MOORE, WILLIAM HENRY

?1808 - after 1883 from Ireland


stipendiary magistrate, was the second son of William John Moore, a Dublin attorney, and Charlotte Augusta, née Purdon. He was educated at Hazelwood, Warwickshire and was admitted as a student of over 16 years to King's Inns, Dublin, in the Michaelmas term of 1826. Moore was married and working as a solicitor in Belturbet, Co Cavan in the 1840s. He applied for the post of magistrate in the infant colony of the Falkland Islands, armed with a testimonial signed by many of the Dublin legal establishment. Appointed on a salary of £400 a year, Moore left his practice (and his wife) and arrived in Port Louis on 6 March 1845 on the brig Hebe, bringing with him the makings of a timber house. Moore got off to a bad start by informing Governor MOODY that he had promised the secretary of state before leaving England 'that he would do what he could' for the Governor.

Relations between the two reached breaking point in May 1846 when Moody instructed Moore to charter the schooner Despatch and seek out three men who had stolen a boat from one of the colonists. Moore was reluctant to set out and showed no enthusiasm for the pursuit, returning empty handed to Stanley and complaining about the harsh conditions on board. A further dispute followed over the ownership of a brig, Alonzo, where Moore acted as agent for her captain, Bowers, improperly in Moody's view. Their mutual accusations occupy many pages of the archives, with each commenting at length on the complaints of the other, and appealing to the Secretary of State in London. Moody reported on 25 June 1846: 'there are many Irishmen here, Mr Moore is an Irishman, and the observation has been made that we have a "Daniell O'Connell" among us.' He noted scathingly that Moore 'on the slightest occasions (when no-one else is anxious)' walked about 'with pistols displayed in a broad leather belt'.

Moore was a caricature provincial lawyer: argumentative, self important, on the make and a heavy drinker. When he inspired a petition in his defence the more respectable colonists declined to sign it and the less deferential lampooned it, to Moore's indignation. The Colonial Office declined to discipline Moore but his relations with the next governor, RENNIE, were no better. Although his drunkenness was less outrageous, perhaps because his wife Elisabeth had joined him in 1848, his official conduct was still unsatisfactory. Eventually he was suspended in April 1849 and returned to London where the Colonial Office were relatively sympathetic and spoke of a post in some other colony. But, in a remarkable own goal, Moore was discovered offering legal advice to a company in dispute with the Colonial Office. He was sacked, despite the pleas of his local baronet, (Sir James Young of Bailieborough, Co Cavan) supported by seven Irish MPs, and disappears from view in a minor post (salary £100 per year) in the Customs in London. In August 1883, The Times noted the marriage of Edwin, youngest son of WH Moore of Denmark Hill, south London.

Authors

David Tatham