[From Manx Soc vol 16]


ABOUT the year 1833, and for several years subsequently, considerable disaffection prevailed throughout the island against the constitution of he country, but particularly against the House of Keys and the mode of their election. This disaffection was fostered by a number of malcontents, and was encouraged by a series of violent articles, which from time to time appeared in The Mona's Herald newspaper. The parties referred to in the following lines were the most prominent amongst the Radicals as they were called.

In 1837 the Political excitement referred to ran very high. A Reform association was established, and the most strenuous efforts made effect the object contemplated by the radical party, namely the over-throw of the House of Keys.

At this juncture "Hunt the Keys " appeared. The lines were first published in the Manx Sun (the organ of the constitutional party), and were afterwards printed in slips and freely circulated throughout the island. The pungency, and at the same time the truthfulness of the hits in almost every line produced a great effect. The squib was published anonymously, but the author was well-known to be a man of admitted ability and sterling wit, the late John Kelly, Esq., High Bailiff of Castletown, and a member of the House of Keys.

The first version appeared on the 10th September 1837, and the concluding one on the 23d December in the same year.


A New Song to an old and favourite Manx Air, called Hunt the Wren.


LET us hunt the Keys, says Jack Meary Vooar;
Let us hunt the Keys, says Juan Jem Moore
Let us hunt the Keys, says Davy St. Ann;
Let us hunt the Keys says the Union Mill man.


They bridges won't build, says Jack Meary Vooar;
Granane is untill'd, says Juan Jein Moore ;
The chiels are no skill'd, says Davy St. Ann ;
And the churches are fill'd, says the Union Mills man.


How can we capsize them, says Jack Meary Vooar?
By telling big lies man, says Juan Jem Moore ;
But dont mak a noise mon, says Davy St. Ann;
The Game Bill will suffice, says the Union Mill man.


Their house is too old, says Jack Meary Yooar;
They'll be easily sold, says Juan Jem Moore;
The Herald shall scold, says Davy St Ann-;
We'll all be enroll'd says the Union Mill man.


They'll have a lease of it still, says Jack Meary Vooar;
But we'll sell the goodwill, says Juan Jem Moore;
Who'll swallow the pill, says Davy St. Ann ;
We'll demur to the Bill, says the Union Mill man.


The petitions get on, says Jack Meary Vooar;
I'll wait on Lord John, says Juan Jem Moore;
You're a delegate mon, says Davy St. Ann;
And I've seen No. 1, says the Union Mill man.


We've "Billy Ballure," says Jack Meary Vooar
As butter milk pure, says Juan Jem Moore;
I'm no varra sure, says Davy St. Ann;
No radical truer, says the Union Mill man.

Second Version
To the Manx Air of Hunt the Wren


Oh where? oh where? says Jack Meary Yooar;
In Parliament Square, says Juan Jem Moore
Alicks no in the chair, says Davy St. Ann;
But old Caesar is there, says the Union Mill man.


Who'll be the new Key? says Jack Meary Vooar
M. Q. or E. G., says Juan Jem Moore;
Will they nevar tak me? says Davy St. Ann
The depot you made flee, says the Union Mill man.


They'll have Balla Var-vane, says Jack Meary Vooar;
Back to Karrane, says Juan Jem Moore ;
But why not Baljean? says Davy St. Ann.
He's too cross in the grain, says the Union Mill man.


There's the Cock of the roos;, says Jack Meary Vooar;
And Sir Arthur the goose, says Juan Jem Moore
They're na vara douse, says Davy St. Ann;
But they'd bother the house, says the Union Mill man.


Why not Duggan or Duff? says Jack Meary Vooar;
They've both brass enough, says Juan Jem Moore
Is it siller or puff? says Davy St. Ann;
They'd look pleasant and gruff, says the Union Mill man.


Why not Major or me? says Jack Meary Vooar;
They merit can't see, says Juan Jem Moore;
My fate's unco wee, says Davy St. Ann;
And Jack's helm's a-lee, says the Union Mill man.


They won't choose a Rad., says Jack Meary Vooar;
The last was so bad, says Juan Jem Moore;
Things look varra sad, says Davy St. Ann;
Ta traa goll ne raad, says the Union Mill man.



1st Line. Captain John W. S. Clucas, proprietor of the estate of Maryvoar in Kirk Santon. He was a captain in the merchant service.
2d Mr. John James Moore of Baljean.
3d Major David Stewart of the [blank] Regt. He purchased the estate in Kirk Santon now called Balla Vale, and built a house upon it, in which he lived. He spoke broad Scotch.
4th Mr. Will. Kelly of Douglas, who had established, and for many years conducted, the Union Mills.


1st Capt. C. was desirous to have a bridge built for the convenience of his own property. This the Committee of Highways (composed chiefly of Keys) declined to do, and the Captain was very indignant, and vented his anger against the whole body.
2d Refers to a large portion of Mr. J. J. M.'s property called " Grannane," which was uncultivated.
4th Mr. K. was an Independent, and was strongly opposed to the Church.


4th The Game Bill, which had been passed a few years previously, was a very unpopular Act.


3d Line. -The Mona's Herald newspaper.
4th A reform association had been established, in which persons became enrolled as members, and subscribed funds for payment of expenses, etc.


2d Refers to a transaction between Mr. J. J. M. and one of his tenants, in which the former was represented to have acted with great harshness.
4th This refers to a bill transaction to which Mr. R. demurred.


1st Petitions were got up in all parts of the island both to the Governor and the British Government, seeking for a change in the constitution.
2d Lord John Russell then Secretary of State for the Home department.
3d A deputation had, some short time before this, been appointed to go to London to confer with the British Government on the Fiscal or Custom Duties. Mr. J. J. M. was one of the deputies.
4th Refers to the cell or apartment in Castle Rushen, in which Mr. K. had been confined as an insolvent debtor,


1st Mr. Wm. Xtian of Ballure. who had been associated with the Radical ', but.who, upon his having been elected (in Dec. 1835) a member of the Keys, became a staunch supporter of the constitution.
2nd Upon the introduction of teetotalism in the island, Mr. J. J. M. became a leader and lecturer, and Strongly recommended the people to drink butter milk. .


2d The place in Castletown in which the House of Keys stands.
3d General Alexander Goldie of the Nunnery, the Speaker of the House of Keys, then absent.
4th Major Caesar Tobin of Middle, the acting speaker.


1st A vacancy had occurred by reason of the death, on the 4th Oct. 1837, of Mr. Gawne of Kentraugh.
2d Line.-Messrs. Mark H. Quayle (present Clerk of the Rolls) and Edward Gawne of Ballacuiry, nephew to the deceased member. Neither of these were, however, attached to the Radical party.
3d The Major, it was said, was very anxious to obtain a seat.
4th Castletown had been for many years a depot ; but in consequence of a most unfavourable and partial report sent by Major S. to the Horse Guards or War Department, the depot was done away with, thereby entailing a considerable loss to the island, but particularly to Castletown. The Major incurred great odium for his conduct in this matter.


1st Mr. John Bridson of Ballavaryane, who was subsequently elected.
2d Back to the old Style of Manx farmers or yeomen.
3d Mr. John James Moore.


lst Mr. Thomas Kneale of Ramsey, merchant. He was generally known as " Tommy Kneale Roos. "
2d Mr. Arthur C. Kayll, advocate, who had acquired in early life the cognomen of "Sir Arthur, " to which "the goose " was occasionally added.

1st Messrs. John Duggan and Robert Duff, both of Douglas, and who took an active part in the reform movement,


1st Major Stewart.


2d This refers to Mr. Wm. Christian above named, who, though not actually the last Key elected, was the last liberal or radical elected, and was "bad," inasmuch as he had turned upon his party.
4th Ta traa goll ne raad, literally-'" It is time to take (or go on) the road." The expression has, however, a much more significant meaning. For instance, if two or more parties set out on a journey to negotiate business with a party at a distance, and after using every argument and means in their power to effect their object, fail, one may be supposed to say to the other, "Ta traa goll ne raad, " in other words, " Having utterly failed, we need not delay longer, but take the road home as fast as we can."

All the four gentlemen mentioned in this song are now dead, John James Moore, Esq., being the last survivor.


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