[From Manx Soc vol 3 - part 1 Letter of James 7th Earl]


1.–Another meeting appointed., where he also appears with a good guard. 2.–Many busy men speak only Manx, which a more designing person [probably Captain Christian, a late governor] would hinder; but the Earl forbids it. 3.–Advice about appearing in public. The Manxmen great talkers and wranglers. 5, 6, 7–The Earl's spies get in with there, and wheedle them.

ANOTHER meeting was appointed at Castle Peel, where I expected some wrangling, and had it. I provided there also for my ovn safety, and, if occasion were, to curb any or all the rest. For in this kind 'tis good to be assured; and when the people take notice of it, you shall have much better dealing with them. For otherwise, according to that saying, which I have heard spoken on another occasion, it is very true, That he who is not sure to win is sure to lose.

2. Many of the busybodies spake Manx only; which some officiously said should be commanded to hold their peace, that they might not be so troublesome: which I was unwilling to, for I came prepared to give men liberty of speech. And I knew, by good experience, that these country people were their mothers' children — loving much to speak much; and, as you should deal with women disposed to prattle, or as a barking cur that follows your horse-heels, so did I give them liberty to put themselves out of breath; and they were the sooner quiet, but much more satisfied. For here be no lawyers — or, rather, there is none but lawyers; for they will tell every man their own story; and better will they be content, if you deny them after much speaking, than to prevent their talk by granting their own desires. This was well known to him who advised me to silence them; and I knew that he knew it, and that he did the same for no good intent.

3. It is good in all business of this nature, especially when you must appear in public (where you are, as indeed seldom is a great man other than, like a candle on a mountain), to prepare yourself to appear such as may get you praise; so must you fit you right unto the eyes you know will look upon you. But think all times all eyes, or rather Him who is all eye, beholds you; then shall you be sure to please God, the world, and yourself, — which certainly is the greatest craft.

4. I resolved to give them liberty of speaking, after their usual wrangling one with the other, as they have it, in a very bitter manner; for they chide, misname, and more unseemly rail than a butter-queen in Broad-street. If they require anything of me, they ask it as if I durst not deny. To reason with them I knew was vain; so as I purposed to endure any Quietness, provided they crossed not my motions, which I was careful might be just and lawful. For it matters not very much what the people can say of you, so wise men may observe you bring your designs to pass.

5. Before the day of this general meeting I provided me of some informers, who unsuspectedly might mingle with the people; thereby discovering Forehand the motions they would make me, their champions they relied on, and what likeliest might best content there.

6. These men followed their instructions pretty well; insinuating and getting a good belief of divers, by seeming to have the same opinion with them, and were as forward to rail against the present Government, and complain of honest men in trust with me, as any of the rest. Thus the simple people, who were misled, believed presently they spake as they did think. Hereby my diligent informers could soon lead them by the nose. And such must be dealt with as the hypocondriacs — a melancholy disease which some have had, thinking their nose or their arms longer than they were. To cure which, you must seem and say you have the same disease, and tell them how you yourself was cured; to which they giving credit will instantly recover. So as

7. After my busybodies had sufficiently spoke ill of my office (wherein the people were confirmed in their first belief, which was very necessary), they began nevertheless to speak well of me, assuring [them of] their knowledge of my good intent unto the people, to give them all satisfaction in any of their just grievances; and, as dear brethren, gave [them] this good counsel, that the people should beware, of all things, not to anger me, — for I was a good friend, but a bad enemy; and thereof gave them some instances of my justice, clemency, and power. They were assured I did love the people (which is the only way to get the people's love); they knew certainly, if any were unreasonable and did provoke me, they should run a hazard (for if the people fear you not, you never can expect their loves or avoid their scorn, and never be able to bring to pass what you desire or what is fitting); they said I had such power to maintain my actions, that there was no appeal, — for when any presumption of that nature is in a rogue, you either must quickly quash him, or you open a gap to your utter ruin.


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