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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Layard, Edgar Leopold

< The Dictionary of Australasian Biography

Layard, Edgar Leopold, C.M.G., son of the late Henry Peter John Layard, of the Ceylon Civil Service, and younger brother of the Right Hon. Sir Austen Henry Layard, was born in 1824; went to Ceylon in 1846; was appointed secretary to the junior judge, and called to the bar. He subsequently held various positions in the public service of the colony till 1855, when he resigned, and entered the Civil Service of the Cape of Good Hope, where in 1861 he was appointed private secretary to Sir George Grey, the Governor, whom he accompanied in the same capacity to New Zealand, retaining his rank in the Cape Service. In 1862 he was appointed Arbitrator to the mixed British and Portuguese Commission at the Cape of Good Hope for suppressing the slave trade, and Arbitrator in the mixed court at the Cape of Good Hope, between Great Britain and the United States, for suppressing the African slave trade. He was promoted to be judge in 1867; appointed Consul at Para in 1871, and for Fiji and the Tonga Islands in 1873. In August of the latter year he was appointed, in conjunction with Commodore Goodenough, to investigate the proposed cession of Fiji to the British Crown, and in March 1874 they presented a report embodying the terms of cession offered by the native chiefs and approved of by the European inhabitants. These, however, proved unacceptable, and the annexation was subsequently negotiated by Sir Hercules Robinson. Mr. Layard was administrator of the government of Fiji from 1874 to 1875, and has been Consul and Lloyd's Agent in New Caledonia since 1876. He married first, in 1845, Barbara Anne, daughter of the late Rev. John Calthrop, vicar of Gosberton, who died in 1886; secondly, in 1887, Jane Catherine, daughter of the late Gen. Robert Blackett, H.E.I.C.S., and widow of James A. Graham, B.C.S. Mr. Layard was created C.M.G. in 1875.