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case was pending. On its being decided he was immediately released, his opponent well understanding, that, although he was a man of property, he took care to have none liable to seizure. His credit here stands very high, and I heard the Chief Deemaster say in open court, that he should consider his security for the payment of a debt equal to a bank note.* ..
It seems now sufficiently determined by precedents, that except in merely civil cases, no persons are here privileged from the common course of law, unless the Governor refuse, as he did in the one last mentioned, to sanction such proceeding.
In case of notorious criminality he would never · do so.
When a debtor whom the law cannot reach has taken refuge upon the island, it has not unfrequently been the eustom (to the shame of the island, be it spoken) for a creditor to hire five or six ruffians to carry him away by force. They seize him in an unguarded moment, take him off his legs, hurry him into a boat, and thence put him on board a vessel lying ready to receive him. The Manks Government has not inter
* For these anecdotes I am indebted to Mr. Cosnahan, High Bailiff of Douglas.
fered or made any inquiry into such infamous transactions. Could any villains be found sufficiently hardy to attempt the seizure of the last mentioned gentleman, their courage need not, , probably could not, be put to any further trial.
It is said, I know not with what truth, that a reward of five thousand pounds has been offered to any one who will deliver him into custody, in Ireland.
It is a remarkable fact, that all who have been thus carried away were Scotch drovers, persons employed to buy and sell cattle, who by fraudulent means had obtained large sums of money, and who had brought in their pockets several thousand pounds.
An instance of the kind happened at Douglas during my residence in that town. A drover of reputed honesty had obtained money to a considerable amount from various persons, under the pretence of making for them advantageous purchases of cattle. Having amassed as much as possible, he immediately proceeded to Whitehaven, intending to spend in the Isle of Man, the supposed place of security, his ill-gotten wealth. The wind was boisterous and adverse: no vessel would put to sea. He had no authority, like
Cæsar, to tell the captain that he would carry à drover and his fortune: but I saw the master of an open coal boat, to whom he in vain offered one hundred pounds to perform the voyage. This may said he believed he should have struck the bargain, had not his vessel been then aground. Disappointed and fearful of delay, he proceeded to Liverpool, and was obliged to remain two of three days in that town, awaiting the departure of a vessel for the desired port. . • In the mean time the creditors heard of his decampment, and judging it probable that he had fled to the privileged island, determined if possible, to use force against fraud. One to whom he owed 1,2001. embarked without delay, and arrived at Douglas before his debtor. He was permitted by law to imprison any debtor till he could find bail for his personal appearance, and the delivering up of his effects upon the island, or till the action, never long postponed, could be heard; and still expecting the arrival of the drover, he procured a warrant to arrest him. He hired a vessel and half a dozen sturdy fellows, and examined each ship as it arrived. At length came the packet from Liverpool, and the rascal on landing was conveyed to prison. He little dreaded his adversary's power, and hired a post-chaise to carry him the next morning to Castletown. A person who has power to confine another, has power also to release him. In the dusk of the evening he set his men upon the watch, and dismissed the action. The prison is close to the sea : the gate was thrown open, and out walked the drover, exulting in the confirmation of his liberty, and the success of his plans. Scarcely had the door shut after him, when he was seized by the men in waiting, hurried to a boat, and thence put on board a vessel. The ship soon weighed anchor ; but to what port he was carried, or what afterwards became of him I could never learn. -.3.0.*". ;
The Sale of the Island.
In order to prevent the smuggling trade of the Isle of Man, which, in the beginning of the last century, began to prognosticate great evil to England, and perhaps for other reasons, it was the wish of the British government that the sovereignty of the island should be re-vested in the King. An act consequently passed the legislature in 1726, authorising the Earl of Derby to sell his royalty and revenue.
Although many proposals were made to him, and his successor, they always made delays, un. willing to complete the sale ; and the object of government remained incomplete till John Duke of Athol and his Duchess succeeded to the roy. alty. In the first and last year of their reign, and in the fifth of that of his present Majesty, A. D. 1765, the sovereignty was re-vested in the King of England. The people were at first much alarmed at the consequent change of affairs, but experience has since taught the industrious part