[Appendix D(8) 1792 Report of Commissioners of Inquiry]
LETTER from Lieutenant-Governor SHAW.
SIRS, Castle Rushen, October 22, 1791.
THOUGH I have already taken up your time so much with a variety of matter, addressed to your Secretary, I yet think it a duty to express to you my entire disapprobation, as I have endeavoured to do to them, of the manner in which, in your official capacity, you have been addressed by the Keys, and of some of their positions laid before you, which nothing but misconception, (wilful, I fear, with some of them, or their advisers,) of the authority under which you acted, and of the objects and scope of your commission, could well have induced ; but at the same time, scarce less so, to add my testimony to what they have represented respecting the condition of the public buildings of the isle, viz. the several courthouses, that in which they hold their assemblies, and the prisons. They are, indeed, in a state truly deplorable, as you, Sirs, of some of them must have observed. And I would beg leave to add, that the government-house, in respect to accommodating a family and otherwise, is in bad repair
The Keys have also represented the propriety, and even the necessity, of having a second or northern Deemster appointed I am clearly of opinion that such appointment would be useful, and highly gratifying to the people of the isle in general But it would seem to me, this innovation in the constitution of the isle, so much complained of, and so grievously felt from the want of this Deemster, did not so forcibly strike the Keys ; nor the evils arising from such want, when by an act of Tynwald (in 1777) High Bailiffs were appointed in the four towns and their districts, one each, with concurrent jurisdion in causes not exceeding forty shillings value, among whom the salary of the northern Deemster was divided, and by which appointment it was conceived the necessity of having such Deemster would be superseded, in great measure, if not altogether. It is, however, fair to observe, that the laws of 1776 and 1777 were at best but laws of experiment ; and some of which have been found not to answer.
The Keys have likewise recommended an addition of salary to the resident Lieutenant Governor ( meaning the Lieutenant Governor for the time being, and commanding in the government). On a subject wherein I may be supposed to have some and the more immediate interest, it would become me to say but little. I can, however, Sirs, assure you, that in any extremity I should not have been the first to mention any thing to this effect ; and that the representation of the Keys has not proceeded on even any hint, directly or indirectly, from me : it was, indeed, already determined on before I knew any thing at all of such matter being in their contemplation. Yet most certain it is, that the salary of the Lieutenant Governor is not adequate to that dignity and consequent expence necessarily and unavoidably annexed to the office ; nor to the enabling him to fulfil its duties as thry ought to be fulfilled. He cannot, or without ruin to himself and family, (if he has one,) mix with the people, or know them their manners, customs, dispositions, modes of thinking - aIl, at least, proper for him to know ; or to be known by them, but by report, and in that liable to be missrepresented. In ability for expence, his appointments do not set him on a footing with even the middling class of a numerous gentry, over whom he has been sent to govern. He has no patronage, nor any thing in his gift by which to create any influence, or look-up to him whatever ; nor whereby either to make or oblige a friend ; or excepting the four small places of High Bailiff, (as any of them may become vacant,) of 251. a year each ; and the naming of his own secretary or clerk, whom he pays out of his own pocket. Nor is he on a footing with many of the inferior servants of the Crown, whose salaries are equal to his, and appointments altogether considerably better; with no rank to keep up, and some of them scarce any thing to do : but he has all the responsibility of a government of some importance, as being over not fewer than thirty thousand of His Majestys subjects, inhabitants, and in some respects rather peculiarly circumstanced. It may also be observed, that the salary of the Lieutenant Governor is the only one which has not been augmented from its first establishment, (in, I believe, 1776 or 1777,) whilst since then most or all of the others have been considerably augmented, and the necessaries of life have more than doubled in price, some of them trebled, and all every year increasing.
But going a little further than the Keys have done, I shall beg leave to represent, that in the Isle of Man there is not any allowance for stationary, coal, or candle, or any thing ; nor establishment for a Secretary, an office, however, very necessary, or almost indispensably so. The person who does this duty is paid, in fact, by the Governor, or Lieutenant Governor, who appoints and employs him; that is, he allows him the small perquisites, (all there are indeed,) which otherwise would be his ownto the amount of 301. to 401. a year, (or such share of them as may be agreed,) arising from passes, licences, &c. I would humbly submit, whether an office, in itself necessary and important, should not be put on a footing of more respectability. And
Herewith I beg leave, Sirs, to lay before you, a Memorial from the person (Norris Moore, Esquire,) who now fills it with credit to himself and satisfaction to the public. It is with pleasure I can aver of him, that he is a gentleman of honour, of integrity, and respectable talents. He is by profession a lawyer, and among the first as well as seniors of the bar.
I have the honour to be, with much respect,
Your most obedient and humble sersrant,
. ALEXANDER SHAW.
The Honourable His Majestys Comrnissioners,
&c. &c. Isle of Man.
P. S. The above wasjust not copied when you left the island;
Any comments, errors or omissions
gratefully received The