[From Manx Quarterly #20 1919]

The Manx Language



Many of your older readers will remember the effort that was made some forty years ago to revive the Manx language. Meetings were held. in Douglas and Peel in furtherance of the movement, at which readings were given by Manx speakers, and Manx music was performed by a band. Lessons, in Manx were also given in Douglas by Capt. Christian, of Baldromma, who had sheets printed on the same lines as the Primer compiled in 1818 by the Rev Hugh Stowell, of Ballaugh, and entitled " Yn chied koar Ghailckagh." The effort thus made to keep alive the old language met with little encouragement, and as time went on Manx fell more and more into disuse. To save it from complete annihilation, the lovers of the mother tongue renewed their efforts in a practical way by the formation, in 1899, "Yn Cheshaght Ghailckagh," which although a small society, has done good service to the cause. Notwithstanding the strain and personal demands of the present time, a few members are able still to devote so of their leisure hours to it, and winter classes were held in Douglas and elsewhere. The following account of the Douglas meeting held in 1872, above referred to, may be of interest to those who love the old tongue. It comprises the programme of the meeting, the speech of the chairman, the Rev T. Caine, Vicar of Lonan, and an interesting letter from the Rev J. T. Clarke, formerly of St Mark's, whose enthusiasm in the Manx language is remembered.


Streatham, S.W.


Er yn nuyoo daa yeig jeh'n nah vee.
Goailt toshiaght ec shiaght er y clag 'syn astyr.
The proceeds to be given to charitable purposes.

Quine's Quadrille Band have kindly offered their services for the occasion.

Band — Manx air.
Mainshtyr Harry Cubbon, Laxey — Screeuyn voish Saggyrt J. T. Clarke, Swansea.
Mr Illiam Quilliam, Ball-ny-hinshey — Pargys Caillit.
Band — Cronk-keeilleoin.
Mr Harry Cubbon — Screeuyn voish Saggyrt Thomas Brown, M.A., Clifton College, Clifton.
Mr Juan Quirk, Skeerey Pherick — Arrane baatyn Ghoolish.
Band — Ree Gorrey.
Mr Harry Callister, Skeerey Pherick — Thurot as Elliott.
Mr Richard Quayle, Skeerey Pherick — Pingyn yn Ommidan.
Band — Sharry Willey.
Mr Harry Quilliam, Ball-ny-hinshey — Privateer. Juan Clucaish, Lunnin-veg, as Mrs Coole — Illiam as Ysbal.
Band — Choolin foo Chee.
Yn ven-aeg Mary Gawne, Ball-ny-hinshey, as Mrs Sayle, Doolish — Aarey Yacob.
Band — Bollan-bane.
Mr James Cowin, Doolish — Yn Jeirkagh Meshtyllagh.
Mr Thomas Clucaish, Skeerey Pherick — Scriptyr.
Band — Ny Kirree fo Sniaghtey.
Mr Philip Cain, Baldwin — Ny Kirree fo Sniaghtey.
Mr Illiam Quilliam, Ball-ny-hinshey — Arrane er Inneenyn.
Band — Inn y Gaghey.
Mr Harry. Quilliam, Ball-ny-hinshey — Mannin veg veen
Mr uan. Clucaish, Lunnin-veg — Scriptyr.
Mr Harry Callister, Skeerey Pherick — Arrane ny Ferrishyn.
Band — Mylecharaine.
Mr James Cannell, Ball-ny-hinshey — Mylecharaine.

Yn Ven-Rein, yn Band as y pobble.

Sggyrt Caine, Skeerey Lonan, dy ghoaill yn stoyl-drommey.

Prentit as currit-magh liorish Juan Christian Fargher, ec yn Herald.

Prentit ayns y Straid Atholl, Doolish,
Ellan Vannin.


On the nineteenth day of the second month [February, 1872].
Commencing at seven o'clock in the evening.
The proceeds to be given to charitable purposes.

Quine's Quadrille Band have kindly offered their services for the occasion.

Band — Manx air.
Mr Harry Cubbon, Laxey — Letter from the Rev J. T. Clarke, Swansea.
Mr William Quilliam, Peel — Paradise Lost.
Band — Tynwald.
Mr Harry Cubbon — Letter from the Rev Thomas Brown, M.A., Clifton College, Clifton.
Mr John Quirk, Patrick — Douglas Boat Song.
Band — King Orrey.
Mr Harry Callister, Patrick — Thurot and Elliott.
Mr Richard Quayie, Patrick — The Fool's Pence.
Band — Sharry Willey.
Mr Harry Quilliam, Peel — Privateer.
Mr John Clucas, Little London, and Mrs Coole — William and Isabel.
Band — Choolin foo Chee.
Miss Mary Gawne, Peel, and Mrs Sayle, Douglas — Jacob's Ladder.
Band — White-wort.*
Mr James Cowin, Douglas — The Drunken Beggar.
Mr Thomas Clucas, Patrick — Scripture.
Band — The Sheep under the Snow.
Mr Philip Caine, Baldwin — The Sheep under the Snow.
Mr William Quilliam, Peel — Song on Daughters.
Band — Inn y Gaghey.
Mr Harry Quilliam, Peel — Dear Little Isle of Man.
Mr John Clucas, Little London — Scripture.
Mr Harry Callister, Patrick — Song of the Fairies.
Band — Mylecharaine.
Mr James Cannell, Peel — Mylecharain.

The Queen, the Band and the people.$

Parson Caine, Parish of Lonan, to take the, chair.

Printed and published by John Christian Fargher, at the Herald [Office].

Printed in Athol Street, Douglas, Isle of Man.


* " Mugwort," a fairy tune.
+ Perhaps the "Song on Farmers' Daughters."
$ Probably the National Anthem with the audience joining in.

Note. — The "Privateer" may be the ballad known as " Marrinys yn Tiger," " The Voyage of the Tiger "; and the " Arrane baatyn Ghoolish " may be the " Coayl job ny Boatyn-skeddan," " The Loss of the Herring Fleet "; " Arrane er Innenyn " probably " Inneenyn Eirinee," " The Song on Farmers' Daughters." The meanings of " Sharry Willey " and " Inn y Gaghey " and "Choolin foo Chee" are unknown.



My chaarjyn as gheiney cheerey, cha row mee rieau er-yerkal dy akin lheid yn chaglym mooar as t'syns shoh nyoie noght, or jeet dy cheilley dy chlashtyn arraneyn as co-loayrtys Ghailckagh as myrgeddyn Goo Yee er ny lhaih ayns chengey ny mayrey Ellan Vannin. Te boggoil dy akin lheid y shilley. Ta prowal dy vel ny Manninee bwooiagh clashtyn glare nyn chenn-ayraghyn. Va'n traa, as cha vel eh foddey er-dy-henney, te shen cheu-sthie jeh three feed blein, tra va feer veg dy Vaarle loayrit ayns yn Ellan shoh cheu-mooie jeh ny baljyn-mergee, as va'n Goo er ny phreacheil ayns Gailck ayns ny kialteeuyn skeerey ghaa ny three dy ghooneeyn 'syn vee. Roish va ny Scriptyryn er ny chaghlaa gys Gailck va ny saggyrtyn lhaih yn shirveish ny keeillagh veih yn Vaarle ayns Gailck myr v'ad jannoo yn shirveish. Tra va ny Scriptyryn hoshiaght chyndaait gys Gailck va ayrn y pheesh currit da dagh saggyrt dy yannoo, as tra va'n obbyr oc jeant v'ad pryntit ayns three ayrnyn. Va'n Chenn Chonaant ayns daa ayrn as y Conaant Noa, eh hene, as tra haink yn ayrn s'jerree va pryntit gys Aspick Hildesley, yiow eh lheid y boggey jeh, ga nagh row eh hene toiggal eh, dy dooyrt eh " Hiarn nish t'ou cur kied da dty harvaant paartail ayns shee cordail rish dty ghoo, son ta my hooillyn er vakin dty haualtrys" (Luke ii. 29). Va shoh Jesarm ; daa laa lurg shen v'eh bwoailt leh palsy myr shen nagh loayr eh arragh, as shiaghtin lurg shen phaart eh. Te red feer yindyssagh nagh vel yn Ghailck goll-rish yn Vaarle, son fer erbee ta toiggal as loayrt yn Ghailck mie t'eh toiggal dy chooilley ockle jeh. As eer ny Scriptyryn t'ad ayns ymmodee boaylyn cur bun ny toiggal or y Vaarle. Cha vel feme ocsyn dy chlashtyn eh er lioar-fockleyr ny dictionary ve lioroo dy gheddyn meanal ymmodee jeh ny fockleyn ta loayrit. Er laa yn kingeesh va'n gioot dy hengaghyn currit da ny Ostyllyn, yn chied phreachooryn e Ghoo, dy voddagh ad fockley-magh yn naightyn mie dy Haualtys dauesyn ooilley v'ec Jerusalem ec y traa shen, son va sleih ec Jerusalem ec y traa shen veih dy chooilley ayrn. Haink aggle yindyssagh orroo ooilley tra cheayll ad ny Ostyllyn loayrt dy chooilley ghooinney ayns glare e gheoie hene. Harragh ad shoh thie gys yn cheer ec hene as ginsh da nyn gheiney cheerey ny reddyn yindyssagh v'ad ny chlashtyn, myr shen va ny naightyn mie dy haualtys er ny skeayley (Jannoo ny Hostyllyn ii. 1; 1. Corinthianee xiv. 1-16). Kyndagh rish ny ymmodee joarreeyn ta cheet dy Mannin cooinaghtyn jeh nagh jig eh ooiiley-chooidjagh sheese? Ve cliaghtey ve grait ayns Mannin tra va fer erbee goll gys Balla-ny-hinjey dy chummal, " t'eh cur seose yn seihll as gell gys Purt-ny-hinjey," agh cha vel eh myr shen nish, son ta deiney Purt-ny-hinjey soiaghey sampleyr rein veagh eh mie dooin geiyrt er, ta shen dy reayll seose yn ghlare ain hene, glare nyn chenn-ayraghyn. Ta ny Bretnee freayll soose yn ghlare oc hene ayns aght yindyssagh, myr shen dy vel ad clashtyn yn Goo er ny phreacheil dy chooilley Ghoonaght ny feer vennick, as shegin daue geddyn Aspickyn ta toiggal as loayrt ayns yn ghlare oc hene. Cha vel monney ayns yn ellan shoh nagh vel toiggal Baarle ga nagh vel ad taggloo eh feer vie, agh bare lhieu shoh clashtyn yn Goo er ny phreacheil ayns Gailck na ayns Baarle son t'ad toiggal dy chooilley ockle jeh. Te paart 'sy Skeerey aym hene share lhieu mee dy haggloo roo as dy phrayll maroo ayns Gailck na ayns Baarle Vees eh mie oddys mayd aa-vioghey yn chenn ghlare. Te smooinnit dy vel daa cheead ghlare ny ny smoo 'sy theihll, myr en dy vel adsyn dy currit magh dy reacheil yn Sushtal da ny Ashoonee-quaagh gynsagh glare vn sleih huc t'ad goll as chyndaa ny Scriptyryn ayns yn ghlare shen dy vod ad clashtyn as lhaih yn Goo 'sy glare oc hene. Va shirveish Ghailckagh cliaghtey ve freaylt ayns yn chenn cheeill 'sy valley shoh as veagh eh lane sleih dy chooilley cheayrt ve foshlit son yn chirveish shoh. Ta mee clashtyn dy vel shirveish Ghailckagh freaylt foast ayns Cabbal Wesley 'sy valley shoh. Tra hie Saggyrt Brown gys Skeerey Vraddan ga dy row eh reie dy mie ayns eash ec y traa shen, dynsee eh Gailck, as ayns traa gerrid v'eh abyl lhaih as preacheil ayns chengey ny mayrey Ellan Vannin. As ny sodjey v'eh goll er ny smoo dy haitnys v'eh goaill ayn as ny smoo dy aalid v'eh fakin ayn. Ga dy row eh toiggal Hebrew, Greek as Latin va'n Ghailck jeh ny smoo dy ymmyd dausyn v'eh preacheil daue, son va'n toiggal eh. Cha jean eh mie dou goaill seose veg smoo jeh traa yn meeiteil son ta sheshaght vooar cheet geiyr orrym dy lhaih as dy ghoaill arraneyn as dy yannoo kiaulleeaght.

My friends and countrymen, I never expected to see such a large gathering as there is here to-night, come together to hear Manx songs and conversation, and also the Word of God read in the mother tongue of the Isle of Man. It is joyous to see such a sight. It is a proof that the Manxmen are pleased to hear the language of their forefathers. There was a time, and it is not long since, that is within three score years, when there was very little English spoken in this Island outside of the market towns, and the Word was preached in Manx in the parish churches two or three Sundays in the month. Before the Scriptures were translated into Manx, the parsons read the church service from the English into Manx as they were conducting the service. When the Scriptures were first translated into Manx, a portion apiece was given to each parson to do, and their work when done was printed in three volumes. The Old Testament was in two volumes, and the New Testament by itself, and when the last part which was printed came to Bishop Hildesley, he rejoiced so much at it, though he did not himself understand it, that he said: " Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation" (Luke ii. 29). This was on Saturday; two days afterwards he was struck with palsy, so that he never spoke again, and a week afterwards he died. It is a very wonderful thing that Manx is not like English, for everyone that knows and speaks Manx well understands every word of it. And even the Scriptures in many places give the meaning more intelligibly than in the English. They who hear it have no need of a vocabulary or dictionary by them. to find the meaning of many of the words that are spoken. On the day of Pentecost the gift of tongues was given to the Apostles, the first preachers of His Word, that they might publish the good news of Salvation to all those who were at Jerusalem at that time, for there were people at Jerusalem at that time from every part. A wondrous awe came upon them when they heard the Apostles speak, every man in his own tongue. These went home to their own land and told their countrymen the wonderful things they had hoard; thus was the good news of Salvation spread (Acts of the Apostles, ii. 1; I. Corinthians, xiv. 1-16). On account o¢f the mny strangers who come to the Isle of Man, will not the memory of it [the Manx (?)] dwindle? It was the custom to say in Man, when anyone was going to Peel to live, "He is giving up the world and going to Peel"; but it is not like that now, for the men of Peel are setting an example to us which it would be well for us to follow, that is to keep up our own language, the language of our forefathers. The Welsh keep up their own language in a wonderful way, so that they hear the Word preached every Sunday, or very often, and they must have bishops that know and speak in their own language. There are not many in this Isle who do not understand English, even though they do not converse in it very well, but they would rather hear the word preached in Manx than in English, for they understand every word of it. There are some in my own parish who would rather that I talked with them and prayed with them in Manx than in English. It would be well if we could revive the old tongue. It is thought that there are two hundred languages or more in the world, so that those that are sent forth to preach the Gospel to the heathen learn the language of the people to whom they go, and translate the Scriptures into that language that they may hear and road the Word in their own tongue. A Manx service used to be held in the old church in this town, and it was full of people every time it was opened for this service. I hear that a Manx service is still held in the Wesleyan Chapel of this town. When Parson Brown went to the parish of Braddan, though he was well advanced in age at that time, he learned Manx, and in a short time he was able to read and preach in the mother tongue of the Isle of Man. And the farther he went in it the more pleasure he took in it, and the greater beauty he saw in it. Though he understood Hebrew, Greek and Latin, Manx was of the most use to those be was preaching to, for they understood it. I would not do well to take up any more of the time of the meeting, for there is a great company coming after me to read and sing and play music.



Read at Yn Lhaih Gailckagh at Douglas, February 19th, 1872.

My ghooinney cheerey, te jannoo lane taitnys da my chree (ga bunnys three keead veeilley jeh) dy chlashtyn dy vel Manninee feiy-yerrey, ga yn laa lurg y vargey, doostey seose ass nyn merriud-haveenagh dy hauail chengey ny mayrey veih ve ooilley-cooidjagh oanluckit 'syn oaie. Ga dy vel eh roie dy tappee gour-y-vullee goll-rish ny banglaneyn elley jeh'n chenn ghlare-ghooie, va keayrt dy row gurneil un tress ayrn jeh'n Rank, ny-yei cha vel eh yindys erbee, dy vel ad ooilley goll sheesh ny lhargey, agh er-lheh yu Ghailck Vanninagh son te cha beg dy chummaltee 'syn Ellen. Ta Jee er choyrt wheesh dy cheeayl da dooinney nish, dy vel eh gimman ny greinyn-aileagh t'eh jannoo eer er famman ny geayee, as ta wheesh dy schlei currit da dy vel eh er n' yannoo mollagyn-aeragh dy chur lhieu seose eh dys ny bodjallyn. Ta siyn-hiaullee echey myrgeddyn dy gholl veih cheer dy heer, eer noi sooill-ny-geayee, tidaghyn ny marrey as gaalyn yu eer. Eer er grunt y cheayn-vooar hene ta saase ec dooinney dy chur chyrrys veih un ayrn jeh'n seihll dye ayrn elley lesh vieauid yn tendreil. Shen-y-fa ta sleih ny cruinney mestit fud-y-cheilley wheesh shen smoo na v'ad rieau roie dy re yn ghlare s'cadjin te 'sy theihll vees y ghlare smoo ymmyd vees jeant j'ee. She shoh yn oyr son y chooid smoo dy vel yn Ghailck Vanninagh ain er gholl kione-ny-lhie cha tappee. Ta Mannin nish jeant myr dy beagh ee ayrn jeh Sestyn read ta'n Vaarle glare chadjin y theay. Ayns Sostyn er-y-fa shen chs vel yn Ghailck dys ymmyd erbee. Myr shoh ta'n Vaarle goaill yn reiltys as yn reiltys vees ec. Ta'n oyr feer vaghtal. Ta dellal Vannin currit lesh cheu-sthie jeh queig ny shey dy ooryn dye margaghyn Hostyn, as dy ghellal ayndoo shen she Baarle as Baarle ynricky n sheign ve oc. Ta sleih-aegey Vannin myrgeddyn chammah as yn chenn-diaght troilt veih boayl dy voayl er-feiy-ny-cruinney, paart dys yu aill, paart dys keird, as paart elley goll er-shiaulley foddey job dy hagglym cooid as cowreyn gour y laa-fliaghee. Son y cooid smoo she Baarle t'ad loayrt as ayns Baarle t'ad dellal . Fakin shoh ro-laue eisht ta sleih coontey beg jeh'n ghlare ghooie oc-hene, ec y traa cheddin oddagh Gailck ve oc chammah as y Vaarle, fegooish yn derrey yeh cheet ayns raad y jeh elley. Ta yn fardailys smoo 'sy theihll dy chredjal dy jinnagh tushtey jeh taggloo as lhaih yn Ghailck dy bragh cheet 'sy raad oc ayns gynsagh y Vaarle. Cha daink shoh my raad's ayns gynsagh yn Vaarle. Ec jeih bleeaney dy eash va mee abyl dy loayrt dy floail ayns Gailck rish cotlaryn my yishag nagh. row Baarle erbee oc, as roish va mee feed blein dy eash va ymmeddee lioraryn veggey Vaarlagh chyndaait aym jys Gailck as er nyn gloughey son ymmyd y theay. Nish lash ooilley'n obbyr shoh ayns Gailck cha row eh rieau ayns my raad eddyr ayns loayrt ny lhaih y Vaarle Agh ta ard-reiltee Ellan Vannin noi yn Ghailck ; ta shirveishee yn Goo jeh dy chooilley chredjue noi ec; ta briwnyn as leighderyn noi ec; as ta'n aegid troggit seose nish ny s'mee-hushtey jeh chengey-ny-marrey na masse dy vagheragh cliagh-tey ve. Ayns traa Aspick Wilson as Aspick Mark [Hildesley] cha voddagh dooinney aeg erbee gheddyn stiagh ayns oik y taggyrtys fegooish Gailck vie echey. Tra va kiare-as-feed ny gharrane reill roish nish, she Gailck ooilley v'oc. As ayns yn Vriw Lace as yn Vriw Crellin cha b'loys da turneyr erbee cheat kiongoyrt roo nagh voddagh argane eh ayns Gailck. Ta cooinaghtyn aym-pene ayns laghyn my aegid dy re ayns Gailck va shin ooilley loayrt rish nyn gabbil as nyn ollagh. Eer moddee hene mannagh loayragh shin roo ayns Gailck, cha jinnagh ad cloh dooin, agh jeeaghyn mygeayrt-y-moo goaill yn yindys smoo 'sy theihll c'red va shin laccal ad dy yannoo dooin. Cha row ny moddee voghtey hene toiggal Baarle, son she Gailck ooilley v'oc, as cha row ad goaill nearey j'ee noadyr! Cha nhimmey blein er dy henney neayr's verr mee er shenn ghooinney 'sy raad vooar geiyrt roish lieh ghuasan dy vooaghyn vluight roish y vagher raad v'ad or ve gyndyr dy chur stiagh ad 'sy thie-ollee. Va injeig veg choon combaasal yn vwaane. Cha leah's hooar ny booaghyn stiagh ayns shen lesh ny muilg lane hie ad dy ghleck rycheilley chouds va'n chenn ghooinney fosley yn dorrys dy gheddyn stiagh ad Cha leah as haink, eh magh, ghow eh ny vud oc ayns farg eulys, bunnys brishey ny asnaghyn ayndoo lesh y vad v'echey ny laue, gyllagh ny onmyn oc ayns Gailck my va'd broo ry-cheilley lesh nyn eirkyn, as gra, "Ghonnag! y veeaitaig dyn nearey myr t'ou, gow stiagh dys dty eishtyr as gow fea.

[rest tba]

My fellow countryman., it delights my heart (though nearly three hundred miles away) to hear that at last Manxmen, although the day after the fair, are waking up out of their lethargy to save the mother tongue from being altogether buried in the grave. Though it is rapidly hastening to its end, like the other branches of the old native tongue, it once held sway over the third part of France, nevertheless it is no wonder that they are all going down-hill, but especially the Manx Gaelic, for there are so few inhabitants of the Island. God has given so much wisdom to man nowadays that he drives the steam engines [fiery engines] he makes even on the tail of the wind, and has given him so much skill that he has made balloons to take him up to the clouds. He has vessels also to go from country to country, even against the eye of the wind, the tides of the sea and the gales of heaven. Even on the bottom of the ocean itself man has means to send a message from one part of the world to another with the speed of lightning. Therefore the people of the world are mixed together much more than they ever were before, so that the most common language in the world will be that of which the most use will be made. This is the reason, for the most part, why our Manx Gaelic has declined so rapidly. The Isle of Man is now become as it were a part of England, where English is the common language of the people. In England, therefore, Manx is of no use at all. Thus the English takes the rule, and the rule she will have. The reason is very plain. The trade of the Island is brought within five or six hours to the markets of England, and to trade there English, and English only, they must have, Young people of the Isle of Man also, as well as the old, travel from place to place throughout the world, some to service, some to business, and others go sailing far off to amass goods and wealth against a rainy day. For the most part it is English they speak, and in English they trade. Foreseeing this then, people despise their native tongue, yet they could have both Manx as well as English, without the one coming in the way of the other. It is the greatest mistake in the world to believe that the knowledge of talking and reading Manx would ever come in their way in learning English. This never came in my way in learning English. At ten years of age I was able to speak fluently in Manx to my father's tenants, who had no English at all, and before I was twenty years of age I had translated many little English books into Manx and printed [them] for the use of the people. Now with all this work in Manx, it was never in my way either in speaking or reading English. But the rulers of the Isle of Man are opposed to the Manx; the ministers of the Word of every faith are against it; judges and lawyers are against it; and the youth are now brought up more ignorant of the mother-tongue than the beasts of the field used to be. In the time of Bishop Wilson and Bishop Mark [Hildesley], no one could enter the office of the priesthood unless he had good Manx. When the twenty-four carrane* [keys] ruled [the land] formerly they all had Manx. And in the time of Deemster Lace and Deemster Crellin [d.1816] no advocate dared come before them unless he could plead in Manx. I myself remember in the days of my youth that it was in Manx that we all spoke to our horses and cattle. Even the dogs themselves, unless we spoke to them in Manx, would not herd for us, but would look around them wondering what in the world we were wanting them to do. The poor dogs themselves were not understanding English, for they all had Manx, and they were not ashamed of it either! Not many years since, I overtook an old man in the high-road driving half-a-dozen milch cows from the field where they had been grazing, to put them into the cow-house. There was a little narrow paddock surrounding the shed. As soon as the cows got in there with their bellies full, they began to jostle each other whilst the old man was opening the door to let them in. As soon as he came out he set on to them in a rage, almost breaking their ribs with the stick that was in his hand, shouting their names in Manx, as they were butting each other with their horns, and saying: " Donnag !2 shameless hussy that thou art, go into thy halter and be quiet. Briggan!3 unless you give over at once I will break the bones in thee, the dirty thing that thou art! In with thee, I tell thee. Dooag ! 4 bold thing, give up; give up" ; and he threw his stick at her. It struck her on the horns, and she fell down on her knees. I thought sure enough that her horns were broken. At last by shouting and beating he got them all into their tethers, and there was peace.

My old man," said I to him, " thy cattle have been well taught in Manx." " Poor Manx on them!"" said he "when their bellies are full, and they go in, their jostling and pranks are enough to provoke Job himself if he were amongst them. But I have given their bones a good cracking, and let them take that for their supper." So you see that even the beasts of the field in old times knew Manx better than most people do now. " Let it go," say they, " of what value is it to us now? We cannot trade in it in England or scarcely anywhere else. It is therefore of no use to the Island nowadays. Let it go where it will."

But there are about a thousand Manxmen in a part of America called Cleveland, who would not say this: " Let it go where it will." It is Manx that they all have at their gatherings, in their everyday business, in promulgating the Word of God to the people, and in almost everything else. At the same time there are no people around them who have better English than they have. Two of them were at my house a good many years ago. One of them was born in America, though of Manx father and mother. He was educated for a lawyer. The other man was sister's son to myself, who went away in his youth to America, and when he left the Island he knew nothing but English. They made me wonder to hear the good Manx they had, and it did no harm to their English. They had two languages in the place of one. I have one other thing that I will tell you about, and I will bring my remarks to an end. About three and twenty years ago, I went one day to see the Calf with an old friend who came to see me from London. When we reached the top of the Howe, there was a place where at some time the rocks had been cleft and torn asunder in a very wonderful way by a great earthquake. The place is called the Chasms. There were several small boys there of ten or twelve years of age, pulling ling for fuel. I asked the biggest of them in English whore the Chasms were. They looked at me and coloured up in the face, but I got not one word of answer. I asked again of the biggest boy, in English, because of the stranger who was with me, " had they lost their tongues in the ling?" I was no wiser than I was before. The boys opened their mouths like an old skate on a hook, and one would think that their eyes swelled in their sockets with wonder. I thought at once of Manx, and I asked them why they did not answer me when I spoke to them in English.. As soon as they heard the Manx you would think that a new spirit was infused into them, for they hopped, skipped and jumped, contending among therfiselves who would be first to show us the place. At last, before we left them, I asked them if there were a schoolhouse in their neighbourhood to teach English. " Oh, there was," they said, " but we have no time to go to it. There is one little boy over there who goes, and he has the English, but he knows Manx well." When I was going to leave them, the eldest of them looked very merrily up in my face, and with very roguoish eyes asked me why I didn't speak to them first of all in Manx; but before I had time to answer him, he said to those about him with much wonder, " But who would imagine there would be Manx at a white oollar?" I fully believe, Dawson*, there are scores yet in our Island here and there, both of the young and of the old, who cannot read the Word of God either in English or Manx. Now, though the Manx is almost out of use (and it will come one of these days), surely we all believe that everyone ought to be taught to read the Word of God in that language that is best known to them. I very well know that those who have been roared from the cradle in Manx, as it were, learn to read in Manx in a quarter the time they would learn the English, because every word they are learning to read they know beforehand. This is the only advan-tage, so far as I can judge, which would arise from teaching all those who have no school in the Island to read the Word of God in the mother-tongue, that it would lead to the salvation of their souls. I: am not advising you to accept anything which I have not myself gone through and proved. Before I was twenty years of age I had two Manx schools in the parish of Jurby, and a hundred and fifty scholars in them. Some of them had grandchildren. Though for the most part they had not much schooling before, nevertheless some of them could read English very well. But it is wonderful what pleasure old and young took in learning to read the Manx, and it came to them almost immediately, because they understood every word which they were taught. Many of them went afterwards to America, taking their Manx knowledge with them, which remains amongst them to this day. Many of them also, who remained at home, acknowledged on their death-beds that it was the pleasure they took in reading the Manx that led them every day to read some part or other of the Word of God and at last led them to Christ our Saviour for forgiveness of sins and a lively faith in His name. There were some of them when their souls flew home to God at whose, side that holy book in which they took so much pleasure in reading in their native tongue was found lying by their side when the spirit had fled. Therefore, if you have a heartfelt desire to teach people to read the Word of God in Manx, a language.which they were accustomed to understand much better than English; if it is in order to draw people to a know-ledge of God through Christ that you wish to revive the Manx that is very speedily vanishing, what more can I say to you than I have said but this: " Good luck to you. Ride on because of the word of truth, of meekness, and of righteousness, and may God give thee His blessing."


February 16th, 1872.


1 Carrane-an untanned hide sandal, used here as a type of as old Manx farmer.

2 Died 1816

3 Brown cow.

4 Spotted cow. li Black cow.

5 A mild imprecation.

6 John Dawson, of Peel, to whom this letter was addressed,


Back index next


Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received MNB Editor
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2003