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It is a singular fact, that, in' the present age of active inquiry, there should be in the midst of the British European dominions an isolated spot retaining its primitive constitution, the peculiar characters of which are scarcely known beyond the narrow space over which their in. Auence extends." That such a country, and such a constitution do actually exist, is pretty generally known, yet few or none have deemed any investigation of the peculiarities of either worthy of notice, except in those points to which personal danger and impending ruin may have impériously called 'for attention. The Isle of Man presents to us the singular phe nomenon alluded to. Surrounded on every side by the British empire, and being itself an appendage to the British crown, it retains its
early constitution and laws, unaffected by the various revolutions which have taken place in the adjacent kingdoms. This very circumstance, it might fairly have been expected, would have roused the spirit of curiosity; but if it ever has produced this effect, the public have not reaped the fruits. The means of information are in consequence very limited, for (with the exception of a valuable alphabetical arrangement of the Statutes and Ordinances of the Island, by the present Clerk of the Rolls), they are confined to the legislative body in the Island, the legal practitioners, and to such persons as by, actual residence have the power of attending the Courts, and of examining the various records that are to be met with. It is therefore evident that a compilation of the insular Laws, and some history of the Constitution, is much required ; and that, if executed with tolerable accuracy, it would form a valuable accession to the stores of legal lore accumulated in our own country, During a residence of some length in the Isle of Man, the Author of the following “VỊew OF MANKS JURISPRUDENCE” attended the Courts, and collected a great variety of facts on these points, which he has been since induced to arrange and condense into the form in which he now ventures to lay it before the pu-.. blic. With all the anxious solicitude inseparable from such an undertaking, the Author fondly hopes, that he may meet the wishes of those who have fostered this work, and, that whatever may be its defects, inaccuracy will not be found in their number. :, * To the public at large, whose interests are not immediately affected by its object, he offers it as a curious relict of antiquity ;-by the professors of the law in the united empire, he presumes to hope it will be considered not only curious but useful.
Should this “ View of Manks Jurisprudence” produce the ends which the Author of it has proposed to himself, the first wish of his heart will be fulfilled, and he will delight in having sacrificed his feelings for the advancement of general and useful knowledge.
The Author cannot conclude these prefatory remarks, without expressing his deep obligations to those professional Gentlemen whose encouragement cheered, and whose assistance softened his labours. It were the height of ingratitude to omit the name of the Honourable Thomas Stowell, the Clerk of the Rolls in the Isle of Man, whose talents, erudition, consummate knowledge of the language, customs, and laws of his native soil, and, above all, his unbounded benevolence, eminently qualified him
to aid and direct those efforts by which the present volume was produced. i ur
To John Cæsar Gelling, and John Llewellyn, Esquires, the Author begs leave to make this public acknowledgement for the readiness with which they afforded much valuable informas tion.top
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