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



1.—The great love of brothers and sisters to their Bastard brothers and sisters in the Isle of Man. 2.—The Christins (the most numerous and powers family in the Island) alter their name to Christian. 3.—Their power, seats, matches, estates. 4.—The -prayer in the above mentioned infant's Petition against Deemster Christian. 5.—The petitioner could scarce get a man to write it, for fear of the Deemster and his family. 6.—The Earl's commissioners formerly ordered the Deemster to pay the infant a sum of money for the estate he withholds from him; but he would not. 7.—The Earl resolves the Deemster shall both pay the infant and take a lease of him, which will open his way to recover his right of others; 8—in which case he will take small fines, and, advises his son to do so too. 9.—If the Deemster won't agree to this, he can deal with him another way.


BEFORE I go farther, let some use be made of that true jest concerning the Deemster.

2. It is very true, there be many bastards here in this Isle; and he is to be wondered at who wonders at it. But sure it would be very well if that law were here as in other places, that all known bastards be called after their mothers' names. And there is more reason for it here, in respect they are subject to make factions. And men of the same name will side with one another against anybody. Nor do they love or esteem less because their friends, brothers, or sisters be base born.

3. There be many of the Christians in this country—that is, Christins, [for that is] the true name; but they have made themselves chief here. Wherefore, if a better name could be found, they would likely pretend unto it. I pray God they be Christians indeed, and honest men; for then it matters not how many be of a name. And I advise you, if a name fancy you not because some so called have offended you, yet let it not be a rule to hate the persons of those you know not, because some of their kin have heretofore displeased you, after the manner of the feud in Scotland.

4. But it is not so much that so many be called Christians as that by policy they are crept into the principal places of power; and they be seated round about the country, and in the heart of it; they are matched with the best families; have the best livings [that is, farms]; and must not be neglected.

5. The prayer in the petition formerly mentioned was to this effect—"That there might be a fair trial; and, when the right was recovered, that I would grant them a lease thereof," &c This being in the "tenure of the straw," and a motion to me which the Deemster may think very pleasing, it will doubtless startle him.

6. You may herein observe the interest that the Deemster hath in this country, being the petitioner could get but one man in the whole Island who durst write this petition fair.

7. Upon same conference with the petitioner, I find a motion heretofore was made by my commissioners, that the Deemster should give this fellow a sum of money. But he would par with none. Nevertheless, now, it may be, he will; and, I hope be so wise as to assure unto himself his holding, by compounding with me for a lease of the same. To the which, if they two agree, I shall grant it him on easy terms. For, if he break the ice, I may imply catch some fish.

8. And I will also, for this first time, take reasonable fine from all the rest. And, indeed, I would counsel you to be alway good unto the people, and to all tenants under you; considering yourself is but tenant for life unto the Lord of Life, who hall committed this land and people to your stewardship. Wherefore so govern the same as you may give God a good account.

9. I do bethink myself, in case the Deemster and I should not agree, how to manage this business. But, because it may haply never happen, I will not speak more of it yet; but, by this let you see my custom on all occasions to prepare myself ad utrosq. casus; which is a good rule.


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