Wednesday, 19 November 2014

The Restoration – Part 2 by A.C. Saunders

Here is an extract from "Jersey in the 17th century" (1931), by A.C. Saunders, the second part on the Restoration, when Charles II was returned to the throne. It notes the political destruction of records, which means that much of Jersey under the Commonwealth is seen only through later (and Royalist) eyes.

The narrative mentions "doleance". The Jersey Law Review has this to say on doleance, which is still a remedy in place today:

"The doléance has been most recently described as providing a remedy where the court has refused to hear an appeal, despite a right of appeal existing, or where an order or judgment contains a manifest judicial error and there is no right to appeal. In such circumstances, an aggrieved litigant may ask for the impugned decision to be reviewed by the superior court."

The Restoration – Part 2
By A.C. Saunders

On the 20th May 1663, the States considered a letter they had received from Charles II, relating to the Juratships vacant under the new order :-

"Wee have thought fit pticularly to recommend ye enjoyne it to ye care that when you come to fill up ye said places so vacant and all others as they shall hereafter become void you take order that such persons onely be chosen as are of knowne loyalty and good affection to Us and our Governmt & of orthodox principles in matters relating to the Church."

The Jersey people did not require anything in their endeavours to show their loyalty to the Throne, and those who had been in power during the rule of Cromwell, had great difficulty in avoiding trouble and obtaining justice.

We hear of trouble between Michael Lempriere, the former Bailiff, and John Bailhache, who took their dispute before the Court. The States condemned Lempriere to pay Bailhache the sum of 333 crowns and interest. Lempriere felt that he had been unjustly treated and appealed but the States refused to hear his appeal.

So by way of "Doleance",  Lempriere took his case to the Privy Council, and their Lordships having heard the explanations of the Bailiff, and Jurats, gave judgment that " considering the injurious and careless culumniacons of the said Lempriere against the proceedings of the Bayliffe and Jurats " they decided that they approved of the said sentence, and in addition they ordered Michael Lempriere to pay John Bailhache the sum of twenty pounds sterling for costs and unjust vexations. Later on the Bailiff and Jurats charged Lempriere the sum of forty pounds sterling for costs.

Lempriere was having a very had time after having been Bailiff for nearly ten years, and his enemies were only too eager to see his downfall. He evidently resented the judgment of the Privy Council, and, being a man without fear, had made no effort to suppress his indignation at what he considered the injustice done to him.

Evidently the States had reported his conduct to the Privy Council, for, on the i8th May 1664, at the Court of Whitehall an order was issued :

"It has been reported to the Council that incivilityes and affronts had been cast upon the Bayliff and Jurats by Michael Lempriere, that, during the sitting of the Court Lempriere breaks into high & unseemly passion speaking disdainfully & scornfully of and against the Lieutenant Bayliff and Justices there assembled, saying some or one had done Unjust false and horrible things & calling Mr. Elias Dumaresque Sr. Des Augres (one of the Justices present) foolish fellow scornfully repeating what he had said, as dispicable & ridiculous in a most unhansome uncivill and unbecoming manner."

Lempriere was making his fight against odds, but.he had no chance with his past record. Sir Philip de Carteret was Bailiff, and he remembered what had happened in 1643 when his namesake had died in Elizabeth Castle. Besides, a man who had been Bailiff of the Island under Cromwell, had no chance of favour from the Royalists whom he had persecuted in the past.

So the Lords of the Council directed that Lemprere should in the Court make the following apology

" I, Michael Lempri&.re do hereby testify and declare before you the Magestrates and Justices of the Isle that my behaviour towards you was uncivill and irreverent at such time as you were mett and assembled about a Commission sent to you from the Lords of the Council and the business of Mrs. Susan Dumaresq of the one part and myself and others on the other part and that I much misbehaved myself therein and was in too great a passion And I hereby begg Yr. pardon for the same."

It must have been a terrible time for the ex-Bailiff, a fighter, and one who had earned credit for his just actions when he was chief Justice of the Island. But the Privy Council had no mercy, and the States were directed that if Lempriere refused to make the apology, he was to be kept in prison until he died. In any case he was to pay costs of twenty pounds for the trouble he had given.

Thus passes one of the prominent figures of Jersey life in the seventeenth century. He was a man of good education, who had suffered from the injustice in the land which precluded he and others from taking active part in the affairs of the Island owing to the principal posts being in the hands of the followers of the De Carterets. Condemned to death and hung in effigy, he had managed to escape from the Island and, later on, when his party were in power, even his opponents admitted that his judgments were honest, but unfortunately all documents relating to that period were destroyed.

When in office he wished to exclude the Rectors from participating in the affairs of the States as he considered they talked too much and probably his actions in this respect were remembered in the days when he was deprived of his Bailiffship, and was held up to ridicule by those in power.

He died on February 1st, 1670, and we must recognise him as one of the principal. men of affairs in Jersey during the seventeenth century. We must remember that for a long period after the Restoration, any good work done by a Parliamentarian was belittled and ignored and held up to contempt and condemnation by those, in power, who revered the sacred name of the Martyr, King Charles I.

Thus all books and manuscripts of that time had no praise for any but those who belonged to the King's party and all records of the Parliamentarians were destroyed by order of the King.

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