[From Manx Annals,1901/2]




The "Rising Sun" was printed on a larger sheet than any of the older papers by John Penrice, on the North Quay, Douglas, for Mr Denman, agent to the proprietors, James Grellier and Lane. The editor at first was one Mr Bold, and the country agents were Mr Cain, Castletown ; Mr Perry, Ramsey ; and Mr Hodgson, Peel.

It did not pay as much attention to news foreign to the Isle of Man as the others did, but inserted long winded letters" jawing" about the abuses of the day, and devoted more space to racing and theatricals than its rival, which gave full accounts of the meetings of the Bible Societies and the doings of the Ladies Soup Dispensary. Though the paper was headed outside "The Rising Sun" the leaderettes inside were under the heading "Mona's Herald"

A few years later there was a split in camp and Grellier altered the title to " Manx Sun," and a rival appeared later called the "Mona s Herald"; 'hence it comes both the "Sun" and the "Herald" of the present day claim their origin to have been in 1821.

Commenting on the change of title the "Advertiser" of March 10th, 1825, says'. — " We shall not treat the luminary as a puppy, or a cur, or any other dog ; but an rather a simple sort of being, who is himself at a loss for an epithet, and has altered the grand original and universally recognised title of the "Rising Sun and Mona's Herald' into the 'Manx Sun.'

Notwithstanding ... his rottenness at the core ... we shall descend to the arena for a moment, and while we mark the flitting rays of the descending luminary so sickly beaming on the Manks horizon, tell him that we are not affected with extreme regret upon witnessing his sinking into annihilation. Well done Manxy. Go on and dupe away, until they gloat from every quarter on the word Manx, and, captivated by their own image, dance madly to the echo of their national addition."

The quarrels between Grellier and Lane brought on a war of letters in the papers, which resulted to law and libel, wherein Bluett was for Grellier and Roper for Lane. Neither party gained much, save a besmirching from each other. Grellier called Lane " a noxious, filthy, ungrateful viper." The "Advertiser" of June 30th, 1825, had a letter by W. Roper : — " The profound contempt in which I hold that miserable scribbler, Mr James Grillier, farrier, French master, proprietor of seven-eighths of the " Rising Sun, .&c. &c. &c., would induce me to drop the correspondence, were it not necessary to set the public right upon one point." [The point concerned a bail for Grellier's appearance to an action of arrest against that gentleman.] " Though I have not disgraced myself by calling Mr James Grellier a liar I have proved him one."

Thus did these worthies of eighty years ago " bla'guard" each other.

Later in that same year Jefferson says ; — "Within a very few years the proprietor of the poor "Advertiser" had no fewer than six competitors to contend with — of whom five had had their candles blown out, They have been a succession of envious adventurers, who, not finding their own spheres tenable, have each assailed him in the various characters of Wine Merchant, Banker, Attorney, Post Captain, and lastly, the cream of them all, a Surge on the Quay."

And a paragraph under date, 1826, says, "This is the era of newspapers and the mania for scribbling seems to obtain to a wide extent ... We have had a number of weekly papers in this enlightened country this century. First sprung up the' Manx Mercury,' then the 'Manks Advertiser,' ' The Gazette,' 'The Rising Sun or Mona's Herald,' ' The True Manxman," The Patriot,' and finally as a climax, the ' Manx Sun' itself."

As for the " Patriot," that paper favoured the "Sun" in its views, consequently both fired away at the sober and rather antiquated "Advertiser." But the "Patriot" had a short life. Towards the end of 1823 the" Advertiser,* which called the Patriot " Phaeton" (alluding to the mythological Phaeton, son of the Sun, who set the world on fire with his father's chariot) predicted that "Phaeton" and his chariot would shortly drive to its own destruction; and in December it informs its readers that Phaeton had landed in Castle Rushen.

Sumner, the editor of the "Patriot" had got into difficulties. Early in the following year he tells the public — through the "Advertiser" — " that a delay of one week will occur in the next publication of the " Manx Patriot" owing to unlooked for circumstances It has been proposed for a length of time past to unite the ' Patriot with the ' Sun,' but which union the editor, is determined to resist with all his power ; and to this end proceedings at law will be commenced by him in the course of a few days, unless the cause in dispute is speedily arranged." The poor "Patriot" never again saw the light.

The very week after the above appeared the case of Thomas Gawne, of Ballacurry against John Summers and creditors was tried in the Deemster's Court. it was for the purpose of preventing the sale of the types, &c., of the " Patriot."

The plaintiff said he (T. G.) was the sole proprietor of the press, &c., of the 'Patriot' and that it should not be liable to executions issued against John Summer, in whose possession the plant was.

Wm. Roper said he had arrested the press, &c., under an action for the amount of certain promissory notes passed by Sumner, and that the plaintiff could only come in with the rest of the creditors.

Sumner deposed that he himself added about £17 worth of type, and that therefore, though he, was employed by the plaintiff to edit the paper, Gawne could not claim the whole of the property.

Eventually the printing plant came into possession of Grellier of the " Sun,'

In June Sumner announced the coming appearance of the "Mona's. Courier," But although'the Editorial department" was to have been ".vested in a gentleman of acknowledged' talent, liberal feeling and general re. search," the proposal came to nought.

Besides papers, one or two Mann magazines made a start„ but quickly collapsed ;. in 1815 the " Manx Repository" — a half-crown quarterly ; and in 1821 the "Reflector" — a fourpenny bi-monthly. In May, 1823, Mr A — [Ashe] annouced that the appearance of his new illustrated magazine would be on the first of the following month. He said the views for the first twelve numbers were then ready :Douglas Bay, Castle Mona, Castle Rushen, Dalby. Peel Castle, Falls of Rhenass and Glenmaye, Bishop's Court, prospect from Bishop's Court, Sulby Glen, Ramsey Bay, and Laxey Glen. Amongst the, monthly articles was to be "The Hermit in Douglas, or Delineations of Manx Society.". Subscriptions 20s a year. Orders to be left at his study, Athol-street, Douglas.

Mr A — had previously started a museum ; and got hard up. Then the magazine; but was still hard up. Then a lottery ; and was floored. in October he laid his case before the public, thusly ; "Soon after my arrival in the Island last year, I had occasion to announce myself as a man sold to no side. . It was a matter of indifference to me whether I took dinner at Castle Mona, Kirby House, Bishop's Court, or Ballagawne. But this independence as a politician was a death blow to me as a public writer and director of a museum. A dinner with the ex-deemster cost me one third of the Island, and my visits to the Lord Bishop lost me the other two-thirds. .. Goaded by claimants ; and firmly convinced that any further struggles of mine to barter literature or talent for bread in the Island could answer no good purpose, I have to solicit my creditors to accept of my all — the contents of the museum, in lieu of their claims."

Mr A — 's plates for his intended magazine; I believe. came afterwards into the hands of Geo. Jefferson. At any rate, the latter published in 1826, for 7s 6d. " The Manx Sketch Book or Beauties of the Isle of Man in a series of Lithographic Engravings," and the list, with the exception of one picture,, was the same as that of the magazine.

The Compiler wishes Mr Crellin, of Harrington, a very happy new year, and thanks him for all the kind things he said about the "Annals" in his letter in the " Guardian" last week.


Back index next


Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2002