[From Manx Quarterly, #12 June 1913]
[Now in Manx Museum MS669A though in a rather fragile state, a note in William Cubbon's distinctive handwriting states that it was originally loaned to T Talbot when that gentleman was involved with the Manx Society and came to the Library under Talbot's bequest which according to his will were to be transferred to the National Collection when established.
Cubbon had only recently been appointed as librarian and, although the article is unsigned, this is possibly his first bibliographic essay]
Judging from the contents of a manuscript book which is now in the custody of Mr William Cubbon, Public Librarian of Douglas, the Rev John Clague, some-time Vicar of Kirk Christ, Rushen, was a methodical sort of parson, The title of the book is set forth upon a pen and ink drawn book plate which is very neatly delineated inside the cover. This plate consists of a partly unrolled scroll held in a left-hand, a portion of the sleeved arm being also pourtrayed. The scroll is ornamented with the Manx arms, underneath which are the words
MANX MANUSCRIPT FORMS
from 1760 to 1809
By the Rev James Clague,
Vicar of Rushen.
The mis-statement in the book plate as Parson Clague's Christian name is evidence that the compiler of the book not responsible for the draughtsman John Clague was appointed to the living of Rushen on May 22nd, 1782, and succeeded by Joseph Qualtrough on April 13th, 1816.
Either the Rev John Clague or some person through whose hands the manuscript has passed went to the expense of having the volume bound by S. R. Gresson & Co., of 58 South Castle-street, Liverpool Contained within the substantial boards are 474 pages quarto size, for the most part closely written, It is be gathered from the various handwritings that Parson Clague had assistance in the compiling of his "forms" the great probability is that he, in common with many others of the Manx clergy in those days, eked out the slender income attached to his benefice by taking pupils [this he is known to have done at Rushen], and set the more accomplished penmen among them the task of copying out such documents as he considered worthy of inclusion in his book, Generally the caligraphy is wondrous neat, while occasionally it is in the ornate fashion dear to the hearts of eighteenth century writing-masters. In many places the ink has faded sadly, but it is always possible to decipher the wording.
The author by no means confines himself to legal and ecclesiastical forms. Interspersed with these are copies of letters, a poem or two, recipies for ailments which in all likelihood were more prevalent a hundred and fifty years ago than now, annals both quaint and interesting, details of the steps taken to bring about popular election of the House of Keys, copies of addresses to King George the Third and to various Bishops and Governors, extracts from English classics, particulars of the Manx Fencibles, insights into the social life of the Island during the latter part of the eighteenth century, references to disasters sustained by the Manx fishing fleet, allusions to efforts to secure better harbour accommodation, somewhat sickening descriptions of the terrible poverty which prevailed throughout the Island in the "good old days," and a host of other interesting matters, In fact the volume is a very gold mine to persons whose tastes dispose them to live, as it were, for a time in an age long since past,
It is the multitude of matters so carefully recorded in the book, and the orderly manner of their codification and indication, that induced the pronouncement that the compiler was a methodical sort of parson. Further insight into his character is to be gathered from some of the letters which are included in the contents. Certain of these make it plain that Parson Clague was by no means averse to talking scandal; indeed his looseness of tongue on at least two occasions drew upon him severe reproof. It is to his credit that he constantly strove to bring about an improvement in the condition of the Manx clergy who in those days were very poorly paid. Parson Clague was for nine years curate of Kirk Michael, but in the early part of the year 1782 he was presented by the Duke of Atholl to the vicarage of Rushen, which had become vacant by the death of the Rev Nicholas Christian. His appointment to Rushen was brought about by the influence of Mr Peter John Heywood, steward to the Duke of Atholl. This Mr Heywood owned the Nunnery near Douglas, and though the name has died out in the Island, he was the ancestor of several well-known Manx people. Parson Clague, in the course of his appeal for Mr Heywood's influence with the Duke, says " I have served the Church of Mann near nine years, on a salary not exceeding £25 currency, and having for some years past more than one to provide for, I find myself not a little incited to look up to the noble family thro' you for a more competent provision." There is nothing in the book to show whether the Rev James Clague obtained further preferment in the Manx Church. Certain it is that he continued as Vicar of Rushen until the early years of the nineteenth century, and that he in the interval took a deep interest in the welfare of the parish, both spiritually and materially. There are indications that he was possessed of considerable literary taste, and that he had a burning desire to conserve the Manx Gaelic, which even then was in a decaying condition. He translated into Manx certain discourses by Bishop Wilson which he describes as " inimitable " and his patriotic predilection for his mother tongue is evident in a statement to the effect that excellent as are the Bishop's compositions in English, they are improved by being rendered into Manx One of Parson Clague's expressed reasons for undertaking the translation as the tendency for Manx to fall into disuse as the common language of the Island.
Glancing over the book, a suspicion is engendered that its compiler was a bit of a hedge lawyer. Many of the forms are concerned with legal procedure on the part of parishioners and others, and especially is this the case with regard to proceedings for probate and administration. In those days. however, all testamentary and administration applications were dealt with in the Ecclestiastical Courts of the Island, and it is possible that the clergy were regarded as ecclesiastical lawyers. It must be remembered, too, that Rushen in the eighteenth century was remote even from Castletown, for the roads were little better than a name; and this being so, there was considerable excuse for the parson if he poached occasionally upon the legal preserves in all likelihood he was actuated more by good nature than a desire for filthy lucre in his incursions.
In going through the book with a view to making extracts likely to prove of interest to present-day readers, considerable difficulty is encountered with regard to choice it is a case of embarras de richesses. Limitations of space preclude so full a use being made of the material as the material deserves; consequently the quotations must be few and brief.
Early on in the manuscript is reproduced a petition of the Vicar and Wardens of Kirk Michael to the Bishop concerning the " indecent and shattered" condition of the parish church interior. It recounts that the " floor of the aisle has never yet been flagged. for want of which it has been apt to grow knotty and irregular: and in rainy weather becomes exceedingly slippery and dangerous to walk on. " Whether the Bishop took any action to remedy the dilapidations is not stated.
Evidently our parson had a great regard for Shakspeare and Goldsmith, he having gone to the trouble to transcribe, for insertion in his " form" book, Henry the Fourth's reproof of his son, commencing
" Harry, thy wish was father to that thought," and a rather lengthy extract from " The Vicar of Wakefield" dealing with the argument between Moses and Thornhill. Mr Clague would appear to have had a nice appreciation of the chopping of logic indulged in by the Squire.
Agitation for Constitutional Reform in the Isle of Man is no new thing. In Parson Clague's book are many references to the efforts of Manx people to secure that the principle of popular election ould be substituted for that of co-option in connection with the constitution of the House of Keys. The prayer of a petition presented about the year 1787 to the House of Commons by the " clergy, land-holders, and other principal inhabitants of the Isle of Man is " that the present House of Keys may be dissolved and a law passed to elect by the free voice and suffrage of the people a new assembly which shall continue for such number of years as the Legislature of Great Britain shall seem reasonable, and at the expiration thereof to be dissolved or naturally determined and a new General Election to take place at the end of every such stated period as to the Legislature shall seemmeet". Among the statements contained in this petition is the following
The Members of the House of Keys being elected for life and not being chosen or appointed by the landowners and inhabitants of the said Isle have not always their interests at heart, nor are the people even called to form any judgment of their abilities or intentions to serve the publick by being permitted to hear their debates, the doors of their House being shut against every person not a member thereof.
In the year of Grace 1912, there are people who are doubtful whether, now the reform craved for over one hundred and twenty years ago has been accomplished, the House of Keys always has at heart the interest of the people; while certain members of the fourth estate would assuredly not mourn very deeply were the House to revert to the old rule of shutting their doors against " every person not a member thereof." Even Redistribution was in the air at the time this petition was got up. One of the paragraphs is to the following effect:
That the number of members which at present compose this body being twenty-four as before is mentioned, and there being seventeen parishes and four principal towns in this Island, the fair and impartial method of making up this number is submitted to be that every parish shall return one member, that the several towns called Castletown, Douglas, and Ramsey shall return two members each and Peele town one, which will make up the complement number of twenty-four.
Taking into account the proportionately larger rural population which must have then obtained in the Island, the scheme of representation thus propounded is eminently fairer than that which now exists. There are several other petitions reproduced in the book similar in effect to that quoted from. One to " the most noble John, Duke of Atholl," implores his Grace's influence with the King to secure that the House shall be elected by the people. Incidentally the memorialists assure the Duke of their sympathy with him in connection with certain disputes which he was at the time engaged in with the House of Keys. It is further complained in the petition that the Keys, without being legally called together, meet privately " to serve purposes and private ends best known to themselves." Objection is further taken in the petition that the Keys have influenced the appointment as officers of the Manx Fencibles of boys " every way unequal to the task, yet it is evident that the most respectable people, as well as officers on half-pay within the Island, contrary to the Secretary of War's order, are neglected and laid aside." The memorialists make suggestions as to the improvement of trade and of the herring fishery. Incidentally it is stated that the herring fishery then employed 4,000 men, and that at least 500 young men were yearly recruited from these for the sea service of Great Britain.
A paragraph in the petition last referred to is calculated to cause dismay among teetotallers. Certainly it gives point to certain comment which has appeared in the "Examiner " as to the tendency for the consumption of spirituous beverages to decrease in the Isle of Man. This is the paragraph:
Since the vesting of this Island in the Crown it has been found expedient to allow for the use of the Island the importation of 30,000 gallons of rum from Great Britain and 20,000 gallons of British spirits, upon paying the duty of one shilling and sixpence per gallon for the rum and one shilling per gallon for the spirits. The rum has been in great measure imported, but the British spirits being of so vile a quality have not. and the quantity of rum is found and allowed to be inadequate to the consumption of the Island, and as the poor inhabitants of this Island have been debarred for fifteen years the tasting either of brandy or geneva, even as a medicine, those articles being prohibited, your memorialists therefore humbly hope that fifteen years repentance will atone for their former offences, and that a reasonable quantity of brandy and geneva may be allowed to be imported from any part or place in any bottom paying a duty to his Majesty of one shilling per gallon, and that the quantity of rum or British spirits may be imported in either kind, optional in the importer.
There is no exact information obtainable as to the population of the Isle of Man in or about the year 1787, but it is quite safe to assume that there were then under 30,000 persons resident in the Island probably not more than 20,000. Taking the larger figure, however, we find that the memoralists modestly estimate a consumption of one and two-thirds gallons of rum per head per annum, together with a " reasonable quantity " of brandy and geneva. And there were no summer holiday-makers to speak of in those days to lend the native born topers a hand! The resident population of the Island is now in round figures 52,000, and in addition there is a huge floating population of pleasure-seekers during the summer months. Yet last year the spirits imported into or cleared for consumption in the Island amounted to under 50,000 gallons. What proportion of this was consumed by visitors cannot be computed with certainty, but probably not more than one-half of the gallons went down resident throats. In any case the Manx people of one hundred and thirty years ago had an absorbent capacity far in excess of their twentieth century descendants.
The prohibition of the importation of brandy and geneva referred to, and the offence of which prohibition was the consequence, will give rise to much conjecture. Probably interdict was influenced by considerations both penal and preventative. Prior to the Revestment, the Isle of Man was a depot from which huge quantities of brandy and geneva were smuggled into Great Britain and Ireland to the great detriment of the revenues of those countries, and it is reasonable to suppose that once the British Government secured control over the Island they, by way of punishment for past frauds, and with a view to putting a stop to further " free trade " operations on the part of Manxmen, prohibited the importation of the foreign spirits.
The book contains many models of letters after the style of " The polite Letter-writer" for use in various connections, such as notifying disaster and death. the making of applications for situations and so on; but why Parson Clague should have preserved the following epistle is difficult to imagine:
Sir, I assure you I most abominably detest your unparalleled behaviour respecting your plundering Gob-ne-Scoot and Barrool much more than the worse of the delinquents that's gone to gaol at Castletown ; and if you have been guilty of the most vile of trespassing and other depredations on them concerns its fully time you should leave it off, for you are old enough to grow good without being ashamed of it. I really don't know what method or scheme you can set about to extricate yourself out of the next scandalous act you committed last Saturday in secretly and clandestinely pouring your clouds of sheep to steal my grass without my liberty, privity, or consent scandalous indeed ! No, you have no method to alleviate so heinous a crime but by immediately ordering your sheep out of the premises to about 25 head as was first agreed on, and about 20 head of black cattle and horses at most, and if you don't agree to this I think you should hang yourself to certify the damage you have done your humble servant. J. F.
'Thomas Corlett, Vicar of Lezayre was excommunicated and suspended in 1780 by the Bishop because of an offence against the moral code in which another man's wife was concerned. Mr Corlett after the lapse of a year petitioned the Bishop for restoration to the peace and communion of the Church, and to his former station therein. With a plenitude of penitence and of pious resolve to sin no more, the suppliant presses his suit, and the Bishop fixes a hearing at Kirk Michael on the 13th December, 1781, and requires the clergy of the diocese to attend him on the occasion. Nothing is said by Mr Clague as to whether the erring clerk succeeded in his suit.
It is to be gathered from certain allusions in Parson Clague's book to the Manx Fencibles that while Manxmen of the eighteenth century were loud enough in their profession of patriotism, they were reclined to hang back when it came to a question of practice. The raising of the Manx Fencibles in 1779 brought forth a test to the House of Keys from the inhabitants of the parish of Kirk Michael, for as certain of the demands upon the parishioners were concerned. Kirk Michael folk expressed themselves as being quite ready to take up arms, but strongly resented the suggestion that they should called upon to serve in, or to contribute towards the cost of " a standing army." They base their protest upon their indigence, stating they are " scarcely able to pay our annual Lord's Rent besides the maintenance of our poor families." In 1793 the Bishop sends to the clergy a circular letter in connection with an address to the King from the clergy, thanking His Majesty for the appointment of the Duke of Atholl to the supreme command of the Island. A paragraph of the letter is to the following effect:
From the backwardness found in the men of this Island to enlist and arm themselves in defence of all they hold dear, notwithstanding the encouragement held forth by our most gracious King, his Lordship has thought it expedient to order that his clergy do on the 24th instant. exhort their congregations in an animating address from the pulpit to stand forward and accept the advantageous proposals made to them, and at least to shew that anxiety for their own safety which his Majesty has so graciously discovered. Be of good courage, and let us play the men and the cities of our God.
Whether the animating addresses had the effect of inciting the people to join the Fencibles the historian sayeth not.
The other day Bishop Denton Thompson lamented the impious and dissolute tendency of the people of the present time. An address presented by the clergy to the Duke of Atholl about the year 1780, anticipated the now holder of the See of Sodor and Man in his dismal jeremiad. After the customary references to his Grace's rank, distinction, and virtues, the address proceeds:
Matter of still greater joy would it afford us should we experience that the public testimony your Grace has given of your reverence for the Deity by a constant attendance on His worship while amongst us might excite others to the like exemplary observance, thereby discountenancing that disregard to the duties of religion so prevalent in this age of dissipation.
In the year 1776 the Isle of Man was in the throes of the revival preached by John Wesley and his disciples. The coming of " the people called Methodists" eventually caused considerable fluttering in the dovecotes of the Church as by law established, as witness the following episcopal proclamation which was faithfully recorded by Parson Clague:
To the several Rectors, Vicars, Chaplains and Curates within the Isle and Diocese of Man. Rev Brethren,
Whereas we have been informed that several inordained, unauthorised and unqualified persons from other countries have for some time past presumed to preach and teach publickly, hold and maintain Conventicles, and have caused several weak persons to combine themselves together in a New Society and have private meetings, assemblies and congregations contrary to the doctrine, government. rites, and ceremonies of the Established Church. and the Civil and Ecclesiastical Laws of this Isle We do therefore (for the prevention of schism and the re-establishment of that uniformity in religious worship which so long hitherto subsisted amongst us) hereby desire and require each and every of you to be vigilant and use your utmost ondeavour to dissuade your respective flocks from following or being led and misguided by such incompetent teachers, and to exhort, incite and invite them devoutly to read and consider the Holy Scriptures, to attend constantly and reverently the Blessed Sacraments, their parish church and the ghostly advice of their own minister, by which they will be better and more comfortly instructed in the means of Grace and Salvation than by the crude, pragmatical and inconsistent if not profane and blasphemous extempore effusions of those pretenders to the true Religion ; and, if afterwards they regard not the Truth but obstinately and wilfully persist in Error, then to know and find out the names of such persons within your respective parishes and chapelries as attend the public instructions of the said disorderly and unqualified teachers, or frequent the said conventicle meetings, assemblies, and congregations ; and if upon due inquiry and certain information you discover, or consistently with your own knowledge know, that any licensed school master, mistress, Parish Clerk, or any other person who holds or enjoys any place, office, or employment by license from us or our predecessors that you signify or make known unto us in writing the name or names of such schoolmaster, mistress, parish clerk, or any other person who holds or enjoys place, office, or employment under Episcopal license as aforesaid, within one month after the receipt thereof, as also unto our reverened Vicar-General as one of them, the name or names of any other person or persons within your respective parishes or chapelries who attend the public instruction of the said teachers or frequent the said conventicles, meetings, assemblies and congregations within the above limited time. And we likewise further desire and require each and every of you in case any of the above mentioned inordained, unauthorised and unqualified teachers shall at any time hereafter offer to be a partaker of the Holy Communion in any of your respective Churches or Chapels that you repel him or thom in so offering, and the . minister so repelling them or any of them to give an account of the same unto us within fourteen days after at the farthest as is directed by the Rubrick in this behalf.
Given at Peeltown this 16th day of July, 1776,
R. SODOR AND MAN.
P.S. Let this be forwarded in the usual manner and the time of receiving and forwarding the same be noted by each of you. You will also take a copy thereof and publish it, plena Ecclesia, in English and Manx, at the usual time in your respective churches or chapels the Sunday next after the receipt thereof.
This postscript has reference to the method adopted at the time of circulating an Episcopal mandate. Evidently no printing press was available for the purpose of making copies, and there would also appear to have been a lack of clerical assistance for the same purpose. One copy must have served for the whole of the clergy of the diocese, and this was handed from one to the other until it had circulated among and been noted by all. Parson Clague, at that time curate of Kirk Michael, appends to the copy he made in his form-book of the proclamation, the following note:"Kirk Michael, July 14th, 1776. Received at 9 o'clock in the morning, and forwarded by 10 to the Rector of Ballaugh. John Clague." Businesslike Mr Clague!
Notwithstanding the fulminations of R. Sodor and Mann, the " several unordained, unauthorised, and unqualified persons " continued to " preach and teach and publickly hold Conventicies," and the outcome of their contumacy is the position now held by Wesleyan Methodism in the Isle of Man. The " schism " spread so quickly that thousands of Manx people became " misguided " long before the close of the eighteenth century, and the Established Church in the Island received a blow from which it never will recover. Almost invariably religious movements involving departure from established forms and conventions have thriven under persecution; and who shall say to what extent the foolish attempt of the Bishop of Sodor and Mann to suppress the Methodist propaganda at its inception contributed to commend John Wesley's mission to the Manx people? ,
The form book throws an interesting light upon the condition of the poor in the Isle of Man over one hundred years ago. It is to be gathered that, in the main, paupers were dependent upon mendicancy for the necessaries of life door to door begging was a recognised institution, and a considerable proportion of the community would appear to have been " on the houses," to employ a euphemism for peripatetic solicitation of charity which was in common use up to twenty years ago. But in cases of destitution exceptionaliy distressing of character, there was in vogue a special method of securing relief. This took the form of a petition to the Lieutenant-Governor, setting out the destitute circumstances of the petitioner in detail, and praying that the suppliant might have " the liberty and benefit of the alms and charitable benevolence of all charitable and well-disposed Christians in as many churches and chapels within this Isle as your Honour in your discretion shall think proper to allow, whereby the poor petitioner may be relieved in his (or her) destitute condition and low circumstances, and your poor petitioner upon his (or her) bonded knees for your Honour's eternal happiness shall for ever pray, etc."
To the petition was appended a certificate from the vicar and wardens of petitioner's parish as to the truth of the Itatements. If the petition and certificate commended themselves to the Governor, made an order, of which the following a specimen :
In tender consideration of the petitioner's unnate and deplorable situation as certifyed above I do allow of a publick collection through the several parish churches in the North Division of this Isle, and do desire of the Right Rev the Lord Bishop that he will recommend the petitioner's case to the several Clergy of the above district. Given at Castle Rushen this day of November, 1774.
In the form book several examples of petitions are given, and the details of destitution are frequently set out in gruesome fashion. Disease, loathly of character, was evidently very prevalent, as was insanity. In the main the petitioners were elderly persons labourers past work, and widows left without means of support. Old soldiers either ex-fencibles or ex-army men frequently applied for the privilege, as did workers seriously injured in the course of their employment then, as now, there was no Workmen's Compensation Act in the Isle of Man and tradesmen whose stock had destroyed by fire or who had sustained other disastrous calamity. Unsatisfactory in many respects as the present ,system of poor relief in the Island now is, it is infinitely superior to the voluntary. and desultory system which obtained in the days of our great-great-grandparents.
The Established Church, what time Parson Clague compiled his form book, had sole control of such public education as obtained, and only persons holding the license of the Bishop could teach in schools. In the year 1774 the Bishop withdrew the license to teach in Kirk Michael School granted to one John Shimmin, on the grounds that he (Shimmin) had preferred to his Lordship a petition inconsiderate and offensive of wording. The sequel to withdrawal was a petition from the inhabitants of Kirk Michael to the Bishop praying that Shimmin's license might be restored. Assurance is professed by the petitioners that Shimmin's petition was " not done with any malevolence or indignity to your Lordship, as he, the said John Shimmin, hath since showed the greatest signs of sorrow and remorse, and humbly prays your Lordship's pardon and forgiveness for his indiscretion in that respect." Accompanying the Kirk Michael people's petition was a statement by the Vicar of Michael to the effect that if it was agreeable to the Bishop, he (the Vicar) had no objection to Shimmin " acting in his former character." Upon the withdrawal of Shimmin's license, the Bishop licensed Parson Clague then Curate of Michael to the parish school, as would appear by the episcopal decision on the parish petition, which was in the following terms:
Although John Shimmin's behaviour was extremely improper and disrespectful to me, yet I am ready upon his profession of his concern and repentance for such misbehaviour to forgive and overlook it, and should, at the desire of the parishioners, have granted him a license to teach the school of Kirk Michael had not the Rev Mr Clague, resident curate of the parish, offered himself as a candidate for the said school and brought me a letter from the Rev Mr. Crellin, Vicar of the said parish. wherein he recommends Mr Clague as better qualified than any other candidate, and assures me he would not have given any encouragement to Shimmin's petition had he previously been acquainted with Mr Clague's intention of offering himself. As it is both in reason fit and proper, and moreover required by the canons of the Church that the curate if desirous to teach the school of the parish where he officiates should be preferred to any other candidate, I shall certainly give him the preference, and shall grant my lycense to Mr Claque before mentioned and to no other person to teach school at Kirk Michael.
R, SODOR AND MAN. Bishop's Court, 5th May, 1774.
What form Mr Shimmin's inconsideraration of and offence to the Bishop took is not related. It may be that the schoolmaster had been influenced by the " unordaiued, unauthorised, and unqualified persons " who had presumed to teach and preach in the Island, and against whom the Bishop fulminated in the proclamation to his clergy previously quoted. Anyhow, poor Mr Shimmin's punishment continued. We have advantage in the twentieth century over our forbears of the eighteenth in that the tendency is to lessen the control by ecclesiastics of public education.
One of Mr Clague's forms is that of an indenture for an apprentice. In the example-year 1762 a father binds his son to serve a weaver for five years, and undertakes that the youth shall keep his master's secrets, and be honest, faithful, and obedient, and do no damage to his master or his goods. The boy is not to contract matrimony during the term of his service, nor is he to indulge in improper commerce with the fair sex. On the other hand, the master covenants to teach his apprentice the art and mystery of his craft "with due care and pains and gentle chastizement and correction." The master is also to allow the youth " competent and sufficient meat, drink, washing, and lodging meet for such an apprentice . . according to the custom of this Isle." Six pounds is to be paid by the master to the apprentice half thereof within the first year of the term, and the other half at the expiration. Also the master is to provide the apprentice decent and fitting linen, woollen, and all other apparel of all sorts fitting for him in his service and employment during the term." Five years was to be the duration of the apprentice's bond service.
A page or two of his book is devoted by Parson Clague to the preservation of recipes for ailments in human beings and cattle in those days the parson in all probability was frequently requisitioned to prescribe for man and beast in time of sickness. A recipe for " poak or swinsy " in cattle can any present-day dairyman tell us what form these fell diseases take is as follows :
To one naggin of viniger, to two ounces of boalamoniak, to one spoon of honey, to four whites of eggs, to one spoon of made mustarde to one half ounce of grounded pepper, to one handful of white deasies, to one handful of flour. Beat the whole together, apply to the place affected with a flannel cloth, giving stoved barley 2 a day.
What on earth is "boalamoniak " which enters into the fearsome compound? " Deasies" is evidently a mis-spelling for daisies. Possibly the poak was a colloquialism for the cowpox. Dialect dictionaries give " poke" as another form of the word " pox."
This is the parson's recipe for white flux:
To flour one handful, to 4 whites of eggs, to 2 sheets of white paper cut small, to one quarter lb grounded chalk. Boyle the whole.
Nothing is said as to whether the result is to be taken internally or applied externally. If the former, what about the effect of the white paper " cut small " on the digestive organs?
For bloody flux or dysentery, Parson Clague would appear to have pinned his faith to the following :
To four shot cocks cut small brayed bones and all put into an half pound of salt butter. Take the gelly twice a day drinking a little claret wine with water.
We are left in some doubt as to whether the cocks are to be shot by means of gun-powder and lead, or are to be subjected to a surgical operation occasionally performed on pigs intended for purposes of the table.
Many reasons have been ascribed for the failure which has attended the Manx herring fishery during the last twenty-five years or so. Some experts declare that the use of nets small of mesh is to blame; others are positive that daylight shooting of nets is the cause; yet others aver that the operations of steam trawlers have diverted the shoals to strange waters; while some folk put down the scarcity of the " King of the sea " to trawling within the three-miles limit. In 1772 Manx fishermen were of opinion that the great detriment to the herring fishing was to be found in the operations of lobster fishing. A petition was in that year presented to Mr Richard Botham [sic Betham], Water Bailiff, by William Clucas, John Cutcheon ` and the rest of the fishermen in the parish of Kirk Christ, Rushen." The petitioners, after setting forth their dependence on the herring fishery, state that " of late there has been great signs seen off Port Iron and along the coast, both North and South, which promised a prosperous fishing, which would be a great relief to your petitioners and familys :" Then the document proceeds:
Your petitioners beg leave to shew that lobster fishing is a great detriment to the herring fishing as they chiefly fish with stinking bait; the smell thereof drives the herrings off their usual ground and disturbs them in such a manner that they rarely return the same season, and for which reason it has been a custom for many years past to prevent lobster fishing after the beginning of May, and which the natives and inhabitants of this Isle still complies with. Notwithstanding one Luke Sallivant and his crew lately come from Ireland in his wherry and make it their constant practice to fish with their stinking bait for lobsters whereby all signs of the herring fishing have vanished, and although they have been cautioned not to fish for lobsters in the herring fishing season they still persist and will not be stopt by the entreatys of your petitioners who for the good of the publick are under a necessity of applying to your Worship for aid and relief in the premises.
That the Water Bailiff regarded the matter of the petition as serious, is apparent from the order which he extended on the petition in the following terms:
In reference to the foregoing petition it is ordered that John Cannel, of the parish of Kirk Conchan appointed Admiral of the Herring Fishery for the current year and William Clucas, of Kirk Christ, Rushen, appointed Vice-Admiral of the said fishery for the said season do jointly or severally as there may be occasion repair to Port Eyron and examine concerning the matters set forth in the said petition ; and the said John Cannel and William Clucas or either of them are hereby ordered to remove such lobster pots as set forth in the said petition and to command such strangers as have placed the same and all others therein concerned to desist from the said fishing of lobsters under the peril of such penalties as shall be inflicted on all persons who shall hereafter transgress this order of which the said John Cannel and William Clucas are required to make publications at the parish church of Kirk Christ, Rushers ana other proper places after making the same known to all persons concerned in the fishery on the coasts of this Isle ; and that no person whatsoever do or commit anything or practice any manner of fishery at the season that may have a tendency or effect to drive the herrings from settling on the coast thereof. Dated at Douglas, this 30th June, 1772,
RICHARD BOTHAM, Water Bailiff.
Notwithstanding the Water Bailiff's commands and threats, the lobster fishery is still pursued off Port Erin. Possibly modern fishers for the toothsome crustaceans do not employ " stinking bait," or it may be that the latter-day herring is less olfactorl susceptible than was " clupea harengus of one hundred and forty years ago. In any case there are now no complaints from men engaged in the Manx herring fishery that their calling is prejudiced by he use of lobster pots. Their bugbear now is the non-observance of the three-miles limit by trawlers. Note that in 1772 the South Western fishing hamlet was called Port Iron or Port Eyron though there is a difference of spelling, the pronunciation is identical. Port Erin is a modern corruption upon which the late Tom Brown, Manx poet and patriot, poured both derision and scorn. Anyhow it is but a finicking substitute for the more robust Port Eirne such Brown declared was the correct spelling, and the sooner the old form be reverted to the better.
Parson Clague preserved in his Forms Book a copy of the precept dated 31st January, 1784, which Archdeacon Mylrea, acting on the requisition of Governor Smith, issued to the benefited clergy of the Isle of Man for the taking of a census of the inhabitants of the respective parishes and towns. In compliance with the precept the Vicar of Rushen made a return of the inhabitants of his parish, from which it appeared that there were 274 married couples, 24 widowers, 50 widows, 120 adult single men, 149 adult single women, 280 males under sixteen, and 280 females under sixteen, the total being 1,451 souls. The return is annotated to the effect that the parish population in 1791 numbered 1,590 and 1,872 in 1814.
In the latter part of the eighteenth century, Manx beneficed clergymen had frequently to appeal for financial help. Sometimes the supplications were to the almoners of funds provided for the assistance of the clergy or their dependents, but occasionally they partook of a public character. An example of the former class is to be found in the petition of the Rev Nicholas Christian, Vicar of Rushen, to the Court of Assistance for the relief of poor widows and children of clergymen submitted in 1770. The document includes the following:
That the petitioner is possessed of a living only of about thirty pounds sterling per annum. having a family of ten children living, seven of which are yet unprovided for; that in the month of July last one of the said number was put apprentice to Mr Paul Bridson, sail-maker, in Liverpool for the term of six years. viz., George Christian . . . with a promised apprentice fee of sixteen pounds, and as the poor petitioner is at this present time greatly distressed how to advance the said fee he most humbly begs leave to address this respectable Court for their charitable aid and assistance in this difficulty.
There is nothing to show how the Rev Nicholas fared with his appeal. In those days, as now, it would seem that the Manx clergy were poor as they were prolific.
Parson Clague also preserves a copy of an appeal issued by a Vicar of Maughold to the public generally for subscriptions to enable him to purchase a cow. The appeal sets out the suppliant's irnpecuniosity, also the number of his children in those days the clergy were among the most indefatigable contributors to increase of population. A dismal tale is recited as to the sufferings of the younger children owing to their deprivation of lacteal nourishment, the Vicar's cow having died just after an interesting event had occurred in his household. Let us hope that the appeal resulted in another cow being forthcoming. A similar petition was issued by Henry Kewley, parish clerk of Kirk Michael, he too haying had the misfortune to lose his cow by death.
Even in these days of general education, a belief in witchcraft lingers in the Isle of Man. Judging from several references in the Forms Book, very many Manx people of the eighteenth century were firmly convinced that certain women were possessed of uncanny power in the matters of " overlooking " the weaving of mystic spells, and the pronouncement of injurious incantations. One lady thus sought to clear her good name:
To the Reverened John Moore, Vicar-General, the humble petition of Isabel Gell, of the parish of Trinity, Rushen, Sheweth,
That for some years past Henry Gell, of the said parish has upbrayided your petitioner and sisters with calling them witches and that they had damaged and hurted his goods by their witchcraft, and is still very cautious that he will not say the same in the presence of any witnesses ; that on Sunday, the 1st day of June, 1785, your petitioner met the said H. Gell and he told her that she was a witch and wrought witchcraft and he was not walking like a witch as she was, by which your petitioner is greatly grieved.
For relief in the premises your petitioners therefore humbly prays that your Reverence would be pleased to take her case into consideration and grant her some short day of hearing of the matter, and also an order to charge the said Henry Gell and all material witnesses relative to the said cause and your petitioner as in duty bound shall for your Reverence's happiness ever pray, etc.
Henry Gell must either have been exceedingly courageous or unconscionably foolish to thus taunt a witch. It is not set down whether Isabel confounded him before the Vicar-General.
So recently as 1801, charges of witchcraft were dealt with in the Ecclesiastical Court of the diocese, as appears by the following order which Parson Clague copied into his Form Book:
At an Ecclesiastical Court, holden in the Parish of Patrick, on the 29th day of May, 1801.
Jno. Cooil, of Rushen Plaintiff
Jno. Crebbin, of the said parish, Defendant.
It having been reported in the said parish that the said defendant had accused the plaintiff of witchcraft to his great disquiet and uneasiness of mind, and the defendant having deposed and made oath upon the Holy Evangelists that he never had charged the plaintiff with such a crime. Ordered therefore that publication be made in the parish church by reading hereof in the time of Divine Service that neither the defendant nor any other person do revive the said slander sub pens £10 in usum Domini Regis (under a penalty of £10 to the use of our lord the King) and 40 days' imprisonment.
To the Vicar of Rushen these to publish plena Ecclesia.
Rather interesting in these days of " Tariff Reform" agitation is it to find that in the year 1783, when there were heavy import duties upon foodstuffs in England, there was a scarcity of the staff of life in the Isle of Man. So pronounced was the famine that the Lieutenant-Governor found it necessary to issue a proclamation prohibiting the export of corn, grain, flour, meal, potatoes, poultry, or eggs" under any pretence whatsoever" from the 1st March to the 1st August. The coroners, High-Bailiffs, Captains of towns and parishes, and the officers of His Majesty's Customs are charged with the duty of enforcing the proclamation.
The ministry of the Established Church in the Isle of Man in the eighteenth century was mainly recruited from the ranks of scholars educated at the Academic School at Castletown. Parson Clague in his Forms Book reproduces a petition presented to Governor Wood by John Clague, John Parr, and William Fargher in connection with a vacancy on the foundation. This petition sets forth that the " humble petitioners have for some time past attended the Grammar School of Castletown for their education and learning in qualifying themselves so far as the ministry and service of the Church of this Isle for which in due time your petitioners intend to offer themselves candidates That your humble petitioners have been at very considerable expense and charges upon that account, and as there is now a scholar to be admitted upon the foundation established for the benefit and encouragement of students as intended to qualify them for the Church, your petitioners humbly pray for your permission and liberty to offer themselves candidates for the vacancy aforesaid, and your humble petitioners as bounden for your felicity ever pray."
There is no record as to which of the petitioners was successful in being elected to the vacancy, but the probability is that John Clague was the fortunate one.
The master of the Academic School above referred to, from 1758 to 1807, was the Rev Thomas Castley, who during the same period was Chaplain of St. Mary's, Castletown. While he was in charge of the school a very remarkable petition (without date) was presented to him by his scholars in the following terms:
To the Reverened Mr Castley.
The humble petition of his scholars. Sheweth
That you would be pleased to grant us this day's play upon account of the fair held at Ballasalla, particularly as there is a man to be flogged there an uncommon sight which therefore raises our greatest curiosity to see it.
The granting of which shall infinitely oblige your dutiful and loving scholars.
Whether the Rev Mr Castley was or was not moved by the memorial to proclaim holiday is not set down by Parson Clague. The great probability is that he regarded it favourably. One hundred and forty years ago public schoolboys were encouraged to attend cock fights " cock pennies" were levied on the boys to defray the cost of the mains. And the public opinion which could tolerate the attendance of boys at a cock fight would surely not be too squeamish to object to the gentle youths having the opportunity of witnessing the tying up and trouncing of a man. Poor youngsters ! In the course of their ascent of Parnassus they doubtless were frequently either spectators or principal actors in the flogging of a boy, and it possibly occurred to them that it would come as a pleasant relief to observe how a man bore himself under the ordeal. The petition, by the way, is also quoted in Harrison's " Church Notes, Diocese of Sodor and Man " (page 130, vol. xxix, Manx Society's publications).
An ineffectual attempt to assassinate King George the Third, in 1786, evoked from the Bishop of Sodor and Man and the clergy of the diocese an address of congratulation to His Majesty. The address is couched in terms of fulsomeness which almost transcend those employed by the translators of the Bible into English in the address to James the First, which prefaces the authorised version of Holy Writ. But then our ancestors were thorough in most things, and professions of loyalty formed no exception to the rule.
In 1738, Parson Clague made a return showing the income attached to the Vicarage of Rushen, the Glebe excepted. He preserved a copy of the document in his Forms Book as follows :
£18 11 7
9 0 0
Mrs Cath. Halsall's benefaction
4 0 0
8 0 0
The interest of a legacy left by Capt. J. Stevenson for the Vicar
1 0 0
The third part of the surplice fees and Choice House for the three years past as near as I can compute it is
4 19 0
A quarter of a miln formerly being a benefaction to the Vicar and for some years past quite neglected and left in ruins, but last year repaired by me at my own expence of £8 0s 7½d, I humbly presume and hope the gentlemen trustees will allow and permit me to be refunded the said expence and prime cost before I shall be liable to a valuation of the said miln. I have got out of the said miln between barley and oats 21 kishons.
It would thus appear that, excluding his Globe profits and the income from the miln, the Vicar of Rushen in those days was in a similar position to the parson immortalised in Goldsmith's " Deserted Village" " Passing rich on forty pounds a year." To be accurate, on £45 10s 7d.
A movement was on foot in 1788 to print the statute laws of the Isle of Man " in one handsome volume, provided a subscription can be obtained for so expensive and useful a work." The Forms Book, in reference to this proposal, contains a copy of an undertaking signed by a number of Manx gentlemen to subscribe each half-a-guinea towards the cost, provided " Jno. Cosnahan, Esq., and Mr T. Stowell, advocates," deliver to each of the subscribers, " if the same be demanded," a volume of the work.
In 1791, a Royal Commission was appointed " to enquire into and report upon the state and constution of this Island, in such report to point out wherein and in what respect, the paid Isle, without injustice to the commerce and revenues of Great Britain and Ireland, may receive benefit." Governor Shaw, in a proclamation announcing the appointment of the Commission, announces " that the Commissioners individually and collectively will be glad to receive all propositions and information which may tend to promote the objects of their mission."
Did anything tangible come of the inquiry, or was the inquiry of the Commissioners as fruitless as that of the Home Office Departmental Committee of nearly two years ago has so far proved?
Evidently the British Parliament during the latter half of the eighteenth century financially aided the Manx fisheries. Allusion is made to this assistance in an address of congratulation to Governor Smith on his appointment to the Governorship in 1786, from the High-Bailiff and gentlemen of Douglas. These are the terms of the allusion:
Impressed with the deepest and most grateful sense of your generous and successful labours in the attention of Government to our fisheries and of the part you bore in procuring for us from the British Parliament the late memorable bounties we cannot but entertain the highest expectations from your immediate Government.
To judge from the concluding words of the address, the High-Bailiff and gentlemen of Douglas had a nice appreciation of the aphorism " gratitude is a lively sense of favours to come."
Thus vigorously did the Rev John Crellin, Vicar of Kirk Michael, caution the public against the misrepresentations of one, William Crellin, and admonish William to mend his ways:-
Kirk Michael, Isle of Man.
7 March, 1787.
Whereas William Crellin, some time ago merchant in Peeltown has lately sailed for England after having audaciously attempted to raise money and procure goods by writing in my name to gentlemen of my acquaintance in trade.
This is therefore to caution the public to give the said William Crellin no credit on my account, not to advance him any money or goods in consequence of any pretended draft, power. or letter he may allege himself the bearer of from me. And let me seriously admonish himself to consider well and before it be too late, the dangerous consequences of such attempts and of leading an idle useless life.
Vicar of Kirk Michael.
The only reference in Parson Clague's compilation to the awful disaster which befel the Manx herring fishing fleet takes the form of a copy of a letter of thanks dated Feb. 6th, 1788, from the principal inhabitants of Rushen to Messrs John Taubman, junr., and John Kennedy, "for their kind condescension in not only coutributing, but also for procuring charitabie contributions to the amount of £120 British for the support and relief of the distressed widows of this parish whose husbands perished at Douglass in September last." The letter proceeds:
Permit us, then, gentlemen, to give you our most hearty thanks for your kind offices and goodwill towards these disconsolate widows and their fatherless children, requesting you will be pleased to return our thanks to such gentlemen respectively as has contributed at your solicitation for so laudable a purpose. In the meantime wishing the Lord may return it unto you and them with a plentiful increase of all goods
On the 21st September, 1787, while the herring fleet were fishing off Douglas, a violent storm came on with great suddeness. The fishermen promptly headed for Douglas, but one of the leading boats is supposed to have collided with and extinguished the lantern which in those days denoted at night the entrance to the harbour. The consequence was that several boats which followed ran on to the Pollock rocks, upon which the landward portion of the Victoria Pier now stands, and went to pieces with resultant loss of life to an appalling extent. Up to quite recent times Manx fishermen commemorated the awful disaster by remaining in harbour upon the anniversary.
There would appear to have been another disaster, to the fishing fleet in 1793. Later on in his book, Mr Clague gives a copy of a document in the following terms :
A list of the unfortunate widows of Kirk Christ. Rushen, whose husbands perished at the herring fishery beyond the Calf of Mann on the 12th of August, 1793
has left a widow with seven children
has left a widow with four children and a mother-in-law about 80 years of age
a widow with four children
a poor infirm widow with three children
a widow with three small children
has left a widow with two young children
a widow with two children
That the above women and children. owing to their low circumstances and poverty are truly real objects of charity, we whose names are subscribed are warranted to testify from an intimate knowledge of their situation and beg leave to reccomend them to all charitable and well disposed Christians.
JNO. CLACUE, Vicar.
The Vicar, as is evident from an entry in his book, sent out appeals to influential people in the Island on behalf of the bereaved ones. In the course of his epistle on this behalf he remarks: " These widows are greater objects of charity than those whose husbands perished November (?) 1787."
Parson Clague preserves in his Forms Book certain contemporary effusions in verse and doggerel, which appear to have struck him. One of these is " Mr Nelson's answer to Miss Llewellin," as follows:
Your brilliant wit is great I own
Judg'd by partial. you alone
The hypocrite I hate to act,
I always like to tell what's fact,
And though I risk a lady's favour
Mortally I hate palaver ;
Now to yourself with good intention
I'll show you poverty of invention,
Fearing too high you may aspire
Like him who beg'd the globe of fire
Fearing like him that you should fall
And may be ridicul'd by all ;
Your letter's wrong from end to end,
I wish your wit would rather mend
It is not verse nor is it prose
With this kind sentence I must close.
Under the heading " A debate in the Lower Regions," Parson Clague records certain doggerel which would appear to have circulated in the Isle of Man about the year 1809. The composition is particularly severe upon Governor Smelt, to whose memory a pillar was erected in Castletown Market Place, and still remains in position. In the original, an array of asterisks took the place of actual names, but the Vicar of Rushen very considerately appends to his copy indications of the identity of the persons so ruthlessly lampooned. The squib is as follows, the names being fully set out:
Says the Devil one day as he sat by the fire,
My Imps, I attention do call ;
There's a party in Mona we all must admire,
To our share they will certainly fall.
Their names I will mention, and they you must tell
Of all this most beautiful crew,
Which is the most worthy when they come to Hell
To be a commander for you.
There's Stapleton, Piers George Martin, and Smelt,
Most highly desire approbation,
With old Fathee Sin they most largely have dealt
And of us are a near imitation.
Now should I be absent it would give me ease
In such hands to give up my dominion
I therefore beg, Messrs Devils, you will please
To give me your candid opinion.
The Devils they turned, to great Lucifer knell,
And spoke in a general voice,
"Our choice without doubt falls on Governor Smelt,
Whose actions make Devils rejoice."
Their master looked pleased and said with a grin.
While the imps throng'd around in great mirth,
" This is but fair he should govern my agent Martin,
Who governed him well when on Earth."
The Stapleton mentioned in the doggerel was a retired General of the British land forces. Evidently Piers George Martin was an underling, supposed to have considerable influence with Governor Smelt, his superior.
[likely to be connected with affair mentioned by Harrison in Bibliotheca Monensis relating to 1809]
Frailty on the part of the fair sea was rather prevalent in the Isle of Man one hundred and forty years ago; indeed, to judge from the annual reports of the Registrar-General, it is not even in these enlightened days an absent quantity. In the eighteenth century, ladies who were incontinent rather who were found out in their incontinence were subjected to unpleasant consequences. The offence was dealt with in the Ecclesiastical Courts and offenders were publicly censured by the Church. They were debarred, pending the performance of penance and imprisonment, from the Sacrament of Holy Communion were in fact excommunicated. That autocratic, if sainted prelate, Bishop Wilson, was even more cruel in his punishment of unchastity. It is on record that he sentenced certain poor women, who were probably more sinned against than sinning, to be dragged through Pool and Douglas Bays after boats, and it is further a matter of history that the abominable chastisement was duly inflicted. In Parson Clague's Forms Book are very many examples of petitions by women also a. few by men to have the Church censures removed, and the penance imposed reduced; also for the reception of the offender into the peace of the Church. The penance imposed consisted in standing, clad in a white sheet, in the Parish Church on three Sundays, while the term of imprisonment imposed was usually one of seven days. On the Vicar-General being satisfied of the sinner's repentance, he not infrequently remitted altogether the imprisonment, and reduced the penance to one Sunday. The order attached to certain proceedings against incontinent persons, as copied into the Forms Book, is as follows:" Censured severally 7 dies in carcere and to give bonds of three pounds in usum domini regis to perform tres dies in Ecclesia et non iterum fornicari."
Lest there should be any misunderstanding as to the nature of the three days' performance in Church, it were just well to notify that the copyist into the Forms Book has evidently omitted to 'to the word " penance " after " perform".
Occasionally in these days a beneficed Clergyman in the Isle of Man is imbued with sufficient reverence for old-time custom as to observe the perambulation of his parish boundaries. Some 33 years ago Canon Savage, while Vicar of Kirk Michael, revived this picturesque proceding, and if we mistake not the custom has been more recently practised in one of the Southern parishes of the Island. So far back as 1790, it is evident that the perambulation of boundaries had commenced to fall into desuetude. A circular letter, bearing date May 5th of that year, which was addressed by the Bishop of Sodor and Mann (Claudius Cregan) to the clergy of the diocese, opens in the following terms :
I have thought it necessary to remind you of considerable omission in not going every Holy Thursday over the boundaries of your parish or some part of such as are large, which has been practised until of late, time out of mind. In order therefore to the keeping up of this laudable custom you are hereby required to give notice to your parishioners Rogation Sunday, May 9th, that you purpose, God willing, to walk the boundaries of your parish or some considerable part of them on Holy Thursday following. and desire the people to meet you at prayers to accompany you, and that they may be the better disposed to do so, you shall inform them that besides the great advantage of setting and securing the boundaries of parishes, the great design is to give publick and national acknowledgment and thanks to God for all his blessings both by sea and land. and especially for the fruits of the earth which at this time begin to appear ; and also to beg of God to send us such seasonable weather as that we may receive the fruits thereof to our comfort and for the relief of such as are in want. And, lastly, to beseech God of His mercy to preserve us from all infections. diseases, and unusual mortality amongst the men and beasts and from the rage of enemies.
The letter makes further suggestions as to procedure. It is set out that the manner of observing " this laudable custom" is, at certain places, to read distinctly and leisurely Psalm viii, by the minister only, and in other places to pronounce openly the curse set down in Deuteronomy xxvii, 17 : " Cursed is he that removeth his neighbour's landmark." The Bishop adds the following explanation as to this commination : " i.e., who defrauds his neighbour of any of his rights, either by fraud, or force, or going to law with unjust cause." Further, the people are to be exhorted against the great sin of covetousness.
Manx people are yet prone to litigation upon slight provocation, and formerly they were even more ready " to take the law." Knowledge of this little failing among his flock probably influenced Bishop Cregan in the following suggestion towards the end of his letter concerning the perambulation of the boundaries :
It will be very becomming a clergyman to warn his people against the sin of litigiousness, by which Christian love and charity are broken, and men hazard the loss of an Heaevnly inheritance to gain some trifle in this world.
Parson Clague himself would appear to have had a weakness for lawsuits. It is to be gathered from entries in his Forms Book that he was a party to several actions which engaged the attention of the Manx Courts of Justice. One of these entries indicates that in connection with certain land he acquired by purchase, he was threatened by the fishermen of the parish with proceedings to establish a right-of-way they claimed through the land in question to Fleshwick. There is nothing to show whether the threat materialised. How frugal must the good Vicar have been that out of a stipend of £45 per annum he could save sufficient money to buy real estate !
Bishop Cregan concludes his epistle as follows :
There is a cursed practice carried on secretly by Satan and his instruments which I beseech you, my brethren, to take the proper occasion to speak upon, both to terrify those that praortioe it, and to confirm people's faith in God against any hurt that the devil or his agents can do them.
And indeed it is for want of a true faith in God's power and goodness that makes men afraid of what such wretched instruments of Satan can duo, since even the devil himself cannot hurt the persons or goods of such as put their trust in God, and pray daily (as they should be exhorted to do) for God's protection and blessing upon themselves, their children, their goods and labour, which if Christians neglect to do, no wonder if Satan by a righteous judgment of God, gets a power over them to hurt them by his wicked instruments.
Whatever the " cursed practice " here alluded to consisted in, it must have been common enough, for the Bishop in his letter does not specify it, while the careful Parson Clague does not make any explanatory note. It may have been witchcraft, or it may have been Methodism doubtless the latter was more abhorrent to the episcopal mind than the former. If Methodism, the apostles of the new religious movement would hardly feel flattered at being described by his Lordship as wretched and wicked instruments of Satan.
There is nothing said in Bishop Cregan's letter as to a method which obtained in certain parts of England of impressing upon the youthful mind the boundary marks of parishes. This consisted of calling a halt of the perambulation at the more important points, and then and there soundly whipping certain boys. The object was to make the unfortunate youngsters remember the particular lines taken by the parochial boundary; and assuredly they were not likely to forget them under the painful circumstances.
In the year 1780, the House of Keys opposed a bill brought before the House of Commons at the instance of the Duke of Atholl with a view to ascertaining the Duke's rights in the Isle of Man. What the fate of the bill was Parson Clague does not state, but in or about the year 1790 the Insular Legislature evidently passed measures to raise by means of taxation of real and personal property in the Island, a sum of money to be applied in discharge of the expense the Keys were put to in opposing the bill in the House of Commons. The Duke of Atholl apparently interposed successfully to prevent the Royal assent being given to the Act of Tynwald, and this action on his part induced an address to him from Manx landowners expressive of gratitude that his Grace should, " by timely and powerful interposition with His Majesty's Ministers," have put a stop to the progress of the act. Mention is made in the address of "the peculiar as well as distressfull situation " of the Manx people in " hiaving no representative in the Legislature of their own country elected by themselves, nor any representative in the Parliament of Great Britain." Deprecatory allusion is also forthcoming to " the secret and clandestine manner " in which the Keys conducted their business," and there is a mournful story of the poverty of the Island. This is set down to the infertility of the soil, limited trade, the great sums annually drawn from the Island for "salt, timber, flour, meal, cordage, iron, groceries, etc., etc.," to the great expense incurred in carrying on the fisheries, "every article used therein being liable bo an Insular duty, added to the peculiar unfortunate circumstance of seven-eighths of the real property within this Isle, and hold of your Grace being under mortgage." The twentieth century mortgagee has a big interest in Manx real estate, but it is extremely doubtful whether seven-eighths of such estate is now hypothecated.
In the introduction to these extracts it was intimated that Parson Clague was evidently at times somewhat loose of tongue. In his Forms Book he preserves a copy of a letter received by him from one Thomas Stephen, of Liverpool. Mr Stephen complains that the parson has communicated to Mr Philip Teare "some odd stabs concerning my character " inflicted by certain young ladies. He asks that particulars of the slanders should be furnished him by Parson Clague, and denies that he has ever made use of any irregular behaviour or word " contrary to the rules of good breeding." After a reference to the importance of a good character, Mr Stephen remarks " I'll part with my life sooner than my honour. Life is too cheap a ransom for honour, honour is the only support of the life any person who pretends to either parts, virtue, or the character of a Christian." Further on the writer of the letter thus expresses himself as to Parson Clague :" What I have heard of you tells me you are a man who learns to act beneath the dignity of your nature, quality, and office." Straight talk this, and it is regrettable that the parson has included in his Forms Book a copy of any reply which he may have sent to Mr Stephen.
In connection with another lapse into tittle tattle, the compiler of the Forms Book grievously offended a member of the Manx Bar. This was Mr James Kelly, who sent the following letter to Parson Clague under date New Year's Day, 1798:
Sir As I am not conscious of ever having given you the smallest cause of offence, I was not a little surprised at being told that you should when in the house of Mr John Stewart, in this town (Castletown), on Thursday evening last, take the unwarrantable liberty of saying that my conduct to you when examined as a witness on the part of Ross McKissack, was such as "almost to have induced you to pull me by the nose." Now, sir, I here assert that my behaviour towards you upon that occasion, such as became the gentleman, the professional man, and the man of honour, and I do therefore demand from you a full, ample, and immediate apology (either in writing. or to be made in the presence of the company then present) for such your intemperate, ungentlemanlike, misapplied language; but should you hesitate to make a proper apology. I shall feel myself justified in resorting to such measures as may prove disagreeable to you.
What form the disagreeable measures were to take was left to Parson Clague's imagination. Whether the lawyer intended to " have the law on " the parson, or to pull the clerical nose, we can only conjecture. Anyhow the necessity for any unpleasant form of vindication was obviated by a placatory epistle forwarded by the Vicar to the incensed Attorney in the following terms :
January 2nd, 1798.
To James Kelly, Esquire, Attorney-at-Law.
Sir, Your letter to me of yesterday's date signified the liberty I had taken with you on Thursday evening last at Mr J. Stewart's house. The case was thus :It had been the first time of my seeing Dr Lamothe after his examination and mine as witnesses on the part of Ross McKissack, at Miln-y-Clei, and the subject turning thereon, I said I thought I was not used very well upon the occasion, and by delivering my mind in conversation I own I might have used unguarded expressions, and am sorry for it ; nor did I suppose it had reached your ears. However, as I wish you. no ill I hope your kindness and condescension will in this pardon your humble servant
The apology evoked the following handsome acknowledgment from Mr Kelly, who subscribes himself as Parson Clague's " sincere well-wisher" :
Allow me again to repeat it, I did not mean or intend the smallest offence to you when at Mullen-y-Clay. What has happened is now forgotten, and shall be no more remembered your letter cancels and does away everything.
[This was likely the case arising from the Will of William Clucas, 1797]
Bishop Cregan, in 1793, thus commended to the good graces of Parson Clague a dancing master:
The Bishop's best wishes to Mr Clague, and having been apply'd to by Mr Simpson, who teaches his children dancing, for a recommendation to him as teacher to the young people under his care, if Mr Clague means to engage any parson in that occupation, the Bishop can safely say he approves of Mr Simpson's proficiency with the children under his care, and considers his industry, manner of teaching, and conduct very unexceptionable.
John Christian Curwen, a Cumberland gentleman with a considerable admixture of Manx blood in his veins he was closely related to the Christians of Milntown enjoyed the unique distinction of being a member both of the House of Keys and House of Commons. Upon his election to the British Legislature, the members of the House of Keys thus congratulated him in an address dated July 13th, 1796:
We have the honour to wait upon you as a deputation from the House of Keys, of which you are so distinguished a member, for the purpose of congratulating you on the happy event of your election to Parliament. The Keys cannot but take the most lively interest in what so materially concerns you. the Empire at large, and this Island in particular. Indebted as they feel themselves to your talends and influence on a memorable occasion they will ever look to Mr Curwea as the friend of the Rights of Man.
Jno Taubman, Speaker.
Of course the Rights of Man allusion concerns the Isle of Man, and has no connection with the book, so entitled, which had been published a short time previously, and which had for author the famous Thomas Paine, who also wrote "The Age of Reason." Indeed it is to be gathered from many of the entries in the Forms Book that the House of Keys of those days would not be in much sympathy with the principles of the famous revolutionary and Deist. Mr Curwen's reply to the address was in the following terms:
Belle Isle, July 26th, 1796.
To Ino. Taubman, Esq., Speaker of the House of Keys, G. Quayle and T. Kirwan, Esquires. Gentlemen, The distinguished honour the House of Keys have been pleased to confer upon me by a deputation of so respectable a part of their body to convey congratulations on my reelection to Parliament by the worthy and independent citizens of Carlisle, places me in such a situation that I despair of doing justice to my feelings, or expressing the high respect and estimation in which I view this flattering mark of their favour. I must entreat you, gentlemen, to assure the House of Keys that I esteem being considered by them as the faithful and sincere friend of the Isle of Man, a proud reward for any share I have had in the common cause. Bound by the truly honourable situation I have long held, as also by a perfect concurrence in principle, I shall always be ready to join those who at all times have proved themselves the true friends, the faithful guardians of the rights and liberties of their countrymen in strenuously defending their ancient constitution of the Island, and sealously promoting whatever may tend to its prosperity. Permit me, gentlemen, to return you my thanks for the flattering and obliging manner in which you have expressed the resolution of the House of Keys ; and as a further mark of your kindness and partiality, suffer me to solicit your aid in laying before the House the high respect and esteem I entertain for them, and the lively interest I take in whatever concerns the welfare and happiness of the Island.
J. CHRISTIAN CURWEN.
Free libraries existed in the Isle of Man almost two centuries ago. Bishop Wilson would appear to have influenced a body of trustees in England to supply books for circulation in the various parishes in the Island, and the libraries thus formed were certainly in existence so late as 1796. A circular letter dated 17th August, 1796, from the Episcopal Registrar (Rev J. Crellin, of Kirk Michael) to the clergy, was as follows
The Associates of Dr Bray, at the request of Bishop Wilson, having many years ago sent books to form libraries in this Isle, it has lately been intimated to his Lordship that it would be a satisfaction to the present Associates to be informed of the present state of these libraries. His Lordship therefore directs me to desire that each of you will send him in the course of a fortnight a fair catalogue of the books belonging to his parish to be transmitted to them that they may see (as they have signified) whether they can add a volume or two that are not already there.
What became of these parish libraries? Probably as the books presented by the associates of Dr Bray became worn by use or neglect, there was no scheme of replacement. Rural folk in the Island over a hundred years ago had one advantage, at any rate which does not obtain now that is to say, a free supply of literature.
So ingrained was the distrust which Manx people of old time entertained for the inhabitants of the " Disthressful Counthry," that it found expression in a saying which has almost the force of a proverb, " Cur da, she Yernagh eh" in English, " Hit him, he's Irish." Another proverb even more to the point runs " Astan er e amman, Yernagh er e ockle" "An eel by his tail, an Irishman at his word." In such dislike were Milesians held that it was evidently an offence to even suggest that any of them had paid a visit to the Island at least so much is be assumed from the petition of John Qualtrough, a copy of which Parson Clague has preserved. The copy reads as fellows :
To the Honourable Alexander Shaw, Esquire, Lieutenant-Governor of this Isle.
The humble petition of John Qualtrough, of the parish of Kirk Christ, Rushen.
Most humbly Sheweth.
That your petitioner has lead an innocent, inoffensive life in the parish of Rushen, as may be made to appear, never involving himself and others in broils or quarrels whatever.
That on last Tuesday night he had two watches to dispose off in Castletown, and being in company with some soldiers was questioned how he came by them. That your petitioner finding himself hurt by imputing dishonesty or injustice to him retorted that he had procured the said watches from some Irishmen who had landed in Fleshwic, never intending thereby to give an offence or uneasiness to anyone more than the present moment.
That the said soldier or soldiers used the petitioner's words to his hurt or disadvantage by informing the officer then upon guard that your petitioner had said that a body of Irish had landed in Kirk Christ, Rushen, or words to that purpose, whilst they might have been very sensible by the petitioner's expression upon the occasion there was nothing like it intended to be averred. That your petitioner has been apprehended thereupon and is now confined in Castle Rushen. is very unhappy and truly sorry for the disturbance and uneasiness occasioned, and which he never intended. That the petitioner's confinement at present is a loss to the parish,as he is a millar and the dry weather prevents his grinding heretofore. There are ,any poor people anxious for his attendance at home.
Your petitioner therefore, wholly relying on your Honour's usual goodness, his earnest desire to be meet with your Honour's forgiveness, to be liberated from his imprisonment, and he for your eternal happiness shall ever pray.
Parson Clague appends to tho petition a certificate of John Qualtrough's inoffensiveness, but. as usual, omits to state the the effect of th petition there is nothing as to whether Governor Shaw ordered the miller's enlargement forthwith or left him to linger in durance vile. Doubtless the fact that the Irish rebellion of 1798 was either in progress or in embryo was the reason for the " uneasiness " occasioned by Mr Qualtrough's cock and bull story.
It is even possible that the soldiers proceeded in hot haste from Castletown to Fleshwick, burning with ardour to lay the Irish by the heels, or, perchance, annihilate them, and on arrival discovered that John had " spoofed" them. By the way, one of the regiments of Manks Fencibles saw service in Ireland in connection with the suppression of the rebellion. Those were stirring times, and war's alarms were not unknown to the people of this Isle. The feats of arms accomplished by Paul Jones, that renegade but courageous Scottish mariner who entered the American service, and while in command of a privateer squadron ravaged the British coasts among other deeds he burned Whitehaven were a source of much disquiet to Manx folk. AI'henever suspicious sails were sighted off Douglas, the bellman was at once sent round the town to cry a proclamation that all persons having swords, guns, and pistols, must forthwith assemble at the Fort " to fight Paul Jones." Tradition hath it that the effect of this proclamation invariaby was to remind the bulk of Douglas men that they had pressing engagements in the country. But surely tradition must in this be slanderous Douglas Fort stood on a site now occupied by the root of the Victoria Pier, and was in being up to the early part of last century.
An unpleasa,tt necessity arising out of the wars in which the United Kingdom was engaged towards the end of the eighteenth century was the impressing of men to serve on board the King's ships. Maritime communities were especially liable to the attentions of the press-gangs, and several entries in Parson Clague's book denote that Manx fishermen were not infrequently seized upon and forced to fight their country's battles on sea. To judge from the subjoined copy of a certificate, certain persons were exempt from impressment:
We whose names are subscribed being the Vicar and Wardens of the parish of Rushen, in the Isle of Man, do hereby certify that James Maddrell, a farmer, married, and has a family of four children ; Wm. Quark, a farmer. married, with four children; John Collister, a landowner, married, with a family of two children ; John Harrison, a landowner with a family ; Robt. Kelly, a farmer, married, with a family ; and Wm. Qualtrough, eldest son and heir-apparent to a landed property, were impressed by Lieutenant Harrison of his Majesty's tender the Spider while engaged in the herring fishery on the coast of the Island on the night of Friday last, the 7th instant. and that they are severally of the description above mentioned and annexed to their names herein mentioned. As witness our subscriptions this the 11th of September, 1798.
JOHN CLAGUE, Vicar of Rushen.
JOHN CREBBIN, WM. GAWN, Wardens,
Parson Clague is again tantalising in that he does not set down whether the impressed fishermen were released.
[James Maddrell was not released - his wife Margaret died intestate 1800 and in the administration it was noted that James Maddrell was on board his Majesty's ship the Captain]
Parson Clague preserves the terms of an extremely verbose document submitted in 1776 for the consideration of Lieut.-Governor Richard Dawson, the Council, and Keys. It is a petition of the principal inhabitants of the parish of Rushen praying that an Act of Tynwald may be passed or such ordinance made as will ensure the construction of a harbour of refuge at Port Eyrin note the spelling. The petitioners draw attention to the neglect of Port Eyrin in connection with harbour improvements, and point out that it is the most commodious and necessary seaport in the Island. Stress is laid upon the natural shelter and good anchorage in deep water provided in connection with the bay, but it is urged that a pier or harbour should be constructed at " a very convenient place which Nature has formed and laid out." The lack of such a pier or harbour, it is mentioned, has occasioned several shipwrecks twenty fishing smacks were in one night dashed to pieces in the small creek at the head of the bay. In glowing language the advantages which would result from the construction of a harbour are painted Port Eyrin would be largely resorted to for shelter by British, Irish, and foreign shipping, and would become the centre of the Manx herring fishery. So convinced are the petitioners that financial success would attend upon the accomplishment of the works they suggest, that they as good as offer to be at the expense of construction, provided they are " allowed and assured the usual emoluments of anchorage and tonnage for all ships and vessels coming into the said bay and harbour, with the annual custom or tax to arise from the fishing boats of Rushen Sheading only, and such voluntary subscriptions as they would be able to procure towards the same."
The scheme adumbrated in the petition was in some measure given effect to nearly ninety years later by Governor Loch, who caused the Port Eyrin break-water to be constructed and a landing pier to be built inside the breakwater at right angles to it. Notwithstanding the provision of these harbour works, Port Evrin did not attain any great measure of popularity as a refuge for shipping or as fishing headquarters. About twenty years after its construction, the landing pier succumbed to the elements, and in course of time the breakwater was partially destroyed by a succession of fierce storms. Its remains may still be seen, and even yet they afford some measure of protection to Port Eyrin bay. Many seafarers strongly hold the opinion that if the breakwater had been constructed on proper lines, it would have resisted even the tremendous seas that are created by Westerly gales. Though the authors of the 1776 petition may have been rather too sanguine, there is no doubt but that the situation and environment of Port Eyrin point to its easy conversion into a good harbour, and this being so, the destruction of the breakwater which sheltered the bay from the only sea winds to which it is open, must be regarded a great calamity.
Parson Clague in August, 1799, thus set forth his impressions of the character of Mr John Taubman, Speaker of the House of Keys:
He was 20 years Speaker in the House of Keys ; in fortune he had no equal in the Isle of Mann ; in vigour of intellect, patriotism, and consequence no superior. He was of course the prime mover and conductor in all important proceedings of the respectable assembly over which he presided for so many years with entire satisfaction to his country and honour to himself. Deeply seen (sic) in the laws, constitutions, and best interests of his country, he always kept a watchful eye over and never failed to defend them with inextinguishable zeal and persevering activity whenever he thought them to be in danger. As a friend to the poor he was charitable without ostentation ; he sounied no trumpet before him nor wished his left hand to know what his right hand did on such occasions, but he stopped not short at the bodily and temporal wants, for he made provision for the benefit of future generations by a permanent establishment for the education of youth to be brought up in the fear of God and such parts of useful knowledge as are most necessary for persons in their circumces.
The subject of the foregoing eulogy was direct ancestor of Mr Leigh Goldie-Taubman, of The Nunnery, Douglas. If we mistake not, John Taubman's "establishmnt for the education of youth " formed the subject of a recent application the Chancery Division of the High Court of the Isle of Man.
For some reason or other Parson Clague transcribed into his Forms Book the admonition to the prisoners in Newgate on the night before execution. Possibly he thought it might come in useful in the the event of him being called to minister to a condemned prisoner in Castle Rushen. These were the lugubrious terms of the admonition :
You prisoners that are within
Who for wickedness and sin
after many mercies shewn you, are now appointed to die to-morrow in the forenoon ; give ear and understand that to-morrow morning the greatest bell of St Sepulchre's shall toll for you in form and manner of a passing bell as used to be tolled for those that are at the point of death ; to the end that all Godly people hearing that bell and knowing it is for your going to your death, may be stirred up to pray to God to bestow his grace and mercy upon you while you live. I beseech you for Jesus Christ's sake to keep this night in watching and prayer while there is yet time and place for mercy ; as knowing to-morrow you must appear before the Judgment seat of your Creator, there to give an account of all things done in this life, and to suffer eternal torments for your sins committed against Him unless upon your hearty and unfeigned repentance you find mercy through the merits, death, and passion of your only Mediator and Advocate, Jesus Christ who now sits on the right hand of God to make intercession for as many of you as penitently return to Him.
Also Parson Clague sets down among his forms perchance with an eye to future use " the admonition to the condemned criminals as they are passing by St. Sepulchre's Church wall to execution."
The scarcity and high price of corn and provisions in 1799, impelled the Duke of Atholl to issue a proclamation directed against the illegal practices of forestalling and regrating. It is perhaps well to here explain that forestalling consisted in buying or contracting for merchandise or victuals on their way to market, or dissuading persons from bringing their goods or provisions to market; while regrating consisted in buying up provisions in a market for the purpose of selling them at a higher price in or near the same market. Both practices are common enough nowadays, but altered circumstances and methods of commerce prevent them from being attended with prejudice to the public.
Evidently there was some misunderstanding in the Island as to the effect of the ducal proclamation, for early in 1800 his Grace issued a further and explanatory proclamation in the following terms
Whereas it appears that ignorant persons have in some degree misconceived the intent and meaning of the proclamation issued on the third of December last, to enforce the observance of the market laws against forestallers and regrators, and for other purposes therein mentioned, insomuch as to suppose that corn, grain, and other provisions could only be legally carried from particular parishes to certain market towns there to be sold, which if carried into execution would evidently lead to increase the present alarm of scarcity and prevent the general supply of the Island.
It is therefore hereby declared to be the true intent and meaning of the said proclamation, that no person shall be prevented from carrying corn, grain, or other provisions to any. market town within this Isle, to be there fairly and publicly sold ; the free circulation of corn and other provisions throughout this Island being the best means to prevent any real scarcity. And the commanding officers of Fencibles, or detachments of Fencibles and of Volunteer Corps, within this Isle, are hereby ordered and required to assist the civil magistrates in the preservation of the public tranquility whenever they may be called upon, should any attempt be made by any evilminded person to prevent the carrying of this proclamation into full effect.
Given at Douglas, this 22nd day of bfarcb, 1800.
God Save the King.
It is rather remarkable that the caligraphy of the copyist of the proclamation into Parson Clague's Forms Book so resembles that of the present Chief Clerk in the Government Office that the copying might readily be mistaken for the handiwork of Mr Aitken.
The principal inhabitants of the parish of Rushen, under date 3rd December, 1800, petitioned the Governor to suppress the practice of engrossing (buying up) barley by brewers for malting purposes. It is claimed by the petitioners that this practice tends materially to cause " the present great scarcity of meal, the principal food and support of the poor." Nothing is said by Parson Clague concerning any steps which the Governor may have taken in regard to the petition.
In the last year of the eighteenth century, the questioning of a lady's good name in the Isle of Man was attended with very awkward consequences for the questioner. Jane Cooil, of Kirk Christ, Rushen, conceiving herself injured by certain reflections indulged in by one John Hutcheon, also a resident of Kirk Christ, Rushen, petitioned Ewan Christian, one of the Vicars-General, that she should be redressed " for so audacious an insult and indignity." The petition sets out in terms so candid that they will not well, bear reproduction, the nature of the " insult and indignity," and it must sufflce to say that John would appear to have publicly upbraided Jane with being anything but a lady. In due course the petition came on for hearing, and the Vicar-General being satisfied that Mr Hutchin had cruelly traduced the petitioner, adjudged that the defendant should be committed to prison, there to remain until he gave bonds that he would on a day to be appointed " stand in penitential garb in the Parish Church in time of Divine morning service, and then and there ask her (petitioner's) pardon for his uncharitable and defamatory expressions, and promise not to be guilty of the like unchristianlike conduct towards her in future." The Vicar - General further ordered " that nether he (Hutchin) nor any other person is to revive the said slander sub poena £10 in usum Domini Regis and forty days' imprisonment." Also Hutchin was mulcted in the costs of the petition. Nowadays Hutchin's offence would be dealt with in petty sessions, and would entail a fine of half-a-crown or so. It is to be gathered from the order for bearing on the petition that in the year1800 there was a Court House in Kirk Patrrick. The order is dated from Kirk Patrick, and is to the effect that the petition " do come on to be heard at an Ecclesiastical Court to be holden in the Court House in this Parish." [suspect mistaken impression Court House referring to function rather than a specifically reserved building]
Parson Clague preserves a copy of an advertisement issued by a Mr Edward Gelling, of Castletown, in regard to a malicious report which had been circulated with the intention of injuring the advertiser in his business. The following are the terms of the advertisement:
Whereas some ill-disposed and evil minded person or persons hath or have with a manifest view or intention to injure Edward Gelling, of Castletown, in his name, occupation, or trade as a shopkeeper or dealer, lately falsely, mischievously, and maliciously said, reported, and given out in speeches that a human body commonly called a negro or black man, was found in a cask of brown sugar lately imported by the said Edward Gelling into this Island, and which sugar was afterwards sold to the public, thereby designing and intending to prevent credulous persons and others resorting to his shop and purchasing sugar there as usual. Now I, the said Edward Gelling, do hereby offer a reward of one hundred guineas to be paid such person or persons as shall give information and the name or names of the person or persons who have thus maliciously raised and spread the said report so that the person or persons raising and spreading the report may he brought to conviction.
24th of December, 1800.
Not so many years ago a Manx brewery concern [Clinches Brewery] was considerably prejudiced by an unfounded rumour which got about to the effect that the water used at the brewery in connection with the manufacture of beer had as its source a neighbouring graveyard. Thus does history repeat itself ! Nothing is said by Parson Clague concerning the effect of Mr Gelling's advertisement. It is, however, unlikely that justice overtook " the ill-disposed and evil-minded person or persons."
Parson Claque records that on the 23rd December, 1800, a meeting of the inhabitants of Douglas was held for the purpose of taking into consideration the state of the poor, and of the public in general, with respect to the necessaries of life. The following is an extract from the account of the proceedings at the meeting :-
A subscription was entered into by way of for the purpose of buying provisions and other necessaries in this Island and elsewhere be sold out in retail at a reasonable profit (if it can be done), so as to keep down the market prices on the one hand, and not to prevent the hucksters from carrying on trade wiith a reasonable profit on the other hand.
And it was resolved that the profits of this loan (if any), shall be distributed amongst such objects of charity as to the committee herein-after named or a majority of them shall think best entitled.
A further subscription by way of donation was also entered into for the purpose of being distributed weekly until the month of October next, to and amongst such distressed objects of charity as are unable to beg from door to door.
And it was resolved that no alms should given to the poor who go about begging unless they produce a badge or ticket to be aappointed by the committee.
And the Reverend N. Christian, the Reverend H. Stowell, and Messrs Whiteside, Geneste, and Symonds were appointed a committeeee for the purposes aforesaid.
The committee therefore beg leave to give this public notice to all persons within this Isle who have corn. potatoes or other provisions for sale, that they are ready to purchase the same for the purposes aforementioned at reasonable prices. To such as claim any title to humanity they apprehend this notice will be sufficient; to others they give it as a warning that they are determined if they cannot be supplied in the Island at reasonable rates, to import the necessaries of life from other countries, and if possible to reduce the enormous prices of the markets in this Island.
December 26th, 1800.
It world be interesting to learn what was the outcome of the Co-Operative Society thug formed but on this point Parson Clague is silent. Nor is he informative a, to whether the threat to import the rwressa-i3s cf life had any salutary effect upon tbu Manx farmers.
Into the Forms Book Parson Clague copied a letter which he wrote to the Episcopal Registrar in the following term; : -
January 29th, 1801.
Reverend Sir,-Not being able to attend this day at St John's, please to pay the bearer, Thomas Kinnish, my share, or portion of thei Royal Bounty, it being so long in arrear I was much surprised the amount was not greater and that those friendly exertions are not used nowadays for the poor olergy of £36 British per annum, as were formerly when things were reasonable, and the Royal Bounty, I am informed, was quarterly paid, and if not paid accounted for by their fatherly Bishop.-I am, sir, yours respectfully,
To the Reverend Mr Mylrea, Episcopal Registrar.
The copy of the letter is thus annotated:-" I received the money, but I was told there were murmurings at my note." Subsequently Parson Clague wrote to an old schoolfellow, Mr Thomas Quayle, of Buckingham Palace, Fitzroy - square, London, requesting that he (Mr Quayle) would use his influence to secure payment to the Manx clergy of arrears of this Royal Bounty. His request evoked a reply to the effect that the payment was a. charge upon His Majesty's Civil List, " and when the country is in distress the payments are irregularly made, as the money is applied to more pressing services."
The following is a copy of an advertisement for a schoolmaster, which Parson Clague deemed worthy of preservation:- Wanted a sober and discreet person qualified to execute the united offices of parochial schoolmaster and Clerk in the parish of Kirk Bride. His defects as a sweet singer will be dispensed with, or may be supplied by a substitute, provided he has excellencies as a schoolmaster to recommend him. None need apply who does not read well, write a good hand, and is well versed in practical arithmetic.
A house to live in, a garden and croft are annexed to the said offices; and the man approved of will also be entitled to the established salary and a handsome subscription from the parishioners. The candidates may apply to the Rector, Kirk Bride. 19th April, 1803.
Very properly more importance was attached to ability to impart the three R's than too aptitude for raising the psalm tunes on Sundays.
In the Forms Book is an incomplete copy of a letter addressed to Attorney Christian on behalf of the heirs of a certain Capt. Crebbin with regard to some property in Liverpool. The following extract from the epistle indicates that Naval officers of the eighteenth century were somewhat high-handed in their treatment of masters in the Mercantile Marine: -
In the time of the American war, Crebbin was captain of a merchantman, which sailed fast away from an English ship of war, under the command of McNamara, but he was over-taken and ordered on board the said ship of war and was struck by McNamara's speaking trumpet, and died a few days afterwards, leaving his affairs in the confused manner you see.
In those days a British man-o'-war had quite as many terrors for a British merchantman as for the enemy, by reason of the system of impressment which obtained. If a fighting ship became short-handed, her commander had no scruples about filling up vacancies at the expense of the first merchant vessel he came across. This probably explains Capt. Crebbin's futile effort to sail fast away from Capt. McNamara.
Reference has already been made to the unhappy conditior of the Manx poor in the " good old days," and the following copy of a petition which appears among Parson Clague's forms affords a vivid illustration of the hardships which had to be borne by destitute persons at the commencement of the, nineteenth century : -
To his Honour Cornelius Smelt, Esq., Governor, etc.
The humble petition of Isabel Cain, of the Town of Douglas.
That your petitioner is one of the most miserable creatures existing; she is become loathsome for want of clothing and the common necessaries of life, exposed to the common air lying in the field, and almost famished until a certain person took her under his roof. It is almost impossible to describe the lamentable condition of the object. She has a husband by the name of Jno. Cain, but his constant attendance on the miserable creature has taken him off his labour so that they are both become miserable, and in fact Douglas is greatly burthened with objects ; but such is the case fully described in Holy Writ that the poor will never cease out of the land.
Your petitioner therefore humbly prays, etc. The terms of the prayer are not set out, but presumably the unfortunate Isabel Cain supplicated that collections should be authorised on her behalf in the churches of the district. Douglas is still " greatly burthened with objects," so that in one respect, at least, the times have not changed. But nowadays our methods of dealing with the " objects " are more enlightened and humane.
Parson Clague went to the trouble of copying into his book the lengthy indenture entered into between Charles Earl of Derby and the Bishop of Sodor and Mann and the Archdeacon for the sale, by the Earl to the Bishop and Archdeacon, as trustees, of his (the Earl's) impropriate tithes in the Isle of Man. These impropriations were to be held in trust for the benefit of the Manx clergy, whose poverty-stricken condition is set forth in the indenture. The clergy, it is stated, " are forced to live in mean conditions very unbeseeming their callings, and likewise are necessitated, for the gaining and obtaining a livelihood for themselves and their families, to betake themselves to mean and inferior employments, to the diminution of the honour of their function and profession, and to the prejudice of' religion and ecclesiastical government." £1,000 was the consideration money for the sale, which amount would appear to have been raised by public subscription in the Isle of Man and England. The date of the indenture is the 1st November, 1666.
The Forms Book contains a copy of a prospectus which was apparently issued in 1803 in connection with the imminent publication of " A course of excellent sermons, being a translation into Manks by a Manks clergyman." It is stated that to the translation will be " prefixed a Manks preface." The translator thus appeals for subscriptions:-" Those gentlemen who wih to promote the use of their native language are particularly requested to contribute their assistance towards the printing of the above work." Evidently the translator was Thomas Stephen, of Ballaugh, who write to Parson Cague soliciting his influence in procuring subscriptions. "Any proper person," says, Mr Stephen," whom you would please to employ for the purpose procuring suscribers shall be allowed sixpence for each ten names." Seeing book was published at the price of eighteenpence per copy, the commission mentioned cannot be regarded as erring the side of liberality A postscript to the letter is very much to the point. " I you will shew an example by putting down your own name for one or more, as you see proper " Parson Clague is silent to whether this pious hope materialised.
The House of Keys issued an appeal dated the 19th April, 1805, to the Manx people couched in the following terms
The committee of the House of Keys think it is theirty to acquaint their countrymen that a petition from his Grace the Duke of Atholl, is at present before the House of Commons of Great Britain and Ireland, on which his Grace intends to forward an application for the grant of a rent charge on the revenues of this Island payable to him and his heirs for ever. The precise sum is not mentioned, but we have some reason to believe that his Grace has in contemplation three thousand pounds a year, or thereabouts.
The House of Keys met on the 16th instant, and we lay before you a copy of their memorial,-animously agreed to, and signed by the 22 members then present; the other two members, who are now in England, will present to the House of Commons.
We place a confident and well - grounded reliance on the justice of Parliament, and trust that out countrymen will not be so blind as to sign any paper in support of a measure which goes to entail so heavy a burden on them and their posterity for ever.
Apparently this appeal provoked a counterblast, which the impartial compiler of the Forms Book has also preserved. It was as follows
We are celled upon to sign nothing blindly this is right but are we to be asleep? No. A question of the greatest importance to the country is before the Parliament whether the Duke of Atholl shall have further compensation for rights sold by his family to the Crown. I, and all' of you, no doubt, thought the British Parliament were fully competent to judge of his Grace's claims; but it seems we were mistaken. The honourable House of Keys think otherwise ; we must not therefore be longer silent. Let us unite in a respectful memorial to the honourable House of Keys stating our sentiments, but before signing, let us coolly ask ourselves the following questions : Are we to be eternally at war? Is the British Parliament competent to judge of his Grace's claims? Ought we not to rely on their impartiality and justice? Ought we to blindly oppose just and equitable claims? Will Parliament admit of any other? Is the Duke's interest to oppress us? Has he ever oppressed us? Cannot we resist if he does ? Who has hitherto been our friend and brought us the benefits we have already received? Who got our herring bounties! increased, continued, and put upon an equitable footing? Who got us protection for the fishermen? Who got us money for repair of the harbours and public buildings? Who prevented our fishing boats paying two guineas each annually whether they caught fish or not? What would have become of us last year had we had this tax to pay? Who prevented every shopkeeper from paying two guineas annually for liberty to sell wine and spirits? The Duke! What is to become of us should the Duke turn his back on us? Who will step forward with equal good will and power to cherish and protect us?
My countrymen, think seriously on these things while it is yet called to-day, or the hour of repentance may come too late.
Nothing is said by Parson Clague as to whether this stirring appeal had the desired effect of inducing Manxmen to " unite in a respectful memorial to the honourable House of Keys " on behalf of the Duke of Atholl. Many of the entries in the Forms Book convey the impression that towards the end of the eighteenth century, and about the beginning of the nineteenth, the Duke of Atholl had a warmer time with the House of Keys of his day than even Lord Raglan has had with the House now in being.
A century ago disputants were not wont to mince their words so far as epistolary interchanges went. The following is a copy of a letter from a certain Mr Hopkins to Mr Gawne, dated Oct. 11th, 1806:
After taking near a week to consider my letter, you at length, on the eve of your departure, thought proper to send me a saucy, impertinent answer. It would ill become me to enter with you into a vindication of my character and conduct, your insinuation against which is foul and false, and the impotent resentment of a petty mind. Both it and the penner of it I despise alike. I have lived long in the world to very bad purpose if I cannot dispense with Mr Gawne's good opinion, which, as I cannot retain with honour I resign without regret.
In those fire-eating days the conventional sequel to such a letter was pistols at a dozen paces, but nothing is said as to whether Mr Gawne and Mr Hopkins went out with each other.
From the fact that Parson Clague copied into his Forms Book a letter dated July 4th, 1807, addressed to the editor of the " Manx Advertiser," it may be deduced that the reverend gentleman occasionally contributed to the public newspapers. The nom de plume attached to the letter in question is " The assertor of rights," and the text takes the form of a remonstrance to the trustees of the Academic Fund for retaining in hand an unreasonable overplus of income arising from the trust instead of distributing it among the students in his day the parson had been a student. He urges that in their administration of the trust the trustees should be actuated by sentiments of honour. In this connection the author reveals the distrust of the Irish, which in those days would appear to have actuated the Manx nation. He suggests that the honour of the trustees should be " very unlike that of the Hibernian, which almost constantly hangs upon his lips, ready to be prostituted upon the most trivial, false, and base occasion."
Parson Clague went to the trouble to copy into his book the whole of the formal proceedings which led to the enlargement, in or about the year 1777, of the parish Church of Rushen. The agitation for rebuilding the church would appear to have been started in 1772, but nothing definite was done until 1774, when a petition was presented to the Bishop praying his lordship to give the necessary orders and directions to secure the rebuilding and enlarging of the church. In the petition it was stated that the Parish Church " is a very antient building entirely out of repair and in a ruinous and tottering condition; apparently unsafe for the attenders on Divine Worship. . . The fabric, besides the ruinous state thereof, is far too small and too confined for the reception of tha congregation, as being not capable of containing passing two-thirds of them when assembled for Divine Service, many of them being obliged to stand without the Church door during the Service." What a devout folk the Rushen parishioners of 1774 must have been! Some of their descendants are pious enough, but the most saintly of them would assuredly draw the line at standing without the door of the church the while public devotions were proceeding. The Bishop, upon consideration of the petition, granted a faculty for the re-building and enlargement of the church. Though the great majority of the inhabitants of the parish would appear to have been in favour of the undertaking, there was some opposition, and the Vestry resolution upon which the petition was presented to the Bishop was not unanimous. The names of the following opponents are recorded: William Watterson, John Collister, John Crebbin, Edward Corrin, and John Harrison. Where they Methodists? In May, 1775, a Vestry meeting decided that the " Parish Church shall extend in lengthways from the Chancel westward to contain in the clear sixty-four feet, and in breadth from the old south wall to measure northward twenty-two feet." Various assessments were levied with a view to paying for the work. In the assessment resolution it is provided " Balnakilley, Booilley Vicar, and the Intacks there of reckoned equal to one quarterland." In connection with the allotment of seats in the church there, is the following condition: " The seats over and above one seat to each quarterland to be settled in the following manner, being four seats and a half: " To Rhen Bulnarenny, the Ballafurt and Croit y goal doo, half a seat; to the cottages at Port le Morrey, one seat; to the Intacks of Port Iron, one seat; to the Intacks of Kirkill and Scard, one seat; to the Intacks of How Moar from Fleshwich to the Little Miln, one seat; and every single seat to pay their assessment equal to the quarterland. The cottars of the parish who pay no assessment to give two days' labour each to clear the Churchyard." Towards the cost of the rebuilding and enlargement, Bishop Richmond appears have contributed the sum of £46 13s
The salary of the mistress of the female school in Castletown in 1787 was eight pounds per annum! So much appears from a memorial presented in year by Isabella Finegan, the holder of the lucrative post, for an increase of emolument. In those days there was no National Union of Teachers.
Parson Clague records the death of Mrs Shaw, wife of the Lieut.-Governor, but does not give the month or year of the happening [she was buried 17 Jan 1804 at Malew; Malew Burial Register gives no Christian name referring to her as Mrs Shaw, the Governor's wife] :
Friday, the 13th instant, departed this life, at Castletown. in the Isle of Man, Mrs Shaw, wife of the Honourable Shaw. Lieutenant-Governor of that Island. This most excellent lived universally beloved, and has died as universally lamented. To her husband she was a faithful and affectionate wife ; to her children a tender mother, instructing them alike by her precepts and her own almost faultless example; to her servants kind and indulgent; to the distressed a constant and ready benefactress. Her death was sudden, but she needed not a death-bed repentance, her whole life being a preparation for the awful event, and each day of it she spent in the performance of her duties to God and man. The Almighty, Who knows the secrets of all hearts.knew the sincerity of here, and in mercy spared her the misery attendant on lingering and painful sickness. Her memory will be long and gratefully preserved in the hearts of those who were in the habit of enjoying her society and partaking of her friendship.
With so many Manxmen serving in the King's land and sea forces during the period of the Napoleonic wars, it is not to be wondered at that some of them were captured by the French and detained as prisoners of war. The sad plight of soldiers and sailors unfortunate enough to fall into the hands of the enemy is graphically set out in a quotation, included in a petition by the Rev Evan Christian, one of the Vicars-General of the Island in 1808, to Governor Smelt. This petition prays that the Governor may allow collections in the churches and chapels of the diocese on behalf of Manx prisoners of war, and asks that petitioner be authorised to nominate persons to receive donations of charitable people in the same behalf. The quotation is taken from a letter received by Bishop Cregan from his son, who appears to have been detained by the French at Arras. It is as follows :
Soon after my arrival here I forwarded a petition, my dear father, requesting you would send a copy to the Governor of the Island, from the few Manksmen at this depot (all in fact who are in France). to wit, Thos. Radcliffe, Wm. Johnston, Richd. Quirk, Thos. Cannell, J. Corlett, Thos. Taubman, and Jno. Cain. The petition merely requested you to lay their situation before their countrymen in the most pathetic manner, and beg some pecuniary assistance from them. This kind of assistance has been granted by all the towns of the United Kingdom to the seamen prisoners in France who belonged formerly to them . . Should any money be thus procured, by sending it to my agent he will lodge me credit in France for it. and I through him can forward you the receipt from the men 'here. In the meantime I have done all in my power for them. ' Cain I have got into my house as servant ; and besides shirts. etc., I divide my French pay among the others. This is but a little, but little with them as they are situated is of great importance.
Governor Smelt was pleased to comply with the prayer of the petition, and colloctions were ordered to be made in the churches and chapels in aid of the prisoners. The Bishop, in forwarding copies of the order to the clergy, strongly recommended the object in view to them. Governor Smelt also nominated the following gentlemen to receive donations "James Quirk, Knockaloe, Esqre. ; Charles Cooper, of Peel Town, Esqre. ; James Cowle, of Ballaquaan, Esqre.. ; Capt. Cannell, of Bark, Michael; Capt. John Hughes, of Ballaugh, Robert Farrant, of Jurby, Esqre. ; Thomas Allan, of Andreas, Esgre. ; William Christian, of Bride, Esqre. ; J. Corlett, of Langhan y Yei, Esqre. ; Mr Wm. Kissack, merchant, of Ramsey ; J. Christian, Ballure, Esqre. ; Revd. Mr Hugh Stowell, of Lonan; Revd. Mr Cannell, Onchan ; Revd. Messrs Kewley and Harrison, Douglas ; Revd. Mr J. Clague, curate of St. Ann; Robert Quayle, Castletown, Esqre. ; J. Lucas, Knockrushen, Esqre. ; Edward Gawne, of Rushen, Esqre. ; and the Revd. John Bridson, of Marown." Many of the gentlemen thus appointed have descendants now living in the Isle of Man.
The printing of the translation into Manx of the Book of Common Prayer was in progress in 1808 by J. Ware, a Whitehaven disciple of Caxton. A rumour would appear to have got about in the Island that certain delay in publication was due to a desire of the Bishop to suppress the translation and to extirpate the Manx language. Mr Ware, with the object of confuting this calumny, addressed a circular letter to the inhabitants of the Isle of Man, " especially to those who interest yourselves in the new edition of the Manks Common Prayer Book." He refers in this letter to the rumour as " false and malignant," and mentions instances of the Bishop's earnestness to secure prompt publication. The following is a quotation from the letter:
The worthy Bishop has never failed to intreat and to urge (with a zeal which can never be mistaken) the utmost assiduity and exertion to be employed in completing the good and necessary work. The persons concerned in the present vile columns do not know, or they affect ignorance in the matter, that it is owing to the liberality of the honourable Society for promoting Christian Knowledge, elicited by the repeated representations of the Bishop of Man, that the work was undertaken. How else can any person of common sense admit, even for a moment. the possibility of the Bishop wishing to suppress the publication of the Manx impression which his Lordship had so earnestly solicited, or loin in the vulgar, and as it might reasonably have been hoped, exploded obloguy of intending to extirpate the Manx language? Yet such (incredible as it may at first appear) are the notions which ill-designing men have instilled into the minds of the ignorant.
The vindication of the Bishop is proceeded with by Mr Ware in somewhat verbose fashion, and towards the end of the letter he has something to say by way of personal excuse. He mentions the expense he has boon put to in procuring paper for the printing, and mill-board and leather for the binding of 5,000 books, " besides the expense of printing so far as the work has proceeded." His concluding sentence would seem to indicate a strike of printers at Whitehaven. It is as follows:" In short, it would have been finished last Christmas but for the treacherous combination of four journeymen. Of thirty-four parts, twenty-six are printed, and the remainder will be done with all the expedition that circumstances will allow." Evidently the Bishop attached a great deal of importance to the letter, which the clergy were ordered to read in their churches. Also they were enjoined to affix copies of it to the church doors.
Parson Clague copied into his Forms Book a letter which was apparently sent by him to persons who had aided in furnishing what was in all probability the first Sunday-school in the parish of Rushen. The letter is in the following terms:
March 20th, 1809.
Dear Sir, I purposely deferred making my humble acknowledgement unto you till I should be acquainted with the success I should meet with in respect to my Sunday School ; and now that I have near eighty scholars of a Sunday, both morning and evening, permit me to assure you that I retain a most perfect sense of the obligation I am under to you for the present you made me of small books you were pleased to send me. It was your pleasure to bestow; it shall be my happiness to merit thereby. Our services are done for a Master who is generous, tender, and loving. and alone able to bestow on us a recompence which corresponds with the nobleness of our views and the dignity of our being. Our endeavours are as filthy rags without the Almighty's blessings. May God prosper the works in our hands is the prayer of your humble servant. I intend contributing towards the institution soliciting others to become subscribers. Of you shall hear hereafter. I remain. your faithful servant,
The two last sentences demonstrate that Parson Clague had an excellent appreciation of the aphorism, " Gratitude is a early appreciation of favours to come."
At the Easter Vestry Meeting in 1792, the parishioners of Rushen took into consideration the propriety of ringing church bells in connection with funerals. As the outcome of the discussion, it was " consented to and agreed upon that the bell for funerals shall be tolled instead of being rung as formerly." Why the question should have arisen there is nothing to show in the minutes of the Vestry meeting.
A memorial (undated in the copy preserved in the Forms Book) was presented by Parson Clague to the Duke of Atholl in regard to the inequality of Church livings in the Isle of Man. He points out to his Grace that the Vicar of Rushen has "only the small pittance of £36 British per annum to live upon, including £6 17s British annual pension received yearly " from Collector Scott, your Grace's agent in Douglas, besides one acre of glebe land. He asks his Grace to either augment it the yearly pension of £6 17s, or to cause the Bishop to put the Church livings on a par. What action the Duke of Atholl took in the matter is not set down.
Rev Philip Moore, chaplain of St. Matthews, Douglas, and master of the Douglas Grammar School from 1735 to 1765 and subsequently Rector of Bride, was one of the ripest scholars who ever entered the Manx Church. He took a prominent part in the translation of the Holy Scriptures into Manx, and was an admirable letter writer. Educated under the auspices of the sainted Bishop Wilson, he had a singular reverence for that great prelate, and was a lifelong friend of the Bishop's son, who eventually erected a memorial to the Manx parson in Old St. Matthew's Church. In the Forms Book is preserved a copy of a letter written by Philip Moore, probably to Parson Clague himself, what time he was curate of Kirk Michael. The following is the text:
February 22nd, 1780. Dear Sir, I take the first opportunity of paying my very friendly compliments of congratulation to you and your amiable, blooming bride on your happy nuptials, wishing you both many prosperous years in health and joy and mutual love to participate in all the blessings and comforts of the happiest state on this side of Heaven.
This will be delivered to you by Mr Fanning, one of the great circumambient navigators, who is come to take an elevation of good Bishop Wilson's tomb in your churchyard, the Icon to be inserted in the History of the Life and Writings of his Lordship, now publishing in two volumes quarto, by his son, Dr Wilson, the blessed and blessing benefactor of our Clergy's widows and orphans. You will be so good as to show Mr Fanning the tomb, and for the few hours that he may be imployed and to shew him such civility as is due to such a worthy man in all civilised nations. I would; have him also take a plan and copy of the stone at the church gable, recording the Doctor's benefactions. I owe you many obligations. I am, your very affectionate friend and brother.
[This was Peter Fannin, now more famous for his map the book was that published in two volumes by Cruttwell of Bath]
In 1809, certain " strangers " in the Isle of Man presented an address to Deemster Lace congratulating him upon his action in stemming the torrent of " immorality and indecorum " tending to pull down " the barriers of tranquillity and social order." There is no internal evidence in the petition as to the precise nature of the immorality and indecorum, and Parson Clague, as usual, is tantalisingly silent on the point. The following is a copy of the address as preserved in the Forms Book:
Isle of Man.
October 8th, 1809.
Sir, We, the undersigned inhabitants of the Isfe of Man, think it a duty incumbent upon us, and a mark of respect justly due to you, to express strongly and decidedly at the present moment the high opinion we entertain of your upright and impartial conduct on all occasions as Chief Justice on this Island.
When the overbearing tide of immorality and indecorum would pull down the barriers of tranquillity and social order, we conceive that magistrate who has spirit to stem the torrent, and mark with energy and odium the abottors of such a system, deserves the thanks and approbation of every citizen.
As strangers in this Island we have sincerely to regret that recent events have occurred disgraceful to civilised society in breach of the laws of hospitality, and tending to bring obloquy on us (though not being natives) may by the indiscriminating be classed with a set of men whose conduct and deportment in general we highly disapprove of and condemn.
Permit us, sir, to request that you will accept this mark of our respect offered to you at a time when we see the praiseworthy efforts you have made to support tranquallity and subordination attempted to be held in a light unworthy of your rank ; but which we are satisfied was strictly founded on equity, justice, law. and prosperity. We have the honour to be, sir. your humble and obedient servants, To the Honourable Deemster Lace.
The Forms Book includes a copy of a petition presented to the Board of Admiralty by H. Watterson, an out-pensioner of Greenwich Hospital, but resident in the Isle of Man. Petitioner states that he commenced service as a sail maker in the Royal Navy on the cutter Expedition in 1793, and was subsequently drafted to the Irresistible, on board of which he had the honour to serve as quartermaster in the action off Ushant, where he received a slight wound. In 1798 he was drafted from the Irresistible to the Ajax, commanded by Alexander Cochrane, and served in Egypt, where petitioner " received an impediment in his sight," which terminated in total blindness. On his discharge as a quartermaster, he was admitted an out-pensioner of Greenwich Hospital, with a pension of £7 per annum. He submits that this allowance is " not sufficient to support any person with the most common necessaries of life, and leaves to your petitioner no alternative between begging and starving in an Island where no provision is made for the poor."
The last two pages of the Forms Book are rendered illegible by an attempt to write an index over matter which is apparently a copy of either a sermon or an essay. This rather abrupt ending of Parson Clague's interesting compilation is to be regretted; but the book as it stands is valuable in that it enables us to form a very fair idea of the religious, social, political, and economic conditions which obtained in the Isle of Man during the eighteenth century, and to gain some insight into the everyday life of the Manx people in days which, if not very remote so far as lapse of time is concerned, are sufficiently distant to be invested with a certain halo of romance in the eyes of the present generation.
In reference to the pastoral issued by the Bishop, requiring the clergy to repel any Methodist preacher offering himself at the Lord's Table (as mentioned in a quotation taken from the Forms Book), John Wesley records that the Bishop was prejudiced by " two or three ill-minded persons of some influence in the Island." On the 1st June, 1777, Wesley held, services at Castletown and Peel, and it is not quite clear at which of these places he was kindly treated by the Rev H. Corlett, one of the Established clergy, of whom he says (vide " Journal ") :
Mr Corlett said he would gladly have asked me to preach, but that the bishop had forbidden him; who had also forbidden all his clergy. to admit any Methodist preacher to the Lord's supper. But is any clergyman obliged, either in law or conscience, to obey such a prohibition ? By no means. The will even of the king does not bind any English subject. unless it be seconded by an express law. How much less the will of a bishop? "But did not you take an oath to obey him?" No, nor any other clergyman in the three kingdoms. This is a more, vulgar error. Shame that it should prevail almost universally.