George Vickery

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George Vickery,
lawyer and politician


W17GeorgeVickery.jpg

George Vickery


This biography of George Vickery appeared in a family history blog by Miles Meyer in 2014.


Family

George Vickery was born on 8 September 1824 in St Helier. He was the second of at least ten children. His parents were Thomas Vickery (1798-1863) and Mary Coutanche (1807-1853). George was baptised on 22 September 1824.

In about 1845 George married Louisa LeBoeuf (1823- ), the sister of James and Frederick Le Boeuf. George and Louisa's first child was Raimond George Vickery. Raimond was born on 28 June 1846 and died about two years later on 12 April 1848. A few months before Raimond's death, on 25 January 1848, their second child, James Frederick Vickery, was born. On 1 January 1850, their third child, William de Preval Vickery was born. William died three months later on 8 April 1850. The 1851 census lists the family as George (age 26), Louisa (age 26), and James F (age 3).

The following people were also living in the home: Mary Ann Leboeuf - sister-in-law (age 20), Ann Coutanche - aunt (age 70), James LeBoeuf - brother-in-law (age 25), and Frederick LeBoeuf - brother-in-law (age 19). Their home was at 22 Royal Square. George's occupation was listed as Solicitor.

Legal career

As a soliciter, George wrote several books, including Verité ou mensonge loi ou violence in 1855 and Des privileges de l'ile ou de la resurrection de Stuarts et de la chambre toilee a Jersey in 1856. These titles are in Jersiais [French, not Jerriais, Ed] and can roughly be translated as 'Truth or falsehood, law or violence' and 'Privileges of the island or the resurrection of the Stuarts and the draped chamber in Jersey'.

In the 1850s, during the reign of Napoleon III, there was much political repression in neighboring France. Many critics of the emperor fled for refuge to Jersey. One family who were exiled in Jersey were Victor, Charles and Francois-Victor Hugo. Hugo wrote The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Les Miserables. Francois-Victor Hugo wrote for a newspaper in Jersey known as L'Homme. In 1855 the family was expelled from Jersey because of a story in the newspaper criticizing Queen Victoria. During their time in Jersey, George Vickery became a friend of the Hugo family and in 1855 organized a petition of notable people in Jersey against the expulsion order.

Politics

George was an active member of the States of Jersey, the island's legislature. On 6 November 1856, the States adopted a new law to add Parish Deputies to the Assembly. Deputies would have the same rights and functions as the existing twelve Jurats, twelve Constables and twelve Rectors. Jurats were elected for life and Rectors were chosen by the Crown; Deputies were to be elected by their parish, as were the Constables, for three years. Each parish of St Helier chose three Deputies and the other eleven parishes each chose one Deputy. They took their seats for the first time on 29 January 1857.

George was among the first Deputies elected to the Assembly. On July 1859 the States Assembly passed a law increasing the number of Advocates, which had been a maximum of six prior to this time. George was appointed an Advocate in 1860.

In the 1861 census, the family is listed at No 3 Farnworth Terrace, Colomberie, in St. Helier. [Misread address from census corrected – Ed] The family consisted of George (age 35), Louisa (age 32), and George (age 3). George's occupation is listed as Barrister of the Royal Court. [Advocate – Ed] In addition to his immediate family, the following people are living in the house; Marian LeBoeuf - sister-in-law (age 23), Eliza Quirot - servant, cook (age 21), and Eleanore Quirot - servant, housemaid (age 16). I am not sure what happened to James since he would have been around 16 years old during this census. There are also several other children "missing" in this census. They include three daughters; Adala, Augusta, and Leonida Maude. Adala was born 28 April 1851. Augusta was born 31 March 1853. Leonida Maude was born 6 May 1855.

In 1871 the family was living at 11 St. Marks Road, St. Helier. The family in the 1871 census included George (age 46), Louisa (age 46), Adala (age 19), Maud (age 15), and George (age 13). There was also a servant, Mary Fitzgibbon (age 21) living in the house. Two of the children, Maude and George, are listed as scholars, meaning they are attending school. It appears that George was still serving as a representative since his occupation is listed as Deputy Barrister [Deputy and Advocate – Ed].

Letter to voters

He wrote the following letter to his constituency in 1870:

TO THE ELECTORS OF ST HELIER, GENTLEMEN:

"At the expiration of 14 years service in the States as one of your representatives, I wish to thank you for the confidence you have so warmly and repeatedly shewn me, and to solicit for another triennial term a renewal of your kind support.
"Without presumption on one hand and without false modesty on the other, I think I may today conscientiously affirm that, during these 14 years, my chief ambition has been to labour diligently and to the best of my humble ability for the Public good; and that since 1857, when I first entered the States, no Member of the Legislative body has taken a more active part than I have done in initiating and, so far as possible, carrying out whatever both you and I considered conducive to the general interest of the Island.
"I have no wish to detail in this brief address what I have succeeded in effecting in the Legislative Assembly and States Committees; what I have projected; and what is au Greffe in my name for early discussion. Before the General Election takes place I shall probably have fitting opportunity to do so.
"For the moment, after thanking you for the trust you have, during such a comparative length of time, reposed in me, and soliciting, if you think me worthy of it, a renewal of your confidence (the last time I am likely to do so) I merely desire to state, and most distinctly, that my sole reason for wishing to be re-elected is this: I wish to complete the States work I had imposed on myself, I wish to carry out the important Bills I have prepared, and which stand for discussion during the next session of our local Parliament.
"It will be physically impossible for me, Gentlemen, to canvass you personally. You know the reason, impaired health. This of course will not militate against me with honorable and intelligent men. Those who think that I have done my utmost to serve the public faithfully will not wait to be canvassed; but will, I trust, volunteer me their kind support through Members of my Committee.
"I hope to be favoured with the personal attendance of my friends at the meetings that will be announced in conjunction with my re-election."
I remain, Gentlemen, truly yours, George Vickery, Deputy

George Vickery died on 16 November 1874 in St. Helier.

Biographies of his two daughters

Election cartoons

These cartoons were published in a Jersey newspaper, not yet identified, to coincide with one of more of the bitterly contested St Helier Deputies' elections in the 1860s. They appear to be targeted at George Vickery, but, given his long period of service and several re-elections, they appear not to have had the desired effect

The five men in the chicken cartoons were all among the early deputies of St Helier. In the first election for Deputies in 1857 - three for St Helier and one each for the other 11 parishes - Clement Hemery and George Vickery were successful in St Helier, and Hugh Godfray in Grouville. The history books are silent on who the unsuccessful candidates were, and Google seems to believe that the only important Jersey election that year was in New Jersey. However, a check in the Jersey Independent of 14 January 1857 reveals that the other two shown in the cartoons - Jean Le Cronier and George Helier Horman, were not candidates, so these cartoons must refer to a later contest.

Jean Le Cronier was first elected in St Helier in 1863, and George Helier Horman and Hugh Godfray were successful in the parish in 1866, so that might be the year.

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