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ISLE OF MAN,
FROM A.D. 1417 TO A.D. 1824.
PRINTERS TO THE QUEEN'S MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY.
In 1875 the Court of Tynwald voted a sum of money for the publication of a complete edition of the Statutes of the Isle of Man, under the direction of the LieutenantGovernor of the I sland, with the view of promoting a revision of the Statute Law. Subsequently His Excellency Sir Henry Brougham Loch, K.C.B., late LieutenantGovernor, appointed John Frederick Gill, Esq., Advocate, to be Editor of the work, under the supervision of Sir James Gell, Attorney-General, and the late Alfred Walter Adams, Esq., Clerk of the Rolls. The present volume is the first part of the edition prepared by Mr. Gill. During the progress of preparation he was guided by the advice and acted under the instructions of the Attorney-General and the Clerk of the Rolls, and since the decease of the latter the Attorney-General has superintended the work.
Mr. Gill has carefully compared the text with the originals or the authorized copies in the Rolls Office, and although he does not assert that the present edition is free from inaccuracies, yet he believes it contains no error of any importance, and that it is the most perfect copy of the Statutes which has ever been published.
The book contains what have been commonly termed the Ordinances as well as the Statutes of the Island. Mr. Thomas Stowell, Advocate (afterwards Clerk of the Rolls), who in 1791 edited “ The Statutes and Ordinances of the Isle of Man, now in force, Alphabetically arranged,” in his preface to that work thus defines Statutes and Ordinances :
“ By Statutes the publisher would be understood to mean such Acts as have been made and passed by the three Estates of the Legislature before mentioned [the Sovereign, the Governor and Council, and the Twentyfour Keys]; and by Ordinances, certain Orders and Resolutions which have from time to time been made by separate branches of the Legislature, and which have been received and used as laws, and are retained in use and force at this day. These Ordinances were frequent in ancient times. They are, properly speaking, a part of the Common Law, and are in force no further than they have been sanctioned by, or retained in, use."
The Ordinances, strictly so-called, which have hitherto formed part of the Statute Book are included in this volume. But besides Ordinances and Statutes passed in the more formal mode, which commenced in A.D. 1610, the Statute Book, in the earlier part of it, consists chiefly of declarations of the former unwritten Common Law on various subjects made in the Tynwald Court, and committed to writing, all such declarations being thereafter considered as very much of the character of Statute Law. All such declarations, and also the customary laws which have hitherto formed part of the Statute Book, are set forth in the present work.
It may be remarked that previous to the grant of the Island to Sir John Stanley in A.D. 1405, there is no record of legislative Acts, for, as appears by the declaration or points of law made in A.D. 1422 (p. 11), the laws had not been written since the days of King Orry, except in the time of Michael Blundell, who was Governor under Sir John Stanley I., but the record of the laws made in his days is not known to be extant. New laws must have been made from time to time, for many of those which in the early portions of the Statute Book are declared to be existing law, must have been
enacted previously as new laws, and could not have been Common Law grown up out of custom merely.
It is necessary to explain the plan of the present work. It was suggested by Sir H. B. Loch that laws not now in force should be printed in type smaller than that used for the unrepealed laws. This course has been followed, so far as regards laws expressly repealed or spent, temporary laws, and in many cases laws which, though not expressly, are necessarily, repealed by subsequent enactments. But as to the last-mentioned class of laws the printing in small type has been sparingly made use of, as differences of opinion may exist as to the effect of enactments on pre-existing laws. It is possible that it may be considered that some of the laws distinguished in this volume as not being in force may be erroneously so described; but, if so, no injury is done, inasmuch as the full text of all the laws being given, anyone can form his own opinion on this matter. The Editor and the Attorney-General are solely responsible for the notes.
Much inconvenience has arisen from the fact that the sections or clauses in many of the old laws, and in many Statutes down to very recent times, are not numbered. In the present edition numbers have been supplied. Frequently several Acts have been passed at the one time, and in some cases several Acts are included in one Statute without any distinguishing mark beyond the titles of the Acts. For convenience in all such cases the several Acts are in this volume numbered as chapters. Of course it must be understood that there is no authority for all such numbering, whether of Acts or sections, except that of the Editor and of those who have the supervision of the work. But the idea which they entertained was this, that if the work of Statute Law Revision be proceeded with, the present edition might be