« PreviousContinue »
island, for a man to go to bed with his own wife, without leave first obtained from the spiritual court.
“St. Anne's presentments, Sth Nov. 1789. Charles Cubbin, vicar. The church-wardens present Thomas Harman for swearing by his conscience, and making use of the word "devil'in his common talk. They present Thomas Caine for not attending divine service on the Sabbathday, and for cursing Elizabeth Callister in these words, plague on thee.' They also present Elizabeth Callister for cursing Thomas Caine in the same words that he cursed her, “plague on thee.”
“We fine Thomas Harman, Thomas Caine, and Elizabeth Callister 2s. 6d. each, for nonappearance and contempt of court, and they are to be admonished by the pastor for the said offences,
. - John MOORE,
“ EVAN CHRISTIAN. “Examined by J. Crellin, Epis. Regr. “ To the Vicar of St. Anne's, these to publish plcna Ecclesia."
The courts, now enumerated, were not formerly courts of record. The laws were locked
· up in the breastş of the Governor and Deemsters,
conveyed by oral tradition from one generation to another, and known to the people only by the sentence which they decreed. This practice was followed by the more eligible plan of keeping precedents as guides to future determinations. Even then, they were kept by three locks, their respective keys in the possession of the three chief officers of state, from the scrutinizing eye of the vulgar; nor were they, till the fifteenth century, generally known to the body of the people.
No person can act as an attorney, or plead. in any other than his own cause, till he has received a licence from the Governor, and has publicly taken the government oaths, and also the one following: “I, A. B. do swear, that I will truly and honestly demean myself in the practice and knowledge of an attorney, to the best of my ability.” It is not usual for the Go. . vernor to grant his licence to any but a native, nor even to him till he has served an apprentice. ship of five years to the clerk of the rolls.
I cannot, in any manner, give the reader a better idea of the expense of litigation, than by furnishing a few examples of the fees allowed by he courts of law in taxing costs,
Fourteen pence is the cost of a summons to the Court of Chancery; sixpence to the Deemster's court; and three-pence is the value of a grant of execution. The entering of an action, or of an appeal, to be determined in chancery, costs sixpence for one side of half a sheet of paper, and one halfpenny for every twenty-four words afterwards : the copy of a decree, the same. For the probate of a will one shilling and two-pence is charged: for a grant of administration three shillings and four-pence. An attorney charges 2s. 11d. for a retainer; 3s. 4d. for receiving instructions ; 3s. 6d. per sheet for a bill in chancery, written, the last sheet excepted, on all sides; for filing, and receiving a copy of it, 1s. 9d.; for drawing a petition, 2s. 11d. per sheet ; for a motion in court, 28. 11d.; for drafting an answer for the defendant, 28. 11d.; for preparing and producing a brief, 3s. Ad. per sheet; for arguing a cause, or attending to examine evidence before the Chancellor, 5s. 10d. ; before the Deemster, 2s. 11d.; for attending any court upon business, 128. 3d. per day, besides professional fees; for travelling expences, Is. 2d. per mile.
On Public Wrongs, aad their Punishment.
I HAVE already observed that capital crimes are very rare in Man. The laws respecting them are consequently few and short. No distinction is made in any of the statutes between principal and accessory, except in this one instance: that the husband, if he concealed his wife's felony, was equally implicated in the guilt.
Of all offences, treason, in its original sense, seems the most injurious to a community. I speak of rebellion, or of any act which may tend to plunge a nation into the horrors of a civil war. Among the laws reduced to writing in 1422, treason is thus defined : rising upon the Lord or his Lieutenant; or striking in his presence any of his waged men, or servants : robbing him in any court, after fence made : murmuring and rising at a Tinwald Court: constraining him to hold a Tinwald Court: 'relieving or concealing a rebel, knowing him to be one. Io 1646 another crime was ranked under this deno
mination-counterfeiting any current coin of the island, or bringing in, designedly, any false money, and making payment with it. Thus treason was extended to a copper coinage ; and not confined, as in England, to that of gold and silver. The offence was unknown till the year in which the act passed. Though the Lord had the prerogative of coining, the money was not considered current till it was declared to be so by an act of Tinwald. When five hundred pounds worth of copper pence and halfpence were introduced in 1733, the former coinage of 1710 was declared to be no longer a legal payment. Such conduct, however proper they, to whom it was explained, might deem it, was likely to occasion unpleasant rumours, if not murmurs ; and I have been told that its intrinsic was little more than half its nominal value: By the next copper coinage of 1757, the currency of the preceding one was not affected. In order to detect false coin, every holder of copper money was ordered, under the penalty of twenty shillings, to bring to the Governor on a certain day each year, all that he had in his possession, to be examined ; a practice very inefficacious.
No offender can be convicted of any capital