[From Wood's Account of IoM, 1811 - part 2]
On the Revenue.
A s the purpose of a government is, or ought to be, to maintain order in society, to protect the inhabitants from domestic disturbance, or the invasion of a foreign foe ; so ought the people to contribute, according to their mea~np, to the support of such a government.
The revenue of a country is public property, and should be devoted exclusively to purposes of public benefit.
The laws of society, being founded upon general utility, have little to do with those of nature ; and justice enters little into war. The modern laws of civilized nations are so much ameliorated, that the inhabitants of a conquered country retain their private property. Formerly their land and themselves were both seized by the invaders. We find Godred Crovan taking possession of the lands of Man and granting them to his soldiers on certain conditions. From this period, perhaps before, the possessors of the soil were the Lords tenants, paying him a rental; and are frequently so termed in the statutes The rental had for so long a time remained unaltered that people thought, while they continued to pay them, that they had a right to the soil , and one of the lords, endeavouring in the seventeenth century to ejcct some of them, caused discontents which terminated in an act of settlement or compact between the Lord and his people in the year 1703, wherein the tenures are, on certain fines or rentals, confirmed to the possessors. Thus, though the seizing of lands by the conqueror was no better than a robbery, yet have long usage, and espectally the above-mentioned agreement, secured to the Lord-proprietor, and his heirs, for ever, the right of a certain revenue, amounting to fourteen hundred pounds, Mank; currency, for his and their individual use.
All money, either for public services not specified, or for the benefit of the Lord, his manerial rights, a few fees, fines and prerogatives excepted, arose from a duty on imports and exports, the most just of taxes, whenever the public good requires them, and less felt by the people than any other. By whose authority it was levied we cannot tell, most probably by that of the lord alone. The statute wherein it is first mentioned is dated 1577, and though it does not appear that the Deemsters and Keys were consulted upon the occasion, yet the note at the end would imply that they were, did we not learn by a subsequent act of 1736, that they were not consulted on a similar occasion in 1692. I suppose this order or first book of rates to be rather intended to asccrtain or settle what were doubtful than to enact new ones. To shew the reader the duties of those days, when money was a scarce commodity~ the record is here annexed.
" The rates of the Customs at every port. within the Isle of Man, allowed and confirmed by the Right Honourable Henry, Earl of Derby, Lord of the said Isle, Given the 28th. of June, Anno Domini 1577.
.....[table to be inserted]
Whether the custom-house revenue yielded, at that time, any surplus to the Lord, after payment of the public expenses, of the island may with some persons appear a doubtful matter. I suspect that it did ; since all the civil officers were entitled to certain fees from the inhabitants, as compensation for the trouble given to them: and I do not find that any but the Deemsters had a salary from the Lord. This was a discretionary one of 7l 10s. to each, afterwards increased to.13l. 6s. 8d. and again reduced in 1696 to the original sum. The Lord himself had various perquisites ; and among them a fee for every action at common law. I am further confirmed in my opinion by not finding in the estimate of the revenue of the island, made out for the Lords of the Treasury by Duke John and the late Duchess-dowager, any deductions for the súpport of the established government.
The duties were increased in the year 1692; but the book of rates does not appear among the statutes, although referred to by an act of 1736, wherein most of the old duties were confirmed with . several additions ; and prizage of wine commuted for the payment of ten shillings per tun. *
In the time of the last Earl of Derby, Lord of Man, the customs were estimated at 2,500 1. per annum, and were farmed by him to an English merchant. The public expenditure of the same æra was 700 1. per annum.
In the course of the last century, the smuggling trade had so much increased, that the Duke of Athol, the Lord, obtained for his pri:vate use the annual surplus of nearly six thousand pounds, British.
An abstract of the clear revenue, derived from the island by the Lord, for the ten years, be-ginning with 1754 and endingwith 1763, drawn up previously to the sale, states the average annual amount to be 72931. 0s. 6d. arising as follows;
The revenues given up to England for the sum of seventy thousand pounds British, were only those of the second and third heads, amounting to 5,612/. 3s. Sd. British, per annum.
Public services specified, and for which internal taxes, continual or occasional, are levied, are of four sorts : the building or repairing of churches ; the building of bridges ; the making and keeping in order of high-roads ; and the maintenance of the clergy.
No church can be erected at the public expense without an especial act of Tinwald. It is customary for such act to specify in what manner the necessary money is to be raised : and each parish is obliged to bear its own burden.
The repairing of a church is a less important matter, and its necessity or expediency is determined by a majority of the parishioners themselves, convened by the church-warden for that purpose. The money, requisite for defraying the expenses, is levied upon the inhabitants in proportion to their rentals.
The building of a bridge requires a previous act of Tinwald. The expense incurred is usually defrayed by an annual poll-tax of one penny upon all the inhabitants, continued till a sufficient sum is received. Part of the revenue thus raised was once intended and used for the purpose of rebuilding St. Johns chapel.
The high-road fund, a most essential one, arises from a tax upon every retailer of ale or spirits ; a tax upon lands and houses ; a tax upon dogs and some few and very trifling fines, not worth mentioning here, but which will be particularizcd when I speak of crimes and ther punishments.
Retailers of ale and spirits used to pay to this fund, the annual sum of 0s. 9d. besides 14d. to the Governors clerk, 7d. to the Comptroller for the drawing out of each licence, and 9d. to the Keys for the reparation of their house and other necessary expenses : but thç whole sum of 1 2s. 6d. has been, since the year 1776, devoted to the fund which we now speak of. Their number being three hundred, or nearly so, they contribute about 1801.
The proprietor of each quarterland was to furnish four men for one day or term, or compound for their labour ; other lands and houses, in proportion to their original, or Lords rent. The penalty of not complying with the notice of the parochial surveyor to send such labourers was one shilling for each man deficient. One cart with two horses and a driver, when required, were considered equal to four men. All the inhabitants of a parish, possessing land or houses, were obliged to contribute thus in rotation, none being liablç to more than three turns or days!
work in the course of one year. This labour being now almost invariably commuted into sums of money, produces between 7001. and SOOl. per annum.
Whoever has, keeps, or makes use of any grey-hound, half-bred greyhound, pointer, spaniel, or other dog, used or fit for coursing, pointing, set~. ting, or shooting, is obliged to pay six shillings annually for each : for any hound, beagle, or other dog proper for hunting, or used for that purpose, three shillings : for all other dogs, sixpence. This tax produces from 601. to 80l.
By these means is annually raised the sum of nearly 10001. for making and repairing high-roads.
The officiating of clergymen, being a public benefit, should be paid for by the public. The application of tithes to any secular purpose, for instance, the Lords private purse, is a perversion of their use.
The first establishment of tithes for the benefit of the clergy under the Christian dispensation, was made by Charlemagne, in order to support this class of society, then falling to decay, and as some compensation for the losses which they had sustained under his grandfather,
Charles Martel, who had seized upon all the church lands, forming, at that time, the greater part of the kingdom, and had distributed them among the soldiery. He divided the tithes into four parts, appropriating one to the bishop, another to maintaining the fabrick of the church, one to the poor, and the remaining one to the incumbent.* On instituting a parochial clergy in England a similar plan was adopted. f
I have been unable to learn any thng of the early distribution of the tithes in Man It appears, that the Lord had the greater part, the bishop a small part, perhaps dependant upou the Lord, and the inferior clergy a much smaller part. §. Gough, editor of Camdens Britannia, says, that the Lords share of tithes accrued to J:ijni " either as 1ord or abbot."
In the reign of Charles the Second, under the episcopate of Barrow, a collection was made for purchasing of the Lord-proprietor, for the use of the clergy, and the establishment of a free-school, one-third part of most of the impropriations ; the Earls lands at Bisphern in Lancashire being mortgaged for the payment.
The poor clergy have the annual sum of one hundred pounds, granted in the same reign, and payable out of the excise-revenue for ever. When all incomes for public services, with a few exceptions, rents of land, and all incomes of pub-lie companies, such as the new-river and insurance companies, were taxed in the year 1763, for that year only, with the sum of four shillings in the pound, this annuity was declared not to be included within the meaning of the act.
The general division of tithes is, at present, three-fold ; one to the Bishop, one to the Lord-proprietor, where not granted away, and the remaining one to the incumbent. The parishes of Braddon and Rushen are exceptions to this order, the Bishop having one-third, and the Lord- proprietor two. The incumbents have also glebe lands and some fees, the former arising from private donations of charitable and religious peopie, of whom Bishop Wilson was the chief.
Tithes are, for the most part, a tenth of the produce of the soil ; and are divided into great and small. The latter consist of the following articles, coinniuted in the year 1643, into the annexed annual sums of money:
One milk cow . 4s.
Eight milk sheep 2s.
Four milk goats 2s.
The tithe of eggs was long before settled thus
One hen. . . . . . one egg.
One cock, if the only one, . two eggs. ;
These were to be brought to the church on every Easter-sunday, and it was usual for the minister to debar his parishioners from the communion till the proper offering had been made. This practice was abolished in 1643 : the ministers were ordered to receive their parishioners to the communion on the Easter Sunday, and the people were ordered to pay their small tithes on one of the two following days*.
The great tithes are taken from the farm, the farmer having given due notice to the proper person.
Some of the estates are tithe free, the owners having purchased the tithes of one of the Lord-proprietors, who was authorized to sell them by an act of the English parliament. Others pay a modus, usually a very small one, in lieu of payment in kind. The Calf of Man does not, nor, I believe ever did, pay any tithe : nor should it do so, since it has not any church or minister to support. It is also free, and justly so, from all internal taxes, having no highways of its own, and receiving little advantage from those on the main land.
There was formerly a tithe upon all fresh fish landed ; upon ale brewed ; and a tithe of two-pence a year upon every man who was engaged in any scieflce or occupation, even if he used it. only three times in a yeal.
The tithes of a parish are frequently farmed by one person, who finds it his interest to make a compositioli with the farmers individually. Those of Rushen parish are now let for 180l. per annum and this is thought to be superior to an averageof all the parishes.
The clergy are entitled to a few perquistes such as church-rnortuaries of eight shillings from any deceadent, leaving twenty shillings or upwards, in personal effects.
The clerk and the church-warden, as well as the minister, deserve a remuneration for their trouble. The former had fourpence a year for every plough, and one penny from every person who did not keep a plough, but kept smocth, and also a trifling mortuary. These sums are now raised, and have some others added to them. The latter officer is elected for only one year, and is not, I believe, entitled to any other compensation than the service iii their turn of his fellow parishioners.
The coroner was entitled to four-pence a year for every quarter-land, and to one penny for every mill, intack, or cottage. Most of the civil officers have some fee from the person employing them.
Every quarter-land used to contribute, annually, two shillings, and every intack sixpence to the Lord, in place of carriage-services for building or repairing forts and houses, an old feudal custom. For the last forty years they have been falling gradually into disuse : the people refused payment, and they are not now demanded.
The Lords prerogatives of mines, wrecks, treasure-trove, and some other things, should scarcely be considered as a revenue, derived from the public, and consequently are not mentioned here.
The other public services are the civil and military establishments of the country, and the making and repairing of harbours, paid for, since the revesting-act, by the British government, who, on the other hand, have the receipt of the custom-house revenue.
The act, which passed immediately after the revestment was relative only to trade, and to the prevention of any future smuggling. The old duties were continued till two years afterwards, when they were all repealed, and the following new ones levied: