Jersey Independent 1873 - 2

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6 - 10 July 1873

Bank failures

A second bank failure within the course of a few months must be regarded as a heavy blow to the commerce of the island.

The suspension of the Jersey Joint Stock Bank taken by itself would suffice to create anxiety and depression, the establishment being one reputed as of considerable business dealings and doubtless having many commercial ramifications throughout the community.

But it comes as an accompaniment to another disaster, the miserable calamity of the Mercantile Bank, the full force of which has only become familiar without being mitigated by time, and of which much of the pain to be endured has hardly yet begun to be inflicted.

Though the creditors are able to comprehend the extent of their deprivation, the shareholders have still to undergo the excision of their property in satisfaction of their liabilities. It is as if one crippled with a broken leg had only just fairly estimated the extent of the infliction ere he had contracted a fractured arm.

This second commercial shock, however, may not be so bad as an acquaintance with misfortune naturally leads one to expect. That it is not so heavy as the other in actual damage may be inferred with tolerable certainty. It exposes a commercial chasm indeed, but unlike that of the Mercantile, which for aught that could be ascertained at first was bottomless, it is readily fathomable.

The books of the other were in confusion. These, however, we are told, are in 'splendid condition', which is to a great extent consoling. Next to paying creditors what is owing, nothing is more satisfactory than setting forth with clearness the reason why it is not practicable.

The suspension is attributed to a sudden run occasioned by a false and malicious rumour of association with a recent bankruptcy abroad, and the bank is authoritatively declared to be in a position 'to meet all its engagements'. These words should be very cheering if they are reliable, and of the value of the declaration those who know the bank and its management will be able to judge.

A sound commercial house does not go down before a rumour, which is unfounded and malicious, any more than a well-rooted tree goes down before the breeze.

Is it not time that the local Legislature should do what it can towards rehabilitating the commercial confidence which, shaken first by one great bank failure, and further weakened by gambling remedies proposed for its restoration, has just been scared by the occurrence of another?

Measures are before it for regulating such part of the business of banks as can be regulated. Why are they not considered. [1]

French cable restored

The Submarine Telegraph Company's steamer lady Carmichael arrived at St Catherine's Bay on Sunday morning. The cable was found broken at about a mile from the Jersey shore. The end was grappled and buoyed on Sunday evening, and spliced the next morning. On account of some fault on the French side the communication was not restored until six o'clock Monday evening.


Scaffold fall

A man named Peter Hammond, engaged in the building of the French convent, Val Plaisant, fell from a scaffold at the rear of the building on Monday evening, to the ground, a distance of about 32 feet. He was picked up and conveyed to his home at Mont Cochon, it being feared that his back was broken. This was, fortunately, not found to be the case, but the man is most severely shaken and bruised.

Master of Waverley not to blame for shipwreck
The board of directors of the South-Western Company have held an inquiry into the facts connected with the loss of the Waverley and into the conduct of Captain Mabb on that occasion, and we are happy to state that they have decided to exonerate him from all blame in the matter. Capt Mabb has therefore been reinstated, and he arrived in Jersey on Sunday in charge of the steamship Fannie [2]
Murderous assault and highway robbery by soldiers

An assault of a most murderous character was committed on Saturday night last by three soldiers of the 1-16th Regiment, named John Burke, James Hedges and Celestin Linshan.

It appears that a man named Philip Godfray, resident in New St John's Road, was returning home from his work at about half past eleven on Saturday night when he was accosted in Cheapside by the three soldiers, who bade him 'good night'.

He returned the salutation and walked on into New St John's Road, when the soldiers, who had followed him, inquired if he was not going 'to stand a wet', meaning something to drink.

Godfray replied that he had no money, upon which one of the soldiers seized him by the throat, another knocked him down, and whilst he was on the ground he was most cruelly treated.

One of them stood upon his head, the marks of the nails of his boot being visible upon Godfray's forehead, and the other two kicked and beat him most cruelly.

They also tore his pocket from his trousers, and finally decamped, leaving him for almost dead, and taking with them Godfray's earnings of the week, viz 25 shillings.

Persons who have seen Godfray describe his condition as most horrible. He is bruised and cut about to such an extent, espacially about the head. The assault took place not one hundred yards from Godfray's house, and after the soldiers had left him, and he had come to his senses, he managed to crawl to his door, where his family were horrified at the spectacle he presented.

No reason is known for the assault but plunder and malignity.

Civil and military police search for assailants

Information was at once sent to the police station of the occurrence and medical assistance was procured. The civil police then joined the military police and went in search of the soldiers, who were apprehended near Cheapside at about two o'clock on Sunday morning.

They exactly corresponded with the description given by Godfray of his assailants, and in addition to that, they were the only men out from the fort that night, they having broken away from barracks.

They are now in custody and will be presented before the Police Court as soon as Godfray is sufficiently well to appear against them, if he is ever so, for doubts are expressed as to whether his injuries will not terminate fatally.

Two of the prisoners were only liberated from prison on Wednesday, and the third has also undergone incarceration in Jersey gaol. They were all sober, as also was Godfray, and it is stated that during the evening they were heard to exclaim that they would murder someone that evening.

Of course this is only a rumour, but if it is correct the prisoners have to congratulate themselves that, happily for them, their victim is not dead.


[We are not responsible for the opinions of our correspondents]
Mercantile Bank

Sir – When are we again to hear of the Mercantile Bank? Is it to be considered a thing of the past? Surely the shareholders have had ample time to examine their position, and it seems most extraordinary that up to this moment no compromise has been offered, and the liquidators since their nomination by the shareholders have not even satisfied the public with a statement. Anywhere but in Jersey such a state of things would not be allowed, and how much longer are the creditors to be laughed at, and when are they to obtain redress?

I am, Sir, yours obediently


Jersey Joint Stock Bank

Sir – In your account of the meeting of shareholders of the above bank, held on Friday last, it is stated that another meeting is convened for Friday, the 11th inst, but not a word is said as to depositors being allowed admittance.

I think, Sir, you will agree with me that such depositors who have shown their faith in the concern by the non-withdrawl of their balances are more entitled to a voice at such meetings than those shareholders who, by the withdrawl of their balances, have accelerated the ruin of their own property, and the immediate cause of the immense inconvenience to the public at the present moment.

Trusting we may yet seen an announcement of such concession to attend the next meeting, and that our passbook may prove our right of entrance; but should such be denied us, I trust that one among the many shareholders may be found who will on Friday denounce the action of an expose the selfishness of those who should have proved to be the Bank's supporters in the hour of need

Dear Sir, faithfully yours


Sir – In face of the statement made at the late meeting of the shareholders of the Jersey Joint Stock Bank, by their learned counsel – that the books were beautifully kept, and also bearing in mind that the Bank declared a dividend of some 10 per cent per annum on its capital, last February or March, can it for one moment be imagined that the affairs of this establishment are not such as at once to be liquidated without inconvenience to its shareholders? How, in the presence of two such facts as those I mention, can it be otherwise?

What creditors therefore have all a right to expect is an immediate settlement of their claims. Active men must be employed by the shareholders in the liquidation of their debts. It cannot be expected that the creditors wil rest quiet if any unusual delays are proposed.

The shareholders are said to be numerous and to represent good property; let them, therefore, raise the amount, on their private means, required to meet their calls, whilst they realise their banking assets. They must remember that the creditors have a right to that which can be most readily obtained.

It is the duty of the shareholders to liquidate promptly – delays are dangerous – and at once to give their creditors proof of their determination to do so. There must be no cause given for suspicion of any sort.

I remain, Sir yours obediently



Annual outing - The children belonging to the Primitive Methodist Sunday Schools had their annual outing on Monday afternoon. They proceeded in vans to St Peter's Arsenal, where tea was partaken of, and various amusements engaged in.


Manoeuvres on the sands - The men comprising the St Lawrence Battalion of the Royal Jersey Militia were under arms on Monday evening on St Aubin's sands. They went through various manoeuvres under the command of Colonel Le Gros. A goodly number of spectators were present.


Safe arrival - We hear, by a telegram received in this island on Monday last, of the arrival of the Polynesian at Quebec on the 6th of this month. She left England on 26 June last, with a goodly number of emigrants, chiefly from the country parishes, who had all arrived safe and in good health, and were quite pleased with the kind attention shown to them by the master and crew during the voyage.


Railway accident – A special train of the Jersey Eastern Railway conveyed a party of excursionists to Gorey on Wednesday, and on the return journey, when near Green Street, an accident happened. The men were busily engaged in getting a newly arrived carriage on to the line, and as the train approached, a signal was made for the points to be altered, so as to allow of the train running into the engine house. The points, however were not altered and the train ran into the carriage, making a hole in it.

Thursday 5 July 1873
Before Mr Gibaut, Magistrate

Harriet Smith was presented by Centenier Blampied, charged with having been found drunk in Broad Street on the previous evening. Drunkenness appeared, by the evidence, to be her normal condition. She was before the Court on the previous Monday for a similar offence. The Magistrate sentenced her to eight days imprisonment, every alternate day on bread and water diet.


Edward Stevens was charged by Centenier Blampied with having, on 16 May last, stolen and pawned two coats, the property of Charles Mudie. He was also charged with having stolen some brushes and clothes which had been given him by the same prosecutor for sale.

The prisoner had been before the Court previously for robbery, and had then been sentenced to a month imprisonment. The prisoner said that the prosecutor had authorised him to pawn the goods, but the prosecutor denied having done so. After hearing the evidence the Magistrate remanded the case, on the prisoner's application, until next Tuesday.

The case was re-presented, after an adjournment for the purpose of enabling the prisoner to produce two witnesses who stated that they had heard Mudie order the prisoner to raise some money upon the brushes as he wanted more drink, he being then in a state of drunkenness. The Magistrate dismissed the case.


Richard Baker was charged by Centenier Ahier of St Clement's with having, on Thursday, committed an assault upon the person of John Grandin, a paid policeman, by striking him whilst on the public road at St Clement's. He was also charged with frightening persons who happened to be on the road, he being in a state of intoxication. The prosecutor said the prisoner was like 'a mad bull'. He threatened to strike him and followed him saying that he would pay him for having had him locked up. He was in danger of his life when he went to St Clement's. The Magistrate fined the prisoner £1 or five days imprisonment, and bound him over to keep the peace in future.


Susan Thomas was charged by Centenier Renouf with having stolen from Mr Louis Sangan, at 33 Hilgrove Lane, a quantity of clothing, linen and a piece of gold, some silver and a quantity of other things. The prisoner was servant to the prosecutor and the robberies were committed during the months of April, May and June last. After hearing the witnesses, whose evidence bore out the charge, the Magistrate sent the prisoner before the Royal Court.


Charles Bisson was presented by the Constable of St Lawrence on a charge of having, on Sunday last, insulted three Miss Touzels in St Lawrence parish. The charge was proved and the Magistrate fined the prisoner 5s, with an alternative of 48 hours imprisonment.



Notes and references

  1. This is an abridged version of the original leading article, which ran to about twice the length, thanks to the verbosity of the writer
  2. The Waverley was wrecked on rocks off Guernsey in thick fog on 5 June 1873
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