Josue de Carteret

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From A Biographical Dictionary of Jersey by George Balleine

Josue de Carteret ( -1664) was a Jurat, but he was a black sheep in the De Carteret fold. The second son of Josue De Carteret, Seigneur of Trinity, and Jeanne Herault, we first hear of him in 1636, when he carried off Jeanne, the child heiress of the wealthy Jean Le Febvre, Seigneur of La Hougue, to Normandy. The Huguenot ministers there refused to marry them, as she was obviously under age; but he took her to Sark, and married her there.

Civil War

At the beginning of the Civil War he was arrested as a Royalist and imprisoned for a time on the Parliament ships in Bouley Bay, but was later released on bail. When Sir George Carteret recovered the island, Josue "showed himself", says Chevalier, "bitterly opposed to the Parliament men, and avenged himself for the wrongs he had suffered by laying complaints before the Commissioners who came to Jersey, and they granted him compensation from those against whom he complained.

He was very friendly with Sir George, and went at all times to the Castle to bring charges against all and sundry, saying they were disaffected. He got some of these imprisoned, and so made himself feared. He ingratiated himself so successfully with Sir George that he made him a Jurat. This was in 1644.

But it is no use eloping with an heiress if your father-in-law lives on in possession of his property. "So he brought an action against his father-in-law, representing that he had held for the Parliament by every means in his power", and, when his fellow Jurats could not stomach this, he "uttered publicly such passionate expressions of revenge" that Daniel Brevint excommunicated him. He then accused Brevint to the King of sedition, but the only result was that his behaviour was declared to be "scandalous and offensive".

But he was irrepressible. He wrote to the King accusing his father-in-law of treason, "and to strengthen his case induced several to sign his appeal. Sir George heard of this, and demanded to see the document, and, when he would not produce it, sent him to the Castle". He was then "dismissed by His Majesty from all public service" and, in the euphemistic language of the Court Rolls, "he withdrew to France for the benefit of his health".

Charles II

He went to Paris and appealed to Charles II, who promised to look into the matter when he came to Jersey. De Carteret then returned to the island. "On his arrival Sir George sent him back to prison. Eight days later he was released at the request of his brother, the Seigneur of Trinity. At the Cour d'Heritage on 20 December he took his seat on the Bench, but the Presiding Jurat ignored him, and treated him as though he were not there. He made a second attempt to resume his place on 28 September but again no notice was taken of him. Though receiving slight after slight he still was not abashed, and a third time took his seat among the other Jurats. This time Sir George presided, and upbraided him for daring to be present and ordered him to withdraw.

When the King came to Jersey he made friends with some of the Court, but nothing came of it, "nor could he regain Sir George's favour". So he returned to Paris and later, when the King had left the island, approached Lord Jermyn, the Governor, alleging that he had been sent by the people of Jersey to beg him to dismiss Sir George and appoint a new Lieutenant. When Lord Jermyn visited Jersey, de Carteret preceded him by a few days: but Sir George arrested him, and kept him prisoner until the Governor arrived, when he was brought to trial, and found guilty of having carried off his wife by force, of having taken bribes to let men escape militia service, of having beaten a man so severely that he died, and of having forced persons to bear false witness against his father-in-law. He was condemned to imrisonment, but later through his brother's influence was released on bail, on condition that he did not go outside his own grounds.

Changing sides

Then came the conquest of Jersey by Parliament, and immediately Josue posed as a Parliamentary martyr. In a Petition to Parliament he said:

"I was oft indicted as a rebel and traitor to the late King, and was prisoner therefor, when the Island was taken".

But Jersey knew his record too well, and again he had to leave the island. He returned, however, and for five years made himself a nuisance with interminable applications to the Court and petitions to the Council against his brothers-in-law about the division of the property of his wife's mother. At the Restoration he was not restored to his Juratship, and he died in 1664, and was buried on Good Friday, 8 April. He had one daughter Jeanne, who married Dean Clement Le Couteur.

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