[Appendix B(88) 1792 Report of Commissioners of Inquiry]

APPENDIX (B.) N° 88.


PROPOSITIONS and INFORMATION of the INHABITANTS of RAMSEY, in the Isle of Man ; with a PLAN of the HARBOUR of RAMSEY inclosed therein.

To the Honourable Commissioners appointed by His Majesty to enquire into and report the State and Condition of this Isle.

BE it known to your Honours, That by a Publication which the Honourable Alexander Shaw, Lieutenant Governor of this Isle, was pleased to make known to us, the Inhabitants of the Town of Ramsey, signifying that your Honours would be glad to receive such Propositions and Information as may tend to the Benefit of this Isle, without Prejudice to the Commerce and Revenues of Great Britain or Ireland;

In consequence of such Publication, we beg Leave to offer to your Honours Consideration the following Propositions and Information, which, if they meet your Honours Approbation, we humbly conceive will be of great Benefit to this Isle, to Trade in general, and to the Town of Ramsey and its Environs in particular.

First, We beg Leave to represent to your Honours, that the Bay of Ramsey is the most commodious and safe for Anchorage in these Channels, and so spacious as to contain the Navy of Great Britain.

That in severe Gales of Wind blowing from South, South-west, Westerly, and so on to North, said Bay is well sheltered ; that from long Experience, His Majesty’s Ships on this Station, and Vessels of every Denomination, as well Traders and Foreigners, hold said Bay as their only Resource in Times of imminent Danger and Distress : That under these Circumstances numberless Vessels of every Description frequent said Bay.

That on a sudden Change of Wind to the Eastward and stormy Weather said Bay is subject to a great Swell, insomuch that Vessels who cannot weigh or purchase their Anchors are obliged to cut their Cables ; and if not good sailing Vessels, or able to clear the Headlands, have no other Alternative but run on Shore for the Safety of the Lives of the Crews, many of whom we yearly see perish without being able to give the least Assistance, and their Vessels and Cargoes wrecked which is very injurious to Trade in general in these Channels ; all which might be remedied by building a North Pier or Quay of about a hundred Yards or thereabouts in Length, and nine Yards high at the outer End ; this, with about forty or fifty Yards Addition and of equal Height to the Present Quay, would overlap the North Pier, deepen the Water yearly, and make the said harbour commodious, and consequently convenient to contain one hundred Sail of Vessels from one to five hundred Tons Burthen : That the said Harbour hath for many Years back been let and suffered to run into Decay, insomuch that the Walls or Wharfs are now in a ruinous Situation, and the Harbour nearly filled up, which we humbly conceive cannot be remedied until a North Pier is erected or built of the Length and Height beforementioned : When this is done, and the present Walls put into proper Repair, His Majesty’s Duties and the Revenues of the Harbour would yearly augment, as it would be a very great Inducement for Vessels to run into said Harbour for Safety, when under the disagreeable Circumstances before described.

That in Addition to the said Harbour, Nature hath pointed out a small Dock, which could be constructed and completed at little Expence ; would not only make the Slips or Wharfs accessible at all Times of the Tide, but make said Dock a Place of Safety for Boats employed in the Fishery, which at present there is a very great Want.

Second, That the Inhabitants of Ramsey and its District lay out yearly in building and repairing Boats a considerable Sum of Money; and we humbly conceive it was nor meant or intended by the late Register and Licence Act that such Boats, though of Dimensions which in any other Trade might subject the said Boats to the Expence of a Register and Lycence ; yet when these Boats have no other Object in View but the Advantage of Fishing, it is very hurtful and discouraging to the Fishery that such Boats are obliged to be at such Expence in procuring a Register and Lycence.

Third, That it is very injurious and hurtful to the trading People of this Town that they are not allowed to import immediately into their own Port any Part of such licenced Goods as is allowed for the Consumption of this Isle; that being consined to land such Goods at the Port of Douglas, subjects them to double Risque and Expence.

Fourth, That notwithstanding the present Blessings of a plentiful Harvest, yet by dear-bought Experience we have been reduced, from the Failure of our Crops,to apply to Scotland for relief; that by an Act of Parliament allowing the Importation of Grain into this Island, we are thereby confined to the Ports of Liverpool and Whitehaven to clear out any Grain : That these Ports have not any Grain of their own Growth to supply this Island in case of any Emergency ; as such, we are obliged first to purchase our Grain in Scotland, clear it out for Liverpool or Whitehaven, land it there, and then reship it for this Island, which subjects the Inhabitants to double Risque and Expence ; which can only be remedied by allowing the Inhabitants to import Grain immediately from the Ports of Wigton and Kirkcudbright in Scotland exempt from any Embargo.

Fifth, That from Time immemorial until of Late Years this Island had the Privilege of two Deemsters, and, for the Convenience of the inhabitants, one was to reside at the South Side of this Island, the other at the North Side, in order to dispense the Common Laws ; that these Deemsters were not only Judges in their own Courts, but likewise Assistants to the Chancellor when called upon for their Advice or Opinion, both in the Courts of Chancery and Common Law.

That the Inhabitants of the North District of this Isle labour under very great Hardships and Inconveniences for want of a Northern Deemster, as the Distance from hence and other Parts of the Northern District is from 30 to 32 Miles ; and we humbly apprehend the Constitution of this Isle is and hath been broken in upon ; by Means whereof the Laws of this Isle are not administered with equal Justice to Individuals for want of a Resident Deemster at the North Side of this Isle.

The beforegoing Propositions and Informations we beg Leave to offer to your Honours for your Approbation, which we humbly conceive will not be prejudicial to the Commerce and Revenues of Great Britain or Ireland ; which, if they meet your Honours Attention, we flatter ourselves will be of great Utility to the Trade and Prosperity of this Isle : in Confidence of which, we beg Leave to subscribe ourselves, with due Respect,

Ramsey, Your Honours most obedient humble Servants,

20th October 1791.

John Corlet
John Wattleworth
Jn° Corlett.
James Henary.
Thomas Howard.
William Cowley.
John Corlet, Junior
Alexander M'Naight.
Jn° Brockbank
Daniel Cotter
Jn° Kelvin.
Hugh Comer
John Callaw.
William Wattleworth.
William Killip.
Edward Sprainger.

William Sayle
John Sayle
William Martin;
John Black.
John Crosbie.
Edmond Martin.
Edward Christian..
David Christian.
John Gawn.
Edward Gawn.
Hugh Black.
John Christian.
Tho. Caine.
Edward Stole
John Cottor.
William Tear.


Back index next


Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2000