The accession of Charles II

10th June 2015
Sir Peter Lely, Henry de Vic, © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford.

From the Notebook of Pierre Le Roy, edited by Rev. George Lee. In the picture is the redoubtable Sir Henry de Vic, whose influence with Charles II was instrumental in winning back the king's favour for the island after the Civil War. The portrait belongs to the Ashmolean Museum, who have kindly allowed us to reproduce it here. [WA.B.II.722 Sir Peter Lely, Sir Henry de Vic, Chancellor of the Order of the Garter, Black oiled chalk, heightened with white, on blue-grey paper, © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford.]

On Monday, May 21, 1660, Mr de Saumarez, the Seigneur, and Mr des Granges, the Bailiff, left for England on their way into London to wait for the arrival of King Charles II, who was expected daily, having been absent from these realms since the decease of his father.

Friday, May 11, 1660. Our King, Charles II, was proclaimed King of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, fifteen days before his arrival in England, which took place on Friday, the 25th of the said month and year. And on the Thursday following, the last day of the said month of May, 1660, he was proclaimed in this island, in presence of Captain Sharp, Lieutenant Governor, Mr Peter Carey, Lieutenant Bailiff, and the Magistrates and Ministers, with ringing of bells, and feux-de-joie and great rejoicing; half of all the companies of militia of this island, of the most expert, being under arms.

The said proclamation was made on the same day, the last of May, by Mr Abraham Carey, King's Sheriff in this island, in six places:—first before the Court House (devant la Plaiderie); than at the Grand Carrefour; at the bottom of Berthelot Street; before the Cage; before the Church door; and on the Pier.

And the King was crowned, as it is reported, on Tuesday the 29th May, which is his birthday, he being 31 years of age.¹

On Thursday, June 7, 1660, the States assembled at St Peter Port to elect Deputies to his Majesty to obtain the renewal of our privileges. And for that purpose choice was made of Sir Henry de Vic, and the Seigneur of Saumarez, St Martin's, with Mr Nathaniel Darell and Mr William Beauvoir, Seigneur of Hommet.²

¹ Le Roy is wrong here, says Lee: Charles was not crowned until 23 April in the following year (although Le Roy includes the correct date later.) 'The 29th May was celebrated as the day of his Majesty's birth, and happy return to his kingdoms.' In Jersey, however, Charles II had been proclaimed King of England somewhat earlier: in February 1649, in fact, as soon as they found out that his father had been executed.

² Amias Andros and Nathaniel Darrell's first petition, 15 August 1660.  'Lee's note:

Of the deputies chosen by the States on this occasion, Sir Henry de Vic was a person sure to find favour with the new government. He was the descendant of a family which had been represented among the members of the Royal Court as early as the reigns of Edward II and Edward III. Louis de Vic had been Bailiff from 1588 to 1600. Sir Henry was the son of John de Vic, King's Procureur. As early as 1626 he was entrusted with an important mission to France, and afterwards became British Resident at Brussels, where he lived for about twenty years. In September, 1641, he was created a Baronet, and at the Restoration was appointed Chancellor of the Most Noble Order of the Garter;

an intriguing appointment came in 1660, when he was made 'Secretary of the French tongue.'

He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1662, just two years after the Society’s foundation, and before its first Royal Charter.  He is therefore classed as an ‘Original Fellow.’  It was at this point that his strong support of the monarchy and his Guernsey ties were of particular benefit to the island.  He was instrumental in obtaining the release of impounded ships, defence of the Island’s liberties, purchase of ammunition for defence, and the abolition of martial law. Of special significance was his pursuit of a Royal Pardon for Guernsey, which resulted in the granting of a Royal Charter by Charles II in 1668, confirming the rights and privileges which the Island had enjoyed under previous monarchs.  For this he received the official thanks of the States of Guernsey.

He died the day before his 74th birthday.  His will included ten pounds to be distributed amongst the poor of St Peter Port, and a further ten pounds for his Guernsey-born physician, Gabriel de Beauvoir.  He expressed the wish to be buried in the Chapel of St George at Windsor, but he lies in Westminster Abbey.

Sir Henry married Margaret, daughter of Sir Philip de Carteret, Seigneur of St Ouen in Jersey; his son Charles died unmarried. Mr Nathaniel Darrell was the son of a gentleman of the same name, who was Lieutenant Governor under Sir Peter Osborne in 1624, in which year he married Anne de Beauvoir, widow of Thomas Le Marchant.

(Elie Brevint wrote of him:'Captain Darrell was a tall, thin, skinny man.') 

The De Beauvoirs were another matter. William de Beauvoir du Hommet was in fact not accepted as one of the deputation.

George Métivier, in his Dictionnaire anglo-normand, p. 462, makes this remark on the subject of the use of 'dog' as a derogatory term:

It is thought, however, that the mocking use of the term vieux chien, which Charles II after his restoration made such free use of in his dealings with his Master of Ceremonies, Amice Andros, our Bailiff, and with Jean de Saumarez, the Canon of Windsor, our Dean, was simply an allusion to the Hebrew proverb found in St Peter's Epistles 2. 22: 'A dog returns to its own vomit.' He bestowed this flattering epithet upon that former republican zealot William de Beauvoir, Sieur du Hommet.

 Charles Waterhouse, Lieutenant-Governor, wrote in a letter dated 25 August 1660 to Amias Andros:

This day I had the States assembled to recall De Homett's commission by them. That passage of yours in my letter that De Homett told you he was forced by the States to take your employment on him made most of them laugh, though some bitt their lipps, being unwilling to heare anything to his disgrace. All is salved for De Homett in that he has desisted. Elizée Samarez & Will Marchant averring the same, and that he never presented anything to the Parliament but as a private man.

Edith Carey, in her article 'Amias Andros and Sir Edmund, his son,' in Rep. & Trans. Soc. Guern. 1914 , pp. 38 ff., interpreted this as referring to William de Beauvoir's taking on himself the office of Bailliff, although the perpetrator of this particular impertinence was in fact the firebrand leader of the Parliamentary faction, Pierre de Beauvoir, Seigneur des Granges. The vituperation against Du Hommet goes back to (at least) 1658, when he and des Granges sneaked out of Guernsey to present a petition to Richard Cromwell against the wishes of the Lieutenant-Governor; Du Hommet took the opportunity to plead the cause of Des Granges, who wanted to remain as Bailiff. Not only did they 'usurp' the offices of Bailiff and jurat—Des Granges had been installed as Bailiff for the third time in 1656, although the job had rather optimistically been given to Amias Andros in absentia by Charles II in October 1650—but William de Beauvoir was accused (in the contemporary pamphlet, An epitomie of tyranny,) of having changed sides, specifically of having fought in Italy with the Royalist Lord Downs, a Scotsman and member of the Stuart family. One of the first things Waterhouse did upon his arrival in Guernsey in 1660 was to make sure that Amias Andros' possession of the office was made very clear to the jurats.

His descendant Amias C Andros, writing in 1897, took this view:

The reply, dated 18 August, 1660, said that upon the petition of Amias Andros, of Saumarez, Bailiff of Guernsey, interceding on behalf of his rebellious fellow islanders, 'humbly acknowledging great guilt and unfeigned grief at heart for having quitted their duties of obedience to their native Sovereign for which great crimes imploring his Majesty's gracious pardon,' that pardon was granted 'as a monument of his Majesty's most royal clemency,' and then came the following significant wind-up: 'That Sir Henry de Vic, Knight and Bart., Mr Amias Andros, of Saumarez, Bailiff of the said island, Edmond Andros, son of the said Amias, Charles Andros, brother to the said Amias, and Nathaniel Darell have to their great honour, during the late rebellion, continued inviolably faithful to his Majesty, and consequently have no need to be included in this general pardon.' [Berry p. 106.]

Another States meeting was indeed held to confirm the appointment of the acceptable deputies (in the Town Church on 25 August 1660) and to raise a levy for the expenses of the trip; it took place at the instigation of Waterhouse, as is made clear in his letter quoted by Edith Carey. The Actes des Etats confirm that the States did reappoint the deputies, with the notable exception of Mr du Hommet. That deputation went to London and reported in June 1661 that Charles II had forgiven Guernsey and indicated he was inclined to renew the charter. William de Beauvoir is not mentioned there, yet Pierre Le Roy reports that he returned from London on 28 April 1661 along with the Bailiff and the rest of the delegation. Perhaps Le Roy was simply mistaken. The States then decided to send a deputation out by return and to raise another tax on islanders, specifically to pay for the Governor Hugh Pollard, Henry de Vic, and Amias Andros the Bailiff, to represent the people of Guernsey once again as deputies to the King, in order to petition him definitively to confirm renewal of their privileges. The delegation left on 8 July, with the Bailiff and his brother Charles, William Le Marchant, and 'several others.' Sure enough, the States must have decided that Charles had forgiven William de Beauvoir and could now tolerate him, because in 1667 du Hommet claimed that 'he had not received even the least part of the money that had been set aside in 1661 for the use of the members of the deputation, of which he had been elected as one along with other persons of quality.' The 1661 Act enabling the tax was brought in and examined, and he eventually received a tidy sum in expenses. In February 1664, however, upon the arrival of the new Governor, Lord Hatton, he and Peter Carey were imprisoned for having relieved the royalist Jean de Quetteville, then lieutenant-bailiff, of his post a few days earlier; he had to pay de Quetteville £15 in damages. Du Hommet, who had been a jurat since 1658, and Pierre Carey (jurat 1648) were superseded on Hatton's orders by James Guille and William Le Marchant. Charles II restored them to office on appeal, through an Order-in-Council of July 16 1665. Inevitably, du Hommet had the last word; this is his report of Amias Andros' funeral, written in a letter of 5 April 1674 to Lord Hatton:

We buried Mr Baily Monday last in St Martin's Church, where fryer des Hayes made ye funerall harangue. His text, 'The Crown is fallen from our Head,' little or not at all followed by him in ye usual way of preachers, but altogether a high and transcendent Panogyrick upon ye deceased. Not only terming him ye Crowne of this Country, but ye Shepherd, ye Captain General, ye Pillar of Church and State, a personage of a great weight and eminency, profound wisdom, prudence, knowledge, and experience in his office (that we should know too soone by ye sad example of his successors). That honorable lord lying dead before our eyes who all his lifetime had studied nothing but ye welfare peace and concord of his Country, and setting out soe highly his services to our two last Kings, and his great loyalty, that many in ye assembly thought he could not have said more of Godfrey de Bouillon or of ye Duke of Albermarle. 'But,' saith ye fryer, 'We have this great comfort in this our unspeakable loss, that ye honorable deffunct hath left worthy offspring of his most noble and illustrious family.' And many words to this effect, which made many sober men say that ye good father des Hayes did much exceed ye bounds of truth and modesty.' [British Mus. Add. MSS 29554, f. 275, quoted by Edith Carey in 'Amias Andros and Sir Edmund &c,' op. cit.]