Popular History of Jersey Chapter 52

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Unhealthy immigrants

Voting reform

In January of 1889 another and successful effort was made in connection with the much-needed voting reform, the principles of the Ballot Bill being accepted by the States on the sixth of that month, after a numerously-signed petition had been presented to them, whilst on the 14th it was found necessary, in face of the continuation of the disease amongst foreign cattle, to prohibit the landing even of forage elsewhere than in the harbours of St Aubin, Gorey, and St Helier, where inspection could be ensured, and a system of disinfecting be carried out under the States Veterinary Surgeon.

On 21 February 1889, in the same line, under the sanitary regulations then brought into force, it was made a criminal offence to purposely conceal the fact of any disease such as could be spread by contagion or otherwise amongst the residents of the Island.

Education act

Prior to this, however, on 4 February, another advance was made in the first mooting of a Compulsory Education Act for the Island. On the 14th of the month the preamble of the Ballot Bill was adopted by the States, and, early in April, the Impot officials were exercising their powers to the full in connection with one of the most extensive smuggling cases of latter years, with the result that on 13 May fines varying from £117 (and costs) to £15 (and costs) were inflicted upon some four leading personages amongst the mercantile community of the Island.

13 May this same year comes into unenviable notice, also, as being the date on which, at the annual inspection of the Royal Jersey Artillery, the A (West) Battery received from the Lieut-Governor a severe public reprimand for insubordination on the People's Park a few days previously, a matter which does not seem to have very much affected the Queen's birthday celebration on the following 24th, which appears to have been joined in with the customary ceremony and vigour.

On 26 May 1889, the ss Dora made her maiden passage; and on the 27th the number of pauper immigrants, more especially from Normandy and Brittany, had so conspicuously increased, and their hygienic condition was so deplorable, that the States found it a necessity to legislate concerning them, and with that view passed strict regulations with regard to medical certificates of health, and also the registering of their individual names, combined with a deposit of 5s each, before allowing them to proceed further than the pier, where they were held, pro tem, to be in quarantine.

Insubordination

Other cases of insubordination amongst the Militia were revealed on the 28th, by a recruit in the West Regiment being fined £5, a sergeant of the West Battery RJA being at the same time condemned to eight days imprisonment, two gunners, respectively, to six and four days, and four others to forty-eight hours for the like offence. This not altogether satisfactory month, it may be added, ended on the 30th with a severe shock of earthquake.

4 June 1889 shows St Aubin en fete on the occasion of the laying of the foundation stone of its Church by the Bishop of Guildford, and the 13th of that month saw a visit to the Island, in the Trinity House steamer Galatea, of Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, together with a company of distinguished friends; whilst 13 July 1889 witnessed the winding-up of the old Weymouth and Channel Islands Steam Packet Company, its place being taken by the Great Western Railway Company, whose pioneer boats, the Antelope and the Lynx, arrived in Jersey on 3 and 4 August respectively.

Coming to 19 August 1889, we find the last reminiscence of the New Harbour improvements in the decision of the States, by thirty-one votes to six to abandon the Hermitage Breakwater, in consequence of which, a natural and necessary result, some seventy men were thrown out of work.

General Boulanger

Then, on 8 October, General Boulanger arrived on the Island, being subsequently visited by the French National Committee, who, on the 17th of the month, presented him with an address; and 1 November saw, in the sending to gaol of one Marie Francoise Daniel, of unsound mind, pending Her Majesty's will and pleasure, the starting point of another of Jersey's famous official conflicts, whilst on 9 November there occurred the almost unprecedented procedure of the Royal Court censuring the Viscount, Gervaise Le Gros, for absence without permission, a matter which only resulted, however, in his obtaining a new patent of office, whereby, for the future, the liability to all such scenes was put an end to.

Of other occurrences during 1889, the heavy fining of several inhabitants and the debarring them for a term of three years from civil rights, for false entries in the Rates Schedules, is most noteworthy; though those interested in agricultural items will learn with satisfaction that the year stands as a record one with regard to the weight or size of several of the products - on 10 July a potato weighing 5½ lb was dug by a Mr Luce, of St Saviour; a cabbage was cut weighing 35 lb by a Mr Le Brocq, of St Peter, on 19 August; and a monster pear weighing 35 oz was on view in Bath Street on 10 October; whilst in this latter month, at the Agricultural Hall, London, at the great Dairy Show, a Jersey cow, "Baron's Progress", won the championship prize and the still unbeaten record for her day’s butter yield of 3 lb 5 oz.

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