Sir John Jeremie


John Jeremie was born in Guernsey on 19 August 1795, the son of an advocate, also named John Jeremie. He was educated at Blundell's School in Tiverton, Devon, and married Catherine Perceval (the daughter of Jacques Perceval and Marie Kelly) on 25 July 1816 at St Andrew's parish church, Guernsey. They had at least one son and one daughter.

He became a judge and slave abolitionist who served in a number of the British colonies. His strong views as an abolitionist aroused much hostility amongs the local merchants however, and he was forced to resign in both St Lucia and Mauritius. He was appointed to Mauritius on 29 April 1833, where he charged the judges, in open court, of having interests in slave holdings. The Governor dissaproved of his language and he was forced to resign. He subsequently wrote a book entitled Four essays on colonial slavery.

John Jeremie was appointed Governor of Sierra Leone on 15 October 1840 and took his son Robert with him as his private secretary. He was knighted on 4 November 1840 and died of "Port Loco" fever on 23 April 1841. His son Robert continued to work for Sir John's replacement, William Fergusson, but himself died in 1843.

A letter John Jeremie wrote about the slave trade was sent to Viscount Palmerston, one of Her Majesty's Commissioners. It apparently arrived in London just before he died in Sierra Leone.

Sir John Jeremie is featured in two paintings at the National Portrait Gallery: The Anti-Slavery Society Convention, 1840, by Benjamin Robert Haydon; and The Abolition of the Slave Trade by John Alfred Vinter.

Quite clearly, Sir John Jeremie was not in any way related to the Jermy family of Norfolk and Suffolk, and it is doubtful that he left a large fortune to be held in Chancery until the twentieth century.


Relevant Dates

19 August 1795   Born in Guernsey 
  Attended Blundell's School, Tiverton, Devon 
25 July 1816  Married Catherine Perceval in Guernsey 
circa 1820  Advocate in the Royal court of Guernsey 
Oct 1824 - 1831  Chief Justice of the island of St Lucia 
1832 - 1833  Public Prosecutor of Mauritius 
1836  Judge in Ceylon 
15 October 1840    Made Governor of Sierra Leone 
4 November 1840  Knighted 
23 April 1841  Died in Sierra Leone of "Port Loco" fever