[From Manx Quarterly #17 - Oct 1916]
The news of the death of Mr J. M. Cruickshank, which reached Ramsey on Monday, Aug. 28th, came as a shock. His friends hardly expected him to recover from the long illness from which he suffered, but it was not known that the end was so, near. Some weeks ago he was taken to Southport, and a specialist was called in, but it was not possible to save Mr Cruickshank's life. The deceased High-Bailiff became ill last autumn. but he made temporary recoveries at different times since. He was able to attend the meeting of the Licensing District Board last year, when the bench was elected. He was engaged in the Clarke will case in December, and he presided at the annual meeting of the Isle of Man Railway Company in March. During his long illness. Mr J. S. Gell, High-Bailiff of Douglas and Castletown, has conducted the inquests that would have devolved on the High-Bailiff of Ramsey and Peel, and in Ramsey the legal business of the firm of Dickinson, Cruickshank and Co., has been well looked after by Mr Hyde, a member of the firm. The deceased gentleman, who was 65 years of age, was a son of the late Mr William Cruickshank, brewer, Birkenhead, and he was born in Liverpool. On the death of his father, the baby boy was brought to Ramsey by his mother (who was Miss Paton before her marriage, her family residing at Grenaby, Bride. at one time). The boy being very delicate, he was sent to live in Glen Auldyn in the care of a nurse where he afterwards attended the Sunday-school. He retained an affection for Glen Auldyn ever afterwards. Same years ago, a lady sought for a public-house license for the Bungalow, Glen Auldyn, and she employed Mr Cruickshank to represent her. She failed because of opposition from the neighbourhood. She resolved to try the next year, and meantime her advocate had become president of the Licensing Court, a point which she perhaps thought would be in her favour. If she had the fond hope, it was sadly disappointed, for the new president did not think the case worth considering, and dismissed it. without hearing evidence. Mr Cruickshank was educated at Ramsey Grammar School, and subsequently was articled to the late Mr Alured Dumbell, in Ramsey. He was called to the Bar in 1873. He was contemporary with the Attorney-General and Mr J. Hodgson (Peel). Mr Dickinson (Douglas) was his senior, and also Mr Nelson (Ramsey) by a few years. In 1898, Mr Cruickshank was appointed High-Bailiff of Ramsey in succession to Mr J. C. LaMothe, and also Registrar. (The latter office is now separated from the High-Bailiffship, Mr C. Kissack being appointed Registrar in 1911.) Mr Cruickshank was a prominent advocate, and took sides in most of the great law cases of the past thirty years. Amongst the more prominent of these may be mentioned the Cooper trial, the prosecution of Dumbell's Bank directors, and suits in connection with Ramsey Mooragh, Fisher and Harris divorces, and many cases of liquidation. In 1899, Mr Cruickshank joined the old-established law firm in Athol-street which at different times in the past forty years has been known as Adams and Dickinson; Dickinson and Kneen; Dickinson and Cruickshank; and Dickinson, Cruickshank and Co., the deceased gentleman, since he joined, taking the principal barrister business of the firm. Mr Cruickshank took a great interest in the affairs of Ramsey, and was associated with all its big movements. He was at one time Chairman of the Ramsey Town Commissioners, and afterwards legal adviser to the board. (The firm of Dickinson. Cruickshank, and Co., are also legal advisers to Douglas Corporation.) Deceased was also chairman of the Grest Trustees, Ramsey Grammar School, National Schools, Lifeboat Committee, Golf Club, was District Commandant of the L.M.V.C.[Local Militia Volunteer Corps] and was prominently associated with many other deserving causes. Mr Cruickshank gave hearty support to the P.S.E. movement, and for years he presided at the opening meeting of the session. Though a Churchman, he was always ready to assist the movements of other churches. As a man, Mr Cruickshank was very popular. He was always approachable, sympathetic and natural. Though possessed of a considerable amount of dignity; he always spoke as a man to men, and put no " side " on. As a lawyer, he was one of the most considerate and unselfish in the Isle of Man. He was not grasping, but treated those with whom he had to do with very praiseworthy consideration. He took a pleasure in doing good turns, sometimes in a manner that may not have been considered altogether professional. As a lawyer he was well read and sound, and, as a barrister he could make an excellent case and a good fight. As a magistrate he was conspicuously just, fair, considerate, and his judgments almost always fitted the case. He would have distinguished himself on the bench of the High Court, and the general opinion is that he had the refusal of elevation to it. As President of the Licensing Court, Mr Cruickshank left nothing to be desired. He was never unfair to deserving applicants, but he by nor means favoured the idea that the Licensing Court simply existed to grant licenses. He aimed not only at accommodating the public, but protecting them. He steadily discouraged the increasing of licensed houses or the extension of existing licenses. Though the deceased gentleman's long illness had accustomed them to his absence, the people of Ramsey deeply regret that his commanding form will be seen no more amongst them.
The coffin containing the remains of the late Mr Cruickshank was conveyed to the Island on the R.M.S. Tynwald on Wednesday, in view of interment at Lezayre on Thursday. Two sergeants of Isle of Man Constabulary and two constables of the force bore they coffin from the steamer to the hearse which was in waiting on the Victoria Pier, and the journey to Ramsey at once commenced. A deputation from the Douglas Town Council, consisting of the Mayor (Mr Daniel Flinn, J.P.), Councillors Gale and Milne, the Town Clerk (Mr A. Robertson) and the Deputy Town Clerk (Mr A. Cuthbertson) attended on the pier and followed the hearse along the Promenade, as did the Deputy Chief Constable (Mr J. T. Quilliam), and the police officers who had acted as bearers. Mrs Glasgow and Miss Cruickshank, daughters of the late High-Bailiff, were on the steamer, and they drove to Ramsey in a motor-car. Several members of the Manx Bar, including .Messrs W. F. Dickinson, E. C. Kneen, Edwyn Kneen, and J. W. Hyde (of the firm of Dickinson, Cruickshank & Co.), and F. M. LaMothe (Ramsey), were aso on the pier to meet the coffin.
Ramsey has witnessed a number of largely-attended funerals in the past quarter of a century, conspicuous amongst which were those of the: Rev Geo. Paton, Mr Wm. Cannell, and Mr Robert Brew. That of the High-Bailiff, which took place on Thursday afternoon, ranks with those mentioned. It. of course, stands first in the representativeness of the concourse assembled. T'here was a large gathering of the officials of the Island and of the town. and hundreds of the inhabitants of the latter assembled to show their respect for the late gentleman. Amongst those met at Crook Brae, May Hill, were the following, though it is not possible to mention all who ought to be mentioned:-Messrs J. A. Walton, H.K., R. T. Corlett, C.P., P. G. Cannell (secretary, Law Society), J. R. Kerruish, H.K., John Costain secretary, Liverpool Manx Society), J. S. Gell (High-Bailiff of Douglas and Castletown), P. M. C. Kermode, T. H. Handley (Okell's Brewery Go.), J. C. Brearley, W. J. Moore (Douglas Poor Law Guardians), A. Christian, H.K., S. W. Anderson, H.K., A. F. Price, T. Corlett (S.P.C.C.), J. G. Adamson; Dalrymple Maitland, H.K., W. H. Kitto, H.K., W. Waid, W. M. Corkill (I.O.M. Steam Packet Co.) ; T. Stowell (Isle of Man Railway Co.), F. Edmondson (Manx Electric Railway), R. B. Moore, J. D. Clucas, J.P., B. E. Sargeaunt (Government Secretary), Col. Madoc, W. A. Craine (W.M.A.), C. B. Nelson, G. S. Johnson, E. Clague (Dickinson, Cruickshank and Co.), W. T. Crennell, H.K., J. A. Brown, F. J. Johnson: (Registrar), J Cannell (Rolls Office), R. H. Cubbin (representing the Vicar-General), P. G. Cannell, T. R. Lewin (clerk, Douglas School Board); clerks from the firm of Dickinson, Cruickshank and Co.; C. Kissack (Ramsev office of the firm), J. T. Cowell, R.G., R. D. Gelling (Secretary, House of Keys), W. H. Blaker (Harbour Board), C. Fox (L.M.V.C.), W. A. Stevenson, W. Lav, A. Robertson (Town Clerk), A. B. Cuthbertson (Deputy Town Clerk), R. E. Craine, Supt. J. T. Quilliam. Deemster Callow, Inspector Shimmin and Geo. Cringle (Peel), H. P. Kelly, H. R. Gelling, J. Cowley, Revs E. C. Paton (London), and S. Botwood. The Attorney-General, who is off the Island, was represented by Mr Moore.
A squad of the Ramsey section of the L.M.V.C. attended in charge of Sergt. Hule. These led the procession from the house, and were followed by the committee and crew of the lifeboat, members of the Oddfellows' Club, Freemasons; the Chairman, Members and Clerk of the Ramsey Town Commissioners; the School Board, and the Board of Guardians. Four Oddfollows carried the coffin out of the house to the hearse, the coffin being covered with a Union Jack, surmounted by choice wreaths. Behind the hearse followed two carriages entirely filled with wreaths of choice flowers. Then succeeded the carriage containing the deceased's immediate relatives, and a large number of private carriages. The solemn procession proceeded slowly to St. Paul's Church. A large crowd had assembled in the Market Square, and as the church could not possibly have held them all, a great many did not attempt to go in.
The service was of a simple character, but decidedly impressive. Rev M. W. Harrison (St. Paul's) and Rev J. H. Cain (Lezayre) divided the service between them here, as at the graveside. The most impressive and appropriate part of the service was the musical. It opened with the hymn " O God our Help in ages past." Mr Bates played the tune with feeling. the choir led the singing in splendid harmony, and the lange congregation sang " with the spirit and with the understanding also." Then followed the appropriate Psalm, rendered in fitting fashion by the choir, " Lord, Thon hast been our Refuge in all generations." Mr Cain read the usual lesson from Corinthians, and the service closed with the hopeful hymn, " On the resurrection morning." The " Dead March" was played as the coffin was borne out, a choir boy bearing a cross in front of the clergy.
The interment took place in Lezayre Churchyard. As the cortege was passing the camp at MiIntown, the guard came out and saluted, and the men who were engaged in drilling stood at attention. It was Thursday afternoon, and the shops were shut for the half-holiday, but they would have shut any other day-. All the public buildings and the boats flew flags at half-mast. The military sports at Knockaloe, and St. Paul's and Wesleyan Sunday-school excursions were postponed on account of the funeral.
At St. Paul's Church, Ramsey, on September 3rd, the Vicar, Rev. M. W . Harrison, before the sermon, made reference to the late High-Bailiff of Ramsey. He said: In speaking to you last Sunday night I had occasion to ask, " By what shall a man be remembered when he is dead?- It would seem that almost at that time one who occupied a very prominent position in our town was rapidly nearing his last hour on earth. James Murray Cruickshank passed away in the early hours of Monday morning. He was to most prominent citizen of our town, not only because he held the almost unique office of High-Bailiff, but because there was no public movement in which he did not have a leading place. Hospital, Lifeboat, Friendly Society, Soldiers' and Sailors' Families Association, and many other organisations numbered him a.rnong their leaders and their committees. He filled the position of chief citizen full well. His passing has left a, deep sense of loss upon the community, and has snapped yet another of the links in the chain that binds many of us to old days. Ample witness to his manifold public activities was borne by that long procession of various public bodies that followed his mortal remains last Thursday. In years gone by he more than once held office as warden of this church, and his name was long among, those of the sidesmen. For myself, whose near neighbour he was, there were several occasions on which, in duties which fall to my lot outside the more immediate ones of parish rest, I received kindly help and advice own him. This is not the occasion nor the place where much need be said. You will have seen full notices and references in the Press, and many of you knew the late High-Bailiff very well, but we cannot pass over without notice such an event as the passing of the Chief Citizen of our town. To those who mourn his loss we extend our sympathy. He has gone from our midst, and his familiar presence will be greatly missed by the community, but the town will long cherish in kindly memory the name of High-Bailiff Cruickshank.
REFERENCE BY PEEL MAGISTRATES
Before commencement of the Magistrates' Court, at Peel, on Tuesday, August 29th, Mr T. C. S. Moore, J.P., said : I wish, for myself and my brother magistrates, and also, I believe, for all the Peel Justices, to express our sorrow at the death of our vice-chairman, Mr Cruickshank, High-Bailiff of Ramsey and Peel. Mr Cruickshank has been High-Bailiff of Peel for only a few years, but having known him as a fearless and able advocate in the courts, and as having earned the highest esteem for his conduct as High-Bailiff of Ramsey for many years. we in Peel felt that we had a magistrate in whose integrity and impartiality the utmost reliance could be placed. Our anticipations were fully borne out. In his discharge of his duties as High-Bailiff of Peel, Mr Cruickshank fully maintained his high reputation. To his brother magistrates he was always courteous. and most anxious to give them every assistance that lay in his power. We shall greatly miss him; and I would like further to say how deeply we sympathise with Mrs Cruickshank and her daughters in their loss.
Mr C. Morrison, J.P., the other magistrate on the bench, said he fully endorsed what Mr Moore had said.
" REFERENCES IN THE VACATION COURT.
Before commencing the business of the Vacation Court at Douglas, on September-18th, Deemster Callow made reference to the death of the late Mr James Murray Cruickshank, High-Bailiff of Ramsey, and one of the oldest and most distinguished members of the Manx. Bar. There was a good attendance of the Bar during the reference, and the members stood while the Deemster, also upstanding, spoke. The public also paid a similar respectful tribute.
Deemster Callow said: Gentlemen of the Bar,-Before I proceed with the business of the court, I should like to refer to the loss which the Bench, the Bar, and the whole Island has sustained by the death of the late High-Bailiff of Ramsey. The late Mr Cruickshank was one of the leading members of the Bar, and he had the greatest possible knowledge of Manx law. He was a brilliant advocate, and possessed a most charming personality. There has hardly ever been any case of any importance in recent years in which he did not lead on one side or the other, and the manner in which he put the case before the court evoked the admiration of both Bench and Bar; and, I am sure, succeeded in securing the satisfaction of his clients. He always knew exactly how to put a case before the court, and his intimate knowledge of the law and his careful marshalling of the facts in a very large number of cases secured a verdict for his clients. And one of the greatest reasons for his success was that he was perfectly honest with the judge and jury. He was always sure of his facts, for he was absolutely straight in everything he did. He never tried to take an unfair advantage, but always endeavoured to assist the court on questions of law and fact by his brilliant knowledge. He always placed the matter very fairly before the jury. and always secured the appreciation of the court, and in many cases, I am sure, this contributed largely to the success of his endeavours. Personally, I feel the loss greatly. He was one of my oldest friends. I had the pleasure of knowing him for something like fifty years. We were law students together, and I can safely say that no man in the Island was more appreciated by all who knew him than the late Mr Cruickshank. This is not the proper place to refer to what he did as High-Bailiff of Ramsey. I shall mention that in his own district; but I feel that the Island and the Manx Bar has lost a very brilliant ornament, and I am sure our heartfelt sympathy goes out to the bereaved wife and family but we trust that the knowledge of the appreciation and esteem in which he was held will do something to alleviate their sense of sorrow.
Mr Lay, senior member of the Bar present in court, said : On behalf of the members of the Bar, I wish to say that we associate ourselves entirely with the expressions which have been so ably and fittingly made by your Honour with reference to the death of our colleague. the late Mr Cruickshank. We members of the Douglas Bar have known him for many years, and I may say that a.mongiit us there is not one who did not admire him, and felt the greatest affection for him. He was kindness itself to us in all matters in which we came into contact with him; and I am sure we feel that in Mr Cruickshank we have lost a very sincere friend. He was straight, honourable, and upright in all his dealings, and no one could for one moment denv that he was the personification of uprightness, integrity. and straightforwardness. We all appreciated him very much whilst he was amongst us, and I am sure his loss will be very deeply and sincerely regretted.
Mother was Robina Tyre Paton, b. 1819, Largs, Ayr, Scotland
Also had a sister Eliza Jane Cruickshank bn abt 1843 in Liverpool who married John Crellin Goldsmith in Arbory in 1862.
Married Lily Elizabeth Tullock in 1877 at Maughold.