Page images

That the Duke of Athol was a lord, subject to the king, may be some extenuation ; but, to alienate the public revenue of a nation seems a great stretch of despotic power.

The King of England has the appointment of all the military; and all the chief civil officers. He alone has the power of pardoning criminals ; and may in council hear, and finally determine, all appeals from the decision of the Governor for of the Keys. His consent is necessary to the passing of all laws. Since the rejection of the bill for triennial parliaments by King William, no English King has refused his assent to any bill which had passed the Lords and Commons. With respect to the Manks legislature the same scrupulosity is not observed. In the year 1798 several bills were returned altered to the Keys, one of which, in its new form, they rejected. · The Governor holds his office, by his Majesty's appointment. He is chancellor, ex officio, and, by himself or deputy, hears appeals, not relative to land, from the decision of inferior courts, reversing or confirming them according to his judgment. The consent of himself or of his lieutenant is necessary to the making of a law; but not that of the Lord-proprietor, at present



the Duke of Athol, unless he holds one of these situations. The latter may, however, enter caveats against the King's consent, and have his petition heard; and in, or about, the year 1789 he actually did so.**

The powers of the King and Governor were previously to the re-revesting act vested in the Lord alone, except that the King possessed the authority of altering, on appeal being made to him in council, the decisions of the Manks’ Courts. The whole proceedings of Governor Horne against Bishop Wilson were thus reversed. The right of coining money, of pardoning criminals, and various other kingly powers attached



* Vide Report of the commissioners, to whom the Duke complained, that bills detrimental to his interests had passed the legislature without his knowledge, and had been transmitted to the King, against whose consent he had entered caveats.

+ The present Governor and Lord-proprietor has the following titles : The most noble John Duke of Athol, Marquis and Earl of Athol, Marquis of Tullibardin, Earl of Strathsay and of Strathardel, Viscount of Glenalmond and Glenlyon, Lord Murray, Balveny and Gask, Lord of the Isle of Man, Constable of the Castle of Kincleven, and hereditary keeper of the palace of Falkland. His English titles are Earl Strange, and Baron Murray, conferred' upon him August 8th, 1786. His chief seats are at Blair in Athol, Dunkeld, Tullibardin, and Huntingtower, all in Perthshire.

to the Lord. The governor is chancellor, ex officio : all arrests, either civil or criminal, are granted by him, and he may, at his pleasure, convene branches of the legislature.

The Lieutenant-governor, or Governor, as be was usually called, possessed whatever power his Lord or Sovereign thought proper to confer, and this was usually the whole. He was termed the representative of majesty. The Scotch and English lord-proprietors meddled little with internal affairs, and rarely visited this dominion: the chief care of government devolved therefore upon him. When the appointment came to be made by the King of England, the plan was somewhat changed; and the nature of the office made certain. He has now all the powers of the Governor during his absence; and none during his presence, except what the Governor does not think proper to resume. It is not however his practice to consent to the making of laws; and I observe, in the statute-book, only one instance in which he has so done, A. D. 1776. All other acts specify the consent of the Governor in chief, whether the Tynwald-court be held before himself or the Lieutenant-governor.

The Council consists of five persons, holding

their seats ex officio, viz. the Lord Bishop, the Water Bailiff, the Attorney-general, the Clerk of the Rolls, and the Archdeacon. * The consent of a majority of these, previously to that of the king, is necessary to the passing of a law. Respecting the right of a seat in this body, various opinions have been held; and much controversy has arisen. In the year 1776, the Governor excluded from the council the bishop and the vicar-general, alleging that their seats were held only through courtesy. The spiritual officers, however, maintained a right to their seats, and claimed admission. The claim, though protested against by the Attorney-general, was allowed by the Lieutenantgovernor. The following is a list of persons who had either a certain or doubtful right of admission: the Receiver-general, the Comptroller, the Clerk of the Rolls, the Water-bailiff, the Attorney-general, the two Deemsters, the Arch-deacon and his Official, the Bishop and his two Vicars-general, and the Collector. In order to end the controversy, a statement of their respective claims was sent to England about ten years ago for his Majesty's determination.

* In Jefferson's Manks Almanack are annually published the names of the members of the council, and of the other chief ciyil officers.

The twenty-four Keys are the last branch of the Manks legislature. The consent of a ma, jority of them is necessary to the passing of a law; and a bill usually originates in this house. They are considered the guardians of the people, particularly so of the landed interest, and their power is as well judicial as legislative. An appeal may be made to them from the inferior courts. In all actions real, and in appeals, their decision is coạclusive between the parties, unless the cause be carried before the king in council. They determine in all cases by a majority ; and herein differ essentially from a jury, whose verdict must be, of rather must be said to be, unanimous. In intricate law cases they are required to determine what the law of the land is ; every determination forming a precedent for future cases. Bishop Wilson derives their name from tþeir office of unlocking the difficulties of the law. So little was the constitution settled, that it is still a doubtful point whether the Governor had power to prorogue them, or whether they might continue sitting till they thought proper to separate. Their election of a speaker is subą


« PreviousContinue »