[From Manx Soc Vol 12]
The Fine Fund is the name given to the fund formed of all casual revenues of the Crown not belonging or appropriated to a particular department, such as the Land revenue or the Customs, and is so designated from the circumstance that it consists mainly of Fines or pecuniary penalties. The Fund may be stated generally, to be the produce of all the revenue, not being Customs revenue or Land revenue, and not being revenue applied to special purposes, to which prior to 1765, the Lords of the Island were entitled.
The Fund (which has always been small in amount) has been from time to time applied in the payment of minor expenses of the Government, including the expenses connected with the Gaol, (the Fund being credited with the profit arising from the work of prisoners,) some small salaries of officials, and for many years past the. expense of maintaining the Police establishment. The Fund not being sufficient to meet the charges upon it, the deficiency has been periodically met by payments in aid from the Customs revenue.
In England the casual revenues form part of the hereditary revenues of the Crown. The casual revenues in the Island, (not connected with the Land revenue,) as part of the sovereign rights of the Lords, were purchased from the Duke and Duchess of Atholl in 1765, and vested in the Crown under the Revesting Act, 5 Geo. III, cap. 26 ; the consideration money of the purchase being paid out of the Customs revenue of Great Britain, under the Act 12 Geo. I, cap. 28. (See Notes on the Chronicle, sees. 24 and 28,) In the schedule to the Revesting Act, the casual revenues are included in the words" felons goods, waifs and strays, forfeitures, perquisites of Chancery, wrecks of the sea, seizures, fines and perquisites out of the Spiritual Court, freedoms of aliens," &c. ;(1) though probably some of such casual revenue would belong to the Land revenue.
It would appear that in the arrangements as to the revenue of the . Island, which resulted in the passing of " The Isle of Man Customs, Harbours, and Public Purposes Act, 1866," the Fine Fund was treated as in the like position as the Customs revenue, and the sum of £10,000 payable yearly to the Exchequer under that Act was considered to be in full for the claim of the Imperial Government, both to the surplus Customs revenue and the casual revenues. This is shown by the following extracts from a Treasury Minute, dated the 5th July, 1866, directing the mode in which the provisions of the Act are to be carried out
While dealing with this part of the subject [Expenses of Government,] my Lords will offer some remarks on the Fine Fund of the Island. Hitherto it has been the custom to apply this Fund to various services connected with the administration of justice, &c., the public being only charged with the deficiency. It appears to my Lords that it would be more correct in principle, and more useful for purposes of comparison, if these charges were paid in full out of Customs receipts, credit, of course, being taken for the fines as revenue. If this course should be adopted, orders must be given to the officer who collects the fines to pay over quarterly to the Customs .department the sums which he receives. My Lords would wish to be informed whether the Commissioners of Customs or the Lieutenant-Governor see any objection to such an arrangement.
And under the head " Disposition of Surplus Income," The Treasurer should collect all fines and pay them over quarterly to the Customs. He should make a quarterly estimate of the expenditure which has hitherto been defrayed from the Fine Fund, and should draw for that amount oil the Collector of Customs. My Lords understand that these payments are of a minute and miscellaneous description, and that an account of them has hitherto been rendered to the Lieutenant-Governor. If then the Lieutenant.Governor should be of opinion that he is in a better position for controlling such expenses than the Commissioners of Audit, my Lords would not object to the present arrangement remaining unaltered, the Treasurer furnishing, of course, to the Commissioners of Customs a certificate from the Lieutenant-Governor that the account is correct, which certificate would be a sufficient voucher for the Commissioners of Audit; but my Lords must have the assurance of the Lieutenant-Governor as to the efficiency of the control which he exercises.
The Lieutenant-Governor, by letter to the Secretary of the Treasury, dated the 13th July, 1866, states with reference to the foregoing extracts from the Treasury Minute
Under the head of " Expenses of Government" with reference to the proposed manner of dealing with the Fine Fund, and respecting which their Lordships desire my opinion, I beg to state that I entirely concur in the course the Minute proposes should be adopted.
With reference to the auditing of the Accounts of the Fine Fund, I am of opinion that as the payments are of a minute and miscellaneous description, the Lieutenant-Governor is in a better position for controlling such expenditure than the Commissioners of Audit. Two or more members of the Council assist the GovernOr in auditing these accounts, to which they subsequently attach their signatures ; and I fully believe in thethorough efficiency of the control thus exercised by the Lieutenant Governor and the Audit Court.
It will be thus seen that the Island receives the benefit of the casual revenues of the Crown included under the designation of The Fine Fund.
1 See p. 114
A.D. 1767.A Government or public Post Office in the Isle of Man appears to have been 4lrst established under Act of Parliament 7 Geo. III, c. 50 (1767)," An Act for amending certain Laws relating to the revenue of the Post Office, and for granting rates of postage for the conveyance of letters and packets between Great Britain and the Isle of Man,"it having " been found necessary, for the convenience and improvement of trade and commerce, and for the more safe and speedy conveyance of letters and packets between Great Britain and the Isle of Man, to establish a packet boat between the port of Whitehaven in the county of Cumberland, and the port of Douglas in the Isle of Man" The Post Office thus established was to be under the direction and management of the Postmaster-General of Great Britain. By secs. 4 and 5 of the Act the Postmaster-General and his deputies are authorised to take certain rates for the conveyance of letters, &c. to and from and within the Island The application of the revenue is thus directed by sec. 7 : That all the monies arising by the rates aforesaidç except the monies which shall be necessary to defray such expenses as shall be incurred in the collection and management of the same, and all other expenses attending the said Office, [Post Office of Great Britain,] and the due execution of the Acts relating thereto, shall be appropriated and applied to such and the same uses, to which the present rates of postage are respectively now by law appropriated and made applicable.
The following references to the Acts of Parliament in force in 1767, will show to what " uses" the British revenue was applicable. By the section above recited the Manx revenue was to be applied to the like uses.
1 Anne, Stat. 1, c. 7 (1701)By sec. 3 the revenue of the Post Office, being treated as part of the hereditary revenue of the Crown, is declared to be " for the support of Her Majestys household, and of the honor and dignity of the Crown ;" and by sec. 7 the Sovereign is restrained from alienating, granting, or charging the revenue beyond his or her life.
9 Anne, c. 10 (1710), sees. 35 and 38.After payment of the expense ~of management of the Post Office, £700 weekly for 32 years from 29th September, 1711, to be paid into the Exchequer, " towards the establishment of a good, sure, and lasting fund, in order to raise a preseilt supply of money for carrying on the war, and other Her Majestys most necessary occasions, such sum of £700 weekly to be paid in preference to other charges. Sec. 38.All annuities and other payments and incumbrances charged in the revenues of the Post Office by former Acts or Grants to be next payable. Sec. 42.One third of the surplus revenue over and above the sum of £111,461 17s. 10d., (being the amount of the gross revenue under repealed Acts for one year to 29th September, 1710,) and over and above the £700 weekly, to be reserved for the disposal of Parliament.
1 George I, Stat. 1, c. 1 (1714). By this Act provision is made for the support of His Majestys household, &c. It is declared that the revenues of the Post Office, &c., are to be, during the Kings life, for defraying expenses of the Civil Government, and better supporting the dignity of the Crown.
3 George I, c. 7 (1716). By sec. 1 the payment of £700 weekly into the Exchequer, under 9 Anne, c. 10, is made perpetual.
1 George II, Stat. 1, c. 1 (1727). ~ Provision is by this Act made for the support of His Majestys household, &c. The Post Office revenue, and produce of other branches of revenue, are to be, during the Kings life, for the expenses of government, &c.
1 George III, c. 1 (1760). The King having placed the hereditary revenues of the Crown during his life at the disposal of Parliament, provision was made by this Act for the support of His Majestys household, and of the honor and dignity of the Crown. By sec. 3 the amount payable to the King during his life was made chargeable on the Aggregate Fund, and the produce of the hereditary revenues of the Crown, including those of the Post Office, were directed to be carried to such Fund.(1)
5 George III, c. 25 (1765). By this Act new rates of postage were imposed. By sec. 24 the moneys arising from the rates were to be applied to such and the same uses as the former rates.
These references show the " uses" to which the revenue was applied at the time of the passing of the Act of 1767. It may be stated generally, that the duties of postage were considered as hereditary revenue, or as substituted for hereditary revenue ;that provision, beyond the hereditary revenues, was made by Parliament for Queen Anne, and Kings George the First and Second, during their respective lives ; the hereditary revenues being also limited to them, without power of alienation, during their lives ;that various charges affecting the Post Office revenue had been created by previous Sovereigns and by Parliament; and that on the accession of King George III, he accepted a provision from Parliament in lieu of all hereditary revenues, which, after deducting charges of collection, and other charges affecting such revenues, were to be carried to the Aggregate Fund.
1 The Aggregate Fund was established by 1 George I, Stat. 2, c. 12 (1714). It was absorbed In the Consolidated Fund of Great Britain, established by 21, Geo, III, c. 13 (1787), sec. 47. The hereditary revenues of Scotland were to be carried to the Consolidated Fund by 28 Geo. III, c. 33 (1788), Sec. 13. The Consolidated Funds of Great Britain and Ireland were united by 56 Geo III, C. 98 (1st July, 1816).
A.D. 1787.By Act 27 George III, c. 13 (1787), sec. 48, the revenues of the Post Office were to be carried to the Consolidated Fund.
A.D. 1805.By Act 45 George III, c. 11, (12th March, 1805,)" An Act for granting certain additional rates and duties in Great Britain on the conveyance of letters,"extra rates on letters to and from the Isle of Man were imposed. By sec. 6 the rates are to be carried to the Consolidated Fund, but the purposes for which they were raised are thus declared :
That all the monies arising and to arise by the said rates and duties, or any of them, shall be deemed an addition made to the revenue, for the purpose of defraying the increased charge occasioned by any Loan made, or Stock created or to be created, by virtue of any Act or Acts passed or to be passed in this session of Parliament ; and that the said monies shall, during the space of ten years next ensuing, be paid into the receipt of His Majestys Exchequer at Westminster, distinctly and apart from all other branches of the public revenues ; and that there shall be provided and kept in the office of the Auditor of the said receipt, during the said period of ten years, a book or books in which all the monies arising from the said rates and duties, and paid into the said receipt, shall, together with the monies arising from any rates and duties granted in this session of Parliament, for the purposes of defraying such increased charge as aforesaid, be entered separate and apart from all other monies paid or payable to His Majesty, his heirs or successors, upon any account whatever.
A.D. 1820.By Act 1 Geo. IV, c. 1 (6th June, 1820), sec. 1, the produce of the hereditary rates, duties, payments and revenues in Great Britain and Ireland, which were formerly carried to the Aggregate and Consolidated Funds, were to be carried to the Consolidated Fund , during the life of the King, who, in lieu thereof, accepted a Parliamentary provision for the support of his household and of the honor and dignity of the Crown. Probably the Isle of Man Postage revenues were not distinguished from those in Great Britain and Ireland in the actual application of them, but the Manx revenues of Postage cannot be Considered as hereditary revenues of the Crown.
AD. 1822.By Act 3 Geo. IV, c. 105 (5th August, 1822)," An Act for granting rates of Postage for the conveyance of letters and packets between the port of Liverpool, in the county of Lancaster, and the Isle of Man,"duties on letters and packets conveyed to or from Liverpool and Douglas were declared. By sec. 3 the application of the moneys to be raised is thus directed : That the monies to arise by the rates and duties aforesaid, except the monies which shall be necessary to defray such expenses as shall be incurred in the collection and management of the same, shall be paid into the receipt of the Exchequer, and carried to and made part of the Consolidated Fund of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and applied to such and the same uses as the present rates and duties of postage are now or shall be directed to be paid and applied.
AD. 1837.In 1837 a consolidation of the Post Office laws was effected, and by Act 1 Vict. c. 33 (12th July, 1837)," An Act for the management of the Post Office," (which Act included the Isle of Man,) sec. 13, it is enacted
That the monies to arise by the several duties granted by the Post Office Acts (except the monies which shall be necessary to defray such expenses as shall be incurred in the receipt and management of the same, and except all annuities and yearly sums now charged thereon by law,) shall be paid into the receipt of Her Majestys Exchequer, and carried to and made part of the Consolidated Fund of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
By Act 1 Vict. c. 34 (12th July, 1837)," An Act for the regulation of the duties of Postage,"new Postage rates to and from and within the Isle of Man, to commence on 1st August, 1837, were enacted.
A.D. 1839.By Act 2 & 3 Vict. c. 52 (17th August, 1839,)" An Act for the further regulation of the duties of Postage until the 5th day of October, 1840,"the Treasury were authorised to alter the rates of Postage. (Under this Act a reduced uniform rate of Postage throughout the. United Kingdom, the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands was established ; the first minimum uniform rate being 4d, subsequently reduced to 1d. Postage stamps were also authorised by the Act to be used.)
AD. 1840.By Act 3 & 4 Vict. c. 96, (10th August 1840,)" An Act for the regulation of the duties of Postage,"new Postage rates from the 1st September, 1840, were enacted. (The Act required the payment to be regulated by weight, and the minimum, uniform rate of 1d. within the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man, &c. was continued. The money order department of the Post Office, which had been previously in use, was established by the Act.)
A.D. 1848.By Act 11 & 12 Vict. c. 117, (4th September, 1848,)" An Act for rendering certain newspapers published in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man liable to postage,"the Postmaster-General, with the consent of the Treasury, is authorised to fix rates of Postage on newspapers printed or published in those Islands.
It is thus seen that the Postage revenue of the Island has been always applied to Imperial, and not Insular, purposes. Beyond the obtaining, from time to time, Parliamentary returns of the amount of revenue, &c., no effort appears to have been made on the part of the Island to obtain the surplus revenue for the benefit of the Island. But there seems to be no valid reason why the Island is not entitled to the surplus Postage revenue as much as to the surplus Customs revenue. The Postage revenue arises from duties or taxes levied by Parliament without the consent of the Legislature or people of the Island,taxes to which no claim could be made for Imperial purposes under the purchase of the Sovereign rights of the Duke of Atholl, for no like taxes existed at the time of the purchase. The advantages of the connection of the Island with the English Postal system are inestimably great, but still,all expenses attending or connected with the Insular branch of the Post Office being paid,no substantial reason seems to exist why revenue should be obtained for Imperial purposes from the Island by means of the Post Office.
A.D. 1577.By the Table of " the Rates of the Customs at every port within the Isle of Mann, allowed and confirmed by the Right honourable Henry, Earl of Derby, Lord of the said Isle," on the 28th June, 1577, duties called Anchorages are made payable to the Lord in respect of " ships, barks, and pickards, both with and without cock boats, anchoring in a dry harbour, or within the Heads." (Mills Statutes, 43.)
A.D. 1692.The Book of Rates illegally made by the Governor and Council, and approved of by the Lord in 1692, altered the Anchorage Duties of 1577 by reducing them by one half the amount in favour of " the countryman,"the former rates being payable by " the stranger." This was a change apparently for - the benefit of the natives of the Island, but the benefit given was more than made good by increased duties on imports and exports. (Report of Commissioners of 1791, Appendix A, No. 3.)
Whether the receipt of the Anchorage Rates by the Lords involved on their part, originally, the obligation of improving and keeping in repair and order the Harbours, cannot now be ascertained. By the Act next referred to, by which the Legislature " with the gracious permission and condescension of his Lordship," appropriated the Anchorages for the amendment and repair of the Harbours, it is implied that the Harbours were not repaired out of the duties payable to the Lords.
A.D. 1734.By Act of Tynwald promulgated on the 26th September, 1734," An Act for repairing and amending the Sea-ports and Harbours of this Isle,"duties were made payable for the repair and improvement of the Harbours, in respect of certain ships and vessels, and of certain goods imported and exported, for 21 years from the 29th September, 1734, and the Anchorage rates were directed to be applied, for the same term, for the like purposes. The funds were to be applied by supervisors appointed by the Tynwald Court, and acting under the " instructions and directions" of the Court. (Mills Statutes, 220.)
A.D. 1740.By Act of Tynwald promulgated on the 24th June, 1740, provision was made for the collectors of rates and supervisors taking oaths for the due performance of their duties, and for the appointment of a Committee of the Tynwald Court annually, to act on behalf of the Court. (Mills Statutes, 262.)
A.D. 1753.By another Act of Tynwald promulgated 5th July, 1753, the Acts of 1734 and 1740 were continued for 21 years from the 10th October, 1755. (Mills Statutes, 302.)
The Insular Harbours were amongst the Sovereign rights purchased from the Duke and Duchess of Atholl in 1765. They are included in the words " royalties, regalities, franchises, liberties, and sea-ports," in sec. 1 of the Revesting Act, 5 Geo. III, cap. 26, and which by that section are declared to be " unalienably vested in His Majesty, his heirs and successors." As by the 4th section of the Act all " lands" were reserved from the conveyance by the Duke and Duchess of Atholl to the Crown, it has of late years been considered that the purchase of the Harbours and Sea-ports did not include the soil of the then Harbours, but merely the right of Harbour for ships and vessels,a kind of franchise or easement which the Crown on behalf of the public acquired on the lands of the Duke and Duchess and their heirs. However this was, after 1765, and so long as the Dukes of Atholl continued in the enjoyment of their reserved rights, the Harbours were from time to time