[From Mannin #7, 1916]


Divided by sea but joined by kinship

IN the month of October the Rev. Copeland Smith originated in the Island a remarkable undertaking, which, with the help of Mrs. Copeland Smith and a board of directors, all Wesleyan Methodists, he is carrying through with extraordinary success. Hoping to relieve some of the distress caused by war conditions, Mr. Smith’s first idea was to set to work some fifty young women with sock knitting machines, in Douglas, but he very shortly obtained an order from the War Office for 22,000 pairs and so from the small beginning developed the Manx Industries Association, which gives employment to about five hundred people at Derby Castle and the Palace. Some of the workers make socks, shirts, mufflers, and overcoats for Government contracts and others are making munitions. The Association is in no sense a commercial enterprise-the capital is given, not lent, the organisers work without remuneration and the whole of the income is spent on actual working expenses and wages which are thirty or forty per cent. above the usual trade rate. The workers have been well trained, the work is being thoroughly done and it is hoped that these and other new or revived industries may be placed on a permanent basis and after the War may make the Island less dependent on visiting seasons. Manx men and women do indeed owe to the Manx Industries Association a debt that can never be repaid, and Manxmen the world over who wish to help their countrymen in the little Island in these hard times, cannot do so better than by sending any sum that they can afford to them for their work. It is impossible for all the capital to be provided by the Island itself, for it is the middle classes which have been most badly hit by the War, and who now require the assistance which they are usually in a position to give. Transvaal Manxmen have shown a fine example in sending generous gifts amounting to £150 and the Manchester Manx Society has also given substantial help. We hope that others will follow.

To the grief of all who knew him, the great Celtic scholar, Sir John Rhys, died suddenly at Jesus College, Oxford, on December 17th, 1915, at the age of seventy-five. His career was one of wonderful and many-sided activity, from the time when in Cardiganshire as a small boy of fourteen ‘ he had to trudge two miles over a heavy road’ to school at Penllwyn, till the end, when in vigorous old age, he passed away in the College of which for over twenty years he had been the able and genial Principal. In the interim he had been schoolmaster in Wales, brilliant undergraduate and graduate of Oxford, student in Paris and in Germany, Inspector of Schools in Denbighshire, Professor of Celtic in Oxford, and President of the Anthropological Section of the British Association, as well as author of many valuable works on Celtic subjects, and member of many Royal Commissions. As to his personality, the writer of an article in Nature (December 30th) says : ‘The dominant qualities of his mind as they were again and again revealed in intimate personal contact, were a never-failing freshness and elasticity together with the keen insight which seized at once upon the larger problems.’ To readers of MANNIN his connection with the Island and with the Manx language is of course particularly interesting. From 1886—the date of his first visit—onwards, he paid many visits to the Island, and always spent much of his time in speaking and reading Manx with native speakers of the older generation which has now, alas, almost entirely died out. From them he learnt much of the pure old Manx accent and intonation. He was, in fact, the greatest living authority on the phonology of the Manx language, as is proved by his literary work on the subject. In 1895 the old Manx Society published The Book of Common Prayer in Manx Gaelic (2 vols), edited by Mr. A. W. Moore, assisted by Professor Rhys, in the second volume of which by way of appendix appeared ‘Outlines of the Phonology of Manx Gaelic,’ the Professor’s most valuable contribution to Manx Literature. His Celtic Folklore, Welsh and Manx, was published in 1901. He was an intimate friend of the late Speaker, Mr. A. W. Moore, and wrote a good introduction to his standard work on Manx Surnames and Place-Names. He was a member of the Manx Society and contributed a paper to MANNIN (November, 1913), entitled The Saint’s Name Marown in Wales. We were hoping for another article from his pen, but must be content now with the memory of his friendliness and warm interest in our work.

Mr. C. R. Shimmin’s short tragedy, The Third Boat, was very successfully performed for the first time in December, by the London Manx Society. It was one of the plays sent in to the Manx Society’s Literary Competition and was pronounced by the judges to be well conceived and worked out and, in short, a striking little play.

Miss Jessie Douglas Kerruish (see correspondence p. 433) writes an interesting little note on her own life in The Weekly Tale-Teller (January 8th). Miss Kerruish is the daughter of Captain Kerruish ; her family, she says, have been travellers and sea-farers. She herself was born at Seaton Carew in Durham, and was brought up ‘on the smuggler and slaver tales, wrecks and legends of witches, warlocks, ghosts, submerged forests and sea-swallowed lands that colour the mental atmosphere of the wild North Coast.’ She served her apprenticeship to literature by writing for Stead’s Books for the Balms and The Weekly Tale-Teller introduced her to a grown up audience.

The three little Glen Aldyn playlets by ‘Cushag ‘ were performed with great success at Douglas, on February 10th, by the Glen Aldyn Players. The homely simplicity of The Christmas Pudding, the eeriness of Hommy Veg and Ike Guillyn Veššey and the gaiety of Hollantide, with its touch of sadness, delighted the large audience.

Mr. Stephen Gill, son of our President, Mr. W. H. Gill and nephew of the late Deemster Gill, who is in the Motor Transport Service in France, has lately been given a full lieutenant’s commission in the Royal Engineers, in recognition of his services in boring for water during the past year in France.

Those interested in Manx Folk Music must have seen with surprise and regret that the Manx Music Classes have been banished from the Music Festival syllabus. They cannot be more surprised than the Manx Society Committee, to whom no official information of the fact has been sent. In the past the Manx Society has always provided the prizes and music for the Manx Classes and has fostered them in every way possible. It seems a pity that such action should have been taken by the Music Festival Committee. The work done, however, has not been lost and it is to be hoped that a wiser generation will value more highly the Songs of the Motherland.

We have to announce the election of Lord Rhondda and Mr. F. S. Graves, as life members, and Miss Mona Douglas, Mr. J. Champion, Mr. J. J. Joughin, Mr. L. S. Bardwell, and Mr. G. Taggart, as ordinary members of the Manx Society.

The present issue of MANNIN may be called a Knox Number, for the design on cover, heading to Contents page, initial letters and most of the illustrations, are by Mr. Archibald Knox, to whom our best thanks are due for his beautiful work.



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