[taken from Chapter 3 Manx Worthies, A.W.Moore, 1901]

 WILLIAM CALLISTER (b. 1808, d. 1872),

was educated at the Liverpool Institute and afterwards at a private school at Daresborough in Cheshire.* On his return home, he soon took an active part in his father's business, that of a timber merchant, which he largely extended. He was also, after 1837, prominently associated with the movement for the reform of the House of Keys, becoming its chief leader in the north of the island. Though nominated once or twice prior to 1847, as a member of that body, he refused to accept the position but in that Year, somewhat to the surprise of his friends, he consented to do so. It is probable that he came to the conclusion that he could work more effectually from within than from without, and so the result proved. He almost at once, owing to his great force of character and unusual powers of speech, became one of the most influential members of the Keys. This was shown by his being commissioned, together with the late George William Dumbell, in 1853 to interview the Treasury with reference to the burning question of the customs duties. Their mission resulted in obtaining some important financial advantages. In recognition of those services, they both received a handsome piece of silver plate from the Keys. Years later he formed one of the deputation who went to London on the no less burning Port Erin question; and again, in 1860, he and the late William Farrant were deputed to go to London to negotiate with the Woods and Forests Commissioners about the commons lands, and succeeded in obtaining more favourable terms than those first offered by the commissioners. In 1851, he was appointed a magistrate; in 1855, chairman of the magistrates; and, in 1864, captain of the Parish of Bride. He was a member of the first Asylum Committee which was elected in 1863. In the popularly elected House of Keys he represented the sheading of Ayre, and continued to do so till his death. On the death of Edward Gawne, his friends desired to put him forward as their candidate for the Speakership of the House of Keys, but he declined the honour, and used his influence In favour of the late Sir John S. Goldie-Taubman. He was just as active in the new House as in the old, being especially vigorous in denouncing the financial settlement arrived at with the British Government in 1866, remarking, in the Tynwald Court, on one occasion: " It just comes to this, that we are to spend the money just as they (the British Government) tell us, and the idea that the representatives of the island will have the right to spend it is all moonshine." He was also made much use of in the executive work of the Tynwald Court, being a member of both the Harbour and Highway Board, and, for a long time, chairman of the latter board. Equally active in other ways, we find him a founder of the Isle of Man Banking Co., Ltd., and of a Savings Bank in Ramsey, and prime mover in starting the " Manx Fairy " steamer. He may truly be said to have been not only one of the most eloquent speakers that ever sat in the Manx Legislature, but one of the most valuable of Manx citizens.

* He had a remarkable faculty for figures, being able to add up three columns of them at the same time.

William Callister
From 60 Years of Banking



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