Tuesday, 18 November 2014

The Restoration – Part 1 by A.C. Saunders

I see that the last time I posted a transcription from A.C. Saunders was back in January this year. So I think that a return to Jersey history is long overdue. Because of the long shadow cast by G.R. Balleine’s History of Jersey, Saunders has been neglected, I think unfairly.

Here is an extract from "Jersey in the 17th century" (1931), by A.C. Saunders. And we have now come to the Restoration, when Charles II was returned to the throne.

The Restoration – Part 1
By A.C. Saunders

On the 29th May, 1660, Charles II landed at Dover, and in his train we find our old friend Sir George Carteret, and, among the deputation receiving him, were Hollis and Fairfax. All moderate people were anxious for peace, and were tired of the continual struggle for power between the many parties who wanted their own way in the government of the country. The good news soon reached Jersey, and Sir Philip de Carteret became Bailiff. The Earl of St. Albans was appointed Governor, and had as his Lieutenant Captain Thomas Jermyn.

We can well imagine the unsettled state of the inhabitants, who during the previous twenty years had been under Royalist, Parliamentarian, Royalist and again Parliamentarian rule, with estates confiscated or heavily fined, as the different parties came into office. We have heard of the acts of Sir George Carteret and his successors on the question of property.

Those who had owned property and been deprived of it, and those who had acquired such property without any permanent security of tenure, must have been of considerable interest to the lawyers who saw visions of much gain in settling the various disputes which must arise, now that the King had come into his own again.

Royalists who had been fined by the Parliamentarians, had many grievances, and hoped that their past services and losses would afford the King an opportunity to show his generosity. He did not fail, but he had little money, and most of what he had he wanted for his own use. There is no doubt that many royalists, in their loyalty to the throne, had sacrificed their all, to further the cause they had at heart. Rich men had had to spend long years in exile in the greatest poverty. These men welcomed the return of the King, and hoped that they would have their estates returned to them. They certainly deserved recognition for their past services.

It is however very interesting to read some of the claims put forward, and how the applicants wished to be recompensed for what they stated they had done. Many asked to have the sale of a baronetcy, so that, by the sale of the same to some rich person who wished a title, they could fill their pockets. Others asked for offices already filled, and on the 30th September 1662, an Order in Council was issued granting to Daniel O'Neil, the sum of five shillings on every French vessel arriving in Jersey.

Although a general pardon had been granted, some of those who had acted as agents for Cromwell must have felt very uneasy. The country was ablaze with enthusiasm for the King, and the Members of Parliament were ready to do anything which they thought would please him.

On the 2nd June 1660, Charles II was proclaimed King for the second time in Jersey by Edward Hamptonne, the Viscount, arnidst the acclamation of the people. All who could, attended the ceremony and there was a great crowd in the Royal Square, whilst cannons were fired and bells rung. What with the beating of drums and the sound of " musick," Jersey must have been a noisy place on that day.

Even in the parish of St. Martin, a stronghold of Parliamentarians, the tocsin was rung from 10 in the morning until 11 at night. People were glad to see the end of Parliament rule, when the people were oppressed by the soldiers and their churches desecrated. They remembered how Governor Gibbons had forced the inhabitants " with their cattel " to work at Elizabeth Castle, without pay, longer hours than under previous Governors. 

The people of St. Laurens had a special grievance against him for he made them work for two tides, with the result that on one dark night five people were drowned with some of their " cattel." No enquiry was made, but some of the " cattel " having escaped from drowning, they were seized by the soldiers at the castle, and slaughtered for their own use. Therefore as they welcomed the return of the King to his throne, we find that Michael Lempriere and his friends found it advisable to disappear for a time.

On the 30th October 1660, the States decided to send a Commission to London to lay before the Privy Council the condition of the Island, and authorised the Constables to levy in their parishes, certain sums to be paid to the Commissioners for their expenses. There is no doubt but that Charles fully recognised the services of his Jersey subjects. They had sheltered him during his days of adversity, and at the risk of their lives, proclaimed him King after the execution of his Father. Even those historians who are apt to criticise his actions severely, are always willing to agree that he was a good King to Jersey.

Now everyone was loyal in the Island and on the 16th April 1661, the oath of allegiance was administered to all Jurats, Constables, and officers of the state. At that sitting it was decided that the oath of allegiance should be administered to all men, over sixteen years of age in the several parishes, on the following 1st May. The undermentioned persons were ordered to see that it was done :

Sir Philip de Carteret for the parish of St. Ouen.
Francis de Carteret for the parish of St. Pierre.
Helier de Carteret for the parish of St Marie
Thomas Pipon for the parish of St Brelade
Philip de Carteret for the parish ofGrouville
Elie Dumaresq for the parish of St Clement
Le Greffier for the parish of St Martin
Carteret La Cloche for the parish of St Sauveur
Helier Hue for the parish of St Helier
Josue de Carteret for the parish of St Jean
Laurence Hamptonne for the parish of St Laurens
Jean Pipon for the parish of La Trinite

The oath was very clear and left no room for a man who later on might wish to get out of it, and it included the following paragraph :-

" Je declarey et reueleray toutes treshisons, conspirations et machinations contre Sa Majeste et heritiers qui perviendront a Enes oreilles et a ma connoissance, dauventage Je jure et promotez que Je detest et abjure cette doctrine damnable ]e qui permet aux subjets de deposer deprive ou occire leer Roy."

Charles had in 1661 pardoned all those who, formerly against him, were willing to take the oath of allegiance, and, in order to assist the authorities to settle the affairs of the Island as quickly as possible, he sent a regiment of soldiers, who landed in St. Ouen's Bay. These men mistaking their mission and thinking they had to deal with a conquered country, treated the Islanders very badly, and demanded of the best of everything from the owners of the houses they passed on the way to the quarters allotted to them in the Town.

Charles confirmed the charters, and privileges of the Island, and, as a proof of his gratitude to the people of Jersey, he presented to the States the mace now carried before the Bailiff when occasion requires. There is an inscription on the mace which recognises the loyalty of the inhabitants to the crown :-

" Charles the second, King of Great Britain, France and Ireland, as a proof of his Royal affection towards the Isle of Jersey (in which he has been twice received in safety, when he was excluded from the remainder of his dominions) has willed that this royal mace should be consecrated to posterity ; and has ordered that hereinafter it shall be carried before the baillis, in perpetual remembrance of their fidelity not only to his august father Charles the first, but to his Majesty, during the fury of the Civil wars when the Island was maintained by the illustrious Philip and George de Carteret, Knights, Bailiffs and Governors of the Island."

Thus from 1663 until the present day, Jerseymen have had something to remind them that Charles took every opportunity to show his gratitude for the loyalty and protection which the Island gave him, at a time when he was hunted out of his native land by those who had put a price on his head.

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