[continuation of "Roper's 'A Short History ..."]
Another charge against his Grace is, the dismissal of Deemster Gawne. The entire of this charge is false, the House of Keys knew it to be false when they signed the Petition; and in the presenting such falsehood, knowing it to be so, to the House of Commons, they were guilty of a contempt of that House.
The charge says, "that Deemster Gawne was, according to report, of the truth of which Petitioners or the Public know nothing." Now, let the people of the Island ask themselves, if they are, or can be, ignorant that one charge against Deemster Gawne was, that he connected himself with a prostitute, and instead of paying her himself, led her, unjustly, to commence a suit against an innocent tradesman n1; and by granting her his countenance on the seat of justice, forced that honest tradesman, by a series of corrupt practices to purchase his peace by paying down to, and for the use of, that. prostitute, a sum of money she was no way entitled to receive. Mr. William Leece Drinkwater, a Member of the House of Keys, was the person who paid the money to Mr. Robert Cuninghame, another Member of the House of Keys, who received it as the Advocate for this lady: — Drinkwater told Mr. Robt. Cuninghame before several others, when he paid the money, that he looked upon it as no better than robbery. Can these two gentlemen, or either of them, justify having put their names to a solemn instrument, addressed to the House of Commons of England, declaring that they knew nothing of the truth of the charges against Deemster Gawne ? Their evidence is on record in the Council Book; let; the House of Commons :look at that evidence, and this assertion and judge of the truth of the Petition: let the public look at both, and acquit them, if they can, of having put their names to a Petition, knowing that part of it to be false.
John Llewellyn and John C. Gelling, Esqrs, both Members of the House of Keys, were Advocates for Gawne on the trial. Deemster Gawne himself withdrew from the Court, when the evidence became so damning as to make the result inevitable ; Mr. Gelling stood it out to the last, as the friend and advocate of Gawne. Can Messrs. Llewellyn and Gelling, or either of them, say, that they knew nothing of the report respecting the charges against Deemster Gawne — or can, they now say, they did not put their names to the Petition, knowing that allegation to be false
It appears upon the proceedings that. Deemster Gawne was furnished with a copy of the Petition against him several weeks before the trial ; and it was publicly known that Mr. Edward Gawne, the Deemster's brother, had interviews, of his own seeking, with the Duke of Atholl and the Bishop, respecting those charges. He is a Member of the Keys. Can any man believe he was ignorant respecting them ? Yet he has told the House of Commons he was; and it is for the House of Commons to judge of his veracity; besides which, he. has given his knowledge of his brother's guilt under his own hand. Colonel Cuninghame is married to a near relation of Deemster Gawne the sister of Major Taubman ; his son, Mr. Robert Cuninghame, was examined as a witness on the trial, was a principal actor on the part of this prostitute, and actually received the money from Drinkwater for her. Could Col. Cuninghame be ignorant? Colonel Wilks and General Goldie are also married to near relations of Gawne — the daughters of Major Taubman — and are in habits of intimacy with him to this day. Could they be ignorant ? Or, I will ask, was there a man in the, Island ignorant of the charges, or of the notoriety of the guilt of the accused? The subsequent part of the allegation, as far as relates to the Duke of Atholl having received instructions from the secretary of State, is stated asa report, and implies equal ignorance in the Keys as to its truth. The fact is notorious, that on the day first appointed for the trial.to come on, Deemster Gawne and his two Advocates prevailed on the Duke of Atholl in Council to put it off, to give time to the Deemster to receive an answer from the Secretary of State to a counter Petition he then presented; and that Deemster Gawne did receive an answer, ordering the trial to go on. Does not the Petition, in this case, again insinuate what is not true: and could there be a man in the House of Keys, or in the Island, ignorant that it is so ?
The next Allegation, " that the Court was " privately held," is one of the uniform consequences of every act of forbearance of the Duke of Atholl. Knowing the nature of the charges in the Petition, and the notoriety of the charges, the Duke of Atholl, feeling, for the family and connexions of Deemster Gawne, resolved to have the investigation before the Council in a private, and not in an open Court. What the orders were from the Secretary of State, I know not,— further than that the investigation was to take place before the Governor-in-Chief in full Council. Whether it was ordered to be a private Court, or left to his Grace's judgment, I know not; but do know it was, at the time, considered an act evincing great consideration for the feelings of Deemster Gawne and his family and certain I am that the foisting this trial into the Petition of the Keys, displays great want, of feeling in those near relatives of Mr. Gawne, who should have endeavoured to bury this trial in oblivion; instead of which they now impute as a crime to the Duke of Atholl his having shewn this consideration for their feelings. The secret inquisition was for the benefit of Deemster Gawne : if he had thought otherwise, he should have required the trial to be in open Court, and he would most certainly have been gratified. As to the fairness of the investigation, Mr. Gelling knows it to have been fair, and that every Justice was done his client. The Duke of Atholl has been guilty of another crime, I suppose, by putting the depositions on record in the Council Book instead of in the Rolls' Office, where it would have been more public; and I do conceive his Grace is called upon, by this Petition, in his own justification, to put the entire proceedings on record , in the Rolls' Office, where every man will have it in his power to see that Deemster Gawne was considered as having been proved guilty of the charges brought against him, by Deemster Heywood, the Clerk of the Rolls, the Water Bailiff, and the High Bailiff of Douglas, as appears by, their answers to questions put to them by the Attorney-General, when they were produced as witnesses to Mr. Gawne's general correct conduct as a Judge. The Keys will then discover, that there was no report made on the enquiry, but that Deemster Gawne's dismissal was the act of his Majesty's Secretary of State, under the advice of the Law Officers of the Crown of England, after reading the evidence transmitted to them. And when the public have discovered the falsehood of those allegations, they will observe, with equal perspicuity, the falsehood of the conclusion drawn from them, namely, "That in consequence of the removal from office of a Judge, for unknown causes, and not after a full, fair, impartial, and public trial, the security of the public, that the duties of that office shall be exercised with independence and without bias, has received a severe shock." The Charge against the Governor in Chief, respecting the dismissal of Mr. Robert Cuninghame, is brought into the Petition with more caution and feeling than that of Deemster Gawne's, and I will not expose that transaction further than exposure has been provoked. The English newspapers, in giving the Parliamentary debates, have stated that the Duke of Atholl acted with a kind of duplicity to Mr. Cuninghame, and charge his Grace with having received that gentleman into his house after his having been guilty of what he was dismissed for.
This is another proof of the pains taken to turn the kindest acts of his Grace into accusation against him. Whoever gave Mr. Brougham the information, must have been equally competent to inform him how that gentleman was admitted to his Grace's house ; but as he has not done so, I will.-At a time when his Grace was deceived into a hope that an end would be put to the disgraceful attacks of the Keys upon him, a party of Mr. Cuninghame's friends were -invited to Castle Mona, and it was intimated to his Grace, that the most grateful thing he could do to Mr Cuninghame's family and connections (who form a great majority of the House of Keys) would be to invite that gentleman to meet them, as by doing so he would dispel the cloud of disgrace that had been thrown upon him. A first and second application met with a decided negative from his Grace; but the object was considered of such importance, as to induce the Father of the Keys to request a near relative and intimate friend of his Grace to make a point of obtaining the boon so importunately pressed for. In consequence of which, Mr. Cuninghame was invited at the solicitation of his family, and on their declaration that such invitation was á necessary step to his restoration to society and the public opinion. This condescension has been turned into a crime.
Now I would ask the friends of that gentle man, who represent the Duke of Atholl as an enemy to the Island, and who would wish him to he looked upon in England as a detested and unpopular character with the people here, bow the air of Castle Mona came to possess such balmy influence as to wash away such sins,?— If the Duke of Atholl be a tyrant and oppressor, with interests at all times in opposition to the people, why should an admission into his Grace's house have such a favourable effect on their opinions ? Why should not the houses of his own relatives, who claim to be the representatives and friends of the people, and their protectors from his Grace's oppression, have the same powers of sanctification as that, of the Duke of Atholl's ? The great experience of the Father of the Keys, who made the request, must have convinced him, that a temporary absence and change of air, will give time for the evaporation of public indignation! Why should he not have invited his friend and relative to Workington Hall, where the countenance of the Member for Cumberland and a temporary absence might have white-washed him: or why is it, that the air of Castle Mona, like the waters of Jordan, possess more healing virtues than all the rivers of Damascus?
Neither the Duke of Atholl nor any of his friends were concerned in the removal of Mr. Cuninghame : it was caused by a representation from some of the disgusted inhabitants of Ramsey.
It is true that the foreman of the Jury who acquitted Mr. McCrone, was appointed Clerk of the Council ; and no man could be more proper for the situation than a respectable Solicitor. The Petition says, " that after a fair trial, the man " was indeed acquitted." It is well known, that five of the six jurymen who tried that information, were for convicting the tithe proctor, and this Irish Solicitor alone, stood out and protected him ; if it be true that he was acquitted, after a fair trial, could the trial have been fair, if he had been convicted ? Certainly not. Then the Irish Solicitor stood out, and saved an honest man from being sacrificed to a base conspiracy. Was it any crime to appoint him to a situation he was perfectly qualified to fill? The junior Advocate who defended him has been made a Deemster; and the Advocate who prosecuted Gawne, has been made Vicar-General. The confidence of the public, evinced by a Lawyer's general practice, coupled with his private character, is the truest criterion for judging of his qualifications for the Bench. That the Deemster so appointed evinced the confidence of the public, by the extent of his practice, is well known, and is proved by his having been chosen to defend such a man as Mr. McCrone, where more than his life was at stake .and there is not a man in the. Isle of Man, who does not know him to be as respectable a private character as ever sat on the Bench. Was it a crime to recommend him as a Deemster ? The Irish Gentleman, not long resident in the Island, who conducted the prosecution of Mr. Deemster Gawne, and has been made Vicar-General, is a Barrister of thirty years standing. He was the first person who ever succeeded in breaking that combination of the Insular Lawyers and Judges, which excluded strangers from their Bar, and put the Lawyers and Judges of the Island, above the Laws of the land. He has the confidence of the people, for he has the best practice in the Island. Fell, the man injured by Deemster Gawne, and upon whose petition he was dismissed, had been for years going from Lawyer to Lawyer, and could not get a single man who had the courage to take it up, or prosecute a Deemster:
The Irish gentleman undertook to obtain justice for him; he conducted the prosecution so as to obtain the approbation of the Attorney General, who came from England to attend it, He has been made a Vicar General; and the public are perfectly satisfied that he has, both in his profession and as Vicar General, been of great service to the Island. Is this appointment a crime?
The Petition states " the wonderful coincidence of the appointment and dismissal of certain Law Officers in the Isle," I beg to call the public attention to a coincidence as wonderful. — Mr. Brougham has stated the Petition to be signed by three well known and respectable characters — the Speaker, of the House of Keys, an approved popular author — the Member for Cumberland — and a General Officer. The public should know that Deemster Gawne is the first cousin to the late Major Taubman, and the dismissed Acting Attorney General was his nephew; the Speaker of the Keys is married to one of Major Taubman's daughters, and the General Officer is married to another ; the Member for Cumberland was married to the Major's sister, and there are eleven more of the persons who have signed the Petition, closely connected with the family implicated in the transaction, or in the power and under the controul of those who are.
The assertion that in the Tynwald Court, when assembled as a Legislative body, every member has a free right of debate, is not true, and if true, would be absurd.
The Governor-in-Chief is not the Speaker, and it can be no part of his duty to listen to the language that often has distinguished the Keys. On the day the Duke of Atholl stopped a Member, as stated in the Petition, the Keys had, on the first meeting of, the Court in the morning, requested to be permitted to discuss some points by themselves — and the Duke of Atholl and the Council retired, in order to accommodate them. When left to themselves, Mr. Curwen in open house, before a crowded audience, made a Speech that may, have been equalled, but never has been surpassed. It is not necessary for me here to observe upon it; and I will not. But if the Keys had a right to free debate in the Tynwald Court, why did they request the Duke of Atholl and Council to retire, that Mr. Curwen might make a Speech ? It could not be for privacy, for several Members of the Council remained in the Court, and the Speech was made in the open house, for the manifest purpose of making a display to astonish the mob. By this it is evident, that the only object, in requesting the Duke and Council to withdraw, was to obtain the right to debate; unless, indeed, Mr. Curwen wished to get the Duke out of Court, while he attempted to turn him into ridicule, and compare him and Mr. Clark, the Attorney General, to a big cock and a little one — to a big dog and a little one, — and while he represented the Secretary of State's office as a nest of rats, and his own friend, Mr. Hume, not as a Hercules cleansing the Augean stable, but as the dog Billy, the rat-catcher, destroying the vermin in the Secretary's office, when he caught them in St. Stephen's chapel; while he told the public that they were discontented, because the Laws were not administered in Manks,— that the Deemsters (including his own son) were both unfit for their office, because they did not speak Manks, and that the business of the Island could not go on without an Attorney General who could only speak English !—and while he gave them much other as extraordinary information.—When Mr. Curwen had finished his Speech the Keys informed his Grace and the Council, and the Tynwald Court was formed, upon which the Speaker, in the face of the entire Court, and in the presence of all the Members of the Keys, addressed the Duke, and stated, that Mr. Curwen had taken the most active part in collecting the opinions of the country, and maturing the subject to be laid, before his Grace and the Court, and requested his Grace, FOR THAT DAY, to permit Mr. Curwen to lay the subject before the Court, instead of the Speaker. This request was granted. Here was a second admission from the Speaker of the House, that all the Members had not a right to free debate in the Tynwald Court. Mr. Curwen, under the permission thus obtained, made another Speech; and when he had closed, Mr. Anthony Dunlop rose to amuse the Court with a third. The Duke of Atholl thought he" had heard enough, and objected to his speaking in the Tynwald Court, as he had a good right to do. Upon what Law Authorities" a preceding Lieutenant-Governor admitted this right of free debate," I cannot tell ; but I contend for it, that no lawyer, who understood his profession, could have advised him to do so. And I would ask, if it would be proper, or consistent with decency, that he Governor of the Island should be bound to sit by and listen to such a Speech as I have stated, (and by no means caricatured) without having the power either to stop it or to retire himself from the Court, which must be the case if the Keys have; as they state, the right of free debate? The Duke of Atholl may have said, he would argue with the Keys for a week upon a particular subject, without admitting their right to argue with him ; and the forcing a hasty expression of that kind into the Petition, is evidence of nothing else than that his Grace's plain and open dealing prevents his being match for the cunning wily characters he has to deal with.
The next object of the Petition is-the right of forming a part of the Court of General Gaol Delivery.—This being the highest Court of Criminal Justice in the Island, has the sole cognizance, of all capital cases, and it is to be observed as a peculiarity in the sentiments of the House of Keys, that while they have insisted on being individually exempted from sitting as jurymen in civil cases, they clamorously demand the right in cases of blood. If the Keys demand this as a personal privilege, let them come forward and declare it, when every man possessed of human understanding will judge of them by the declaration: If they do not claim it as a personal right, they may claim it upon the principle of its being a right beneficial to that society which they assert they constitutionally represent. —It is necessary to every society that Justice should be impartially and correctly administered Is the presence of the Keys necessary, to secure this impartiality, and correctness and is it requisite that a Court of Justice in this Island, whose population scarcely exceeds 40,000, should consist of 46 persons and that 12 of those 46 should have the power of obstructing Justice and controuling the rest of the Court ?-yet such is the power insisted, upon, and that has been lately exercised by the Keys. They, we all know, consist of 24, and if they, sit; the Council, which consists of 10, must also sit, and the Jury, consisting of 12, complete the number of 46. The Keys insist, that no act of this Court can be valid unless agreed to by at least 13 of their number. This is one serious objection and the best way of proving the reality of the inconvenience is by looking to what has been and may again be the case in the exercise of power really and by law vested in them as a Court of appeal in civil cases. They have a regulation which may now be looked upon as a Law, which is that no act of the Keys is good wltich is, not signed by 13 Members; and there are cases of appeal now before the Keys for 20 years, where 13 Members cannot be prevailed upom, to concur in either affirming or setting aside the verdict of Juries, whereby the suitors have been hung up, and justice obstructed..
The Keys seldom, indeed never, meet in those cases in their full number, commonly not more than, 17 or 18. and in this case 4 or 5 men. can obstuct the progress of Justice, and deprive an honest man of his right; and the cases that: have been so long hung up are, unfortunately, are calculated to dissatisfy the pubic, as they are cases where leading Members of the Keys, are parties : Is this a power vested in the Keys for the benefit of the people at large, and for the better administration of Justice ? What chance would a man in opposition to the Keys, have in the eyes of the world, where his cause was to be tried by them, with one of their own members as the opposite party, while the other has no power of challenge, and his objecting to the interested party, or his connections, is considered at :a contempt? It may be answered that the Keys are all men of honor, and would do justice independent of their feelings, and that there is a further appeal to the King in Council—It is no part of my object to deny, that they are all honorable men; but if they will themselves step forward and argue in support of their continuing this jurisdiction upon any principle of analogyy, they must go one step further than the gentleman did in the House of Commons, who insisted the Keys were only inferior to that House in dignity and respectability; for it is a confidence the House never claimed, either individually or collectively. It is a maxim never contradicted that a juror should stand 'unprejudiced as he stands unsworn and the British Constitution suffers no violation of a doctrine so necessary for the due administration of Justice.
Another objection to this jurisdiction is that if the Keys were immaculate,- and their Judgments directed by a Solomon, the public and the parties would no be satisfied, and both have a right to be satisfied that impartial justice is done.— The keys have the power, by their jurisdiction, of depriving the subject of the benefit of appeal;: for until they decide, they cannot be appealed from, and a party with right on his side may be shut out from justice by a refusal to decide for him, and a conviction that they cannot decide against him.
Is the case better in the Court of Gaol Delivery, where at most twelve and often five, members of the Court may controul: the rest and obstruct justice, by refusing their concurence. And can this right (if it be a right) be contended for upon any principle of common sense? Besides which the Keys have been in a regular and progressive course of extending their interference in those Courts beyond the utmost limits that their most sanguine advocates contend for. They formerly sat as witnesses to what passed, and were supposed not to interfere unless the Jury acted corruptly, and then they were to be called in..
At the last Court, one of their Members, by, his interference, so obstructed the business as to make it necessary for the Attorney-General to entreat him to suffer the business to go forward. At that Court there were two remarkable trials one for sheep-stealing, (a most unpopular crime) and the other for robbing the Crown, by purchasing stolen copper. An individual of the Keys took up a sheep-skin, and carried.it all along the Jury, shewing the marks to each Juryman, corroborating the as of the prosecutor; by every exertion in his power. The gentleman is a farmer; —and having suffered by sheep-stealing, might not his zeal lead him to look on accusation and conviction as synonymous? The man was convicted; but was the conviction as useful to society, as if the trial had been conducted with more solemnity and decency?
The stealing copper, was. not thought so atrocious an offence ; and the same individual., interfered, and cross-examined, with manifest anxiety, in the cause of mercy. The, man was acquitted; and the people of the Island have had a public proof of the possibility, of plundering a King's ship, in distress, with impunity.
Now I would ask, if it be not possible that those two trials may have been the cause of: all the agitation that has taken place since ? Is it not possible, that the Attorney-General, in writing to the Admiralty, had informed them of the mode of trial, and the transactions that occurred ; and that, in consequence, serious inquiries had taken place, as to the absolute necessity, according to the Laws of the Island,, of submitting to improper interference with such Justice; and that those inquiries had terminated in the Letter from the Secretary of State, that is now so violently complained of? It has been asserted (and falsely asserted) that the Duke of Atholl had preconcerted this measure, and kept it in his pocket, as a rod in pickle, for the Keys ; and that he had dishonourably and improperly kept the Secretary of State's Letter in his pocket to suit his own views. The assertion evinces no less ignorance than it does malice.. He would not do it, as a gentleman ; he dare not do it, as a responsible member of the British Government ; and he did not do it in fact as it is well known that the Letter, ordering him to make the communication, bears date the 30th of January, 1824. The subject was duly considered, and communicated time enough to prevent the recurrence of such indecency in the Court of Gaol Delivery. Some of those who asserted that the Duke of Atholl kept the communication in his pocket without making it known, are men whose opportunities make it impossible they should not know the impossibility of his doing so; and, of course, they must have known the falsehood they have asserted. Dare any man. in office, under the British Government, suppress an Official communication from the Secretary of State,, or neglect to put it in the proper office for the information of those who might succeed him ; dare he put it faith in the public office, as received months after it really came to his hand? It 'is, impossible ; and the imputation falls back from the Duke, on those who have knowingly, wilfully, and falsely made the assertion.
The Duke of Atholl, in December, 1821, put certain questions to the two Deemsters, —all of which related to the trial of Mr. McCrone. His Grace evidently put those questions in order to learn what state his agents and servants would be in, upon his leaving the Island, and in order to endeavour to procure some further security for the protection of those who were employed in his affairs:
Those queries will be found in the Appendix. They manifestly relate to Mr. McCrone's trial. It was not a public document, nor was it necessary to put it upon the public records.
It is a question whether the Crown, and of course the Duke of, Atholl, has a right to ask an extra judicial opinion from the Judges ; and, if such opinion be improprerly asked, it is the duty, the Judges: to say so,, and not give it: I think it. quite clear, that this was a case where such opinion ought not to have been asked,, that the Judges: should not have answered it, and it certainly ought not to have been recorded. But; his; Grace: was not bred an Attorney, and he probably never had studied Lord Coke's life, nor other cases on this subject. But the Deemsters, whose advice the Keys, say the Duke, must. follow, should have set him right. - .
It is true that, his Grace, did, on, the 9th; of February last, informed the Keys of the Secretary of State's Letter, declaring they were not considered a necessary part of the Gaol Delivery. If the moment so taken by his Grace, was that previously, fixed on for a conciliatory conference, it was the next meeting, after he had received the Secretary of State's Letter; and if that letter was an act of open decision, it was not his Grace's fault —The Duke was deceived into an opinion that the meeting of the Tynwald was to be a conciliatory one—when, in fact, those who led him to think so, only deceived him into calling that meeting to, get an opportunity of insulting him, and interfering with the just right of the Crown. The petitioners say, " they are not aware of any one charge made against one individual of their body." I answer, the sheep skins and the copper were alone sufficient to prove them unfit and improper persons to sit in the, Court of Gaol Delivery. And upon a very recent occasion, a gentleman of the bar, who objected to an interested member of the Keys sitting on an Appeal, case; was ordered by one of the Members to be " silent, and "to get out,"- and 'it was debated whether they should not commit the offender to prison.
They say, they- have always been on good terms with the Governors and Lieutenant-Governors I admit they may have been so. No other Governor had property that the Keys could attempt, totake from him;and the Governor or Lieutenant-Governor who was .not himself deeply interested in the Island, would not be very prudent in unnecessarily: interfering with the Keys, when he saw how difficult the Duke of Atholl finds it to preserve himself amongst them.
The Keys are greatly interested in conciliating the Lieutenant-Governor as amongst other things, it enables them to hold him up as a contrast to the Duke, and has more than once procured them a victory over his Grace the moment he had left the Island, by the Lieutenant-Governor acceding to what the Duke had resisted, and they resort to extraordinary and very curious means to procure a popularity for the Lieutenant-Governor, which the Duke is at least as much entitled to. The various duties imposed upon the Lieutenant-Governor are such that unless he were himself a Lawyer, he could not, as a man. of common prudence, avoid putting himself entirely under the guidance of the constituted Law Authorities of the Island, The connexion between them and the House of Keys has always covered every act of the Lieutenant-Governor, while acts done by his Grace, under the very same advice, are charged against him as crimes. Witness the case of Inoculation stated in the Petition.
The Petition says, that a warfare of so many years has not been sustained by the Keys without inconvenience, and declares that sooner than submit to the claims of the Duke of Atholl, they would infinitely rather annihilate the entire Constitution of the country, provided they could at the same time procure " the utter extinction of " every the last remains of the ancient proprietary influence, and the effectual emancipation of the country from. its existence, or revival" Let the House of Commons and the public judge of the Petitioners from this declaration: They would annihilate the Constitution, so valued and so dear to the feelings of the people, provided they could thereby rob the Duke of Atholl of his property! ! ! This is too atrocious and malignant to require an answer: Are those the Representatives of the people; or are they an assembly of incendiaries, who would burn a house for plunder. The language it is couched in is peculiarly guarded and diplomatic, and, like many other parts of the Petition, is so evasive as to be scarcely tangible. They would suggest to the Crown to do, by the English Legislature, what they would deeply regret, and decidedly and religiously abstain from doing themselves. Are these the Representatives of the people ! !!-Is this proposal honest ?
The Observations printed with the Petition are, if possible, worse than the Petition itself the Keys there say, "The connexion of the " Island with his Grace has been the result of accident." I answer the connexion of General Goldie with the Taubman, estate, is as much an accident ; but it is no reason why he should be robbed of it, So, is the marriage of Colonel Wilks with' Major Taubman's daughter; and if he had a son, it might as well be said the young gentleman got his father's estate by accident
" The Island came to his Grace by the mistake of a conveyancer, and,, the inhabitants yielded a ready, but now much regretted, acsquiescence in the change, on account of some disputes which had existed between the tenth Earl of Derby and the inhabitants" The fact is, that for years previous to the change, the same system of attack was persevered in by the Keys upon the Lords, and of course they were forced into exertions to defend their rights; but how the Keys could interfere with the descent to the heir-at-law, or how their acquiescence could be necessary, I cannot understand.
The profits, on the baneful traffic of smuggling "rested with the Lord, the persons in office of his appointment, and a few adventurers, in general not natives."This assertion is proved to be false, in every part of it, by the Examinations before the Board of Enquiry, in 1791 ; and it is well known that the chief fortunes in the Island were made by smuggling, particularly the Taubmans. The pains taken by the Keys, about the Council, prove their anxiety to interfere in what does not belong to them. The King has a right to nominate his own Council, he has done so; and their complaints are not worth notice, on that point, as I have already proved that their anxiety to get rid of the Bishop and Vicars General, is, in order the more effectually to plunder the Duke.
The insinuation "that the Duke, being interested in the Revenue, and having the patronage of the revenue officers, (they may be led, from gratitude, to connive at swollen importation, and not to look scrupulously into the place of consumption)," is made worse by the cautious, cool, and guarded declaration, that they do not assert the fact ; and that they disavow, distinctly, any insinuation against the Duke ;-thus producing, as an argument against his Grace, what they will not venture to assert, gainst any person as true, or even to insinuate The possibility of it as to the .Duke. The fact stated. to justify the insinuation, " that in the year 1821, a branch of the Preventive Service was stationed, and for some time remained, in the Island ;whilst there, the duties on importation very sensibly shrunk in amount. In the year following the departure of this independent establishment it is understood that the demand for licences became more considerable," is false; and it is said it was inserted in the Observations to meet the wishes of a new Member of the Keys, who had been in the Preventive Service, and on the service being discontinued, was discharged on full pay, That this gentleman wishes to be restored to the perquisites he received when on duty, by conniving at illicit practices, I do not directly assert,—any insinuation of his having acted corruptly, I most distinctly disavow. It appears, however, extraordinary, that he should not be satisfied with receiving full pay for doing nothing, and that he should join in attacking the Duke of Atholl, who got him the situation ; and the truth is, that that service cost Government £3,118 .5s. 8½ from January, 1822, to the reduction in December; 1823 ; and all their condemned seizures amounted to less than £9,
The next insinuation, " That the Duke may, if he pleases, sit as Governor in the Exchequer Court, and try tithe causes, in which his Grace and the Bishop are interested, and that the Governor sits in that Court, alone" is another attempt to: insinuate the Duke. of Atholl's character away, by gross and wilful falsehood..—The Duke of Atholl never sat to try any tithe question ; and the Governor or Lieutenant Governor, does not sit alone in that Court.—This assertion every man in the House of Keys knows to be false.
I should like to know who is meant, or struck at, by the assertion, that those who hold Judicial Offices may not generally, be viewed as fit persons to protect from invasion the rights of the Crown and people." Since the Revestment, there have been twelve persons successively in the situations of Deemster and Clerk of the Rolls; eight of those twelve were taken from the House of Keys, to be put upon the Bench ; two more were Mr. John Quayle and Mark H. Quayle, father and son, who were in succession Clerks of the Rolls—the one the father, the other the brother, of Mr. George Quayle, at present Member of .the Keys, and one of those who signed the Petition. Mr, McHutchin, the present Clerk of the Rolls, was, when put upon the Bench, the agent and particular friend of the late Major Taubman, the late, and of Colonel Wilks, , the present Speaker of the House of Keys; so that Mr. Thomas Stowell, the late Clerk of the Rolls, was the only person out of the twelve, who was not either a Member of the Keys, or deeply and closely connected with those who were.
All those persons were; I believe, without exception, appointed at the recommendation of the Duke of Atholl, or his ancestors. It may be, true, that they " may not, generally, be viewed as fit persons to protect from invasion the rights of the Crown and people," the charge, however, comes badly from the House of Keys; and it is evident, that they must have been well calculated to protect the Crown and people from the Duke ofAtholl, being taken from the House of Keys into which body they never would have been elected, if they had not been adverse to his Grace.
The Judicial characters in the Island may not be inclined to protect the Crown and the people; but the House of Keys, in the case of the copper, and I dare say in many other instances, have actually prevented the Crown from being protected. The plunderers, or at least the purchasers of the plunder, of the RaceHorse, sloop of war, were protected from punishment by their interference, in the Court of Gaol Delivery.
The Duke of Atholl, like every other man, may and must, at times, be mistaken, and place confidence in men who disappoint and deceive him ; but in the use he has made of his patronage in the Island, he never has considered himself or his own interest. He has suffered himself, at all times, to be led by the feelings and wishes of the House of Keys, in the vain hope of conciliation, and he has almost always been disappointed in his expectation, and found the man he raised, unite with that body to strike, at his interest and his rights.
The story of the exclusion of Foreign grain, and the subsequent riots, I have already stated truly ; and I am ready, able, and willing to prove the truth of my statement, upon that and every other point of the Petition, before any tribunal — and I wish most sincerely to see such an investigation ; and that the stake contended for should be, the Reformation of the House of Keys, by making them the Representatives of the people, or the Duke of Atholl's rights, according, to the truth or falsehood of their assertions.
The charge of his Grace having substituted his own will for Law, in the charge for Inoculating, corresponds well with that for removing the Deemsters from being his assessors in the Court of Chancery, and comes with great decency from Mr. Robert Cuninghame, who, as Acting Attorney-General, laid the information.
The writer of this case was present on that, occasion, and then said to persons who can prove it, that the Deemsters had led the Duke into error, and that he had acted contrary to Law. The Deemsters were sitting one on each, side of his Grace, and were by no means passive; for, when the men themselves had offered to give security not to inoculate any more, and all was supposed to be settled, Deemster Heywood turned to the Duke, and said, " your Grace had better order them to be taken, and kept until they enter into Bonds." That the proceeding was illegal is undoubted ;that it was countenanced by the Deemsters on the Bench can be proved; and if money was extorted from them as costs; it was extorted by Mr. Robert Cuninghame, then Acting Attorney-General; who laid the information, and now, as a member of the House of Keys, comes with all his relations at his back, to charge it against the Duke as a crime. There is no person who reads this charge, and how it is brought forward, and by whom, that mast not he satisfied that it is grossly malicious; and if the Duke of Atholl erred in point of Law, he acted for the good of society and was led into the error, by the very persons who accuse him.
That the Keys are not the Representatives of this Island, is self evident from the mode of election, which is by the house itself filling up each vacancy, without going to the people at all and it is also plainly asserted by the Speaker himself, in his Speech to the House of Keys, on the 29th of October 1823 as published in the Rising Sun newspaper of the 4th of November, 1828 ; he there admits, and declares in plain; unequivocal language, that they are not.
The Thanks of the House for that Speech, is an adoption of it ; and the House declaring, that they could not act without taking the opinion of the people, is o _full declaration that they afire :not their Representatives: A body who, on every question, is to poll the country, is of no use whatever ; And of course some mode should be adopted for having the people represented by persons authorized to act and speak for them. That they are opposed to the people is also evident ; and they may judge for themselves from the following plain facts. The favourite doctrine preached by a certain class of persons in the Isle, is, that the small properties, which . elsewhere would be considered a blessing; is in this Island an injury to the country. In other words, that it would add to the happiness of the place; if the Lands of the Island were in the hands of men of large and extensive property. This improvement, I grieve to say, is going forward most rapidly. And. I need no proof to convince the people of the fact; that the greatest part of the small estates are now under mortgage, and hundreds who have had estates are already be. come tenants, and are subject to rent.—The Laws of this Island are cruelly favourable to the landlord, and oppressive to the tenant. In other countries, the landlord is the friend, the protector, and adviser of his tenant ; in this Island, he is his scourge and oppressor. In other countries; the people go to their Representatives for advice and protection ; here they have no Representatives to go to. In other countries; the trial by Jury is the poor man's protection against the rich; in this Island the laws render it next to impossible to secure an honest impartial Jury, fairly returned and impartially struck: The Jury here is only looked upon as a step to carry the parties before the Keys, as a superior tribunal, where the nature of the trial may be judged of by the cause of " Kelly and Curphy," in the Appendix.
Let those who, on reading this, feel the facts to apply to themselves, and think their little properties likely to be swallowed up by their wealthy neighbours, and themselves or their children reduced to labour on the lands they once possessed. Let them, I say, reflect on this dreadful prospect in time, and consider, before it be too late, how they can alert this awful calamity. Then ask themselves, where the landlord is that would cherish and console them ? Is their a single man calling himself their Representative, whose conduct and character would justify the expectation ?
Where is the Constitutional Representative who can be accused of any act of mercy to a tenant in distress, or missing an opportunity of adding to his afflictions ? If any man in the situation I here describe, wants information on this subject, let him attend the different Courts of the Island, and he will find that the most affluent are the most conspicuous; he will find tenants arrested for rents not payable for a year;, others sold up and turned on the world, after having exhausted their own properties in the improvement of their landlord's estate ; others not even suffered to go abroad, naked, to seek pity from mankind; but consigned to Castle Rushen, in the hope of extracting somewhat from their bones by the chemical exertions of the Jailer. Those who know this Island must know that I speak truth, and do not exaggerate. I admit there are exceptions, and every man is not an actor in this miserable cruelty; but I never heard an instance of any of the Constitutional Representatives, standing between the devoted debtor and his unrelenting creditor.
Nothing is so desired by those money lenders as an advantageous mortgage. Let the poor devoted and deluded Manks yeoman reflect on this ; turn it seriously in his mind, and then see if he cannot discover the true reason why so much clamour has been made about, the Redemption Clause in the Tithe Bill. Was it for the benefit of the poor man, who never could expect to have the means of purchasing off the Commutation but by borrowing? The poor man could not lose his property by the annual payment of the Commutation ;i but if he were persuaded to borrow money from a landjobber, to buy off the Commutation, and grant a mortgage on his estate, his ruin would be nearly certain; for whose property recovers from a Manks mortgage? In short, the Manksman of small estate, will find, if he consider the subject as a plain reasonable creature, exercising the understanding God has blessed him with, that this clamour about Redemption is only a struggle by the rich to hurry the poor more expeditiously to destruction, and to make them parties in their own ruin.
The Keys put themselves in opposition to the people, when they threw out the Tithe Commutation Act. They did the same, when they endeavoured to pass the Road Act, to double the local Taxes of the Island, and to handle the money themselves, turning the patronage connected with it to their own emolument. They did, the same, when they excluded Foreign corn from the Island; and, in short, I do defy the House of Keys to show to the people a single Act they ever passed with the object of serving them. I also defy the House of Keys to point out a single instance of an individual of their body protecting a poor man from oppression.
Thus I think I have shewn that the House of Keys have put their interests in opposition to both the Crown and the people. I have not resorted to insinuation for the purpose, but I have: stated plain and substantial facts.
The Duke of Atholl, it is said, is claiming a Royalty from the-Lime-stone Quarries of the. Island. He has a right to do so, and he is putting that right to a legal issue. I will not attempt to interfere with or influence a question that will probably be solemnly investigated in the appellate Court in England; but I do assert,that when that cause comes to be heard, it will appear manifest that very step his Grace has taken in that transaction is as much calculated to protect the people from extortion as to serve himself.
Great stress is laid upon the Duke of Atholl's expostulations with Mr. Cuninghame, the Acting Attorney General, and with Deemster Gawne , and to a man accustomed to think of English judges, it would appear; I admit, a very extraordinary proceeding : but since the. days of Jeffries, I do not believe that there ever was an instance of an English Judge acting the part that Deemster Gawne did upon that occasion. The trial of Mr. McCrone only requires to be read, to strike the mind with horror at the situation that gentleman was placed in, by a combination of three near relations connected together, and acting against him as Judge, Attorney-General, and Prosecutor
It is said by the House of Keys, that the Duke of Atholl is bound to receive the Deemsters as his Assessors in the Court of Chancery; it is also said, that he is himself answerable for what he does upon the Chancery Bench, under their advice and, directions. Was it then a crime in the Duke of Atholl, to ask the man who expected to be his adviser and director, how he came, in the trial of Mr. M'Crone, to violate every principle of Law and Justice, and that in manifestly a party question, where his own near relation was working at one side Deemster Gawne . asserted, that he did not " know the place of Mr. M'Crone's residence, and his Grace the .Duke of Atholl. more than insinuated a doubt of his veracity." It is not surprising that his Grace should have done so, as Mr. M'Crone is in possession of letters from Deemster Gawne, written previous to that transaction, and addressed to Castle Mona.The whole statement in the Petition and Observations is a grm nisrepresentation, and the Keys knew it to be , as appears by the following facts.
In the year 1822, the House of Keys presented some Memorial or representation respecting this conversation, to the Secretary of State it was shown to Deemster Gawne. In consequene of which a correspondence took place between him and Mr. John Llewellyn, the Clerk to the House of Keys, (which will be found in, the Appendix) where Deemster Gawne, in broad and flat terms desires Mr. Llewellyn to let the House of Keys know, that they had grossly misrepresented the transaction.
With regard to the Acting Attorney-General I contend for it, that his Grace had a right to observe upon his conduct in that transaction, if he thought proper so to do.
I have now, I believe. answered every material charge brought against his Grace, either in the Petition or by the Observations. It should be clearly understood, that his Grace has never sought to arrogate himself any new or doubt ful right whatsoever. He has at various times declared his acquiescence in the Act of Settlement;— he only claims what is expressly reserved to him by the Act of Revestment. The British Government and Legislature are bound, in honor and jutstice, to protect him in those rights, so long as they are by Law vested in him. They are his private property and every subject of the British Crown has a right to look to the British Government for the protection of his property. If the House of Keys do represent the people, and the people wish to get rid of the Duke of Atholl, let them purchase his rights from him ; but they have no right to rob him.. His Grace offered, last year, to give them up his Tithes upon fair terms, and the people would have thankfully agreed in the proposal; but the Keys, for private reasons of their own, rejected it. Let the Keys, now try the people, and. see whether they will consent to purchase out the Duke of Atholl and his family, and free the Island from their residence. They will soon find that the people ,will refuse to do so, they well know that they would become slaves and beggars, if they were not protected from the Keys ; and they well know that the objects contended for by his Grace, are almost every one of them essentially necessary for the good of the people. Those objects are—first, that an Appellate Jurisdiction should be established for this Island , that would come easy to the people, and by controuling the decisions of the Insular Judges, reduce the Laws to uniformity, and relieve the Governor from sitting upon the Bench where he cannot act independently. Secondly, a regular Registry Act, to restore to his Grace the Records that belong to him as Lord of the Isle, and separate them from the Judicial Records—to enforce the recording of all Deeds of every description, and thus to enable the people to obtain certainty, in all their transactions, Thirdly; the regulation of Juries: and that all Jury panels should be struck with impartiality. The Juries should be independent, and stand unprejudiced as they stand unsworn ;and that it should be rendered impossible for any man to pack a Jury; whether it be the Grand Enquest or the lowest petty Jury. That those Juries should be freed from the controul of the House of Keys, and that. their verdict should be subject to no other controul than that of an English Jury now is: Fourthly, that no person, possessing property in this Island, shall be bound by Laws passed by the Legislature, unless he be, in some way, represented in that Legislature ; and that no Law shall be passed, secretly:
Let those objects be attained by his Grace the Duke of Atholl, and his property will be safe.—Is it possible to read them, and: not to be persuaded that in pressing them, he identifies himself with the people; and is it possible for the Keys to resist hem, without setting themselves in opposition to the people and the Duke ?
n1:Details of the secret Court of Inquiry (approved by Home Secretary Robert Peel and presided over by the Duke of Atholl) regarding Deemster Gawne in MNH library, Legislative Council Journal, ref: 09191/4/1, ff. 455-89, 20 February to 13 March 1823. The inquiry, which confirms Roper's account, covers Gawne's part in Catherine McBride bringing a suit against John Fell for recompense for her dismissal from his household - charges against her include drunkenness, liaisons with a variety of men, dressing in men's clothes, staying out late at night, having Gawne's baby, etc.. The records end with Robert Peel informing the Duke of Atholl to 'inform Mr Deemster Gawne that his Majesty had no further occasion for his Services'. A protest from the Keys to the Home Secretary regarding Gawne's dismissal as Deemster is in the House of Keys Journal, 09191/2/2, ff. 114-16, 5 July 1823. John, an illegitimate child of Cath McBride + Thomas Gawn, was baptised Douglas St George's 4 Dec 1821. [Acknowledgement to to Kit Gawne who located the information]
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