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"Our doughtful and gracious Lord, this is the constitution of old time, the which we have given in our days, how yee should be governed on your Tinwald day. Ffirst, you shall come thither in your royall array, as a king ought to do by his prerogatives and royallties of the land of Mann; and, upon the Hill of Tinwald, sitt in a chaire, covered with a royall cloath and cusheons, and your visage unto the east, and your sword before you, holden with the point upward, your barrons in the third degree sitting beside you, and your beneficed men, and your deemsters before you sitting, and your clarke, your knights, esquires, and yeomen, about you, in third degree; and the worthiest men in your land to be called in before your deemsters, if you will ask any thing of them, and to hear the government of your land, and your will; and the commons to stand without the circle of the hill, with three clarkes in their surplisses. And your deemsters shall make call in the coroner of Glanfaba; and he shall call in all the coroners of Mann, and their yards in their hands, with their weapons upon them, either sword or axe;
and the moares, that is, to wit of every shead'ing. Then the chief coroner, that is, the coro
nor of Glanfaba shall make a ffence upon paine of life and lyme, that no man make any disturbance, or stirre, in the time of Tinwald, or any murmur, or riseing in the king's presence, upon paine of hanging and drawing. And then shall let your barrons and all others know you to be their King and Lord.”
The Isle of Man was not affected by any other than its own laws till the reign of Henry the Eighth, when an act passed the English legislature, and was extended to this island; for vesting in the crown all the monasteries and abbey lands.
The second act, relative to this country, passed in the same reign, dissevered the dioceses of Chester and of the Isle of Man from the Archbishoprick of Canterbury, and united them to the province and Archbishoprick of York.
The third, passed in the fifth year of the reign of Elizabeth, restricted the quantity of French wine, to be imported annually into the Isle of Man, to one hundred tons; and it appears, that the island paid much more deference at that time, than it did afterwards, to the English government.
Between this period and the fifth year of his
present Majesty; no act was passed immediately relative to the island. Wherever we find the place mentioned at all; reference is made to its commerce with Great Britain and Ireland, the regulations taking place upon our own coasts. In the year 1765, the Sovereign of the Isle of Man sold his regalities to the King of England. As the sale did not in itself, but only in its consequences, alter the law of the land, I shall at present confine myself to the consequences, and speak hereafter of the sale, and the additional compensation to the present Duke of Athol.
The Manks legislature seem to have imagined that, with the royalties of the Lord, were sold all the rights and privileges possessed by themselves; and that these last were retained merely by the courtesy of the King of England. The first act of Tinwald, after the sale, was passed in 1776. It recites the title of the act of revestment: and we learn by the preamble that his Majesty had ben most graciously pleased to grant his royal leave and permission to the customary legislature of the island, (himself being now the Lord) to enact what laws might be found necessary to the interior good government and police of the isle.
Since the sale, the legislature of England has assumed the entire power of enacting laws respecting the customs or port-dues of the island, and also of regulating or prohibiting any manufactures which might be liable to affect the revenue: in the internal economy and laws it has not interfered. I do not mean to insinuate that the English legislature has acted improperly in such assumption. Public good is superior to : individual justice; and if the public good required the acquisition of such power, it was the duty of the government to obtain it, either by consent or assumption. Plutarch carries this principle so far as to term the rape of the Sabines, since it was undertaken for the public good, a glorious exploit. When property is obtained by violence, an equivalent should be returned to the proprietor, as is done in the making of high-roads or canals, a practice which very much lessens the individual injustice; but the rights and customs of a people are inalienable by the governors, consequently, no compensation could be made. To have given to their representatives seats in the British parliament, would have been a measure of apparent compensation. The original Manks govern
ment would then, of course, have been annihilated, instead of altered ; and the people would have been much more discontented.
The King could purchase only what the Lord possessed : but the Lord had no power, and he afterwards admitted it, to levy or increase a single tax upon the people: consequently the interference of the English government relative to revenue matters was nearly as great a stretch of power after the sale, as it would have been before it.
The chief civil officers are, the Governor and Lieutenant-governor, one of them being chancellor, ex officio: the two Deemsters or judges, one for the southern, the other for the northern divi. sion of the island, being necessarily natives: the Water-bailiff, the High-bailiffs, one in each of the four towns, being also natives; the Coroners, or sheriffs, one for each of the six sheading's: the Lockmen, or bailiffs, Coroners' officers; and the Constables.
The two first officers have been already spoken of: the second, being judges and justices of the · peace, will be mentioned with the county which they preside in : as will the water-bailiff also.