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points out the mode of prosecuting causes at common law, has a particular reference to the ancient proceeding of trespass juries, and juries of inquiry, which this act directs shall not be altered. These juries consist of four men, occasionally summoned by one of the deemsters out of the parish where any trespass has been committed, or any loss sustained ; and it is their province, in the one case, to view and estimate the damages done, and, in the other, to endeavour to discover what was lost, and the person who had taken away or concealed the same; for which purpose all the neighbourhood may be summoned before the jury, and every individual is either to acquit himself by his oath, or to be held convicted by his refusal.
The above statute also alludes to the great inquest, and also to another species of trial per pais, called the long jury, bul directs that all proceedings thereby shall cease, and that all matters which were formerly cognizable before them shall be tried at the common law court.
The ancient proceedings of this court prescribe, that the coroner of Glanfaba, who takes precedence of all the others, shall open the court with the following proclamation in the Manks language: “ Tha mee chur y quaaill fo harey ayns ennym y rhee nagh jen pegeagh erbee thrushey baggart ny burranys, agh dhy jen dhy chooiley chopiney phreggert myr vys e er ny eam. Tha mee chur recoartys er yn Eanish dhy vel y quaaill fo harey.”_" I do fence this court, that no manner of person do quarrel, or brawl, or molést the audience, and that they do answer when called by license of the king and this court. I draw witness to the whole audience that the court is fenced,"
The statute of 1738 regarding the limitation of actions, specifies that all actions, of what nature soever, which shall be commenced at any of the temporal courts, must be prosecuted within three years next after the cause of such action, except actions of assault, battery, wounding, imprisonment, or for slander, which must be commenced within two years; and also in the case of persons under age, under coverture, non compos mentis, imprisoned, or beyond the seas, who are to prosecute after their respectiveimpediments are removed within the times before limited,
At the next term, or common law court, after the declaration is filed, the defendant is bound to plead and join issue, or otherwise the plaintiff may join issue for him ; for the nicety and exactness of special pleading, which is so essential in England, is here in a great measure disregarded, the forms of the court requiring the declaration to be merely a plain simple statement of the plaintiff's case, and either party may offer such testimony as the court shall deem relevant to the matter in
question. And in all cases where a special plea is not offered, the general issue is always implied, and the special matter is given in evidence. With respect to the witnesses, they are compelled to attend, when summoned by the coroner or lockman on the deemster's warrant, on pain of being subject to a fine, and to such costs as may be incurred by the party; and their evidence is given ore tenus, and if required, is taken down in writing, and afterwards read to and signed by the witnesses in open court. In case of an appeal from the verdict of the jury to the Twenty-four Keys, these depositions are read to and commented upon by the respective advocates, and are received by the house as sufficient, and therefore preclude the necessity of examining the witnesses viva voce again.
The verdict of the jury is always recorded in the liber placitorum, and annexed to, or written at the foot of the declaration, and must be signed by them.
OP THE COURT OF EXCHEQUER.
The court of exchequer, from its superintendent authority in regard to the royal revenue, is the proper court for proceeding against those who transgress the laws of the customs and excise, in order to recover the penalties and forfeitures due to the crown, and they must be prosecuted by the attorney-general. This court also imposes fines, and determines the right of tithes, which, previous to the act of 'Tynwald *, passed in the year 1777, had been cognizable in the ecclesiastical courts of the island. In this court the
is empowered by the act to make such orders and rules, from time to time, for the better regulating the practice and proceedings thereof, as occasion shall require.
* Appendix, Court of Exchequer.
OF THE DEEMSTERS, AND THE-PRACTICE OF
The deemsters of the Isle of Man are judges of the highest antiquity, and, till the passing of certain modern acts of Tynwald, which have abridged their authority, possessed an higher magisterial power, both in the administration of the common and criminal law of the land, than any other judges in Europe. It is recorded that they governed the people by a jus non scriptum, which was committed to their loyalty and fidelity as a thing holy and sacred, and by them communicated to posterity by oral tradition ; consequently, whatever they juridically pronounced was received as law : and this custom they received from the Druids, who, as observed by Cæsar*, were peculiarly remarkable for their proficiency in the study of the law, and would not by writing prostitute any thing to the vulgar; whence, from all antiquity, and even to a recent period, the Manks designated their common law by the title of breast-laws, as being deposited in the breasts of their deemsters and keys, and which only on important occasions were divulged to the people.
It is recorded in an ancient ordinance of Sir John Stanley, King of Man, in 1422, in these words: “ As to the writing of laws, there never was any written since King Orrey's days,
* Com, l. 6. et de Bello Gall. 6. 12.