§ MR. J. A. WILLOX (Liverpool, Everton)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that a large porportion of the revenue of the Isle of Man is collected in the name of "Lord's Rent" by one of the landlords in each parish, called the Moar, and compulsorily appointed by the Department of Woods and Forests; whether the Moar is supplied with a list of persons represented as liable for the Lord's Rent, many of whom have been dead for a century, while others cannot be traced, nor the land put against their names be distinguished; whether serious complaints of this state of things have from time to time reached the Department of Woods and Forests from Moars who are unable to collect Lord's Rent, and have in reply been warned that if they should, in the Insular Law Courts, successfully establish their freedom from liability, an appeal to the Privy Council would follow; and whether the Woods and Forests will now provide authentic collecting books for the use of the Moars, or take the collecting into their own hands?
§ MR. HANBURY
The amount of Lord's Rent, exclusive of rents of Abbey lands and Baronies, payable to the Crown in the Isle of Man, is £1,175 17s. 9d. It is collected in 17 distinct parishes, the largest amount in any parish being £113 18s. 1d., and the smallest £33 9s. 0½d. The Moar is not appointed either compulsorily or otherwise by the Department of Woods and Forests. He is selected in rotation by the Court Baron, called the Setting Quest, which consists exclusively of tenants of the Lord within the parish. The duty of filling the office, and performing the duties of the Moar, is an incident of tenure. It is the duty of the Moar on retiring from office to hand on to his successor a rental in a proper state to enable him to collect from the several lands in the parish the 496 Lord's Rent due from them. Successive Moars have been negligent in not keeping their rental up to date, and complaints have been made that it has been difficult to collect the rent. Moars who have refused to perform their duty have been informed that legal proceedings in the Insular Court would be taken to compel them, but there has been no necessity to give any warning in regard to an Appeal to the Privy Council. Landowners are not justified in holding land if they refuse to perform the duties arising from the tenure; they are bound to pay over to the Crown the full rent due from their respective parishes; and, although as an Act of Grace the Crown has made an allowance to the Moar in respect of the difficulty of collection, the Department cannot take the collecting into its own hands. Every assistance that the Seneschal can render to the Moars will, as hitherto, be freely given, but the Setting Quest cannot be relieved of its proper duty. Acting under the direction of the Commissioner of Woods, the Seneschal has devoted a great deal of time to assist the several Setting Quests in getting the rentals in proper order, and there is now only one district where any difficulty exists. That district includes the town of Douglas, and, in order to apply a remedy there, the Commissioner of Woods induced the Insular Authorities in 1895 to pass an Act providing for the redemption of the Lord's Rent on favourable conditions.