[From 1911 MacDonnell Inquiry]
Mr. Hall Caine.
GENERAL STATEMENT ON THE REFORM OF THE CONSTITUTION AND ADMINISTRATION OF
THE ISLAND, WITH SUGGESTIONS AS TO THE POLICY WHICH IT IS DESIRABLE TO ADOPT
FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE RESOURCES OF THE ISLAND AND ITS INDUSTRIES.
I have had life-long familiarity with the Isle of
Man, and have been a landowner here for about twenty
years, being now either the sole owner or the mortgagee
of (as nearly as I can judge) about 1,500 to 2,000
acres, as well as the principal mortgagee of considerable
business properties in the towns of Douglas and
Ramsey. My stake in the Island is probably as large
as that of any other man, therefore its welfare is a
matter of the deepest interest and concern to me.
For about ten years I have been a Justice of the Peace
in the Isle of Man, and for about eight years I was a
member of the House of Keys. I am not a director of
any public company in the Island, and have no interest
in the liquor traffic; but I hold Government Bonds, and
Debentures in the " Isle of Man Times " Company, and
the Ramsey Bay Hotel, which is my property, holds a
license. Beyond this, I think I am entirely detached
from any insular financial interests which might in any
way whatever affect my judgment or influence my
I humbly submit that during my time the Island
has laboured under three principal disadvantages
(a) its constitution, which has not provided machinery
favourable to schemes of progress; (b) its administration,
which has often been characterised by lethargy
and sometimes by inefficiency; and (c) its geographical
and economic limitations, which has left it incapable,
as a very small self-governing and therefore self-dependent
community, of larger schemes of social
I also submit that a wise scheme of reform must
take account in detail of all these conditions.
I think he should in future be appointed for a term
of years, not fewer than five, but not more than ten.
I think his salary is not at present sufficient to
enable him to maintain the dignity of the representative
of the King, without personal loss, and that it
might be considerably increased.
Alternatively, I think he. ought always to be a man
of considerable private means, which he would be able
and willing to spend on the Island in addition to his salary.
I think it desirable, though, perhaps, not essential,
that in a community like this he should always (as chief
official) be in possession of a title.
I think his veto should be preserved on all financial
matters, but that he should have no veto on purely
domestic (insular) affairs that are not chiefly financial.
I think the Lieutenant-Governor should be required
to call and consult an Advisory Council of three, including
himself, one member being nominated by him
from the number of the officials appointed by the
Crown, and the other by the House of Keys.
I think this Advisory Council should be appointed
for a limited term-one, two, or three years. I think
the member of the Advisory Council nominated by the
House of Keys should be charged with the duty of
introducing Government measures in the Keys'
I think it desirable, though not essential, that the
House ofKeys' representative in the Advisory Council
should be paid,
I think one of the Deemsterships should, at the first
vacancy, cease to exist, and that for the better administration
of justice in so small a community it is highly
desirable that an Appeal Court should be formed by the
annual visit of a British Judge of the High Courts.
I think Judges in the Island should be forbidden
to hold positions of profit or trust that might, under
any circumstances, conflict with or affect their judicial duty.
I think one High Bailiff sufficient to do the work of
the whole Island, and that in the height of the
visiting season (August) all cases from the outlying
country should be brought to him in Douglas.
I think the High Bailiff should be forbidden to
hold any office of profit or trust in connection with the
liquor traffic, or with any financial institution (such as
a bank) which has business relations with the trade in
I think the Attorney-General should be allowed
private practice as counsel only, and that his salary
should be increased to 1,5001., on condition that the
terms of his appointment should admit of his services
being available for any advocacy and advice required
by the recognised public boards of the Island that are
affiliated to the Tynwald Court; and that he shall be
required to draft all Bills of the House of Keys
whereof the principle has been approved by resolution
of a clear majority of the House.
I think the Vicar-General, as such, should be liberated
of that part of his ecclesiastical duty which affects
the civil position of the people.
I think his membership of the Legislative Council
should be left, with proper restrictions as to the total
number, to the discretion of the Lieutenant-Governor,
and that if used it should be based solely on his civil,
not his ecclesiastical, functions.
I think it desirable that there should be an elective
element in the Council; but out of regard to the fact
that there are large interests in the Island which the
Keys cannot represent, and in order to relieve the
Lieutenant-Governor of the odium that might attach
to the frequent exercise of his veto. I think it necessary
that a minority of members should be elected.
I think that minority should be as large as possible.
I think it necessary (under existing conditions),
although not desirable, that the Judges should continue
to sit in the Legislative Council.
I think the Archdeacon (after the time of the
present holder of the office) should cease to sit.
I think the police ought to be under the control of
the Lieutenant-Governor and his Advisory Council,
the complaints of the public being expressed by their
representative in the Keys.
I think the police should be empowered and required
by the Lieutenant-Governor and his Advisory Council
to enforce the observance of all Acts of Tynwald.
I think the legal (as distinguished from the traditional)
power over Finance of the British Treasury,
and of their representative, the Lieutenant-Governor,
should be maintained, both in the protection of the
solvency of the Manx Treasury, and in the interests of
the British investors (in the real estate of the Island)
who are not represented at the polls.
I think the finances should (as far as possible) fall
into a common fund.
I think it should be the first effort of Government
to restore that part of the declining Manx industries
which is allied to the visiting industry, and so remove
the anomaly of the Island being fed by great quanti-
ties of food brought from England while its own re-
sources remain unexhausted.
I do not think it is necessary or desirable to attempt
the restoration of such of the native industries-as have
been exhausted or superseded by mechanical inventions.
I think it should be an early duty of Government
to reclaim (under expert direction) the vast areas (prob-
ably not less than 6,000 to 7,000 acres) of waste land,
or imperfectly cultivated land, which are capable of
complete or even partial reclamation.
I do not think the Government should buy the
lands it reclaims, but that it should enforce its expenses
as a first charge on the property, entitling the Execu-
tive to control it.
I think the Government should, by the agency of
existing banks, encourage some such system of Agri-
cultural Banking as in Italy and in Egypt has con-
tributed so materially to the development of farming
and to the prosperity of the small farmer.
Poultry and Fruit Farming.
I think the Government should (again under expert
advice) encourage poultry and fruit farming in the interests
of the visiting season and its urgent requirements.
I think the Government should assist in the estab-
lishment of Communal Creameries (outside a five mile
radius of Douglas and a three mile radius of Ramsey) in
many of the principal farms, to which the smaller
farmers (on the Danish co-operative principle) could
bring their surplus milk.
I think the share of the Government should be a
first charge on results.
I think the Government should (under wise coun-
sels) develop the decaying fishing industry, by assisting
the boat-owners to build larger boats capable of going
longer voyages, and by directing the course of the
I think the Government should provide one steamer
at least to run the herrings from the fishing-ground
into Liverpool, etc., in time for the morning market of
the same day as the catch.
I think the Government should build curing-
stations at Peel, Port St. Mary, and perhaps Ramsey.
I think the share of the Government should be a
first charge on earnings.
Without unduly impeding emigration, I think the
Government should try to stay the tide of it by making
whatever provision seems profitable for the native
labour which is no longer required in the industries
(such as lead mining) that are dying out and cannot
(apparently) be restored.
I think an Agricultural College ought to be established
in some suitable place, to teach the latest methods
of farming, to improve Manx stock and Manx butter,
and to check the present disproportionate production
of Manx turnips by the substitution of ford stuffs (lettuce,
peas, beans, etc.) more urgently required for the
I think this college would be a much-needed means
of education to young Manx farmers in the testing of
new seeds, etc., from other countries.
Balance of Population.
I think it should be an effort of Government to
restore, by such modern measures as I have indicated.
the balance of population between town and country
which has been seriously disturbed by the rapid growth
of the visiting industry and the equally rapid decline of
the industries of fishing, boat-building, sail-making,
net-making, cloth-making and weaving, and, above all,
by the extermination of a large proportion of small
Higher and Technical Education.
I think steps ought to be taken, with as little delay
as possible, to establish Technical Schools (especially
for joinery, engineering, and architecture), and to
promote such a system of higher education as will
enable exceptionally gifted Manx youths to go up, by
means of insular scholarships, to the -Universities, the
College of Music, etc.
I think telephonic communication with the mainland
is urgently required, not only for the existing business
of the Island, but also in order to encourage the growth
of a residential population of well-to-do people from
England, who (being in business there) might establish
summer homes here.
Steamship and Railway Service.
I think the Government should exercise the right to
regulate these services in the general interests of the
Island, and with a view to the better administration of
its postal service and the development of its visiting
I think a Medical Officer of Health for the Island
ought to be appointed, thorough supervision and
notification of all contagious diseases (especially con-
sumption) made compulsory, and complete regulations
of food supplies (particularly milk and butcher's meat)
Old Age Pensions.
I think Old Age Pensions should be established and
paid for out of revenue, but that the terms should be
about half of what they are in Great Britain (2s. 6d. or
3s. a week), on the ground that it is easier for the poor
to live on little, and also because there is at present in
the Isle of Man (owing to undue emigration) a great
disproportion of the old to the young-the wage.
earning and tax-paying part of the community.
I think the Imperial Government should be asked
(by resolution of Tynwald) to incorporate the Isle of
Man in the provisions of its Scheme for State Insur-
ance and Invalidity, including the building of Sanatoria
for Consumptives, and the development of the Dispen-
sary system of cure.
I think the Harbour Works of Douglas, Ramsey,
Peel, &c., should be maintained and developed accord-
ing to the true requirements of the increasing visiting
industry, but I do not think that very large sums should
be spent, or undertaken to be spent, at the present time,
while so much requires to be done for the development
of the home industries.
I think a Visitors' Tax (equivalent in character,
though not in amount, to the Swiss Kurtax) ought to
be charged towards the maintenance of the Harbour
Works and the public roads.
This tax might take the form of a twopenny Manx
stamp on all weekly hotel and boarding-house receipts,
irrespective of amount.
I think this Visitors' Tax would realise about
10,000l. a year.
As the Isle of Man depends now so largely on its
visiting industry, and as the industries of agriculture
and fishing are so closely allied to the visiting
industry, I think the rule in respect of public advertising
in Great Britain should be relaxed, so as to permit
of the levying of a small rate for purposes of better
I think the money raised by this rate should be, as
at present, under the control of a Committee of
Tynwald Court, but subject to the discretion of the
Lieutenant-Governor and his Advisory Council, and such
expert assistance as he might call in.
I think public advertising ought also to be subject
to the veto of the Lieutenant-Governor.
Inasmuch as winter unemployment in an Island so
largely dependent on a short summer season is liable to
increase as the visiting industry increases (notwith-
standing any development of the home industries), I
think the Government should be encouraged to further
steadily the work (such as waste land reclamation)
which does not require skilled labour, and to employ, as
far as possible, the labour to be found on the spot.
I think the Lieutenant-Governor should be encouraged
and required by the English Treasury to avail
himself of all the aids, directions, and expert assistance
of the Imperial Boards, such as the Board of Agriculture
and Fishing, whenever Insular money is being spent.
I think real estate in the Island ought to be made
to bear a larger share of the Insular burden, but that
the revenue from this source ought to go, as far as
possible, towards increasing the capital value of the
Island and developing its earning power, as in land
reclamation and the restoration of Manx industries.
I think all the recommendations I have made
towards the development of the home industries could
be carried out by capitalizing the surplus revenue,
without materially increasing the present taxation.
This capitalization, if undertaken by the English
Treasury on a forty years' arrangement, would realize
about 300,000l., which ought to be sufficient for all the
purposes I have described.
I think this capital outlay ought to be extended
over a period of not less than ten years.
I think all work should be done under the direc-
tion of the Lieutenant-Governor, assisted by his
Advisory Council, on votes made by the Court of
Tynwald-the Court exercising the power given over
Surplus by the Act of 1866, and the Lieutenant-Governor
retaining his right to a veto, as representing the
Payment to the Imperial Treasury.
I do not think it is necessary, or reasonable, to ask
that the annual payment of 10,000l. to the Imperial
Treasury should be remitted, but provided it should be
found that the Island would not pay as much as 10,000l.
if Imperial Income Tax were levied, I think the difference
between that sum and the sum capable of being
raised by income tax ought to be remitted.
Such are my views of what it is desirable and
urgently necessary to do, in order to put the Isle of
Man and its Government (which have too long lagged
behind) abreast of the United Kingdom.
Although I am compelled to conclude that the
Island, as a small and poor community, has, throughout
my time, suffered from its self-government, and that
its present backward condition (compared with the
mainland) is largely due to the difficulties of its self-
dependence (being cut off from the wealth of the
United Kingdom and the guidance of its Ministers and
administrative officials), I should nevertheless appeal
very strongly for the maintenance of the Manx
autonomy (after proper provision for the protection
of outside interests which are necessary to the Island's
prosperity), first, on the ground of its age-long historic
interest, which would make its discontinuance highly
undesirable; and next, out of regard to the national
sentiment of the Manx people, which is a good spiritual
influence that would be weakened if not destroyed by
At the same time I would humbly recommend that
whenever practical, and fair to the people of the United
Kingdom, the Island should be included in the larger
Imperial measures of social legislation, which by reason
of its economic limitations the Isle of Man could not
undertake for itself.
Isle of Man,
26th May, 1911.