Huntley, Henry Vere (DNB00)

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HUNTLEY, Sir HENRY VERE (1795–1864), captain in the navy, colonial governor, and author, was the third son of the Rev. Richard Huntley of Boxwell Court, Gloucestershire. He entered the navy in 1809, served on the West Indian and North American station, and in 1815 was in the Northumberland when she carried Bonaparte to St. Helena. In 1818 he was made lieutenant, and served in the Mediterranean successively in the Redpole and Parthian brigs; in the last he was wrecked on the coast of Egypt, 15 May 1828. He was afterwards at Portsmouth in the Ganges with Captain John Hayes [q.v.], whom he followed to the Dryad on the west coast of Africa, where, for the greater part of the time, he had command of one of her tenders, and cruised successfully against slavers. In 1833 he was appointed to the command of the Lynx on the same station, and in her also captured several slavers. In 1837 he was employed, in concert with Commander Craigie of the Scout, in negotiating a treaty with the king of Bonny, and was sent home with the account of the proceedings. In June 1838 he was promoted to the rank of commander, and in 1839 was appointed lieutenant-governor of the settlements on the river Gambia, in which capacity he had to repel the incursions of some of the adjacent tribes. In August 1841 he was appointed lieutenant-governor of Prince Edward's Island, and previous to going out was knighted, 9 Oct. 1841. He was afterwards arbitrator of the mixed courts at Loanda, and at a later date became consul at Santos in Brazil, where he died 7 May 1864. He was twice married, and left issue; his eldest son, Spencer Robert Huntley, a lieutenant in the navy, died in command of the Cherub on the North American and West Indian station in 1869.

While in command at Prince Edward's Island Huntley seems to have taken to literature as an amusement; and on his return to England published in rapid succession:

  1. 'Peregrine Scramble, or Thirty Years' Adventures of a Bluejacket' (in 2 vols. post 8vo, 1849), in very obvious and feeble imitation of Captain Marryat.
  2. 'Observations upon the Free Trade policy of England in connection with the Sugar Act of 1846' (8vo, 1849), an exaggerated protest against the policy adopted.
  3. 'Seven Years' Service on the Slave Coast of Western Africa' (2 vols. post 8vo, 1850), a personal narrative.
  4. 'California, its Gold and its Inhabitants' (2 vols. post 8vo, 1856).

Many of Huntley's official reports on African questions were also published in the different blue-books.

[O'Byrne's Nav. Biog. Dict.; Gent. Mag. 1864, pt. ii. p.112.]

J. K. L.