IN the year 1648, which threatned so fatally and climaterically the period of ye Monarchy of England, Scotland, and Ireland, wearied with being so often wakened at midnight to fly from the King's and Parliament's troops (both equally feared, because equally plundering), and finding no shelter under the Snodon hills, which Cambden calleth the Alps of Brittanny, where ye antient Britains found security (whilst ye woods were name y unwasted, and Carnarvenshire kept the of Snodon Forrest); but being now laid open both by ye view and access of an invader, from these men I resolve to banish myself voluntarily for a time in the Island of Man, where divers of ye Nobility had been banished by divers of our Kings. And altho' I had then many giantlike difficulties to deterr me, as yt it had ye reports of a barren Island, my small means left after for my plundering and late sequestration. Besides unknown of any the accompanied and only ye weaker (and in Josephus's phrase) of the worser sex, yet a few slight motives were sufficiently powerful to invite me whither (as I conceived) necessity compelled me.
For, first, ye Island being but as a little molehill moted about with ye main sea, and removed from England, I fancied it as a place freed from our Island, so likewise freed from our fears and troubles, and therefore probably I cou'd not meet with any nightmares in Man to molest me. Moreover, yt small means might issue in a more penurious place, and be sides all these, it may be I might have some little tittillation of curiosity by this occasion to see what there was to be seen, and to observe whether there were any thing wo'th ye obser vation in a place remote, neglected, and seldom frequented, except by such as were meerly necessitated. But being now engaged, and under sail, I found yt true which almost all do experiment, yt our greatest fears are not always ye greatest things to be feared (ye particulars thereof doth little concern ye reader on this my present engagement), but I render most humble acknowledgments to ye Div. Disposer of all things here on earth, yt hath so graciously ordained yt no misery should be imortal to a mortal man.
Whilst I was rocked in ye floating craddle of my little skiff (but I had much more leisure, being landed), contemplating ye Island, and reflecting upon its name, there occurred to my memory Moses's expression and interpretation of ye word Man, in ye sacred text of its original language, importing as much as to say what is this, for the text saith, "they wist not what it was,"' which name may still (not unfitly) be given to this Island, for notwithstandi~ng all yt any have written thereof, we are still put to ask what is this Island? How is it governed? With what laws, political or ecclesias tical? The power, antiquity, and succession of ye Kings and Lords of Man?
Of their Bishops, and many other particulars most im portant and requisitely necessary for the compleating of an History, Mir. James Chaloner2 only, and yt very lately, when I had almost ended this work of mine, in a little Treatise of ye legal Goverment, and ye practick part hereof, he hath so exactly discovered unto us, as none as yet had done, so none could do but he and Mr. Tinsley, the Lord Fairfax, his Attorney for yt Island, and let this part be ascribed to their honour only. As for Julius Cesar, Ptolomy, IDion Cassius, Tacitus, Beotius, and some other, their contemporans, they are well observed by one of our curious teachers' of antiquity to have left unto us, nil fli8j honor; and although Caesar says yt many had written of this Island, yet I find one only, Demetrius, a Briton, to be named, and he, by Plutarch, who is said to have written an exact Treatise of ye Brittish Isles, ye loss of which work is not a little to be lamented, because now no where extant; yet Mr. Cambden calleth it a fabulous narration.
But ye sullen silence of ye age succeede at is by none much admired, yt neither Guildas, Ninius, V. Bede, Geifrey Monmouth, Guiraldus Cambrenses, have not vouchsafed to discover to posterity any ye least particular Treatise apart concerning this Island of Man; wherein they seem by their silence to verify the Manks men's Traditions, yt their Island was not discovered till of late years. That for divers ages before, especially during ye raynd of Mana-Man-Mac-Lea, ye necromancier, it had been invisible and unaccessable. The same is 5d to have been practised by Nictobanus, King of Egypt, and ye like hereof is at this day confidently related2 of yt as yet unknown Island, not far from the north-west part of Ireland, and by them O'Brazille, which Island in one place there, northward betwixt two rocks (but by any man at a great distance at sea), is plainly to be seen and discerned, yet not to be discovered by any approach, which was experi mented by sr Richd Buckley of Anglisey, where was fruit lessley endeavoured ye discovery thereof, by twice manning out a ship of his own from Beaumaris.
And what more have Ralph Higdon, Walsingham, Leland, Polydore Virgil, or any of our Chronoclers added, except only ye names of some havens, creeks, and such like? Wilim Harrison hath, indeed, in one leaf in folio, written more than all, and had much merited if he had writ as truly as he did confidently; but having almost as many lies as lines (as I shall demonstrate in ye sequel in their several places), having nothing of his own, but taken upon trust, I cordially wish he had been silent. From geographers (even ye latest), amongst whom they have best deserved, and by me best respected, is Mercator and M~ Hely (our compatriot) ; for these, indeed, endeavoured to publish truth as near as they could; but from Maginus, Alfonso Testatius, Joh. Bellandom, Andrew de Chesme (ye King of France's geographer), Ph. Cluverius, ye Hollander, or such, I expected little or no adjovancy at all, for these geographers seem to me to resemble Cartaphilus, or rather Josephus (it being his Christian, and therefore his better name), but cothonly known, and called and known by ye name of ye Wandering Jew, whom Mathew Paris relateth had peragrated all ye Universe over, but made no stay in any place, until his pilgrimage performed by land, he now resideth in Armenia, where ye ruins of Noah's Ark resteth also after its voyage by water, so these geographers, wandering thus, concisely and cursorily run over all places and countries, but never intended to make it their design to particularize all ye parts of any particular part of ye world. It pitied me much, therefore, to look upon these geographers, their laconical de scriptions of this my little Man, and to observe how they have made him in effect a diminutive dwarf.
Notwithstanding, we find a few others, in these our times, yt have contributed their endeavours to ye utmost of their power towards our satisfaction; for ye indefatigable Bishop of Armagh' (a learned Antiquary) hath much satisfied me in my discovery of divers Bishops of Man, and his disavowing of Hector Betis and his Vermundus, and of both their forged Ampeibatus; but he wittily waveth all discourse of ye Island itself. S~ Edw Cook,' in less than one sheet of paper, hath divulged 3 records concerning this Island, and therein hath much merited of Man, and nice and truly, so long as he employ'd bis talents in his own element as a law yer and a great reader of records. None, therefore, hath ex ceeded him; but in ye rest of yt chapter, being transumpted from others, by adhering to them hath detracted from himself.
A little before these 2 last there were sent unto Mr Cambden, by one DD John Merrick, then Bishop of Man, certain Collections concerning this Isle of Man, which are now extant, in the end of his matchless Brittannia,2 in his Treatise de Insulis Britanni~, the whole containing four only sheets of paper in folio, whereof the 3 first was the work written by ye Monks of ye Abbey of liussin, in Man, wherein is a Catalogue of ye Kings of Man, whom the Manksmen at this day, but ignorantly, call the Orry's, their succession and civil dissension amongst themselves, and nothing else; yet this is entituled and passeth for a Chronicle of Man. I pro bably presume this was not the only work ye Monks writ concerning this Island, but rather that their endeavours have proved as mortal as their monasteries, and probably both perished together. In the other sheet are such Observations as Bishop Merrick cou'd procure or learn of ye Manksmen, concerning the Island itself.
I cannot but admire how it was possible, but yt a Bishop of Man, resident in Man, cou'd by any man (in so little an Island) be so much misled as to inform Mr Cambden of such gross absurdities and visible untruths as these
1. That ye women of this Island, whithersoever they went out of doors, did gird themselves about with the winding- sheet yt they purpose to be buried in, to show themselves mindful of their mortality.
2. That there are but 12 Keys of ye Island.
3. That such women as are condemned to die are sowed in a sack, and flung from a rock into the sea.
4. That there are no beggars within the Island.
5. That none in ye Island are inclined to robbing or thieving.
Far be it from me here to glance at ye least thought of accusation, or to lay ye least aspersion to Mr Cambden him self, whose labours have perennized his honour with an eternal lawrel to all posterity, for he was only guilty of too much credulity, and confiding overmuch in his friend's mis taking and information. John Speed, that writ after him, as a meer exscriptor, without ye addition of one syllable of his own, either in ye Abredgment of this Chronocle, or in his Treatise of ye Monarchy of Great Brittain. Had either Cambden or Speed, both deservedly accounted and acknow ledged our ablest and best geographer, who, with so great pains and expences, visited all the parts of every shire in England and Wales, had they, I say, undergone but half a day's voyage into this Isle of Man, and made one month's only perambulation therein, they wou'd have found themselves to become a Samaratan rather then believing themselves than any others' relations, and much less their information, and might have gathered thence solid observation for an ample Treatise, and have eased me of much labour and time, which, it might be, might have been better employed upon a better subject. What deterred or diverted them from writing more is not easily to be conjectured, unless, undervaluing its worth and ignorant of its merit, they presumed, in a prejudicated opinion, yt ye discovery thereof wou'd not be sufficiently satisfactory to compensate ye loss of time and expences requi site to perform ye same ; but therefore it was never held strange yt ye uncouth'd shou'd be unkind, and the unprov'd ~unjrais'd.
The omission of both these (by whom this work might have been by many degrees better performed), as being a subject best befitting either of them, it so nearly approximating ye meridian of Great Britain, was ye only motive that promoted the divulgation of these my Collections, gathered from ocular observations, and not taken from any misinformed relations of others, and therefore no man can justly censure me yt I do, actum agere, having not dispossessed any man of any part yt was prepossessed before me.
Notwithstanding I have been herein enabled to discover more than any have or cou'd do, yet I have reason to vale thus low, and yt most willingly to acknowledge yt, tho' this be all yt I as yet do know, yet is it not ye all yt may be known of this Isle, myself being conscious of some few defects and omissions, by reason my return was necessitated thence before I could satisfy myself in some particulars, which yet are neither many nor of the most concernment.
At my being there I observed the best decorum I could, not to wade too deep to dive into secrets, for in such petty States it was very requisite to be circumspect where it was dangerous to be inquisitively curious; for such curiosity exciteth jealousy. I found the Earle of Darby's chief officer too wise to prostitute the Island arcana, and to press them had savoured of incivility. I then made my addresses to those that were of a lower class, who I know would sooner, and could better satisfy my curiosity, and so amongst the four and-twenty, I prevailed with one to make use of his key to open his cabinet; therein I found not only what I so much desired, but I found so much favour and freedom was allowed me to coppy thence what I pleased. Whatsoever weakness of defects of the Island was obvious to my observations, they are best known to myself, and I hold it most unworthy and much below me to divulge them of yt place where I was both civilly receiv'd and hospitably entertained; but as concerning myself in this discovery of the Island, I acknowledge myself as obliged to ye same laws as of an historian" Ne quid falsi audeat dicere nec quid yen non audeat," as saith Polibius; and I shall therefore punctually observe both with all sincerity and integrity. Spe metna procul.
After this Preface to the Reader place the Mapp' of the Island of Man, described by Thos Durham, A.D. 1595, and is set forth by John Speed in his Theatre of ye Empire of Great Brittain.
1 Exodus xvi. 15.
2 Discription of ye Isle of Man. (1656.)
1 Humphrey Lord, Epist. ad Artelium.
2 vincent le Blanc, in his Travailer, 1st. 3 C. 2, saith, yt from Mount Thencriffe is discovered an Island, but go to it and you find nothing. To it is given 3 names~ye fortunate, the inchanted, and ye not to be found.
' James Usser de primordiis Celest. Brit.
1 Institute, pt. 4, c. 69.
2 [A copy of the Edition of 1586, of that portion relating to the Isle of Man, is printed in the Manx society's Series, Vol. XVIII.Editor.]
1 [A reduced copy of this map is given in the Manx society's Series, vol. XVIII., with "Speed's History."Editor.]