[From Mannin #8,1916]


Divided by sea but joined by kinship

THIS is the fifth number we have issued under the shadow of the great War, and most of us feel both sadder and more proud than ever in our lives before ; sadder because there are few homes in the Island untouched by grief for the lost or the absent; prouder, because of the splendid courage and self-sacrifice of our men who have gone to fight for their country by sea and by land. We may well be especially proud in Mann, for our little Island, in proportion to her population, has given more men to the Army and Navy than any other part of the United Kingdom. There has been no great battle or stirring event on land or sea in which Manxmen have not taken a part, and that a noble part

The edge of the shadow is lifted, and we may dare to begin to look forward to the end of the strife. Peace will bring back to our midst, we hope, a large majority of those who have left us. It is our keenest desire, when that happy time comes, to shew our gratitude to our sailors and soldiers for all they have done for us. It is impossible to express our thanks in words—may we do so in actions. Many of the war-worn veterans will, we hope and believe, be glad to settle down in this peaceful Island, and we look forward to a prosperous revival of agriculture and fishing and other native industries. The splendid patriotism which has inspired the fighters and those who have bravely sent forth their dear ones, the munition makers, the doctors and nurses, all who have helped the great cause of liberty and civilization during the War, will surely enkindle in Peace a spirit of mutual helpfulness and solidarity which shall make the little Manx nation more truly itself than ever before in history.

Mr. Lloyd George’s fine speech at the Eisteddfod on singing in war-time struck a responsive chord in the hearts of all who love their own national music. What he said of Wales applies equally well to Mann, and encourages those who in the past have done all they could to preserve and foster Manx music to continue their efforts. ‘To sing during a war, and especially to sing national songs during a war,’ said Mr. Lloyd George sarcastically, ‘ is positively indecent, and the powers of the Defence of the Realm Act ought to be invoked to suppress it.’ He then proceeded to describe in glowing words the power of song in war-time. After picturing our soldiers singing the songs of their country in the trenches, and wishing us to sing at home, he concluded, ‘They want the fires of every national altar kept burning, so that they shall be alight when they return with the laurels of victory from the stricken fields of this mighty war. When this terrible conflict is over, a wave of materialism will sweep over the land. Nothing will count but machinery and output. There is nothing more fatal to a people than that it should narrow its vision to the material needs of the hour. National ideals without imagination are but as thistles of the wilderness—fit neither for food nor fuel. A nation that depends upon these must perish. We shall need at the end of the War better workshops, but we shall also need, more than ever, every institution that will exalt the vision of the people above and beyond the workshops and the counting-house. Why should we not sing ? It is true there are thousands of gallant men falling in the fight, but let us sing of their heroism. There are myriads more standing in the battle lines facing the foe, and myriads more behind ready to support them when their turn comes. Let us sing to the land that gave birth to so many heroes.’ Let us take it to heart.

The note in our May issue on the epithet ‘Hessian’ gave rise to an interesting correspondence in the Manchester Guardian. A correspondent suggests that the word found its way into the Island from Ireland, where it is also used with the same meaning, and where it dates from the period of the Irish Rebellion of 1798, when hired Hessian troops were brought into the country to quell the people, and behaved with great savagery. According to Mr. A. W. Moore, the whole regiment of Royal Manx Fencibles was sent to Ireland in the same year, five new companies being raised in addition to the five already existent as a part of the regular British Army. Nothing is known, he says, of what it did there. In 1800 it was at Omagh, and, in 1802, at Whitehaven, where, on the conclusion of the peace of Amiens in that year, it was disembodied. Tradition says that many of the men returned with Irish wives, and that a tiny colony of Irish settled in Dalby. It is therefore the most probable theory that ‘ Hessian’ was brought into Mann by them.

On May 5th the anniversary of the birth of T. E. Brown was celebrated throughout the Island by the public schools. Last year, it will be remembered, that through the efforts of the Manx Society, each school was presented with a copy of the Collected Poems of the national poet by some good Manxman or Manx Association. This year the Society did not organise any such function, but requested the masters and mistresses of the various schools, whose loyal co-operation on former occasions had been so valuable, to keep the day sacred by giving their children lessons instilling love of country and reverence for their country’s greatest man. The suggestion was warmly received and enthusiastically carried out, the children also doing their part by contributing recitations from the poet’s work and Manx music.

The annual meeting of the Manchester Manx Society was held on October 6th, and their annual report included a long list of Manchester Manxmen serving with His Majesty’s Forces. The Manchester Manx Society has always shown us cordial sympathy, and been willing to support us in any way possible. Many of its members are subscribers to MANNIN, and Mr. E. H. L. Dickson has lately set to work with great energy and enthusiasm to try to increase its circulation. We hope that his scheme will prove successful, and the Editor is very grateful for his help.


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