[From Atholl Papers - AP 108-40 + 108-41]
My Lord Duke
The object of my addressing your Lordship is respecting an unfortunate young man - a manx man of the name of John Bean Hannay - now a prisioner in Newgate under sentence of transportation for seven years for a violation of several acts for the Abolition of the Slave Trade.
Knowing the benevolence of your Grace's character is my inducement for taking the liberty of praying for your intercession with his Royal Highness the Prince Regent for a remission of the prisoners punishment - provided your Grace thinks it proper under all the circumstances of the case to do so
The prisoner Hannay is certainly guilty of a breach of the law - before remission of punishment will be granted, if it should be granted - the judges present at the trial I should think would be required by the Govnt which makes it unnecessary for me to trouble your Grace with a detail of the Trial.
I conceive the prisioner's misconduct arose from (the indiscretions of youthful inexperience, having too soon the command of a large vessel, with the disposal of the cargo) wishing to cultivate the good will of the chiefs on the coast of Africa, induced him to lend the assistance of his ships boat to transport a few slaves over a river from one African chief to another - the prisioner acknowledges he knew the illegality of trading in slaves but he alledges he did not think what he was doing constituted slave trading
The prisoner sailed from Liverpool a mate of the ship James (?) on the voyage during which the offence was committed before he was twenty years of age the captain of the said ship dying on the voyage, the prisoner received the command of the ship before he was twenty one years of age - on the return of the ship to England the prisoner on finding the nature of the offence he had committed voluntarily attended at Bow Street for the purpose of public commination.
The prisoner has a widowed mother with six orphan female children with but scanty means of support - the prisioner has contributed in some measure to the support of his widowed mother, in conjunction with another brother - and to add to the calimity of this family - this other brother - who was master of a West India ship - has unfortunately with the whole of his crew perished at sea within the tlast two months leaving a widow with two infant children additional claimants to the parentental care of the prisioner
I will take an early opportunity of doing myself the honor of waiting on your Grace to know your pleasure in this business.
Trusting the nature of the case will plead for the liberty I am taking I have the honor etc
J F Cosnahan
3 Oxford Court Cannon St 19 March 1817
My Lord Duke
I am again obliged to trouble your Grace respecting the prisioner Hannay, respecting whom, I have already had the honor of communicating with your Grace.
Concurring it advisable that a petition should be signed by the first Liverpool Merchants; in addition to the very gracious intercession your Grace so condesendingly agreed to make on the prisoners behalf - I accordingly advised such a petition to be signed in Liverpool - but having received the inclosed answer I think it right to send it to your Grace. I will take the liberty of doing myself the honor to wait on your Grace tomorrow or whenever it may suit your Grace, to ask your Grace's advice on the subject I cannot conclude my Lord Duke without expressing the high sense I am certain of the benevolence of your Grace's effect from the condescening interest you have taken in the prisoner's behalf - taking the prisoners offence in its worst light - "To err is human, to forgive devine"
I have the honor etc
The family can be readily identified as that of Thomas Hannay (or Hannah) and Jane Carr (or Kerr) (m. Onchan 13 Oct 1778) who had some 10 children between 1779 and 1803 (all baptised at Douglas St Matthews) on whom 8 survived to 1817. The death of Thomas does not appear to have been noted in the Island burial registers so possibly it occured off Island, he was I suspect Scottish (or of Scots descent), John's middle name 'Bean' is possibly related to Alexander Bean who was a leading member of the Scots Presbyterian church in Douglas. There were some three surviving boys Daniel, Alexander and John together with five girls Jane, Mary, Arbuthnot, Elizabeth and Ellinor. It would appear that Jane had married Samuel Haining in 1807 who may have been behind the request to the Duke.
Alexander was the Master of the Horatio which was wrecked on the 4th of Feb, 1817 on the beach of Dinas Dinlle, Caernarfon - his brother John Bean Hannay petitioned two months later noting the loss of his brother and the whole of his crew - another Manxman on board was John Johnson, son of the late Capt Johnson of the Lynx cutter of Liverpool - this was possibly Capt William Johnson, living at 3 Georges Street, Oldhall Street, Liverpool in 1798 and who married Ann Young in 1799 in Kk German and possibly buried Braddan 1808 - the Lynx cutter is noted as acting against smugglers at the end of 18th century.
J. F. Cosnahan was presumeably John Finch Cosnahan, son of John Cosnahan (and Catherine Finch), his father had successfully opposed the Duke some 10 years earlier when the Duke attempted to regain some of his feudal powers in the Island.
| Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The
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