few and defined, and since the reforniation of the code, have required little alteration. The expenditure of the island, consisting solely in the cost of keeping the high roads and bridges in repair, amounts to 23001., and is defrayed by taxes on wheeled carriages, dogs, and public-houses. The superintendence of the above works is in-trusted by the legislature to a committee of their own body : the legislature having no other calls, may be considered as having resolved itself into a committee of roads. 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 those of the Isle of Man. The public cost which they occasion, is much lightened by the ancient custom of statute labour, which compels every landholder, by the terms of his tenure, to contribute an annual portion of labour to these works, and thus tolls are rendered unnecessary.
The lieutenant-governor is Chancellor of the Island ; and he and the two deemsters preside at the Court of Chancery, which is held once a month in Castle Rushen. They are assisted by the clerk of the rolls and water-bailiff, who sit at desks below. The attornies are ranged in rows opposite to the tribunal, as in our courts. The proceedings are simple and uninteresting, as the judgment is not pronounced orally or after the pleadings, unless in important cases, which require immediate decision. The judges take notes of each case, and after the conclusion of the days proceedings, consult with the clerk of the rolls and water-bailiff, and the former records the award, which is afterwards promulgated in a written form on the next court day. That office is now filled by Mr. Mac Hutchin, a gentleman of reputation, unrivalled in the Island for legal attainments, abilities, and knowledge of its history and customs ; and upon him devolves principally the burden of preparing, as well as of recording the judgments. The lieutenant-governor, Colonel Smelt, notwithstanding his advanced years, bestows a close attention to the proceedings. Statute has superseded the ancient breast-law; and where Manks precedents are wanting, English are sought and referred to. Written judgments, in cases of moment or intricacy, to serve as precedents, were first introduced by the Stanleys. The frequent occurrence of the Chancery Courts, no less than the simplicity of the forms used in the proceedings and of the tenures, prevent that dilatoriness which constitutes so serious a grievance in the English Courts. The Court of Chancery is relieved from a burdensome portion of business by the power possessed by the deemsters, subject to its appellate jurisdiction, of deciding on unimportant or obvious points without consulting a jury.
The Manks laws and customs were all framed with the most cautious regard to the liberty and security of the subject, the preservation of which they guarded more vigilantly, from the well-grounded apprehension of the liability of power once ceded to be abused.
The law that enacts that " no action of arrest shall be granted against a landed man, or native within the Isle, to imprison or hold him to bail, unless he has obtained the governors pass, or that there is some other just cause to believe he designs to go off the Island ;" and the extension of the privilege even to strangers, it being enacted, " that any person prosecuted for a foreign debt by an action of arrest, shall be held to bail only for his personal appearance to such action, and for the forthcoming of what effects he hath within the Island 7," indicated the national spirit. The law which protected strangers from arrest for debt, contracted without the Island, has been repealed. Whilst it rendered the law of the realm on this point frequently nugatory, it converted the Island into an asylum for persons of ill character, induced habits of reserve and suspicion among the natives, and contributed mainly, together with the practice of smuggling, to degrade the Island in public estimation. there is another law indicating the same degree of tendency, which forms a contrast to our own more inflexible code : that " in case a person under fourteen years shall be arraigned for felony, the deemsters shall not proceed to trial, but shall cause the prisoner to be whipped at the governors pleasure8."
The security of the natives of this Island was preserved by a curious old law " still" (says the individual whose authority is cited) " in force, that renders it felony to enter any mans house, without first calling thrice, Any body within ? or as it literally signifies in Manx, Is there any sinner within ? peccagh being an equivocal term applied also to man9."
An accused person is first tried at the Deemsters Court, in his own district, by a jury of six persons, selected from the same. There are two deemsters, one to each half of the Island, appointed by government ; and invariably, though not necessarily, selected from the bar. The deemster, an officer so called from his practice of deeming or awarding the law, performs the various duties of the English magistrates, acting independently in petty sessions, and in quarter-sessions: for though the members of the House of Keys and of the council are all magistrates, and sometimes called upon to act, the frequency of the deemsters courts, as they are held once a fortnight in each of the four districts of the Island, occasions a complete transfer of magisterial business to these officers.
" The deemsters are j udges of the highest antiquity ; and till certain modern acts of Tynwald, abridging their authority, possessed an higher magisterial power, both in the administration of the common and criminal law of the land, than any other judges in Europe. They governed the people by a jus non scriptum." The Deemsters Court is a court of conscience, in which he adjudicates according to his discretion, assisted by precedent, which has gradually superseded in a great degree the ancient breast-law. His judgments are written. "He determines without jury on trespasses, slanders, assaults, batteries, debts, contracts, or dealings of the inhabitants" "The deemster will, in particular cases, elicit a discovery of facts, in the absence of other evidence, by the oaths of the pafties10."
The appeal to oaths, both in the civil and ecclesiastical courts, as a dernier resort in the absence of evidence, is a remnant of ancient jurisprudence, which is found productive of much perj ury. It is singular that a test so insufficient and unjust should be still retained. The transition from a denial of guilt to the additional confirmation of an oath is easy, and the temptation to perjury is too strong to be resisted, when exemption from the penalty of the law and from disgrace are the consequence. Those only who have not renounced all fear of God will be affected by this test ; others will evade it.
A most important part of the duty of the deemster, like that of an English magistrate, is to arbitrate differences, offer advice to doubtful parties, and prevent litigation ; and this they conscientiously discharge. Trespass juries are summoned by the deemster, to examine and estimate the damage done, consisting only of four persons living in the parish where the injury is sustained. Regular counsel are unknown to the Manks courts : the pleadings are performed by the attornies. The expense of law-suits is very small : contempt of court, by non-appearance at the summons of the stated officer, is fined 3s. 4d., and the utmost facility is thus given to the indulgence of the irascible and litigious temper of the people.
The accused, if adjudged guilty by the deemsters court, undergoes a second and final trial before the court of general gaol delivery, by a jury of twelve persons, furnished by the Island. He enjoys in both courts the ancient privilege ofpleading his own cause, but now rarely, if ever, avails himself of it, relying on his counsel, a j unior advocate selected by himself, and receiving no remuneration for his exertions. In these respects the Manks system exactly resembles the Scotch. " The Lord Cook saith, that the Isle of Man has such laws, the like whereof are not to be found in any other place, where every man pleads his own cause, without council or attorney, or any person that can gain by strife : all chancery business is ended in twelve or sixteen weeks at farthest, viz., four court days. Matters of common law are more dilatory11."
The practice of pleading their own cause was formerly general among the Manksmen ; and they would frequently address the court in speeches of an hour or longer, ~ exhibiting considerable eloquence. The clerk of the rolls recollected a young clergyman begging permission of the court, after commencing pleading in English, to continue in Manks, as he was most familiar in the use of it. The unsubdued force and expressive character of the native language, is a more suitable vehicle of the eiiergy with which a Manksman pleads for his rights. The prosecution is conducted at the second trial by the attorney-general, an officer appointed by the crown. The acting attorney-general is now the deputy of that officer, who holds the office of recorder of Liverpool. Two positive witnesses are necessary to find a person guilty of felony.
The court of gaol delivery is an august tribunal. It was once held in the open air, and usually assembles twice in the year. " The governor or lieutenant-governor, the bishop, his archdeacon and vicars-general, deemsters, clerk of the rolls, water-bailiff, and attorney-general, all preside for the . purpose of trying any crime, which by the law of the Island is deemed capital ; those of a subordinate nature being tried and determined before the magistrates12." Formerly the twenty-four Keys sat also as judges : but their right was questioned by Mr. Peel, and has not been established. " When the pleadings are concluded, and the jury agreed in their verdict, the deemster demands of the foreman in the Manks language, May he that ministers at the altar continue to sit ? If the foreman answers negatively, it is understood to be the precursor of guilty, and the bishop and clergy immediately retire : if affirmative, not guilty is returned, and the prisoner is discharged. The senior deemster pronounces sentence, ( privilegium clericale being here unknown), and execution is delayed till pleasure of his majesty be known13: (an interval of six weeks, as in Scotland, being allowed).
The attorneys are commissioned by the governor upon an examination of their qualifications, after having served during five years in the office of clerk of the rolls. The fees by which they are remunerated are small, being l0s. 6d. in the higher, and 5s. in the lower courts ; and from 5s. to 7 s. 6d. on consultations. Their incomes never exceed 5001.
" Besides these courts, there is the court of Exchequer, which determines the right of tithes, cognizable previous to the Act of Tynwald in 1777, by the ecclesiastical courts of the Island, the Court of Admiralty, of which the water-bailiff is sole judge, holding cognizance of all pleas of the crown respecting maritime concerns and offences committed on seas, within three leagues from the shore of the Island, besides a superintendence of all matters relative to the herring-fishery. There are also courts of local and inferior jurisdiction. In each of the four towns of Castletown, Douglas, Peel, and Ramsay, is an officer called high-bailiff, who is conservator of the peace, superintendent of police, a~nd has j urisdiction in all matters of debt under 40s.14." It is his duty also to direct buildings, repairs, cleaning streets, abating nuisances, &c. " In each of the six sheadings into which the Island is divided, is a coroner, whose duties are equivalent to those of sheriff in England, who serves during one year, and has the power of holding inquests in sudden or violent death. To the coroner the deemster issues an execution for debt. He is paid by the district, and by perquisites. There is also in each parish a moar, who collects the rents and fines due to the lord ; and also the escheats, deodands, waifs, and estrays, for the lords use, and executes the precepts of the Barons Courts15."
The baronial courts are distinct from those of government, and belong to the Duke of Athol, as seigniorial Lord of Man. Excepting the bishopric, which is a barony, all the other baronies of the Island, of which there were four or five, are dormant or forgotten. Each parish has also its captain, who may be considered a subordinate sheriff, who is conservator of the peace, and to whose custody is committed the cross, an instrument of the size of a man, which in cases of emergency requiring public aid, is conveyed by him to a neighbour, who carries it forward to another, and thus it proceeds from house to house till it has performed the entire circuit of the parish. And its detention, through neglect or other impediment, would be regarded with much dread by the inhabitants of the house in which it should occur. This ancient custom, described in the Lady of the Lake, is still observed; the last occasion on which it was practised was one calculated to strip it of all romantic associations. It happened a few years ago in Castletown. Mr. Gawne, who has large property in the neighbour-hood, having lost some sheep, summoned forth the captain, and the cross was exhibited not in vain, for the robber was detected. The captain of Castletown resides in a good house in its vicinity.
I visited the gaol in Castle Rushen, but could not see the felons side, and am not sure whether it now contained any16. They have a yard for exercise. There were several debtors imprisoned, all foreigners ; as the islanders are liberated as soon as it is ascertained whether they possess property or are insolvent. In the former case, their land is mortgaged ; in the latter, they are instantly discharged.
The present criminal code was framed and promulgated by act of Tynwald, in 1817, and supplied the manifold defects of the imperfect system previously in use, which was chiefly breast-law. It is provided by it, that no imprisonment for misdemeanor shall last longer than three years, and no fine shall exceed 5001. Whipping is the penalty of the law most frequently prescribed : but is usually, together with the amount of fines, &c., placed at the discretion of the Deemster, or the superior court. There were only four felons on trial at the last gaol delivery, a year intervening between it and the preceding. And it is remarkable that during fourteen years previous to the last twenty, there were none tried17. The common crimes are petty larcenies and assaults, which are cognizable by the Deemsters. Burglaries are unknown ; and till lately bars and bolts were never used. There have been only four executions for capital offences during the last fourteen years ; two for murder, one for sheep-stealing, and one very lately for rape. The last did not excite much curiosity ; it took place on a new drop erected on the top of the gaol. That which preceded it about seven years ago, of the murderers, a man and woman, produced a strong sensation, and drew together a vast multitude of persons. The gallows used on the occasion is still standing near Castletown. No execution occurred during the previous forty-five years. The natives of Man feel, like the Scotch, a strong reluctance to prosecute in casesin which the punishment is death, unless for murder or cruelty, which they hold in great abhorrence. If urged to seek legal redress for the loss of a sheep, they declare that they had rather the thief deprive them of their whole flock than hang him. To this reluctance to shed blood even in cases of atrocious crimes some extraordinary laws of the Island may be attributed. The punishment of banishment from the Island, once very common, is now very unfrequent.
The spiritual courts are Consistory courts held alternately by the bishop and archdeacon, or their deputies. "The bishops deputy is the vicar-general, one to each division of the Island answering to the chancellor. The office of archdeacon, formerly distinct, is now united with that of one of the vicar-generalships. They, with the registrar, from the Consistory court, determine the validity of wills, &c., and sustain all causes respecting them, and all suits against executors. Besides inflicting church censures, they could formerly detain the party in the ecclesiastical prison, a subterraneous prison in Peel Castle, and that as a definite sentence ; and the appeal was to the archbishop of York18." "But of the power of immediate imprisonment the ecclesiastical courts have been within few years deprived19. " The bishop has an absolute power of suspending and degrading his clergy 20 for misconduct. There are now no less than seven degraded ministers in the Island, one of whom (horresco referens) was punished for being intoxicated with the sacramental wine.
The power of the bishop in enforcing discipline is thus described by Bishop Wilson, in his History of the Island 21 : " Offenders of all conditions, with-out distinction, are obliged to submit to the censures appointed by the church, whether for correction or example, (commutation of penances being abolished by a late law), and they generally do it patiently. Such as do not submit are either imprisoned or excommunicated, under which sentence, if they continue more than forty days, they are delivered over to the Lord of the Isle, both body and goods. The bishop and his vicars-general have power to commit to prison such as refuse to appear before them. Before the beginning of Lent (which is observed here with great strictness) there is held a Court of Correction, where offenders, and such as have neglected to perform their censures, are presented ; and if they are many, or their crimes heinous, they are called together on Ash Wednesday, and after a sermon to the purpose, and are appointed their censures, which are performed during Lent, that they may be received into church before Easter. Penance is performed in a sheet in a church. Offenders are enjoined purgation of themselves by their own oaths, and those of compurgation (if need be) of known reputation, if subject to scandal, and punished if they refuse,by which offences which go unpunished elsewhere are punished in this Island."
" If any person in our church censures, and having done penance, shall afterwards incur the same, he shall not be admitted to do penance again ( as has been formerly accustomed), until the church be satisfied of his sincere repentance, during which time he shall not presume to come within the church, but be obliged to stand in a decent manner at the church door every Sunday and holiday, the wholelime of morning and evening service, till by his penitent behavior, and other instances of sober living, he deserves and procures a certificate from the minister, churchwardens, and some of the soberest men in the parish, to the satisfaction of the ordinary, which if he does not within three months he shall be excommunicated22."
" The bishop has the power to grant special licences for marriage, which in England is confined to the see of Canterbury : they cost 40s. ; a common license, 5s. Banns are therefore seldom published 23" "Nothing," says Bishop Wilson, in the above History, " is more commendable than the discipline of this church. Public baptism is never administered but in the church, and private, as the Rubric directs. Confirmation and receiving the Lords Supper, a necessary qualification for marriage." The bishop has a throne in almost every church in the Island. The present bishop, Ward, was the first appointed by the crown, the right of patronage having been purchased of the Duke of Athol, for the sum of 30,0001. The bishoprick was founded by St. Patrick, A.D. 447.
The bishop has a considerable property, in a ring fence, well cultivated. Bishops Court, his residence, is built in a hollow, beneath a sandy declivity, on the north-western coast of the island. It is enclosed by tall trees, conspicuous in the midst of a generally treeless plain, partly arranged in avenues planted by Bishop Wilson. Part of the building is very ancient, and the great thickness of the walls indicates its having been designed as a place of strength. Bishop Wilson rebuilt the greater part of it. Several modern additions have been made to it ; a chapel con-structed by the late Bishop Murray is a singular specimen of elegant choral architecture. The apartment now used as a dining-room is said to have been the study of Bishop Wilson.
There is a vast disproportion between the income of the bishop and those of the clergy. The livings, seventeen in number, are all, with the exception of four which the bishop retains, in the gift of the crown. There are two rectories of 250l. per annum, including the glebes : one of these, in the gift of the bishop, is attached to the archdeaconry, which is now held in conjunction with the vicar-generalship by the same individual, whose income thus amounts to 7001 per annum. The other livings average l00l. per annum, each ; and, excepting two parishes, houses are provided for the incumbents,in general very poor. The incomes of the clergy are frequently insufficient to meet their necessary expenses ; and like the smaller landholders, they are commonly in debt. I saw one clergyman, near Douglas, receive the bishop in ragged clothes, and shoes half covering his feet with a few tattered ligaments.
As the clergy are too poor to employ curates, the bishop ordains three or four supernumeraries, whom he appoints to parishes during sickness or absence of the incumbents. The clergy are very hospitable to the extent of their limited means. In measuring income in the Island by the English scale, the much greater cheapness of all the necessaries and luxuries of life in the former, must always be recollected.
The revenues of the church, as being extremely deficient and encroached upon, were much regarded by Bishop Wilson. " The income of the clergy arises from one-third of the impropriations which had been originally purchased of the Earl of Derby, by a collection made in the episcopacy of Dr. Barrow, during the reign of Charles the Second, partly got from the crown, partly from the nobility, and his own fund for the support of the church, schools, and ministers24." And the Earl had given two estates in England as a collateral security. The original deeds by which this transfer was executed were missing in 1739, when the Duke of Athol became lord of the Island, and were found by the bishop, after a diligent search, in 1745, during which period, the clergy despaired of recovering their apparently lost means of support. The remaining part of the impropriations vested in the lord of the Island, now belongs to the crown. Their amount does not exceed 10001.
The income of the clergy is derived from tithes, which from the excessive number of persons by whom they are contributed, it is found extremely inconvenient to collect. One of the modes which the people adopted to baffle the attempt of the last bishop to levy the green-crop tithe was by sepa rately paying it in kind. A great part of the property of the Island is freed from tithe by an ancient fixed commutation, in the shape of a modus or prescription, " real or pretended," as Bishop Wilson observes in his history. This system he considered as a violation of justice ; observing, that there was a great deal of difference between being exempt by law, and exempt in conscience, and accordingly he paid tithes, from which he was legally exempted, in the parish of Ballagh, and prevailed on many to renounce the benefit of the modus25.
Bishop Wilson liberally contributed from his private purse, to the maintenance of the clergy, and of the church. " He made addition to their glebes, contributed to the repairs and improve-ments of their houses, and increased their comforts in a variety of waysf." The Chapel of St. Mat-thew, at Douglas, was built chiefly at his own expense, and to the building or repairs of the churches, he also subscribed.
The churches of the Island are notoriously small and poor, usually without a tower. It is stated, in a late Appeal to British Christians in behalf of the Poor Churches in the Diocese of Sodor and Man " that for 4000 of the poor in the town of Douglas, there is not sitting in any church of the establishment, and most of the respectable class, next above the poor, are also excluded. In several of the parishes, containing from 1200 to 1600 inhabitants, there are not sittings in the parish churches for more than 400 or 500 persons ; and some of those churches are in such a dilapidated state, that they cannot long afford even the wretched accommodation which they afford at present." The exclusion of the Isle of Man from the benefit of the public funds for the erection and enlargement of churches in Great Britain is pleaded in support of the appeal. The present bishop has already directed his attention to the maintenance and elevation of his church, by endeavouring to remedy the defects in the incomes and education of the clergy, and in the number and state of the churches. He entertains the hope of procuring from the government a larger portion of the impropriations for the clergy than the third which they at present possess, which would at once place them on a footing of competence and comfort. He has addressed the Appeal referred to, to the British Public, in behalf of the Churches, and has deputed Mr. Stowell, the biographer of Bishop Wilson, to second, by a mission to England, the efforts which he had himself already made for raising subscriptions for the purpose. He intends dedicating the first proceeds of the fund to the erection of a chapel at Douglas, and to apply the surplus to the building and enlargement of churches or chapels in other parishes, on condition of their contributing a portion 27.
This equitable and necessary mode of calling forth the resources of the Island by law applicable to the purpose, on the principle acted upon in England, could not and ought not to be neglected. And, at the same time, the poverty of the Island, and its exclusion from public bounty, to which England and Scotland are both indebted, supply a just ground of claim on British benevolence.
The bishop does not despair of executing another project,the foundation of a college for the education of the Manks clergy, who may be ordained, like the Scotch, at twenty-one years of age. The only fund at present applicable to the purpose, is the 5001. per annum, by which the school at Castletown is supported. This is the seminary in which all the Manks clergy are educated, and acquired considerable reputation from the superintendence of the late master, Mr. Cazeles, who obtained the honours of senior wrangler and second medallist at the University of Cambridge, and conducted it during half a century. It is now placed under the charge of the government-chaplain.
The additional sums necessary must be furnished by subscriptions within the Island, and in Great Britain. The success which has rewarded a similar plan of the bishop of St. David, affords him much encouragement. And it is hoped that such a place of education might, from its vicinity, and from the great cheapness of living, attract students from Ireland, and the adjacent parts of England, who could not otherwise afford the expenses of a residence at college ; and that Mona may become once more, as in ancient times, " the fountain of honest learning and erudition 28"
The growth of dissent from the established church has been rapid in the Isle of Man. " The Reformation," says Bishop Wilson, in his History, " was begun something later here than in England, but so happily carried on, that there has not, for many years, been one papist a native of the Island, nor indeed are there dissenters of any denomination, except a family or two of Quakers, and even some of these have been lately baptized into the church." A complete unanimity on the subject of religion existed in Sacheverels time.
But, in 1776, the Methodists, who directed their attention particularly to the Celtic portion of our people, in Cornwall and in Wales, finding in their disposition to religion and to religious excitement, unregulated by education,for as yet the education of our Celtic population was almost entirely neglected, the utmost encouragement, obtained a footing in the Isle of Man. John Wesley visited the Island, and gave the following description of it. " We have no such circuit either in England, Scotland, or Ireland ; this Island is shut up from the world ; there are no disputers, no dissenters of any kind. The governor, the bishop and clergy oppose not.29 They did for a season, but they grew better acquainted with use."
The Methodists have now erected chapels in almost every parish30, raising money for the purpose by loan, and repaying it punctually by their contributions. They have not, however, seceded from the established church, and adhere, as the Wesleyan Methodists did, till within few years, to its services. In the country parishes, the Methodists attend generally more regularly than others on the public worship of the church, and consequently often partake of five services on the Sabbath-day. Of the rapidity with which, from practice, they can transfer their persons from one place of worship to another, I witnessed an instance. Two-thirds of a congregation which had completely filled the parish church, adjourned at once to an adjoining chapel, where the minister sat in his desk awaiting their arrival ; and we recognised as we passed, by their discordant voices, the choir which had already performed in the church.
In the towns, the line of demarkation is more strongly marked. Yet of the good spirit manifested by the Methodists, Castletown affords a proof. The effect of the division of that town into districts for visiting the poor, already mentioned, has been to transfer the greater portion of the management of the poor from the Methodists to the established church ; yet the latter, far from having any jealousy of the Churchmen, co-operate with them actively.
The deeply-rooted attachment of the Manks to the established church, which precluded dissent till the arrival of the Methodists, and still binds the adherents of this sect to its ordinances, is attributable to various causes. Among these may be enumerated, their insulated situation31, and distinct habits,the tenacious adherence to ancient rites and customs, and reverence for authority which distinguishes them, in common with the other branches of the great family to which they belong; the remarkable combination of strict discipline with perfect toleration in their ecclesiastical code; no religious test being required in the Isle of Man as a qualification for office, nor even license necessary for preaching ; the commanding influence of the episcopal office, endowed with elevated rank, civil and ecclesiastical power, and ample wealth, yet from its peculiar constitution, which assigned to it a throne in every parish church, brought into contact with every portion of the diocese; and partly, the extraordinary ascendancy which the episcopal station derived from the personal character and important services of Bishop Wilson, a prelate tolerant and charitable, yet inflexible in the maintenance of his official authority, and the discipline of his church ; contending triumphantly, yet at much personal cost and suffering, for the civil privileges of the Islanders, and promoting, by his unwearied personal exertions, the economical and moral, as well as spiritual improvement of the people committed to his charge.
The veneration with which the memory of Bishop Wilson is cherished, is unbounded : I conversed with some old persons who remembered him, and with one who well recollected his funeral,one of the most impressive scenes which the Island ever witnessed. His monument in the church-yard of Kirk Michael is religiously preserved.
The respect to the bishop is remarkable ; the people when they meet him bow to the ground, though by no means addicted to such respect ; for, unlike their neighbours the Irish in this respect, they seldom if ever salute a stranger. When the present bishop, on his first arrival, passed through Douglas, the populace removed his horses from his carriage, and drew him along. The fishermen ascribe the late continual failure of the herring-fishery to their opposition to the payment of tithes to the late bishop.
Besides Methodists, there are some few Independents, who will probably be drawn to the Presbyterian form of worship by a minister whom Dr. Gordon, of Edinburgh, has lately sent to the Island. The Roman Catholics have now sufficiently increased to form a congregation, which assembles in a chapel in Douglas.
Education is general in the Island. The salaries of the schoolmaster are small : in one instance, I found the remuneration amounting to but 251. per annum, of which 71. to 101. was derived from an allowance, and the rest from fees. The schoolmaster is usually provided with a house. The fees for reading only are limited by law to 2s. 6d., but they do not always reach that amount. Navigation is sometimes taught. Female education, which in all parts of the world lags behind that of the other sex, has made little progress in the Isle of Man. A girls-school has been established in Kirk Michael by the ladies of the bishops family.
The free-school at Douglas consists of 110 boys, and the same number of girls : many of the latter were clad in a neat uniform at the expense of their parents. The children contribute one penny per week each to the cost of their education ; and yet, notwithstanding the excellence of the instruction afforded, they attend with reluctance, showing a preference to other schools, at which they pay the usual fees, because exempt from that regular attendance which is exacted at the free-school.
It might be expected that the various opportunities of religious instruction enjoyed by the natives have been improved. In conformity to this expectation, the actual state of religion in the Island is favourably spoken of. The fear of God implied in the abstinence of the people from violating the third commandment, the horror of sacrilege, the exemption from the curse of infidelity, that poisonous plant whose seeds, though scattered widely over Europe, have not yet sprung up in the rich but uncultivated soil of the Celtic portion of our population, indicate a deep sense of the solemn truths of religion. It is remarkable that the Manks language is destitute of oaths, though its objurgatory expressions are said to be very forcible ; amongst which " you rough fellow " is one of the most obnoxious. The emissaries of infidelity have not yet translated their pestilent productions into the Celtic languages; and they are probably aware that the simplicity of the people has not been sufficiently corrupted to admit their dangerous sophistry. The recent arrival of a seller of infidel tracts in the Island excited a sensation like that produced by the escape of a wild beast from his cage. The horror of sacrilege was both cause and effect of the degree of criminality attached to it by the ancient laws, as up to the period of the Revestment Act it was among the treasons32. The respect of the Manks for public rites is proved by the frequent and general attendance of the people at the churches and Methodist chapels, and the caution which they show in holding their services at the latter at such times as not to interfere with those of the establishment33, and their numerous assemblages at the sacramental services in the country parishes, and, though in a less degree, in the towns, 300 often partaking of the ordinance on Easter-day in the church at Peel, out of a congregation of 700. The practice of the fishermen in offering up prayers and hymns before sailing has been mentioned. The custom of domestic worship, though much recommended by Bishop Wilson, whose usual question to his friends was " Have you set up an altar in your house ?" is however by no means prevalent ; though it is not unfrequent in the parishes in which the clergy have much enforced the duty of it.
Notwithstanding the respect for religion and its rites, it is to be remarked that drunkenness and concomitant profligacy abound. The extreme cheapness of spirits, the intercourse with strangers, occasioned by the maritime employments of the people, and the resort of vessels to the ports of the Island, sufficiently explain the cause of those evils. Public-houses have multiplied to a pernicious extent, though the recommendation of the minister, and, in towns, of the bailiff, is necessary to the granting the license ; and the governor is opposed to their increase34. Want of cleanliness prevails much ; and immorality and indelicacy are much increased by the practice of several members of a family sleeping in the same apartment and even bed. The tendency which might have been imputed to the old law of the Island (as to that of Scotland, which is still in force), legitimatizing a child, if its birth be followed in a year or two by the marriage of the parties, to encourage profligate habits, is rendered perfectly nugatory by the law having grown obsolete during many years, though not repealed. The disuse of it proves the influence of opinion in superseding law, produced no doubt by intercourse with England; for, previous to the Revestment, the law was acted upon. What else but the moral feeling with regard to the offspring of vice would prevent parents from placing it by their marriage on a level, in point of law, with the children of wedlock ? And cases of this description must perpetually occur. Though there is much vice in the Island, there is comparatively little crime, as may be inferred from the return35.
The repugnance to common swearing has contracted the tendency of the multiplication of oaths in legal proceedings, and produces perjury, which abounds36.
Though addicted to pilfering, the Manks, to their credit be it said, are thoroughly trustworthy when confidence is reposed in them.
The Manks differ from their Celtic brethren in paying no regard to genealogies, arising doubtless from the obscurity of their families.
They retain many superstitious notions common to the other branches of the Celtic family ; the belief of fairies, the evil-eye, and witches. My guide, who accompanied me to the top of Snaefell, acknowledged his belief in the existence of fairies, but observed, sensibly enough, that he had never yet seen anything more hurtful to him than him-self. He mentioned an instance of the appearance of these supernatural beings which occurred six years ago, and was notorious. A man of Laxey, somewhat intoxicated, met a party of them, and began forthwith to abuse and curse them as the devils imps ; they wreaked their vengeance on him by piercing his skin with a shower of gravel. My guide, perhaps recollecting that the fairies were within hearing, took their part, and expressed his assurance that they would not have molested him, had he not provoked them by his insults. The catastrophe did not terminate here. The offender sickened that night, his favourite horse died next morning, his cows died also, and in six weeks he himself was a corpse ! He also assured me that persons walking in the neighbourhood of a churchyard sometimes found themselves entangled in a crowd which suddenly vanished : a sign which foreboded a funeral ; and a light issuing from a churchyard, indicated a marriage. He also avowed his belief of second-sight, and admitted its being commonly credited here.
The Clerk of the Rolls was applied to when deemster for a warrant against a witch, on the charge of depriving cows of milk, and causing them to sicken. The prudent judge applied to a cow-doctor for a remedy to the disorder of the cattle, and thus put a stop to the prosecution. On another occasion, some of his poultry having died from eating paint new laid on the walls of his house, the misfortune was ascribed to the malignity of a witch ; and as it ceased after he had shot a hare, that animal was supposed to have contained the evil spirit. It is to this day the annual practice of the islanders (the Beltein) to kindle large fires on the hills, and keep them perpetually blazing from the 1st to the 14th of May, as a preservation against witches.
Sacheverel mentions some of these superstitions, and describes, with evident credulity, some of these extraordinary apparitions.
The funerals are sometimes attended by large numbers of people. I witnessed that of a rich farmers wife. The hearse was preceded by many persons on foot and horseback, and followed by two carts filled by females, well attired in deep mourning, gigs, men and women on horseback, and a crowd on foot, forming a numerous assemblage. An entertainment is usually provided for the attendants at the house, before the ceremony, at which excess is very uncommon ; and a dinner is given there to a few friends after it is concluded. It is the practice in this Island, as in Cornwall, I was informed, to sing hymns whilst the corpse is conveyed through the churchyard to the grave, and probably from the same reason,the abundance of Methodists.
The Manks retain some singular customs of Popish origin. On Christmas-eve, they flock to the churches, bearing the largest candles which they can procure, and forming a brilliant illumination. The anniversary of the landing of St. Maughold in the Island is also observed.
Of antiquities there are Runic fragments, stone circles, and crosses.
The Manks have no games or public amusements, their pleasures are domestic or convivial. To this peculiarity in their customs is ascribed their notorious love of litigation. Where one species of excitement is wanting, others will be sought. The Manks, being without other rendezvous, flock eagerly to the Courts, which being held frequently in each district, prove a regular source of interest and gratification. The practice tends to exercise and improve the acuteness of their faculties, whilst it encourages a contentious disposition ; to which the inexpensive nature of the proceedings ministers not a little. Instances occur of persons seeking redress in a court of law for the sum of one shilling. It has been deemed necessary to restrain the propensity to litigation by law.
I never saw more eager and intelligent attention in any audience than among the people of the lower classes assembled at the Deemsters Courts ; they appeared riveted by the arguments of the pleaders, and obviously, by the expression of their countenances, fully comprehended them.
The Manks are fond of music, but have no instruments. Those used on the occasion of Bishop Wilsons triumphal procession from his prison in Castle Rushen were flutes made of elder-tree ; and they are not addicted to dancing. The theatre is open only during a fortnight in the year.
Indolence is a characteristic of the male part of the Manks population. The workmen observe the singular custom of allowing an interval of rest of two hours in the middle of the day ; and no inducement can prevail on them to encroach upon it. They may be seen at these times lying stretched under hedge-rows by the road side. A Manksman will sometimes lose the chance of obtaining six-pence for a fish, if he must walk a mile for it. On the women devolve not only the domestic manufactures, but even much of agricultural labour ; and they are extremely industrious. Local circumstances explain this difference in the habits of the two sexes. Where the pursuits of the men are maritime, the employments of the house and of the field are necessarily much consigned to the females ; and the former neglect them. Though the agricultural class in this Island has lately become more distinct in consequence of the cessation of smuggling, and the diminished inducement, offered to the former by the herring-fishery, to divert the attention from their land, the custom once established continues37.
In the virtue of hospitality the Manks yield to none. The beggar presents himself at the door of a cottage, and announces his intention of passing the night under its roof : he is admitted without inquiry to bed, board and lodging. The known kindness of the Manks to strangers has attracted much mendicity to the Island from England, and especially from Ireland. The numerous beggars met, on the roads and by-ways, are principally of this description, as the natives are prohibited begging out of their parishes, and they are sure of obtaining relief. This evil is occasionally checked by a prohibition on their landing, or by compelling them to quit the Island in the vessel which brought them. An old law restrains the importation of beggars or vagabonds into the country, on pain of forfeiting the boat38. This was more necessary in former times, when the Island was the ordinary place of refuge for debtors and vagabonds.
One of the leading dispositions of these Islanders, that of the great Celtic family to which they belong, is loyalty to their king, and attachment to their lords.
The Manks have invariably, during all the civil contests or foreign wars which have disturbed the kingdom, adopted and defended the side of their monarchs and of their lords. In the rebellion they seconded the loyal efforts, and sacrificed their wealth at the call of the Earl of Derby ; whilst, at the same time, they evinced the most vehement indignation at the execution of Christian by the same Earl. " In the time of the Lord Protector Cromwell, the Islanders subscribed two sums of 5001. each, towards the royal cause,a sum amounting to nearly half the specie in circulation39". A splendid testimony to the loyalty of the natives, addressed to King George the Second, was elicited from bishop Wilson, by a calumny on them, which had obtained some publicity. At the commencement of the late war, the Manks evinced their characteristic zeal in defence of the kingdom, when threatened by the revolutionary war.
To the attachment of the Islanders to their lords, Bishop Wilson has also borne testimony: " The inhabitants have ever had a profound respect for their lords, especially for those of the House of Derby ; but they are jealous of their ancient laws, tenures, and liberties :" two prominent characteristics of a Celtic tribe, proofs of the same tenacious attachment to their hereditary possessions and connexions.
Their second principle of action is illustrated by the history of the struggles for their rights and privileges. The Isle of Man exhibits, perhaps, the only example in history of a nation preserving its ancient laws, tenures, and frame of government, under the rule of several nations, and in spite of the encroachments and invasions of successive rulers, during several centuries, solely by legal efforts, and in conformity to its constitution.
The British Constitution has been formed under the various dynasties which have successively governed the kingdom. The history of trial by jury is the only portion of it which is strictly analogous to that of the Manks constitution : and to this the perpetuity of the Hindoo Punchayet of India, or village courts of arbitration in civil matters under Hindoo, Mogul, and Mahratta dynasties, is in some degree similar.
The Manks, quiet and inoffensive in their ordinary temperament, are irascible when provoked or their rights are invaded. They have been occasionally guilty of serious tumults, of which the resentment shown by the natives on the imprison-ment of Bishop Wilson in Castle Rushen, affords an example, when the residence of the governor, and probably his life, would have been sacrificed, but for the exhortations of the bishop.
On the promulgation of a law, in 1821, restraining the importation of English corn, which was attributed to the interested motives of the Keys, who were chiefly landholders, the population of Peel rose, and fairly drove out of the town a small party of yeomanry, whom the deemster had brought from Castletown to quell the riot. Similar violence was shown when the late bishop attempted to levy the green-crop tithe, to which he fully established a legal claim. And in the parish Kirk Christ Lezayre, the peasantry beat off the officers appointed to collect it. Since the transfer of the sovereignty to the crown, the allegiance and loyal feelings of the people must be considered as having also passed to the king.
Although the government of the Island is nominally vested in the Duke of Athol, it is practically carried on by the resident officers forming the executive departments ; and the occasional animosities which arise between the duke and the Islanders are the result of their complicated and consequently conflicting interests, and not of the dukes official measures.
One effect of the insular situation of the Manks, and cause of their retaining the peculiarity of their manners, has been the preservation of their language. " Their language," says Bishop Wilson, " is Erse, or a dialect of that spoken in the Scotch Highlands with a mixture of some Greek, Latin, and Welsh words, and many of English origin, to express names of things not formerly known to the people of this Island."
Of literature there are no traces in the Manks language, excepting some songs composed in the style of Ossian, discovered by Bishop Hildesley, a few plaintive pieces set to national melodies, and verses written on particular occasions. Their cast is melancholy, like that of all the Erse poetry, apparently indicating, in the various branches of this ancient race, a mournful consciousness of the loss of former empire and independence. There are no relics of prose literature. To the above catalogue must be added a translation of Miltons Paradise Lost, by a clergyman, a work which a competent judge described to me, as exhibiting considerable merit.
The Manks language was much improved by the publication of books. " The first ever printed in it, entitled The Principles and Daties of Christians, was published by Bishop Wilson, in 1699. Since the translation of the Holy Scriptures, the Liturgy of the Church of England, several of Bishop Wilsons writings, and some other treatises on practical religion, into Manks, it has been materially improved. A grammar was published some years ago by the Rev. Dr. Kelly, of Essex, and the same author prepared a dictionary of the Manks, which will be soon committed to the press. Bishop Wilson procured a translation of the Gospel of St. Matthew into Manks, and got the other Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles translated. The Society for promoting Christian Knowledge published some editions of the Manks Scriptures, and the British and Foreign Bible Society, a stereotype edition of the New Testament40.
The translation of the Scriptures alluded to was planned by Bishop Wilson during his imprisonment in Castle Rushen. The formation of village libraries, by Bishop Wilson, the establishment of schools throughout the Island, and the recent general circulation of the Scriptures in the Manks, have contributed to preserve the language in its improved and cultivated state ; means seconded by the strong prejudice of the people in its favour. The influence of schools has been twofold : learning to read the Manks has been found subsidiary to the acquisition of English, by removing the first impediments to it, and by stimulating the desire as well as training the mind to the pursuit of more extended knowledge. The ampler opportunity of gratifying curiosity and enlarging the sphere of knowledge afforded by the English, and the still more cogent motive to its acquisition, supplied by the obvious advantage of it to all, and of the absolute necessity of it to many of the natives, will now tend powerfully to make it generally known, and render it the medium of judicial proceedings, though probably it will long be used in the services of the church, through the popular attachment to it, as the ancient medium of communicating religious instruction, and as perhaps better calculated to express the fervour of their devotional feelings.
The Manks language is said to be terse, energetic, and metaphorical : it has withstood the influence of successive foreign nations by which the Island was possessed ; Danes or Norwegians, Scotch or English. Some of the names and patronymics are of Celtic origin, and similar to those of the Scotch and Welsh. The names of the Manks, though Anglicized, were, with the exception of the Danish family of Christian, originally preceded, like those of the Irish Celts, to which the Manks were kindred, by the patronymic appellation of Mac. It has not been altogether dropped, and still partially adheres to some names : thus Quilliam is a corruption of Mac William ; Quirk, Quayle, and other names beginning with Qu, may be probably traced to the same source. The mode of distinguishing people of the same name, is similar to that used by the Welsh. Thus, " John Bill Christian," is the familiar appellation bestowed on John the son of William Christian, who is thus distinguished by the addition of his own name to that of his father. It was similar to the Welsh mode of designation, thus, Sir Rhys ap Thomas, the son of Thomas Rice, and hence most of the Welsh surnames were originally Christian names. A corruption similar to that produced by the partial merging of the appellation Mac, occurs in Wales : thus ap Rice has been converted into Price, and ap Robert into Probert.
The Scotch were masters of the Isle of Man only during twenty years ; and the English Monarchs, or their subjects to whom the lordship of the Isle was granted, satisfied with the legal submission of the natives, never interfered with their language, but acquiesced in its being the vehicle of judicial proceedings as it was the medium of general intercourse. The Manks, conscious of their weakness, and having no fastnesses to which they might fly in the event of unsuccessful resistance to their conquerors or rulers, observed the policy which necessity imposed, of peaceable acquiescence in the actual government, and to this policy the final preservation of their language, laws, and con-stitution, as well as the intrinsic excellence of the latter, must be attributed.
Sacheverel observes (when mentioning the poetic vision of Cowley, who supposed himself deploring, as he surveyed the surrounding kingdoms from the summit of Snaefell, the miseries and calamities of the civil wars), " that the poet did not reflect on the quiet and security of the place, which almost always follows poverty, since nothing is safe in this world that will bear the charge of its own ruin." The Isle of Man was, however, says the Earl of Derby in great danger of revolt during the Civil Wars, but owing, it must be observed, to local tyranny. The mild influence of the friendly and commercial intercourse of the natives of the Island with England, and their admission of so many to the naval or mercantile service, have gradually produced a change in their colloquial intercourse which the efforts of remote authority could never have effected whilst the bar to international association remained.
The services are performed in Manks sometimes, even in parishes in which English is universally spoken: and in the north, where the Manks prevails, often three Sundays out of four, and more frequently in Manks, in the methodist chapels, than in the church. The intercourse with England and schools have introduced much English : it has now spread to the most sequestered districts of the Island : and I have heard it observed by an individual high at the bar, that it had become so general, that the plea of inability to speak it, urged by a witness, was usually attributed to an indisposition to give evidence, and a desire of offering it through the medium of an interpreter. I found, however, some who appeared totally ignorant of any language but their own ; even allowing for the silence which apprehension of being ridiculed for their imperfect acquaintance with English might induce. The children in general have learned it in the schools.
The English spoken by the lower classes of the Manks is, on the whole, pure, and the pronunciation is free from provincial corruptions. As it has not acquired the settled form and consistency of an ancient dialect, but has been recently borrowed from the surrounding countries, its phrases, and the tones of the speaker indicate a singular compound of the dialects of the north of England, of Scotland and Ireland. The words " indeed," "at all," " convenient," are used after the Irish fashion.
Though the Manks and Irish have descended from the same stock, venerate the same patron saint, and speak nearly the same language, they entertain a deep-rooted antipathy to each other The feud between them, respecting the casting of the net, already adverted to, is but a symptom of it ; and it is indicated by frequent broils, especially in the streets of Peel. It arises chiefly from religious differences, aggravated by the affinity of the two people, which invariably, when it does not produce closer union, occasions bitter animosity. The Irish despise the Manksmen, as having degenerated from the faith of their fathers : the latter, seeing the total neglect of religious practices by the Irish, so contrasted to their own scrupulous adherence to them, regard them as infidels, or to use the term applied to them by a Manks fisherman while conversing with me, as " not men," or as he explained it, as wicked and of no religion. The Irish give just ground for complaint, being extremely disorderly, and as much addicted, according to their unfortunate custom, to mutual conflicts, as to quarrels with the natives.
The lieutenant-governor, the bishop, and public functionaries, are at the head of Manks society. Besides these, the persons of most weight in the Isle of Man are the landholders, of whom ten may be considered as principal, and the rest, proprietors of small estates or farms. The small number of the former accounts for their influence as a body being much less than might be expected from their monopoly of the legislative power.
But another class has gradually arisen, scarcely known till the natives renounced the ancient practice of pleading their own cause in the courts of law, which by the professional association of its members, by their activity and talents, and by their intercourse with the natives at the courts in the different parts of the Island, has acquired a degree of importance far beyond that to which their collective share in the wealth of the Island entitles them. The income of an advocate derived from his professional labours, seldom exceeds 5001. per annum, and many have difficulty in procuring a suitable living : the courts of law have, by engrossing the magisterial business of the Island, deprived the landholders of a jurisdiction which confers much importance on that class in England.
The attornies are generally of an inferior description to those of an English court ; and with some exceptions, their inferiority is manifest in their appearance, manners, and even in their style of pleading : I heard one of them attribute, in his speech in court, an inaccuracy in the statement of an opponent to the pleasure which he had felt "at getting his sister married ;" and he thought the joke so happy that he again repeated it.
The poverty of the clergy deprives them of that rank in society which their order enjoys in England, and places them more on a level, in relation to the rest of the community with those of Scotland. The bishop and his Archdeacon, who also holds the office of vicar-general : the other being held by a layman, are the only two representatives of the church who possess any weight or are known, except by reputation, beyond the precincts of their own parishes.
As few of the clergy can aspire to more than a decent subsistence, they are, as a body, wholly debarred by poverty from intercourse with the wealthier part of the community. Their manners are often superior to those of the low grade of society from which they are frequently raised, though their education has been confined to a school and they have not enjoyed the advantage of college associations, but their marriages being generally in a line beneath the rank of gentry, their wives are usually incapable of bearing their part in better society, and thus prevent the extension of their acquaintance and usefulness.
The medical practitioners are few, and their incomes small, far less than those of the lawyers. And as the island takes little share in general trade, the mercantile part of the community is very unimportant, and possessed of little wealth. An income of 5001. per annum is considered handsome in Douglas. Strangers, whether purchasers of land, or holders of farms, or residing in the town or neighbourhood of Douglas form a considerable portion of the upper classes in the Island. They are usually attracted to the spot by the great cheapness of provisions of all kinds : and Douglas is thronged with half-pay officers both military and naval, who have formed an United Service Club, as a rallying-point to their society.
Of the cheapness of provisions, the following are samples. The price of excellent meat in Douglas was 4½d, to 6d. per pound ; of a fine cod, ls..of a turbot, 8s. A gentleman residing near Castletown, bought, on the morning of my visit to him a sheep of considerable weight, for 5s. 6d. each. Tea is from 4s. to 6s. per pound : refined sugar 8d. per pound.
As the residence of the governor, and the circumstance of the superior courts being held at Castletown, confer on that town the metropolitan dignity, Castle Rushen is the principal rendezvous of the official society. But the more agreeable situation of Douglas, the superior security of its bay, its central position, and other advantages, have drawn the gentry and strangers to its neighbourhood, and made it a resort for sea-bathing and public amusements.
The habits of the upper classes of society are similar to those of the English gentry, excepting some who observe the primitive custom of dining at one oclock, even when they give large entertainments and prolong them to a late hour in the evening. Their amusements are social : public assemblies are held in Douglas, but are chiefly frequented by the townspeople and strangers : theatrical amusements, racing and hunting are almost unknown, and shooting is little pursued in an island where there are no covers for the preservation of game, and the moors yield neither grouse nor deer.
The present lieutenant-governor is Colonel Smelt, a tall, fresh-looking gentleman, of eighty-two years of age, of very dignified deportment, unaffectedly courteous in his manners, and agreeable in his conversation. He receives from government a salary of 10001. per annum, besides his apartments in Castle Rushen, where he permanently resides. The Duke of Athol, the governor, pays him an annual visit. Their meeting is personally very friendly, but officially, it is said, very much otherwise, as might be naturally expected from the high spirit and advanced years of these rival functionaries41.
To the hospitality of the lower classes of the Manks, I have adverted in terms of well-merited commendation ; to that of the upper, my short stay in the Island enables me to bear personal and hearty testimony. Though a stranger, even to their names, before I visited their Island, the introduction of the worthy Bishop, whose authority and personal character are regarded with primitive feelings of esteem and respect, secured me, in all parts of his little diocese, a kind and cordial reception.
AILSA CRAG, LOCH LOMOND, LUSS, GARELOCH, LOCH LONG, GLENCROE, KILMORACH, SCAVA-GOYLE FOREST.
THE view of the Island from Ramsay Bay, where I embarked for Scotland, surpasses any other in its whole circuit in beauty and variety. The coast forms a semicircular range, flanked by the bold precipices of Maughold Head to south, and by red cliffs, of much inferior height, to north. At the Point of Aire, a low and sandy headland, a light-house is erected. Opposite is the bold and lofty Mull of Galloway, terminating abruptly in gray cliffs, on which a light-house is now building. The character of the coast is the same for many miles. Dunmans Head, conspicuous for its height, prominence, and rugged aspect, shelters the small harbour of Port Nessock, which at high water admits large vessels. From this headland to Port Patrick, is a line of rough, but less elevated cliffs, above which appears a bleak country, consisting of moors and pastures, interspersed with tracts of cultivation, but destitute of trees. Nothing but necessity could have induced the selection of Port Patrick as a packet-station, a little creek, apparently scooped artificially out of the inhospitable coast, and defended by a
1 The Danes left colonies in Lewis and on the opposite coast of Ireland ; and the counties of Cumberland and West-moreland retain traces of their dominion. Fell, dale, force ( water-fall), water (lake), are all derived from field, dal, foss, vand (Mïös vand, &c., i. e., Mïöss water, &c.), and probably, Boulder-stone, the name of a well-known fragment in Borrodale, is nothing more than a corruption of the word Bautastene, the Scandinavian name for such monuments, whether of natural convulsion, or human worship ; and not according to common acceptation, from its having been bowled or rolled to its detached position.
16 There was only one person committed to Castle Rushen this year for felony.See Appendix, Note IV.
17* See Appendix, Note IV.
20 The bishop is sole baron of the Isle under the fluke of Athol, and holds courts in his own name for his temporalities; if any of his tenants are tried for life, he may demand them from the Lords Court, and try them by a jury of his own tenants, and in case of conviction, the lands are forfeited to the bishop.Sacheverel,
21 Bishop Wilson states, in his life of Dr. Sherlock, his maternal uncle, that that divine was commissioned by the Earl of Derby to settle the affairs of the church of Man, which during the great rebellion had suffered in her doctrine, discipline, and worship, "which difficult work he went through to the entire satisfaction of the lord and people of the Island, which, by the blessing of God, continues as uniform in her worship, as orthodox in her doctrine, and as strict and regular in her discipline, as any Christian church in the world. The bishop drew up the code of ecclesiastical constitutions which passed into a law in 1703. The Lord Chancellor King bestowed the following eulogium on it : " If the ancient discipline of the church were lost, it might be found in all its purity in the Isle of Man."Stowells Life.
22 Johnson. .
27 The produce of Mr. Stowells mission, aided by otliei contributions, was 40001. The bishop commenced his work of building churches, by procuring the condemnation of some of the old dilapidated ones. This can be effected, according to the law of the island, by the verdict of a jury, consisting of two masons and two carpenters. Each parish is bound by law to build and repair its church : and many of the edifices thus compulsorily erected are such as barely to protect the congregation from the weather, and so ill-constructed as speedily to need repair, and without any reference to durability.
The bishop applied his fund judiciously, by advancing 2001. to each parish towards the sum of 1000/., the calculated cost, provided his plan for building were adopted ; and he has enjoyed the gratification of causing the erection of ten new churches and chapels, including a floating chapel at Douglas, the present of Earl de Grey, when first lord of the admiralty. This place of worship is regularly filled by mariners, who would enjoy no other means of attending Divine Service. The bishop has erected, in a sequestered part of the Island, ill which there is a population buried among the hills, out of the reach of any place of worship, a chapel and school-house under one roof. The entire structure is of a cruciform shape: the chancel and transepts are appropriated to Divine Service: the nave is used as the school-room, and divided by sliding doors, from the rest of the building, which are thrown open for public worship. The bishop proposes erecting additional churches and chapels.1836.
28 It affords me much gratification to state the successful result of the zealous efforts of Bishop Ward, and the other trustees of Bishop Barrows fund to establish a college for the objects above specified. That worthy prelates pious intentions have been thus fulfilled, after an interval of nearly two centuries. He was uncle of the famous Isaac Barrow, and was bishop and governor of the Isle of Man during a few years, about the time of the Fire of London. He saw with concern the inefficient ministry of the island, and endeavoured to provide for it by a grant of twenty pounds per annum. This has gradually increased to 4801. per annum ; a sum which has been appropriated to the maintenance of the school: and an additional sum of 10001. has resulted from accumulatien.
Bishop Ward conceived the project of establishing a college out of the proceeds of the fund thus arising, and the contributions which it might be in his power to raise, within the Island. The latter amounted to 20001. A builder having contracted to erect the proposed college for the sum of 30001., the work was completed. But the actual cost amounted to nearly double that sum ; and the trustees have been consequently much in debt and difficulty, from which they hoped to be rescued by the aid of government, the expectation of such aid having been held out to them, They recommend the appropriation of a portion of the crown tithes of the Island, which are worth 7001. or 8001. per annum, to the purpose; and this suggestion was favourably received. But as yet nothing has been done.
The building is painfully inadequate to the requirements of a college and a large school. As, excepting two or three youths destined for the Manks Church, who must be natives of the Island, (or else they are not ordainable from the college by the bishop,) the rest of the pupils are, in fact, boys from seven to sixteen or seventeen years of age : and for them the object of the college, or rather school, is to give them, on very moderate terms, an education much the same as they would receive at the large superior grammar-schools of England. The system resembles rather the grammar than the public schools in England. The prescribed course of education, from which no deviation is allowed, embraces the Greek and Latin, mathematics, English grammar and composition, geography and history, writing, and arithmetic. The college fees are (per quarter),
For pupils between 7 and 10 years of age
1 0 0
,, ,, 10 and 13
1 10 0
,, ,, 13 and 18
2 0 0
above . . . . 18
2 10 0
There is an annual examination, after which prizes are publicly awarded by the governor, bishop, &c.
The college opened in the autumn of 1833 : the number of pupils, being 40 at the commencement, has increased to 170; of whom about 80 or 90 board in the college, under the especial care of the vice-president and his assistants ; about 30 or 40 more board with one of the masters, and the rest with their friends, or in approved lodgings in the town. Of the pupils, 70 are English, 50 Irish, 30 Manks, 10 Scotch, and a few from India, sons of missionaries, placed here either by their parents or the Church Missionary Society.
A chapel is annexed to the College, built by the bishop, partly out of his church-building fund, and partly out of his private purse ; and two full services are performed in it on every Sunday. The public are admitted to it, and enjoy ample accommodation of free seats. A considerable portion of religious instruction is afforded to the students by the principal and his assistants, both on Sundays and other days. Vigorous Church Missionary and Bible Associations have been established in the college.
Want of funds has prevented the execution of the comprehensive plan originally proposed, of reviving the parochial schools, which are, for the most part, lamentably neglected, and putting the grammar-schools into connexion with the college. Exhibitions from these schools at the college, and at one of the universities from the college, would prove a most salutary species of endowment.
In addition to the reasons for assistance from government enumerated, it is alleged that the college confers an important benefit on the Island, inasmuch as it has already caused the outlay within it of 15,0001.
The above particulars have been communicated to me chiefly by the excellent principal, Mr. Wilson, to whose energy and ability in the discharge of his duties, the amplest testimony is borne ; and by John Mac Hutchin, Esq., one of the trustees of Bishop Barrows Fund, who has afforded Bishop Ward the most zealous assistance in the execution of the scheme. 1836.
30 From an authentic statement of a member of their sect, communicated to me by J. Mac Hutchin, Esq., the Methodists in the Isle of Man amount to 3443 : between one-eleventh and one-twelfth of the population. They have thirty-four chapels, ninety-two local gratuitous preachers, and six English travelling preachers, supported by the members, with a salary, according to the number of each of their families, from 1001. to 160l. per annum.1836.
31 The more decidedly sectarian spirit in the towns is owing partly to greater facility of combination, and partly to extraneous influence.
32 Bishop Wilson quotes a Manks curse, indicative of their fervid tone of feeling. It is founded on their horror of sacrilege : " May a stone of the church be found in the corner of your dwelling."
33 In the towns, the Methodists now open their chapels during Divine service, a practice which many of them consider a great evil.1836.
34 The district society in Castletown has produced manifest diminution of vice, especially drunkenness.
35 See Appendix, Note IV.
36 We might learn a lesson upon this subject from the natives of Central India. " The natives of Central India are so aware of the tendency of the multiplication of oaths to diminish the respect entertained for them, that where oaths are resorted to as an ordeal, they are not used on other occasions."Malcolms Central India.
37 " As the fishery," says Feltham, " engages upwards of 5000 men during the most important summer months, the weeding and getting in of the harvest, &c., falls to the women, and the few men who prefer being on shore." And to the indolence of the men, and alternations of labour and repose, of danger and security, to which their seafaring habits expose them, must be attributed much of their vice and litigious propensities. Exemption from severe labour is perhaps the cause of the Manks peasantry being stouter than the English. I was particularly struck in some parts of the Island with the beauty of the children.
40 Stowell.This Society granted 5000 Bibles and 2250 Testaments to the Island.
41 The duke and his lieutenant-governor ended their days about the same time.