Reflection on Solomon Royes 1774-1842
Questions of health and wealth
One of the salient points surrounding the children of Solomon ROYES is the seemingly early death rate. Five of the thirteen children born to Solomon and Mary Royes died in their infancy - George Hougham (1806 - 1809); Caroline (1811); George Hougham (1814); Francis Hougham (1819) and Henry Hougham (1822 - 1823). Another child Sophia May Royes (1812 - 1828) was 16 years old when she died.
What were the causes of death?
When you look at the background of Solomon Royes ( or for that matter whatever is available), he probably suffered some form of illness, notwithstanding his early years, but which was exacerbated in 1842, causing him to prepare his Last Will on 25 June. He died just over two months later on 6 September 1842.
What was the cause of his death?
History has recorded that England had high death rates in that era, due to poor hygiene and lack of proper medical facilities, e.g. Phthisis (a pulmonary consumption; tuberculosis of the lung); Tuberculosis and Asthma.
One wonders whether Solomon Royes was an asthmatic sufferer! His son, Edward Hougham Royes migrated to Australia in 1838. Described as the progenitor of the Royes clan in Queensland, he died in Rockhampton on 23 August 1878. He was 60 years old. The cause of death was Asthma.
One of his sons, Charles Mordaunt was an asthmatic sufferer. He died in 1919 in Mareeba, aged 68 years. A son of Charles Mordaunt was Thomas Mordaunt Royes who was also an asthmatic sufferer. The genetic follow on to this day is evident in many of his descendants.
It would be interesting to know if Charles John Royes who migrated to the West Indies c.1830's, showed any signs of asthma or any of his descendants.
Solomon Royes became a rich man following the death of his uncle Solomon Hougham. According to the Goldsmith's Society of London, goldsmiths and silversmiths were an elite and privileged lot who made lots of money.
His accumulated wealth probably was the reason to sell his business by auction in 1823, even at the tender age of 49 years. Or could there have been an underlying health problem.
Underpinning his wealth would have been a taxation issue. This, plus a healthier lifestyle than the bustling and health infested problems of London, was probably instrumental in a change of location to Jersey in the Channel Islands, a tax free haven. The Channel Islands claim their tax independence dating as far back as the Norman Conquest.
Coincidental as it may seem, but in 1823, steamships began operating from England to the Channel Islands. Large scale emigration was facilitated. By 1840, up to 5,000 English people and their families had settled in Jersey.
By the end of the 19th century, well to do British families, attracted by the lack of income tax, settled in Jersey in increasing numbers. Today the island is recognised as one of the leading offshore financial centres. One of its major sources of income is the Channel Islands Lottery.
The year that Solomon Royes, his wife and two daughters Adelaide Julie Radcliffe (b.1821) and Mary Hougham (b.1824) landed in Jersey is unknown, but presumably not long after 1824. He still retained his properties in London ( a bequeath from his late uncle).
Around that time, he had a daughter Lydia Ann (28 years) and a son William (22 years) from his first marriage, presumably living in London. Also in the mix were children from his second marriage, Samuel Tyssen who migrated to Australia about 1829, Charles John who left for the West Indies about 1830, Edward Hougham Royes who set sail for Australia in 1838 as did his siblings Maria and Emily.
Why some of his living children were excluded from his Last Will may never be known. However by today's law standards, they would have been entitled to contest their exclusion before probate was read.
Similarly, we may never know the reason for the dissolution of his partnership with John East Dix. The Goldsmith's Society were unable to throw any light on this matter.
Arthur Grimwade who wrote London Goldsmiths, 1697 - 1837, noted Solomon Royes seems to have been adept in getting rid of his partners in quick succession while retaining his hold on the premises. The factuality of this statement may be questionable.
contributed by Ron Royes
10 Feb 2012