[From Feltham's Tour, 1798]
To the same.
DEAR SIR, .
A GENTLEMAN asked Mr. Burke what motto would be proper to prefix to a publication on the Isle of Man ? to whom Mr. Burke jocosely replied from Pope,
" The proper study of Mankind is Man!
I shall, therefore, without farther introduction, resume my subject.
An old tradition traces this island up to one Mananan MacIar, a necromancer; who is charged with enveloping it in mists, so that no stranger could find it, until St. Patrick broke his charms.
This person, however, is supposed to have been the son of an Irish prince, Alladius, and was a great merchant, who, by enjoying an exclusive trade with this place and Ireland, might in that sense be said to have covered it with mists from the rest of the world.
The Norwegians, with the Western Islands, conquered this also; and the kings sent to govern generally chose the Isle of Man for their residence. In 1266 there was a solemn agreement between Magnus IV. of Norway, and Alexander III. of Scotland; by which this island, among the rest, was surrendered to the Scots for 4,000 marks, to be paid in four years, 1,000 marks yearly. Pursuant to which Alexander drove out the King of Man, 1270, and united it to Scotland.
Mary, Queen of Man, the last, of the Norwegian race, of Orries, was driven out by the Scots in 1292; she put herself under the protection of Edward I. of England, who had at that time conquered the greatest part of Scotland for Robert Bruce, who was then in the English camp, and came with the king into England. Three years after this period, John Waldebasty, the husband of Mary, preferred his claim to the island in the parliament at Westminster.- But all the satisfaction he could obtain was to be referred to Robert Bruce, who lived in England, and had the island in his possession.
In 1312, and in 1426, sundry agreements were made respecting it. In 1405 Henry IV. had given it to John Lord Stanley; but Scotland claiming, under the agreements mentioned, their title to the island, obliged the lords of Man to keep a constant standing army and garrisons until the reign of James I.
Lord Coke observes, that though this island be no parcel of the realm of England, yet it is part of the dominions of its king, and therefore allegiance is reserved in public oaths.
The lords had the power of giving the final assent to all new laws; the power of pardoning offenders, of changing the sentence of death into banishment, of appointing and displacing the civil, ecclesiastical, and military officers, with a right to all forfeitures for treason, felony, &c.
From the time the Scots first conquered the island, to the accession of the Stanley family, was 150 years, during which period it was five times conquered by the Scots and English. By these revolutions the ancient regal government was sometimes laid aside, and a military and arbitrary government substituted, as frequently is the case with conquered nations.
But the last great change that took place was its union by sale to the British crown in 1765, and which, like the union of Scotland in 1706, gave a temporary alarm to the people; but its effects may be seen from the following sentiments of a respectable native:-
" Since the Isle of Man is become an appendage of Great Britain, and its legalities vested in the Imperial Crown of these realness, it may possibly afford some satisfaction to the public, to be informed what effect this great and interesting revolution may have had on the minds, the manners, and disposition of the people.
"The local trade so long carried on here, to the detriment of the crown, being now totally suppressed by the care and attention of his Majesty's civil government in the Isle, aided by the vigilance and activity of the revenue officers and cutters, they have turned their hands with uncommon spirit and diligence to cultivate the more innocent and laudable, though less lucrative, arts of agriculture and the linen manufactory.
"They have lost, it is true, a certain species of commerce of no advantage to the place in general, as but few in comparison were enriched thereby, while it was secretly undermining them, as it introduced a spirit of idleness and dissipation, and from the easy acquisition of spirituous liquors, and other foreign luxuries, was tending fast to debauch the minds, corrupt the morals, and enervate the constitutions of the common people; the gains so lightly acquired being for the most part as lightly liquidated.
"Instead of this, a more pleasing and more agreeable prospect has opened. Sublatâ causâ, tollitur effectus. Industry and sobriety have taken place, and diffuse their influence, which we have reason to hope will daily increase."
This "Navel of the Sea" possesses many privileges. The unfortunate may find it an asylum; the economist a place exempted of all taxes; the epicure may enjoy fish, port wine, hams, and poultry cheap; and the philosopher a place of rest from bustle and faction. The native goodness of the Manks has been too often imposed on by strangers, and justly engendered a prudent reserve; and some slight introduction is rather expected before a comfortable connexion with them can take place.
As emigrations frequently take place from the opposite shores, the mode of access may be useful to visitors: you may embark from Liverpool or Whitehaven; at the former port vessels are frequently to be found. The "Duke of Athol" is the best of these, the others have but plain accommodations; but all of them are safe, and sail well. The price is 7s. 6d. and 5s. You take you own provision *1
From Liverpool to the Isle is twenty-five leagues, on an average performed in two tides, or twenty-four hours. From Whitehaven (from whence a packet sails with letters every Monday night if possible) is fifteen leagues, this usually runs over in twelve hours. This packet stays about three days in the island, when it returns with the mail to Whitehaven; it has good accommodations for passengers. To Dublin from the Isle is fifteen leagues, done on an average in sixteen or eighteen hours. From the Isle to Kircudbright in Scotland, is generally run in about eight hours from Ramsay. On landing you pay a fee to the searcher of 1s. 6d. who then does not open your trunks, provided they are no way suspicious.
From London to the Isle of Man, the voyage varies from eight to fourteen days. The master of a vessel carrying a debtor off the island without the governor's pass, is subject to a penalty of 10l. besides his debts; and the vessel may be seized until satisfaction be given. No person can leave the island without a pass, which costs only 9d. Manks.
PERMIT the bearer hereof, Mr. John Feltham, to pass for England upon his lawful occasions, without let, stop, or hindrance, he behaving himself as behove all liege people, and departing this isle within one month from the date hereof.
Given at Castle-Rushen, this 6th day of March, 1798.
I shall now give some account of the coinage peculiar to the island, and of its relative value to English and Irish.
At the Tynwald Court, of 1679, it was enacted that no copper or brass money, called Butcher's halfpennies, and copper farthings, and Patric halfpennies, or any other of that nature, shall pass in the island, under a penalty of three pounds, and further punishment at the governor's discretion; but this act does not hinder the passage of the king's farthings, and the halfpennies set forth by authority, or of the brass money called John Murray's pence.
On some false money being coined termed Ducketoons, an act of Tynwald passed in 1646, adjudging it to be high treason. In 1710 Lord Derby sent over, at the request of the people, a supply of copper pence and halfpence.
In 1733, three hundred pounds in pence, and two hundred in halfpence, were put in circulation; andin 1757, two hundred and fifty pounds in pence, and one hundred and fifty pounds in halfpence. To prevent counterfeits all persons are ordered once a year to bring to the respective captains of their parishes, such copper money to be examined and counted, and the account thereof is to be returned by them to the governor or receiver.
In 1733 the impression was the arms of Man, three legs with J. D. between the bend, and the motto Quocunque jeceris stabit; on the reverse, the eagle and child on a chapeau, motto Sans changer; beneath the chapeau, the date. In 1758, the Ducal coronet with a cypher AD. with the date under: the reverse as before, without the initials J. D. In 1786, the King's head with the date under, motto round it, Georgius III. Dei gratia: the reverse as before. These are not coined in the island.*3-[See plate 11.]
Some inquiries have lately been directed to be made relative to the coinage, but it has gone no farther. By an act of Tynwald, in 1691, legal interest is fixed at 6 per cent. Manks.
1001. English, is 1161. 13s. Id. Manks.
1001. Manks, is 851. 14s. 3d. English.
1001. Irish, is 1071. 13s. 10d. Manks.
1001. Manks, is 921. 17s. id. Irish.
11. English, is 11. as. Id. Manks.
11. Manks, is 17s. l½d. English.
11. Irish, is 11. Is. 6d. Manks.
11. Manks, is 18s. 7d. Irish.
1s. English, is 14d. Manks.
1s. Manks, is 10¼d. English.
1s. Irish, is 13d. Manks.
1s. Manks, is 11¼d. Irish.
I shall conclude with some remarks on the horizontal waterwheels used in the island. They are now getting into disuse, probably from the late erection of large mills on the great streams. I heard only of two on this plan, which were said to be, one near Snugborough; the other in Baldon, near Cronk Rule.
From Bishop Wilson we learn, "that in his time many of the rivers, or rather rivulets, not having sufficient to drive a mill the greatest part of the year, necessity has put them upon the invention of a cheap sort of a mill, which, as it costs very little, is no great loss, though it stands six months in the year. The waters wheel about six feet in diameter, lies horizontal, consisting of great many hollow ladles, against which the water, brought down in a trough, strikes forcibly, and gives motion to the upper stone, which, by a beam and iron, is joined to the centre of the water-wheel. Not but they have other mills, both for corn and fulling of cloth, where they have water in summed more plentiful."
Mr. D. M. Keele, of Salisbury, constructed a model of a wheel on this plan, and sent it to Mr. S. More, secretary to the Society of Arts, last year. Mr. More was of opinion that the power of the stream will be exerted in a very inefficacious manner; as the density of the still water in the pool will in a great degree obstruct the motion of the wheel, and render it far less effectual, than if that part which is not immersed had only the air to act against, which would be the case, if the wheel were placed vertically instead of horizontally.
But Mr. Keele has obviated the difficulty alluded to, by making the valves moveable on an axis placed outwards, which enables them to receive the full effect of the current; but in passing through the still water, to open in such a way as not to impede its progress, but rather facilitate itself.
In a letter I received from Mr. Southey,*4 April 14, 1798, he says, "Horizontal water-wheels are common in Spain; I have seen many of them; they attracted my notice by their singularity and simplicity."
In the Rev. Mr. Townsend's " Journey through Spain," (three vole. 8vo. Dilly, 1791) he informs us, that he observed that " all mills had horizontal water-wheels. These grind the corn very slowly, being fed by single grains; but then to compensate for this defect, they place many near together, and the same little stream having communicated motion to one wheel, passes in succession to the rest. These are well suited to a country abounding with stone for building, where water runs with rapidity down a steep descent, and where despatch is not required."
Sir George Staunton noticed them in China.*5 I have said thus much concerning them, as I conceive that wheels on this plan might be adopted in this country to advantage in a variety of situations.
*1 At Liverpool are generally some of the
following vessels trading to and from the island.
To DOUGLAS, the Duke of Athol, professedly for passengers, a handsome vessel, sloop rigged, about 50 feet keel, 11 feet hold, 17 feet beam, makes up 18 beds, Capt. Brew. The Lapwing, Cubbon, has seven beds, beside a large stateroom; this once belonged to T. Whalley, Esq. M.P. Then follow traders, the Nelly and Betty, Quayle; Surrey, Clegg; Maria, Norris; John and Judy, Quay; Elizabeth, W. Quayle; John and Edward, Quine; Prince of Wales, Lewen; Marquis of Tullibardin, Fargher; Four sisters, Huntley; Margaretta, C.Quiney, Brothers, Christian; Amy, Currin; Peterin, Moore; Whale, Groom; Dart, Slater, Fancy, Hampton; Packet, Carren; Margaretta, Bacon; Anne, Corlett; Ranter, Riley.
To RAMSEY, Peggy, Ince; Anne and Mary,
Crowe; Success, Neale; Belle Anne,Vondy; Marquis
of Buckingham, Kermod; Martin, W. Kermod; Eliza,
P. Radcliffe, at the Legs of Man, Liverpool, and the Douglas packet house, has always accurate information of these vessels.
The packet from Whitehaven has 15 beds, two in the state-room; name, Earl of Lonsdale, Greerlaw.
*2 By an order, dated Castle-Rushen, Jan. 1798, no passes are to be valid, unless actually signed by the Governor or Lieut.-Governor, nor are to have more than one name, unless a woman with a child in her arms. Passes are granted by Mr. Cotten, of Castletown; Mr. Corlett, of Douglas; Mr. Clucas, of Peel; and Mr. Hendry, of Ramsay.
*3 Mr. Twisse, speaking of the country about Drogheda, Bye, " The brass coins of the Isle of Man are current all along this coast." It is said, that the metal for this last coinage was delivered at the mint for less than three hundred pounds, and issued from thence at the enormous value of six hundred pounds sterling !-This I speak on the authority of a public print.
*4 Author of Joan of Arc, and other Poems; Letters written in Spain and Portugal, &c.
*5 Account of China, one vol. 8vo. edit. Stockdale, p. 88, 1797. For a wheel of this plan, worked with steam, with moveable valves, see Repertory of Arts, vol. III p. 403, and Robert Beatson, Esq. has just published a treatise on the advantages of horizontal wind and water mills, with a plan of one of the latter, which moves the same way, let the current run up or down. See Beaston's Essay on Mills, 8vo. 1798, Taylor, Holborn. Mr. B. offers further information, on application (post paid) to him, at No. 15, Great Windmill street, London; or at Burnt Island, Fifeshire.