A February selection: desperate people

Governor Ling thinks poor children are too much of a nuisance; Anne Le Page's remedies don't work and she ends up in the Cage; an interesting proposal from France; Mrs Thomas and Mrs Langworthy have a fight.

Alderney, Order of the Island Court

Monday, February 21, 1670

… in the [presence of the whole body of Jurats, the majority of the Douzaine, and the Lieut-Gov., Captain Ling:

It has been ordered that poor people who do not have the means to support and feed their children [and if they have several children] above the age of seven, should hand over such children to be sent to Guernsey, and from there to New England, and on condition that the said children shall be well fed and clothed, and will be sold or hired only in accordance with the laws of England, [as the said Gentlemen have undertaken to ensure] and if any parents are unwilling to hand over their children, it is forbidden for anybody to assist them when they go begging from door to door [because they will have refused an honest position which is so good for them and so much to their advantage.]

From Lucas, A H S, An Alderney Scrap-book, Alderney: Alderney Society, 1972, p. 104. The original French order is quoted in A H Ewen, 'The Town of St Anne, Alderney', in Rep. and Trans. Soc. Guernesiaise XVI (4), 1958, p. 353. Phrases in the French for some reason omitted by Lucas in his translation are in brackets. See also A H Ewen's short biography of Ling, 'A forgotten governor,' in An Alderney Scrap-book, pp. 100ff. See Ogier, D. Reformation and Society in Guernsey, pp. 162 ff. for a Guernsey ordinance of 1566 concerning the deportation of orphan and beggar children to England.

Gazette de Guernesey, 27 February 1813

13 February, 1813, before Pierre De Havilland, Esq., Bailiff, in the presence of Eléazar Le Marchant, Carteret Priaulx, Daniel De Lisle Brock, Jean La Serre, Josias Le Marchant, Pierre Le Pelley, Jean De Lisle, Jean Guille, and Jean Le Mesurier, Esqs., Jurats.

Anne Le Page, wife of Helier Marquis, prisoner at Castle Cornet, was accused of and then found guilty of having imposed upon public credulity, in leading people to believe that illnesses were caused by spells cast by certain individuals, whom she called witches [sorciers] or evil people, [mauvais gens], and in passing herself off as having the means to cure those illnesses so caused. Around last March, the said Le Page led Carterette Rougier, daughter of Jean, and her mother, to believe that the illness suffered by Carterette Rougier was caused by such spells, pointed out or named the person or persons who used such spells, and extorted money from the said Carterette Rougier, and her mother, in order to cure Carterette, which the said Le Page claimed she would do, by boiling up certain objects and tipping them into the fire. The said Le Page also led Marie Hallouvris, wife of Thomas Torode, to believe, on two occasions around the time of St John’s Day last year, that Le Page would cure her children who were then ill, and used the same methods, for which she was given food by the said Hallouvris, thus breaking the law, disturbing public order, and to pay them their expenses [sic]. The said Le Page denied having committed this crime, and chose Advocate Le Cocq to represent her, following the Act of 6th February 1813, which relates to the preceding Act, and was sentenced to be taken back to the Castle, in order to be next Saturday placed and kept in the barred Cage, for an hour, during market hours, in the open air.

Gazette de Guernesey, 6 February 1813

French and English prisoners of war, living for years in often wretched conditions (particularly the French prisoners) relied on their families to provide for them. In Guernsey Harry Dobrée collected charitable contributions to help Guernsey sailors captured by privateers. There is more material on this subject in the Library.

Madame de Feuardent, from Cherbourg, who has a son prisoner of war in England, finding it extremely difficult to find trustworthy channels to help him, would be very happy if there were someone in this Island who has a relative who is a prisoner in France, who would like to send him some money, but does not have the opportunity. She suggests such a person should deposit the monies they would wish to send with J A Chevalier, Fountain Street, and as soon as Mr Chevalier lets Mme Feuardent know, she will send the same sum of money to the requested person, in France. This will involve no expense or loss through exchange.

This family from Cherbourg are well known in the Manche. Félix-Bienaimé Feuardent, born in Cherbourg in 1819, worked in a bookshop and befriended the artist Jean-François Millet when they were both very young men. Millet painted Felix's wife Louise Antoinette Cassini in 1841—the portrait is very fine and is now in the Getty Museum—and his daughter eventually married Feuardent's son. Feuardent became a numismatist and dealer with auction houses in Paris and London. According to this website, his father Jacques-Francois Feuardent would have been twenty years old in 1813; he was the son of a journeyman baker, Jean Louis Feuardent, and Suzanne Mabire, who was perhaps the Mme de Feuardent referred to here. [Millet's wife, Pauline Biot, was born in Alderney in 1821.]

The Comet, February 6, 1854

Thomas v. Langworthy

The Court was occupied until nearly five o'clock with this famous case. It was a mixed action at the suit of a Mrs Thomas, the wife of a sailor, to obtain damages from the Mrs Langworthy, or her husband, a knacker, the defendant having sedulously circulated a report against the plaintiff's constancy to her absent lord, who had been supplanted in her affections ('twas thus the rumour ran) by the aforesaid Mr Langworthy, to his wife's great prejudice, social, domestic, and (worst of all) pecuniary. No fewer than seventeen witnesses were examined pro and con. The Queen's Procureur, who acted in a double capacity, as advocate and minister of justice, asked for damages to the amount of 70 livres tournois, and a fine of 3 livres tournois to her Majesty. Advocate FALLA endeavoured to show provocation and justification, and asked that neither damage nor fine should be accorded. And the Court, adopting a middle course, satisfied both partied by deciding that the one was as bad as the other; and ordering that each should defray her own law expenses.