[From T.Quayle Agriculture of IoM, 1812]
THE original partition of property before alluded to in a considerable degree still exists. The largest portion of cultivated land is possessed by yeomen, farming from ten to one hundred and fifty acres, their own property. In the immediate vicinity of the towns, the occupations are generally more minute, and in the hands of residents in those towns, holding lands for their domestic convenience. In the mountainous districts, the allotment of poor pasture to each farm may occasion an excess beyond the greatest quantity above stated: but it is probable that there are not in the whole island more than sixty farms consisting of two hundred acres or above, each occupied by one person.
However conducive to happiness, or to the increase of people, such a partition of land may be deemed, at least in this instance, it does not produce good farmers. Now with models of improvement before their eyes, with opportunities of bettering their stock, this class of men slowly deviates from ancient practices. The principal obstacle to their-progress, is undoubtedly their attention being diverted to the mischievous herring-fishery. But of this under the proper head.
So many circumstances, as well extraneous to the value of land, as those influencing its productiveness, govern the amount of rent, that no satisfactory answer can be given on this head. Near the towns, where there is a competition of tenants, and convenient access to manure, the rent varies from four pounds to one pound ten shillings per acre. In the fertile, but generally imperfectly cultivated district in the northern part of the island, it reaches but in few instances the latter sum. Some garden ground near the town of Douglas fetches ten guineas and upwards. In the Uplands it may be stated at ten shillings; diminishing towards the mountains to five Shillings or less. It is observed that land of an inferior description fetches rent higher in proportion than good land. This is accounted for by the smallness of the number of persons really qualified to form a judgment on its value,
In the course of the last twenty years, the price of land and also the rents have doubled
THE laws governing this species of property, and its management, in some respects vary from the laws and management of tithes in England. The points of dissimilarity as to the law, are favourable to the Manks cultivator; as to the management, to his prejudices
In their origin, tithes were probably exclusively dose fined to the support of the parochial clear; at present, they have got in a great degree into other hands. When, or by what authority, the change w as here effected, it is in vain to inquire; but it would seem that at some remote period, the whole insular tithes were divided into thirds. One third wets appropriated to the Bishop of Man: another to the abbey of Russyn, a monastic institution of the Cistertian order, which in papal days existed in the southern vale of the island; one third only remaining to the clergy. In seven parishes this partition continues. The infractions on the rule which have taken place, as usually happens when the feeble have to contend with the powerful, are in favour of the impropriators.
In one vicarage, the Bishop takes two thirds; in three other parishes, he takes the whole tithes. In one parish the grantees of the Crown take, in right of the abbey of Russyn, two thirds; in another parish, in which the monastery formerly stood, the whole tithes. Of the three rectories, two contribute each one third of their tithes to the Bishop of Man. A short table is added, bringing into one view these variations.
Fames of Parishes. To whom tithes payable in thirds.
Bishop. Abbot. Clerk.
Kirk Patrick 2 0 1 -
German 3 0 0 -
Michael 1 1 1
Ballaugh (Rectory) 1 1 2
Jurby 3 0 0
Andreas (Rectory) 0 0 3
Kirk Bride(Rectory) 1 2 2 -
Christ Lezayre 1 1 0 -
Maughold 1 1 1 -
Lonan 1 1 1 -
Concan 1 1 1 -
Braddan 1 0 0 -
Marown 1 1 1 -
St. Anne 1 1 1 -
Malew 0 3 0 -
Arbory 1 1 1 -
Rushen 1 2 0
Observations on the table.
In each of what are called the Bishop's parishes, four small estates or portions of land, indefinite in extent and value, named Quarterland, but averaged at 80 acres each, are tithable to the vicar.
About three thousand acres in the parish of Braddan are tithable to the estate of the Nunnery. Such part of these tithes as are not payable out of the estate itself, are let by private agreement to the occupiers respectively; not by auction, or to a proctor.
The small tithes of Arbory parish are payable to the estate of Parville.
The third part of the tithes of Kirk Michael, which was anciently the property of the Abbey of Russyn, have been sold by the impropriator, and are vested in trustees for the benefit of widows and orphans of the insular clergy.
The mode which is sometimes taken by the agents of his Grace the Duke of Atholl, Grantee or Lessee under the Crown, of the property of the dissolved abbey of Russyn, and by those of the Bishop of Man, to convert into money their tithes, produces considerable injury to the agriculture of the island, and being imitated by some of the incumbents, must discourage and retard its improvement A public auction is fixed, and the tithes of the parish are let to the highest bidder. On this person is bestowed the appellation, borrowed from the Irish, of his Grace's Proctor, or his Lordship's Proctor. He then deals with the farmers. If his terms be such as they do not accede to, which may be conjectured to be pretty frequently the case, he then has sub-auctions to let the tithes in parcels, Yearly in the month of May, when the land is seeded, or its destination of crop known, this gentleman communicates his proctorial dignity, by the rap of the hammer.
The farmers assert that the tithes of parishes in which these practices prevail (which certainly are not universal) often sell for sums beyond, and much beyond their intrinsic value. Sometimes personal hostility influences the bidder: sometimes the expectation of a better crop than the land can produce: sometimes one of those persons bids who keep cows without winter sustenance for their support, and who must at any price procure the hay and straw which provident farmers would wish to retain for their own cattle. Under the present management, agriculture suffers from this tax on improvement, screwed up, or which may be screwed up to the highest pitch, and aggravated by its being combined with the middleman system. The tithes of the parish of Braddan were let in the middle of the last century by the Bishop of Man, to the vicar of the parish (as was then generally practised), at an annual rent of 31l. 14s. They now let at 200l. Those of the small parish of Jurby, which had been let by the Bishop of Man to the incumbent for 17l. 3s. sterling, were raised in 1755 to 20l. and continued at that rent till 1772: in 1810 they produced to the Bishop, a rent of 138l.; and in June 1811, were again let by auction for 231l. In less than forty years the tithes of this parish have thus been raised in amount above eleven fold. The farmers of the parish themselves were in this last instance fortunate enough to become the lessees for seven years; the proctorial title is in abeyance; and they at peace for the present.
No milk tithes are payable: instead of these, payments are made of four pence for each cow which had a calf within the year, and two-pence for a cow giving milk without having had a calf. Lands brought into cultivation are for the first three years, exempt from tithe. Some farms are protected by moduses: of others the tithe has been purchased of the lay impropriator* By the insular tithing-law, only such portion of the frailty of the earth as has been separated by cutting, pays tithe: those pulled, or dug up, pay nothing. The ill-otftened word "Agistment" has no place in the Manx vocabulary. Of these valuable exemptions, the islanders do not yet make the use they ought, and which in self-defence they naturally will.
The portion of tithes left to the parochial clergy is in some instances compounded for; in others drawn in kind. The latter is for their domestic consumption, and excites less discontent. The resident clergy are in general exemplary and much respected men; natives, insufficiently provided for, but attentive to their duty. * The annual value of the inpropriate tithes, now the property of his Grace the Duke of Atholl and of those sold by his family, is stated in the schedule to a private Act of the Earl of Derby's, of the present year, and inserted in the Appendix A. No. 1. On what data, or by whom, the estimation of the titled alienated has been made',or how it is verified, this schedule does not distinctly state.
The attention of persons acting under the Board's authority is most properly directed to specific objects of enquiry. All of these will not of course apply to every district. In that at present under study, many of these objects are hardly known, even by name. Happy is it for the islands, happy far every class of people residing in it, that among those unknown objects, this is one. Here is no compulsive provision for the poor: no encouragement for population beyond the actual call of employ: no obligation imposed on the frugal and industrious, to satisfy, out of their earnings, the clamours of the dissolute and idle, who demand as a right to be clothed and fed. The manufacturer cannot here impose upon agriculture the burden of supporting his workpeople, whom he first renders unfit for other labour, and then discharges: nor have the poor themselves the additional incentive to intemperance and idleness, that the consequences of their misconduct fall on others in a greater degree than on themselves.
It is by no means meant to be asserted that the peculiar policy of England on this head, produces nothing but pure unmixed evil; that individual cases of distress do not arise, which a legal provision for the poor is well calculated to relieve: but if it be now a question whether the good or evil arising from that policy be predominant, the example of this little subject island may fairly be adduced in proof of its being unnecessary and injurious. There are here very few beggars; apparently not so much misery as in countries where the poor are more industrious, as well as provided Or by law. Here they provide for themselves sufficiently, and without a murmur.
In theory it appears not improbable that in a country where each individual considers it his duty to contribute to the support of indigent relations, where it would be deemed as disgraceful at it is immoral to suffer your parent or your offspring to perish in misery, the social affections must be stronger, and called more into action than in another country, where it is the tendency of the poor laws to wear away these "compunctious visiting of nature;" where the child may without reproach commit his parent, or the parent his child, to the tender mercies of the keeper of a workhouse. In point of fact, the Manks seem a charitable race. In their country-churches, the small brass pan carried round to receive alms, tinkles with the frequent sound of pence dropped by individuals of the humbler classes; and grateful is the sound! The few persons whom abject poverty has reduced, according to the French term " a la besace," travel literally with a bag, from cottage to cottage; receiving from others whom fortune has placed in a station little removed above their own, but who are not in possession of coin, those donations in barleymeal, potatoes, or other articles which their scanty stores can spare. a proverb is often quoted, which expresses in the Manks language, that "the gift of the poor to the poor is blessed with a smile from the Almighty."
But the number of persons reduced to the last state of indigence does not appear to be considerable. During four months' residence in the island the Reporter was but once accosted by a common beggar. On enquiry he could not hear of a single instance within memory, of any person, at least not an instance of a native, having perished from want.
In aid of the charity collected on Sundays in the churches, several of the parishes have small sums, being the produce of legacies invested in the incumbents' and wardens' names, on securities. At least seven of the parishes possess also some lands; the rents of which as well as the interest of the sums lent out on securities, are faithfully employed in the relief of the indigent. On the occurrence of cases of peculiar distress, the governor has occasionally authorised the reading of briefs in the churches, after divine service, for the relief of the sufferers, by donations given her that individual objects but this power is at present rarely exercised. As it interferes with the parochial collections, made by each for its own poor, the clergy are not friendly to it.
A parochial assessment is made by authority of Vestry, and called a church cess, the amount of which is destined to the repairs of sacred buildings and of the parochial school-houses, with the residences for the masters, where they exist. In ten of the seventeen parishes into which the island is divided, parochial school-houses, with dwellings for the masters, have been erected. In Six parishes there are school-houses, but no dwellings for the masters: in the one remaining parish there is neither school nor dwelling-house. These, in most instances, have been erected at the charge of the parishioners; in one or two, by the bounty of individuals. The funds from which the salaries of the masters are paid, are, 1st, an annual sum of 8l. royal bounty, divisible among six schoolmasters; and, 36l. payable out of the proceeds of a charitable fund collected by Dr. Barrow, Bishop of Sodor and Man, in the reign of Charles the Second, invested on the security of the impropriate tithes of the island, and which is applicable, principally, to the augmentation of the ministers' stipends; and 3d, an annual payment of 39l. a bequest of Lady Elizabeth Hastings, divisible among fourteen schoolmasters. It is understood that the nett stipend of each parochial schoolmaster in money is about 4l. 18s. He instructs children of both sexes in reading English (their native dialect of Celtic never being taught), in writing and arithmetic; receiving from the parents, 1s. per quarter for instructing in reading only: 1s. 6d. for reading and writing 2s. 6d. for reading, writing, and arithmetic.
THE encouragement to improvement which sales afford, is by no means deficient. The contrary extreme is rather more observable: sufficient attention is seldom, if ever, paid to the nature of the covenants into which the tenant enters. As the improving tenants are rarely Manksmen, usually natives of the north of England, or Scotland, the inducement of a lease must be held out for the removal of themselves and their capital, and for their stipulating to pay a handsome rent. Terms for twenty-one years are not unfrequent; and in several instances, these have been assigned to others, with considerable profit to the lessees. If landlords are little scrupulous in dictating the conditions on which they let, on the other hand they do not appear forward in making advances for buildings, or other substantial improvements; Three white crops in succession are not forbidden: no restriction or penalty on ploughing up ancient pasture: the obligation to consume at home the hay and straw grown on the premises, or to lay out the price of fodder, if sold, or any part of it, in the purchase of manure, is often neglected. The sale, at harvest, on the ground, of the crop in shear; when gathered into what are provincially called stocks, seems an ordinary practice. A custom has been established, that the tenant at will removing, shall be entitled to one half of the white crop following a potatoe crop, on paying half the rent, seed, and tillage. The day of entering upon farms is usually the 12th day of November, and the rents are payable yearly, sometimes half yearly, on the 12th of May and the 12th of November.
IN countries where agriculture is systematical, considerable difficulty and discordance of opinion occur in estimating charges and probable profits. In a district like the present, where there is no system, where the art is yet in its infancy, and practised by the best and very worst of farmers, on soils of every possible variety, the attempt to form calculations applying indiscriminately to the district, would be at once fallacious and nugatory. A short table will however be added of the charge attendant on the five-shift system, and the profits to be expected from medium crops, both calculated from actual experience, on good loam, in the southern vale of the island.
A similar calculation is made of the expenses and probable profit attending a crop of potatoes; and also of meadow hay, in the same situation.
In forming this table, nothing is charged for dung, or allowed for straw: the labour is rated at what it would cost, if every day were fine. To compensate rainy days, perhaps about 15 per cent. should be added to those charges. No deduction is made for the interest on capital employed; for the purchase or carriage of lime with which the land must occasionally be dressed; for the carriage of seaweed or sea-sand when accessible; for the construction or repair of fences; for statute labour on the roads, and other casual small charges. On these heads, a further abatement should be made of at least 30 per cent. on the computed profits,