Page images
PDF
EPUB

owe

crime except by a jury, at the Court of Generalgoal delivery : but formerly, as we learn by the laws written in 1422, he might be condemned, without any trial, for an attack upon the Lord or his Lieutenant. At that period it was the custom, in England, to hang rebel-leaders without any form of trial. The punishment of a traitor is, to be drawn with wild horses and hanged ; to have his head cut off and stuck upon the Tower of Castle Rushen ; and to have the body quartered, one quarter to be exposed at each of the four chief towns. His goods become forfeited to the Lord.

That which toucheth treasonis thus defined : striking any one within a court, and within twenty-four paces of the Lord or his Lieutenant; the punishment for-which offence is the forfeiture of life and goods: if beyond this distance, or in the presence of the Lord or his Lieutenant out of court, the offender is punishable at the Lord's pleasure; and is also liable to have damages awarded against him in a Court of Law, as a satisfaction for the assault. *

The law respecting seditious speeches or writings is of so late-a date as 1796. Any person, maliciously doing any act, or circulating any written or printed paper or pamphlet, tending to bring into contempt his Majesty's person or government, is subject, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding one hundred pounds British, and to imprisonment not exceeding the term of six months. He may, in the first instance, be arrested by warrant from the Deem. ster, complaint by affidavit having been made to him.

Against the compounding of felony, a great breach of public justice, there was no law till the year 1736. The punishment of it is, simply, a fine to the Lord, at the discretion of the Court, not exceeding six pounds thirteen shillings and four-pence.

An escape, or an attempt to escape from prison does not subject the party himself to any legal punishment, nor was there till 1736 any law in force to punish such as assisted him. Assisting a criminal to escape from prison subjects the offender to a penalty of twenty pounds : assisting a debtor to escape from prison, or from the island, without a pass, to a penalty of three pounds and the payment of all his debts. Should his effects be insufficient for the purpose, his goods are to be seized and sold; he is to be imprisoned for three months, and publicly whip

ped at the four towns. Any one conveying another off the island, without a pass, is liable to the payment of his debts, and a fine of ten pounds to the Lord. A pass or licence to leave the island is thus ordered :

Insula Mona. Permit the bearer hereof, Mr. A. B. to pass for upon his lawful occasion, without let, stop, or hindrance, he behaving himself as behoves all liege people, and departing this isle within, one month from the date hereof. Given at Castle Rushen this day of

(Signed.). Lieut. Governor.” - An Officer in each of the four towns has blank passes, ready signed, which he immediately fills up, and delivers, on the payment of nine-pence, unless a debt be sworn against the party in order to detain him.

Persons suspected of perjury were to be tried at the spiritual court. I am induced to believe that fine and imprisonment, with church censures, were the only punishment, and not the pillory and loss of ears, as is generally imagined. ' Here, as in many other places, I cannot but regret that Mr. Stowell, a Manks Solicitor, who published the Manks laws, in alphabetical order,

should have left every thing in the obscurity he found it, and perjury thus : “Whoever is sworn, and their oaths prove false, shall make satisfaction by our law, and to the church for perjury." The words in the Statute-book are, “Whoever is sworn, and their oaths prove false, shall make satisfaction by our law, and reserve them to the church for perjury ;" by which may perhaps be understood, that the person injured by the false oath is to have redress in the Temporal Court ; but the punishment, as for a public offence, is to be by the Spiritual Court. A juryman taking a fee, is made, ipso facto, guilty of perjury ; being treated with liquor, he is to be fined six shillings and eightpence, and discharged. A councilman, before he takes his seat, is sworn not to divulge the secrets of the council : should he be convicted of so doing, he is subject to dismissal, and a penalty of three pounds. . . · The old laws, relative to trade, were sufficient to exclude any prosperity that might otherwise arise from commerce. No article might be imported by any individual ; nor might any commodity be exported without the consent of the Lieutenant Governor and Council. The punishment for infringing upon these rules was

WOTL

a discretionary fine and imprisonment, besides forfeiture of the goods.*

Trade of all sorts is open to aliens as well as natives : but formerly a five years' apprenticeship was necessary.

Fresh herrings might not be exported till their price was below 1s. 2d. per hundred; and this law was not repealed till 1796.

A flight of gulls usually hover about a herring shoal, and serve as a guide to the fishermen, For this reason, the shooting of one during the fishing season subjects the offender to a penalty of three pounds. . The practice of tarring nets, being thought prejudicial, was prohibited in 1796. The offender is to be fined ten pounds, one half to be given to the informer, the other added to the high-road fund: the action is to be brought in the Court of Admiralty. The use of all nets, which the master of any boat could prove to

*“ Item, when any person maketh suit to carry or transport any stuff or merchandize out of the isle into any foreign parts, that the captain shall consult with the rest of the Council, what wares may be best spared by the inhabitants ; and, with the consent of the Council, to give licence accordingly.” Statute-book 1561. See also 1422,

« PreviousContinue »