Le Constitutionnel

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Le Constitutionnel


Le Constitutionnel was a French language newspaper published in Jersey from 1820 to 1876, making it one of the longest-lived island newspapers of the time, although its longevity was overshadowed by that of its principal rival, La Chronique de Jersey, which had been in existence from 1814, and would eventually merge in 1917 with La Nouvelle Chronique, and continue publishing until 1959

The early years of the 19th century were turbulent times in Jersey politics, and in an era when new weekly newspapers were launched with amazing frequency, usually only to disappear from view after a very short time, La Chronique was launched by Pierre Perrot specifically to support the Rose Party, of which he was one of the leading lights.

Six years after the launch of La Chronique, Attorney-General John William Dupre (1790-1866) got together with five colleagues in the rival Laurel Party and launched Le Constitutionnel in direct competition both for news and advertising, and for electoral support. Dupre had cut his journalistic teeth as editor of the Gazette de Césarée from 1817 to 1819, and was to edit Le Constitutionnel until 1826. Afterwards he often wrote its leading articles.

Laurel Party leader Francois Godfray went on to control the newspaper for 30 years, but it is not clear who actually owned the publication at various times. In the 1861 census librarian, stationer and printer Chadwick Le Lievre is described as the publisher of Le Constitutionnel

It is not entirely clear how the newspaper was run, but it appears that although Chadwick Le Lievre was shown as its proprietor and was presumably also its printer, he may not have been involved on the editorial side. Indeed, in the advertisement from a contemporary almanac, the newspaper appears as the final element of his business, accorded far less prominence than his bookselling and library activities.

Prominent Laurel Party politician Advocate Francois Godfray, who was Constable of St Helier, St Martin and St Saviour, is described by historian and biographer George Balleine as having ‘controlled’ Le Constitutionnel for 30 years, which would coincide with the period when Le Lievre is shown as ‘proprietor’.

By 1881 the newspaper has folded, but although Chadwick Le Lievre was still in business at 13 Halkett Place as a printer and stationer, his staff has dropped from ten men and five boys a dedcade earlier to six men and a boy.

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