[From Wood's Accout of IoM, 1811]
HAVING resolved to visit the Isle of Man, a place remarkable for the singularity of its laws, customs, and privileges, my curiosity prompted me, previously to setting obtain every information in my power respecting it. With some difficulty I procured a map of the island, but tried in vain to purchase any book upon the subject.
During my stay in Man, I heard various complaints of the want of such a publication, and was thereby determined to submit to the indulgence of the public the present collection of facts and observations.
This is, I believe, the only work which combines, with a description of the country, a history of the island, and an outline of its laws; and the only one which has even touched upon its mineralogy.
Of the subjects mentioned in the title page, I make three divisions; the first containing a general and particular description of the state of the island; the second, an account of its constitution, laws, and privileges, the latter relative to strangers; and the third, its history from the earliest tradition to the present timed
* Since the writing of this preface I have met with a book, published in 1808, entitled, "A Descriptive and Historical Account of the Isle of Man, with a view of its society, manners, and customs; partly compiled from various authorities, and from observations made in a tour through the island in the summer of 1808, dedicated to his Majesty, by Nathaniel Jefferys, formerly representative in parliament for the city of Coventry." 12mo. p. 200, price 8s.---This title page, the author considers " a sort of literary licence for picking and stealing."
It is the duty of a person, who writes for the public eye, to give every information in his power, upon the subject he has chosen; to examine authorities, and to relate many things which have been related before. The authorities of the Jeweller to the Prince of Wales appear to have been Robertson and Feltham Had the treatise been valuable, it would have checked my own presumption. The period of ten or fourteen years makes considerable alteration in the appearance of an improving country; and the author has not been careful to separate what continues to be true from that which is so no longer.
Nineteen pages. of the preface relate to his former publications, and his transactions with the Prince of Wales. They contain an apology for his past conduct, and an assurance to the public that the subsequent liberality (a powerful argument) of his Royal Highness has convinced him of his former errors.