[From 1911 MacDonnell Inquiry]



I am against the appointment of the Governor for
a term of years. I agree with the view expressed that
with increasing experience Governors have become in
creasingly useful. Extending the length of the term
of office would, of course, pro tanto diminish this

With regard to the proposal for summoning Tyn-
wald Courts on petition of thirteen members, I think
no practical difficulty has arisen giving rise to the
necessity for this. If any change is to be made. I
would prefer Courts on fixed dates, which would give
everyone interested an opportunity of being fully

I have no objection to the House of Keys being
summoned when thirteen members desire it.

I have never properly understood what the objects
in view are in forming, and what the functions are to
be of an Advisory Council. No one appears to have a
definite and clear conception of such a Council. As I
understand the proposal, it would tend to produce inelasticity,
and would cramp the Governor whilst serving
no useful purpose. I think the Governor should,
as at present, have the power to choose his advisers
from among such persons, and obtain his information
from such sources as in his unfettered judgment he
thinks most advisable.

I object to the removal of the control of the Police
from the Governor to a Board of the Tynwald Court.
For reasons already indicated, I think it would be most

I am against an elective element on the Council.
The proposal is that there should be a majority of
elected members on that body. The object of such a
proposal is to control the action of the Council. That
this is objectionable has been clearly pointed out. To
have an elective minority could serve no purpose, and
would not meet the wish of the Petitioners. Introduc-
ing such a minority would be introducing a disturbing
element, which would merely cause friction in the
working of the machine; besides which it would put
the balance out of adjustment and destroy the essen-
tial character of our Constitution.

The views of the people's representatives are voiced
in the representative Chamber, and so become known
to the Council. If there were only one Chamber, and
that a nominated one, the utility of an elective element,
even in a minority, must be admitted. Such a con-
sideration does not arise in respect of the Constitution
of the Isle of Man.

On the question of salaries and the imposition of
new charges of government, I have only to say that no
cause of complaint has arisen. It is opening the door
to an interference with the safeguard provided by sec-
tion 3 of the Act of 1866. I should deprecate any
interference with the control exercised by the Treasury.

As to the Archdeacon and Vicar-General, the Bishop
has, I think, stated the whole case for their retention
on the Council. The argument for their removal is
based on the fact that a considerable proportion of the
people of this Island are Nonconformists or are inclined
to Nonconformity, and that the presence of these eccle-
siastical officials on the Council gives undue recognition
to the Established Church. I respect the argument
and admit that it has force. At the same time I would
emphasise the fact that no act on the part of ecclesiastical
officials in the Legislature can be pointed to indicating
any bias of mind against Nonconformity or unduly in
favour of the Established Church. I should like also to
point out, as it seems to be doubted in some quarters,
that an Ecclesiastical Court is absolutely necessary
in any diocese under the present organisation in the
Established Church. In England an Ecclesiastical
Court, in addition to its ordinary duties, has definite
duties imposed upon it under the Church Discipline
Acts. No such Act exists here, and the jurisdiction of
the Court must be found in the old Common Law of
the Church. This jurisdiction embraces the carrying
out and adjudication on all offences of the clergy
charged in what are known as libels with a view to the
deprivation of unfit persons. In this diocese, for in-
stance, it could only be after sentence pronounced in
such a Court that deprivation could be enforced. The
Court, too, has to consider applications for faculties
and to deal with questions of illegal ornaments or
strictures in churches or churchyards, and with altera-
tions to the fabric of churches or other ecclesiastical

I should like to qualify a reply I made to Mr.
Adkins earlier in this Inquiry as to the date when a
Vicar-General first sat on the Council. I stated that
it was certainly prior to the reign of Henry VIII. I
find that the first recorded instance was in the year
1637 (Constitution of the Isle of Man, p. 167).
Probably, however, I am right in thinking that a con-
siderably earlier date existed.

With regard to the abolition of one Deemster my
sole objection is as to the Court of Appeal. If this
objection was satisfactorily met I should be quite con-
tent with the proposal. The suggestion as to a High
Court Judge from England coming here is to my mind
the best suggestion made.

I think, having two High Bailiffs, as at present,
quite satisfactory. To do away with any stipendiary
magistrate would not fall in with the wishes of the
people of this Island. Such magistrates with legal
training have the confidence of the people in a far
fuller sense than the ordinary lay magistrate.

With regard to the private practice of the Attorney-
General I have no strong view. I think if it were
inhibited the salary of the office ought to be increased
so as to ensure securing the services of the most
capable person for the office. I should like also to
suggest that an official who acts for and represents the
interests of the Crown ought to be kept in the highest
state of efficiency. There might be considerable risk
of this not being so kept if he got out of touch with
ordinary legal work.

I have some veneration for old institutions, and
generally I am in favour of retaining the existing state
of the Constitution. However liable to criticism on
merely theoretical grounds the form of it may be, its
work has admittedly been done well on the whole.

If a change is considered necessary and desirable I
am in favour of a Council consisting of persons
entirely nominated, by the Crown with the exception of
the Attorney-General who should ex officio be a member.
The Judges I should absolutely disqualify. I can give
instances supporting the objection to the Judges being
members of the Tynwald Court. Very frequently ad-
ministrative action in the Tynwald Court depends on
the construction of a Statute. By-laws made by local
authorities have, in practically all cases, to be approved
by Tynwald. Questions frequently arise as to whether
these by-laws are made ultra vires. Such questions may
arise before a committee to which an application for
approval of by-laws has been referred of which com-
mittee a Judge may be a member, or in the Tynwald
Court itself, where three Judges are members. The
judges can join in discussions on these questions-the
very questions which they may afterwards be called
upon to adjudicate upon. Other difficulties of a similar
character frequently arise. Let me give two instances.
Recently an application was made by the Douglas
Corporation under the Upper Douglas Tramway Act,
1895, for leave to alter the scale of fares laid down by
that Act. The question was raised as to whether their
doing so would not be ultra vines. The applicants
had the matter held over to consider their position, and
the application has since been withdrawn. There is
nothing to prevent the Judges debating such a question
though they might in the future have to decide it.

Not long ago the Ramsey Town Commissioners
came to Tynwald for leave to borrow money to erect
some structure for the public convenience. The
question was raised as to whether their doing
so would not be ultra vires. This matter was
fully debated, and I think I am right in saying that at
least one Judge took part in the debate. The question
was one which might have been carried to the Court
for decision. Instances of a similar character might
be multiplied. This must appear when it is remembered
that the Tynwald Court exercises a control over kcal
authorities in matters of the kind I have mentioned
similar to that of the Local Government Board in

I think direct nomination by the Crown ad hoc would
be useful in many ways. The Governor would naturally
be consulted and would be able to suggest persons
representing different interests suitable for the position.
The Bishop would most probably be nominated if he
desired to occupy the position. But I can quite imagine
the case of a Bishop who would be most averse to doing
so. The same may be said of other officials. Persons
would not be nominated against their wish, and this
would ensure obtaining those who were not only able
but also willing to serve in the Council. I think if
nomination were resorted to that persons nominated
ought to retain their positions in the ordinary way
" during pleasure." This would best ensure their independence.


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