A public war of words
continued for the next thirty years, with defenders of the self-elected
Keys hurling abuse at Fargher:
'...popular election would be the greatest curse
that ever fell on the Island. The Manx people may depend upon it
unless we are to have Republicanism inflicted upon us
in order that the rabble may be dominant and Lynch Law triumphant
- the wealth and intelligence of the community must always prevail.
Only give the Manx Radicals power and every respectable stranger
would leave the country in disgust and in time the English government
would be so teased and harassed that every remaining privilege would
be swept away at one fell swoop and we would become an appendage
of one of the opposite English counties...'
(Manx Sun 1845)
defended himself in his newspaper, the Mona's Herald, and his inflammatory
'letters to the editor' resulted in a series of acrimonious libel
actions being brought by George William Dumbell of the Keys. Fargher
was also imprisoned in Castle Rushen on various occasions.
James Brown had first arrived on the Island in 1846 to work as
a jobbing printer, but eventually he started his own newspaper,
The Isle of Man Times, with himself as editor.
Brown started a public 'war of words' with the Keys, continuously
attacking them for being unrepresentative and full of political
dynasties where son followed father.
James Brown's political commentaries in The Isle of Man Times newspaper
became increasingly radical during the 1860s. By 1864 he was established
as the public champion of democratic rights and journalistic freedom
on the Island.
turning point was reached in 1864 when the Keys rejected a Bill
requesting additional powers to develop and regulate the rapidly
growing town of Douglas and its 'visiting' (tourist) industry. The
Keys not only rejected the Bill but made offensive remarks about
the Douglas Commissioners. Brown countered this in his newspaper
by describing the Members of the Keys as 'donkeys'. He even referred
to them as 'the extraordinary freaks of men who presumed to legislate
for the Island'.
Brown was summoned to appear before the Keys to answer charges
of libel. He continued to defend the freedom of the press and the
cause of democracy. As a result, the Keys ordered that he be arrested
and sentenced him to imprisonment for 6 months in Castle Rushen
His arrest did not discourage Brown
from making attacks on the Keys, and he continued to write from
the prison. At the same time, his son had organised an appeal to
the Court of Queens Bench in London. The Court's verdict was that
the Keys had no powers to try or even sentence Brown. After 6 weeks
Brown was released, and was awarded £519 in damages against