[From Short History of Transactions in the IoM (or 'Blue Book'), 1825 

N° 9.



To the Honorable Cornelius Smelt, Lieutenant Governor of the Isle of Man, &c 8c &c ,—The MEMORIAL of the HOUSE of KEYS, of the said Isle;

SHEWETH—That since the Revestment of this Isle in the Crown of Great Britain in the year 1765, the Governor’s Council in the said Isle hath consisted of a very uncertain and, from time to time, an augmented number of Officers.

That from the period of the said Revestment, it appears that the said Council consisted of the Attorney General, the Clerk of: the Rolls, and the Deemster or Deemsters (as is stated in the Extract annexed, marked A), until the 21st September, 1791, when the Right Reverend the Bishop and one of his Vicars-General, appearing in the Court of the said Council, his Majesty’s Attorney General and Clerk of the Rolls protested against their said appearance, until his Majesty’s pleasure should thereon be made known;—(copy of which Protest is annexed, marked B) ,—that notwithstanding such Protest of his Majesty s Attorney General and Clerk of the Rolls, the then Lieutenant Governor, with the concurrence of the only Deemster then in this Isle, (and as far as we have been able to learn without consulting his Majesty’s Government thereon), did admit into the said Council the said Right Reverend Bishop, the Reverend the Archdeacon, and the two Reverend the Vicars-General ; thereby, as it appears to this House, inducting, without due authority, into the highest Court of Legislature in this Isle, four new Members, all of whom held their appointments from subjects, and two of whom are removable at the pleasure of the said Right Reverend Bishop, and thereby creating an undue preponderance of the Clerical body in the Governor’s Council,—a preponderance unknown to any other Protestant Legislative body, and which this House apprehends to be equally at variance with the Constitution and with the good government of this Isle.

It is true, that the said Lieutenant Governor, in his Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioners, dated the 19th Obr, 1791, (Extract of which is contained in paper marked C.) states that, on my arrival on the Island (in the year 1791) and as it now remains, I found the Council composed as follows, of Members regularly sworn in as such, viz ; the Governor, the Lord Bishop, (who, as Premier Baron, always when present, sits and signs next to the Governor), the Deemster, the Attorney General, the Archdeacon, the Archdeacon’s Official, the two Vicars-General, and the Clerk of the Rolls.But it appears, in opposition of the facts so stated by the said Lieutenant Governor, that the said Right Reverend Bishop, together with one of his Vicars General, did, on the part of themselves and of the others øf the Clergy claiming seats in the said Council, give in a Memorial to the said Parliamentary Commissioners, on the 21st of October, 1791, (Extract of which is contained in a paper marked D.) wherein they state, that from the period of the Revestment until the years 1776 and 1777, no new Laws had been passed by the Legislature of This Isle, and that in those said years, when new Statutes came to be under the discussion of the Legislature, that the said Lord Bishop and Clergy had been excluded from the enjoyment of their former seats in Council as held by them under the Lord Proprietor, and so continued to be excluded until the year 1791 ; and the statement contained in the said Memorial is further corroborated by a Letter of his Majesty’s Attorney General to the said Parliamentary Commissioners, dated the 13th October, 1791, (Extract of which is contained in paper marked E), in which he states, That the patronage of the Bishoprick, being left in the Atholl family, and that of all the other Church Preferments, either in the same hands or in those of the Bishop, the Ecclesiastical. Officers have not, for these twenty-six years past, been admitted to the Governor’s Council." And if such convincing proofs of the inaccuracy of the said Lieutenant Governor’s said statements require augmentation, it will be found in a Letter from the Clerk of the Rolls, to the said Parliamentary Commissioners, dated the 17th October, 1791, (copy of which is stated in paper marked F.), in which he states his entire concurrence in the said letter of his Majesty’s Attorney General.

This House begs leave further to state to your Honor, that it appears that sometime in the year 1793, his Grace the Duke of Atholl, Governor-in-Chief, was pleased to make a further augmentation to his Council, by calling to a seat therein, the Water Bailiff, who, though formerly holding a seat in Council under the Lords’ Proprietors, never sat or claimed a seat in Council, from the Revestment up to the year 1791—(see paper marked E) ; and that in the year 1812, his Grace the said Duke of Atholl, being then Governor-in-Chief of this isle, was pleased to call in his Council, the Receiver General, who had held that office for many years previous thereto, without having been admitted to council, and which office was then, and still continues to be, held by the same person, who also holds that of Collector of the Customs.

We Would further call to your Honor’s notice, that the Receiver General is not even sworn to aid anti assist with his best advice and council to the Governor of this Isle, as appears by the Report of the Parliamentary Commissioners of Inquiry given into the Honorable the House of Commons, in the year 1792,—(see copy of Receiver General’s Oath, since the Revestment, marked G, as also paper marked E.)

That all those said appointments to the Governor’s Council in this Isle have, to the best of the knowledge and belief of this House, been made at the sole will and pleasure of the Governor or Lieutenant Governor, for the time being, and without any authority from his Majesty, to whom alone it belongs, as this House apprehends, to grant appointments to the Governor’s Council within this Isle ; in support of which opinion, this House begs to refer your Honor to the said Report of the Parliamentary Commissioners,—(an Extract of which is contained in the paper marked A)

And we beg leave also to call your Honor’s attention to the opinion expressed on this subject, in a Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioners, dated 13th October, 1791, of that very learned and intelligent officer, Sir Wadsworth Busk, his Majesty’s then Attorney General in this Isle, who therein states, that the Act of 1765 having vested all the rights of Sovereignty and Dominion completely in the Crown, it became questionable how far a person could properly be admitted to a share in Government, by virtue of any appointment not derived in the direct and proper channel from his Majesty; and for that reason, and to prevent blending together departments which ought to be kept distinct, the Receiver General and Water Bailiff, not having been created by Patent under any of the Royal Seals, have not, since that year, been considered as Members of the Council,—(see paper marked E.)

This House begs leave to observe, that your Council has two distinct duties to perform—a Legislative and an Executive ; and that in the latter capacity particularly, it appears altogether incongruous that his Majesty’s authority should be deputed to persons not holding his Majesty’s Commission-That a subject, whose Interests are often in opposition to those of the Crown, and generally at variance with those of the People placed under your Honor’s Government, should appoint to the functions of Royalty, and that these functions should be exercised over the people of this Isle by persons holding such powers at the will of such subject’s delegate,— such monstrous assumption this House apprehends to be without precedent in any other part of his Majesty’s dominions. In the high situation held by the Bishop, this House conceives that it might be advantageous and proper that he should fill a place in your Honor’s Council ; but to this end, the Advowson of the Bishoprick ought to be in the Crown, and not in the Duke of Atholl,—a change which could not fail to be productive of the greatest benefit to this Island.

This House will not, however, pretend to dictate what officers are or are not entitled to sit in your Honor’s Council; but we conceive it to be highly expedient that this should he fixed by the proper authority, amid all doubts on this subject hereafter set at rest : and we therefore trust, that it will not be considered presumptuous in this House, that we request your Honor will be pleased to lay this Memorial before his Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for the Home Department, In order that his Majesty’s pleasure may be made known, as to what officers are in future to form your Honor’s Council; and likewise whether such officers as may hold offices in the Customs, are, or are not, to be excluded therefrom-to the end that in future the officers legally composing the Governor’s Council, within this Isle, may be certainly known.

House of Keys, 4th Sept. 1821.[Signed by twenty of the Members.)


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