"For the safeguarding of morality, and the protection of our young people~ we must trust that such WISE MEASURES may be taken for the maintenance of propriety and order, especially IN THE SUMMER SEASON, as I know our late Governor had at heart, and will secure the well-being of our community. "THE BISHOP OF SODOR AND MAN in The Manx Church Magazine, December 16th, 1893.
ISAIAH I., 16-1" Cease to do evil, learn to do well."
Three months ago I preached a sermon from this pulpit having reference to certain evils which defamed this Island and Douglas in particular. I said nothing new. I simply focussed what everybody discussed and what most people admitted was true. The address awakened great interest, and as a consequence criticism was evoked. Upon my head was showered all manner of abuse. I had spoken in favour of righteousness as that which contributed to a nations truest greatness, and applying the law to ourselves endeavoured to show that for lack of respecting it this Island had lost in prestige and prosperity. I did but speak the words of truth and soberness, holding with John Bright " there can be no permanent greatness to any nation except it be based on true morality," and that character in a nation, as in a man, is strength.
Who my critics are, what they say, and why they assume an opposing attitude most of you know. Apart from a handful of
SMUG PIETISTS, IGNORANT AND COWARDLY,
whose cant about " preaching the gospel" is as blatant as it is blasphemous, and a few pessimists whose policy is one of despair. My opponents, for the most part, are men represented by a section of the Douglas Press. Seeing their craft in danger, they have indulged in slander and insult, inspired by self-interest alone. Speaking personally, I sincerely
REGRET THESE NEWSPAPERS ARE NOT OUR ALLIES
in the good work of reform. Excepting the Monas Heraldwhich has won for itself the praise and gratitude of all right-minded men the Isle of Man Times, Manx Sun, and Examiner are against us. Unhappily for this Island these papers represent men (not necessarily or exclusively editors or proprietors) who are dominated by greed of gold. Their creed may be resolved into a word of a single syllable" Get." With " itching palms" they have a spirit that would
TURN EVEN HEAVEN INTO A MARKET-PLACE
and drive sharp bargains with the angels ! Covetous, and raging to be rich, they care not a jot what comes of this Island so long as their coffers are filled. Everything is seen by them through a sordid medium. They look upon your fair landscapes, your lovely glens, your bold and beautiful headlands, but to speculate what syndicates may make out of them. These gentlemen care little to what depth this Isle may sink if only dividends are declared. O ! have a care, you Manxmen, against what your distinguished countryman, Hall Caine, has said about "Dirty, mucky, measly money." Remember wealth is only wealth when it makes man weal. It is possible to pay too dear a price for gold if it is purchased by sacrificing the Nations honour. " He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty should come upon him." " He that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at the end shall be a fool."
I am not forgetful that while on the one hand there has been unjust and abusive criticism, there has been on the other hand
EVERY SYMPATHY AND ENCOURAGEMENT.
The intelligent, the sober, and devout, have freely expressed their confidence. Patriotic Manxmen and Englishmen interested in this Islands welfare, and representing all classes of society, have wished us God-speed, and urged us to continue this crusade against evil. And I were false to conscience and my God if, at this gravest crisis of your Nations history, I lowered my flag or retired from the field. Good has already resulted from this discussion, and I can
SEE IN THE NEAR FUTURE YET GREATER GOOD
accomplished if only the people of this Island are just and fear not, and are determined to purge from their midst those things which tarnish and defame.
The suggestions I shall state to-night I privately expounded some months ago to gentlemen of high position and authority, but the time has come when, I think, the people themselves, should be fully informed as to what they are. Knowledge is the measure of responsibility. This is a Peoples Question. It is
NOT MATTER ALONE FOR ANY GOVERNMENT
bureau or Insular Parliament. You must work out your own salvation.
Before expounding certain suggestions I think it right to re-state the case ; first, because we cannot keep in mind too clearly the gravity of certain evils in our midst, and next, because of facts and statements which have been challenged by an interested Press.
Since last November I have been supplied with an amount of
ADDITIONAL AND CONFIRMATORY EVIDENCE,
and did I publish the names of witnesses, my address would have additional weight. I assume, however, all personal responsibility, and shall only add that, if needs be, I am prepared to submit my proofs to the highest tribunal in the Island, as to whether these things are so or not. What more can I say ?
In briefly re-stating the case, there is this fact to be remembered
UNPLEASANT AS IT IS TO HEAR
that this gem of an Isle bears an ill-repute, and Douglas in particular. There is but one opinion on the other side of the water as to this. As Burns has said
" Facts are chiels that winna ding,
And downa be disputed."
Go where you will in England, Ireland, Scotland or Wales, and but one judgment is expressed. We cannot get away from this fact, and it has obtained not since I spoke on the matter three months agoas one of the papers with wilful blindness suggestedbut for the last eight years at least. A minister of religion who has lived in the Island writes :" Everywhere in Lancashire, and even here in London, decent money-spending people, who take their families away for two or three weeks, shrug their shoulders when the Island is mentioned, and say it is too fast and not good for our Sons and daughters." And evidence of this kind I have to any extent.
Last summer one of your most trusted citizens spent his holidays in Scotland, and on his return expressed with grief that he felt almost
ASHAMED TO CONFESS HE BELONGED TO THE ISLAND,
because of the low opinion the people across the water held concerning it. A few weeks ago I made a tour through Yorkshire and Durham, visiting such towns as Leeds, Wakefield, Gateshead, and Newcastle. I came into contact with all sorts of people, and I had the pain of having forced upon me but one judgment concerning the Isle of Man. I found there was admiration for the Island as such, that theybetter class people for the most partlonged to visit our shores for their holidays, but that owing to the questionable life of Douglas they went elsewhere, and I found that in nearly every case these
PEOPLE HAD SHUNNED THE ISLAND FOR THE LAST SIX YEARS.
A fact like this, the Commission on Advertising the Island should remember : A fact which goes to show it is not alone because of general elections, or bad trade, or lack of advertising, that the Island is suffering, but because of its lacking in moral respect. There is a connection between righteousness and commercial prosperity, which even no financial speculator should put out of his calculations.
And secondly, opinion on this side of the water as to our ill-repute, is not less emphatic. Since my address in November, every fact and statement have been confirmed by our people, representing all classes, and best able to judge. Never, perhaps, in the history of the Island has a subject awakened more interest or been more fully discussed. In cottage, ball, and counting-house, in railway train and fishing smack, it has been ventilated, and with one verdict only
THE EVILS EXIST AND MUST BE STRENUOUSLY MET.
All sorts of people have visited and written me on this subject. Gentlemen representing various trades and professions, moving in every walk of life, and having large commercial interests, have endorsed my action and confirmed my words. Even some persons directly interested in dancing saloons have admitted the righteousness of our cause, and have expressed themselves determined to have nothing more t do with these questionable concerns. I repeat what I have said, the opinion as to the Islands ill-repute is distinct and emphatic on this side, as on the other side of the water.
Of the evils which have brought us into reproach I will not speak at length, except to mention but two or three.
First of all in regard to public cars. It is a notorious fact that
THE CAR LIFE DURING THE SEASON
is highly objectionable. Ex-Governor Walpole referred to it in strong terms on the eve of his departure. Apart from personal witness, a gentleman of high official position remarked to me a while ago that so questionable was the car life in our public high roads, that he refrained from driving in summer with female members of his family. The Isle of Man Times, in a leading article says : " We cannot deny that during the season, many of our visitors are disgustingly public in their display of amatory attentions," and
THE HIGH BAILIFF OF PEEL
says rightly " Unless the evil be promptly remedied, we shall greatly deteriorate in the class of visitors who come to our shores." I am glad to know that the offending drivers are, for the most part, not Manxmen but imports from the other side of the water. At the same time the evil exists, and reform must be effected. Up to the present time there has been no effective control in regard to cars. The Commissioners grant licenses to drivers, and that is about where the responsibility begins and ends. The police have no power to interfere with the granting of such licenses, and it is high time the authorities gave them complete control over this important branch of Industry. And I believe the car owners of Douglas would, with their employees gladly cooperate with the police in so regulating the traffic as that it should be worked to merit the satisfaction of those responsible for law and order, as also to all right-mind citizens and visitors. I have spoken of objectionable car life. I now come to speak of
DOUGLAS STREET LIFE,
as hardly less reprehensive especially in relation to the promenade, where improprieties and rowdyism are permitted without scarcely a protest. I know not a finer sea front in all the world than yours at Douglas, and yet, how the fair prospect is spoiled by the free Bohemianism prevailing there during the summer season. Why, for example, should the promenade wall be a " roosting-place" for people whose improprieties border upon indecency, to the disgust of the sober and respectable ? There is a limit to everything, and it is time such restrictions were passed so as to check questionable conduct. At present
LIBERTY IS ALLOWED TO LICENCE.
To think that on a Sabbath night, when at least respect might be shown for Manx sentiment in regard to the Lords Day, public dancing should be allowed on that thoroughfare, is proof among others how lax our authorities are. And as to
BLASPHEMY AND OBSCENE LANGUAGE,
the place to hear this filth is the promenade. There is a law to meet the offence, but, like many Manx laws, it is not enforced. So long, however, as the present state of things exist, we must not be surprised if Douglas bears an evil name. Conduct like unto that just mentioned would not be allowed elsewhere. It would not be permitted at Brighton, at Scarborough, or Llandudno, and what obtains there should and ought to obtain here, and, I believe, would obtain, if only our authorities definitely stated the law, and wisely acted upon it.
Another detail I am loth to state, as it relates to
Of this it is utterly impossible to speak in a mixed assembly. The facts I possess, however, are the most flagrant I have ever heard of in modern history, even in the worst parts of lowest English society. Said one of your sagest and most honoured citizens, and a minister of religion, " Douglas during the season is a very Sodom," and he uttered those words long before I thought of opening my lips on the subject. I cannot permit myself to dwell a moment longer on this unwelcome subject, except to say that if it is true, as it is true, then this evil of evils must be arrested, this unblushing devilry must be met, the offenders must be brought to justice and summarily dealt with, and their names proclaimed, so that the Island may be purged of the reproach of failing to deal with libertines whose offence is unparalleled for its loathful licence.
The fourth and last re-statement of evil relates to
In speaking upon this subject last November I used strong words, but which were regarded by those aware of the facts, almost colourless in moderation. After due reflection, having weighed carefully the evidence put before me, I affirm, with all solemnity and earnestness, that the dancing halls of Douglas are demoralising in their tendency, that they are the rendezvous of persons bent on immorality, and that they are neither more nor less than
PUBLIC MARTS FOR PROSTITUTION.
The sins in detail are
Not to be named, my lord, not to be spoken of:
There is no chastity in language, Without offence to utter them.
For proof of these charges it may, perhaps, suffice if I remind my hearers of a meeting held a few years ago, in Douglas, and presided over by the
LATE BISHOP HILL,
to consider what best could be done to cheek evils then existing.
A citizen of this town, the wealthiest perhaps, and best known among you, referred to one of these dancing saloons and testified that within a given time one night, one hundred prostitutes were seen to enter.
And I have it on best authority that
are known to visit those halls with the avowed and express purpose of
WAYLAYING INNOCENT GIRLS.
A gentleman who knows the life of these placesperhaps more intimately than the directors themselvessaid to me the other day, "No woman having respect for her good name would run the risk of frequenting them," and another, whose name if I nentioned would be received with ringing cheers, and whose words, when he speaks, the greatest in the land will hold their breath to listen, remarked to me a few weeks ago : " I know well the dancing saloons of London and the Continent, but I have seen nothing to compare with " the life" of the dancing saloons of Douglas."
I leave it with you to say whether or not my words in November were moderate when contrasted with words like those just quoted. And I am well content to leave to the
ARBITRAMENT OF AN ENLIGHTENED PUBLIC,
to say whether or not I was justified in declaring against those places as contributing to the Islands loss of purity and prestige. Judge ye what I say.
I have touched but the fringe of evils which are cursing this Island. The evidence as to this is clear and unquestioned in certain results:
first, in the decreasing number of better class visitors, and nexta natural consequencein the blow which legitimate trade has suffered. These are facts so palpably known and bitterly felt in Douglas that it is enough to name them.
And now I come to the important question
WHAT IS THE REMEDY ?
In offering suggestions with a view of providing an answer, I implore my criticsand indeed all who hear or may read my wordsto look at them with a single eye to the best interests of the Island, and apart altogether from the humble individual who offers them. Come, then, let us reason together, without trace of prejudice or ill feeling. Let us be candid, and look at this matter, alike from a moral as from an economic standpoint.
The first thing to be done is that
HIS EXCELLENCY THE GOVERNOR
of this Island, as head of the Executive, should actively exercise his high prerogative. When I last spoke on this subject we were in a state of interregnum. Mr Spencer Walpole had been appointed to the Post Office and his successor was not then known. I confess that
HAD MR WALPOLE BEEN GOVERNOR,
with any likelihood of continued service in the Island, I would, in November,have made him the main plank of my discourse, with a view of moving him to practically deal with these evils, inasmuch as he had the powerif he had put it forthto work effective reforms. The esteemed ex-Governor was, on his own admission, aware of these evils, and yet he failed to master them. He practically did nothing in the direction of remedy until, on the eve of his departure, at a Diocesan Conference of the Church of England, he called upon the clergy to do their duty. I have nothing to say against Mr Walpole as a man of letters, an orator, a financier, a diplomate, a legislator. an educationist, or a gentleman. There are features of his administration for the twelve years he was here that Manxmen are grateful for, and will rejoice over for many years to come.
But it is a matter of profound regret that with his great ability he failed in courage to tackle the evils we mourn over today, and which have worked disasterously to the best interests of the Island. " The King is dead ! long live the King ! " Mr Walpole is the acting and capable chief of one of the great departments in the State.
Sir West Ridgeway, the brilliant and successful diplomatist, is the head of the Little Manx Nation. He comes to us with a splendid record of work done for his Queen and country in other lands. He is courteous and capable, and, best of all, he means business. To him, then, we look for guidance and salvation. His powers as Governor here are, humanly speaking, almost omnipotent. " To this man he saith Go, and he goeth, to another, Come, and he cometh, and to another, Do this, and he doeth it." He can set up and put down. Keys and Councils may argue as they please. but what the Governor pleases or refuses to do will be done or left undone. Home Rule, for all practical purposes in this Island, is the rule of one man at Government House. He is the head of the Executive ; he is Chancellor of the Exchequer ; he alone holds the purse ; he controls the police ; his great influence touches every department in this little kingdom, and his word is law.
It is seen, therefore, that our Governor, if he is disposed to work reformas I have good reason to believe he is and willhas only to issue his mandate, call his advisers together, and give his subordinates such directions as that gross wrongs shall be righted, which shall gladden all men of honour. This is his prerogative, and which, when judiciously expressed, will effect for good the best interests of the Island.
The second answer to the question already raised, is
STRICTER POLICE SUPERVISION.
Since coming to the Isle of Man I have had many opportunities of observing the character and conduct of the Douglas Constabulary, and I make free to say that for courtesy, sobriety, and fidelity, they are all that can be desired. A better class of men it would be difficult to meet. Certain critics have said the police are to blame for the present state of things. Such a view is but partially true. I believe there is much they might effect in the direction of reform; but be it remembered the policemans duty is not to initiate but to execute a policy. The initiation and direction of a policy must come from higher authority. It is the constables business to do what he is told. And when certain people criticise the police in that they dont do what they perhaps ought to do, it must be borne in mind that others beside superintendent, or inspector, or sergeant, or constable, must be taken into account.
I have said that the Governor is at the head of this department of public service, but his Excellency commits the working out of details to the Chief Constable. For all practical purposes, therefore,
THE CHIEF IS RESPONSIBLE.
And the constable mirrors his Chief. Let the Chief be a capable man, and his subordinates will express his mind ; but let him be a man of leisure, an amiable, and a do-as-you-please sort of man and matters relating to good government will be allowed to slide, and as a consequence evil go on unchecked.
With a view to stricter and better police supervision, more officers are needed during the season.
It stands to reason more men are required for effective regulation of the town when the population numbers about 60,000 in summer than when in winter it is 20,000. In the next place,
POLICE SHOULD BE WITHDRAWN AS EMPLOYEES AT CERTAIN PLACES OF AMUSEMENT.
First, because their presence lends countenance to those places which they ought not to have ; secondly, because if inclined to wink at wickedness or anything illegal, their presence, as employees, exposes them to grave temptation ; and lastly, because they are needed for other and more important work than as semi gatekeepers at places of resort.
Our third suggestion with respect to the police is, that
THE FORCE SHOULD BE AUGMENTED
by a limited number of detectives. Those conversant with local government are of one mind as to the necessity of this department of public service. I need only mention two offences, common and flagrant in Douglas, viz.:
ILLICIT DRINKING AND INDECENCY.
To successfully check and put down these grave offences, the ordinary force needs supplementing not only with extra men during the summer, but a limited band of detectives.
Next to the police enjoying public confidence, we look to the two authorities who direct, or are supposed to direct them : primarily, the Governor, but mainly, the Chief Constable. Let the word be given from Government House that the police must do their duty, and to the Chief Constable we look for the execution of his Excellencys commands. And I believe, knowing the men as I do, they are ready and prepared to carry out their Chiefs directions with promptness and fidelity.
My next suggestions relate to dancing saloons. Upon one point everybody is agreedeven my severest critics
WE HAVE AN OVERPLUS OF DANCING SALOONS,
and anything that can be done ought to be done to reduce the number. It would pay the Isle of Man financially if the four saloons in Douglas never opened their doors again, or were converted to other and legitimate uses. I should be glad to join a syndicate having such an object, believing sincerely the return would be a thousand-fold in comfort, happiness, true religion, and material prosperity. Throughout England a drastic policy is being enforced in regard to them. The London County Council has already suppressed one-half these places. With righteous indignation, because of their nuisance and danger, the people (and would we had their spirit) called upon the authorities to sweep them away. The same thing is being done in Lancashire.
The Isle of Man Examiner seems to be of opinion that this catering for dancers is overdone. It says, " We are getting too many of these" . (i.e., dancing saloons) " and catering too much for Arry and Arriet. After he has dressed up for his girl, danced with her, driven her about in traps. and paid his diggings and all her expenses, he finds he is stumped up, and returns home a sadder but a wiser man. He cannot spend much elsewhere."
See what they spend, these immaculate managers of dancing saloons, to attract a certain class. These pure-minded menas represented in the person of one of their chiefs, and who from the chair of a shareholders meeting accused us of being " vile in thought and action"spent last season £11,000 on artistes alone. £11,000, nearly every penny of which went to England instead of being spent in the shops of Douglas. £11,000 for what ? Among other things to pay an artiste princely fees to sing songs indecently suggestive. " Vile in thought and action," forsooth ! I will not turn the tables, for the Examiner, in the article just quoted, rightly says : ." Much that has been introduced this year (the season of 1893) has not been of the kind pater familias would like to send his sons and daughters to see, and it will do considerable injury to the Island unless great care is taken in the selection of artistes in future."
Next to the closing of dancing saloons or their conversion for other purposes, is the necessity of strict
And my first suggestion is that the license to sell intoxicating drink should be taken away. I know well what is said in opposition to such a suggestion, viz., that at private halls refreshments are provided for guests, and to refuse liberty to managers of these places to provide strong drink is arbitrary. I have simply to say in reply, that the cases are not analagous, in that these saloons are public, and that the dancing is promiscuous. Any reasonable person will see that amid the glare and fevered excitement of a public saloon to allow the sale of intoxicating liquors is productive of evil of the worst kind. What
I SAW WITH MY OWN EYES
on the occasion of my visit to one of these places last August convinced me of this iniquity.
The drink license must be withdrawn. About that let there be no question.
THERE MUST BE NO SUBTERFUGE, OR SCIENTIFIC EVASION OF THE LAW AS OBTAINS AT ONE OF THE SALOONS,
where an arrangement is made that people are supplied with drink at a neighbouring bar almost as easily as in the saloon itself. Then, secondly, these
DANCING SALOONS SHOULD BE LICENSED
as such, so as to bring them within the purview of police inspection. I rejoice to hear that, after twelve months waiting, the resolution of the Douglas Commissioners is to have effect in the direction of a Bill drafted on the lines of the Liverpool Dancing Saloon Regulation Act. Mr Mylrea will introduce the Bill, and it is to be hoped our Legislature will give it effect.
Another suggestion is, that
SALOONS HAVING GROUNDS ATTACHED TO THEM SHOULD BE CLOSED AT SUNSET.
This is a regulation in keeping with public Parks in England, and I dont see why these grounds should be exempted. There is stern necessity that such a regulation should obtain, and should also apply to public glens.
A fourth regulation to be enacted in connection with these saloons is that, as in England, no fixed charge should be allowed for admission to Sunday concerts. These Sunday concerts are called rather piously "sacred," with the intention, I presume, of inducing professedly religious people to attend. I do not wish to say hard things of saloon managers who seek in legitimate ways to bring grist to their mill, but as to their consistency in having persons to sing indecently suggestive songs one night, and the next to have sung the dying words of the Lord Jesus, were a mockery and cant that language fails to express. It only goes to show what these men will do for revenue. Now I hold that the Legislature should enact that in the Isle of Man, as elsewhere in Her Majestys dominions,
THE POWER TO CHARGE FOR ADMISSION TO SUNDAY CONCERTS SHOULD NOT BE GRANTED.
And I trust the Commissioners will see that this provision included in their bill.
My last suggestion in regard to dancing saloonsand indeed all places of public amusementis
And in this I imagine even the Isle of Man Times itself will agree! At seaside resorts short indoor entertainments are popular with the people, and if they are satisfied then I think the artistes and amusement caterers should be greatly gratified : Were it enacted that after, say two hours of entertainment, the buildings should close, it would lessen the expense of working these concerns, it would naturally be less fatiguing to the performers, and the patrons themselves would be glad, for the most part, to turn out into the balmy air of a summers night. And,were such a plan effected it would be for the towns good in the highest sense, it would also prove beneficial to shop keepers, as they might do a little business before shutting up time, and in the last place it would be a relief to the boarding-house keepers, who, because of the late hour these places of amusement close, have night turned into day. I respectfully offer this suggestionif for no higher reasonin the interests of humanity and good order.
And now I desire to speak in regard to one of the gravest and most difficult problems, viz.,
with a view of restricting the traffic in intoxicating drink and narrowing the sphere of its pernicious influence.
Facts relating to the recognised legal license to sell strong drink in Douglas are notorious. They are as follows : Grocers licences (and by that I mean liquor licenses) 46 ; spirit merchants, 3 ; six-day public house licenses, 13 ; general public house licenses, 69 ; making a total of 131. The population of Douglas at the census of 1891 was 19,440, so that the licenses as a whole in proportion to the population is 1 to every 149. And I beg you to consider the unenviable position we occupy when compared with other seaside resorts. Margate is the nearest to us, as it has 111 licenses, or 1 to every 171 of the population. Then follows Llandudno with 34 licenses, or 1 to every 205 ; Southport, 84 licenses, or 1 to every 483 ; Blackpool, 50 licenses, or 1 to every 476 ; Eastbourne, 61 licenses, or 1 to every 573 ; and
DOUGLAS, 131. LICENSES, OR 1 TO EVERY 149 OF THE POPULATION.
In all conscience we have more than a full compliment of licensed houses for the sale of strong drink. The present number more than meets every legitimate demand and must be decreased. All praise is due to the Douglas Commissioners for reducing the number of public houses connected with property over which they have now control, but instead of a reduction of six. had they, like the Prince of Wales and Duke of Westminster, decreed that none should remain on their property, I cannot but think their action would have been commended by the ratepayers generally. It is to be hoped that wherever and whenever opportunities arise. whether as in the case of Commissioners and their property, or as in the case of drink sellers breaking licensing law, means will be taken by which the license shall lapse or be taken away. This has been largely done in England, where, as in Douglas, an over-supply of the drink trade has been allowed to grow up. The same policy should be carried out in regard to
Up to within a recent date, anybody in the Island having a grocers shop could secure a license to sell strong drink. But now that an Act has been passed regulating the issue of such licenses, it follows that the law should be enforced in regard to this class as fully and as completely as to the publicans. Then as to
"FREE AND EASY"
houses in the low parts of Douglas, where dancing and other amusements go on. Of these I cannot speak personally, but I am informed by one of the most responsible authorities that these houses are sources of great mischief, and ought to be dealt with. I commend these facts and suggestions to the members of the Licensing Court, whose special business it is to enquire into these matters, and who will adjudicate next month. If they areas I believe them to be concerned for the towns good goverement, let them weed out these temptations of evil by dealing impartially with every offender of the licensing law, be he publican, or grocer, or boarding-house keeper.
Let the magistrates especially make
an offence which shall have meted out its just penalty. It is a known and notorious fact that certain boarding houses sell strong drink with unblushing effrontery. The illict sale of drink goes on from day to day, and almost all night in many unlicensed houses. I have evidence which goes to show that as much strong drink is sold in some of these houses as is sold at certain hotels, and that to the demoralization of sellers and buyers, and as well the defrauding of Insular revenue. No words can be too strong in denouncing those who offend in this particular, and who ought to pay the penalty for their offences. At the same time I am not forgetful of the difficult position in which many of our boarding-house keepers find themselves. For many of them my sympathy goes out, knowing as I do they are haters of strong drink, and I believe they seek to cater for their visitorsin regard to providing intoxicating liquorwith every respect for the law. One thing, however, I have to say in view of the Commissioners report on this vexed question, that whatever they suggest to meet the problem, no solution will be satisfactory that lies in the direction of granting licenses to boarding-houses. Douglas is bad enough, God knows, without opening more and wider doors to iniquity than at present exist, and if any recommendation were made that legislation should permit Loch Promenade to become one street of drink shops, would, I believe, receive the just condemnation of the people.
History goes to show, in regard to drinking facilities, that the number of drunkards (and consequently disorder and crime) is determined by the number of drinking places ; or in other words, the more places where people can drink, they will drink ; as it is also true that wherever drinking accommodation has been decreased, an increase of intemperance has followed,and which I trust our legislators will remember when the report of the Commissioners appears. What I have said refers to lessening facilities for drinking, and it is with difficulty I can repress my indignation at the thought that in face of all the facts adduced, our authoritieswhether they be members of the Legislature or members of the Licensing Courtshould be disposed to consider or entertain for one moment a suggestion in the direction of granting increased licenses.
THE DRINK INTEREST IN DOUGLAS
is a mighty one. Its ramifications and relationships are everywhere. Nearly everybody is related to it. Brewers, builders, and other speculators, backed by bankers, make their applications to our Licensing Court. The best talent of the Manx Bar is enlisted to support those appeals, and gentlemen on the
BENCH, DIRECTLY INTERESTED IN THE TRADE,
are judges to say " Yea " or "Nay," when those appeals are made.
All I have to say is this, that in spite of the facts adduced, and of a protesting people, if in spite of it all, increased facilities for drinking are enacted and licenses given, then measures will be taken to petition the Governor on the matter, and if needs be to lay the whole case before the Home Secretary and her Majestys Government If especially the members of our Licensing Court will do right by the people, resolutely refusing all applications for increased licensesat whatever cost the houses may have been to those erecting them, and leaving, if needs be, the buildings to stand tenantless as monuments of their fidelity and justice they will win for themselves the gratitude and praises of all true citizens.
It cannot be too clearly emphasized that
LAWS NOW IN EXISTENCE
for good government should be enforced, or if necessary amended, or new laws enacted. Upon the Manx statute books are enactments designed by our Legislature to make it easy to do right and hard to do wrong. There they are in black and white for the constituted authorities to administer. Are they duly put into force, and if not, why not ? Is it not a fact that in summer our laws are almost practically suspended, and that, as
EX-GOVERNOR WALPOLE SAID, " PEOPLE CAN DO WHAT THEY PLEASE."
Is it not a travesty on justice that it should thus be ignored? Surely it is better to have no laws at all than that such may be violated with impunity. Here, then, is the first thing you have to do : enforce the laws you have got, and in that you will enforce the laws of righteousness. But if certain laws are fusty and nut of date, then amend ; and if you have not laws to meet certain offences, then enact. Your representatives in the House of Keys are there to interpret your judgment on this matter, and the Governor and Council are commissioned by the Queen to join those representatives in framing such laws as shall, when administered, be " a terror to evil doers and for the praise of them that do well."
THE INCORPORATION OF DOUGLAS
would also, I believe, be a step in the direction of reform. The town is managed at present by a board of Commissioners, and composed of men whose work deserves high praise. In considering the constitution of such authorities, it is imperative they should be composed of picked men for character, knowledge and adaptability. Such men are specially needed in Douglas now.
A time like this demands
Great hearts, strong minds, true faith, and willing hands:
Men whom the lust of office does not kill;
Men whom the spoils of office cannot buy;
Men who possess opinions and a will;
Men who have honor, men who will not lie.
The incorporation of the town would raise the status of your local authority. It would have also increased powers, position and influence ; and to an influential municipality should, among other things, be entrusted the control of the police. There are several towns in England quite recently incorporated, not larger than Douglas, and it is hoped that in the best interests of the town this matter will be favourably considered.
It may be regarded infra dig for me to make the following suggestion, but I do so on practical grounds, knowing well that visitors are well disposed for entertainment. How to provide rational and altogether unobjectionable recreation is a great and difficult question; one thing certainly has succeeded, and that is
And as I have expressed my mind in regard to questionable entertainments which the best class of visitors avoid, I would respectfully suggest to those whose special business it is to deal with matters of this kind, whether the time has not arrived to arrange for genuinely high-class concerts, and the engagement of a towns band, as is done at other sea-side resorts like Rhyl, Llandudno, and Brighton.
I make this suggestion to the Douglas Commissioners and others, which, I believe, if acted upon, would, raise the tone and character of this place as a holiday retreat.
I would also suggest for the consideration of practical men of business whether or not
THE BUILDING OF ANOTHER CLASS OF BOARDING HOUSE
is desirable. A gentleman in highest authority has said " that the greatest mistake ever made in Douglas was the building of Loch Parade." I presume he had good reason for making that assertion. What is the fact ? You have in the Loch Parade large houses and with large rents upon them, making it almost impossible for the tenants to live. You have fierce competition and ridiculously low charges, the calculation of profit being so fine that it is based, sometimes, on whether a boarder will dine at home, or whether he will lunch at some other place in the Island he may be happening to visit. This is altogether wrong, and a remedy ought to be forthcoming. My humble judgment is that the rents ought to come down and that the tariffs ought to go up.
Investors and builders might also take into consideration the desirability of erecting another and
SMALLER CLASS OF LODGING HOUSE,
similar to those in England, for the accommodation of say three to five private parties or families. There are people when from home insist on having their own suites of rooms, and it is good policy to respect their preferences and cater for them.
If the various suggestions we have spoken upon to-night are reasonable, then I trust they will be applied. And when applied, and reform effected, I suggest furtherthat a declaration go forth to England, from whence our visitors come, stating in clear and unmistakeable terms that the evils we deplore have been met and mastered. This with a view of restoring the " good name " of the Island, of regaining the confidence of better-class visitors, to the end that prosperity in the best of senses may be deserved if not assured. in putting before you these suggestions, I have aimed at nothing impossible, but sought to make the best of things. I invite you to consider them well, having a single eye for the Islands prosperity material and moral.
And I ask you to ponder them carefully, uninfluenced by a
PREJUDICED AND INTERESTED PRESS.
According to the Isle of Man Times, I am guilty of defaming the Island ! Balderdash ! The truth is. that what has defamed the Isle of Man has been, not the speakers utterance of three months ago, but the policy of a particular newspaper for the last ten years. Let the Times and others of its ring continue their attacks. I have read somewhere of a gallant Swiss, who, out of love for his country, took a sheaf of lances to his breast, and thus he made a way for freedom. And, I shall be glad to take the shafts of these critics home to my heart, if but the people of the Isle of Man may go forth to purity and prosperity.
You citizens have a great and solemn task before you. There is a cancer at the root of your national life, and it must be cut out.
WE HAVE REACHED A CRISIS
in the history of this Island. Evils, long deplored and universally acknowledged, must be speedily put down. " Behold, now is the day of salvation." It is yours to bring this about, and I have faith that you will. Meanwhile, let your influence and judgment be brought home to your representatives in the Manx Parliament. The Insular Legislature must mirror the spirit and mind of the people. And there never was more need for public
MEN WITH NERVE TO THROTTLE CORRUPTIONS,
to speak the truth and fear not. The Keys must do their duty, and with the Council, respect the Mahometans maxim, " One hour in the execution of justice is worth seventy years of prayer." Your spiritual representatives have also a great duty and a most solemn task. I have confidence in my brethren of all churches that, knowing the evils we have indicated, they will join you in this work of reform. In the
BISHOP OF SODOR AND MAN
we have a man of judicial mind, generous, conscientious, and deter-mined. And when he said from the pulpit of St. Georges : " that, as far as he was concerned, he would give every attention to the matter, we may be assured his great influence is on the side of reform.
As ministers of Christ our path is plain. We have to educate and guide public opinion. Our business is to assert Christs spiritual authority in the State, and to show that His relation to it includes also economic and social considerations. The ideas of social and moral order based upon
THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT WILL DO FOR DOUGLAS.
Jesus Christ must be crowned King of this Island. his Gospel will cure our social and moral maladies. "Everything else is surface drainage."
The case is now before you. John Bright once closed a memorable speech with these wordsand they shall gem and complete my address :
" One of the poets of the time of the Commonwealth has sung,
There is on earth a yet auguster thing,
Veiled though it be, than Parliament or King.
That auguster thing is the conscience of man. Before that tribunal I plead to-night ; and something within me, a small, but an exultant voice, tells me that I shall not plead in vain."