[From Train's History and Account, 1844]
Historical Sketch Feudatory Prerogatives of the ancient Kings of Man Ceremonies observed at the Great Tynwald Instalment of the Governor Council of State Historical Sketch of House of Keys Deemsters, of great antiquity Peculiar Oath of Office Breast Laws described The Bonnock, a singular Custom The Deemster's Court The Coroners Their Duty Office Silver Lockman, an inferior Officer of the Crown The Office of the Coroner of Glenfaba described The Great Inquest The Moar, a ministerial Officer of the Manorial Courts Civil Officers vested with high Authority Court of General Gaol Delivery Ancient Mode of Punishment Remarkable Ceremony Anecdote of two convicted Felons Courts Leet or Baron Durability of the Constitution.
THE Manks exhibit, perhaps, the only example in history of a people preserving their ancient laws and forms of government unchanged under the rule of successive conquerors. Like the willow, which bends to the blast, but which resumes its former altitude when the storm is over, the Manks legislature appears to have adopted a course of policy in effect the same. The oath of office, before alluded to, taken by the insular placemen, to maintain the ancient laws and customs of the Island unimpaired, seems to have been the tiller by which they have steered their little vessel through many a political storm.
The first government of the Isle of Man was a sort of aristocracy under the Druids, which lasted till the end of the third century, about which time, says Nennius,1 the Island was conquered by Brule,2 a Scot, who divided the land between himself and his followers, and this " original contract" became the foundation of their laws, which Manks tradition ascribes to Mannan-beg-mac-y-Leirr.
Soon after the expulsion of Brule, the Scot, the Island became subject to the princes of North Wales, as has been shown, who retained the sovereignty for nearly four centuries, not as a principality of North Wales but as a separate kingdom, consequently not a few of the laws, collected by Howel Dha and subsequently arranged by Bleddyn-ap-Cynvyn, have found their way into the Manks Statute Book.3
The Island was conquered in the tenth century by Orree, and in the eleventh by Goddard Crovan, who granted the northern part of it only to the inhabitants as tenants at will.4 Thus it appears that the Isle of Man has been, ever since its first plantation, a monarchical state; and whoever is, in right, lord of it may not only use the title of king, but may cause himself to be crowned even with a crown of gold. It is not improbable that in their first and original installation they made use of an iron crown, as had heretofore been done by the kings of England; but the Isle of Man being within the fee of the king of England, the Manksmen are adjudged to be the king of England's natural born subjects, and are capable of inheriting lands in England 5
" This little state differed from a county palatine, as also from the governments in Jersey and Guernsey, because the Lords of Man were feudatory kings. The service was little to the crown, but the power was great to the lord. He was admiral of the Island and had absolute jurisdiction over the people and soil ; so that he was immediate landholder of every real estate with exception to a few baronies, and reserving his homage to the crown of England, no prince had a more ample authority. He was sole patron of the bishopric, as likewise of parsonages and vicarages, except three which were in the patronage of the bishop ; and he exercised supreme authority over the church.6 He had the power to make and repeal laws, by the advice of his deemsters and keys, who must have his approbation, otherwise lie might reject them from his assembly. He had power of holding courts in his own name ; might hang and draw or pardon malefactors in his own jurisdiction; and was entitled to all brooks, royal fisheries, and other distinctive marks of regality."7 It was also provided by an ancient law " that the queen of Man, by her prerogative, is to have all goats that belong to any felon. 8
The title of King of Man was retained by the rulers of the Island for nearly a thousand years. It was first laid aside by Thomas, Earl of Derby,9 in the reign of Edward IV, and his successors followed his example, styling themselves Lords of Man and the Isles, but without any diminution of authority, down to the period when the sovereignty of the Island was purchased by the British government. They possessed nearly all the power and prerogatives of royalty. Since dropping the title of king, the only difference seems to be that formerly they created barons, made knights and esquires, whereas the lords never conferred any titles of honour.10
In the royal patent by which the possession of the Isle of Man was settled in the Derby family, the Jura Regalia was expressly mentioned and confirmed.11
When Sir John Stanley first visited the Island, being unacquainted with many of the customs of the people, as well as with the forms and ceremonies observed by the former kings in state affairs, he sent queries to the deemsters and the keys, who were always considered to be " the wisest and worthiest men in the Island," to which he required answers in writing, that they might be placed on record for the future guidance of himself and his successors., The forms and ceremonies which had been observed previous to the accession of the house of Stanley to the throne of Man, at the great annual assembly of the Islanders, at the Tynwald Hill, on the feast day of St. John the Baptist, is thus described in the Statute Book::- "Our doughtful and gracious Lord, this is the constitution of old time, the which we have given in our Days: First, you shall come thither in your Royal Array, as a King ought to do, by the Prerogatives and Royalties of the Land of Mann. And upon the Hill of Tynwald sitt in a chaire, covered with a Royall cloath 12 and cushions, and your visage unto the East, and your sword before you, holden with the point upwards; your baryons in the third degree 13 sitting beside you, and your benificed men and your Deemsters before you sitting; and your Clarke, your Knights, Esquires, and Yeomen, about you in the third Degree; and the worthiest Men in your Land (these are the twenty-four keys) to be called in before your Deemsters, if you will ask any Thing of them, and to hear the Government of your Land, and your Will; and the Commons to stand without the Circle of the Hill,14 with three Clarkes in their Surplisses. And your Demsters shall make Call in the Coroner of Glenfaba ; and he shall call in all the Coroners of Man, and their Yards in their Hands, with their Weapons upon them, either Sword or Axe. And the Mooares, that is, to Witt of every Sheading. Then the Chief Coroner, that is the Coroner of Glenfaba, shall make Affence, upon Paine of Life and Lyme, that noe Man make any Disturbance or Stirr in the Time of Tynwald, or any Murmur or Rising in the King's Presence, upon Paine of Hanging and Drawing. And then shall let your Barrons and all others know you to be their King and Lord.
That your Commons come unto you, and skew their Charters how they hould of you; and that your Barrons, that made no Faith or Fealtie to you, now make the same. And if any of your Barrons be out of the Land, they shall have the space of Forty Days 15 After that they are called to come and shew whereby they hould clayme Lands and Tenements, within your Land of Man; and to make Fealtie and Faith, if Wind and Weather served them, or els to cease their Temporalties into your Hands."16
The ceremonies of this grand Tynwald assembly being so solemnly and minutely arranged and settled, the record proceeds to explain the ancient laws and duties of the people The power and authority of the king's lieutenant Restrictions on leaving the Island without the king's or governor's license The victualling and regulations of the garrisons The power of the laws relating to the Annos of coroners The rules and orders for letting the king's lands And, finally, the laws of punishment for treason against the king or his lieutenant.
The king or lord proprietor, his governor and council, with the house of keys, so assembled, constituted a Tynwald court, or the three political estates of the Island. ' Since the revestment of the Island in the British crown, every act, before it can obtain the force of law, must be confirmed by his majesty, and ultimately proclaimed or read in the English and Manks languages, and signed by the governor, and such of the council and keys as are present before the people at the Tynwald Hill.17
As the ceremonies formerly observed at the promulgation of the laws are now much neglected and will soon belong solely to history, I will here describe the order of the last procession to the Tynwald Hill, where the Duke of Atholl presided as governor of Man.
The cavalcade of the dignitaries of the Island, with their attendants, arrived at St. John's chapel, in the immediate neighbourhood of the Tynwald Hill, a little before noon, where the Duke of Atholl was received by the clergy and keys, and was saluted by the soldiery. After divine service the clergy and the constituted authorities, flanked by the military under arms, moved in the following order to the Tynwald Hill: The Clergy, two abreast, juniors first Lord Bishop of Sodor and Man Vicars General Deemsters Sword Bearer Duke of Atholl Lieutenant Governor Clerk of the Rolls Twenty four Keys, two abreast. " Agreeable to ancient custom, every parish sent four horsemen, properly accoutred; and the captain of every parish presided over those of his own district. After all the business on the hill was gone through, three cheers were given to the lord-lieutenant and governor-in-chief. His grace then descended from the hill, and the procession moved back again to the chapel, in the same regular order."
Formerly, the bishop of Man held the king's stirrup as often as he mounted his horse while engaged in these processions, but this homage has not been required since the revestment of the Island to the crown of Great Britain.
As the king seldom resided in the Island he was represented there by a person called his lieutenant. That office is now held by a kind of viceroy, as representative of the king of Great Britain. He is styled governor, and is captain-general of the military force employed in the Island. In the capacity of governor, he is entitled to exercise some of the prerogatives of the British king. He may, at pleasure, except in the " Passion Week," convene the Tynwald, which may be styled the parliament of Man. He exercises over all the courts in the Island an appellate jurisdiction, subject only to the king in council. The laws enacted to support his authority were summary and severe. " Whoever shall speak any scandalous speech against the governor, touching either his oath. state of government of the Isle, or what might tend to his defamation, and not be able to prove the same, shall be filled in ten pounds, and have his ears cut off." "And if any person rise up against the governor sitting in any court or Tynwald, wherein he representeth the lord's person, they are to be deemed traitors, and to be sentenced to death without any inquest passing on them by the deemster. That they be first drawn after wild horses, then hanged, and afterwards quartered, and their heads strucken off and set upon the castle tower, over the burn, with one quarter there, the second quarter to be set up at Halland town (now Peel), the third at Ramsey, and the fourth at Douglas."18
Agreeably to the symbolical philosophy of the Druids, the governor received a white staff on his instalment, that this ancient mark of magisterial authority might be a constant monitor to him, to discharge with impartiality the duties of his office. Since the revestment, the governor on accepting office, is obliged to swear that " he will deal truly and uprightly between the king and his subjects in the Isle of Man, and as indifferently between party and party, as this staff now standeth,"19 holding, at the same time, the ensign 4of his authority in the most erect position. Hence he and his council are figuratively called " The staff of government."20
This council is frequently mentioned in the early Manks statutes; "and when on emergency summoned by the governor, acted in a summary way, without the concurrence of the house of keys or lord proprietor. From their proceedings not being conducted with regularity, or minutes kept of them, doubts are entertained respecting the persons who were to be considered as members of this council."21
Camden says, " the supreme officers of this Island were only five the governor, the two deemsters, the comptroller, and the receiver-general : all of whom held their offices durante bene placito."22 These persons were called " the lords of council and chief officers of state," and formed a part of the king's household, where a free table was kept for them all,23 with the exception of the deemsters, who merely attended the meetings of council, when requested to give their advice, and somewhat resembles the twelve judges in attendance upon the house of lords.24 It was, however, provided by an ancient statute, that " when any matter of doubt happened, the governor might call the deemsters before him, with the advice and assistance of the twenty-four keys, to deem the law truly to the parties, that the same might be registered in the record, for a precedent, when any such case should happen."25
When the lord of the Island died, the official power of these officers ceased, unless re-appointed by the succeeding superior: in the interim, the first military officer presided as governor.26
Immediately before the revestment of the Island to the British crown, the governor's council consisted of the bishop, the receiver-general, the two deemsters, the clerk of the rolls, the water-bailiff, the attorney-general, the archdeacon, and two vicars-general; previously the abbot of Rushen had a seat in the council, but immediately after the revestment, the governor excluded the spiritual officers from the council, alleging that they only held their seats through courtesy, but they resolutely held it as their right;27 and notwithstanding the opinion of the governor, being supported by that of Sir Wardsworth Busk, the attorney-general, they were reinstated on the grounds that " if ever they had the right, they must still continue to enjoy it, for that it has not been altered by any express words, and cannot be taken away by mere implication."28
The purport of the oath administered to the members of the council is "to maintain and defend the ancient laws, statutes, and customs of the Isle, with the prerogatives thereof, and with their best advice and council, to be aiding or assisting to his majesty's governor-in-chief or his lieutenant-governor of the Isle for the time being, in furtherance of the government and benefit of the said Isle."29
The council is resorted to by "petition of dolance in cases where adequate relief cannot be otherwise obtained. The staff of government reviews the decisions of the deemsters, and hears all matters of complaint against the inferior courts and magistrates, and has cognizance of all matters of judicature, which do not appertain, in the regular way, to the jurisdiction of the other courts in the Island." The act of the governor and three of the temporal officers is considered to be a valid act of the governor and council.
TIIE HOUSE of KEYS is the third branch of the Manks legislative government. It consists of twenty-four land-holders of the Island, and was anciently called Chor na Faid, which, in the Manks language, signifies " the assembly of wise men." The nature or extent of their judicial functions, as originally constituted, cannot, however, be now ascertained.
A late writer supposes the first institution of the "assembly of wise men" to be coeval with the kingdom itself.30 No document which has reached our time can warrant this assumption, but the following paragraph, written in 1422, from the statute book of the Island, shows it existed in the time of Orree, the conqueror of Man, who lived in the tenth century. " There was never xxiiij Keys in certainty, since they were first that were called Taxiaxi, those were xxiiij free Houlders, viz. viij in the Out Isles, and xvj in your Land of Mann, and that was in King Orryes Days; but since they have not been in certainty."31
From the similarity of sound betwixt the pronunciation of taxiaxi and teagsag, an old Irish word, Dr. Campbell implies that it means " elders" or " senators."32 Another writer supposes taxiaxi to be a corruption of the Manks word taisgi-acci, " a guardian of property."33 But the Gaelic orthography of taxiaxi is taga-asibh, which signifies " a selection from the people," and hence many writers infer, that like the duinne-tagn of the ancient Irish,34 the persons thus selected were pledges or hostages taken both from Man and the Out Isles, to secure the allegiance of the people, till the dynasty of the conqueror became firmly seated on the throne of the kingdom of Man.35
This opinion is strengthened by these representatives of the people not having been convoked during the reigns of the twelve succeeding kings of the race of Orree. In the Chronicles of Man, which embrace an outline of the affairs of the Island from A.D. 1066 to 1270, there is no allusion made to the house of keys. They are thus lost sight of for a period of three hundred years. In 1344, however, immediately after Montacute wrested the Island from the Scots, they are referred to under the name of kiare as feed 36 or twenty-four, a title by which they are sometimes distinguished at the present day. When they convened in 1419 to establish certain points of law, they were called "the council of twenty-four."37 When they assembled on the hill of Reneurling in 1422, they were called "the commons of Man;"38 and in 1594, they are, for the first time in the statutes, designated "the twenty-four keys of the Isle."39
Bishop Wilson, in his concise description of the Island, supposes the name to be derived from their office of unlocking the difficulties of the law. 40 But in this forced signification, although it has been followed by subsequent writers, I cannot concur. The name of the assembly, as derived from the Manks language, or from the Scottish or Irish Gaelic, distinctly signifies either the house of pleas or the house of taxes.41
In the report of the commissioners, appointed by parliament in 1791, to enquire into the state of the Island, they say, " We are in doubt when, and the manner in which, the Keys were first elected, and we are not possessed of any documents which describe the mode of their election in early times; but from their being styled the representatives of the people, it may be inferred that they were chosen by them." Since shortly after the accession of the house of Stanley to the sovereignty of Man, the members of the house of keys have been elected in a very peculiar manner. When a vacancy occurs, either by death or resignation, the keys meet and elect two persons to be proposed to the governor for his dernier selection of either. The choice fixes the member for life,42 except in cases of resignation, criminal conduct, or the acceptance of a seat in the governor's council.43
It was provided, by a fundamental law, that no person serving the lord in any capacity should be chosen to hold office in the house of keys.44 The requisite qualifications are the possession of landed property in the Island, and having obtained the age of twenty-one years. The keys receive no salary or emolument. The privilege claimed by them is an exemption from certain services, which otherwise would be due to the lord proprietor. They are accordingly exempted from all common services of the country, unless especially commanded thereunto by the governor. 45 Formerly very little importance was attached to the situation of a member of the house of keys; but it is now, by natives of the Island in particular, considered as highly honourable as that of knight of the shire is in Great Britain.
The following is the substance of the oath administered on the election of a key, since the revestment : "You shall use your best endeavours to maintain the ancient laws and customs of this Isle, and shall be aiding and assisting to the deemster in all doubtful matters, as well as to his majesty's council."
Although the principal duty of the house of keys is to act in a legislative capacity, its members exercise also a variety of important judicial functions. They hold appellative jurisdiction over most of the law courts and have a right of determining all questions of defamation, sub mitted to them by the governor. They used also, along with the governor, council, and deemsters, to attend the " court of general gaol delivery," in order, by their presence, to give solemnity to the proceedings, and also, in dubious cases, to deliver authoritative information on points of common law: of late, however, they have not been summoned, it having been decided by his majesty that they do not form an integral part of that court.46
By an act of 1777, the liberty of traverse to the house of keys was only permitted in actions wherein titles of land came in question, but by an act of 1793, that clause was repealed and the appellate "jurisdiction of the house of keys was restored in as full and ample a manner as if the said act never had been made."47 It was anciently the custom when any case was traversed unto the twenty-four keys that it should be first tried by six of their number, and from six to twelve, and from twelve to the full body of twenty-four, before a full decision in such a matter was given. But now when a case is removed from the traverse jury, it is brought before the whole body of the twenty-four keys, or a majority of them, in the first instance.48
The meetings of the keys are as often as the governor thinks proper to appoint; but their ability to continue the session and the governor's authority to prorogue them before they choose to separate, are points not agreed on ;49 and it has been settled that thirteen members are necessary to render valid any act in their legislative capacity. In their character of judges, they are the ultimum refugium of the common law, in the Island, all appeals in question of titles respecting lands and other matters, agitated at the common law court, being determined by a majority of the whole body, only subject to a definite appeal to his majesty in council.50
The following extract from the official report of the parliamentary commissioners, appointed in 1791, clearly defines the power of the three estates of the insular constitution, respectively:
" The House of Keys, when called on by the lord proprietor or his governor, met in their legislative capacity, to debate upon and approve or reject any law proposed to them.
" When the governor and council and keys were assembled for the purpose of legislation, any intended bills or law might originate in either of these assemblies.
" The draft of the bill being prepared, if it originated in the council, was in that assembly first considered and discussed. After it had been there settled and approved of, the governor convened the keys, to receive the bill, and it was then debated upon in the house, and they had a power to reject or return it to the governor and council, without amendments or with such as they thought proper. If it was returned with amendments, the two last mentioned branches of the legislature met, and settled the alterations proposed.
" When the bill had passed through these stages, and was so far settled, it was engrossed. The keys were again summoned to attend the governor and council in the council chamber, and there the bill was read over in their presence, and signed by as many of the members of the two houses present, as had attended the progress, or approved of the intended law.
" When any bill originated in the house of keys, and was approved of by thirteen of the members of that house, it was from them sent to the governor and council for their discussion, and they had a power to reject or approve of it, either with or without amendments, and when approved of, it was engrossed, read over and signed in the council chamber, in the same manner as if it had been first brought in by the governor and council.
" After the bill had proceeded thus far, it was transmitted to the lord proprietor for his assent, and he had a power of rejecting, as well as of giving a general or qualified assent thereto.
" When it was returned, with the approbation of the lord proprietor, the governor ordered a court to be held on the Tynwald Hill, and there the act was read over fully, in the English and Manks languages, in the presence of, and signed by, the governor and as many of the council and keys then present, as chose to attest this promulgation of the law. It then became an act of the legislature of the Island, and binding upon the inhabitants."
DEEMSTERS. For the more convenient administration of justice, the Island is divided into two districts,51 with a deemster for each division. The first institution of this office is lost in the darkness of remote antiquity. Till by some modern acts of Tynwald their authority has been somewhat abridged, they possessed a higher magisterial power both in the administration of the common and criminal law than any other judges in Europe.52
So little was form attended to in their proceedings that the deemster's presence, whether walking or riding, constituted a court ; and the plaintiff, meeting his opponent when the officer was in view, might drag him to an instant tribunal, and hold him till the case was decided ! 53 In such proceedings there was certainly more brevity than dignity, both on the part of the plaintiff and judge,
The warrant issued by the deemster, either for the citation or apprehension of the delinquent, was a bit of stone or slate having the initials of his name scratched on it. Nor were those " stone tokens for charges and executions finally laid aside till after the revestment."54
The probable etymology of the name of these law officers may be traced to decisions which they were required to give to the lord and his council, for " in all greate Matters and high Points that are in Doubt, ever as they fall, I will that my Lieutennant, or any of the Councell for the Time being, take Deemsters to them, with the Advice of the Elders of your Land of Mann, to deem 55 the Law truely to the Parties as they will answer to me thereof."56 They are styled in the Ancient Court Rolls, justiciarii domini regis.
Deemster is evidently an anglicised term, although mentioned in the Statute Book so early as the year 1422. The natives call this officer briw, a name nearly resembling that frequently mentioned in the Ancient Chronicles of Ireland. 57 He is always chosen out of the natives by the lord of the Isle, it being necessary he should speak and understand the Manks language, that he may comprehend the pleadings in court, to enable him to decide accordingly.58
Before entering on the functions of his office, the following singular oath was administered to the deemster " By this book, and by the holy contents thereof, and by the wonderful works that God has miraculously wrought in heaven and on the earth beneath in six days and seven nights, I do swear that I will, without respect, or favour, or friendship, love or gain, consanguinity or affinity, envy or malice, execute the laws of the Isle justly betwixt our sovereign Lord the King and his subjects within this Isle, and betwixt party and party as indifferently as the herring's backbone doth lie in the midst of the fish."59 This is another symbolical institution, evidently derived from the Druids, by which the judge is continually reminded of his duty by his daily diet.60
The deemster, in ancient times, governed the people by a jus non scriptum, which, they said, was committed to their fidelity as a sacred and holy thing, and which they were to transmit to posterity by oral tradition. Whatever, therefore, was pronounced by them was received as law. This custom they derived from the Druids who, as observed by Caesar,' were peculiarly remarkable for their proficiency in the study of the law, but who would not communicate any thing, by writing, to the vulgar. Hence the decisions of the Manks deemsters were termed breast laws.
As the supreme will and pleasure of the deemster frequently constituted law, without reference to precedent, Sir John Stanley visited the Island in the year 1417 for the avowed purpose of causing the laws, said to be locked up in the breasts of the judges, to be promulgated, " That henceforth injustice be done to no man under pretence of law." After making the necessary investigation, he called a Tynwald, on 24th June, 1417, for that purpose. The people waited with the greatest anxiety to hear what had been artfully concealed from them for many ages. At length the eldest deemster rose, and with an audible voice, published the standing laws of the land, and answered various questions respecting established customs, all which were entered into the statute book, to be thenceforth considered the law of the Island.
The proceedings of this Tynwald ought to have gone far to unfetter the civil bondage of the natives of Man. Hitherto there had been no written laws in the Island " from King Orry's days till the time of Michael Blundel ;"62 and the wisdom of that plan was highly questionable, which allowed one man to determine all matters brought before him, on a summary hearing, without the assistance of a jury. Justice ought always to be administered upon clearly established principles of law; and no nation ever possessed a lower species of jurisprudence than was that of the breast laws. But communities as well as individuals part reluctantly with ancient customs. In direct violation of the Tynwald in 1417, the deemsters continued to administer breast law justice down to 1636, although not to the satisfaction of lord Strange, as appears by his mandate.
" Whereas, the Lord is informed that the deemsters of this Island do sometimes give judgement by laws unknown to his lordship or any of his council of the Island, called breast laws, his honor therefore declareth his pleasure, and doth order and direct that the deemsters do, upon notice of this his honor's order, set down in writing, and certify to his honor by the next passage boat after, what these breast laws are, and of what use and in what cases they are requisite, and how far the power and execution of them extends, and in particular, to certify whether the same be used in all cases; that is to say, criminal for punishment of offenders, and civil for decision of rights of lands and goods; and whether one breast law be contrary to another, and how the people may take notice thereof to frame their actions and contracts accordingly."
From this period the more eligible plan was followed of keeping precedents of all the decisions of the deemsters in the various courts, as guides for future determination. Yet, for a long time afterwards, these documents were deposited in a chest, secured by three locks, the respective keys of which were kept by three of the chief officers of the state, to prevent the writings from falling under the scrutinizing eyes of the vulgar.63
The deemsters were entitled, by customary laws, to receive two-pence, called a cro cast, for every token granted by them; but in lieu thereof, they were anciently accustomed to send out a number of people called the bonnock,64 at All Hallowtide, to receive custom from the tenants, such as they pleased to give in respect of the said fee, and thereupon the tenants to receive their tokens gratis that year; but if any refused to pay such custom to the bonnock, they were to cut three ropes of the thatch of his house, over the door, whereby he might be known to have refused the deemster's custom ; and the bonnocks presented this to the deemster respectively, with the person's name; they were not to grant their token without the said fee for that year. Which custom is taken up now by the lockman of every parish, within the precincts of each deemster's liberty."65
In the year 1747, it was enacted, that the perquisites or customs heretofore paid and payable to the deemsters, about All Hallowtide or Christmas, in lieu of their token fees, usually collected by a number of people called the bonnock or by the lockman of parishes, shall cease, and that in place thereof, every person applying for a token shall pay the fee of twopence for the same." In 1753, the token fee was raised to threepence ; but in 1763, the granting of stone tokens, either by the governor or deemster was, by an act of Tynwald, totally discontinued, as unbecoming the authority and solemnity of courts of justice. 65 From the property of every person who had committed suicide, either by hanging or drowning, the deemster was entitled to four shillings, or else to the third penny of the gross amount of such goods or chattels. 66 In addition to casual fees, he received a discretionary salary from the lord, of £7 10s. per annum, which was afterwards increased to £13 6s. 8d. ; but, in 1636, was reduced by lord Strange, to the former sum.68 He was allowed, however, to yard one choice manservant and one choice maidservant out of every sheading within his district,69 and to have an immunity and freedom from the payment of customs for the lands which he possessed."70 The deemster has now a salary of £800 per annum.
In his court the deemster entertains all claims for debt above £2, and determines all disputes respecting lands, contracts, and engagements. He takes cognizance of all assaults and battery,71 and issues his warrant to summon six men to be a jury to take enquest of a felony. Trespass juries, summoned by his authority to examine and determine the damage, consist of only four persons living in the parish where the damage is sustained. When he wants to obtain information as to articles stolen, the whole neighbourhood is summoned to appear before him, and every individual must either acquit himself by oath, or by refusal be considered guilty.72
In order to obtain permission to appeal, the complainant must present a petition to the deemster for that purpose, which, if refused, may be followed by a petition of dolance to the governor, who, as a matter of course, will grant an order for the cause to be heard before him.74 In former times, the voice of the whole people was necessary to the making of a new law; but now this custom is abrogated, and whatever is agreed upon by the lord of the Island, the governor, the two deemsters, and the twenty-four keys, obtain the force of law.75
JUSTICES OF THE PEACE. Magistrates have lately been appointed in the Island, as done under the municipal reform bill in corporate towns of England and Wales. This measure was effected by the issuing of a commission of the peace under the great seal. Eleven gentlemen are named in it, and their powers have been since enlarged by an act of the insular legislature.
HIGH-BAILIFFS. By the statute of 1777, high-bailiffs were appointed in the four market towns of the Island, and are invested with authority to hear and determine all cases under forty shillings.73 They are the chief magistrates of their respective towns, in which they are required to maintain the peace and apprehend offenders.
The high-bailiff's salary being only £25 per annum, the office is generally held by a practising lawyer. It is generally admitted that the duties of the high-bailiff would be performed more to the advantage of the public and to the discouragement of petty vexatious law-suits, by unpaid magistrates, similar to those already established, whose usefulness is said to be obstructed by the high-bailiff's court.
The following are the parishes which come within the jurisdiction of the high-bailiffs of the respective towns : Castletown Rushen, Arbory, Malew, Santon. Douglas Lonan, Onchan, Braddan, Marown. Ramsey Jurby, Andreas, Bride, Lezayre, Maughold. Peel Patrick, German, Michael, Ballaugh.
CORONER. The two judicial divisions of the Island are subdivided into six sheadings or small sheriffdoms, to each of which a coroner is appointed by the governor. This officer has a, power, in many respects, analagous to that of a constable, a coroner, and a sheriff in England, and in his own sheading he is the chief organ of the deemster's court.
The office of coroner is of the highest antiquity in the Island. He is called in Manks toshiagh jioarey, that is "the chief man of the law," similar to the tosio-derach of the old Mac Alpine laws of Scotland. An ancient law for continuing the coroner in office only one year was renewed in 1629.74 In obedience to this statute, the coroner takes the oath of office annually, on his knees, in the presence of the governor, after which he receives a decorated wand as an emblem of his authority, which, should he die while in office, must be returned to the governor by the hands of the constable.
The coroner appears to have been a personage of great importance in ancient times: he was permitted to yard for himself three men-servants annually, but in the year 1662, he was restricted to one yarded servant.75 By an act of 1611, he was allowed a quarterland rent free for the performance of his duty,76 with a " fixed stipend;" but in the year 1636, the stipend was discontinued and he was only "to have recompence allowed according to his endeavours."77 By a statute in 1419, it was enacted that four pence shall be paid yearly out of every quarterland to the coroner, with a smaller sum for intacks and cottages.78 He is also entitled to have all horses, oxen, and kine, not exceeding two years old, the property of a convicted felon, with his rapier and dagger;79 also the outer garment of a person who had committed suicide. Out of the profits arising from his official employment, the coroner had to pay annually to the lord a certain sum of money called office silver.80
It was enacted by a statute of 1692 that the coroner should, four times a year, for the lord's profit, search throughout his sheading every house, coffer, or covered place; and every person resisting the authority of his yard, in that service, was to be indicted as a felon.81 In order that the coroner might be enabled to execute his various duties efficiently, he was allowed by the lord a deputy called a lockman 82 And it is enacted, that whosoever shall disobey the coroner or his lockman shall forfeit three pounds; but if it be in taking up the lord's rents, when a soldier cometh out for that purpose, he forfeiteth his body and goods to the lord.83
The coroner of Glenfaba takes precedence of all the others in the Island. It is his duty to fence the great Tynwald Court, where no man is allowed to murmur or stir in the lord's presence on pain of hanging and drawing.84
It is prescribed in the ancient proceedings of the common law or sheading court, that the coroner of Glenfaba fence that court both in Manks and English, and proclaim that it is the king of Man's pleasure "that men, both rich and poor, deaf and dumb, halt, lame, and blind, come hither upon horseback or on foot, or be drawn thither upon horse or car, that they may know the King of Man's pleasure and the laws of his country."85
Then he shall call in four honest men of every parish within the sheading to go upon the great inquest, who shall make oath to report to next court all petty officers not doing their duty according to law, and all petty craftsmen "who do not execute their occupations justly, or otherwise than the old laws of the land permit, with presentations' respecting meses, ditches, turberies, rescues, water-courses, trespasses, and other irregularities.86
This " Great Inquest" was, in ancient times, held twice a year, between the outer gates of the Castle of Rushen,87 where a large stone chair was placed for the governor and a lesser one for each of the deemsters. All the law courts, however, are now held in the interior of the castle. The act of revestment did not interfere with any of the courts of law; but since that period many important changes have been introduced.88
MOAR. There is likewise an officer of unknown antiquity in every parish called a moar,89 who collects all escheats, deodands, waifs, and estrays. Like the coroner, he paid, formerly, two marks called office-silver to the lord, and had a portion of land rent-free. His quarterland, cottages, and intack fees, were similar to those received by the coroner; "but he received no stouckes of corn at the breaking of the tallies ;" out of every vessel that landed timber, within the boundary of his jurisdiction, he claimed two poles at the price paid for them in the wood.90 No action could be brought against the moar during the time he was in office, as his personal estate is to answer the lord's rent if any want be,"91
The manorial or sheading court originally formed part of the court of common law, but by the act of revestment the manorial courts, for the several sheadings, were reserved to the duke and duchess of Atholl by the term of " courts baron." The moars are the ministerial officers of these courts, which are always held in April and October, at Peeltown, Castletown, Douglas, Kirk Michael, and Ramsey, respectively, for the purpose of collecting the quit-rents, and manorial fines of the abbey lands of St. Germains, the abbey lands of Lezayre, the abbey lands of Malew and of Rushen ; and of the baronies of Bangor, Sabal, and St. Trinions, with those of the baronies of the bishop. Since the duke of Atholl sold his manorial right to the British government, in 1829, these rents and fines have formed an item in the revenue of the United Kingdom.
The coroner and moar were invested with such high authority, particularly when employed to recover any dues appertaining to the lord of the Isle, that it was enacted that, " If any man of holy church, that is to wit, parson, vicar, parish priest, secular priest, or clarke, make any offence to the king's officers, that is to say, if the moar, he shall suffer the amercement of vis. and viiid. ; and if he do it to the coroner he shall lose iii lib ; and if the foresail men of holy church lose any amercement, we give it for law, that if the distress be within the steps of holy church, the lord's officers shall go to the high sumner,92 and he shall deliver to the lord's officers a sufficient distress, and if the sunlner shall not do so, the lord's officers shall go in and take the distress themselves."'93
This ordinance is a direct proof that the civil power in this Island was, in ancient times, superior to that of the church. There were very few states in Europe at that time which dared to assert such supremacy, and very few officers who would have presumed to enter the sacred pale to recover even the dues and rights of their lord.
COURT OF GENERAL GAOL DELIVERY. The court of general gaol delivery was originally a tribunal of peculiar dignity and splendour. The governor, the bishop, the archdeacon and vicars-general, the deemsters, the clerk of the rolls, the water-bailiff, and attorney-general, together with the twenty-four keys, all presided therein, for the purpose of trying crimes, which, by the law of the Island, were deemed capital.
There was no trial in this court save by jury, and the culprit required to have been previously tried by a jury of six men, of the sheading to which he belonged, who had declared that the evidence adduced was sufficient to put him on his trial for felony. The usual mode of selecting the jury in the court of general gaol delivery was admirably suited for the faithful administration of justice. Four men from each parish in the Island were summoned as jurymen, which made a total of sixty-eight persons. As the list of these persons was called over in court, the prisoner had the power of challenging any of them that he judged incompetent: out of the remaining number, a jury of twelve was impannelled.94,95
If a felon, who was indicted, died before the day of trial, the jury, nevertheless, proceeded in the usual manner, and if he was found guilty, his goods were forfeited to the lord.96
If a felon, when asked by the deemster whether he wished to throw himself upon the lord's mercy or be tried by God and the country, put himself to grace, the governor then declared him reprieved till the lord's pleasure be known.97 This mode of procedure is thus described in the Statute Book. It is an ordinance of Sir John Stanley, made at the Castle of Rushen, A.D. 1422: " If any alien, that noe faith or fealty bath made to the King, forfeit, in any case, life or lymne, and before judged in it, though it be theft in hand, or out of hand found, though he put him to the Lord's grace before the verdict be given, or knowledge made, the Lord needs not receive him to grace, except he list by the laws of Man. But if he be his borne man, or els bath made faith and fealty, and put him in grace, if he be indicted, and no manner on his hand, or the verdict be given, he ought, by the law of man, to have his life, but he must forfeit his goods, and then shall have his choice of three things by the Deemster's judgement. First, he shall choose whether he will rest in prison a yeare and a day, with sus tenance of the prisson, viz. : he shall have bread one part meale and another part chaffe of the same meale, and the third part ashes, and to drink of the water next the prisson doore ; the second is to forsweare the King and all his land, or els for the third to pay the King iijl."' If any person convicted by a petty jury for felony or for treason " doth submit himself before his trial and offer a reasonable ransom for sparing his life, the court may grant him the same, upon humble suit of himself or some friend on his behalf.99
When the prisoner wishes to be tried by God and the country, the prosecution is conducted by the attorney-general ; but counsel are allowed to plead for the prisoner, to cross examine the evidence for the crown, and to reply to the attorney-general.
When the pleadings are concluded and the jury are agreed on their verdict, a very ancient and remarkable ceremony ensues. The deemster demands of the foreman of the jury, in the Mank language, Vod fir carree soie 100 " May those that minister at the altar continue to sit ?" If the foreman answers that they may not, it is understood to be the precursor to a verdict of guilty, and the bishop and his clergy immediately retire; but should the answer be in the affirmative, the verdict of not guilty is returned, and the prisoner is instantly discharged.101
It is remarkable, that this custom is observed in the house of lords it being determined in the earl of Danby's case, that the lords spiritual have a right to stay and sit in court in capital cases, until the court proceeds to the vote of guilty or not guilty.102
After trial and conviction, the senior deemster pronounces the awful sentence of death ; but the execution must be delayed till the pleasure of his majesty be known.
Connected with the latter part of this law, a singular circumstance occurred, to which I shall give insertion here. In the year 1816, Robert Quilliam, a reputed thief, was tried at Castletown for sheep stealing, and condemned to be executed. The papers connected with the case were forwarded, in the usual way, to the secretary of state for the home department, for the purpose of being laid before his majesty. From these papers a warrant for carrying the sentence into execution, was made out ; but instead of being despatched to the Island, it was, by some singular mistake, mislaid at the home-office, and never reached its destination.
Two years after this occurrence, a person named Robert Kewley was likewise tried and condemned at Castletown for a similar offence, although the charge against him was of a very-modified description, be having taken only a single loaghtyn from the fold of a near kinsman, under circumstances of peculiar necessity. Kewley was a native of the Island, and having up to the date of the crime for which he was condemned, maintained a highly respectable character; he was strongly recommended to mercy by the constituted authorities. All the petitions in his behalf, however, were rejected at the home-office, on the grounds that, notwithstanding the example made of Quilliam, sheep stealing had not been put down in the Isle of Man.
The warrant for the execution of Kewley not arriving at Castletown in time to admit of the mistake being rectified in the quarter in which it originated, the unfortunate culprit underwent the last penalty of the law on the 5th June, 1818.
What adds to the singularity of this occurrence is the fact, that Quilliam, the more guilty criminal, who, under the suspended sentence, had been confined in Castle Rushen since his conviction in 1816, was compelled, by the authorities, to act as the executioner of Kewley. On this circumstance being made known to his majesty, Quilliam's sentence was commuted to transportation for life.
EXCHEQUER. This court, as in Great Britain, takes cognizance of all matters connected with the revenue. Proceedings are carried on here for the recovery of all penalties and forfeitures due to the crown, incurred by frauds upon the customs ; there being no excise duties yet imposed in the Island. When the right of taking tithes was in dispute, previous to the passing of the Tithe Commutation Act, the prosecution for their recovery was carried on in the exchequer court; and previous to the act of Tynwald, in 1777, was cognizance only in the ecclesiastical court.
CHANCERY. In matters of civil property, this court has the most extensive jurisdiction of any court in the Island. It is generally held on the first Thursday in every month, at Castletown. The governor sits chancellor, and is assisted by the attorney-general, 102 the clerk of the rolls, the deemsters, and water-bailiff. The proceedings are conducted without the intervention of a jury, from which it is termed a court of law and equity. In order to prosecute a suit on the law side of the court, a common action is entered at the rolls' office. The defendant must be summoned by the coroner or his deputy. Should the defendant neglect to appear personally or by advocate, an attachment against him may be sued for; but subsequently, the case may be heard, and if denied or disputed by the defendant, the court may transfer it to the deemster's court, to be tried by a jury at common law.
When an action for debt is taken out against a person about to leave the Island, the defendant may not only be arrested and imprisoned, but his effects may be taken possession of till he gives security for his personal appearance. If a decree be issued, his effects may be sold by auction to satisfy the creditors. On the equity side, the proceedings are carried on by bill and answer, as in the courts of Great Britain.
REVENUES. A committee of the insular legislature directs the application of the local duties, towards constructing and keeping in repair the high-roads and bridges.103
Since the revestment of the Island in the British crown, the insular legislature has acted with the same independence as it did prior to the passing of that statute. It exercises the right of making laws affecting the property, liberty, and life of all who reside within the shores of the Island. One branch only of the legislature was effected by the act of revestment, that which relates to foreign commerce. The king thereby became admiral of the ports of the Isle of Man, and in that capacity, was vested with the absolute right to the revenues arising from the imports into the Island, as well as the exports to Great Britain and Ireland. As that superiority was purchased with public money, the house of commons became entitled to be consulted by the lords of the treasury, on all points which might in future affect that revenue ; and the British parliament, therefore, now exercises the same power over the fiscal regulations of the Isle of Man as over the revenues of the United Kingdom.
In the year 1777 several ancient statutes were repealed and thirteen new ones were enacted, the cause of which, as described in the statute book, was, that many of the laws and customs of the Isle, having been found not only to be defective, but in many instances impolitic and very inadequate to the purposes of good order and government, it was therefore thought expedient to repeal all obsolete and useless laws, which, however properly adapted to more early ages, were then become insufferable and oppressive, and to institute a new arrangement and connection of the most wholesome laws, retaining every part possible of the ancient constitution.104
lit England so much had been written on what was called the close system, that the islanders began to be dissatisfied with the mode of electing the members of the house of keys. In February, 1838, petitions were presented to the governor, which were reported to have been signed by persons possessing considerable landed property in the Island, praying that, by an act of the insular legislature, the people might be empowered to elect the members of the house of keys, by a franchise similar to that enjoyed by the people of Great Britain in returning members to Parliament. The answer returned by the governor to these petitions was as follows :
" Government House, March 26th, 1838.
" Siu, I have had under consideration the petitions presented by Messrs. Moore and Clucas, as a deputation from the petitioners, praying that a constituency of the inhabitants of the Island may be formed for electing the members of the House of Keys, and it is my duty to inform you that such a change in the constitution of the Isle of Man cannot be agreed to ; and I have farther to inform you, that if a reform in the House of Keys is really wanted, a representation for the Island in Parliament, may be the measure of reform adopted.
I have the honour to be, Sir, your obedient servant,
" Major STEWART, Balladoole.
It may be observed that it is generally strangers who have been domiciled for a few years in the Island, who are most active in opposing the vested powers of the constituted authorities. The landed men or natives, when left to the free exercise of their own judgment, are a peaceable and contented race.
When Sir John Stanley was engaged in ascertaining and confirming the ancient laws and constitutions of his little Island kingdom, in A.D 1417, he found the " twenty four were elected by the suffrages of the people."105 In 1430, Henry Byron, lieutenant of the land of Man, held a court between the gates of the Castle of Rushen, composed of "six men out of every sheading, chosen by the whole commons of Man."106 While in 1422, when Sir John Stanley interrogated the deemsters and the twenty-four themselves, as to various points of the insular law, it was declared by them to be one of his prerogatives, " that without the lord's will none of the twenty-four keys (were) to be."107
It appears, therefore, that according to the ancient constitution of the Island, the keys were elected by the people as their representatives; and it would even seem, from the declaration of the deemsters and keys themselves just quoted, that unless it was agreeable to the lord's will the keys were to have no existence at all. If this declaration, therefore, be held as explanatory of the ancient constitution of this branch of the legislature, it may be a question whether the present queen of Great Britain, as vested with all the rights and prerogatives of the lords of Man, may not, if agreeable to her will, dispense altogether with the house of keys.
Regarding the efficacy and justice of their ancient executive, the Manks have the testimony of several eminent writers. " That the laws were more strictly carried into execution and with less trouble than in any other place in the world."108 Governor Sacheverell's remark, on the same subject, a century afterwards, is still more flattering to the Manks people. " There is one little barren spot," he says, " where law and justice, true religion and primitive integrity flourished in contempt of poverty, and all things the world calls misfortune."109 If such were the happy condition of the former inhabitants of Man, a writer of the present time assures us that they are not less happy and contented now; " As no people," he remarks, " are more blessed, so none are more happy and content than the Manks under their venerable laws, and simple, primitive, I had almost said patriarchal constitution. Universal suffrage, vote by ballot, annual, triennial, or septennial parliaments are terms unknown amongst us ; and heaven defend us from ever knowing them. Our flourishing and orderly state was well described to me by a traveller I accidentally met, two years since, on the continent : ` I have lately been visiting,' he said ` the Isle of Man, and I found there what I did not believe existed, a legislature governing wholly and solely for the public good, a people desiring nothing less than to send members to parliament, and a bishop happy in his freedom from the house of lords.' "110
Although these testimonies to the perfection of the Manks constitution, and its effects on the people are, evidently, highly coloured, there can be no doubt that the secluded little Island of Man, amid all its changes and convulsions, has long maintained a degree of social prosperity, unattained by many a more important rival community.
1 Sacheverell, ap. Ward's Ancient Records, p. 5.
2 This person is called Binle, by Camden; see Britannia translated by Gibson, London. edition folio1695. p 1052
3 Warrington's History of Wales, London, 1788, p. 241.
4 See vol. i, pp. 63, 78.
5 Camden's Britannia, London, folio edition, 1695, pp. 1066, 1069: Walsingham Hypodig Neustriae, p. 546. I shall conclude with the opinion of all the great lawyers of England, who have had occasion to mention the Isle of Man, namely, that it is a royal fief of the crown of England. Nisbet's Heraldry, vol. ii, p. 201.
6 " It hath been a clerical law within this Isle that any person, finding himself aggrieved by any censure in the spiritual court, may appeal to the staff of government or to the Lord of the Isle, as there shall be occasion, for it is a prerogative ; upon which appeals the temporal may prohibit the spiritual officers from all further proceedings and censures untill a different tryall be had. But if the Lord take the case upon himself or commissionate his prime officers here to determinate, then it is called the Lord's Prerogative Royal, so that the spiritual court is not only to sincease in their proceedings, but also deliver over the party and cause to the Lord, tho' it be in the case of suspension and excommunication, which is the utmost point of law the spiritual can proceed in. And if any person whatsoever shall presume to make his appeal, in any other course than is before prescribed, from any spiritual censure, by urging and preferring an appeal either to the Archbishop of York or the like, is to be punished at the Tynwald, and pay the fine of £6 3s. 4d. to the Lord of the Isle, or as the Lord or his officers shall think fit to impose. " Liber Scaccarii, anm. 1614, 1627, 1637, ap. Deemster Parr's MS. Ancient Ordinance and Statutes of the Isle of Man, p. 12.
7 Rolt's History of the Isle of Man, London, 1773, pp. 111, 112; Campbell's Political Survey of Great Britain, vol. ii, p. 535. The Isle of Man is a distinct territory from England, and is governed by its own laws; neither does any act of parliament extend to it, unless it be particularly named therein, and then an act of the British parliament is binding there. " Blackstone's Commentaries, p. 102.
8 Parr's MS. Statutes, p. 73 ; Lex Scripta, p. 34 ; Camden's Britannia, edit. 1695, p. 1068.
9 Seacome's History of the House of Stanley, Preston, edition 1793, p. 356.
10 Camden's Britannia, p. 1067.
11 "Though no writ from the Court of Westminster was of any authority in Man, an appeal from a decree of the Lord of the Island to the King of Great Britain in Council was authorised by law."-Blackstone's Commentaries, p. 102 ; Camden's Brittannia, edition 1695, p. 1067.
12 "The famous coronation chair was placed upon the Mutehill of Scone, and seated in it the Kings of Scotland, promulgated the laws, as is recorded of Kerinth Mae Alpine, Malcolm II, and Robert Bruce. "-Guthrie's History of Scotland, vol. i, p. 127. Olaus Magnus mentions a stone of a similar description near Upsal. History of the Goths and Vandals, London, 1658, p. 13.
13 There were different degrees of Barons, according to the extent of their holdings. The Barony of Bangor and Sabal, situated in the parish of Kirkpatrick, consisted of six computed, or seven real quarterlands. The barony of Trinians, in the parishes of German and Marown, consisted of five quarterlands ; whereas the barony of Ballelin, in the parish of Maughold, consisted only of half a quarterland. A quarterland was about an hundred acres. Feltham, pp. 159, 216, 218.
14 According to the Norwegian custom, the great Thing or court was held in the Island of Guley, where there was a hill exactly resembling the Tynwald Hill, in Man, on which the court was held in the open air. This sacred place was paled off by staves stuck in the ground and cords run through the staves. These cords were called Vebond (the sacred cord) and the pales Vestengr, (holy pales) the place within was called Langretta, all corresponding with the Tynwald Hill. The Langrettomen or jury men were also similar to the Manks Keys. Perhaps some of the regulations of the great Thing of Norway may also be recognised by the Manks lawyer. It is prohibited for every man who is not a juror or one of the constituted authorities to sit within the sacred cords, and whoever goes out of court, that is outside of the sacred cords, without necessity, shall pay a fine of two ores of silver, and those outside of the sacred cords who shall make noise or disturbance, shall pay a fine of one ore of silver." Gulathing's Lang. Thingfarar, cap. ix; ap. Repp's Scandiaavian Wages of Law , pp. 47, 49, 51, 52.
15 The Prior of St. Bees, the Abbot of Whithorn, and the Abbot of Banchor received lands from the Kings of Man, on which account they were Barons of Man, and were consequently obliged to attend the Kings and Lords of Man when required. Camden's Britannia, edition 1695, p. 1069 ; Liber Placitorum, anno, 1577, ap. Parr's MS. Statutes of the Isle of Man.
16 The Kings of England required a similar homage from their barons. It appears from Seldon that Henry III, in the forty-seventh year of his reign, summoned one hundred and fifty temporal and fifty spiritual barons to perform the service due by their tenures. In the thirty-fifth year of the subsequent reign, eighty-six temporal barons, twenty bishops, and forty-eight abbots were summoned to a parliament convened at Carlisle for the same purpose. " Mathew Paris, pp. 568, 579; Hume's History of England, cap. xii.
17 Johnston's Jurisprudence, p. 19. Except when there are new laws to promulgate, the Governor now holds his Tynwald Court in Castle Rushen. According to a modern Tourist " as the laws are now promulgated, there is more of the ludicrous than the grave in this formerly august Court." A Six Days' Tour, p. 131.
18 'Mills, p. 8 ; Lex Scripta, Douglas, 1819, 4, 5.
19 Johnstone's Jurisprudence of the Isle of Man, Edinburgh, 1811, pp. 24, 25. The Arch Druid received in like manner a white staff, on his accession to office. Toland's History of the Druids, London, 1726, p. 21.
20 Haining's Historical Sketch of the Isle of Man, p. 109.
21 Report of the Parliamentary Commissioners of 1792, ap. Feltham, p. 38.
22 Camden's Britannia, edition 1695, p. 1067.
23 Seacome's History of the House of Stanley, p. 35.
24 Johnstone's jurisprudence, p. 71; Rolt's History of the Isle of Man, London, 1773, p. 112.
25 Liber Scaccarii, anno 1599, 1600, 1601 ; ap. Parr's MS. Statutes, p. 61.
26 Rolt's History of the Isle of Man, p. 112. The power of the above officers with that of the water-bailiff and attorney-general ceases on the death of the king. The chief military officer who is generally styled major takes upon himself the preservation of the peace of the Island, by seizing the castle and forts, and preventing all tumults and disorders, until the civil power is restored and re-established by new commissions from the succeeding king." Seacome's History of the House of Stanley, Liverpool, edition 1741, quarto, p. 34.
27 The spiritual officers of the Island do not appear to have taken any share of the executive government before the seventeenth century. The first act of Tynwald signed by the Bishop, was promulgated on 24th of June, 1637. Lex Scripta, p, 110; Mill's Ancient ordinances, p. 91.
28 Report of the Parliamentary Commissioners, ap. Feltham, p. 36.
29 Johnstone's Jurisprudence.
30 Ibid, pp. 17, 18.
31 Mills's Laws, p 17.
32 Campbell's Political Survey of Great Britain, vol. ii, p. 336.
33 Johnstone's Jurisprudence, p. 17.
34 In the Gaedhlic, taisce is a pledge or hostage, and aisce a trespass.Letter from Mr. C. Vallancey, the Irish Antiquary, to Mr. Moore, of Douglas, ap. Feltham, p. 139.
35 Camden's Britannia; Chaloner, cap. iv; Coke's Fourth Institute, cap. lxix ; Sacheverell, pp. 88, 95 ; Willis's History of Cathedrals, vol. i, p. 369.
36 Manks Metrical History, 1344.
37 Mills's Laws, p. 27.
38 Mills's Laws, p. 8.
39 Mills's Laws, p. 73.
40 Camden's Britannia, article " Man"; Ward's Ancient Records, p. 12.
41 The Manks, in writing their dialect of the Celtic, give the letters the same power as the English do; thus keesh, in Manks signifying "tax," is pronounced keys. In Scottish Gaelic, the word cis, pronounced keesh, signifies " tax or tribute," and figuratively is very often used to signify " subjection." In Irish Gaelic, the word cios is pronounced kees and signifies " tax," as shown below in a text of scripture : Matthew, xxii, 17 : " Is it lawful to give tribute to Ceesar."
Manks version. Vel eh lowal
keesh y eeck da Cesar.
Scottish Gaelic, literally. Ambheil e ceaderichte cis a thabhaist do Cheasar.
Irish, literally. An cóir cíos do thabhaist do Sheasar.
Welsh, literally. Ai cyfreithlonwrn rhoddi teyrn-ged i Cesar ai nid yn.
42 It appears, however, that the Lord of the Isle had always the power of removing any of the keys at pleasure. In the year 1662, seven of the keys were removed from office, and a like number appointed solely by the Lord of the Isle. Record of the Trial of William Christian on Dec. 29, 1662, for High Treason, Historical Notices, p. 22; Note in Sir Walter Scott's Novels, vol. xxviii, p. 24.
43 Although this office is only held durante bene placito, yet, in modern times, individuals thus appointed are seldom removed. Camden's Britannia, folio, edition 1695, p. 1068.
44 Sacheverell, ap. Ward's Ancient Records, p. 18.
45 " Liber Scaccarii, anno 1605, ap. Parr's MS. Statutes, p. 93.
46 Oswald's Guide, p. 47.
47 Mills's Laws, pp. 366, 381.
48 Liber Scaccarii, A. n. 1621, 1636, ap. Deemster Parr's MS. Statutes, p. 94.
49 Report of the Parliamentary Commissioners, ap. Feltham.
50 Johnstone's Jurisprudence, p 21. It is not constitutionally incumbent on the governor to summon the whole twenty-four keys, which corresponds with the sovereign of England to grant or withhold a royal writ for the election of a member of parliament. With his council, the governor can, in his executive capacity, without the keys, in like manner as the British executive government can, act without the assistance of parliament. Sacheverell, ap. Ward's Ancient Records, p. 16.
51 " The Island is divided into two parts, south and north. The inhabitants of the former speak like the Scots, and of the latter like the Irish." Camden's Britannia, folio, edition 1695, p. 1052.
52 Johnstone's Jurisprudence, p. 70 ; Liber Scaccarii, anno 1599, 1600, 1601, ap. Parr, 61.
53 Chaloner. The deemsters are the judges both in cases of common law and of life and death. Some cases are brought before a court, but most controversies are settled at their own houses. Bishop Wilson, op. Ward's Ancient Records, p. 13.
54 Mills's Laws, p. 342. It appears that the governor issued a token of a similar description. In the year 1651, " John Moore of Kirk St. Anne hath made unlawfull and wrong Use of the Governor's Token, and converted it otherwise than he hath Directions for, for which he hath been punished by Imprisonment, and is still so to continue during the Governor's Pleasure; now for the Prevention of any such Error and Abuse to be committed by any Man hereafter, it is enacted, ordered, and decreed, That whosoever shall hereafter counterfeit or make false Use of the Governor's Token, he shall forfeit xxs. to the Lord's Use, and suffer imprisonment during the Governor's Pleasure; and whoever shall counterfeit or make false Use of the Deemster's Token, he shall forfeit xs. and suffer also Imprisonment during the Governor's Pleasure." Mills's Laws, p. 146.
55 The name of this officer is equivalent to "the pronouncer of doom or sentence." In this comprehensive sense the judges of the Isle of Man are called deemsters ; but in Scotland the word was long restricted to the designation of an official person whose duty it was to recite the sentence after it had been pronounced by the court and recorded by the clerk, on which occasion the deemster legalized it by the words of form "and this I pronounce for doom." For a length of years the office was held with that of executioner, for when this odious but necessary officer of justice received his appointment, he petitioned the court of justiciary to be received as their deemster, which was granted as a matter of course. Waverley Novels, vol. xii, p. 173 ; Pitcairn's Criminal Trials, vol. iii, p. 156.
56 Mills's Laws, p. 18.
57 They had judges called brehns, who, on a hill, seated on sods of earth, determined all controversies among the people, even murder, rape, and robbery were punished with a mulct, of which the brehon had the eleventh part for his salary. This kind of fine the Albanian Scots, who had of old the same kind of customs, called a cro cast. Ware's Antiquities of Ireland, Dublin, 1705, p. 22.
58 Camden's Britannia, 1695, p. 1067.
59 Johnstone's Jurisprudence, p. 71.
60 Campbell's Political Survey of Great Britain, vol. ii, p. 536; Camden's Britannia, p. 1065.
61 Commentaries, i, vi.
62 Statute Book, folio 93; Mills, p. 18. Thus was the Island governed till it was given to Sir John Stanley, by King Henry IV. At his coming hither, Sir John brought over with him one Michael Blondel, a very wise gentleman, of Lancashire, whom he made governor of the Island, and he, on observing the inconvenience of these breast laws, ordered, for the future, that all cases decided in their courts by their deemsters should be written down by the clerk of the rolls, and kept as a register of precedents, " when like cases chanced to fall out again." These books of precedents none are permitted to peruse except the lord's officers. Camden's Britannia, edition 1695, p. 1065.
63 Camden's Britannia, edit. 1695, p. 1065.
64 This custom seems to be somewhat similar to that of the bourmack, formerly practised in Orkney. Transactions of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, vol. ii, part ii, p. 415.
65 MS. Statute Book, " Deemster's charge," p. 11.
66 Statutes, anno 1747, 1753, 1763, op. Mills's Laws, pp. 276, 308, 342, 343.
67 Statute, anno 1419 ; Mills's Laws, p. 27.
68 Mills's Laws, p. 88.
69 Mills's Laws, p. 309.
70 Orders and Directions given by Lord Strange, Nov., 1636; Mills's Laws, p. 88. 4 The Deemster holds a court at Douglas once a fortnight. An idea may be formed of the number of cases that come under his cognizance there annually, from the circumstance that when the summary court was opened by Deemster Heywood at Douglas, on the 5th of February, 1838, " There were one hundred and forty cases on the cause roll." Roll of the Deemster's Court.
70 Haining's Guide, p. 105.
71 Johnstone's Jurisprudence, pp. 74, 124. By the Statute, 3 and 4, William IV, cap. 53, which commenced 1st September, 1833, for the prevention of smuggling, the Deemsters are invested with all the powers exercised by Justices of the Peace in Great Britain, so far as regards offences committed against the customs. Sec. 75, 93. By an act of the British parliament, in 1838, the same power is vested in the Manks Justices of the Peace.
72 Camden's Britannia, folio, 1695, p. 1065.
73 Lex Scripta, p. 416.
74 Johnstone's Jurisprudence, p. 151.
75 Mill's Statute Laws, p. 116.
76 Liber Scaccarii, anno 1611.
77 Mills's Statute Laws, p. 87.
78 Ibid., p. 29.
79 Lex Scripta, p. 28. There was formerly a civil officer in Scotland called a erowner, who was vested with powers similar to the coroner, and was entitled to like rewards. By the act James III, p. 14, cap. cxiii, it was ordained "that the crowner have the goods of persons convict, the dauntoned horse, depute to work and not to the saddle, never shod nor used to shoone." Acts of Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh, 1685, p. 79.
80 MS. Statute Book, " Coroner's Duty."
81 Statute, folio 41 ; Customary Law, 13 ; Parr's MS. Statute Book, " Coroner's Duty."
82 Camden's Britannia, edt. 1695, p. 1068. " We know that the Manks coroner, like the sheriff of Great Britain, must execute the sentence of the judge, though it should extend to death." Jolznstone's Jurisprudence, p. 81. And "like the Scotch sheriff, he has a deputy called a lockman, this being still the title of the public exe cutioner in Edinburgh and throughout the greater part o£ Scotland. He is so called from having formerly received his salary by a kind of thirlage, which consisted of a perquisite of meal out of every sack brought to market. The expression lock, for a small quantity of meal or any dry divisable substance is still preserved." Jamieson's Scottish Dictionary. The finisher of the law in Dumfries exercised this privilege down to a late period. He went unmolested through the meal market, and received from each person exposing meal for sale the full of an iron ladle which he carried for that purpose. This ladle is in my possession. I have seen Peter Grant, the hangman at Ayr, collecting his tithe in a similar manner. From this statement it may be seen that the office of lockman, in the Isle of Man, and that of public executioner, in Scotland, were formerly analogous.
83 Liber Scaccarii, anno 1582, 1592, op. Parr's MS. p. 65.
84 Mills's Laws, p. 6.
84 Statute, folio 43 ; MS. Common Statute, " Common Law Court;" Mills's Laws, p. 60.
85 Statutes, 1589, 1595, 1602, 1609, 1610, 1618 ; Statute Book, pp. 7, 75; Parr's MS. Statute, " Common Law Court;" Mills, pp. 60-62, 367, 382.
86 A salary of £20 is now annexed to this office. The coroners are generally respectable yeomen.
87 Mills's Laws, p. 12.
88 There is another court of great antiquity called the settinq quest. It consists of four landed proprietors, appointed for life, to determine boundaries, and to levy fines upon all such as omit to keep their boundary fences n sufficient repair. In cases of difficulty, the setting quest is assisted by a jury of twelve called, the grand quest.
89 There were formerly officers, called mairs, with similar powers, appointed by the sheriff. " Mairs or sergeants in royalty, regality, and burgh to have wands and horns in manner set down in the Act James I, Parliament 6th, cap. xcix." If these officers were found guilty of falsehood or oppression in the execution of their office, they were, by the Act James VI, Parliament 11th, cap. lxxiii, to suffer the punishment of death. ,
90 Statutes, anno 1422, 1582, 1592, 1600, 1602, 1607, 1611 ; Statute Book, folios 2, 7, 39, 45 ; MS. Statutes, " Mear's Duty."
91 Liber Placilorum, anno 1632, up. Parr's MS. Statutes, p. 104.
92 The high sumner is an officer of very ancient appointment, and is invested with very considerable powers. He is a kind of executor to all aliens dying in the Island. He can make an inventory and valuation of their effects to pay burial expenses and distribute the residue amongst the creditors.
93 Townley's Journal, vol. ii, p. 282.
94 Haining's Guide, p. 110.
95 Appendix, Note i, " Law Practitioners."
96 Statute, 1519.
97 Statute, 1581.
98 Mills's Laws, p. 15.
99 Liber Placitorum, anno 1577, 1601, ap. Parr's Statutes, p. 47.
100 Camden, p. 1455; Sacheverell, p. 94.
101 Johnstone's Jurisprudence, p. 63. Mr. Johnstone was, seemingly, not aware "that all Bishops are prohibited, by the canons of the church, from being judges in cases of life and death." See Encyclopcedia Britannica, edition 1810, p. 633. This usage was observed by the Anglo Saxons, even before the conquest, the bishop or a priest appointed by him always sat in their great mote along with the governor, till sentence of death was about to be pronounced, when the churchman withdrew.
102 It is the duty of the Attorney-General to plead all causes in which the Lord of the Isle is concerned, and all cases of widows and orphans. Camden's Britannia, edit. 1695, p. 1068.
103 Appendix, Note ii, " Schedule of Local Licence Duties."
104 Mills's Laws, p. 359.
105 Ward's Ancient Records, p. 18.
106 Mills's Ancient Ordinances, p. 11.
107 Ibid, p. 18.
108 Coke's Fourth Institute, cap. lxix ; Report of Kellway, Surveyor of the Court of Wards in the eleventh of Henry VIII; Calvin, lib. vii, cap. xxi ; Campbell's Political Survey of Great Britain, vol. ii, cap. viii, sec. iii.
109 Introduction to Sacheverell's Account of the Isle of Man, London, 1702.
110 Ward's Ancient Records, p. 21.The Rev. W. P. Ward, son of, and domestic chaplain to, the late bishop of Man.