[From Haining's Guide, 1822]




of religion, to require a fee to perform the meanest service, when the state has made ample provision for their support.

The second branch of the revenue arises from the harbour dues, which are collected from the vessels which are employed in carrying on trade, or take the benefit of the harbours in boisterous weather. The situation of the Isle of Man in St. George's Channel affording protection to vessels in storms, the preservation of his Majesty's ships, and the interests of navigation, induced the British Legislature to pass an Act for regulating the harbour dues, for appointing Commissioners to take charge of the harbours, and to apply the money thus collected for altering, repairing, and supporting them.

The duties upon ships-

" For every ship or vessel belonging to any of his Majesty's subjects, which shall arrive or put into any of the harbours in the said Island, not being laden, or in ballast only, two pence per ton.

" For all such ships and vessels being laden or having any cargo or, board, whether they shall break bulk or deliver any part of their cargo or not, three pence, and breaking bulk, four pence per ton."

The duties upon foreign vessels are greater: in ballast, four pence; laden, five pence ; and if the cargo be discharged, four pence per ton additional; and any foreign vessel anchoring in any of the bays, must pay the sum of seven shillings and sixpence.

The following duties are charged upon goods and merchandize, imported into the Isle of Man,for increasing the fund for repairing, amending, and supporting the several harbours and sea ports in the Isle of Man." For all spirits, two shillings and six pence per ton; tobacco, one shilling and six pence per hogshead; leas, two shillings, and coffee, one shilling per hundred weight; wine, two shillings and sixpence per ton ; all foreign goods, (wines, spirits, and salt excepted) ten shillings per centum, ad valorum, and all other goods imported from Great Britain and Ireland, (licenced goods and salt for the fisheries excepted,) above the value of five pounds, the sum of five shillings per centum, ad valorum.

By the Act Commissioners are appointed to carry into execution the various provisions of it, but no certain information can be obtained of the amount collected, and the manner in which it is, expended. About twenty-five thousand pounds were voted by the British Parliament for building the new pier at Douglas, which, in the opinion of nautical men, is hurtful to the harbour, and is only useful as a promenade for the ladies on a fine summer evening. If the same money had been expended in changing the bed of the river, and in running the pier to the extremity of St. Mary's rock, that it would have been the best harbour in the channel, would have been frequented in stormy weather by vessels of all descriptions, and they could with safety have loosed from the port whenever they were able to carry canvass. It would have added greatly to the trade of the place, and would have been of great advantage to commercial men.

The third branch of the revenue, arising from internal taxes, levied by the authority of the Manks Legislature, forms the high road fund, and is appropriated for building bridges, for making, altering, and repairing the public roads, which are of the greatest importance for the improvement of the country, and for carrying on intercourse with the different parts of it. The construction of the roads in this Island has been attended with considerable difficulty, owing to the great inequality of its surface, and from the mountain streams, which roll impetuously into the sea, and generally fall into deep ravines before they approach it. The roads are sufficiently numerous, but very indifferent, and in many places are almost impassable in winter. There has evidently been a great want of skill in planning, an ignorance of the art of road making in forming them, and a lamentable deficiency of funds to render them a permanent public benefit. The roads were not originally adapted for wheel carriages, and seem only to have been intended for the convenience of horsemen., who found little difficulty in crossing the rivers and ascending the hill to follow the beaten track. The Legislative body did not deem this a subject deserving their attention until 1712, when a law was enacted for the improvement of the high ways, but the regulations of it were but ill adapted for effecting what was intended. The first: legislative measure, after the termination of the Proprietary Government, was a highway act, to which the Royal assent was given in 1776. By it the public house licences were increased to 9s. 9d.; all sporting dogs, except hounds, paid 6s., hounds 3s. and all other dogs 6d., the whole of which was applied to the highway fund. The amount raised from these taxes in 1810, was, for Licences £255 18s. 9d., Dog tax £97 17s. 6d. currency of the Island. The proprietors of quarterlands and the occupiers of cottages or intacks, paying quit rent to the Lords of Manors were obliged to furnish men, horses, and carts, according to the quantity of land which they. possessed, and the amount of the quit rent which they paid. The number of quarterlands in the manors and baronies is about 771, and the proprietor of every one of these may be called upon for twelve men to the public road every year. The occupiers of inferior holdings, called cottages and intacks, are stated, at 2700, and they have to find three, six, or twelve men, according to the amount of the quit rent. which they paid. But this statutory labour was inadequately performed ; boys were sent who discharged their duty in a very slovenly manner, and the surveyers had not a sufficient interest in the welfare of their country to compel them to perform what the law required. The whole sum raised and expended for the improvement of the roads, amounted to nearly one thousand pounds per annum.

Since 1819, a, radical change has been. effected. A new law has been enacted by the Manks Legislature, for increasing the funds, for appointing men to collect the taxes, and to superintend the workmen. Commissioners have been named by the Governor, Council, and Keys, to carry this measure into execution. M'Adams's plan of road making has been adopted as their model,. and the visible improvement of the roads in the neighbourhood of Douglas, is gratefully acknowledged by all who are capable of comparing. the present with the past.

The fund has been greatly increased by the following rate of taxes :-Licences ; Wine, £1 16s. 9d. Spirituous Liquors, £1 4s, 6d. Ale, Beer, Porter, and Cyder, 12s. 3d. Dog tax Greyhound, &2 9s., Bull dog and Blood hound, £1 4s. 6d, Hound, Beagle, or Terrier, 7s. All. other dogs 2s. 11d. each annually. Pedlars Licence, £4 18s:„ currency of the Island. Notwithstanding the irregularity of the surface, the roads from Douglas to Castletown and Peel might be constructed without having a greater rise in any part than one foot in forty, and the distance would not be increased. This line of roads would greatly facilitate travelling, and prove of great advantage to farmers.

The fourth branch of the revenue is raised by tithes, for the support of the Clergy of the established religion. Tithes were first levied for the benefit of the Clergy, under the Christian dispensation, by Charlemagne, to support this body, which was rapidly falling into decay, and to compensate for the losses which they had sustained by his grandfather, Charles Martel, who had seized the church lands, which. consisted of the principal part of the kingdom, and had distributed them amongst his soldiers. The tithes were divided by Lim into four parts. The Bishop received one portion ; the second was appropriated for building and repairing the places of worship; the third was devoted for the maintenance of the poor, and the remaining part was for the support of the incumbent.

Judge Blackstone, in his commentaries, informs us, that a similar plan was adopted in England when a parochial Clergy was appointed. The records of the Island furnish us with no certain information respecting the early distribution of tithes; but at present the division is threefold. The Bishop receives one third, the Lord proprietor another, and the remaining share belongs to the incumbent for his salary. The tithes are divided into great and small; and in 1643, when the exorbitant demands of the Clergy were resisted, and fixed by the representatives of the people and the decision of the Lord proprietor; these were commuted for the following sums :-One milk cow, 4s., eight milk sheep, 2s., four milk goats, the same, and some other small tithes had been, previously commuted.

The great tithes are mostly taken in kinds, but in some places they are farmed to proctors, who are not generally esteemed, and ore in some instances avaricious and oppressive. Some estates are tithe free, which is considered by agriculturists a peculiar advantage, having been formerly purchased from one of the Lord proprietors, who was authorised by an act of Parliament to dispose of them, and there are other estates which only pay a small modus in lieu of payment in kind.

There was formerly a tithe upon all fresh fish. landed; upon ale brewed; and a tithe of 2d. upon every tradesman if he exercised his trade three times in the year. In the reign of Charles It., a grant in aid of the poor Clergy of £100 was made, which sum was to be annually paid out of the revenue of the excise for ever; and Bishop Barrow, who commiserated the distressed state of the poor ministers of religion, and who manifested a lively interest for ameliorating their condition, gave ample proofs of his sincerity by making collections in different places to purchase one third of the impropriations, and appropriated them for their support, and the payment was secured by the mortgage of the lands of Bisphem, in Lancashire. That the ministers of religion, who are constantly employed in discharging the arduous duties of their office, ought to be comfortably supported, is plainly taught in the volume of Inspiration; and reason must cordially approve of our contributing liberally of our temporal good things for the maintenance of those men who have dedicated their time and their talents, for promoting our spiritual and eternal welfare; but different opinions are entertained as to the manner in which this ought to be done; whether provision ought to be made by the state, and the refractory to be compelled by law to pay their proportion, or left to the voluntary contributions and Christian liberality of those who attend their ministrations and are benefited by them. But the tithing system defeats the object for which it was instituted, alienates the affections of the parishioners from their spiritual instructors, and renders their ministerial labours unprofitable.

As there are no funds for building places of worship, an act of Tynwald is requisite to erect one in any parish; it is customary to name the amount required, and the manner in which it is to be raised ; but if the place is only to be repaired, the churchwardens convene the inhabitants, and a majority of them decides on the expediency of it, and the money requisite for defraying the expences is levied from the inhabitants in proportion. to their rental.


Back index next

Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2001