Essay on the Institutions, Laws and Customs of the Island of Guernsey

The short preface to the 1889 first edition of Laurent Carey's work of reference, which was used on a day-to-day basis by the Royal Court in its proceedings.

Laurent Carey's Essay on the Customary Law of Guernsey has existed only in manuscript form for more than a century. A copy of this manuscript, belonging to Mr H Torode, former scribe to the Royal Court, is lodged at the Greffe, and has been frequently referred to by the legal profession in the island as the authoritative text in legal matters, and accepted as such by the Bailiff and Jurats. It is manifest that a manuscript of such importance should be properly preserved. An Act of the Royal Court, the Bailiff Sir Edgar MacCulloch presiding, ordered its publication, and entrusted to me the office of editor. As editor I confined myself to using Mr Torode's copy of the manuscript, which contains several sections left out of the other copies, even though sadly, even in this copy, there is more than one important and very regrettable gap.

We know little about the life of the author, and for the little we do know we are obliged to thank two members of his family, which, after the Le Marchants, is the most distinguished in the island's annals of legal history. He was the second son of Pierre Carey and Rachel Martin [daughter of Pierre Martin], and was born 5 September 1723. He married first Miss Dobrée, by whom he had no children, and then Miss Caroline Guille, by whom he had two sons, the second of which, Pierre-Martin Carey, was the father of Sir Pierre-Stafford Carey, elected Bailiff of Guernsey in 1845. Son and grandson of Jurats, he was himself elected Jurat in 1765. He served in this office barely four years before he died, in 1769.