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[GIBRALTAR.]

Printed copy of the order-in-council issued in the name of Earl Bathurst, Secretary of State for the Colonies, dated 19 March 1819, and signed Chetwynd, suspending the investigation into land titles in Gibraltar.

£380

(London 1819.)

Description

Folio, 4 unnumbered leaves.   Reproduced is the Proclamation by Governor George Don dated 4 December 1817 referring to the order of 13 August 1817 by the Prince George, the Prince Regent, obliging those not natural born subjects or Protestants to register at the Office of the Civil Secretary and make an annual payment of ten dollars [f. (4) verso], and a copy of the letter dated 31 January 1819 signed A. Cardozo, J.R. Oxberry and Charles Glynn, inhabitants of Gibraltar, pleading their case [f. (4) recto & verso].    

Together with:-

Autograph letter dated Lloyds, 1st March 1836, 4to., 2 pp. with integral address leaf, from W. Dobson to J.R. Oxberry, Gibraltar, concerning monies owed.   And:-

Manuscript copy of a deed dated Gibraltar, 17 June 1836, 1 leaf, folio, drawn up by William Cornwell, Proctor of the Court, stating that John Hackett, officer in His Majesty’s Navy, had sailed for Leghorn and was due to return to Gibraltar.                                                                                                                        

An important document concerning property rights in Gibraltar.   The letter of 31 January 1819 from the Gibraltar representatives states that “Payment of Ten Dollars . . will deter many persons having a trading capital, from settling in the Garrison;  and no Alien ever came there for the express purpose of purchasing Lands, but solely to trade” (f. (4) verso), and refers to the “letter which authorized Sir Thomas Trigge to Confirm the Sales of Transfers of Landed Property to Roman Catholics and Jews, who should have resided at Gibraltar for a period of Five Years . . .” (f. (4) recto).   “(W)e can detect the British cultural conceit that citizens had rights and that society was or should be governed by the rule of law, equitably applied.   It is fair to say that by the end of the (18th) century the most important British export to Gibraltar was British law and the notion that its application should be impartial . . .   Property owners worried by the order-in-council of August 1817, which authorised the inquiry into land titles in Gibraltar, immediately assembled and chose a committee to draw up a memorial asking Lieutenant-Governor Don to suspend the already publicised investigation.   When Don replied that he was bound by his instructions and not able to accede to their wishes, a second memorial was drawn up and sent to him with the request that it be forwarded to the Prince Regent.   In reply to this, Don declared that he would not do so without its amendment or, if it were to be sent unchanged, without adding critical comments in his covering dispatch.   A delegation then went to London to deliver the memorial themselves and to engage in some lobbying of the Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, Lord Bathurst, and also, via learned counsel, to the Privy Council, ‘ex parte inhabitants of Gibraltar’.   The importance of this episode is not just that Gibraltar merchants were able to by-pass the governor and ‘go to the top’, nor even that reasoned argument seems to have led to a modification of the law and to an amended order-in-council of March 1819.   More strikingly, what we also see here is the expression of a collective civilian identity, though only among the merchant elite.   The committee which drafted the first memorial was carefully constructed to include three representatives ‘for Protestants’, three ‘for Catholics’ and three ‘for Hebrews’.   Signatures to the memorials were signed in columns headed ‘Protestant’, ‘Catholics’ and ‘Jews’.   Distinctions were acknowledged, but a common interest was recognised, and political pressure was being collectively exerted” (Stephen Constantine, Community and identity, the making of modern Gibraltar since 1704, pp. 87-88).   Two tiny holes in f. (4) just touching text, some slight staining.

01616

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