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Charles John Kemeys Tynte

August 1, 2018

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La Grande Semaine

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As we come to the close of the month of July I was reminded yesterday that one or two people named on the Adelaide Streets at first European settlement have some history when it comes to advanced ideas of democracy, and the eventual liberation of the French people. Yesterday was July 30th and  by happenstance it was the 188th birthday of the ‘July Uprising of 1830, a Three Day War’ where blood was further spilt on the streets of Paris some forty years after the French Revolution. Strangely, there is a remote connection between this event and the lives of some of the men and women first named on the streets of Adelaide in May 1837.

This short conflict arose right at the time that the National Colonization Society, from which South Australia sprang had just formed in London under the aegis of Edward Gibbon Wakefield through his cypher Robert Gouger, Colonel Robert Torrens, Wilmot Horton MP and a number of young intellectuals in in London. Some of the younger men who had joined the Colonization Society were of Huguenot extraction and felt it necessary to drop everything in London, including the ‘colonization project’ to scramble across the Channel where they took up arms and helped man the barricades in the name of Liberty. They were stoutly led by John Sterling and some of the other young intellectuals of the Cambridge school. These were intellectuals in contact with people like Wordsworth, Coleridge, Southey and the American writer, Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Coincidently a young man named Charles John Kemys Tynte was in Paris at the time acting as an observer. His family name is perpetuated in Tynte Street, North Adelaide. On his return to England and confining himself to the things he witnessed during the upheaval, he published a small book entitled A Sketch of the Late Revolution in France or La Grande Semaine which I commend to readers. Tynte was elected to the Reform Parliament of 1833 and is here pictured sitting in the House of Commons. It is very likely that he voted in support of the South Australian Act of 1834.

Charles John Kemys Tynte MP the son, was born at Halswell House, near Goathurst, Somerset in the year 1800. This puts him in the same age bracket as most of the younger and more influential members of the street naming committee. He was the only son and heir to Charles Kemeys Kemys Tynte and followed him into parliament in the seat of Somerset West which he held through the halcyon days of the Philosophical Radicals between 1832 and 1837. Described as a liberal rather than a Whig, this definition places him firmly among those in this book who are centre stage and who are described as liberal radicals. Born to a life of privilege he was educated like his father at Eton and heir to three estates Halswell House in Bridgewater, Somerset, Cefn Mably in Glamorganshire and Burleigh Hall Loughborough in Leicestershire.
In the Preface he wrote

‘The following sketch of [La Grande Semaine ] as it is universally designated in Paris, is compiled almost entirely from my own observations and notes upon the spot. I was residing in the immediate environs of Paris on the road to St Cloud, at the period of the Revolution, and was in the city during the days of the struggle, and witnessed many of the subsequent skirmishes and various other proceedings at St Cloud and Sevres. ……I have not proceeded with the account beyond the termination of [the week;] as the very stirring and animated scenes of battle that occupied that week are rather too exciting, to preface in a hasty brochure……. May his reign [Loius Philippe, Duc d’Orleans]prove a prosperous and glorious one to himself and the brave people who have called him to so high a Destiny.’

Richmond , September 24th 1830[i]

So close to the action was Charles during this time that his description of events is both riveting and horrifying. Toward the end of July 1830 he wrote

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                             The July Revolution 1830 by Eugene_Dèlacroix

 ‘From this period may be dated an organized resistance, and the commencement of the general battle. In this attack of the people on the police, two gens-d’armes were dismounted, and instantly trampled to death. Many of the old national guard now appeared in uniform, completely armed, ranging themselves with, and assuming command over the people. The students from the Polytechnic School, from the Colleges of Law and Medicine, numerous half pay officers, and hundreds of well dressed men well equipped were now mingling gradually, but rapidly with the populace. General Dubourg making his appearance, was entreated to take command, which he accepted, and, from his experience and conduct, a distinct order of battle was organized and assumed. Those armourers’ shops that hitherto escaped, were now completely cleared, and, in many instances, considerable sums of money left in the hands of the astonished proprietors. The Guards now fired frequently; and repeated charges of the Gens-d’armes and some Cuirassiers, drove the people into the narrow streets adjoining the Rue St. Honoré, who, retreating within the houses, showered tables, bedsteads, logs of firewood, and furniture of every description upon the military, and destroyed many……..The guard house was instantly set on fire, and the sparks and flames rising high, the night still being calm, were seen at a distance, and caused many reports that Paris was on fire……It was known that fresh troops were pouring into Paris, and General Dubourg now ordered the citizens to form working parties, to construct barricades; and many trees, the [pride of all Parisians]were immediately felled along the whole extent of the Boulevards. …Stones were also torn up from the pavement, and formed a kind of rampart wall as well as a ditch….The charges of cavalry by these precautions were rendered impracticable….. As an instance of the intense devotion which prevailed during the construction of the first barricade on the Boulevard Italien, a young student of medicine, who was mortally wounded by a musket ball whilst lifting a large shutter to place on the pile, fell, but dragging himself towards the barricade, entreated one of his comrades to throw his body on the rampart, that it might be useful to his country, after death.’ [ii]

Whether Robert Gouger personally knew Tynte junior at this point is not known but he was certainly fully committed and engaged on the streets of Paris. On the 30th of September 1830 an excited Gouger wrote from Lyons in France to his brother Alfred ‘I may now be considered a military man and you would think so if you saw my equipage. I have a good horse, and am clad in a cocked hat, with a tricoloured plume of feathers, laced surtout and jack boots.’[iii] As Bloomfield explains this was not so surprising given that Robert Gouger was ‘a Radical of French extraction (whose Huguenot family name had been Gougère) and with whom Wakefield had begun corresponding from Newgate’[iv] only a year or so earlier.

[i] Tynte, Charles John Kemys             A Sketch of the French Revolution

     London, William Marsh, 145 Oxford street, 1830, pp6,7

[ii] Tynte, Charles John Kemys            A Sketch of the French Revolution –

       London, William Marsh, 145 Oxford street, 1830, pp32-37

[iii] Hodder,Edwin., (Ed)                      The Founding of South Australia: As recorded in the            journals of Mr. Robert Gouger, First Colonial Secretary.

Sampson Low, Marston, & Co. London. 1898. p23

[iv] Bloomfield, Paul            Edward Gibbon Wakefield:Builder of the British Commonwealth

       Longmans, Green & Company, London 1961 p 98

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One Comment
  1. A surfeit of this type of information and character can be found over 1100 pages in my three volume set of biographies entitled ‘Behind the Streets of Adelaide- A Pantheon of Dissent.’
    Go to torrenspress.com for more information.

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Dr Jeff Nicholas

This site is about both History & Biography

The Victorian Commons

Researching the House of Commons, 1832-1868

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