Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Moore, Henry (1713-1769)

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MOORE, Sir HENRY (1713–1769), colonial governor, born in Vere, Jamaica, on 7 Feb. 1713, was son of Samuel Moore, a planter, by his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Samuel Lowe of Goadby, Leicestershire. His grandfather, John Moore, settled at Barbados in Charles II's reign, and subsequently migrated to Jamaica. Described as 'Jamaica Britannus,' Henry matriculated in Levden University on 21 March 1731 (Peacock, Index, p. 70). After receiving a training in the militia and taking a part in local Jamaica politics, he was appointed lieutenant-governor of Jamaica, under a dormant commission, apparently in 1755 (Southey). He then took up his residence at Spanish Town. When the governor, Admiral Knowles, was recalled, he assumed the administration of the government, and displayed tact and firmness in attempting to remove local rivalries. He twice judiciously allayed quarrels between the two houses of the legislature; yet when martial law was proclaimed in 1759, and the council attempted to obstruct the administration, he suspended the ringleaders in that body, and procured compliance with his instructions. His own example was good, 'his system of administration was accurate,' in marked contrast with his predecessor's, and his personal superintendence was active. Thus, as a pledge that the trouble over the removal of the seat of government was at an end, he actively prosecuted the erection of the government buildings which still grace Spanish Town, and form the most striking facade in Jamaica. For a few weeks in 1759 he was superseded by a full governor, Haldane, whose death again placed Moore in command, and left him to cope with the serious slave-rising which broke out at Easter 1760. This rising developed into a war which lingered on more than a year and taxed Moore's energies to the utmost. He proclaimed martial law, and placed himself at the head of the British regiments quartered in the island. The guerilla warfare adopted by the negroes was very harassing to the regular troops, and it was only through Moore's personal resource and rapidity of execution that the rising was finally suppressed; not before he had twice fallen into ambuscade and barely escaped with his life, and on another occasion, when reconnoitring alone, had only been saved by

his skill as a pistol-shot. His administration came to an end in February 1762, upon which he was made a baronet for his services.

In July 1765 he was appointed governor of New York, where he arrived in November 1765, just at the beginning of the troubles over the Stamp Act. His first proposal to his council was to insist on putting the act in force; but perceiving the bent of public feeling he forthwith adopted a strong popular line, suspending the execution of the act and dismantling the fort, to the great annoyance of Golden, the lieutenant-governor. In 1766 he provoked unnecessary opposition to the Billeting Act of the imperial government by attempting to establish a playhouse, and thus alienating the presbyterians. In October 1767 he tried unsuccessfully to settle the question of boundary with Massachusetts. His administration was terminated by his death on 11 Sept. 1769. 'Well-meaning but indolent' is Bancroft's description of his character as governor of New York; but he was personally liked by all parties.

Moore married Catharina Maria, eldest daughter of Samuel Long, esq., of Longville, Jamaica, and sister of Edward Long [q. v.], the historian of Jamaica. Their only son, John Henry, second baronet, is noticed separately.

[Burke's Extinct Baronetage; Appleton's Cyclop. Amer. Biog.; Bridge's Annals of Jamaica, vol. ii.; Gardner's History of Jamaica; Bancroft's History of the American Revolution, vol. i.]

C. A. H.