[From Atholl Papers - AP X69-23]
To the Right Revd Mark Lord Bishop of Sodor & Man, and the 24 Keys of said Isle.
That his Grace the Duke of Atholl, and his predecessors Lords of this Island, by their good government, have hitherto promoted and established a Protestant Interest therein, and by the happiness of the constitution, the liberties and properties of the memorialists and other Protestant landholders have been usually preserved conformable to the laws and customs of the neighbouring kingdoms; which by known experience have strengthened and secured the Protestant interest under his most gracious Majesties auspicious reign, in which kingdoms, no manner of persons professing popery is permitted to his freedom in towns corporate.
That your memorialists observe with the greatest concern that many Papists have of late transported themselves and their families from Ireland unto this Island ; introducing along with them Popish priests, exercising their functions without any restraint whereby Protestants are encouraged to intermarry with Papists who are daily perverting the principles of the Natives, practices in themselves offensive to the inhabitants here, as well as obnoxious to the religion and constitution of the neighbouring kingdoms, for the suppression of Popery, by the most coercive and penal laws has been by them thought necessary to their very existence ; we cannot but apprehend, that the encouragement of it here by naturalization or other auxiliary means, must be equally subversive to our laws and liberties, nor can we conceive by what right or title these papists can pretend to peculiar freedoms & exemptions here, which would be denied them in every other part of his Majesty's dominions.
That your memorialists being also informed that some Papists have been lately naturalized, beg leave to observe, that by such an avowed encouragement of Popery, (whose complection has ever been to propogate its tenets by fire and fagot, and to extirpate whom they call hereticks of whatsoever denomination) This Island the centre as it were of his Majesty's dominions, may probably in some future time become a nursery of disafection to the Brittish Constitution ; and be easily invited to introduce our most inverterate enemy the French, to take possession thereof, in order to annoy the present happy establishment of his Majesty's kingdoms.
That your memorialists beg leave further to represent, that we are utterly unaquainted with the form or nature of that authority, whereby any alien can be naturalized in this Isle, whether this power was derived by any royal grant from the Kings of England to the Derby family, or whether such a power be supported by the authority of law (for naturalization is obtained in England not by, or ffrom the King's sole prerogative, but the authority of the whole legislature) and as we are also informed that during the last war, an express order was given by the legislative power of this Isle, for the suppression of Popery by the immediate dismission of the popish priest, we humbly conceive that at this present juncture, wherein our religion and liberties are in greater danger, the premises are equally an object of the interposition of the legislecture, and worthy of their most serious attention & deliberation.
Wherefore we most humbly request that your best endeavours may be exerted towards the prevention of these impending evils, by such means & methods, as to you in your great wisdom, shall seem most expedient & meet.
1757 August 9th