Sir Charles Janies Herbert De Coucy St. Julian

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About Sir Charles Janies Herbert De Coucy St. Julian

CHARLES ST. JULIAN, who died at Iiis residence at Nairu kuni, near Levuka, in the island of Ovalau, on the 2Gbh of November last-:was, in many, respects, a very remarkable man ; not less distinguished for his great literary talents than for the originality of his views, the energy of his character, the integrity of his motives, aud the ability he unquestionably displayed as a statesman, lawyer, and judge. The position he latterly held, as "Chief Justice and Chan- cellor of the Kingdom of Fiji," brought him to the front, but only when it was too late ; and his death, almost imme- diately after the late Cession of the above-named Dominion to the British Crown, has naturally excited much interest, sympathy, and regret. A short memoir of the deceased (of whom we publish an authentic portrait) will, we therefore think, provo Acceptable to a large circle of friends and to the general public. Charles Janies Herbert De Coucy St. Julian, the son of a French officer in the Grande Armée of Napoleon the First, was born on the 10th of May, 1819; his mother being an Englishwoman, and the exact place of his nativity some- what uncertain. His father dying not long after his birth, he was educated by his surviviug parent, in London, where in early youth he showed so great an aptitude for carving in ivory and wood that his mother (who was then in, compara- tively speaking, straitened circumstances) urgently desired him to cultivate the natural taste he had theil manifested as a means for his livelihood. The calling, however, for which she destined her gifted son, proving to be far too sedentary for his ardent temperament, Charles St. Julian soon flung away the mallet aud the chisel in disgust, and eagerly, as a volunteer (when yet a mere boy) he joined an Expedition up the Niger into the interior of Africa, where doubtless he first acquired that love of adventure and peculiar train of thought which tinged all his after life. Returning to England after a brief but romantic experience as an explorer, young St. Julian quickly grew tired of the tedium of his mother's house, and gladly volunteered as a junior officer in the Circassian Contingent, irregularly raised in London, in the interest of brave, but half-civilised, insur- gents. After serving in Circassia against the Russians for about a year, the English Volunteers with-whom St. Julian was associated, returned to England, and the lad, " bronzed from his first campaign," returned home with them. Having remained in London for a very short interval, the subject oí this notice next joined the Queen of Spain's " British Legion," as a lieutenant, and was present at most of the battles against the Carlists in which that body of auxiliaries were called upon to take part, until they were rescued by the British Marines, and brought back to England. Abandoning the profession of arms before he was fully eighteen years ol age, Charles St. Julian (who notwithstanding his French origin, was curiously enough, in all respects but personal appearance, intensely English) then emigrated to South Australia; where he arrived in the year 1837, and established himself as a land agent and surveyor in the infant city oi Adelaide. Ho remained there for two years, and ther determined to come on to Sydney, where he arrived ir August, 1839. At first Mr. St. Julian's intention appears tc have been to devote himself to the exclusive study of th« law under an eminent practitioner ; but meeting with un looked for difficulties, he reluctantly abandoned that idea, and was almost immediately engaged on the literary staff o the Australasian Chronicle-a journal then recently startet under the management of Mr. W. A. Duncan, the presen Collector of Customs at Sydney. This very able paper wai ab that time the acknowledged local organ of the Romai Catholic Church, to which communion Mr. St. Julian, Uk his father, belonged. After being connected with th Chronicle for about two years, he retired from that news paper, and took charge of the Commercial Journal, whicl he continued to conduct, as editor and chief reporter, unti the proprietor (Mr. William Joues, of Bridge-street, Sydney, sold the plant and copyright to Mr. Robert Mc Bachem. Th purchaser of the Commercial Journal changed its title to th Free Press, but retained the services of Mr. St. Julian a editor and reporter. On the failure of the Free Press'i 1843, the subject of this memoir was at once engaged h Messrs. Kemp and Fairfax, proprietors of the Sydne, Horning Herald, as a Parliamentary reporter on tba journal, an office which he filled with great credit to himsel and satisfaction to his employers until May, 1847, when h joined his friend, Mr. Edward John Hawksley (now c Levuka) in the proprietorship of the Sydney Chronicle formerly the Australasian Chronicle-and those two gentle men jointly conducted the paper until the end of NovemLei 1848, when the partnership was dissolved, and the Chronics discontinued. Mr. St. Julian next started a daily paper for himself, bu not meeting with due support, he abandoned the enterprise and engaged with Messrs. Kemp aud Fairfax as law reporte for the Sydney Morning Herald, a position in which hi labour, intelligence, and clearness of expression were prc "perly appreciated. He remained so occupied unt March, 1872, when for the benefit of his large family, o the invitation of the late Fijian Government^ he accepte the office of Chief Justice of Fiji. "'It will thus," saj the Fiji Times, "be seen that the connection of Mr. S Julian with the Press of New South Wales extended over period of not less than thirty-three years. Though nt educated for the profession of the law, his quick intellec his long literary career, his unwearied application, and h large experience as Law Reporter in the Supreme and Circu Courts of New South Wales, for fully a quarter of a centur; rendered him in point of legal acquirements quite equal 1 many of the gentlemen practising at the bar of that colon; On questions of-International and Municipal Law, he wi openly acknowledged hy both Sir Alfred Stephen, late Chi Justice of New South Wales, and Mr. Justice Hargrave, 1 be far superior to any lawyer in New South Wales. Besidi his Law Reports, which were acknowledged on all.hands i be the most valuable and correct, and in many cases we quoted as of authority in the Courts, Mr. St. Julian conti buted to the Herald mauy interesting .md important pape on political, social, and other questions i f public interés His papers on the Supply of Water to Sydney, and on il Charitable Institutions of New South Wales, and h sketches of Australian scenery, rapidly thrown off durii his visits to Circuit Courts were replete with interesting ai important suggestions-many of which with respect Charitable Institutions, have since been acted upon by t Government. His Essay on the Land Question in Nc South Wales obtaiued the second prize offered by the pr prietors of the Wagga Wagga Advertiser, and afterwar published in a pamphlet." - The knowledge possessed hy the deceased as to. t geographical position and resources of the islands of t ~" Pacific was extensive and accurate, the result of years patient study and prolonged correspondence. He \vro1 many years ago, a small Handbook, descriptive of the islan of Polynesia, which gave much useful information in popular form, and in 1S57 he published an elabon " Official Report of Central Polynesia," to which a compc .dious Gazetteer was attached, compiled by his intinn friend and collaborateur Mr. Edward Reeve. These wo ri once highly prized by maritime and mercantile men, i now out of print. Ifc was tlie interest he took in the geography of the Great South Sea which led to his connec . tiou with the Hawaiian Government. In addition to his other avocations, he served the Hawaiian Crown as Cons«l General and Chargé d'Affaires for upwards of twenty years, and at the close of his diplomatic career he was honoured by Kamahameha V. with the Cross of Knight Commander of the Royal and National Order of Hawaii, a distinction which he highly valued to the day of his death. Besides devoting much time to consular and diplomatic duty for the Hawaiian Government, "Mr. St. Julian," we are told, "took (for a number of years) a great interest in ali matters relating to Municipal Government, and was the principal person in establishing the two municipalities of Waverley and Marrickville, of both of which he was at different times the Mayor, and during his mayoralty at each of these places their respective Town Halls were built upon plans devised by himself. He was also appointed a magistrate of tho colony, and stood high in the estimation not only of Sir Alfred Stephen, who was bis warm friend, and the other Judges, but also of Sir Charles Cowper, Mr John Robertson, and Mr. Parkes, who not infrequently consulted him on matters connected with municipal and other affairs. When it was determined to amend the Municipalities' Act of 1S58, a Conference of Delegates from nearly every municipality in the colony, numbering some twenty or thirty members, sat nearly every ' day in the Town Hall, Sydney, for many weeks. Of this Conference Mr. St. Julian was chosen Presi- dent. An amended bill, nearly every clause of which was drafted by thc Ptesident himself, was, after much delibera- tion, adopted by the Conference, and submitted to the Government. This bill formed the basis of, and indeed the substance of it is incorporated in, the Municipalities' Act of 1857-the Act at present in force in New South Wales. An edition of this Act, with copious notes and annotations, was published by Mr. St. Julian, and is regarded by every lawyer in the colony as a work of authority, being con- stantly cited both in the Supreme and other Courts, in cases relating to municipal affairs, and several decisions having been giveu upon his exposition of the law." In the year 1S71 Mr. St. Julian paid an official visit to Fiji, being specially commissioned for that purpose by the Hawaiian sovereigu, King Kamehameha V. After his return to New South Wales he published in the Herald a series of papers, which he afterwards collected into a pamphlet, and had published by Cunninghame & Co , of Sydney, in January, 1S72, under the title of " The Inter- national Status of Fiji, and the Political Rights, Liabilities, Duties, aud Privileges of British Subjects, and other Foreigners residing in the Fijian Archipelago." This work attracted considerable attention in Sydney, and was pro- nounced by Sir Alfred Stephen, Mr. Justice Hargrave, and several of the most eminent barristers (to whom it was sub- mitted before being finally sent to the press) as a complete and comprehensive work, full of research, well arranged, and written in an argumentative, clear, unassuming style. As to the way in which Chief Justice St. Julian discharged the . responsible and arduous duties of his office, until abruptly released from all further labour by the circum- stances of the late Cession of Fiji, it will be more than suffi- cient to quote from one of the Fijian newspapers, generally (if not always) opposed to him in politics. That paper, in an obituary notice, which has supplied us with many of the above particulars, says :-" After his appointment to the judgment seat in Fiji, the decease'd gentleman laboured almost incessantly in the discharge of the duties of his high office. Of him it may truly be said through good report and through evil report, he kept on the even tenor of his way, conscientiously doing what he believed to be right and just, not courting the smiles or fearing the censure of any man or party. He has now entered into his rest, and may peace be with him." The same paper, io a previous issue, also bears an honourable testimony to the deceased in the following terms :-" It is our most painful duty to announce the death of the late Chief Justice. To many in Fiji who had enjoyed his acquaintance in New South Wales, this will be met with unaffected sorrow. The'event was rather sudden, notwith- standing that bia Honor had been suffering from July last; but his indomitable energy would not let him rest, and although an invalid, he persisted in showing the triumph of mind over matter, and sat so long as he could in those jurisdictions which pertained peculiarly .to his highoffice. As .Primacy Judge in Equity, and as Chancellor of the late Kingdom of Fiji, his duties were of a highly onerous charac- ter, and he discharged them mos-t ably. We feel assured that the good feeling of the community will be exercised upon this occasion, aud that the proverb of De mortuis nil nisi bonum will be borne in mind. Mr. St. Julian's great experience was valued most highly by the judges in the colony in which his best days were spent, and it was upon the recommendation of Sir Alfred Stephen, the-late Chief Justice of New South Wales, endorsed by his brother Judges, that the first Government in Fiji determined to secure his services. In Fiji, the late Chief Justice was not i a popular man .; and we congratulate the community upon that fact. Voxpopuli vox Dei, is a mistake on the judg- ment seat. Mr. Forwood, our first acting Chief Justice, was not popular, and no gentleman in such an office animated simply by that high sense of duty .which should invariably accom- pany his obligations to the commonwealth, can hope to be popular ; if he be, there is a palpable indication that justice may miscarry. We have seen mauy of the judgments of the late Chief Justice reprinted in the Press of New South Wales ; and comments made thereou in highly laudatory terms. No doubt our friend who has departed from amongst us was subject to some of the weaknesses of human nature ; who is there amongst us who is not ? But as a lawyer and as a judge he did yeoman service for Fiji. RKQUIESCAT IN PACK." When the Cession of the Islands took place, " Sir Charles," who had been suffering for some weeks previously from exhaustion, caused by sheer overwork-gradually declined. He was sent for a week to Burretta, for change of air, but died on his return, as they carried him from the boat into his. residence. His remains were consigned to tho tomb on the 27th of November ; the "Very Rev. Father Breheret offi- ciating, followed by his Honor the Administrator of the Government, the members of the Executive Council, His Honor the European Judge, Mr. Justice Marika, the Crown Prosecutor, members of the Fijian Bar, the Civil Servants, the military, and a large assemblage of frieuds. He leaves a widow and numerous family to lament their loss.- The last resting-place of Charles St. Julian is in the Nautolu Cemetery, a very beautiful sylvan spot, about two miles south of Levuka-the mountains of Ovalan behind him and the broad Pacific before him, in the midst of the people whom he loved, and whom he vainly strove to elevate inte a Recognised Nation -In his grave, A fter lifo's fitful fever, ho sleeps well ; Malice.domestic, foreign levy, nothing Can touch him further.

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Sir Charles Janies Herbert De Coucy St. Julian's Timeline

1819
May 10, 1819
1841
1841
Age 21
1844
1844
Age 24
1847
1847
Age 27
1847
Age 27
1850
1850
Age 30
1852
1852
Age 32
1855
1855
Age 35
1858
April 4, 1858
Age 38
Paddington, New South Wales, Australia