Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Grey, Charles Edward

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586758Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 23 — Grey, Charles Edward1890Edward Carter Kersey Gonner

GREY, Sir CHARLES EDWARD (1785–1865), Indian judge and colonial governor, born in 1785, was a younger son of R. W. Grey of Backworth, Northumberland, sometime high sheriff. He was educated at University College, Oxford, where he graduated B.A. 1806, and in 1808, after obtaining the English prize essay, was elected fellow of Oriel College. In 1811 he was called to the bar, and in 1817 appointed a commissioner in bankruptcy. In 1820 he became judge in the supreme court of Madras, being knighted on his appointment. He continued at Madras till his transfer in 1825 to the supreme court of Bengal as chief justice. His connection with colonial administration began in 1835, when he was sent to Canada as one of the three commissioners despatched to investigate the causes of discontent, his colleagues being Lord Gosford and Sir George Gipps. He left Canada (November 1836) before the rest of the commission, and on his return to England received the grand cross of Hanover. In 1837 he contested Tynemouth, and though unsuccessful at the election gained the seat next year (1838), when his opponent, Sir G. F. Young, was unseated on petition. From 1838 till the dissolution in 1841 he was a steady supporter of the whig administration. In 1841 he was appointed governor of Barbadoes, St. Vincent, Tobago, Trinidad, and St. Lucia, remaining in this office till 1846. From 1847 to 1853 he was governor of Jamaica, where he enjoyed a wide popularity. During the time of the discussion on the sugar duties, his despatches homeward were in favour of the maintenance of a protective or rather differential tariff (Jacob Omnium, A Third Letter to Lord Grey, with Despatches of Sir C. Grey). He was inclined to promote the immigration of labour from Africa to Jamaica (Report of the Standing Committee of the Chamber of Commerce of Jamaica, 1847, p. 22). He retired to England, and died at Tunbridge Wells, 1 June 1865.

He married, 1821, the daughter of Sir S. C. Jervoise, who died in 1850, during his governorship of Jamaica.

[Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Colonial Office List; Gent. Mag. 1865, pt. ii. 123; Garneau's Histoire du Canada, vol. iii.; authorities in text.]

E. C. K. G.