Storks, Henry Knight (DNB00)

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STORKS, Sir HENRY KNIGHT (1811–1874), lieutenant-general, born in 1811, was eldest son of Mr. Serjeant H. Storks (appointed a county-court judge in 1847), and was educated at the Charterhouse. He was commissioned as ensign in the 61st foot on 10 Jan. 1828, and became lieutenant on 2 March 1832. On 23 March he exchanged into the 14th foot, in which he became captain on 30 Oct. 1835, and from which he exchanged on 30 May 1836 into the 38th foot. He served with that regiment in the Ionian Islands, obtained his majority on 7 Aug. 1840, and went on half-pay from the regiment on 23 May 1845. He was employed as assistant adjutant-general at the Cape of Good Hope during the Kaffir war of 1846–7, and was assistant military secretary at Mauritius from 1849 to 1854. He was given an unattached lieutenant-colonelcy on 15 Sept. 1848, and became colonel on 28 Nov. 1854.

During the Crimean war he was placed in charge of the British establishments in Turkey, from the Bosphorus to Smyrna, and received the local rank of major-general on 23 Nov. 1855. He superintended the final withdrawal of the British from Turkey at the end of the war; and was then employed at the war office as secretary for military correspondence from 1857 to 1859. He obtained one of the rewards for distinguished service on 25 Sept. 1856, and was made K.C.B. on 2 Jan. 1857. On 2 Feb. 1859 he was appointed high commissioner of the Ionian Islands, and was the last man to hold that office. In response to a unanimous vote of an Ionian parliament specially summoned, the British protectorate was resigned by treaty on 14 Nov. 1863, the islands were neutralised, and united themselves with Greece. Shortly before this Storks had found it necessary to make some changes in the judicial bench, in consequence of complaints made against the two Ionian judges. Their two English colleagues took their part, and some acrimonious correspondence followed, but Storks's action was upheld by the colonial office. He received the G.C.M.G. in 1860, and was promoted major-general on 12 Nov. 1862. On 1 July 1864 he received the G.C.B.

He was made governor of Malta on 15 Nov. 1864, but at the end of the following year he was sent to Jamaica to inquire into the disturbances which had taken place there and the measures taken to suppress them. A commission was appointed for this purpose on 2 Jan. 1866, on which Russell Gurney [q. v.] and J. B. Maule were associated with him, and at the same time he replaced Mr. Eyre as governor from 12 Dec. 1865. The very strong partisanship which the events in Jamaica had aroused added to the importance and difficulty of the inquiry; but the report was unanimous, and met with general acceptance. The commissioners found that the danger which Mr. Eyre had had to face was a very real one, and praised him for the skill, promptitude, and vigour which he showed during the early stages of the insurrection; but they held that martial law was prolonged unnecessarily, and that the punishments inflicted were excessive.

Storks gave up the governorship of Jamaica on 16 July 1866, and, as a reward for his services, was made a privy councillor in November. On 19 Dec. 1867 he was appointed controller-in-chief and under-secretary at the war office. The control department, of which he was the head, was formed at that time, at the suggestion of Lord Strathnairn's committee, to give unity to the administration of army transport and supply, which had hitherto been dealt with by several independent branches. It was in imitation of the French intendance. But the amalgamation of the different branches caused some heartburnings: the new department encroached on the field of the quarter-master-general, the name ‘controller’ (scil. of army expenditure) was open to misinterpretation, and was a cause of unpopularity, and the department did not last many years.

There was great difference of opinion as to whether the charge of ‘warlike stores’ should be committed to it. Eventually it was decided, in 1870, that they should be entrusted to a sub-department under the director of artillery, who (with the director of supplies and transport) should be subordinate to the surveyor-general of the ordnance—an old title revived, the functions of which were fixed by order in council of 23 June 1870. Storks exchanged the controllership-in-chief for this new office, which he continued to hold till his death. One object of the change was to afford more support to the secretary of state for war in parliament; and Storks became M.P. for Ripon on 15 Feb. 1871, and assisted Cardwell in the prolonged debates on the abolition of purchase in the army. He became lieutenant-general on 25 Oct. 1871. He lost his seat at the election of 1874, and died on 6 Sept. in that year. He was ‘a man whose varied experience and abilities made him a very valuable administrator and adviser;’ not a brilliant speaker or writer, but a man of tact and devotion to the public service. He married, in 1841, the daughter of Cav. Giuseppe Nizzoli of Milan. She died in 1848.

[Times, 8 Sept. 1874; Annual Register for 1863 and 1866; Sir P. de Colquhoun's Letter to Sir H. Storks respecting the Ionian Judges (London, 1864); Reports of Lord Northbrook's Committee on the Army Departments, 1870.]

E. M. L.