[From Manx Quarterly, #28 1922]
Founded in 1899 by the Speaker Moore, C.V.O.
22nd ANNUAL MEETING held in the Town Hall, Douglas, on Hollantide Day, 1921.
The 22nd annual meeting of the Manx Society was held in the Town Hall, Douglas, on Hollantide Day, November 12th. In the unavoidable absence of the President (Mr H. Percy Kelly, B.A.), Mr P. W. Caine was voted to the chair, and there were also present: Mrs and Miss Lewin, Mrs and Miss Cawell, Mrs Butterworth, Mrs Hood, Mrs Watterson, Mrs Corkill, Miss M. Morrison, Miss L. Joughin, the Revs. J. Q. Callister and D. N. Henehy, Mess G. F. Clucas, S.H.K., W. Clucas Gelling J. J. Kneen, S. T. Gelling, W. S. Quilliam, R. Cowell (Omaha, U.S.A.), J. J. Joughin, J. H. Butterworth, W. H. Bell, G. H. Newly, the secretary (Miss Mona Douglas), and the treasurer (Mr W. Cubbon). Apologies were received from the Ven. Archdeacon. Mr J. L. Goldie-Taubman, M.L.C., and the Rev. W. Cooke.
The secretary read the annual report, as follows:-
The past year has been an eventful one in the history of Yn Cheahaght Ghailekagh, for in Tynwald week of this year Ellan Vannin had the honour and pleasure of welcoming to her shores the representatives of the various Celtic nations who form the association known as the Celtic Union, which holds an annual Congress in one or other of this countries generally referred to as " Celtic." This year is the first occasion on which the Celtic Congress has been held in our Island. An invitation to visit the Isle of Man this year was given to the Edinburgh Congress of 1920 by the Manx delegation attending there, and this invitation was immediately accepted by the Congress Executive, who make it a strong part of their programme to give all the support possible to the efforts of the smaller Celtic nations towards the preservation of their national heritage in folklore, folk-music dances, antiquities and, above all, language and the expression and development their individual outlook on life through the medium of modern art, music, literature and drama. A good deal of interest and even enthusiasm was aroused throughout the Island regarding the visit of Congress, and a warm welcome was given to the delegates. There were about 14 days of pleasant and interesting meetings lectures, plays, concerts, and excursions, all of which were thoroughly enjoyed by those who attended, and which, we believe, will tend to a better understanding of and greater sympathy with the work and objects of our own little society among Manx folk in general. We trust that when members of the Congress next visit the Island they will find a wider and deeper interest in all things Manx and Celtic among Manx people than obtains to-day.
Sincere thanks are due to the many kind people throughout the Island, in public positions and otherwise, who gave their ready help to the society in its efforts to receive the Congress in a manner worthy of Manx hospitality, and especially to his Excellency the Lieut.-Governor and Lady Fry for their kind patronage and interest right through the time of preparation and the period of the Congress itself. It was through the kindness of his Excellency, too, that the delegates were enabled to have special facilities for witnessing the Tynwald ceremony.
Turning from the Congress to the more ordinary work of the society, it is satisfactory to be able to report considerable activity. Classes for the study of the language were held during the year in Douglas and Peel, and these are starting again this winter. The Peel class continued meeting well into the summer, and has reached sufficient proportions to organise itself into a special body known as the Peel Manx Language Class. It also held a very successful Manx service in St. Peter's Church, Peel, early in the year. We extend our congratulations to the Peel friends, and trust they will " go ahead." It is a matter for regret that owing to the enforced absence of the usual organiser, the Port St. Mary class did not meet during last winter; but we hope to remedy that defect this year, and reform that class under Mr Kelly's capable instruction.
The Ballasalla Players continued their activities, and last year, in addition to producing three entirely new plays ("Mylecharane,"-Cushag, and "The Churning" and "The Lips of the Sea"-Mona Douglas), the y oined with this society in publshing a little booklet containing four Manx plays-which booklet, by the way, constitutes our sole publication for the year. We seem tied down to one volume per annum lately !
The usual Manx service at Kirk Braddan was held on July 10th through the kindness of the Rev. W. A. Rushworth, M.A., and was well attended both by our own people and by our Celtic visitors, who were much impressed with the event. The preacher was the Ven. the Archdeacon and the collection was devoted to the publication fund of this society.
In conclusion, I should like to express the sincere thanks of the society to those who read papers and spoke at meetings of the Congress, and to those who trained junior and adult choirs for the various concerts, etc., held during that period. May I also suggest that these kind friends would be doing a great service to their country if they did not cease from the good work entirely now that the Congress is a thing of the past ? I am convinced that it would. do a great deal for Manx music, ancient and modern, if it could be put before the public now and again in a really good Manx concert, and sung in schools and choirs, not as competition music, to be earned for a special occasion and afterwards forgotten, but for its own sake, and as a means of arousing in children and young people a real understanding and love for the old songs and dances of their forbears. In the same way Manx school-teachers, or anyone who has much to do with children and young people, might do greater work than they guess by trying to stimulate interest in folklore, field-names, and various traditions and antiquities. I believe that if we are ever to have a distinct art or music or literature of any real value in Mann, it must come through minds that have first been steeped in the colour and atmosphere of our Island landscape and of the ever-present sea, and in the delight and wonder of our old stories and beliefs and songs, and then brought into contact with a more universal culture and the artistic achievements of the outside world. But "how shall they learn without a teacher"? And if our children are allowed to grow up in utter ignorance of these things can we expect them, when the great world draws them over its broad horizon to the shining lands ahead, to turn back and seek for the treasures that ought to be in their hearts ? -the treasure that we ought to have passed on to them, and did not. `
On the motion of the R,ev. J. Q. Callister and Mr W. C. Gelling, this report was adopted.
The treasurer read the balance-sheet, as follows:-
THE MANX SOCIETY.
Receipts and Expenditure from Hollantide 1920 to Hollantide 1921.
Balance in bank, Hollantide 1920 £40 7 8
Ordinary ................... £12 17 6
Life .......................... 13 11 6
Sale of Publications ..................... 4 9 4
Ald. Quayle for Prizes Fund ..... 5 0
Misses Brown, towards repair of the Brown grave, Braddan ... 1 1 0
Offertory, Manx Service, Braddan 8 19 9
Fees, Manx Classes ..................... 1 5 0
Bank interest ............................... 17 5
£83 14 2
Printing and Advertising ............ £1 8 6
Publications .................................. 2 11 6
Expenses, Manx Service, Braddan 1 3 0
Repairing the Brown grave, Braddan .................................. 5 7 0
Wreath for late Mr Cowley ......... 15 0
Postages and Sundries .................. 1 2 6
Grant to wipe off debit balance, Celtic Congress ...................... 6 15 1
Commission ................................... 8
Balance to credi......................... 64 10 11
£83 14 2
Examined and found correct.-
J. KEWLEY, M.A., Archdeacon.
Mr Cubbon, amplifying this document, said: As you will see, we have increased our funds by £24 in the year, and have now a balance of £64. I would like to see this grown to £100, and kept to that figure as a nest egg. It is worthy of note that our society has been instrumental in putting into good order and repair the Brown grave at Kirk Braddan. This has been done with the approval and kind help of the family of the late T. E. Brown. The only other considerable item of expenditure is the grant of £6 15a Id to balance this audited accounts of the Celtic Congresss. The total local expenditure of the Congress came to £248, and it is pleasant to record that the local subscriptions to the Congress fund came to the handsome total of £142 8s. Our Society's contribution to the Congress fund is the wiping out of the debit balance of £6 16s ld. We are all deeply indebted to the Speaker, to Mr Kelly, our president, and to Miss Douglas, our seorotaay for the splendid work they did for the Congress, as well as to the many generous donors to the Congress fund.
On the motion of Messrs Kneen and S. T. Gelling, the balance-sheet was adopted.
The next business was the election of officers, and the Chairman submitted a nomination from the executive committee, that of Mr W. Cubbon. He remarked teat Mr Cubbon was a man whom all Manx patriots would delight to honour, and no greater honour could be conferred ulr^n any Manxman interested in preserving the heritage of this own country-or, he might almost say, upon any Manxman in any situation whatever-than to be elected president of this Society. Mr Cubbon was one of the founders of the Society, and had been its treasurer since its formation, and before that, he had for years thrown himself into every movement which had for its object the preservation of the national individuality. No person could have devoted to any cause more time and thought and enthusiasm than Mr Cubbon had devoted to the Manx Society, and he was sure the meeting would eagerly grasp the present opportunity of showing their appreciation of Mr Cubbon's inestimable services.
Mr Cowell, seconding, said Mr Cubbon had been referred to as an original member; he was also an original man. It had been a great joy and delight to him, (Mr Cowell) since he returned to the Island, to meet Mr Cubbon, and he regretted very much that he had not mlt him earlier, for he had received a fund of information and enjoyment from talking with Mr Cubbon, and reading some of the papers which he possessed. He was delighted that there was an earnest Manx Society; every real Manxman and woman should be proud members of it. It was exceedingly important that the Manx may band together, not only for the of learning the language or teaching it to the children, not only for the purpose founding a museum in which to Manx objects of interest, but generally as T. E. Brown had put it, to save the Manx race from being lost in the Empire's mass. He wished it were possible that all the children who were born on the Island could be on the Island, or at least could be enabled to return to the Island. although many of them had been so long away, the Island was ever dear to then and he begged those at home to keep Island worthy of their affection. Unfortunately, a real alien element had arisen among them, which did not tend to improve the morals and manners of the race, and if a strong united stand was not taken, the time would come which was sadly predicted by the Island's greatest Poet.
Mr W. C. Gelling, supporting, said he had come into contact with Mr Cubbon in connection with matters Manx, and knowing Mr Cubbon's modesty, he was quite sure that this was no position which he had sought himself, but one which the Society was determined that he should have. He added that the sentiments expressed by Mr Cowell were the sentiments of every Manx patriot.
The motion was carried with acclamation.
Mr Cubbon, in returning thanks said There are many members who would be more appropriate as president than I; but the honour is great, and I appreciate your kindness and good will in electing me so heartily. The Manx Society stands as a common platform for all those interested in Celtic affairs. It does not, encroach upon the work and objects of any other Society. On the contrary, every association which seeks to further interest in Manx affairs has our warmest support. We aim at focussing and consolidating the common aspirations and enthusiasm which exist for the maintenance and preservation of this music, language. literature, art, and culture of the Manx people, and to encourage thin study of their history and folk-lore, their customs and ideals. The members of the Manx Society are bound to acknowledge the sympathy and generosity with which the Celtic point of view is now regarded in all quarters, and the increased knowledge of Celtic affairs. and the favourable reception accorded them. We are anticipating that the re-turns of the last census will mow a further deplorable decline in the use of the old Gaelic language. We must all regret this tendency, for the language is well worthy to be preserved as 'a classic instrument of speech, and as a means of education and culture. It is the key to the study of Manx nomenclature and philology, and is very necessary to the study of history, folklore, and Celtic literature generally. For these reasons, if not for the powerful reason of sentiment, it would be a disgrace to allow it to die. There is a great future before our Society. There is also a great amount of work to be dome. Few people know of the amount of research work and literary work in the Manx field which has been and is being carried on quietly by members of Yn Cheshaght. Their research work is not confined to the language; but reaches out to early Manx history and tradition, folklore and ballad music, carvals, philology and nomenclature. The results of much of this research work will, I hope, some day be printed and it is here where our efforts come to a stand-still, through the lack of means for publication.
As an instance, I might say that Mr J. J. Kneen has been working for a long time on ancient Manx place-names, the Treen names, and those names which occur in our oldest charters and other documents of am early character. Mr Kneen, some ten years ago, completed an exhaustive Grammar of the Manx Language, and we regret we heave not been able to publish it.
The Celtic movement in the Island has undoubtedly made a great stride as the result of this year's Celtic Congress.
The formation of the new Manx National Museum will also considerably enhance the value of our movement. In this connection, I think that we might respectfully request these in charge of the Manx Museum Bill now before the Legislature, that a representative from this Society should have a place on the Board of Trustees of the new Museum and Library. The Manx Society is now permanently established as an institution and has had a considerable literary output to its credit, and numbers of our members, keenly interested in the history, the literature and antiquities of the Island, are quite competent to fill the post of trustee (applause).
The remainder of the officers were elected as follows: Vice-Presidents- The Vein. Archdeacon, Canon Leece, Messrs H. P. Kelly, G. W. Wood, W. H. Gill, and W. W. Gill; members of committee Miss Mona Douglas, Messrs J. J. Kneen, J. J. Joughin, Christopher R. Shimmin, M.H.K., S. K. Broadbent, and Clucas Gelling; secretary: Mr P. W. Caine; treasurer: Mr W. B. Meyrick.
Mr Caine, in assuming the secretary-ship replaces Miss Douglas, who for reasons of health is compelled, temporarily, to relinquish the office. Warm words of recognition were uttered concerning Miss Douglas's past service, and the hope was expressed that very soon she would be enabled to resume all heir old activities.
Following upon a suggestion by the new president, it was agreed that a letter be sent to the House of Keys, asking that the SooieFty should be allowed to nominate one of the trustees of the Museum, in extension e& the privilege which it is already proposed to give to the Io.M. Antiquarian Society.
The following letter was then read:-
THE PRESERVATION OF OLD MANX LITERATURE.
A PROPOSED MANX TEXT SOCIETY To promote the cultivation of the Manx language and literature-the chief object of Yn Cheshaght Ghailckagh-may be taVen to include the bringing to light and printing original and translated literature which exists only in manuscript or as rare booklets. Some valuable pieces have already been printed under the Society's auspices, but its funds are too slender to enable it to extend its activities as far as students of Gaelic would desire.
In ORIGINAL literature may be mentioned many carvals, sermons, songs and hymns by Quirk of Carn y Greie and others.
In TRANSLATIONS there are Parnell's "Hermit," Pope's " Essay on Man," portions of "Pilgrim's Progress," and to these may be added rare and unobtainable items such as Lewis's Catechism, Crossman's Catechism, Leo's Manx Grammar (translation from German), hymns, temperance and other tracts. A more detailed list is appended. Books of this character cannot, of course, be produced on a commercial basis, but it is believed that members of our own and kindred societies would respond to an invitation to form a " Manx Texts Society" for the above-named object, and no doubt libraries in the sister countries and elsewhere would give their support if notice were given in a Celtic journal or Highland newspaper. Such a society would have the satisfaction of making available to students of Gaelic many valuable pieces which in process of time will under present conditions become extinct, a fate which has already befallen others in chengey ny mayrey Ellan Vannin.
We are, of course, aware that the cost of printing has hitherto been' prohibitive, but it is satisfactory to know that it is now falling, and will probably soon adjust itself to the new order of things and allow a start to be made. In the meantime, with a definite policy in view, copies could be made of all pieces in hand and thus be ready for publication. The Archdeacon, whose zeal for Manx is well known, has promised his support, and is prepared to place his Manx items at the Society's disposal. The movement would also probably ring to the surface other Manx manuscripts at present lying in obscurity.
We feel that the matter is one which intimately concerns the society, and we are sanguine that it will identify itself with the proposal, and be the means, not only of further advancing the study of Manx, but of preserving the fast-vanishing memo-rials of the old mother tongue.
GEO. W. WOOD. CYRIL I. PATON.
List of Manuscripts and scams Pamphlets suitable for publication by the proposed "Manx Texts Society.
1. Parnell's "Hermit," translated by G. Killey of Kirk Onchan (about 200 lines).
"Pilgrim's Progress"-two partly completed versions, one by the Rev. Gill and another partly printed the "Examiner," Feb. 1, 1908.
3. Pope's " Essay on Man." Epistle 1 and part of II. Translated by R. G ( ? Robert Gawne).
4. Co-loayrtys eddyr Mannanan beg Mac y Leirr. Manx by Rev. J. T. Clarke.
5. John Quirk's (of Oarn y Greie) Hymns and Temperance Songs. Original and translated.
6. J. Ivon Mosley. Hymns by
7. Edward Faragher. Songs and Tales by
8. Sermons in Manx by Revs. John Howard, John Clague, J. E. Harrison, Paul Crebbin, and others.
9. Wordsworth's " Harry Gill and Goody Blake" in Manx.
10. Manx Charms, collected by the late Miss S. Morrison.
11. Sundry scarce Catechisms and other booklets.
Miss Douglas said that on the receipt of this letter she had writen toMr Wood suggesting that it ways scarcely necessary to form a special society for this purpose, but that a special fund should he formed by the Socicety. Mr Wood had replied that that suggestion would meet his ideas quite as well
The President agreed with this view, and suggested .that the Society might make a grant nut of its ordinary revenue to this special fund.
A letter from Mr W. H. Gill, with reference to the restoration of the old-fashioned rounds formerly sung, was referred to the Exccutive.
A paper was given entitled " Mannanan, Mac-y-Lir, God of the Sea, and his Pigs," the work of Professor Isaac Jackson, of Greenock. Mr Corkill read the paper on Professor Jackson's behalf, amd took part in a short discussion, to-wards which the President, Miss Douglas, and Mr Caine also contributed.
Votes of thanks to the Officers for the past year, and the President for Conducting the meeting, concluded the proceedings.