Hankin, Philip J.
b. 1836-05-30
In 1857, Commander Philip James Hankin of the Royal Navy sailed to Victoria from England aboard the HMS Plumper.1 Hankin became a junior clerk in the colonial secretary's office there.2 In 1862, Hankin served as a lieutenant aboard the HMS Hecate, a British surveying ship charged with exploring Vancouver Island from Kyuquot Inlet to Fort Rupert.3 Under the supervision of Captain Richards, this exploration was aided by several First Nations guides.4
In 1864, Hankin sailed aboard the HMS Sutlej as an interpreter for Rear-Admiral Denman during an expedition in Clayoquot Sound.5 Hankin successfully mediated the discourse between the navy and the Ahousat First Nations by meeting with the Ahousat chiefs alone and unarmed.6 Following this, Captain Richards recommended Hankin for superintendent of police in Victoria.7 In 1865, Hankin married Isabella Gertrude Nagle, daughter of Captain Jeremiah Nagle.8
Hankin's held his position in Victoria until 1866, when it, along with many other colonial positions, were dissolved by the union of British Columbia and Vancouver Island.9 He returned to England, and was then appointed colonial secretary of British Honduras. In 1868, after one year in Honduras, Hankin was transferred to Sierra Leone.10 At the same time, a mix up in despatches between Governor Seymour and the Duke of Buckingham regarding the performance of William Young - BC's colonial secretary at the time - had caused the Duke of Buckingham to call for Young's replacement.11
Hankin was recommended as Young's replacement and he chose this position in BC over the one in Sierra Leone.12 He served as colonial secretary in BC from 1869 until Confederation in 1871. When Seymour passed away in 1869, Hankin served as acting governor while Musgrave travelled from Newfoundland to take on the position.13 After Confederation, he travelled back to England to work as private secretary to the Duke of Buckingham, and retired in 1901 at The Strand, Hyde in the Isle of Wight.14
  • 1. J. F. Bosher Imperial Vancouver Island Who Was Who 1850-1950 (Writersworld, 2012).
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. The Daily Colonist (1862-12-13) page (3), The British Colonist Online Edition 1858-1951.
  • 4. Ibid.
  • 5. Robert Louis Smith The Hankin Appointment, 1868, BC Studies: The British Columbia Quarterly.
  • 6. Ibid.
  • 7. Ibid.
  • 8. Bosher Imperial Vancouver Island Who Was Who 1850-1950 (Writersworld, 2012)
  • 9. Ibid.
  • 10. Smith Hankin Appointment, BC Studies: The British Columbia Quarterly.
  • 11. Ibid.
  • 12. Ibid.
  • 13. Kent M. Haworth Musgrave, Sir Anthony, Canadian Dictionary of Biography.
  • 14. Bosher Imperial Vancouver Island Who Was Who 1850-1950 (Writersworld, 2012).
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