Jørgen Jørgensen by Eckersberg
|Died||20 January 1841 (aged 60)|
|Other names||The Dog-Days King|
|Title||Protector of Iceland|
Jørgen Jørgensen (name of birth: Jürgensen, and changed to Jorgenson from 1817) (29 March 1780 – 20 January 1841) was a Danish adventurer during the Age of Revolution. During the Action of 2 March 1808 his ship was captured by the British. In 1809 he sailed to Iceland, declared the country independent from Denmark and pronounced himself its ruler. He intended to found a new republic following the United States and the French First Republic. He was also a prolific writer of letters, papers, pamphlets and newspaper articles covering a wide variety of subjects, and for a period was an associate of the famous botanists Joseph Banks and William Jackson Hooker. He left over a hundred written autographs and drawings, most of which are collected in the British Library. Marcus Clarke referred to Jørgensen as "a singularly accomplished fortune wooer—one of the most interesting human comets recorded in history".
Jørgensen was born as the second son of the royal watchmaker Jurgen Jurgensen. Two of his brothers were watchmakers; the elder, Urban Jurgensen, was of international renown. At the age of 15, Jørgensen finished school and was apprenticed to Captain Henry Marwood of the British collier Janeon. In 1799 he sailed to Cape Town and from there in 1800 to Port Jackson, the new British colony in Australia and to New Zealand. In 1801 he joined the crew of the Lady Nelson. As a member of that crew, Jørgensen was present at the establishment of the first settlements of Risdon Cove and Sullivans Cove in Van Diemen's Land, as Tasmania was then called. He has been called the founder of the city of Hobart Town, now Hobart, and is still a local hero.
In 1807, while Jørgensen was visiting his family, he witnessed the Battle of Copenhagen and soon afterwards was given command of a small Danish vessel, Admiral Juul. In 1808 he engaged in a sea battle with HMS Sappho; the British captured Admiral Juul and treated Jørgensen as a privateer. In 1809, while on parole, he suggested to a merchant that a voyage to Iceland could be profitable as the island was suffering from food shortages at the time, due to the Danish monopoly on Icelandic trade. Jørgensen accompanied the voyage of the Clarence as an interpreter. That voyage failed to trade any goods as the ship was British and by that time Denmark and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland were at war. Soon after, Jørgensen sailed on a second voyage. On arrival in Iceland the ship's crew found the Danish Governor, Count of Trampe, would still not permit trading. With the help of other crew members, Jørgensen managed to arrest the governor and proclaimed himself 'Protector', promising that he would reinstate the Althing as soon as the Icelandic people were able to govern themselves. His intent was to establish a liberal society in the spirit of those emerging in the Americas and Europe at the time. With the arrival of HMS Talbot two months later, Danish government was restored and Jørgensen was taken back to England and tried by the Transport Board, who found him guilty of breaking his parole while a prisoner-of-war. He was released in 1811.
Jørgensen spent the next few years in London, where he began to drink heavily and gamble compulsively, building up substantial debts which eventually led to his conviction and incarceration. When released from prison in 1812, he travelled to Spain, Portugal and Gibraltar and upon his return to England was again imprisoned when his creditors caught up with him. Following correspondence with the British Foreign Office, Jørgensen was recruited into the intelligence service, where he translated documents and travelled throughout France and Germany as a spy as the Napoleonic Wars drew to a close. In 1815 Jørgensen witnessed the Battle of Waterloo. While he was never involved in the battle, he was situated relatively close to some of the action. Upon returning to England, Jørgensen continued to write various reports, papers and articles but after being accused of theft in 1820, was imprisoned in Newgate Prison, released, and sent back there when he failed to leave Britain (a condition of his parole). A sentence of death was commuted thanks to the actions of a prominent friend and he spent another three years in Newgate before he was transported to Australia in 1825.
After five months at sea, Jørgensen arrived back in Tasmania in 1826. In 1827, after he helped prevent the circulation of forged treasury bills, a group of local merchants headed by Anthony Fenn Kemp petitioned the governor for Jørgensen to be granted a ticket of leave. Jørgensen led several explorations of Tasmania, and was employed by the Van Diemen's Land Council as a Constable, taking part in the 'Black Line' aboriginal clearance exercise. Jørgensen obtained a free pardon in 1835 but remained in Tasmania. He married an Irish convict, Norah Corbett, in 1831 and died in the Colonial Hospital on 20 January 1841.
|Wikisource has original works written by or about:|
as Governor of Iceland
| Protector of Iceland
26 June 1809 – 22 August 1809
as Governor of Iceland