Philippe du Heaume is elected Jurat

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On 9 March 1868, when Queen Victoria accepted the resignation of Jurat Philippe Aubin, the resulting Order in Council being read out before the States of Jersey a few days later. On the 28th of that month a meeting was convened at the Royal Hall in Peter Street, St Helier, for the purpose of hearing nominations for Jurat Aubin's successor.

Stormy nomination meeting

Owing to the apparently objectionable behaviour of a very vocal minority, this turned out to be quite a stormy session.

In particular, such was John Daniel Cabot's eagerness to nominate his own candidate that he even tried to hijack proceedings by butting in before his due time. Silenced rather petulantly by Jurat David de Quetteville, the latter proceeded to propose his own nominee.

"He had every reason to believe," he began: "that the candidate he would propose for their acceptance would never take advantage of his office to impair that privilege which had yet many long years of existence. He proposed a fit and duly qualified person for the place and office of Judge."

Cabot's followers thought otherwise, however, for when de Quetteville declared himself in favour of Philippe Du Heaume, he was greeted by a chorus of seemingly endless hisses from his opponents.

The assembly was a little more peaceful when Cabot and his supporters finally had their say. "I have a man to propose who is a real Jerseyman," Cabot asserted, "a man who will sit down with any of us, and who hates to see a fellow-man touch his hat to him; - a man who will hear patiently all your grievances and will give you justice ... and that man is Edward Le Huquet."

Deputation

Le Huquet's followers may have made more noise they were clearly outnumbered, for only Jurat de Quetteville's nomination received sufficient support to prompt the formation of a deputation that set off for Broadlands to ask for Philippe's acceptance. Cabot and his supporters were not so easily quelled, however, for as Jurat de Quetteville and his companions embarked on their trip to Grouville they were hissed at yet again.

As the deputation included two doctors among its numbers, the exclamation: "Let the Doctors feel Mr Du Heaume's pulse!" prompted roars of laughter as Jurat de Quetteville and his company proceeded out the hall.

An hour later, after the deputation had returned from Broadlands, the meeting was informed of Philippe's acceptance. Two days later a letter, from an anonymous individual styling himself an 'Independent Elector' who supported Mr Cabot's candidate, appeared in the Jersey Times. 'Electors,' it implored, 'Mr Du Heaume's only recommendation is cash". The editorial that appeared in the same paper the following day was even more disparaging. 'Who is Mr Philip Du Heaume?' It began:

"An awful personage strided a platform on Saturday for the purpose of proposing to the electors of the island a certain Mr Philip Du Heaume, of Broadlands, as a fit and proper person to fill the office of "Judge". We are not sure that we are one whit the wiser for knowing that the distinguished person for whose shoulders the fiery mantle of Juratdom is destined belongs to Broadlands, or Broadlands to him. Where is Broadlands? The only information that is vouchsafed on this point is that it is "a long way from town", or rather that "Mr Du Heaume lives a long way from town", which, we suppose, means about the same thing .... and that therefore Mr Philip Du Heaume "lives a long way from" the haunts of men and the centre of civilization in our little Jersey world - which is a fact worth noting, nevertheless .... One thing, however, is very certain. There can be no manner of doubt that Mr. Philip Du Heaume thinks himself "a fit and duly qualified person for the place and office of Judge", for, it appears, he has not hesitated to accept that office. It may be, however, that this Mr Philip Du Heaume, whose name has ever and anon figured at the top of Prize Lists of Cattle Shows as one of the Judges at those shows, are one and the same person. If so, the whole enigma is solved. Mr Philip Du Heaume considers himself a competent judge of Bulls, Cows, Heifers, Pigs etc: therefore - and a fortiori, we suppose - he considers himself competent to settle points of law, and to judge his fellow men".

Public indifference

esides the mockery levelled at him by the Jersey Times, there seem to have been mutters of contempt in other quarters. 'I had heard he was a stupid fellow', Sir John Le Couteur wrote in his diary; a remark which may have arisen from little more than hearsay, as Sir John was to take an active part in the supervision of the ballot held at the Weighbridge in St Helier. Nevertheless, despite the fervent convictions held by some, the majority of the electorate greeted the onset of the election with overwhelming apathy. 'The absence of all public interest,' the Jersey Times remarked.

The almost total indifference with which the affair was viewed speak volumes for the low estimation to which Jurat elections have fallen in the minds of the public. Except for the unmelodious strains of a brass band which perambulated the streets, headed by a Jersey flag and large banner, the latter calling upon the electors for Mr Du Heaume, there was nothing to indicate anything unusual was going on.

Landslide victory

Sir John Le Couteur was much of the same opinion: 'No excitement,' he recorded in his diary, they told me they were mostly Rosers of the old school who voted', thus implying that Philippe drew his support from the older generation of liberals. Even so, Philippe routed his rivals. A total of 1,004 votes were cast in his favour, as opposed to only eight for his four opponents. He drew 122 votes from his own parish of Grouville, and 212 from St Helier.

After all the scorn aimed at him in the local press, Philippe must have felt duly relieved, if not elated, when writing his acceptance speech. Perhaps as a consequence, the resulting composition helped to counter the low esteem in which he was held by some of the islanders. Among these converts was Sir John Le Couteur. 'The neat little speech which he made after being sworn, with great self possession,' he wrote 'shows that he is a thoughtful person’, adding that after taking his oath of office a 'multitude' went to have cake and wine with him to celebrate his success. His speech also provides an interesting insight into his political convictions, thus helping to vindicate Sir John's assertion that Philippe was very much a member of the liberal faction:

”As long as I have the honour of sitting on the Bench, I hope I shall discharge those duties with integrity and impartiality, and award sound and ‘’briève’’ justice without exception of person. In the legislative assembly I shall give my support to the improvement of existing laws which may be found inefficient for the present state of things, and I shall also give my support to the introduction of any measure calculated to increase the welfare of the community. In doing so I shall, however, always have in view the preservation of those institutions which have made the island so prosperous, the maintenace of the existing insular privileges, and the support of the independence and autonomy of this island."


A little over six weeks later, on 21 May, the news broke that Philippe Du Heaume, who had been a Captain in the Royal Jersey Artillery since June 1851, was to be promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, a rank in which he remained for the next 14 years, before he seems to have retired and been replaced, on 1 November 1882, with John J de la Taste.

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