This volume, which explains the Laws of Real Property in the Isle of Man, does not seems to me to require any elaborate preface; but inasmuch as I happen to be the only member of the Manx Bar who was a fellow student with the learned Author, and was subsequently upon intimate professional terms with him as his partner, it has been suggested to me by some of the leaders of the profession that it would be a grateful tribute to his memory were I to say a few words as to the peculiar aptitude and ability of Mr Sherwood to treat upon the subject in hand.
I perfectly recollect when Mr Sherwood first became an articled student with the late Mr Quirk, High-Bailiff of Douglas. The latter was not in the active practice of his profession, and it was not usual for students at law to article themselves except to practising advocates, in order that they might, by regular attendance at the Courts, the more completely acquire a knowledge of the proceedings therein. Mr Quirk, however, was the Registrar of Deeds, and in that capacity he had the custody of all the Title Deeds to real property in the Island and I have reason to believe, that Mr Sherwood for that reason preferred to be in his office for a considerable period so that he might have ready access to all forms of deeds of conveyance, mortgages, deeds of trust, &c., &c., registered there.
He was subsequently assigned as a student to the late Deemster Stephen whilst he was practising at the Bar, and being the only articled clerk in Mr Stephen's office he had practically the management of all cases coming into the office besides having numerous opportunities (of which he thoroughly availed himself) of reading up and mastering legal judgments upon real property law which had been decided by the Superior Courts for a long series of years. He seemed, indeed, never so happy as when in the midst of ancient must records of such decisions.
The results of these years of persevering labours are contained in this valuable work, and will make the acquisition of the knowledge of Manx Real Property Law vastly more easy to Law Students than they formerly were; and this for many reasons, which, however, must be so patent to all that I need not dwell upon them at any length. I would merely observe, however, that as we had no authorised or reliable reports of decided cases in this Island, the legal student had to acquire a knowledge of case law as best he could by searching up the ancient manuscript judgments recorded in the Rolls Office, (a necessarily tedious and prolonged process), or by some other unsatisfactory and arduous process. Mr Sherwood's book will make the future student's course comparatively easy. Then again, the relative rights and liabilities of the Crown and its tenants are made perfectly clear, as also is the Tenure of the Customary Estates and the several descriptions of Alienation of Lands, either by Will, Deed, Mortgage, or otherwise.
Mr Sherwood carried the state of the Real Property Law of the Island up to the period when he wrote this book — now many years ago — since which time, however, in numerous respects it has been materially varied. Sir James Gell, for many years the very learned and excellent Attorney-General of the Island, and at present its First Deemster, has undertaken and ably discharged the task of posting- up the state of the law to the present day. By this means the value of the work as a reliable authority has been immensely increased, for Sir James thereby not only virtually sanctions Mr Sherwood's elucidation of the Manx Law up to his day, but he likewise defines it as it exists at present.
ALFRED N. LAUGHTON
High-Bailiff of Peel.
26th January, 1899.
The promotors of the publication of this Treatise are pleased to designate me as its annotator — a post which I certainly did not undertake, and the printing of the work was far advanced before I realised the fact that no notes except my own were being printed. My connection with the publication was merely this — it was thought by many members of the Bar that the Manuscript of the learned Author was one which should be preserved in a permanent form, but that it should be revised, and that Notes should be added where necessary. I was asked by the promoters to assist, and I consented to do so, but certainly on the understanding that some other members of the Bar would undertake the actual editing and the revision of such notes as would be furnished. I do not profess to be responsible for more in connection with the publication than the authorship of the published Notes which go beyond mere references.
I have always considered this Treatise as a most valuable one. It may be considered as practically the first attempt to formulate the Insular Law as to Real Property in a scientific manner. The attempt has, I consider, been eminently successful.
The usefulness of the publication is much enhanced by the Index, which has been very carefully prepared by Mr George Frederick Clucas, Advocate.
Castletown, Isle of Man, 28th January, 1899.