Devotedly loyal islands in collision with the Government, 1845

10th May 2017
The Eclectic Review, Vol 17 (1), 1845, pp. 540-555. 1848 is the year of revolution in Europe; in Guernsey the stirrings of the people, such as they were, occurred just a few years earlier. (The headings have been added for ease of reading.) The illustration is a print from the Library Collection dated c 1835, published by M Moss, and showing the interior of the Royal Court in St Peter Port. 'May this people ever beware of apeing the follies of their neighbours, and retain their own dignified simplicity! For it they are pre-eminent. Should they ever stoop to become imitators, they can never get beyond an humble mimicry of that which is useless and effeminate in the customs of England.'

Les Miserables de Guernesey: Children

21st April 2017
On 5 March 1862 Hugo made arrangements with his cook, Marie Sixty, for a repas des enfants pauvres to be served every week, ‘the meal will be the same as ours, we shall serve them, they will say as they sit down Dieu soyez beni and on rising Dieu soyez remercié.’ Hugo followed the teaching of a French doctor that meat and a glass of wine were good for growing children—not a medical opinion that would be advocated today. The first such lunch took place on 10 March 1862 and thereafter they were held on a regular basis. There was a special meal at Christmas, when presents were distributed. These were often of a useful nature—items of clothing for example, but there were also toys. This is part of The Victor Hugo and Guernsey project.

Les Miserables de Guernesey: Servants

21st April 2017
In the early 1860s Hugo completed and revised his novel Les Misérables, a work that he had started in the 1840s. As he wrote about Cosette, Eponine, Fantine, Gavroche, Javert… he could not help but observe the poor, the suffering, and the wretched all around him in Guernsey. He had an active compassion and tried to help. Part of the Victor Hugo and Guernsey project.

St Peter's Mill

10th February 2017
'Guernsey's unvisited valley, where a water mill is working.'  From Victor Coysh's scrapbook, and probably written by him, 1931. The wheel was demolished during the Occupation, but has since been restored by the National Trust of Guernsey.

Petition from the single ladies of Guernsey to the King, on the arrival of the Veteran Battalion

23rd January 2017
October 1820. From a commonplace book in the Library, Flowers, from the Garden of Imagination. The compiler of the book is unknown, but there is a cipher on the flyleaf that appears to read 'FDC.' Another poem, To a Lady, is dated 'Guildford, August 2, 1817,' and has the legend, 'On her Friend's leaving Guildford for Ireland, where she is soon to join her.'

Unvoluntary escapes, 1719

19th January 2017
Daniel Girard, Castle Porter, that is, prison warden/jailkeeper, lost his prisoner, George Pellew, who had been committed to his care by Jean Dobrée. Pellew owed Dobrée money. The Royal Court, under the auspices of the Juge-Délegué, William Le Marchant, had ruled on 8 March 1719 that Daniel Girard should not be required in any way to compensate Dobrée. Dobrée appealed to the Privy Council, who requested a report on precedents to the Royal Court. The following letter is what the Royal Court produced in reply; on reading it, the Privy Councillors confirmed the Royal Court's initial judgment and dismissed the appeal.

Victor Hugo's Christmas fete, 1865

2nd December 2016
Two accounts of Victor Hugo's Christmas party for the poor children, from 1865, one from The Star, edited by John Talbot, and the other by E L Samuel, from the Daily Post. The illustration is an engraving (with suspiciously well-dressed children!) from Alfred Barbou's biography of Hugo, here in English translation, Victor Hugo and his time, London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, and Rivington, 1883; we also have the original French version in the Library.

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