Various Manx-published Temperance Newspapers 1836-1848


The following are taken from Cubbon's Bibliography and relate to the period when many temperance (and sometimes other chartist, vegetarian etc) organisations printed their journals in Douglas in order to both avoid stamp duty and more importantly to exploit the loophole in UK postal regulations.

Cubbon's contibution are blockquoted - all other comments are my own based on material from other sources; the [125, W.C. Coll., L 10/1.] like indications are the accession and shelf marks at the Manx Museum, G.W.Wood was the great collector of Manx related material whose collection formed the nucleus of the Manx Museum's Library.




Publishers Walls and Fargher, and later in 1837 Robert Fargher.

No copy of this publication has been preserved, although it was claimed that thousands had been printed. It. appears to have been one of Robert Fargher’s ventures, and G. W. Wood states it was continued for five years until it was merged into the British Temperance Advocate and Journal.

Harrison’s Bib. (p. 148) mentions the publication as having been commenced in 1836 and running for five years.

Following the 1836 Rechabite conference a working party reported back that:

That the establishment of a Rechabite magazine would be premature, but this meeting strongly recommends that the Isle of Man Guardian be supported by the Rechabites, it being the only publication in which their principles have been advocated

According to Cubbon (p1454)

An agreement was made at the Fifth Conference of British Association for the Promotion of Temperance held in Birmingham in 1838, to discontinue the publication of the Leeds Advocate and Herald and the Isle of Man Guardian, replacing them by the new British Temperance Advocate and Journal — in order that a united effort might be made to place it on a high and secure foundation. In order to cope with the tremendous circulation of this free Journal Robert Fargher installed a new printing machine ‘ capable of throwing off 1,500 impressions per hour.’

Robert Faragher appeared to have had major disagreements with the Rechabites early in 1839 after claiming that his journal had been 'stolen' from him at the Rechabite Conference though he continued to publish it for some months until apparently F.R.Lees moved briefly to Douglas in 1840.



Published under the Authority of the British Association for the Promotion of Temperance.

Speaking the Truth in Love.—Paul.

No. 1, Douglas, January 15, 1839.

Price 1½d., with supplement 2½d. Douglas, Isle of Man : printed and published by Walls and Fargher, Top of Post Office Lane.12pp. 280x186.
The Preston Temperance Advocate, the Isle of Man Guardian and Leeds Herald are incorporated.

[125, W.C. Coll., L 10/1.]

This periodical, which was issued by the Association named above, was founded to advocate ‘ full, consistent, thorough-going Teetotalism.’ The Isle of Man Guardian, which had been established in 1836, ceased when the Advocate commenced. There were local agents in Yorkshire, North of England, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Warwickshire, Leicesteishire, London, Scotland and Ireland. The agent in Man was Robert Fargher, Douglas.

It was claimed that 10,000 copies were distributed. Postage was free to all parts of the United Kingdom, F’rance, Spain, Greece, Canada, the West India Colonies, etc., and could be re-posted.

In the 7th number of the Advocate the name of Walls was dropped out of the imprint ; it read on 15th July, 1839 : ‘ Printed and published by Robert Fargher.’

In No. 9, 16th Sept., 1839, the printer was advertising for a second-hand printing machine, preferably one made by Cowper or Napier. No. 11 announced that they purchased ‘ a new printing machine capable of throwing off fifteen hundred impressions per hour.’ It was proposed to distribute gratuitously 10,000 copies per month, costing £500 for the year.

Although there is no water-mark in the paper, it is very likely that it was made at the Laxey Paper Mills, which were in full operation at this time.

According to Lees' biography, F.R.Lees became editor and proprietor in 1840 and in 1841 it was published by Lees and Robinson.


MEARNS, P. Tirosh lo Yayin

; or, the Wine Question consiidered in an extremely novel point of view ; with a Scheme of Hebrew Wines, and Illustrations (Philosophical and Critical) of the Principal Passages of the Bible connected with the Subject. London : J. Pasco, 12, Paternoster Row; Walker, 37 Briggate, Leeds ; Rewcastle, Dean Street~ Newcastle-upon Tyne ; Gallie, Buchanan Street, Glasgow ; Zeiglar, South Bridge, Edinbro’ ; and Livesey, Douglas, Isle of Man. 1841. At the end are the words ‘ Printed by J Livesey, Douglas, Isle of Man.’

The author, who was a well-known temperance reformer attempts to classify the Hebrew Wines, and connect them with the known wines of Ancient Greece and Italy,’

The printing is very creditable, there being many Hebrew and Greek terms throughout. 190 x 120 mms, pp. 164 with an additional pamphlet as follows :

LEES, FREDERIC R. History of the Wine Question and Defence of Ultra Teetotalism from Recent Attacks.

(Reprinted from the Supplement to the British Temperance Advocate). Douglas : Published by F. R. Lees, Advocate Office. Sold by J. Pasco, London, and Jowett, Printer Leeds. 1841. Price 3d. This pamphlet, printed in Douglas by J. Livesey, is 190x120 mms, pp. 24, [ the whole volume is registered H 398, 2590 (G. W. Wood).]

There are but few pieces of printing recorded as his[Livesey's] work.



the organ of the British Association for the Promotion of Temperance and of the Irish Temperance Union. Monthly 1½d Edited by Dr. Frederic R. Lees, of Leeds. Printed by John Livesey, Athol Street, Douglas. Published R Lees at the office Thomas Street Douglas for the proprietor, Dr. F. R. Lees, Leeds, to whom all orders and communications must be addressed 246x160

[125, W.C. Coll., L10/1]

The earliest copy of this monthly in the Library is dated 1st October, 1844, and is called ‘ new Series.’ It is smaller size than that of the year 1848, and embraces in its title the words ‘ and the Irish Temperance Union'

The name of John Livesey in the imprint for a few issues is worthy of note ; he was a well-known Lancashire temperance worker. Livesey, in the imprint, soon gives place to William Robinson & Co., 66, Athol Str Douglas.

The circulation was claimed to be 10,000

The Liberal of April 11th, 1846, in its editorial column gives a catalogue of other newspapers either dead or, in the Liberal’s opinion, dying. These include the Manxman, the Temperance Advocate, the Church Chronicle (associated with Mr. Dillon, apparently dead at the time of writing), and Brontiere O’Brien’s National Reformer. But the Reformer, published at 40, Duke Street, was advertising itself in the Sun on October 10th

The Advocate continued for several years certainly up to July, 1849, a copy of which date is in the Museum. In this there is a notice to Subscribers, Postmasters, announcing its free postal facilities to many parts of the world

In the issue of the National Temperance Advocate for May, 1849, the editor, who writes from Bolton, announces the cessation of the Free Postage privilege.

He states that they have been taken away without a moment’s notice in common with the other Isle of Man papers. ‘ Since the order withdrawing the privilege was issued, the moat strenuous efforts have been made to secure it again, either for an indefinite period, or down to the end of the year. Thus far, however, the exertions made have been unavailing, and the delay on the part of the Government in giving an answer to our memorial leaves hut little hope of the recovery of the lost boon.’

Publication ceased in Man, it is thought, with the June number of 1849.

 Lees and Robinson bought out Livesey from the Atholl Street printing shop in July 1844 and it looks as if Livesey soon afterwards severed his connection.



an organ of free enquiry in Literature, Philosophy and Religion edited by Dr. F. R. Lees, F.S.A., of Leeds, and G.S. Phillips. Monthly, 7d.

There is no copy in the Library of the Manx Museum. The first issue is said to be 15th January, 1845. The publishers, according to an advertisement in the National Temperance Advocate of 1848, were Lees and Robinson of Douglas. In the Advocate of Jan., 1849, there is a reference to it; and also in Harrison’s Bib., p. 168.

The privilege of free postage was of value to such a publication as this. The advert in the Long-pledge Teetotaler dated Bolton, July, 1849, states that it is printed on good paper, with a new and neat type, and contains 96 pp. roy. l6mo. for the price of 9d. per single number, and post free to any part of the world where the stamped papers can go for 6s. per year.

George Searle Phillips was born at Peterborough in January 1816 and became a skilled journalist (later acquiring reasonable fame as writer in the USA); he and Lees first met during their days together in the Leeds Debating Society. Their association flourished after Phillips took over the editorship of the Leeds Times; it would appear that Phillips (sometimes under his non-de-plume of January Searle) contributed much of the literary content. By end of 1848 it appeared to be under Lees sole editorship and changed its title for the final two years of its life to The Truth Tester and Present Age.



devoted to Free discussion on Temperance, Hydriatism, Diatectics, Physiology, Chemistry. National and Social Economy, Mental and Moral Philosophy and Logic, Biblical Criticism and Theology. Edited by Dr. F. R. Lees, F.S.A.Scot.. author of ‘The Metaphysics of Owenism Dissected.’ Published monthly, price 2d., on the 15th of each month, post free. Douglas, Isle of Man : printed by W. Robinson and Co., 66, Athol Street.

No copy of this appears to have survived. It must not be confounded with The Truth Seeker, which was also edited by the well-known and popular Dr. F. R. Lees, with George S. Phillips. There is an advertisement of it in the Oddfellows’ Chronicle, Nov., 1846, Sept., 1847, and it is believed to have run to August, 1848.

In its later period it was edited by W. Horswell, of Ramsgate.

Whilst no copy of the Truth Tester seems to have survived (either in the Manx Museum or elsewhere in the British Isles) copies of The Truth Tester, Temperance Advocate and Healthian Journal for the period 1847-8 when Horsell produced it, having bought it from Lees, do exist (in British Library).




Edited by the Rev. John Stamp. The owner was Dr. F. R. Lees, and it was printed and published by Lees and Robinson, Douglas. Monthly, price 2d. London publisher, Wrn. Britain, 11 , Paternoster Row. All orders and communications addressed to Rev. John Stamp, Teetotal Cottage, Manchester. 12 pp. 250x175. [125, W.C. Coll., L 10/1.]

The first number of this monthly periodical was issued on 7th January, 1846. It is not known how long it continued, but certainly in Man up to February, 1848. The pledge which the editor urged his readers to take is as follows:—’ In the name and by the help of God I abstain from all intoxicating drinks as a beverage, as medicine, and at the table of the Lord; likewise from cigars, tobacco and snuff; and will do my best to rid the world and the church of these their greatest curse'. It was the intention of the editor to have issued the work weekly. After April he states he will publish twice a month if 3,000 subscribers were obtained.


? 1846.


Monthly. Owned and published by W. Robinson.

No copy of this publication appears to have survived There is no record when it commenced, but we know from the pages of the Advocate it was issued on December, 1847, and that it ran to May, 1849, when free postage ceased.




A Review of Temperance Principles and Progress. Quarterly, 2½d. Ed. by Dr. F. R. Lees. 64pp., 4to. Douglas, Isle of Man : William Robinson, 66 Athol Street.

The above is from an advertisement in the Oddfellows' Chronicle for Sept., 1847. No copy now exists to our knowledge. The full period of its existence is not known.

It is not mentioned in Robert Fargher’s report to G.P.O.




Monthly. Proprietors and Printers, Shirrefs and Russell, 2 Lord Street, Douglas.

No copy of the paper has survived. It is not known if this was a re-titling of one of the numerous papers devoted to the temperance mission. It was being published in Douglas in February, 1848, according to a report made by Robert Fargher to the G.P.O.




Published monthly under the superintendence of the sub-executive committee, as the organ of the British Association for Promotion of Temperance. l6pp. 260x175. Printed and published by William Robinson, 66 Athol St Douglas. [124, W.C. Coll]

Most of the pages are records of meetings held in England, Ireland and Scotland. There are many accounts of meetings addressed by James Teare, the well-knowntemperance reformer, especially in Cornwall. (see pp. 45, 59, 103, 119, 141.)

The National Temperance Advocate states that ‘

‘ privileged with a free postage from the Isle of Man to every part of the United Kingdom and can be reposted. Within seven days of publication it can also be sent free to the West India and North American Colonies, to Sidney (by Packet), France (via Dover), to Hamburgh, Lubeck, Cuxhaven, Bremen, Oldenburgh, and Denmark, to Spain, Gibraltar, Greece, Ionian Isles, Malta and East Indies (all via Southampton), to Algiers, Hong Kong, New Granada, Havana, Venezuela, Peru, to Hayti, to Honduras and the Bahamas, and the Brazils and Buenos Ayres &c

In the isue for May, 1848, it says, under the heading of the Isle of Man : ‘ The good cause progresses steadily.

‘ Light is being rapidly diffused over men’s minds in Mona’s Isle. The principles are spreading by means of lectures and literature. The spirited committee of the Douglas Temperance Society are at the head of the movement. . . . A committee of the Legislature has proposed the entire closing of the public-houses on Sunday.’

In the issue for Oct., 1848, there is an account of a meeting of delegates from all parts of the Island. William Sayle, of Larivane, Kirk Andreas, was the president, and C. T. Cannell was the secretary.

An extra number of the Advocate was issued in June 1848, consisting of 64 pp. octavo. In order to do this work creditably, a good staff and ample type and machinery were necessary; and the firm of William Robinson, of 66 Athol Street, came out of the trial very well.

In the issue for Jan., 1849, there is a record of the labours of M. W. Crawford, who delivered in Man 45 lectures, preached 10 sermons, and visited 105 persons in their houses, and had taken 236 pledges.

It is almost certain that the withdrawal of the postal privilege must have caused the discontinuance of this useful paper in May, 1849, as far as Man was concerned.

The marriage of the printer and publisher of the Chronicle is recorded in the November, 1845, issue:

‘ Nov. 4, at Kirk Braddan, by the Rev. Robert Brown [father of the Rev. T. E. Brown, the poet], Mr. William Robinson, printer and publisher of the Temperance Advocate, to Ellen, eldest daughter of P.Prov.C.S. Philip Cashen, Isle of Man District.’

In the National Temperance Advoctate for June, 1849, printed monthly by Wm. Robinson, there is a reference to an enlarged edition of the History of the Origin and Success of the Advocacy of the Principles of Total Abstinence by James Teare, one of the originators of the total abstinence system.




Proprietors and printers, Shirrefs and Russell, 2 Lord Street, Douglas.

Not in Library. It is not known at what date this commenced, but it was in existence in June, 1848, according to a report to the G.P.O. made by Robert Fargher. It is possible that Manx Healthian Journal was a sub-title to The Truth-Tester.

This surmise of Cubbon is correct - A single supplement (Oct 22, 1847) is entitled The Truth Tester, Temperance Advocate and Manx Healthian Journal.



[in Manchester, July 28th, 1848] . In vol. 1, Vegetarian Advocate. Douglas : William Robinson, 66, Athol Street. Pp. 20, 247x165 mms, [2588].


Report of the Proceedings at the Conference of Ministers of Various Religious Denominations held at Manchester to Consider the best means of promoting the Temperance Reformation ; on April 12, 13 and 14, 1848. Douglas:

Printed and published by William Robinson at No. 66 Athol street. 260x160, pp. 32 ; [H 398, 124 (W. Cubbon)].


W. Cubbon A Bibliographical Account of Works relating to the Isle of Man vol. 2 Douglas:Manx Museum and National Trust, 1939

F. Lees Dr Frederick Richard Lees : A Biography London: H.J.Osborn 1904



Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
© F.Coakley , 2001