[From Atholl Papers - AP X8-28]

[1752 + 1759 replies by Duke of Atholl re sale of Island]

My Lord

I have received a letter from the Secretaries of the treasury of the 23d March last concerning the Isle of Man, but I thought proper to return the answer to your Grace yourself

I have always declared that no temptation of gain could induce me to give up so ancient so honourable and so noble a birthright as the Isle of Mann, such as no subject of the Crown of England now has or ever had.

Nothing to one of my rank & in my circumstances can be an equivalent. But at the same time I have always said how unwilling soever I might be to part with so proud a patrimony, yet my duty and attachment to the King was such that if his Majesty upon full consideration was advised to think it an important point for his service, I would submitt to his pleasures. I know his Majesty would not suffer any proposall to be made upon unworthy or unequal terms.

Sir Robert Walpole once thought of it but I believe was afterwards convinced that the object was not tanti. If it was in the Kings hands the proximity must still be the same. Many thousand inhabitants must still have a right to their constitution laws administration of justice, and interior trade and commerces. It would be in the case of Guernsey Jersey Sark and Alderney where imports and exports are governed by their own laws, as much as if they were under feudatory Lords. Therefore after deliberation he totally relinquished the design. Mr Pelham took it up, and talked to me upon the subject, I explained to him my own sentiments and resolution to the effect I have mentioned. Relying upon his personal probity and character, I gave him a true and precise state of the nature and revenues of this principality, that he might be able to judge what proposal to make, and he assured me, no proposal should come from him, which he would not adjudge, if it was left to him to settle as an arbitration. He made me many acknowledgements for the manner in which I acted, and said that no use should be made of my communication but in order to estimate what proposal it would be just to make to me.

I never put him in mind of the subject, and he never came to any conclusion, which he thought fit to apprise me of.

Whether he formed any resolution, or why he dropped the design, or whether he waited for a previous step by the Parliament of Ireland, your Grace probably knows, or may have the means of knowing. Upon Mr Pelham's death your Grace came to the Treasury, and sometime after in the beginning of the year 1756, at your Graces desire I made the same declaration and relying personally on your Grace as much as I did upon your brother, that you would in this case make a proposal as you would make an award, I gave you a copy of the paper I had delivered to Mr Pelham with assurances which I now repeat that no duty has been laid on, or encreased, taken off or diminished or any alteration made since I succeeded to the late Earl of Derby.

Since that time I have not heard upon the subject till very lately when I received the letter from the Secretaries of the treasury which I have already noticed.

From what I have always said, your Grace will observe that I can have no proposal to make, but I will listen with duty and respect to any proposal which shall be made by your Grace, you have the means in your hands (which I gave upon honour) of forming a judgment by such assistance:

As you may think proper to take, I am

Dunkeld 30 April 1759

Memodm This is a copy of the proposal which was confidentially delivered to the late Mr Pelham by the Duke of Atholl on the 1st Novr 1752, and his Grace being informed that upon search amongst Mr Pelham's papers the same cannot be found, and being desired to deliver another copy thereof, his Grace accordingly delivers this copy thereof to the Duke of Newcastle, under the like confidence. The papers left with the proposal are those referred to by it - The Duke of Atholl is not desirous of parting with the Isle, at the same time he will not oppose his Majesty's pleasure if a sale thereof shall be judged convenient to the Publick.


Back index next


Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2004