Moody, Richard Clement (DNB00)

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

MOODY, RICHARD CLEMENT (1813–1887), major-general royal engineers, colonial governor, second son of Colonel Thomas Moody, royal engineers, by his wife, whose maiden name was Clement, was born in St. Ann's garrison at Barbados, West Indies, on 13 Feb. 1813. His brothers were Colonel Hampden Moody of the royal engineers, who died when commanding royal engineer at Belfast in 1869, and the Rev. J. L. Moody, army chaplain. After being educated at private schools and by a tutor at home, he entered the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich in February 1827 and left in December 1829, as the custom then was, to receive instruction in the ordnance survey. He was gazetted a second lieutenant in the royal engineers 5 Nov. 1830, and was posted to the ordnance survey in Ireland on 30 May 1832; but early in 1833 he fell ill, and on his recovery was stationed at Woolwich; in October he embarked for the West Indies, and was for some years at St. Vincent. He was promoted first lieutenant on 25 June 1835. In September 1837 he was invalided home after an attack of yellow fever, and, being granted sick leave, accompanied Sir Charles Felix Smith on a tour in the United States. On his return he was stationed at Devonport for a short time. He was appointed on 3 July 1838 professor of fortification at the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich, and shortly after was selected as the first governor of the Falkland Islands. He embarked on 1 Oct. 1841. The colony was at the time almost in a state of anarchy, and the young governor was given exceptional powers, which he used with great wisdom and moderation. During his term of office he introduced the tussac-grass into Great Britain, of which he gave an account in the 'Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society,' iv. 17, v. 50, vii. 73; for this service he received the society's gold medal. On 6 March 1844 Moody was promoted second captain, and on 19 Aug. 1847 first captain. He returned to England in February 1849, and was employed under the colonial office on special duty until November. He went to Chatham for a year, and was then appointed commanding royal engineer at Newcastle-on-Tyne. While in the northern district a great reservoir at Holmfirth, Yorkshire, burst on 5 Feb. 1852, destroying life and property, and Moody was employed to report on the accident and to inspect other large reservoirs in the district. In 1854 he was sent to Malta. On 13 Jan. 1855 he was promoted lieutenant-colonel. In May he was attacked by a local fever and was invalided .home. He spent his leave in Germany. On 8 Nov. 1855 he was appointed commanding royal engineer in North Britain.

Moody was a skilled draughtsman, and delighted in architecture. While in Scotland he drew up plans for the restoration of Edinburgh Castle, with which Lord Panmure, then secretary of state for war, was so pleased that Moody was commanded to proceed to Windsor and submit them to the queen and the prince consort. On 28 April 1858 Moody was promoted brevet-colonel, and in the autumn he was appointed lieutenant-governor and chief commissioner of lands and works in the colony of British Colombia. The colony was a new one. Moody founded the capital New Westminster, and drew the original plan for this town when the site was a dense forest of Douglas pine. He designed various settlements, arranged the tracks of roads through the country, which were executed by a company of royal engineers under Captain J. M. Grant, and during an uphill period earned the goodwill of the colonists and the approbation of the authorities at home. The Pacific terminus of the Canadian and Pacific Railway was at first at the head of Burrard's Inlet, at Port Moody, so named in the governor's honour. The railway has since been carried to the mouth of the inlet and now terminates at Vancouver. On 8 Dec. 1863 Moody became a regimental colonel, and returned home the same month. In March 1864 he was appointed commanding royal engineer of the Chatham district. He was promoted major-general on 25 Jan. 1866, and retired from the service on full pay. After his retirement he lived quietly at Lyme Regis, and was in 1868 commissioner for the extension of municipal boundaries. He died on 31 March 1887 of apoplexy during a visit to Bournemouth. Moody married at Newcastle-on-Tyne, on 6 July 1852, Mary Susanna, daughter of Joseph Hawks, esq., J.P., D.L., of that town. He left eleven children.

[Royal Engineers' Corps Records; War Office and Colonial Office Records; Royal Engineers' Journal, vol. xvii.; Royal Agricultural Society's Journal, passim.]

R. H. V.