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Darling, Charles Henry (DNB00)


DARLING, Sir CHARLES HENRY (1809–1870), colonial administrator, was eldest son of Major-general Henry Charles Darling, formerly lieutenant-governor of Tobago, who died in 1845, by his wife, the eldest daughter of Charles Cameron, some time governor of the Bahamas. He was born at Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, in 1809, and educated at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, whence he obtained an ensigncy without purchase in the 57th foot 7 Dec. 1825. In 1827 he was appointed assistant private secretary to his uncle, Lieutenant-general Ralph Darling [q. v.], then governor of New South Wales, and in 1830 became his military secretary. On that officer's relief in 1831 young Darling obtained leave to enter the senior department of the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, and while there, in 1833, was appointed to the staff of Sir Lionel Smith, to whom he served as military secretary in the West Indies from 1833 to 1836, and in Jamaica from 1836 to 1839. Darling obtained an unattached company in 1839, and retired from the army in 1841. In 1843 Darling was appointed by Lord Elgin, then governor of Jamaica, agent-general for immigration, and adjutant-general of militia in that island. He was also a member of the legislative council and of various executive boards. He acted as governor's secretary during the interim administration of Major-general Sackville Barkley, and was continued in that post during the first part of the government of Sir Charles Grey in 1846–7. In 1847 he was appointed lieutenant-governor of St. Lucia, and in 1851 lieutenant-governor of the Cape Colony, an office specially created for the conduct at Cape Town of the civil government during the absence of the governor, Sir George Cathcart, on military duties on the eastern frontier (Parl. Papers, Accts. and Papers, 1852–3, lxv. 817). After the departure of Sir George Cathcart, Darling administered the government of the colony from May to December 1854, during which period parliamentary government was established in the colony (ib. 133, lxvi. 371). Some time before leaving the Cape, Darling was nominated governor-in-chief of Antigua and the Leeward Islands, but never took up the appointment, as on his return home he was sent to administer the government of Newfoundland, and to inaugurate the system of ‘responsible government’ which had been withheld from Newfoundland some time after it had been granted to other American dependencies. He was afterwards appointed governor and commander-in-chief of the colony, and there remained until Feb. 1857, when he was appointed captain-general and governor-in-chief of Jamaica, then including the government of Honduras and the Bay Islands, a post in which he was succeeded by Governor Eyre. On 11 Sept. 1863 Darling was appointed governor and commander-in-chief of Victoria; he had in 1862 been made K.C.B. in recognition of ‘his long and effective public services.’ His government of Victoria was not successful. He allowed the McCulloch administration to tack on a protectionist tariff to the Appropriation Bill, and the legislative council persisting in rejecting the bill a ‘deadlock’ ensued, the civil servants and others being paid by judgments given against the crown (Heaton). The legislative council sent home a protest against this state of things to the secretary of state, and Darling, in his reply, reflected on the character and standing of certain members of the Victoria upper house in a manner which led to his recall in April 1866 by Mr. (afterwards Lord) Cardwell. A change of ministry having meanwhile occurred at home, the recall was confirmed by Lord Carnarvon, Mr. Cardwell's successor (Parl. Papers, Accts. and Papers, 1865, 1866, l. 585, 707, 721, 781; 1867, xlix. 533; 1867–8, xlviii. 625, 685, 693). On Darling's departure from Victoria a deputation of ten thousand sympathisers waited on him at the place of embarkation. The legislative assembly voted him a sum of 20,000l., which was rejected by the council. The same sum was then voted to Lady Darling, and again rejected.

Darling married first, in 1835, the daughter of Alexander Dalzell of Buttalls, in the island of Barbadoes—she died in 1837; secondly, in 1841, the eldest daughter of Joshua Billings Nurse, member of the legislative council of Barbadoes—she died in 1848; and thirdly, the only daughter of Christopher Salter of West End House, Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire, who survived him. Darling died at 7 Lansdowne Crescent, Cheltenham, on 25 Jan. 1870, in the sixty-first year of his age. On receiving intelligence of his death the government of Victoria voted the sum of 20,000l. to his widow.

[Colonial Office List, 1870; Correspondence of Sir Geo. Cathcart (London, 1856); Hatton and Harvey's Newfoundland (London, 1883); Heaton's Dict. Australian Biog.; Times, 31 Jan. 1870; Illustr. London News, 19 March 1870 (will).]

H. M. C.