[From Manx Quarterly, #2 June 1907]



Died May 6th, 1907.

[From the "Isle of Man Examiner."]

Mr William Quine, of Silverdale, Malew, who in point of years was the oldest member of the House of Keys, has joined the great majority. Though his death was not unexpected — he had been ill for several weeks — the intelligence of his passing came as a great shock to his extensive circle of acquaintance. It is exceedingly doubtful whether Mr Quine had an enemy. True, he had political and commercial opponents. but by all of these he was respected, and very many of them cherished for him a warm esteem — an esteem which partook of affection so far as his circle of intimate acquaintance was concerned. He was a man of a singularly even and pleasant disposition, and with him the harbouring of malice, even for the briefest period, was a matter of impossibility. Although his convictions were strong, he was charitable of thought, and was ever ready to excuse what he regarded as lapses in others; while his breadth of view enabled him to respect persons whose political or religious views differed from those which he held so tenaciously.

Mr Quine was born almost 83 years ago, at Bell Abbey, Arbory, and he was the eldest but one of a family of seven sons and one daughter. His brothers and sister, upon reaching maturity, emigrated, and all of them had successful careers. The youngest brother, Mr Richard Quine, realised a competency in Australia, and some years ago returned to the Island. He now resides in Selborne-road, and is spending the winter of his days quietly and happily. After obtaining such education as was procurable for country lads of his class in the Isle of Man in the early part of the nineteenth century, Mr William Quine served his apprenticeship as a miller, and on completing his time, he worked in most of the principal mills of the Island, one of his employers being the late Mr John Windsor, of Pulrose Mills. While still a young man, he went into business on his own account, and carried on a mill near Glen Helen with much success. Some forty years or more ago he entered into partnership with a friend for the purpose of purchasing Glen Helen and the Swiss Cottage at the entrance to the glen, and the beautiful property being acquired, it was at Mr Quine's instance developed as a pleasure resort on temperance lines. Mr Quine was urged to apply for a liquor license in connection with the place, but he staunchly refused to swallow his strong temperance principles, and so forfeited the opportunity of making what would probably have been a big financial profit. The glen was managed by Mr John Clague, now of Ramsey, who had been in business in Douglas as a confectioner, and who was a pillar of the Temperance cause in the Island. Under this management, the glen gained in popularity with residents and visitors, and the venture proved a remunerative one. Eventually the property was sold to a public company, which has ever since " run " the concern, to the financial advantage f the shareholders. The company had no scruples as to the sale of drink, and since their acquisition of the property a license for the sale of intoxicants has been attached to the hotel which has been built, and the grounds. Throughout his life, Mr Quine, by precept and example, sought to advance the cause of temperance, of which he was an ardent upholder. It was his determination to, as far as possible, minimise the evils attaching to the intemperate use of liquor which induced him to enter into public life. He first sought a seat in the House of Keys about nineteen years ago, at a bye-election for the Sheading of Rushen. There were three candidates in the field, namely, Mr Quine, Mr W. Watterson (Colby), and Mr George H. Quayle, the last-named being successful. However, at the next succeeding general election, he was again a candidate for Rushen Sheading, and on this occasion he was victorious. From that day to the day of his death he was one of the representatives of the sheading in the House, and his seat was so absolutely secure that, had he lived and decided to continue membership of the House, there is not the slightest doubt that the Rushen electors would have returned him for so long as he chose to sit. In politics, he held views of a decidedly progressive character, and had he lived in England he would probably have been regarded as a Radical of the deepest dye. Though he had a most kindly feeling towards the Established Church, and, indeed, frequently attended the services of that Church, he was in favour of disestablishment and of equality for all forms of religious belief. He was, too, an ardent educationist, and doubtless his last days were brightened by the knowledge that the House of Keys had passed the Higher Education Bill, of which he was a strong supporter. In matters of legislation he took an initiative which should put younger electors to shame. After overcoming many obstacles, he succeeded in inducing the Legislature to pass an act to secure the destruction of weeds noxious to agriculture. The act is a very valuable one so far as most of its provisions are concerned, but the fact that its enforcement is in the hands of the pettifogging boards of Parish Commissioners renders the measure practically inoperative. The truth is, many of these Commissioners are among the worst offenders against the law, and so they simply ignore its existence. Mr Quine, too, perseveringly but vainly has endeavoured to persuade the Legislature to pass bills providing for the abolition of bar-maids and the disestablishment of tied public-houses. He strenuously supported all proposals having for object the social advancement of the masses of the people — he, in fact, strove to so mould the law of the land as to make it easy to do right and hard to do wrong. His endeavours to advocate temperance principles were not confined to the Isle of Man, for he was a not infrequent speaker at Temperance meetings held in the Free Trade Hall, Manchester, and elsewhere in England, he being often a platform supporter of the late Sir Wilfrid Lawson, Bart., the great apostle of Prohibition.

After selling Glen Helen, Mr Quine purchased the Cregg Mills, situate on the banks of the beautiful Silverburn — the stream which debouches at Castletown. He erected a delightful residence close to the mill, and named it Silverdale. The grounds he laid out so judiciously and with such excellent taste as to secure one of the most picturesque effects in the Isle of Man. He was a great arboriculturist, his knowledge of tree planting being deep and practical. Indeed, if there was one subject upon which he was even more enthusiastic than temperance, it was arboriculture. He was mainly instrumental in founding the Isle of Man Arboricultural Society, which has done and is doing such good work, and he never wearied of using his persuasive powers on Manx landowners with a view to securing an increase in growing timber. The illness which culminated in Mr Quine's death, at Silverdale, on Monday afternoon last, was the after-effect of a severe attack of influenza. At times he rallied, and it was hoped that he, with his splendid constitution and powerful physique, would pull through; but hope was abandoned over a fortnight ago, and the good old man gradually sank until the last long sleep of death overcame him. he was a widower, his wife having predeceased him by some years. Surviving he leaves four sons and two daughters. Of the sons, one is a medical practitioner of eminence in Manchester, who has gained fame for his inventions in sanitary appliances; another is the Rev John Quine, M.A., Vicar of Lonan and Chaplain of the House of Keys, who has written the finest Manx story extant, namely, " The Captain of the Parish." Other sons are Mr William Quine, of the Nunnery Mills, Douglas; and Mr T. F. Quine, of the Cregg Mills, Ballasalla, both of whom take a deep and intelligent interest in political, religious, and social matters. Mr Quine's eldest daughter is the wife of Mr T. Champion, retired Customs officer, of Cronkbourne-road, Douglas; and his youngest lived with him at Silverdale, and managed his household affairs.


Amid deep and general manifestation of mourning, the funeral of the late Mr W. Quine, H.K., took place on Thursday May 9th. There was a large gathering at Silverdale, deceased's residence, all classes of the community being well represented. As the coffin containing the body was brought out of the house, the hymn "There is a land of pure delight" was given out by Mr Joseph Qualtrough, one of Mr Quine's colleagues in the representation of Rushen Sheading in the House of Keys, and the assemblage joined feelingly in singing the well-known sacred melody. The cortege proceeded by way of Foxdale and St. John's to Peel Cemetery, where the interment took place, and near St. John's the procession was joined by a large number of people who had travelled from Douglas and other parts of the Island to pay their last tribute of respect. Among these were Mr A. W. Moore, C.V.O. (Speaker of the House of Keys), Mr Dalrymple Maitland, H.K. (Deputy Speaker), Mr J. Qualtrough, H.K., Mr T. C. Kinnish, H.K., Mr P. Cadman, H.K., Col. Moore, H.K., Mr T. Moore, C.P., Mr R. D. Gelling (secretary to the House of Keys), the Castletown Circuit (Wesleyan) ministers, etc. The service in the cemetery was conducted by the Rev Canon Kewley, Vicar of Arbory, who is an old friend of deceased's family. The chief mourners were the Rev John Quine and his two sons, Dr Quine (Manchester), Mr W. Quine (Douglas), Mr T. F. Quine (Ballasalla), Mr Richard Quine (Douglas), and Mr T. Champion (Douglas).

[From the " Isle of Man Times."]

Mr Quine was born in 1825 at Bell Abbey Farm, in Arbory — where his grandfather and father were tenant farmers. To go further back, the grandfather, Henry Quine, came from Ballaquine, in Baldwin; his wife, Elizabeth Clucas, from Kerroo-ne-Glough, in Greeba : both these grandparents of yeoman proprietor origin and class; the Ballaquine people having held land there as far back as the records go: Richard Quine, who was probably of Castleward a member of the Keys far Middle Sheading in 1504.

Wm. Quine's father, John Quine, tenant of Bell Abbey, married Elizabeth Quirk, daughter of a tenant of the Vaish, in German, who came in the first instance from Dalby, but originally from Glenneedle,

The "twenties" was a period of severe agricultural depression on the Island: England suffering from the terrible reaction consequent on the long wars, which ended with the peace of 1815; and the "'twenties," moreover, a period of extremely bad seasons. With this period is associated the riots in the matter of green Crop tithe in the episcopate of Bishop Murray. To such a degree had popular feeling been roused by this contention, aggravating the distress so general in the community from other causes, that, in 1828, at Bishop Ward's first convocation, this clergy represented to him that the churches were deserted, and that they anticipated very soon having to officiate in the presence of empty pews.

One of the results of the general distress was a considerable emigration exodus from the Island to America: this movement memorable through the particular incident of the founding of the Manx colony at Cleveland, Ohio, Of the acute tension of the time Mr Quine had one very clear reminiscence. The landlord of Bell Abbey on one occasion rode into the field where his father was ploughing, and blustered over delayed rent : the end of it being that his father dragged the landlord from his horse, and, to impress on him the other side of the argument, trailed him through the soil turned up by the plough

About 1830, John Quine became tenant off Knockbreek, near Grenaby, in Malew. He met with his death in 1837, being accidentally killed in the grey morning by his pair of horses bolting in a lane, when on his way to the shore for wrack. He left a widow and eight children — William, the nearest to the eldest, then a boy off thirteen. Considering that it was the time of the Chartist riots and the Corn Law agitation in England, it may be imagined that in the Isle of Man it was in hardly any less degree a period of depression and hardship. The outlook for the widow and her young family was an absolute agony. The marvellous hardihood of Mr Quine's mother in facing the struggle before her might form the subject of a pathetic tale — fortunately with a fairly happy ending. She was one; there were others: the fibre of the Manx race, in those days at any rate, was tough and sound. It is mainly represented today perhaps in the Colonies and in the United States of America. .

The subsequent careers of these young people have a certain interest, as illustrating how, in their case, as in multitudes of other cases, the young Manx people fought their way out into the world, creditably and indeed heroically, if the whole story could be told; so that it is no wonder that "Manxmen abroad" reflect credit on their race and on the Island.

John, the eldest, a boy of 15 at the time of his fathers death, became skipper of a Peel lugger ; joined the Liverpool Constabulary; left that service to keep livery stables; and at the age of 80, went out to visit his children in Australia; came on the same errand to Capetown; settled down there; and, when he died in 1905, was octogenarian president of the Capetown Manx Society.

Thomas, James, Henry, and Robert, all in succession, emigrated to America, to work at the Lake Superior Copper Mines. James invented a now method of cutting the virgin copper found in that region; became captain of the mine; migrated to Vermont, to be captain of a mine there; again moved to the captaincy of the Peekskill copper mine on the Hudson wand, finally, when the territory of Dacota was boomed for development, invested in land in that State. His family are now settled there,

Thomas, Henry, and Robert left America for Australia Thomas entered the Geological Survey to explore and map the interior of the country; and, after some twenty years is that service, retired on a pension. Henry and Robert went in for "gold digging," both of them ultimately retiring with competencies, and remaining in Australia.

Mr Quine's mother and sister both died in America, where they resided with Captain James Quine, at Peekskill, in New York. Richard Quine, the youngest of the family, also emigrated to Australia in the "fifties." He followed the various gold rushes, encountering, among other Manxmen, the late Joseph Mylchreest, with whom he was associated in the great Lachlan rush, Mr Mylchreest after that going off to the Cariiboo rush, in British Columbia, and subsequently, with better fortune, to South Africa. Mr Richard Quine, now resident in Douglas, was the only one of the family to finally return to the Island again.

At the age of 13, William Quine was apprenticed tired to be a miller, beginning life at Sulby Mill. Later he worked at Milntown Mill, with Mr Kerruish, father of the late Mr Edmund Kerruish, engineer of the Great Laxey Mine; Here he made the acquaintance of Mr Thomas Corlett, now of Laxey Glen Mills (ex-member of the House of Keys for Garff), this acquaintance ripening into one of his many lifelong; friendships. From Milntown he went to Ballasalla Mill; and, for two seasons, went to the herring fishing as one of the crew of a Peel lugger, returning to his trade in the winter. From his being "at the herrings" dated his first acquaintance (and this again a lifelong friendship) with the late Mr John Joughin, H.K., who had also in his younger days gone to the fishing and been skipper of a Peel lugger. Mr Quine's taste of seafaring had a certain interest in subsequent years, viz. — in the period, from 1850 to 1870 — when in Liverpool for the corn market, if he found that the steamer did not suit so well, he took passage home in a Peel or Castletown trading smack. On one of these occasions, in the Crest of Castletown, they encountered a terrific gale: the skipper only too glad to discover that, instead of a helpless passenger, he lead an extra able seaman, who knew the ropes and did good service in their fight with the terrible sea off Langness.

From Ballasalla Mill, Mr Quine went to Liverpool, and worked in the Old Windmill, which stood on the site now occupied by St. George's Hall, a trace of the Liverpool of that day still surviving in Mill Lane, just above the Museum and Library. As he was all his life a total abstainer, a certain interest attaches to one of his reminiscences of life in Liverpool, viz., as showing how already at that time his principles were avowed, and no doubt all the more firmly fixed by passing through a severe test. The millers of the old windmill, failing to persuade him, meant to compel him, to drink with them. They seized him, and attempted to pour beer into his mouth. The result was, however, a broken jar, and blood pouring from the noses of more than one member of the anti- teetotal party.

From Liverpool, Mr Quine returned to the Island to work for Mr Windsor, of Glenmoar Mill, in German. After a short time there, he married, and began business on his own account, taking a new mill just erected at Foxdale. The site of this mill lies now buried under the mountain of "lead's," in the hollow below Foxdale Mines. Foxdale was then — viz., 1848 — becoming a flourishing village. Everybody in those days used homemade bread; and then was the opportunity for a good business, but, in fact, materially for Mr Quine, Foxdale was a failure. In another sense it was a success morally ! He had enough capital to start with. He was young. But, neither then, nor perhaps to the end, had he acquired or ever could acquire, that experience, that attitude to human nature which goes to make a successful business man. He was altogether too trustful. By means of lavish credit he became involved in difficulties; and had to meet his own creditors. Inspired by his wife, who inherited and embodied the very best traditions of what was Manx — endowed with gifts of mind far beyond the scope of his own — one to whom the heroic was merely simple and natural, that is to say, the only way — he declined absolutely the favourable terms offered by his creditors, viz., a composition. He would accept no concessions, but declared as his ultimatum the payment of all liabilities in full, oven "if it should take him all his fife to accomplish it." The home was broken up He returned to manage Mr Windsor's business at Glenmoar. Mrs Quine went home to her parents' house, and set up dressmaking. Their united earnings for several years went to the settlement of their liabilities, which were paid in every case with interest up to the day of payment. They had lost some capital and several years of their lives, but had an absolutely "clean slate."

If he ever afterwards seemed censorious, it was the reaction of a great moral effort actually accomplished, and such efforts do react sometimes in this way.

When Mr Windsor removed to Pulrose, Mr Quine was ready to begin life again on his own account, and became tenant of Glenmoar Mill. For twenty years he carried on business there, chiefly occupied in making biscuit-flour, a great deal of sea biscuit being during that period supplied to the Peel fishing fleet. His landlord, the late Mr J. Stevenson Moore, of Lherghydboo, was all that time a near neighbour and one of the most congenial of his friends. Another intimate was the late Mr Thomas Kermode, ironmonger, of Peel, the particular bond being their common sympathies on the temperance question. The late Mr Evan Christian, of Lewaigue, was another great comrade, ands frequent guest at Glenmoar. And in this general connection began Mr Quine's definite activity, or at least interest, in politics. When the House of Keys altered its Constitution, and became an elected body, he supported the candidature, of Mr John Stevenson Moore, for Glenfaba. It would not be too much to say that from 1865 — viz., for more than 40 years — Mr Quine read '"The Isle of Man Times' reports of all business in the Council, in the Keys, and in the Tynwald Court — absolutely without the omission of a line. It goes without saying that his ode was that usually called the Liberal party; but the men to whose utterances he attached we,weight, were not invariably of his own party, having probably the highest regard for Mr William Fine Moore and Mr William Farrant, yet always an immense regard for Mr J. S. Moore, of Lherghydhoo.

During the time of his residence in German, along with Mr T. C. S. Moore, he purchased Glen Helen, and in 1867 opened it up as a visiting resort. Naturally the advantage of an. hotel would have made this resort more actractive to visitors, but as a licence was contrary to his ideas against which a material interest had no weight, he insisted on the place being run on temperance lines, till he finally sold his share of the estate.

In 1870, Mr Quine went to reside on the South of the Island, first in Castletown, then at Ballasalla House, and finally at Silverdale. He unsuccessfully contested a by-election in Rushen sheading in 1887, but was successful in being re turned' at the general election in 1889 — from which date he continued to represent that sheading. Among the inter alia of his impressions of life and experience in the Keys was the regard he expressed for the Speakers — for the late Sir John Taubman, as an absolutely just and perfectly courageous man; and for the present Speaker, as no ways suffering by a comparison with his predecessor.

Next to his strong opinions and his uncompromising thoroughness on temperance questions, Mr Quine held like strong convictions on the question of Sabbath observance. Yet he had not by any means the spirit usually associated with the word Sabbatarianism. Like many who hold extremely rigid opinions as to principle, yet with all the goodness of heart necessary to temper the severity of their logic, he let the exact limits of Sabbath observance remain not too harshly defined. If he was thought by anyone as politically intolerant, then closer personal acquaintance was all that was needed to prove how absolutely free he was from personal pharisaism. A man whose life was so stainless, and whose integrity was so genuine — even should he be an extreme Calvinist — could not, by the sheer necessity of his own goodness, that is unconscious goodness, deny in others or fail to credit to others, any good quality they evidently possessed. To relent was to him the easiest, the most natural thing in the world. To forget a kindness, or be oblivious of an old-time association, was simply foreign to his nature.

Intellectually he had no difficulties, and so might be said to be extremely happily constituted. It is certain that the absolutely infallible test of a man is his laugh. Mr Quine s laughter was never a sneer, never other than that of an innocent and childlike heart.

On his part, laughter in derision, in contempt — at the expanse of anyone, present or absent — was simply impossible.

If the scope of his mind did not include, as it certainly did not include, any, element of humour, there was at least scope for abundant good humour.

He was an. incessant talker, never thinking of conversabion as an art, but always with the rush and gush of interest in the topic; but if, as was usual, he took the topic seriously, he was happily not in the least degree one of those people who make the mistake of taking themselves seriously too.

As a representative Manxman, not of the last generation, but of the generation before the last, viz., one whose early environment was the country pasts of the Island in the "twenties" and "thirties" of the last century, it may be interesting to have it stated that no man born in the 20th century could be more absolutely free from any tinge of superstition. For him the supernatural, in the vulgar use of the word, did not exist; and never had existed. What he must have heard in boyhood in the way of fairy lore one may conjecture to have been considerable; but it is certain that it had never touched his imagination. This fact, which it would be impossible to state with too much emphasis certainly raises the question whether Manx people are naturally superstitious; proves that, in individual cases, they are the very reverse.

His political heroes were not statesmen such as Pitt or Beaconsfield or Gladstone, but emancipators such as Clarkson, Wilberforce, and so on; and in the same category such men of action as John Howard, the reformer of prisons. For him men who had merely written were of no importance, but a man who had travelled sand described his travails was a much more satisfactory sort of person. Not to say that he oared for Stanley's travels, except as a light upon the life work of Livingstone. His conversation with a returned missionary meant a battery of questions as to the mechanical knowledge, the agricultural methods, the houses and furniture, and so on, of the people among whom the missionary had worked — not by any means the work of the missionary himself.

The longing of his life, never to be realised, was to visit the Holy Land, and next to that consummation, perhaps Egypt. His favourite books were the "Land and the Book," "Giant Cities of Bashan" — any and every book that gave vivid glimpses of the Mast; in effect, all accounts of actual travel in Palestine. One need hardly say that the Jewish race had his keenest sympathy — viz, in those aspects relating to their ultimate return to Palestine; and in the last bright moments, this consummation was one of the certainties about which he head no misgiving!

He has been called a Wesleyan, but this is admissible only in a sense of the word no longer current. He frequently and stoutly declared that he was a Churchman; and certainly believed in nothing that was not part and parcel of Church standard doctrines In the time of the Rev. William Gill and of the Rev. Hugh Gill, as Vicars of Malew, be was a regular attender at Holy Communion at the Parish Church: at that period, year in, year out, next to the Vicar and Parish Clerk — at least, on Sunday mornings probably the most regular church attender in his parish. He was nothing if not idiosyncratic: to him the sine qua non of the religious Service was the reading of the Ten Commandments; the sum total of a religious life, the keeping of them. Had he been given a free hand as a Reformer, no religious body would have escaped, and he would have ended simply by re-establishing the Church in politics, Liberal: that is to say, actually Conservative; really Tory. Mere nomenclature is often a disguise: and in his case indubitably, the qualities of a Tory were those by which and through which he became in any degree a conspicuous man, and differentiated from other men. He believed certain things; and where a principle was in question, an interest had no place.


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