JAMES CHALONER (c.1602-1660). Manuscript, A Short Treatise of the Isle of Man, [Middle-Park, 1653].
2° (283 x 190mm), written in brown ink, title-page, two-page dedication, double-page engraved map and 47 numbered pages, an 18th-century geneaology loosely inserted at end (front endpapers browned and repaired, a few neat wormholes to lower half of each leaf). Late 18th-century diced russia gilt, spine stamped with crested 'FFF' monogram (rebacked). Provenance: [E] Hickson -- Ralph Thoresby (1658-1715) of Leeds (presumably author of Ducatus Leodiensis, the first history of Leeds), (inscriptions on front endpaper).
James Chaloner's preparatory, and most probably autograph, manuscript of his treatise on the Isle of Man, written three years before the work was published in London by John Streater in 1656. Son of the courtier Sir Thomas Chaloner the Younger (1563/4-1615), James Chaloner had a precarious political life. Imprisoned for opposing the crown in 1637, he was appointed as a commissioner at the trial of Charles I (although he did not sign the royal death warrant, wrote a vindication of his part in the trial in 1660 and condemned the early acts of the Rump). Although he played no part in national affairs under the protectorate, he was again imprisoned in 1659, suspected of royalist sympathies. Chaloner was closely associated with his cousin by marriage, Sir Thomas, 3rd Lord Fairfax, lodging in his York House London residence from 1651, before moving to the lodge in Middle Park at Hampton Court in 1652. In the same year, Fairfax, having been granted the lordship of the Isle of Man, appointed Chaloner one of three commissioners to report on the state of the island. By 1656 he had made Chaloner its civil governor.
The treatise, arranged in six sections, comprises a description of the island, its inhabitants, of the 'state Ecclesiasticall', the civil government, of trade and the 'strength of the Isleland'. The hand of the present manuscript, both of the text and amendments, and of the signed dedication to Fairfax, all bear comparison with autograph material held at the British Library (see Add. 71448, ff.44-50 and Add. 24023, f.10). The amendments and additions made to the present text were incorporated into the final published text of 1656, which differs only in the addition of transcriptions of royal charters in Chapter IV. Of particular note for illustrating Chaloner's revisions to the manuscript is the 'Amendment' on the final few leaves, a re-worked passage to replace that on page 15. The map included here, with accompanying prospects of the island, is one of four engraved plates which appeared in the published work.