[From Manx Annals,1901/2]
The following notices, &c., are culled from Manx papers ninety years old. Many of the extracts seem strange nowadays, but they throw a light on a few of the modes of life in the early part of the departed century.
"State Lottery. New plan of drawing. One to 20,000 all in one day. 15th February, 1811. Total amount £200,000. Tickets and shares cheaper. More choice of number. More capital prizes, and no prize under twenty pounds."
"City Lottery. The very extraordinary and fortunate occurrence which happened on the first day's drawing on 4th December last, viz., only four of the smaller prizes having been drawn on that day, valued at £4,000, it must therefore be obvious that twenty-one capital prizes remain, valued at £100,000. The drawing will commence on February next. [The proprietors then offered to buy in all undrawn tickets, together with five shilling premium. The prizes were houses.]
And again : "The Regent's procession is at this crisis interesting to the country, and this memento is at this time interesting to ourselves; for if the next administration adopt the expected new measures there will be no more lotteries, therefore the only opportunity we may ever have to gain in independent fortune by the risk of a small sum of money is in the present state lottery."
Lotteries, however, flourished for many a year after this. Those were English lotteries. Manx people were nearly as bad only on a small scale. In January, 1811, was advertised the following'. To be disposed of by lottery at Stubb's circulating library on the Quay, Douglas: Walker's British Classics, 51 vols.; Portable' Travelling desks; Ladies' elegant Egyptian work boxes with instruments; Tunbridge work boxes; umbrellas 7s 8s', &tc. The scheme to be seen at the library, at Downe's Hotel, Castletown, at Thos. Long's Coffee House, Peel, and at Smith's, Ramsey.' In April " Mr Chapman will dispose of his damask table linen by raffle as soon as 23 subscribers can be had at a guinea each." Tradesmen advertised their goods by raffling. Mr George Woods disposed of his clocks by the highest throws of two dice. This was not, however, like the others, as each winner of a clock had to pay up by instalments.
Another class of advertisements shows a state of affairs now happily passed away.
"Notice ; that a forgery has just boon discovered made like my one shilling notes; the public are therefore requested to take my notes no more, to prevent further imposition, but to bring all my genuine notes immediately, as no more will be issued by me. Ramsey, 9th January, 1811, Wm. Kissack."
" A forgery having been committed upon the 1 shilling notes of Thomas Corlett, the public are hereby desired to take no more of them, but to send in what they have for immediate payment." [That was in April. Thomas Corlett was an ironmonger on Douglas Quay.]
In May appeared the following: " A forgery has lately been discovered on the half-crown rnotes or tickets of Edward Forbes, of Douglas. All notes to be sent in immediately, and as it is possible that many individuals are now in possession of some of the forged notes, and have taken the same on the credit of Edward Forbes, it is their determination and wish to prevent such individuals from sustaining any loss. They hereby give notice, all holders of forged notes shall receive the amount on demand within five days."
In the same week Peter Moore, of Douglas, notifies the public that his five shilling note; having been forged, persons tendering the same within five days should be paid on demand.
The reader might ask, 'how were tradespeople so frequently imposed upon ? The following incident will perhaps explain, the matter: One morning in May, 1811, two Irishmen and a woman went into a public house it Douglas (known as Paul Corrin's), and after being in a room together a row commenced. The woman was heard to shout out, " You stole it from me, and you have it in your small clothes pocket." The landlady sent for the constables, who found on one of the men twenty-seven forged Bank of England notes of one pound each. The paper that related this made the following extraordinary statement :" The constable, so far, holds the notes, and, strange to tell, the parties are still at large, the High-Bailiff having no power to seize them, there being no law to punish them. . From the vast number of forged one pound Bank of England notes now on the Island, it would be advisable for all persons to object to them altogether."
One pound notes were prohibited in England a few years after that. As for forgery, a law against such was a short time before this passed by the House of Keys, but afterwards met with obstruction. However, about a month after the row in the public house, the newspaper fearing perhaps that its statement would encourage more frauds cautions the forgers thus : " It is hoped that no unfortunate person may be led into the error of believing that transportation, by the laws of the Island, signifies sending a person to England, or that corporal punishment means only such a flogging as a school boy would laugh at."