[From Train's History, 1845]



To Her Most Excellent Majesty in Council, Victoria the First, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

The humble petition of the undersigned, being landowners, merchants, tradesmen, and residents in the Isle of Man, sheweth,-That the following preamble appears in an act of Tynwald, passed in the seventeenth year of the reign of his late majesty George the third:-" Whereas many of the laws and customs of this Isle, have been found not only to be defective, but in many instances impolitic and very inadequate to the purposes of good order and government, it is now thought expedient to repeal all obsolete and useless laws which, however properly adapted to more early ages, are now become insufferable and oppressive, and to institute a new arrangement and connection of the most wholesome laws, retaining every part possible of the ancient constitution, and being made to bear the nearest resemblance to the system of English jurisprudence, which, it is conceived, may greatly conduce to the honour, welfare, and happiness of this Isle; we, your majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the governor, council, and keys of the Isle of Man, being deeply interested in promoting the salutary purposes aforesaid, now most humbly beseech your majesty ;"-That in the year 1792, nearly one thousand of the proprietors of lands in the Isle of Man, signed a petition to the honourable John Sprainger, William Osgoode, William Grant, William Roe, and David Reid, Esquires, commissioners appointed by his majesty to inquire into and report the then present situation of the Isle of Man, stating that the petitioners conceived themselves considerably aggrieved by various acts of Tynwald, passed since the revestment of this Island in his majesty, affecting the rights and interests of the memorialists, without their having it in their power to state their objections to such acts, which became binding upon them before they knew the purport of them; the petitioners, amongst other things, prayed that the House of Keys might either be chosen in a manner more consistent with the title they assumed-that of representa-tives of the inhabitants-or that their legislative acts might be prevented from passing without knowledge on the part of the memorialists.

That in the year 1833, several thousands of the most respectable inhabitants signed a petition to his late majesty King William the fourth, representing to his majesty with the utmost humility, that the legislative assembly of this Island, denominated the House of Keys, having assumed to themselves the right of self-election, had then hitherto been in the practice of enacting laws, binding the persons and properties of the petitioners and the public of this Island in general, without the petitioners and the public being at all made acquainted with, or consulted on the provisions of such enactments, until the time of their being promulgated and becoming effective law; and praying that his majesty would be pleased to restore to the petitioners the rights of which all his majesty's other subjects in common happily possess-that of choosing their own representatives.

That in the year 1834, two several petitions to his excellency colonel John Ready, the lieutenant-governor of the Isle of Man, were numerously signed, praying that his excellency would be pleased to convene the legislature for the purpose of taking into consideration the election of the House of Keys by the voice of the people.

That in the year 1838, a petition very numerously signed was presented to the said lieutenant-governor, praying that his excellency would be pleased, at his earliest convenience, to adopt such measures as he might think would be most advisable, to form a constituency of the inhabitants of this Island, for the purpose of electing the members of the House of Keys, and forming that house of the members so elected, that it might thus become the representatives of the people ; and in case of his excellency failing to succeed in obtaining a compliance therewith from the Insular legislature, the petitions further prayed that his excellency would be pleased to transmit their petition to your majesty's secretary of state, for the home department, confident that the petitioners' reasonable and just claim to be represented in the Insular legislature would be complied with by your majesty's government.

That his excellency returned the following answer to the above petition: -

" Government House, March 26th, 1838.

" Sir-,I have had under consideration the petition presented by Messrs. Moore and Clucas, as a deputation from the petitioners, praying that a constituency of the Inhabitants of the Island may be formed for electing the members of the House of Keys; and it is my duty to inform you that such a change in the constitution of the Isle of Man cannot be agreed to, and I have further to inform you, that if reform in the House of Keys is found to be really wanted, that a representation for the Island in parliament may be the measure of reform adopted,

I have the honour to be, Sir, your obdt. servt.,

" To Major Stewart, Ballavale." " J. READY. That your petitioners deprecate the idea of any reform which may tend to the abolition of the House of Keys, but your petitioners cannot close their eyes to the manifold advantages which arise alike to nations and small communities, from a representative form of government wisely and efficiently constituted. And with these feelings your petitioners approach your majesty's throne, and in the language of governor Smith,-the council, and keys, deliberating with closed doors upon the interests of your petitioners, however properly adapted to more early ages, is an impolitic custom, and very inadequate to good order and government, and is at the present day insufferable and oppressive.

That the inhabitants have from time to time in vain besought the Insular government to be relieved from this oppression, and to have extended to them that privilege of being represented in their own legislative body, which your majesty has most graciously granted to the remotest colony in your majesty's dominions fitted to exercise the duties thereof.

That the letter of his excellency lieutenant-governor Ready having precluded all hope of relief in the premises from the Insular legislature.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that your majesty may be graciously pleased to take such measures as to your majesty's wisdom may seem meet, in order to confer on your majesty's loyal subjects of the Isle of Man the privileges and advantages of popular representation in our Insular legislature. Or should your humble petitioners' prayer appear to require any additional corroboration, that your majesty would be graciously pleased to appoint commissioners to inquire into the grievances of which your humble petitioners complain. And to suggest such modification in the existing system as may harmonise the institutions of the Island, with the advance of political knowledge and the recognition of public rights, so that they may produce the greatest amount of felicity and prosperity.

And your petitioners will ever humbly pray.


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