Popular History of Jersey Chapter 21

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Governor dismissed

Order to Constables

The direct result of the flight of Philip Le Geyt from Jersey was to leave the Island minus both Bailiff and Lieut-Bailiff (the former, Earl Granville, being resident in England), whereupon the members of the States at once proceeded to elect a juge délégué, which proceeding took place 10 September 1730, immediately subsequent to which the then Lieut-Governor, Sir George Howard, issued orders to the constables of the twelve parishes to remonstrate with the people with a view to restoring something like order and quietness, though the report of the constables was that the inhabitants of the country parishes seemed at that time to be well disposed and peaceably inclined.

Then followed what had only once before taken place in Jersey. The Lieut-Governor was dismissed from office, or, in other words "removed from his post" by the King for neglect and disobedience. The way it came about was this: A report on the state of affairs then existing was made to the English Government, and an inquiry held before the Privy Council, during the course of which Philip Le Geyt (Lieut-Bailiff), William Dumaresq (Jurat and His Majesty's Receiver of Customs), John Le Hardy (Attorney-General), and the Rev Francis Payne (sworn in as Dean, 3 July 1729), being examined, amongst other things, alleged that they had left the Island in consequence of the insults and threats to which they had been subjected by the mob.

Governor dismissed

They also complained that the States and the Royal Court had, under pressure brought upon them by the mob, been forced into signing Acts directly contravening His Majesty's Order in Council, and legalising what was contrary to law: which Acts, being deemed a high insult to Royalty, were erased from the records, 30 August 1730. The Lieut-Governor was then charged by Philip Le Geyt with having neglected his duty and acted with disobedience by not having upheld the States of Jersey and the magistrates sufficiently in supporting them to carry out the Order in Council of 21 May 1729, relative to the currency, and in not being active enough in suppressing the riots. Colonel Howard was accordingly summoned to appear before the Privy Council to answer these complaints — Colonel William Hargrave being sworn in as Lieut-Governor, pro tem; on 14 November — and the charges being confirmed against him, Howard was removed from his post by an Order in Council dated 8 April 1731.

The same Order signified, as well, high displeasure at the conduct of several members of the States (amongst others Philip Patriarche and other members of the Royal Court, and also Elias Dumaresq, His Majesty's then Deputy Advocate, and severely reprimanded them; whilst, on the other hand, Le Geyt, William Dumaresq, Charles de Carteret, John Pipon, John Le Hardy and the Rev Francis Payne were applauded for having given "due obedience" and shown ready compliance in carrying out the said disputed - and, to the generality of the people — hateful law. The whole thing, it seems, resulted in bitter feuds, cliques, personal animosities and party hatreds that were kept up for years after.

Five Jurats dismissed

The next step taken in the matter was the presentation to His Majesty, three years later, of a petition of complaint by the Lieut-Bailiff, the Attorney-General, Charles de Carteret, William Dumaresq and Nicholas Dumaresq, three Jurats, against seven of their brother officials, for neglect of duty, and, amongst other, things, refusing to sign Acts of Court when required to do so by the Lieut- Governor and the Lieut-Bailiff. For which, the majority of the charges having been held to be proved against them, five of the number, Michel Lempriere, Philip Patriarche, Matthew Le Geyt, Abraham Richardson, and John Dumaresq, were ordered to be removed from office; the remaining two, John de Hardy and John de Carteret, being graciously allowed to retain their position in order that seven jurats might still remain to carry on the business of the Court.

These two, evidently considering themselves equally condemned with their colleagues, refused to act, the final outcome being that by an Order in Council, 9 July 1735, proceedings were taken to elect three jurats "in order to ensure a sufficient number". (It having been held from time immemorial as a sine qua non that no fewer than seven jurats could form a quorum, a standing rule only modified in 1731, when, by an Order in Council dated 12 June, it was enacted that in case — as in that year did actually occur — the majority of jurats should, by consanguinity or otherwise, be related to either the appellant or defendant or both, then a quorum should consist of only three in addition to the Bailiff or his deputy.) The people, however, manifested their feelings in this matter by placing the sons of the three dismissed ones at the head of the poll; the successful candidates being Michel Lempriere, David Patriarche and Philippe Le Geyt. These were petitioned against as unqualified, though on appeal judgement was given in their favour.

Petition to George II

Then, the death of Charles de Carteret causing another vacancy, the Court petitioned George II not only that de Carteret's place should be filled, but also — the full complement of Jurats being made up — that they might afterwards elect Jurats as occasion required, according to "the ancient form and usage", which petition was granted 10 December 10 1739.

Three years prior to the last-mentioned date, or, to be more exact, on 7 January 1736, the Rev Philippe Falle, "Jersey's Historian", conferred upon the Island its greatest literary boon by founding a Public Library, the site then chosen for it and upon which the foundation stone was laid, 4 July 1736, being still known as Library Place, adjacent to the old Market Square. The building was completed and thrown open in April 1742, though its worthy founder did not live to see it, he having died at Shenley, England, on 7 May of the preceding year.

Public Library

About this period, and under the direct Governorship of Jean Cavalier, whose name is pretty well known to fame in connection with the Huguenots, an era of structural improvements seems to have dawned, for besides the building of the Public Library, we find new barracks constructed at Elizabeth Castle, which itself was at the same time subjected to alterations (in 1746); a statue of George II was unveiled in the present Royal Square, 9 July 1751, during which year, too, the venerable Market Cross was removed from the same locality; five years after this, in 1756, a Hospital was founded at St Brelade, and in 1760 — the year of the accession of George III (1760-1820) — the Court House, originally built by Admiral Sir George de Carteret, was pulled down and a new one erected; whilst the building of the General Hospital in Gloucester Street, founded on a bequest left by Mrs Mary Bartlett, was commenced in 1765, during the Bailiffship of Robert Carteret, second Earl Granville (the last of the direct line of Sir George, the founder of the family) appointed to the office 21 May 1763.

In 1768 the Jersey Chamber of Commerce was established, and in the following year most serious disturbances took place in connection with the price of the wheat rents due to the Crown, the estimated value placed upon them being considered both exorbitant and oppressive by those from whom they were exacted ; so much so that the affair culminated in a semi-riot, 28 September 1769, whilst the whole dispute was not settled for many years afterwards.

Code of Laws

Another very important item came into prominence about this period. For a long time the want of a written code of laws had been deeply felt on the Island, and the difficulty attending it alone had prevented this desirable object being effected. After some few years, namely in 1770, a compilation of the ordinances was ordered, and finally, on 10 October of that same year, due greatly to the exertions of a Mr Pipon, the first printed copy of such code was presented to the States: Colonel R Bentinck, whose interest in all that concerned the welfare of the Island seems to have been very great, being Lieut-Governor at the time.

But notwithstanding his endeavours, and the fact that he held a special Royal Commission to inquire into the laws and customs of the Island partly with the view of compiling the above code, we find that party feeling still ran very high — even influencing the Bench itself in the matter of the election of a Mr J Hammond, some of whose votes were not officially recorded, though, being in the majority, his election was secured, whilst the Court received a severe censure concerning the matter. In fact, the ever-recurring complaints to His Majesty (George III) in Council, one against the other, the States on the one side, and the Lieut-Bailiff and Jurats of the Royal Court on the other, about this time, are neither edifying nor interesting. But there was that approaching in the very near future which gave the whole Island sufficient to think of without spending time in mutual recriminations.

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