[From Manx Soc Vol 12 ]
To THE RIGHT HONOURABLE AND THRICE NOBLE LORD, WILLIAM, EARL OF DERBY, LORD OF MANN AND THE ISLES.
RIGHT Honourable,Amongst those great and manifold blessings which we, the people of this your Honours Isle of Mann, (and ancient Feofe,) do receive by that benigne aspect of Soveraignitie your Honour has over us, we have (in especiall) that essential part of your Prerogative and Royaltys, of being governed by peculiar and suitable Lawes and Constitutions, such as the exigencies of this small Commonwealth have in succession of time acquired: And now since the hand of Providence hath ushered and conveyed your Honour here amongst us, and that it is hoped it will not be ungratefull to your Honr to be acquainted with those Lawes and Constitutions that are established in this your Honrs governmt I have in considerion thereof, humbly psumed to prsent your Hon" with the annext collections, which are only an abridgmt of the established and practical Laws of the sd Isle. And because many of those Lawes have heretofore (and partly yet) been held, retained, and exercised only traditionally, and no entrance made of them upon record, but such as did fall out upon the transaction of certain cases, I can give no other authority for such, save only ye bare record, and the freqt occurt practice of them: And againe where I have prsumed to enlarge and explaine certain ancient Statutes, (that do not by the express letter unfold themselves,) according to the use and practice that is now drawn from them: If therefore any errata may happen in either of these two kinds, I shall humbly crave yr Hours gracious dispensation for them, since my endeavours herein have not been bestowed for public use, but only designed to give your Hour some small insight into the State and Government of this your own little Commonwealth; although a task of this nature and subject would have required a more excellent and plausible stile and forme to represent it in, than is here employed in these undigested and unpolished collections, which I humbly pray your lion" to receive in no other esteem, but as an acknowledgement and token of the devoted service of him, that thinks it his chiefest hour to be esteemed,
Your Hon"most obedt and faithfull servt,
The Lord of Man named in this Dedication was William, the ninth Earl of Derby, and the twelfth Lord of Man of the House of Stanley. He succeeded his father Charles, the eleventh Lord, on the 2lst December, 1672, and died 1702. (Seacome, 145 and 152.)
It appears that the work was dedicated to Lord William when in the Island. On the 30th July, 1691, he was present at a Tynwald Court at St. Johns Chapel, when the Usury Act and four other Acts were passed and promulgated. (Mills Statutes, 147.)
This dedication is transcribed from a copy of the work in the possession of Robert John Moore, Esq., High-Bailiff of Peel.