[From Manx Soc vols 25+28 - Blundell's History]




MR. CAMBDEN and John Speed have made a true relation of ye Isle of Man in one pticular, wherein they write yt one comodity maketh this Island happyer than wee are here (in England, for ye people there are free from unnecessary commencemts of suites, from long and dilatory pleas, and from frivolous feeing of lawyers, proctors, and attorneys ; noe judge or clearke of court take there one penny of money for drawing instrumts or for making processes ; all controversyes are then ended wthout writing or other charges. All ye Lord Cooke expresseth ; in short, all controversyes they deter-mine wthout process, each party pleading viva voce, wthout writing, or any charge, or any expence at all.

I suppose yt it concerned those pticulers only yt mooved ye said Lord Cooke to say ye lawes and jurisdictions here (in ye Isle of Man) are such ye like whereof are not to be found in any place ; but here in his Lp. is much mistaken. He certainely was a greater reader of records, and had read and pused many antiquityes wch concerned or kingdome of Brittany, but little and few of forreigne bookes or businesses. The pticuler he mentioneth (yt every one should plead his owne cause) hath been long ye bole and utinam of many in 0r European part of ye world, but was never put in practise but in a few pticuler places, wch continued not long, as in Lacedemonia by Lucurgus, and by Roger their king who brought it into Naples, and, if I bee not mistaken, in Damaer, in Arabia, and yt ye brotherhood of the Rosen Cross did promise to have introduced into all parts of Europe.

Sr Thomas Moore having been himselfe a lawyer of Lincoln’s Inn, in yt commonwealth, he writt seemeth to insinuate yt ye pleaders of ye law (in any court) are needless, and ye profession superfluous, for in his Utopia he held it most fitt and meet yt every man should plead his owne cause and relate unto the judge the same he would have told unto ye man of law.

Octavio Pisano, an Italian gentleman, hath written a booke of ye same subject, and published in five languages. It was told me yt one of those books was p’sented to Mr Pimm in ye beginning of ye late Long Parliamt, and by him it was much applauded (myselfe have an Italian printed coppy thereof).’

This manner in pleading viva voce wthout a lawyer is not practised at this day in any part of Europe, but only in ye Isle of Man, but in all other parts of ye world they have no other form of pleading than this.

At Ffes, in Barbary, Cleanard writeth, they have noe obstreperous lawyers or advocates ; if any controversyes arise amongst them, both plaintiff and defendant repair to their alphakin (yt is to their chief judge), and at once, wthout further appeale or languashing dilatoryes, ye cause is heard and decided.

The same is practised in Cochin-China, as you may read in ye booke of Cochin-China Rarityes, published by Robt. Ashley,2 printed anno 1633, and are sold at ye hill, in Little Brittaine.

At Pegu suits in law are soon decided, for if a man be at difference wtl~ his neighbor ye first danwber or justice they appeal to decide it upon ye place.3

1 Printed at Antwerp.

. 2 Ch. 6. ~ Vincent le Blanc his Travels, part i c. 28, p. 121.

At Madrogan, ye chief towne of Monomatapa, in Africa, there are no prisons, because all niatters of justice are finally concluded upon ye place.

The same forme is likewise observed both in Bantam and Allepo and Kaguse, as o’ merchts will informe you, and is all-soe averred by others.’

Moreover, ye same form is observed in all ye vast dominions of ye great Moguhl, as appeareth by ye booke intitled, News from India ; or, A Voyage to Bengala,2 written by wm. Beverton, our merchants’ factor there.

By all wch you may observe yt 0r formallityes of bill and answer, rejoynders, replications, and many such meer dilatoryes, etc., are not to be found in use but in Europe only. Asia and Aphrica never knew ym , no, nor wherein any part of America, unless brought into Mexico, etc., by ye Spaniards, nor into any part of ye universe but where ye civill law hath been received ; as for or common law, it is only practised in England, and bounded infra quatuor maria ; and, by John Speed’s observation, our common law now in use was never known in England untill William ye Conqueror imposed upon us his Norman processes, for, as it is observed, ye intro-duction of ye civill law was ye corruption of ye common law in or Island of England. The plaintiff and defendant having thus in their courts pleaded viva voce, ye one against ye other, ye governor (if ye case seem difficult, or otherwise, at his pleasure) may command either or both of ye deemsters, soe likewise may they command ye 24 keys of ye Island to assist him or them, and a sentence of judgmt thus given in court is cothonly definitive, for seldonie hath there been seen yt any appeal hath been made out of ye Island unto ye lord of ye Island. Yet it should seem by Mr Chaloner that it hath fallen out of late. But certainly a Manksman may not only appeal to ye lord of ye Island, but from him alsoe he may appeal to ye King of England, wherein I am warranted by ye L. Cooke,’ this Isle being in ye king’s hands, if any injustice or injuryes were done to any of his subjects, then ye king might grant a cothission for redress thereof.

1 Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy, p. 52. 2 Printed 1638.

The like whereof wee finde by a record wch he there setteth downe, and (now I finde it fitt to insert) for ye better satisfaction of those yt may have use of it

" Rex dilectis et fidelibus suis Nicholao de Segrave Seniore Osber de Spaldington et Johanni de Southwell 2 salutem sciatis quod assignavimus vos justiciarios nostros ad querelas omnium et singulorum de Insula de Man se con-queri volentil de quibus, ‘cumque transgressionibus et injuriis per quoscumque tam Baltinos et ministros nostros quam alias de pdicta insula illatis audiend. terminandum et ad plenam et celerem justicia partibus inde facientibus secundum legem et consuetudinem partium illarum et ideo vobis mandam. quod ad certos dies et loca quos, etc., insula predicta querelas, etc., audiatis et terminatis in forma prædicta facture, etc., salvis, et insula p’dicta venire fac coram vobis tot, et tails, etc., in avi et cujus, etc., testorege. Apud Barwick decimo quinto die Julii."

Soe there alsoe yt ye Lord Cooke addeth these words,— yt albeit ye king’s writt runneth not into ye Island of Man, yet ye king’s cornission extendeth thither for redress of in-justice and wrong, but ye commissioners must proceed according to ye law and justice of ye Island. Besides, I see no reason (wtI~out a commission) why ye islanders of Man may not immediately (at this day) make appeals to His Majesty as well as ye inhabitants of ye Islands of Gurnsey and Jersey did in ye time of Oliver CromweÌl, w" Or pubhick Intelhigencer hath they published,3 yt his higness and his councell have setled 6 comissioners (who are there named), and two or more of them are impowered to receive all such appeals as are made to his higness and ye councell by ye in-habitants and natives of ye Islands of Gurnsey and Jersey from judgmts given in ye courts there, and to hear ye party’s therein concerned ; and after satisfaction given touching ye truth of ye matter conteyned in such appeales, or ye answers thereunto, to state ye cases, and report from time to time their opinion to ye councell.

1 Instit. , part 4, c. 69. 2 Rot. de patt., anno 20 Edward I.

3 Anno 1628, April 24.—[Supposed to be written about 1648.—Editor.]


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