[From Manx Quarterly #20 1919]
At the completion of the business on the agenda at the Tynwald Court on Tuesday, December 17th, 1918.
The Governor said: I should like to ask the indulgence of the Court for a minute or two while I say something with regard to myself. I have resigned my appointment as Lieut.-Governor of the Isle of Man, and his Majesty has been pleased to accept the resignation. Of course, I need not say to anyone that to sever a connection which has lasted so long as mine, is at any time a very serious matter. But I have been led to do it for several reasons, which I will ask the Court to bear with me while I explain. I am no longer as young as I was, to begin with, and I have always had a great idea that people should not hang on to offices, more especially public offices, after they have lost the spring, or even a well-preserved middle age, which is all I can possibly lay claim to. Another reason is this: Besides being, as I said before, not so young as I was, I had three years ago a very serious illness so serious that at one time it was a. question of whether I should be able to return to the Island at all. Therefore I feel that, in view of the question of reconstruction, it seems to me most important to the Island that a younger man should undertake the task, and one who will continue and carry on the work while he still has a certain measure of youth remaining. I need hardly say how much I regret to sever this connection, and I should like to take this opportunity I may not perhaps have another of thanking the Court for the very great support and assistance it has always given me. I don't say that we have always thought the same way we have not; we should not be Britons if we had. The world would be a very dull place indeed if all people thought the same thing. But the Court, during the many years I have been here, has in the main always supported me, and I am particularly thankful to the members, one and all, for their very efficient assistance and support, and for the great loyalty and patriotism which they have shown all through these latter trying times. If the Island has come through the war with far less loss than at one time was thought possible, that has been due very largely to the magnificent loyalty of the Island, led by its Tynwald Court, which has accepted all the difficulties, all the trials, all the shortage of food, and all the other inconveniences that have been occasioned, and has in no case objected to anything which it saw was absolutely essential to the well-being of the community. I beg to thank you very much for all your kindness towards myself, and I assure you that I shall look back through the remainder of my life upon the many happy years which I spent in this Island, and the pleasant recollections of my sittings in this Court.
The Bishop said it was no exaggeration to say that his Excellency's statement must have come in the nature of a bomb-shell to the Court, as they were totally unprepared for what he could not better describe than as distressing news. The announcement would create the greatest concern in every homestead in the Island he would go further and say that it would be received with the most serious consternation throughout the Island. His Excellency for 16 years had held a position of great difficulty and great complexity as representative in the Island of his Majesty the King, and during that period they had all admired the justice and power with which he had guided the deliberations of the Tynwald Court, and the courtesy and kindliness which he had shown to all classes in the Island, and the way in which his Excellency and his gracious lady had discharged the social as well as the political duties of their high office.
The Attorney-General said that as one who had occupied a seat in the Council for a longer period than any other living member, and as one who in the Council had the grateful task of welcoming his Excellency when he took up the reins of office, he felt he could not allow the occasion to pass without giving expression to the profound feeling of regret with which every member of the Court had heard the unwelcome news. It was impossible at this juncture to attempt to speak with any justice of his Excellency's 16 years' devoted work to his King and this little Island a period comprising those momentous and eventful years when from our rulers was demanded a wisdom and courage for which there was no historical parallel. Mr Ring went on to speak of the skilful way in which his Excellency had held the rudder and had steered this little ship of state through that tempestuous period (hear, hear). He felt certain that the Court would at an early date seize the opportunity of placing upon record in a more formal way their appreciation of the devoted service which his Excellency had rendered to the Island, and their sense of the supreme loss which would be involved in his Excellency's retirement (hear, hear). Continuing, Mr Ring referred to the excellent relations which had existed between Lord and Lady Raglan and the people of the Island, and, concluding, he expressed the hope that him Excellency might have long life and good health to enjoy with Lady Raglan a well-earned rest (hear, hear).
The Speaker of the House of Keys said the suddenness of the announcement prevented the Court from referring to it as fully as they would have wished, but he need hardly say that every member of the House of keys endorsed most fully what had fallen from the Lord Bishop and the Attorney-General. They felt that nothing could be said that was too good or too kind to say with reference to his Excellency. The people of the Island had come to regard his Excellency not only as their Governor, but as their friend. His Excellency had never spared himself in any work that was for the good of the Island. Whatever might happen, they would all remember that Lord Raglan had steered the Island through four years of war, and that he had steered the little bark well was evident from the position the Island held today (hear, hear). He (the Speaker) thought he might take it upon himself to say that the people of the Island regarded his Excellency and Lady Raglan with loyalty and affection, and would always be ready to accord them a hearty welcome whenever they visited the Island (hear, hear).
Mr Teare and Mr Cowell also expressed the deep regret with which they had heard the announcement, and eulogised the great services which his Excellency had rendered the Island.
The Governor: I thank you; I can say no more my heart is very full. When one severs a connection which has lasted over such a long time, the only consolation I can have is the knowledge that at some time or other I must have gone, and to go now is no worse than to go at some other time. I said at the beginning of my speech that I am strongly, of opinion that those who arrive at a certain age should make way for younger and fresher minds and more strenuous bodies. I only trust the Court will realise how great a prosperity I wish the Island; its happiness and welfare will always be near my heart, however long I live (applause).
Before the commencement of the Chancery Court on December 18th, Deemster Callow, the presiding judge, said: Gentlemen of the Bar, Yesterday his Excellency announced in Tynwald that he had resigned his position of Lieut.-Governor. For 16 years his Excellency has been President of the High Court, and for nearly 14 years I have had a seat an the Bench, and can bear testimony to his Excellency's unfailing courtesy and his great abilities. He had a high opinion of the ability and fairness of the members of the Bar, and I know that he was honoured and esteemed by every member. When a Lieut.-Governor is laying down his office, we begin to weigh his character and attainments. His Excellency possessed a many-sided personality; he was a soldier who had served his country; a legislator who occupied the important position of Under-Secretary for War; and as an administrator, his sixteen years' service as Lieut.-Governor of this Isle speaks for itself. As a man, he was a lover of English literature, a deep student of history, and no mean antiquary. His restoration of Castle Rushen will remain a memorial to Lord Raglan for all time; but, above all, he possessed those wide sympathies and deep knowledge of character which enabled him to enter into the thoughts and feelings of those amongst whom he lived. In fact, it was difficult to realise that he was not himself a Manx man. He was beloved by every man and woman on the Island, and his loss will be felt in every house and cottage in the Tale of Man. His Excellency was a friend to every Manxman, and was honoured, esteemed, and loved by everyone, high or low. We can only hope that our loss may be his gain, and that the release from the anxiety and trouble of guiding the ship of state through the perilous times of the war may completely restore the health which has suffered from his devotion to duty. He will carry away the knowledge that every Manxman appreciates his devotion to duty, his wise administration, and his courtesy and kindness to us all.
Mr Ll. S. Kneale, speaking on behalf of the Bar, said that during the sixteen years that his Excellency had been head of the Judicial Bench, he had done his utmost to see that justice was impartially and fairly administered. The Bar hoped that the rest and quiet which would follow his retirement would restore his health.
MUNICIPAL ASSOCIATION. PRESENTATION TO LORD RAGLAN. The annual meeting of the Association was held at Douglas on Jan. 15th, when a presentation Nvas made to Lord Raglan of an illuminated-address contained in a handsome album. The album Also contained a number of black and white sketches by Mr J. T. Radcliffe.
Prior to the arrival of his Excellency, several members spoke of Lord Raglan's connections with the Local Authorities of the Island.
Mr T. H. Corkill (Ramsey) said amid conflicting counsels Lord Raglan had quietly and persistently worked for the welfare of the Island, and there was genuine regret at his departure.
Mr J. J. Qualtrough (Port St. Mary) referred to his Excellency's unfailing courtesy and kindness.
Alderman Corlett said Lord Raglan had had a difficult task. He came to the Island when it was under a cloud caused by the Bank failure, and when the Island had just recovered the war broke out. He hoped they would have from Lord Raglan's successor similar sympathetic consideration.
The Mayor of Douglas said they were indebted ,to Lord Raglan for bringing the Island through the war without food queues or ration cards. He also referred to Lady Raglan's work amongst the poor.
On Lord Raglan entering the Council Chamber he was greeted with hearty applause.
The President of the Association (Mr J. W. Walton, H.K.) presented the address, which was in the following terms:
Isle of Man Municipal Association.
To His Excellency the Right Hon. Lard Raglan, C.B., G.B.E., Lieutenant-Governor of the Isle of Man.
May it please your Excellency:
The Isle of Man Municipal Association tenders to your Excellency, on your retirement after 16 years service, its sincere thanks for, and appreciation of, the uniform courtesy grid kindness you have extended to the representatives of the Association on all occasions upon which they have approached your Excellency in connection with matters affecting the in-terests of the urban local authorities of the Island.
The Association gratefully recognizes the interest your Excellency and Lady Raglan have always taken in the Municipal life of the Island, and your untiring efforts in all under-takings having for their object the well-being of the people.
The members of the Association regret the severance of the happy relationships which have always existed with your Excellency and her Ladyship, and sincerely wish you a long and happy life.
Dated this 15th day of January, 1919,
J. Wg. Walton, President.
J. B. Gray, Vice-President.
A. Robertson, Secretary.
T. E. Moore, Treasurer.
The address was also signed by other members of the Association.
He asked Lord Raglan to accept this as a slight token of their esteem (applause). Lord Raglan, in reply, said he would value the address as a remembrance of the many very pleasant occasions on which he had interviewed members of the Association. He had always endeavoured to uphold the authority and increase the powers and usefulness of the different local bodies. They had come through trying times and were faced with great difficulties, but he felt sure, if the Local Authorities continued to act with the same zeal and exercised the same prudent and carefulness as hitherto, no doubt the Island would conquer all its difficulties. Probably a great many nostrums would be hurled at their heads, but most of them would prove to be quack. This was not the moment for running after curiosities. He thanked the Association for its kindness.
PRESENTATION TO LORD AND LADY RAGLAN.
It was very fitting that tangible recognition of the great interest taken by Lord and Lady Raglan in the work of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, and particularly in that of the Isle of Man branches of the Institution, during his Lordship's term of office as Governor of the Island. should take place upon what the Institution must regard as historic ground. Recognition took the form of the presentation of an illuminated copy of the thanks of the Committee of Management of the Institution recorded on January 10th to Lord Raglan, and of the Institution's gold lifeboat brooch to Lady Raglan. The presentations were made on Thursday, January 23rd, at Fort Anne Hotel, formerly the residence of Sir William Hilary, Bart, the founder of the Institution. There was a large gathering on the occasion. The Vicar-General (Mr C. T. W. Hughes-Games), who is chairman of the Douglas branch, presided, and among those present were ladies and gentlemen representative of the Douglas, Ramsey, Peel, Castletown, Port St. Mary and Port Erin branches. It was expected that Sir Godfrey Baring. deputy-chairman of the Institution. would have presided and made the presentations. but owing to illness in his family Sir Godfrey was at the last moment prevented from crossing to the Island. Mr Edgar H. John prefaced the ceremony by giving a very interesting account of the history and work of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, making especial reference to Sir William Hilary's association' with the Society and to the services rendered be the Institution's lifeboats stationed on the Manx coast. The Douglas lifeboat had, since it was stationed at Douglas in 1824, been instrumental in saving 100 lives; the Ramsey boat had since 1824 saved 400 lives; the Castletown boat since 1856 lead saved 108 lives; the Port St. Mary boat since 1896 had saved 55 lives; the Port Erin boat since 1883 had saved 27 lives; and the Peel boat since 1828 had saved 90 lives. Mr Johnson, in announcing the Institution's decision to make the presentations to Lord and Lady Raglan, spoke in eulogistic terms of the splendid services which their Excellencies had rendered the Institution. Mr Johnson said the brooch was regarded as the blue ribbon of the Institution, and so far had only been conferred upon four ladies. The Chairman handed the address to Lord Raglan and the brooch to Lady Raglan, accompanying the gifts with graceful expression of the Institution's appreciation. Deemster Callow then moved, and the High-Bailiff of Ramsey and Peel seconded, a resolution expressive of the high appreciation in which the Manx branobes regarded the services of Lord and Lady Raglan, and the resolution was agreed to with acclamation. Lord and Lady Raglan both acknowledged in warm terms the presentations and the resolution, and spoke highly of the work of the Institution. Lieut. McLean, the Institution's district inspector, in the course of a brief speech, announced that the Institution had in contemplation the provision of motor lifeboats for Douglas, Ramsey, and Port Erin. A general discussion then took place as to the best means of increasing financial aid to the Institution. As an outcome, Sir Hall Caine, who was present at the gathering, handed in a cheque for £5 5s, while Lady Raglan presented a golden sovereign, which was put up to competition, and was purchased by Mr J. Cunningham, H.B., for £3.