Friday, 28 June 2013

Sir Philip De Carteret.

Something historical today. Here is an extract from "Jersey in the 17th century" (1931), by A.C. Saunders. There is a lot of social history in Saunders, which throws up some quirky details that are often overlooked in the history of Jersey.
We think of Somalian pirates as a modern scourge of the seas, but that kind of action - taking prisoners for ransom - was much closer to Jersey in the 17th century; in the Mediterranean there was the added danger of being captured and sold for slavery in the market place.

A musket is a muzzle-loaded, smoothbore firearm, fired from the shoulder
A corselet was a piece of armour covering the torso; the origin of the English word comes from cors, an Old French word meaning "bodice". Later it became a word to describe a ladies garment.
A halbert a two-handed pole weapon (also called a halberd).
A gorget was a steel or leather collar designed to protect the throat.
The écu was a silver coin in use in France until the French revolution.
Sir Philip De Carteret.
By A.C. Saunders
Bailiff Herault died on the 11th March, 1626, and Sir Philip de Carteret took over the duties of his office until a successor was appointed. There were two other candidates besides himself, Philip Lempriere, Monsieur de la Trinite, and Philip Maret the former Denonciateur.
But on 30th April, 1626, Sir Philip wrote from Castle Elizabeth to Secretary Conway stating that John Durell had just returned from London with the intelligence that His Majesty had been pleased to appoint him Bailiff of the Island, and thanks Conway for his good offices in obtaining the appointment. He was all the more pleased because he understood that Philip Maret's claims were being supported by the Duke of Buckingham. There is no doubt but that Philip Maret must have been a man of determined character. He had been educated at Oxford and had followed the fortunes of Sir Walter Raleigh even to the extent of the Spanish expedition.
When Sir Walter was made Governor of the Island he made Maret the King's Receiver, and later on he was appointed Procureur, of which office he was deprived through the influence of Bailiff Herault and others. He was very unpopular and had been threatened with banishment from the Island unless he asked forgiveness for his contemptuous behaviour towards the Jurats of the Court. In a State paper it was reported that it would have been against the customs and privileges of the Island for Maret to be appointed Bailiff, and yet, later on, when he was elected a Jurat in the place of Clement Durnaresque, we find him complaining to the Privy Council that he was hindered from taking office by Lieutenant-Bailiff Elie Dumaresq.
Sir John Peyton had pointed out the necessity of an immediate appointment as several of the Jurats were unfit to carry on their duties. These included the Seigneur of Samares, who was in charge of a guardian, Mons. Clement Dumaresq, who was 94 years of age, and Mr. Philip Lempriere, who obstinately refused to attend the sittings of the Court. It was impossible to turn these Jurats out of office if they wished to continue, for it was an understood custom in the Island that "once a Jurat and so to the grave."
So Sir Philip was appointed, and in 1634, Sir Thomas Jermyn, who had succeeded Sir John Peyton as Governor of the Island appointed him as his Lieutenant. He was a man of high character and great ability, but made many enemies by his haughty behaviour and his keenness in acquiring all the well-paid positions in the Island for himself and his family. Not only that, but he endeavoured to obtain the reversal of the several offices to members of his family, and thereby he aroused a feeling of discontent and injustice which furthered the plans of those who were anxious to obtain positions of importance in the Island.
On 4th July 1627, he was allowed by the Governor and Jurats to proceed to England in order to defend himself against the unjust pretences of a Mrs. Perin (Rossel). This permission was granted with great regret, as the Island at the time was considered to be in great danger.
James of England, the wisest fool in Christendom, had for many years endeavoured to gain the favour. of Spain and his son Charles with the Duke of Buckingham had in 1623 gone to Spain to woo the Infanta for his bride. But the haughty demeanour of the favourite, notwithstanding the many concessions offered to those belonging to the Roman Church, resulted in a failure, and the two knights returned home fuming against the Spanish Court and used their influence to bring about a war with Spain. The proposed marriage was never popular in England, and there were great rejoicings when the negotiations were broken off.
Spain, notwithstanding the failure of the great Armada, still retained the prestige of her past grandeur and was considered one of the great powers of the world, and, in February, 1626, the Council considered it necessary to warn the Governors of Jersey and Guernsey to take all precautions for the protection of the Islands as danger was to be expected, not only from the ships of Spain or Dunkirk, but " even from pirates and other desperate persons who may attempt the Castles and Islands, if not for conquest and to hold, yet for spoil and booty."
So on the 17th April, 1626, Sir John Peyton advises the lieutenant-colonels of the different regiments to notify certain people to provide the muskets, corselets, and pikes, as appointed on the lists and "you are to reduce all the culivers to muskets and halberts and batoons to pikes and gorgets according to each man's ability."
Then on 22nd August, 1626, John Vavasour writes to Secretary Lord Conway, that the Island is menaced by Spaniards who have a fleet of sixty rowboats of fifty to sixty tons each, and having on board six thousand troops with an English pilot engaged at St. Malo. Later on Sir John Peyton finds out that the Spanish fleet might possibly be intended to drive the English out of Virginia.
The unfortunate expeditions of the Duke of Buckingham to the support of the Huguenots at Rochelle and the Isle of Rhe had aroused the enmity of Cardinal Richelieu, and it was rumoured, that. in hatred of the Protestant religion, he was preparing an expedition at St. Malo to make a raid on the Islands, and had assembled forty ships at St. Malo for that purpose.
So opportunity was taken of Sir Philip's departure for England to entrust him with obtaining from the Government certain arms and supplies for the defence of the Island. At that time the population of the Island consisted of twenty-five thousand people, including three thousand able-bodied men. Of these nine hundred were armed as musketeers, four hundred as pikemen, and the remainder with bows, bills, and unarmed.
On the 2nd March, 1628, we find that Sir Philip had arrived at Southampton and there he hired a Jersey vessel, the Sara, to load the arms, stores and other goods he had obtained for the provisioning and defence of the Island. They eventually sailed, and when within two or three leagues of the Isle of Wight the Sara was captured on the 10th March by a Dunkirk vessel and Sir Philip and his company were taken prisoners to Dunkirk. Later on he writes from Dunkirk that he was well treated and that the engineers, gunner, officers and some soldiers, who had been on board the Sara, had been allowed to return to England, naked, and he appeals that they may be furnished with apparel and sent to Jersey as the safety of the Island, even in his prison, seems to have been his first thought. Needless to say he had lost all his stores.
His imprisonment seems to have been very easy, for he was allowed to go to Ghent, but not to Brussels. When he appealed to be released his application was opposed by the Archbishop of Mechlin, who importuned the Infanta that Sir Philip should not be set free until a Scotch priest, then in the Gatehouse, should be returned to Flanders.
In reporting this condition Sir Philip asked, if possible, for the priest to be set free, unless he were detained for treason, when he would prefer to remain a prisoner rather than that a traitor should escape his punishment. The question of ransom arose and-was satisfactorily settled, for by 24th July Sir Philip had returned to Jersey, and we hear of him writing from Mont Orgueil that the soldiers sent over for the protection of the Island did not get on well with the inhabitants, and he asks that a Commission be sent to Jersey for the better government of these soldiers. There were frequent quarrels, and Jurat John le Hardy and Matthew Jambart were accused of wounding some of their defenders probably in protecting their private property.
To show the dangers our sailors faced when trading in the Mediterranean we have only to read two letters from Pierre d'Auvergne to his uncle Jean d'Auvergne, his brother Andre d'Auvergne, and his brother-in-law Jean Robin dated respectively 22nd June and 13th August 1625.
His ship had been captured by the Turks and he and his crew taken to the Castle of Saale where they had been sold as slaves in the open Market. A renegade, named Andre de la Rocque, had told the new owner of Pierre that he was a man of means in Jersey and could pay a big ransom, and so Pierre was put to the torture and was beaten with 500 strokes and had irons on him day and night. As they could not arrange terms it was decided that he should be branded. When the irons were being heated terms were arranged that the ransom should be fixed at 6oo écus. So he writes home to his friends to pay the sum to M. de la Pagineterre Lucrede at St.-Malo, and agrees that on his regaining liberty he will sell his lands and repay same. The mate had died three weeks after being captured and the cabin boy had turned Turk, but the rest of the crew were being tortured until their ransoms could be arranged. He asks his friends to pray God that he will give him grace to " die in the faith I have in him."

1 comment:

James said...

It was impossible to turn these Jurats out of office if they wished to continue, for it was an understood custom in the Island that "once a Jurat and so to the grave."

I know there is now a set retirement age for Jurats (72), but is the rest of the statement still true, or can Jurats be made to step down?