Young, Henry Edward Fox (DNB00)

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YOUNG, Sir HENRY EDWARD FOX (1808–1870), colonial governor, the third son of Colonel Sir Aretas William Young [q. v.], by his wife Sarah Cox of Coolcliffe, Wexford, was born on 23 April 1808 at Bradbourne, near Lee, Kent, and educated privately at Bromley, entering the Inner Temple in 1831, though he was never called to the bar.

On 21 Nov. 1833 Young was appointed to be treasurer of St. Lucia, where he arrived in January 1834; from August he acted as colonial secretary, and from November also as second puisne judge: his knowledge of French was here of much importance. In March 1835 he was promoted to be government secretary of British Guiana. On 28 Jan. 1847, on his return to England, Young was appointed lieutenant-governor of the eastern province of the Cape Colony, but found the post uncongenial and very soon applied to be relieved. In February 1848 he was offered the government of South Australia, came home to England at once, and, having married, sailed on 27 April for his new government, which he assumed in August 1848.

In South Australia he was almost immediately faced by the aspirations of the colonists for a more independent government, and his publication of the resolutions framed by Sir John Morphett [q. v.], when the council was not sitting, brought down upon him the censure of the secretary of state. Generally speaking, his term of office was marked by a vigorous but extravagant and not altogether judicious policy of development. He is entitled to the credit of carrying through the successful opening of the Murray River to steam navigation, but large sums were wasted in the attempt to remove the bar at its mouth. When the rush to the goldfields in Victoria denuded the colony for a time of men and wealth, his measures for diverting the stream of gold export to Adelaide and for encouraging the discovery of gold in South Australia had some success; and out of the condition of affairs that ensued there arose the most remarkable event of his government, viz. the passage of the measure in January 1853 whereby bullion was made a legal tender. There was a great scarcity of currency, his advisers feared a drain of coined gold, and this singular expedient was devised to prevent it. Young deprecated the measure, but yielded to urgent representations. It was naturally short-lived.

Young was next gazetted to the government of New Zealand, but never took up his appointment, as in January 1855 he was transferred to the government of Tasmania. Here he arrived at a time of great prosperity; but again he was met by the difficulties surrounding constitutional changes; the act to complete the introduction of responsible government was before the queen in Great Britain, and meanwhile, on 17 July 1855, he summoned his first council on the old footing. The council, arrogating to itself in advance the powers of the House of Commons, appointed a committee to inquire into the convict system, and summoned the controller, Dr. Hampton, to appear before it; Hampton denied the right of the council to summon him; the council came into collision with the courts; in the midst of the trouble the governor came unexpectedly into the council chamber and prorogued the council. For this bold stroke he has been much blamed, especially as Hampton, the cause of it, did not come out of the subsequent inquiry with credit. In December 1856 Young met the first parliament under responsible government; but successive changes of ministry robbed the next few years of a broader political interest. The development of the country, however, proceeded rapidly during Young's term of office. In 1857 definite steps were taken to improve the higher education in Tasmania; in the same year gas was introduced into Hobart, and the beginnings of a railway to Launceston were discussed. In 1858 the first submarine telegraph cable was laid round the coast; in 1860 the foundation of a mining industry was laid, and an industrial exhibition was opened at Hobart. The new government house, the outward sign of this progress, was first occupied by Young. He left the colony for England on 10 Dec. 1861.

Young visited New Zealand on private business in 1866, but chiefly remained for the rest of his life in London, where he died on 18 Sept. 1870.

Young was a man of sanguine and enthusiastic temperament, devoted to what he believed to be his public duty, and usually generous in his judgments, if not always wise. He was knighted in 1847. He married, on 15 April 1848, Augusta Sophia, eldest daughter of Charles Marryatt of Parkfield, Potter's Bar, Hertfordshire.

[Mennell's Dict. of Australasian Biogr.; Fenton's Tasmania, chaps. xiv. xv.; Rusden's Hist. of Australia, vols. ii. iii. v.; Colonial Office List, 1869; Col. Office Records; family information.]

C. A. H.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.287
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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376 i 22 Young, Sir Henry E. F.: for was created K.B. read was knighted