[Appendix D(1) 1792 Report of Commissioners of Inquiry]

N° 1.


LETTER from Lieutenant Governor SHAW.

SIR,Castle Rushen, November 17, 1791.

HEREWITH I do myself the honour to transmit to you, a memorial from the inhabitants of Pool [sic Peel] Town, and one from the inhabitants of the parish of Kirk Maughold in this isle, which I beg leave, Sirs, to recommend to your consideration, and the prayers of them to your good offices with government. Also memorials from (apparently) many inhabitants, signing by parishes, and stating certain grievances, of which they pray the redress, as by the said memorials more fully appear.

Respecting those last, I do not wish to trouble you with but a few remarks ; and in the first place, I would beg leave to observe, that one of the grievances complained of, and a leading, seems to me to be already in great measure, if not altogether, obviated, inasmuch as the Keys, by their resolution of the 4th of October last—a copy of which I had next day, as requested by the Keys, the honour to lay before you at Douglas—" propose to concur with the governor and council in passing an act of Tynwald to render public every intended new law"—" three months at the least before such new law shall pass the legislature of the isle." In regard to the laws, or acts of Tynwald, passed since the revestment of the island immediately in the crown, I believe, Sirs, I may venture to assure you, it is very generally the opinion that some of them require revision ; and that the very respectable officers and persons under whom, as governor and lieutenant governor, the said laws were enacted, join in that opinion ; as do others of His Majesty’s servants, who were concerned in framing and passing them, and still residents in the isle ; as I have understood they were considered at the time but as laws of experiment, and since, they have been found, in all points, not to answer. But as to the proposition, at least insinuated, of altering the constitution of the Keys, from their present, to the mode of election by the people, by parishes, and the towns, I may not, Sirs, in fact, be competent to offer even an opinion. I shall therefore beg leave only to repeat, in substance, what on this subject I had the honour to state you on a former occasion ; and what I have reason to believe, not-withstanding the formidable appearance of names or marks to these memorials, to be very generally the sentiments, or of perhaps all the. better informed and impartially thinking part of the people. The Keys, as now constituted, in respect to their mode of election, or being elected, and in their functions legislative and judicial, have existed from, it may be said, time immemorial, by authentic records, in which the names of the twenty-four are inserted, so far back as 1417 ; and however, in theory, the mode of election may appear incompatible with the idea of popular representation, and however their being for life may seem liable to objection, yet I confess it does not appear to me ; and having on the subject conferred with sensible men, that in those regards, and more especially the mode of election, the constitution could be materially changed, with usefulness to His Majesty's service, or, the same thing, benefit to the Isle of Man. If, however, it should be in the gracious pleasure of His Majesty to direct an alteration to be made in the mode of election, I would humbly conceive it would be better, giving to the towns, and in that the commercial interest, a proper representation, to have the election for the country by sheadings than by parishes. There are, as I am credibly informed, parishes in which it might not be easy to find any choice of persons fit even for the office of a common juryman for the trial of any cause in any degree intricate.

I have the honour to be, with most sincere respect,


Your most obedient and humble servant,


His Majesty's Commissioners of Inquiry
to the Isle of Man, &c. &c. &c.


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