[From Manx Soc, vol. 26]
" REBELLION being a most henious sinne against God, calling for justice here on earth," as Charles, Earl of Derby observes in his mandate for the trial of William Christian of Ronaldsway (Document, No. I. p. 1), appears to have been realised by the fate which attended that personage.
Upon the breaking out of the Rebellion in England, it would have been singular if the Isle of Man, situated as it is in the midst of the surrounding countries, had not felt the baneful effects of such a scourge, when, as the author of Hudibras truly remarked :-
". . . . civil dudgeon first grew high, And men fell out they knew not why ;"
and that there should not have been found some in the Island so dissatisfied as to be ready to join in the turmoil. Manxmen hitherto had been proverbial for their loyalty, and we find a record of this from Mr. William Blundell of Crosby, Lancashire, who had himself been a firm supporter of King Charles, as also a great sufferer in his own estate, who thus speaks of the general loyalty of the Manx people prior to this outbreak:-" Mauxmen have ever been constant in their loyalty to England, for when Henry VIII., anno 1541, in the league he made with Charles V. in the 7th article should upon, that if the enemy, the French king, should fall on any of his islands, or the Isle of Man in particular, the Emperor should send aid for such a number of foot as can be paid, for 700 crowns a day. This setteth forth the constant loyalty of the Manxmen in an eminent degree, that we read not in any age that ever they attempted to infest or to make any depredations upon any part of England. Yea, their loyalty bath much demonstrated itself in its dutiful perseverance to the late King Charles I., for when all his three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland had cast off their allegiance and openly rebelled against him, this Island of Man not only persisted in its obedience unto him, but with its loyal Lord in person, assisted his son with a considerable supply." 1
Notwithstanding this testimony as to their general loyalty to the Crown of England, such was the infatuation of the time that designing men helped to add fuel to the flame. Various were the reasons that tended to this; the growing dissatisfaction at the nature of the tenure of their lands, and, among others, when James, the seventh Earl of Derby, Lord of the Island, considered it necessary to visit his dominion in 1643 to arrange matters connected with its internal affairs, having received an intimation of a probable revolt, as some had already committed various excesses and acts of insubordination against the governor's authority, he was accompanied by a number of gentlemen, his retainers, and some troops; the latter was placed at free quarters upon the inhabitants, which appears to have given much dissatis-faction. One of the chief instigators in these murmurings seems to have been Edward Christian of Ballakilley, a younger son of William Christian of Knockrushen, a distant relative of William Christian the Receiver. He was made Governor of the Isle of Man in 1628, and held the office till 1633. Having fallen out of favour with the Earl of Derby, he began secretly to plot the overthrow of the lord's power, and was brought to trial in 1643, and sentenced to be imprisoned in Peel Castle, and pay a fine of one thousand marks. He was released by Lord Fairfax, and again imprisoned by Charles, Earl of Derby, and he ultimately died there in January 1661.
The Earl's opportune arrival in the Island tended, with the judicious aid of his Lieutenant-Governor Greenhalgh,2 to appease the people for a time.
Before leaving England the Earl caused ample supplies of warlike stores to be provided for his house at Lathom in Lancashire, which his heroic Countess, Charlotte de la Tremouille, so gallantly and bravely defended for two years against all the contrivance and skill of the Parliamentary Army, commanded by Colonel Rigby.3
Having in some degree restored tranquillity amongst his people in the Island, the Earl, leaving the further care of it to the able management of his Lieutenant, Greenhalgh, repaired again to England in 1644, in order to relieve his Countess and family, then besieged in Lathom House, and succeeded, with the assistance of Prince Rupert, in compelling Rigby to raise the siege, who had conducted it with every degree of insult to the Countess, and afterwards attacked him at Bolton, when Rigby was put to flight after a severe conflict.
Shortly after, the Earl retired with his Countess and family to the Isle of Man, his English estates having been confiscated by the Parliament. Here he remained in com-parative retirement, placing the Island in a state of defence; and in 1648 built at Ramsey a fort, named "Fort Royal," to protect the town from foreign enemies.
It was during this time that the Earl received an offer from General Ireton, on behalf of the Parliament, that if he would surrender the Island to them his whole estate should be restored. His reply is characteristic and spirited, and worthy of preservation in this account, although it has been repeatedly printed.
Castletown, July 12, 1649.
Sir-I received your letter with indignation and scorn, and return you this answer :-That I cannot but wonder whence you should gather any hopes from me that I should, like you, prove treacherous to my sovereign, since you can-not but be sensible of my former actings in his late Majesty's service; from which principles of loyalty I am no whit departed. I scorn your proffers, disdain your favour, and abhor your treason, and am so far from delivering up this Island to your advantage that I will keep it to the utmost of my power and your destruction. Take this for your final answer, and forbear any further solicitations, for if you trouble me with any more messages on this occasion I will burn the paper and hang the bearer. This is the immutable resolution, and shall be the undoubted practice of him who accounts it his chiefest glory to be His Majesty's most loyal and obedient servant, DERBY.
In 1651 King Charles II., resolving to march from Scotland into England, sent an express to the Isle of Man for the Earl of Derby to meet him in Lancashire. The Earl accordingly, mustering his retainers, left the Island in August, accompanied by Captain Greenhalgh, his Lieutenant-Governor, Sir Thomas Tyldesley,5 with other adherents, and a company of 300 volunteers. Before he reached the royal army he was attacked near Wigan, on the 25th August, by a squadron of the Parliamentary troops under Colonel Lilburne, and, after a gallant defence, was defeated with great loss, and narrowly escaped being taken prisoner. Although severely wounded, he proceeded to Worcester, where he was present during that engagement.
Before leaving the Island the Earl empowered his Countess, by a commission, to act for him in every respect during his absence (Document, No. XXXII. p. 105). Sir Philip Musgrave 6 was left governor of the Island, Sir Thomas Armstrong governor of Rushen Castle, and his brother governor of Peel Castle. The insular infantry was placed under the command of William Christian, Illiam Dhoan, who had held the office of Receiver-General since 1648, a position of great trust and responsibility, in which large sums of money passed through his hands. He was the third son of Deemster Ewan Christian of Milntown, and was born 14th April 1608. He had been from infancy a protege of the House of Stanley, and the Earl of Derby had such confidence in his fidelity and attachment to his family that he commended his noble Countess and their three children, then on the Island, to his especial guardianship. How he discharged this trust will best be seen on reference to the depositions made by various parties in 1662, hereafter printed from the original records in the Rolls Office, Castletown.
After the battle at Worcester the Earl, returning into Lancashire, was intercepted by a detachment of the Parlia-ment army, and surrendered to Captain Oliver Edge, a Lancashire man, upon quarter for life, which plea, upon his trial at Chester, was refused by his personal enemies Rigby and Birch, when he was taken to Bolton, the scene of Rigby's defeat, and unjustly beheaded there on the 15th October 1651. Thus fell the great Earl of Derby, a martyr to the royal cause.7 During the Earl's stay in Chester he addressed the following letter to his Countess in the Isle of Man:-
Chester, October 12, 1651.
I have heretofore sent you comfortable lines, but, alas, I have now no word of comfort, saving to our last and best refuge, which is Almighty God, to whose will we must submit; and when we consider how he hath disposed of these nations and the government thereof, we have no more to do but to lay our hands upon our mouths, judging ourselves, and acknowledging our sins, joined with others, to have been the cause of these miseries, and to call on Him with tears for mercy.
The governor of this place, Colonel Duckenfield,9 is general of the forces which are going now against the Isle of Man, and however you might do for the present, in time it would be grievous and troublesome to resist, especially those that at this hour command three nations; wherefore my advice, notwithstanding my great affection to that place is, that you would make conditions for yourself, children, servants, and people there, and such as came over with me, to the end you may go to some place of rest where you may not be concerned in war; and taking thought of your poor children, you may in some sort provide for them; then prepare yourself to come to your friends above, in that blessed place where bliss is, and no mingling of opinions.
I conjure you, my dearest heart, by all those graces which God bath given you, that you exercise your patience in this great and strange trial. If harm come to you, then I am dead indeed, and until then I shall live in you, who are truly the best part of myself. When there is no such as I in being, then look upon yourself and my poor children, then take comfort, and God will bless you.
I acknowledge the great goodness of God to have given me such a wife as you: so great an honour to my family, .so excellent a companion to me, so pious, so much of all that can be said of good, I must confess it impossible to say enough thereof. I ask God pardon with all my soul, that I have not been enough thankful for so great a benefit, and when I have done anything at any time that might justly offend you, with joined hands I also ask your pardon.
I have no more to say to you at this time, than my prayers for the Almighty's blessing to you, my dear Mall, and Ned, and Billy. Amen. Sweet Jesus.
Upon receiving this letter the Countess of Derby considered it prudent to comply with the Earl's advice, and accordingly despatched Mr. Broyden her servant, with letters to Colonel Duckenfield, the Commander in Chief appointed for the expedition against the Island, treating about its rendition upon condition that the Earl might be released. But alas ! it was too late, for the Earl had been beheaded some few days before its receipt.10 (Document, No. xxix. p. 64.)
An insinuation, extensively circulated in the Island, that Lady Derby was making secret terms for herself and family, and intended to sell the country for 2d. or 3d., as we find mentioned by several of those who were examined in 1662. This cry was no doubt raised to inflame the minds of the people to induce them to join in the proposed rising. The Countess of Derby had proved herself too noble-minded to descend to such an act, for it is seen that, when hard pressed by Colonel Duckenfield, the terms she sent him were more like those of a conqueror, although she had afterwards to submit to others.
The Rebellion in England gave rise to a multitude of tracts of every size and of various denominations, from 1640 to 1660. Many of these were written with great talent, while others were only the vehicle of party abuse, and being devoted to political purposes, they soon became a party nuisance. Their favourite name was Mercurius, with another name to indicate the party from which it emanated, as Merurius Rusticus, Mercurius Britannicus, Mercurius Politicus, A Perfect Diurnall, with a host of others, which only served to inflame the temper of men to a greater fierceness, and give a keener edge to the sharpness of civil discord. From one of these political papers is given an account of what took place in the Isle of Man from a source quite independent of insular bias, written by one on the Parliamentary side, and printed under the sanction of the Secretary of the army of the Commonwealth. (Document, No. xxix. p. 63.)
This account confirms Hugh Moore's deposition that he told the commander he was employed by Mr. Receiver Christian, and that the army should receive no opposition to their landing,- that they had already taken possession of the various forts; but having no papers to show to assure them of the truth of his statement, Major Fox was sent on shore with Mr. Moore, who on his return confirmed the truth of Moore's statement.
It appears this Major Fox, a Lancashire gentleman,11 had been for some time a prisoner in the Isle of Man, by order of the Earl of Derby, and that he joined Colonel Duckenfield at Beaumoris, on the 20th August, at the same time that Mr. Broyden delivered the Countess of Derby's letter to treat for the Earl to be released. He was the bearer of a letter to Colonel Duckenfield from the Receiver, William Christian; and from the depositions it appears that Christian had been in communication previous to this with Major Fox, from whom he had received a commission from the States, empowering him, the said Christian, to raise the country for the Parliament.
The progress of the expedition will be found detailed in Mercurius Politicus. (Document, No. xxix. p. 63-76.) Upon the appearance of their ships off Ramsey, a delegated committee met the commander on board, and the surrender of the Island to the Parliamentary forces was completed on the 2d November 1651, the committee alone stipulating that the inhabitants should be guaranteed the enjoyment of their laws and liberties. Mr. Hume states in his History that the Countess "retained the glory of being the last person in the three kingdoms, and in all the dependent dominions, who submitted to the victorious commonwealth." On the 11th November, the articles made upon the rendition of the Island, and the Castles therein, were confirmed by the Parliament. (Document, No. xxx. p. 78.)
It appears the Countess of Derby was not aware of the death of her Lord until she received Colonel Duckenfield's letter dated "Castletown, 29th October 1651." Communication with the Island was carried on with difficulty, and news travelled slowly. When called upon by this letter to surrender the Isle of Man, she replied, " I hold it by commission from my Lord, and I will not give it up without orders from him, being obliged by my duty to obey the instructions of my husband."
There is no truth in the statement made by Seacome, Rolt, and others, that the Countess was kept long confined in Castle Rushen by order of Receiver Christian. Her two daughters, Catherine and Amelia, had previously been confined at Liverpool, by Colonel Birch the governor. On the 8th June 1650, Lady Derby writes to her sister-in-law. "Since my last letter I have received news of your nieces in England, which afflicts me not a little; and though I can think of nothing to relieve them, I hope to find some comfort in telling you my troubles, for I know you will share, and if possible, remedy them. More than two years ago, when I was in England, and intending to come here, I was advised, with some show of reason, to send for your two nieces, Catherine and Amelia, and to leave them at Knowsley during my absence, that they might keep possession of the house and receive the income granted to the children of delinquents, for so they call us, and which was the fifth part of the revenue of their father's estates. Before I sent for them from this place, I procured passports from the Parliament and the general (Sir Thomas Fairfax), and his protection for my daughters, and they have been there two whole years without any one ever having disturbed either them or their people. But about three weeks ago, a man of the name of Birch,12 the governor of a small town called Liverpool, took them prisoners, and confined them in the said town, where they are now in custody with their attendants. No reason is given for this, but we hear it is because they are thought to be too much liked, and that people were beginning to make application to the Parliament in the hope that their father might come to terms, of which I see no chance."13
Upon the rendition of Castle Rushen the Countess and her children were delivered into the hands of the Parliamentarian Commissioners. " These, madam, are the conditions under which Captain Christian has delivered up the Island," said Birch, ironically, offering Lady Derby a paper, in which no mention was made of her rights nor of her son's rights over this hereditary kingdom of the Derbys ; glancing at it, she said, with her accustomed courage, " No place is mentioned here but the Isle of Man; the neighbouring Islands have not surrendered: permit me to retire to Peel Castle with my children, that I may rest there until I can pass over into France or Holland, and find a place to lay my head."14
By the 7th article, agreed upon on the 31st October 1651, for the surrendering of Castle Rushen and Peel, the Countess of Derby, with her children and servants were to have liberty to pass over to England, and from thence to Holland or France if she pleased. This was accomplished in the following December, when a suitable vessel had been procured.
In writing to her sister, dated London, 25 th March 1652, she says, "I have lost all my personal property, having had only 400 crowns worth of silver plate allowed me to bring me here from the Isle of Man, and nothing more since that"15 Madame de Witt remarks on the said imprisonment, " So far from this being the case, we see, from the indisputable evidence of her own letters, that although poor, and deprived of all the luxuries natural to her rank, she was at least free, living in London, demanding justice." 16
Lady Derby passed her time alternately in London and Knowsley, at which latter place she died on the 31st March 1663-4, and was interred at Ormskirk, Lancashire. She was the daughter of Claude de la Tremouille, Duke of Thouars, and Lady Charlotte his wife, daughter of William, first Prince of Orange.
The Long Parliament, commonly styled the Rump, passed an Act on the 20th September 1649,17 conferring the Island on Lord Fairfax, although the Earl of Derby was then in possession, and continued so until his death in 1651.
Upon the surrender of the Island in November 1651, aided in a great measure by treachery, as will be seen by the depositions taken at Castle Rushen in 1662, hereafter given, Colonel Duckenfield, the military commander of the expedition against the Island, assumed the governorship, issued various proclamations, appointed Captain Samuel Smith,18 Deputy-Governor, and continued to govern the Island in the name of the Commonwealth of England, as appears from the House of Commons' Journals, 1651, and the Liber Scaccar, 1652, in the Rolls Office, Castletown.
Thomas, Lord Fairfax, asserted his right under the Act of Parliament before mentioned, and appointed James Chaloner, William Steane, and J. Rushworth, commissioners, to enquire into his estate in the Island, with the yearly value thereof. These commissioners deputed Captains Eaton and Beale, to make enquiries, and to give notice to the tenants of his lordship's right thereto, as follows :-Liber Scaccar, 1652.
" Whereas the Parliamt of England by their Act of the 20th of September, 1649, intituled, An Act for settling Mannors, Lands, Tenements, and Hereditaments of the cleare yearly value of 4000' upon Thomas Lord Fairfax the Captain-Generall of the forces of the Parliamt of England, Have invested the said Thomas Lord Fairfax with all that the Island, Castle Pele, and Isle of Man, situated and lying in the seas betwixt England and Ireland, with all Islands, Lordships, Piles, Castles, Monastery, Abbies, Priories, adiacent and belonging to the said Lordship of Man, and whtch late were the inheritance of James Earle of Derby, in as large and bene-ficiall a manner to all intents and purposes whatsoever, as the sayd James Earle of Derby had or might have enjoyed the same, We doe therefore in the right and behalfe of the sayd Thomas Lord Fairfax, and as intrusted by him, con-stitute and appoint you, by all good wayes and meanes, to enquier into the foresaid estate in the said Isle of Man, with the yearly vallue and profittes thereof, and to give notice to the respective tenants of the said Thomas Lord Fairfax his right thereto; the returne wherof we desier you to send unto us. Given under our hands the 4t" off Desem. 1651. "
" Jo. RUSHWORTH.
" To Captaine Eaton & Capt. Beale."
The Parliament kept a military force in the Island, and made an allowance to the Governor as such, besides giving him the pay of a Captain. The monarchial form of government was continued as in the time of the former Lords of the Island. William Christian retained his post of Receiver-General under Lord Fairfax, but having got into arrears with the Exchequer, Commissioner Chalouer found it his duty to sequestrate his estates and imprison his brother John, for aiding him in his escape from the Island. Captain Smith continued to act as Deputy-Governor until his death in June 1652, when the said Commissioners continued to act for Lord Fairfax, who does not appear to have ever visited the Island. James Chaloner was appointed Governor in 1658, and continued so until 1660. Lord Fairfax held the Island until the Restoration, 28th May, 1660.
The death of Oliver Cromwell, on the 3rd September 1658, was a great blow to the Commonwealth of England, and however great had been his talent for governing, particularly in his military capacity for discipline, by which he had raised his army to a high state of efficiency, it was found that his son was sadly defective, and this, with the strife for supremacy amongst the various denominations, soon brought about that reaction for which many had been long desirous, a restoration to monarchy. Charles II. was brought to London with every demonstration of rejoicing, and was pro-claimed King. In the Isle of Man he was proclaimed at "Peel Town at the cross, May 28, 1660; at Castletown, May 29 ; at Douglas Cross, May 30 ; and at Ramsey Cross, May 31, with shouting, shooting of muskets and ordnance, drinking of beer, with great rejoicing. The Governor, James Chaloner being at the said places, attended with the Officers, civil and spiritual; 24 Keys, the captains of parishes, and above 60 horse, besides the Officers in each Town aforesaid." Entry in Malew Parish Register, 1660.
Soon after Charles, 8th Earl of Derby, had been reinstated in his "Kingdom of Man," he took measures to bring to justice those whom he considered had been instrumental in the betrayal of the trust reposed in them by the late Earl, his father, as also for insurrection against the Countess of Derby in 1651, at the time she was entrusted with the State of Government of the Isle during the absence of the Earl. The mandate for the trial of William Christian of Ronalds-way will be found in Document No. i. as well as the various depositions taken preparatory to his trial, which was conducted in the usual manner, according to precedent from time immemorial, which will be seen in reference to various documents hereafter given.
The author of Historical Notices (Document XXXI. p. 83), makes some strong remarks upon the removal of various members of the House of Keys, to which body the Deemsters had applied for their advice. The removal of certain members of the Keys was mainly those who were deeply implicated in the rising, as will be seen on reference to the Depositions-viz., Ewan Curghie, Samuel Radcliffe, Dollin Clarke, William Gawne, Jo. Cayne, and Jo. Lace - Edward Christian being a near relative to the accused William Christian. By the Statute of 1422, it was given for law " that whosoever riseth against the Lieutenant he is a Traytor by our Law, for that is against the Lord's prerogatives." By the same Statute it was also given for law, " without the Lord's will, none of the 24 Keys to be." The election of the Keys, in place of those removed, would be after the manner that has been customary with that body, by sending in the names of two landed proprietors for the one removed, when the Lord or his Lieutenant selects one of them; so they are not the actual nominees of the Lord, for purposes of his own, as the author of the Historical Notices insinuates.
Christian refused to plead to the indictment, and on reference of this matter to the Deemsters and twenty-four Keys, they gave it as the law, that such a person is " deemed to bee at ye Lord's mercy for body and goods at his honors pleasure," and " is to receive his doome and sentence for life or death as pleaseth the Govrnr or Deputy Govrnr of this Isle to order such a malefactor unto." (Document, No. VIII. p. 32.)
Christian was accordingly, on the 31st December 1662, sentenced to be shot to death at Hango Hill; which was carried into effect on the 2d January 1662-3. From the entry in the parish register of Malew, where his remains were buried in the chancel, it is stated he died " most penitently."
It will be observed by the speech which Christian made at the place of execution (Document, No. x. p. 37), he says, that after being set at liberty from the Fleet Prison in London where he had been confined upon an action of £20,000 (probably the amount which Commissioner Chaloner had thought it necessary to sequester his property for his defalcations with the Exchequer), he consulted with several gentlemen concerning the King's "Act of Indemnity, and was told there was no doubt that it extended to the Isle of Man and all other places within his Majesty's dominions and countries. Relying on this advice he returned to the Island after an absence of near three years.
Upon Christian been arrested after his return to the Island, he petitioned the King and Privy Council for redress. (Document, No. VI. p. 41.) This was followed up by a petition from Ewan Christian, son of William Christian; and on the hearing of the case on the 5th August 1663, full restitution of the estates was to be made to the heir, with other matters. That the two Deemsters, Thomas Norris and Hugh Cannell, who had decreed Christian's death, were ordered to be committed and remain prisoners in the King's Bench, and to be proceeded against in the ordinary course of justice. Other parties that had been summoned to attend were ordered to be discharged from further restraint, etc. (Document, No. xxv., pp. 54-57.)
The defences made for the various members called before the Privy Council on account of Christian's death, supported as they were by reference to the law of the Isle of Man, appear to have been received as a sufficient justification for their share in those proceedings. No further action was taken against the Deemsters or others, for after a while they were released and returned to the Island.
Ewan Curghey, Samuel Radcliffe, and John Cæsar, the gentlemen who had been exempted by the Earl of Derby's order on the 4th February 1662, from the general amnesty until they had given security for their future fidelity to the Lord of the Island, upon making clue submission to the Earl had their estates restored to them, and received his gracious act of pardon.
At the Council held on the 5th August 1663, the Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench, the Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer, with the King's Counsel, gave it as their opinion, "That the Act of General Pardon and Indempnity did and ought to be understood to extend into the Isle of Man as well as into any other of His Majesty's Dominions and Plantations beyond the Seas. And that, being a Publique General Act of Parliament, it ought to have been taken notice of by the Judges in the Isle of Man."
This decision of the Privy Council is difficult to be reconciled with all previous Acts connected with the Isle of Man, for it has ever been an independent kingdom, and was never looked upon as a dominion, territory, or planta-tion beyond the seas at any time. Coke, in the 1st part of his Institutes of the Laws of England, observes, "the Isle of Man is no part of the kingdom, but a distinct territory of itself;" and again, in the 4th part of the same, he observes, " This Isle hath been an ancient kingdom, as it appeareth in 1. 1. 7, in Calvin's Case, the King's writ runneth not in the Isle of Man, yet the King's commission extendeth thither for the redress of injustice and wrong; but the commissioners must proceed according to law and justice of the Isle," an exact case in point with respect to Christian's trial. Again, in Wood's Institute of the Laws of England, it is stated, " the Isle of Man is no part of England, but a distinct territory of itself, and out of the power of our Chancery." Blackstone confirms this, and says, " the Isle of Man is a distinct territory from England, and is not governed by our laws; neither doth any Act of Parliament extend to it, unless it be particularly named therein." This is fully confirmed by an Act passed in 1729, the preamble of which contains the remarkable declaration and admission by Parliament, that to bind the Isle of Man it must be referred to by express name.
The Act of Pardon and Indemnity could not therefore be rightly considered to extend to the Isle of Man, not being mentioned therein. Persons in the Isle of Man might be guilty of treason against the Lord of the Isle independently of the Crown of England. If Christian was guilty at all, the charge against him was, treason against the Lord of the Island, not against the King of England.
It was no doubt the desire of King Charles, by this decision of his Privy Council, to extend his Act of Clemency as widely as possible, in order to quiet down the distracted state which his kingdom had been so long subjected to, for we hereafter find no further proceedings were taken, but all allowed quietly to return to their homes.
It is certain the execution of Christian made a deep impression upon the minds of the Islanders, and that has mainly been continued to a comparatively recent time by the ballad of " Illiam Dhoan" (Document, No. XXXIII. p. 107.) This has probably more than anything else been the means of perpetuating the remembrance of "Brown haired William " in the minds of the Manx peasantry. Such is the influence of a ballad, that well might the sage of old remark,
"If a man were permitted to make all the ballads, he need not care who should make the laws of a nation." Some on the Island deny Christians guilt altogether ; but there are others who are so far of a different opinion that they only allow the execution to have been wrong in so far as he died by a military rather than a civil death.
The documents which are hereafter given, will be found to contain more correct information on this period of Manx history than has hitherto been published, and are given without comment, so that the reader may exercise his judgment as to the guilt or otherwise of the unfortunate William Christian, popularly known amongst his countryman as Illiam Dhôan.
Having now given a short history of matters connected with the period of the Rebellion in England and its extension to the Isle of Man, with various documents connected there-with, from which it will be seen that some of the most influential families in the Island were deeply implicated, in opposition to the Lord of the Isle, it is well to draw a veil over transactions that had convulsed society in every grade. After a lapse of more than 200 years there is little fear of wounding, by a record of these transactions, the feelings of representatives of families whose ancestors had taken an active part in those unhappy times, but that they will ever, as heretofore, continue to be truly loyal to the Crown of England. W. H.
1 Manx Society's Series, Vol. XXV. p. 10, 1876.
2 Captain John Greenhalgh of Brandlesholme, in the parish of Bury-Lancashire, Governor of the Isle of Man, 1640. Buried at Malew, 19th September 1651. His character is drawn most favourably in Lord Derby's Memoir addressed to his son. See Peck, Des. Cur., lib. xi. p. 25, and Manx Society, Vol. III. John Greenhalgh was born in 1597, and married Alice, daughter of the Rev. Wm. Massey, B.D., rector of Wimslow, Co. Chester.
3 Alexander Rigby of Preston, Esq., bred to the law, afterwards a most active colonel in the service of Parliament. He was at the siege of Lathorn, and defeated at Bolton by Rupert.
4 Seacome's History of the House of Stanley.
5 Sir Thomas Tyldesley, Knight, was a royalist major-general, and representative of a, younger branch of the Tyldesleys of Tyldesley, Lancashire. He is honourably commemorated by Clarendon for his zeal to the royal cause. He met with his death on the battle-field in Wigan Lane, where a pillar is erected to his memory by his "grateful cornet, Alexander Rigby." He was interred in the north chancel of the church of Leigh, where the Earl of Derby, seven weeks afterwards, on his way to execution at Bolton, made an unavailing request to visit his grave. A fine portrait of him is given in Baines' Lancashire, from an original painting at Hulton Hall.
6 Sir Philip Musgrave, of Eden Hall, in Westmoreland, Baronet, a royalist colonel and Governor of Carlisle. He was sworn in Governor of the Isle of Man on the death of John Greenhalgh, 19th September 1651. He was raised to the peerage as Baron Musgrave, but never took out the patent. He died in 1678, aged 70.
7 Under the portrait of the Earl is affixed the following lines
" While Stanley's life-like face you scan,
You recognise the King of Man ;
But learn his death from history's pen,
And then you see the King of Men."
His son Charles reverently attended upon his father's remains, conveyed them after the execution to Sir Roger Bradshaigh's of Haigh Hall, Wigan, and on the following day deposited them in the family vault at Ormskirk.
8 Seacome's History of the House of Stanley.
9 Colonel Robert Duckenfield of Duckenfield, Cheshire, Parliamentary Colonel, Governor of Chester, etc., 1651, was one of the commissioners ap-pointed by a new ordinance for erecting a High Court of Justice for the trial of King Charles, which was presented to the House of Commons on the 4th January 1649, was read a first, second, and third time, assented to, and passed the same day, but he took no part in the subsequent proceedings, never having attended any of the days of trial nor signed the warrant for his execu-tion. He was interred in the graveyard of Denton Chapel, about six miles east of Manchester, September 21st, 1689, undistinguished by monument or sepulchral inscription. He was Governor of the Isle of Man in 1651-52.
10 Blackstone is quite correct in saying that the trial of Charles 1. was un-paralleled ; the same may be said of the Earl of Derby, after the promise of Captain Edge of quarter for life.
11 The Foxes of the Rhodes, in Prestwich, were a respectable family, and for many generations tenants of Rhodes, under the Derby family ; this Major -Fox was most probably one of the same family.
12 Thomas Birch of Birch, in the parish of Manchester, a colonel of militia, Governor of Liverpool, and M.P. for that borough. The Council of State approved of this detention, for the alleged cause of Lord Derby holding Man against the Parliament.
13 Lady of Lathom. By Madame Guizot de Witt. London, 1569, p. 150.
14 Lady of Lathom, p. 206.
15 Ibid. p. 209.
16 Ibid. p. 215.
17 For this Act of Parliament, conferring the Isle of Man on Lord Fairfax, most diligent and determined search has been made but without discovering it: A good many Acts passed under the Protectorate have been lost sight of. Some of them may be discoverable among the sacksful of uncalendered papers of the Commonwealth time. These are not at the Public Record Office, but are now at Woolwich, in a state of complete chaos, and utterly inaccessible. The officials at the Record Office have made elaborate search, and Mrs. Green, the compiler of Calendars of State Papers, knows nothing of it. The newspapers of 1649 contain no notice of it. Scobell's collection of Commonwealth Statutes has no Act of the year 1649 passed later than March. A volume of King's Pamphlets, consisting of Statutes passed in the years 1648 and 1649, contains several Statutes passed on the 20th September 1649, but not one concerning the Isle. The under-librarian of Lincoln's Inn says that library possesses no copy of the Act. Other sources have also been examined with the same result.
18 Samuel Smith had been a member of the Court-Martial by which the Earl of Derby had been tried and condemned at Chester.