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time being, for the furtherance of the govern


ment and benefit of the sa

The purport of the oath administered to the other members of the council is, “ to maintain and defend the ancient laws, statutes, and customs, proper and belonging to this isle, and the prerogatives thereof, and, with their best advice and counsel, to be aiding and assisting to his Majesty's Governor-in-Chief, or his Lieutenant-Governor of this isle for the time being, for the furtherance of the government and benefit of the said isle." o bars


It would be a work of supererogation to inform the learned reader, that the feudal constitution, or the doctrine of tenure, had its origin in the military policy of the northern Celtic nations (who all migrated from the same officina gentium *), and gradually extended itself over all the continent of Europe. : Sir Henry Spelman calls this system, the law of nations in our western world. The grand fundamental maxim of this feudal tenure is this : that all lands were originally granted out by the sovereign, and are therefore hold. en either mediately or immediately of the crown. The granter was called the proprietor or lord, and the grantee was styled the feudatory or vassal, which was only another name for the tenant of the land. At the first introduction of feuds, as they were gratuitous, so also they were precarious, and held solely at the will of the lord. Afterwards they became certain for one I or more years, then for the life of the feudatory, and, in process of time, were extended beyond the life of the first vassal to his sons; but the quality of the feud was,

* Craig. de jure feod. 19.

+ Spelman on Feuds, 1. 1. . - I " Agri ab universis per vices occupantur: arva per annos mutant.” Tacit. de Mor. Ger...." Neque quisquam agri modum, certum, aut fines proprius habet ; sed magistratus et principes, in annos singulos, gentibus et cognationibus hominum qui una co. rierunt quantum eis et quo loco visum est attribuunt, atque anno post alio transire cogunt.” Cæsar de Bell. Gall. l. 6. c. 91.

that it could not be alienated or disposed of. These feuds were all of a military nature, and in the hands of military persons, and the lands were cultivated by inferior tenants, who made their returns or reditus in service, corn, cattle, or money. ' - That the feudal influence was general in the isle of Man, there can be no doubt, as appears by the ancient constitution of Sir John Stanley before quoted, and his'intention of seizing the bishops and abbots temporalities who neglect ed to do faith and fealty to the king, evinced by the following ordinance, extracted from the records in the Rolls Office. 7. 2016 21 « In the year 1422, the tenants and commons of Sir John Stanley, then king of the 'isle, were convened to a court held on the hill of Rencurling, at which court 'the bishop of Man was called to come to do his faith and fealty unto the lord, as the law asketh'; and to shew by what claim he holdeth his lands and tenements within the lordship of Man ; the which came and did his faith and fealty' to the lord : The abbott also of Rushen and priors of Douglas were called to do their fealty, and to shew their claims of their holdings, lands, &c.; the wholecame and did their fealty to the lord. The prior of Whithorn in Galloway, the abbott of Furnace, the abbott of Bangor, the abbott of Sabale, and the prior of Saint Bede in Copeland, were called but came not; therefore they were deemed by the deemsters, that they should come in their proper persons, within forty days, and if they came not, then to lose all their temporalities, to be seized in to the lord's hands in the same court." :****** by We are also informed in Lindsay of Pitscottie's History of Scotland *, that “ James the Fifth of Scotland passed over to the isles, and caused the great men to show their holdings; wherethrough he found many of the said lands in nonentry, the which he confiscate and brought home to his own use, and afterwards annexed them to the crown."





ETH ! Notwithstanding the feudal tenures of the barons t, it is manifest, from the following data, that the ancient nativi originally held their lands in purum villenagium, or absolutely at the will of the king, not being permitted to hold them against his inclination; and this state of villenage is supposed to be a monument of Norwegian tyranny. In process of time the Manks acquired a more liberal tenure, in the nature of villenagium privilegiatem, which tenure was called holding by the straw, and was similar to the ancient tenure of the verge in England.

It is als It is recorded in the ancient book of Customary Laws, written in the fourteenth century, in these words ::" Certain old customs given for law, which have never been put in writing, but used, and allowed of long time heretofore.Amongst other ordinances it is ordained, 56 that the land seting to the people shall take place before Midsummer, and that the lieutenant

; + Four baronies exist at this day, viz, the lord bishop's ba rony, the abbot's barony, held by his Grace the Duke of Atholl, the barony of Bangor and Sábel, held by lease from the crown by the Duke, and the barony of Saint Triniąns, also held by the Pokerst pilti ,,

**1,* Page 152....

his in! .


shall swear four men of every parish to deliver to every one his holding, who were to see that every one manured and occupied his lands to the best of his power, and be resident thereon, and that they be cherished so as to be able to rear the lord's rent, of their corn for the most part, though there be no herring-fishing: for by default of livery and partition of land, every one runneth to another and occupies it, and then will each one meet other, and so they lose their goods, which grieveth them worse than the farm, and the lord never the better. 2. “ We also give for law, that the husbandman's son is my lord's treasure, for that he is to be tenant, when any poor man doth fall into poverty and is not able to provide rent; then he is to be taken and set in the said ground by force and virtue, and then he must pay the lord's rent as long as he is able ; except he fall into poverty he shall keep it still ; except he is his father's eldest son, and if his father die he shall be set at liber.


We find that the barons ought to have no title to any person that is born out of the country, and that cometh into the land; he ought to be put into the lord's farm before any other."

When, at a remote period, the aforesaid ordinances prevailed, the great body of the Manks people appear to have been precisely in the situation of the English who occupied the folk-land, or estates held in villanage, and were not freemen...

With respect to the appellation of freemen, the old law of England honoured only those with that name, who, whether of illustrious an

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