HE CHANNEL ISLANDS originally formed part of the Duchy of Normandy, and were for the first time brought under the same Government as England at the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066.
Thence, with certain exceptions, the Islands remained in the possession of the English until the time of King John, when they, as the " Normandy of the Islands," to use a classical term of distinction remained faithful to the King, who voluntarily granted them in return a Charter, which afforded to them privileges and powers of self-government, which may be considered to be almost unexampled in those days.
These privileges and powers, or others in lieu of them, may, to a certain extent, be considered to be existent at the present time.
It is believed from the summary of the laws and constitution of the Channel Islands, and from inquiries from local sources, that the Parliament of Great Britain does not legislate for Jersey and Guernsey, nor that any Act of Parliament has force in law in the Channel Islands, unless they be specially comprised therein, and this is not likely to happen should Imperial interests not be concerned. But these are matters respecting which it is not necessary to make further reference in these particulars ; the accuracy of what has been stated can readily be ascertained by intending purchasers. The fact remains, that so far as the ISLAND OF HERM is concerned, besides certain privileges, neither rates nor taxes are payable, nor are there licensing laws affecting the Island.
The Auctioneers believe the following extracts from Mr. D. T. Ansted and Mr. R. G. Latham's well known and authoritative work on the Channel Islands, may prove of interest, viz.:
“Few parts of the world present in so small a space so much variety as is the case with this archipelago, and few groups of islands are so remarkable for their great political and historical interest, combined with singular natural beauty. Constructed for the most part of hard, crystalline rock, decomposing or weathering by the constant action of the sea and weather; exposed to the incessant dash of waves coming in from the Atlantic, which are thrown back by the coast of the Cotentin, only to meet a fresh arrival of others, all bound on the errand of destruction; - the islands have been for countless ages been beaten about penetrated, rounded, broken and carried away, - leaving now only a fret-work of those hardest barriers that have still resisted the attack, and are enabled to present a bold and serried front against their relentless enemy.”
“Intersected in every direction by veins and crevices, some of the veins being filled with rock yet tougher than the granite of the mass, and some with soft minerals and clay, the result has been the production of the islands and rocks as we see them.”
“Each group has it own characteristics. In all the Islands, the climate is equable and the weather generally pleasant; few fogs obscure the air, and much comfort can be obtained at all seasons.”
“Owing to the climate, the vegetable productions of the land are remarkable. Having a more equable temperature than almost any part of the western shores of Europe, but not a larger rain-fall, there is every facility for cultivating whole classes of plants, elsewhere difficult to keep alive ; and, though there is little intense heat in summer, still the absence of cold in winter is sufficiently marked to admit of the orange-tree bearing fruit, while the camellia is loaded with flowers in sheltered gardens, from December to March.”
“As a place to visit during summer and autumn, but especially in the late autumn, up to November, it may safely be said that these islands are, beyond comparison, superior to any of the ordinary resorts of tourists, unable to reach the south of Europe.”
“In the latter half of the year the winds are seldom cold, and never treacherous; there are then no fogs, and night frosts are extremely rare. The flowers continue to bloom, the fall of the leaf has more of softness and tenderness than of sternness, and the approach of winter is so quiet and gradual, that it is almost unheeded. There may be better summers on the Continent though they are pleasant enough here and the spring is ungenial in all northern latitudes; but for late autumn there is no rival to the Channel Islands within several hundred miles.”