[From Atholl Papers - AP X14-6]
The said Isle was formerly an ancient Kingdom - the Lord, without the Title, hath all the regalia & perogatives of a Prince. And the people are governed by their own peculiar Laws, Customs & priviledges ; which make a Distinction between a native-born and a Stranger :-
The native only pays half duty to the Lord, on the imporation of certain commoditys - Is not to be arrested body and goods, upon an Action of Debt ; without special cause - And hath the same prioority, in payment of Debts, to a Stranger ; as specialitys have to Simple Contracts in England -
These Priviledges extend to such as are born within the Isle, and such as are seized of a certain position of Land therein, and also to those, whom the Lord doth by his Perogative naturalize & admit, Upon taking the oath of Faith & Fealty to the Lord and the Laws of the said Isle, with the Reservation of Allegiance to the King's Majesty of Great Britain and gracious Soveraign -
To put the fair Trader upon an equal footing, His Grace the Duke of Atholl Lord of the said Isle, upon the humble petitions of some of the most considerable Merchants, and the recommendation of His Governor of the said Isle, ordered that they should be severally naturalized & admitted to the said privililedges of a Native, according to the ancient form. And, among those Gentlemen, four viz Messrs Thos Arthur, John Folie, Hugh Connor & Francis Dean, are of the Roman catholic persuasion - But have resided & traded in the said Isle a great many years, with good character and without giving offence to any person in religious matters - The few papist Stangers who reside & resort to the said Isle, have generally a priest ; But if he discovers himself by any umbrage of offence to Society, he is instantly silenced by the Governor. Of there was a late instance (tho' upon a very trivial occasion) And the Governors order still continues in force, and the papists have not since had a priest to officiate.
The said Isle is singularly happy in point of religion - the reformation was universally embraced there, in Queen Elizabeth's reign ; and no Dissentions or Scisms have been known there since. All the Natives are of the Church Established and for Loyalty to His Majesty and the present happy Establishment of Great Britain, this Isle may justly vye with any part of His Dominions - For which good reasons, they are strangers to penal and other Statutes against Ppery; and no restrictions though off against any Sect of Religion, from purchasing, or taking Lands by Descent, Devise, Gift or Intack; or discountenancing Naturalization : by which said several means an alien may attain to the said priviledges of a Native.
And as Equity & Justice to the trading part of the Isle in general was the sole object of the Naturalizations ; and matters of Religion in no sort concerned ; these papists were, with the other Gentlemen of the same standing, admitted to the secular priviledges of Justice and Equality in payment of Debts with the Native -The only point, at which a few Native Merchants clamour
Upon the whole we are of opinion that common Justice in the payment of Debts is the right of every Man be his Religion or persuasion what it will.
Basil Cochrane, Dan Mylrea, John Quayle, Jon Taubman
Castle Rushen this 18th March 1758
there is another copy as AP X8-1