Friday, 2 August 2013

The Eve of the Conflict by A.C. Saunders

Something historical today. Here is an extract from "Jersey in the 17th century" (1931), by A.C. Saunders. His slightly different take from Balleine sometimes throws up some quirky details that are often overlooked in the history of Jersey.
It is interesting to see the quotations from the original documents - such as Prynne's account of the sea voyage - how spellings had not yet been made into a more rigid form. Spellings were very fluid in the 17th century, and it was not until the advent and popularity of dictionaries that spellings became standardised, under both a drive by the commercial pressure of printing and also by later grammarians to fix the English language (and also using Latin as a model, with many false etymologies).
In this respect, Prynne provides a perfect case study of the older form of English with many words having a trailing letter "e" - for example, shipwrecke pumpe storme - which has since been lost from the word.
Edmund Weiner, deputy chief editor, OED, notes in an article on "Early modern English pronunciation and spelling":
"The final 'silent' -e was much more commonly found, not only as a marker of a 'long' vowel in the preceding syllable (as in take), but with no phonetic function, and sometimes after an unnecessarily doubled final consonant"
And he gives this example:
"Also it is to be noted that this crosse made & gyuen vnto the newe crysten man is the seuenth crosse & the laste that is sette on his body."
He notes that written as opposed to printed language varied more:
"By the mid-seventeenth century printers followed general principles of spelling much like the present ones. Notably the modern distinctions between I and J and U and V were established by about 1630. The spelling of nearly all individual words was also identical with present-day forms in printed books. In ordinary handwritten documents, however, even those of well-educated people, spelling continued to vary noticeably until well into the eighteenth century."
I often wonder whether the Jerriais language has undergone a similar transformation, as not only is it codified in a dictionary in a written form, it also is strongly centred on the dialect of St Ouen, whereas other Parishes often had different pronunciations, much as people in different parts of England would say the same words differently.
The Eve of the Conflict
By A.C. Saunders
Our old friend Chevalier, living as he did in the Royal Square and diligently observing all that went on around him without ostentatiously expressing his opinions, describes the situation in Jersey very vividly in his Chronicle. He was in favour of the Royal party and points out that the majority of the people cared little for the political trouble on the mainland, but : " Le peuple de l'Isle qui etoit extrement froid en ces sortes d'affaires, et qui n'etoit pas bien uny, car plus des deux parts tenaient pour le Roy, disant hautement, que si le Roy envoyoit a Jersey des Forces, its ne leveroient pas les armes contre eux."
We have already referred to the friendship which had arisen between Sir Philip and his prisoner William Prynne, a brave but somewhat reckless Parliamentarian, who had, on the 10th October, 1637, been transferred from his prison at Carnarvon to Jersey, and was sent there in a " barke of Luvepoole called the Stremire which had been shipwreckt and bruised but the voyage before and was since cast away ; the owner, master and most of the mariners of this rotten, leaking vessel were Papists and loath to undertake such a dangerous winter voyage in so ill a vessel, but being pressed by the High Sheriefe of Carnarvon for his good service they durst not but obey. The weather being stormy, the seas rough and the winds contrary, they were in great danger of shipwrecke, especially near St. David's Head among the Bishop and his Clearkes (rockes so called) where thousands of ships and barkes have perished. The barke, being formerly so bruised, was so full of leakes that all the hold was full of water, so as all Mr. Prynne's bedding, linning and necessaries were spoiled with the inundation and the mariners enforced to pumpe day and night to save the vessel from drowning. And near Milford Haven, the storme was as violent and the ground so foule that they were driven out to sea with the loss of their best anchor and a new cable never wet before which was cut asunder. To stoppe this leakes, provide a new anchor and a pilot to conduct them in the Southern Seas where all of them were strangers, they were enforced to put in both at Falmouth and Plimouth so as they arrived not at Jersey till the15th January following and on the 17th day Mr. Prynne was conveyed from St. Aubins where he landed to Mont Orgueil Castle where he was shut up close prisoner according to order but somewhat more courteously used."
It must have been a terrible passage of over three months to one of Mr. Prynne's impetuous temperament, suffering as he did from the loss of both ears, the branding of his cheeks, and his previous close imprisonment.
For in those days there was very little mercy and Archbishop Laud was his bitter enemy and was ready to punish any one who was prepared to offer the slightest kindness to the man who had held him up to.ridicule.
It was directed that in order" to prevent his schismaticull and seditious opinions none shall be admitted to have conference with him or have access to him but only such as being faithful and discreete persons as shall be appointed by the Governor ; and the prisoner shall not be allowed
the use of pen, paper or inke nor any booke but only the Holy Bible, the booke of Common Prayer and such bookes which he shall desire for the practice and exercise of private devotion."
No letters were allowed to be written or received and the orders allowed a cruel Governor    to make such a prisoner's life a living death. Fortunately Sir Philip was a humane man and Prynne with all his hatred of shams and unjustices responded faithfully to the kindly treatment granted to him by the Lieutenant-Governor, and, later on, showed his gratitude for the kindnesses shown in helping Sir Philip through his influence with the Parliamentarians.
After the death of Sir Philip he wrote a treatise entitled " The Lyar Confounded," in which he recorded the many virtues of his jailer and sought to prove that under certain circumstances Sir Philip was at heart in favour of the Parliamentarian party but that he had been forced into the King's ranks by the opposition which had been formed against him by Michael Lempriere, the Bandinels, d'Assigny and others.
Prynne remained a prisoner until 1641, when by Act of Parliament on the 2 4th April, 1641, it was resolved that the sentence against Mr. Prynne by the Star Chamber in 1637 was illegal and he was discharged from the fines imposed, restored to his degree at Oxford University and the Society of Lincoln's Inn, and compensation was granted to him. At the same sitting it was resolved to proceed against Dr. Heylin-who had promoted the suit against Mr. Prynne - on behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Prynne was therefore no longer a prisoner, and when in 1642 the enemies of Sir Philip presented their twenty-two articles against Sir Philip before the House of Lords and were asked for evidence they were unable to produce anything to support their allegation, and the Lt.-Governor was allowed to return to Jersey. It was chiefly owing to Prynne's influence that they were prevented from presenting their petition before the House of Commons, in which case it is possible Sir Philip would have had greater difficulty in escaping from imprisonment. For his opponents pointed out in these articles that Sir Philip was not only Bailiff, Lieutenant-Governor and Farmer of the Royal Revenue, but had managed to secure the reversion of some of the principal offices in Jersey to members of his own family. Such an unjust accumulation of offices in one family was bound to cause jealousy and opposition, and when Sir Philip disputed the rights of Dean Bandinel to his St. Saviour's tithes he aroused the hostility of those churchmen whose incomes depended mostly on the tithes they received.
The accusations against Sir Philip contained in the petition were of a most serious nature, and he is charged with interfering with elections for Jurats so as to procure the nomination and " election of his own creatures and kindred for the Judicature in the bench of Justices " and preventing the free election of his opponents to such offices. Article nine stated that he made himself formidable by his violent and tyrannical carriage and public threats in the States against those who disagreed with him, threatening them openly to be revenged against his enemies.
He was accused of using his position to acquire money by unlawful means such as by the imposition of customs on goods imported into the Island and by selling licences for the exportation out of England of those commodities which are granted by warrant and patent, thereby oppressing the people. That on the slightest provocation he cites persons to appear before the Lords within forty days, and that he rendered no account of the money received from the " Exchequer or the Lord Treasurer for the two hundred soldiers billeted in the Island for the years 1628 and 1629. He being the Captain some small portion " he hath payed when it hath pleased him and to great numbers nothing at all," and " nobody dares undertake the prosecution of the businesse, or any grievances against him, for
feare of his powerfulness. and revenge."
It was a most formidable indictment, and we find Sir Philip in London to answer the charges, but through Prynne's influence the petition was presented, not to the House of Commons but to the House of Lords, where the King had still many supporters, and when Sir Philip's accusers were asked to produce evidence they were not prepared and the Lt.-Govcrnor was allowed to return to Jersey. Had the petition been before the House of Commons it is probable that his enemies would have succeeded in having him sent as prisoner to the Tower of London and possibly to the block.
When Sir Philip returned to Jersey he determined to put the Island and its Castles in a proper state of defence on behalf of his King, and at the States meeting of the 16th February, 1642, he presented a Commission by which all loyal subjects were directed to assist him in this good work. But in the meantime the Parliamentary party had not been idle, and when he directed the Commission to be read out in the twelve parish churches and that all people should be called upon to take the oath of allegiance to the King, his action was met with considerable opposition.
The high church tendencies of Laud had been used to frighten the people into believing that it was the intention of the King to bring about the return to the Roman Catholic faith, and Bandinel and his party made use of this fear to increase the unpopularity of the Lieut.-Governor.
Durell mentions in his notes that about this time Captain George Carteret, the nephew of Sir Philip, arrived in Jersey with a cargo of prize goods which had been captured from Parliamentarian vessels and that it was by the sale of such prizes that Captain Carteret was enabled to assist in supplying the Royalists in the west coast of England. The Parliamentarians in the Island made the most of what they considered to be the illegal proceedings of Captain George, but Sir Philip supported his nephew and pointed out that he was acting under the King's Commission.
Things went on from bad to worse, and Michael Lempriere and his friends obtained from Parliament an order to arrest Sir Philip and send him to London for trial. Five Jurats were ordered to act on the Commission, viz : Francis de Carteret, Henry Dumaresq, Michael Lempriere, Benjamin Bisson and Abraham Herault. They were given full powers to act for Parliament to arrest all seditious people and all those who followed Sir Philip's leadership. Francis de Carteret refused to act.
Sir Philip had returned to the Island and the Commission under King Charles' signature which had been given to him in London was as follows :-
" Trusty and well Beloved, Wee greet you well ! Whereas upon consideration of the many occasions which our Right Trusti and Well Beloved Councellor Sir Thomas Jermin, Knight, Governor of our Island of Jersey bath there, as well for our service, as his owne particular Wee have bene gratiously pleased upon his humble petition, to dispense with his personal residence in his said Government ; Wee therefore in the approved fidelity and affection to us, and well knowing the abilitie for discharging of that place, doe by these presents authorize our Liefenant of our said Island, to supply the charge and Government of of our said Isle, during our Governor's absence ; and that you take the same accordingly into your custody together with the command and charge of all our Castles and Ports there, and that you employ the utmost industry and endeavours to preserve the same for us, and our service, and not to deliver the command or charge thereof to any person, without special warrant, under our Hand ; willing and requiring the Bailiff and Jurates, and all others. Officers, and Inhabitants of our said Island, upon their allegiance to us, to obey and observe our orders and Directions as Lieftenant Governor there, as they will answer the contrary at their perill ; hereof you may not faile ; for which this shall be your sufficient warrant. Given at our Castle at Winsor the fourth day of January in the yeare of our Raigne 1641. "
" To our Right Trusty and Well Beloved, Sir Philip de Carteret, Knight, Lieftenant-Governor of our Island of Jersey."
And thus commenced Civil War in Jersey, and in part 2 of " Jersey in the 17th Century, we will consider the history of Jersey during the Rebellion, 1642-1660, andthe wonderful doings of those men who fought for the good of the cause they supported without the slightest idea of mercy towards those who opposed them ; the death of Sir Philip de Carteret at Elizabeth Castle ; the wonderful activities of Sir George, his nephew ; the proclamation of Charles II. in Jersey ; and the rise and fall of Michael Lempriere and his friends.
In those days Jersey wrote a large page in our National History centred round the activities of a fearless knight whose one aim was to uphold the cause of His Royal Master.
Jerseymen should be proud of this period of their history when it required a large army and a great fleet under the celebrated Admiral Blake to bring the small Island under the control of Parliament.

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