Tom Gruchy and the Corn Riots (FOI)
Tom Gruchy and the Corn Riots (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by Government of Jersey (on behalf of the States Greffe) and published on 11 November 2020.
Prepared internally, no external costs.
With regard to the Tom Gruchy Corn Riots that has taken up a lot of States time in recent years. I would like to know the following:
When did it first come to light that Tom Gruchy was actually a Slave Owner of a Black Girl called 'Tamuse' whilst residing in Boston with his wife?
Whether this was ever disclosed to States Members when a Holiday in memory of Tom Gruchy and his Corn Riots was debated and actually passed?
Whether a Holiday is now appropriate in the Memory of Tom Gruchy bearing in mind the sensitivity of the historic Slave Trade in 2020 and the BLM Movement?
The States Greffe does not hold any information to be able to answer this question.
The proposition ‘Public Holidays: designation of 27th September 2021 – commemoration of the Corn Riots and the Code of 1771’ (P.9/2020) was debated on 4 February 2020. In adopting Paragraph (a) of the proposition, the States Assembly agreed that Monday 27 September 2021 should be designated as an extra Public and Bank Holiday to commemorate the Corn Riots of 1769 and the development of the Code of 1771.
The official transcript (Hansard) of the debate is available on the States Assembly website. No explicit mention was made during the debate itself about the status of Tom Gruchy as a slave owner. However, the following extract was included in the written report accompanying the proposition:
“In Trinity about 200 political innocents gathered together behind Thomas Jacques Gruchy, a 50-year-old local man who had made his fortune and lost it in Boston as the owner and commander of a British a privateer and as a smuggler. He had emigrated to America as a young man and married Mary Dumaresq there and prospered. They lived extravagantly in a grand house and kept a servant “black slave girl” called Tamuse, and he probably picked up some New World political ideas and joined the Freemasons. But, for some reason he went bust and returned to his Trinity roots and was soon restored as a respectable churchwarden and parish official.”
The States Greffe does not hold any information to be able to answer this question. Whether the designation of 27 September 2021 remains appropriate is a political matter for elected States members to consider.
This response has been issued on behalf of the States Greffe. The States Greffe is responsible for the information held by (and on behalf of) both itself and the States Assembly. Neither the States Assembly nor the States Greffe form part of the Government of Jersey and the Government was not involved either in the examination and retrieval of any information required for this response, nor in the drafting of the response itself