Humphreys, Thomas Basil
b. 1840-03-10
d. 1890-08-26
Thomas Basil Humphreys was born on 10 March 1840 in Liverpool, England. Humphreys would later become a gold-seeker, conveyancer, auctioneer, and politician in the colony of British Columbia.1
Humphreys was educated as Walton-on-the-Hill and had first gone to California in search for gold until he decided to change location on 26 July 1858 and arrived in BC on the Steamer Oregon. He was appointed as Constable for Fort Hope and later Port Douglas where he remained until his resignation on 4 December 1860.2 As a Constable, Humphreys is said to have demonstrated the independence of authority and intemperance of language that would later help in his political career, some went as far as to describe Humphreys as a natural born politician.3
For a brief time in the summer of 1864, Humphreys returned to mining and became a conveyancer and auctioneer at Port Douglas, and within the year he moved to Lillooet where he combined his mining with his auctioneering.4 In November 1868, Humphreys was elected to the BC Legislative Council for Lillooet which he held until BC entered confederation in 1871. In his position, Humphreys was outspoken about his concerns for BC if it entered into confederation which caused him to enter into conflict with other members of the council -- mainly Joseph William Trutch.5 He was suspended for his abusive language and denouncements in April 1870.6
When Humphreys returned to governmental work in 1871, he held varying positions for the Legislative Assembly and later the Victoria District until 1882 -- such as his work as provincial secretary and minister of mines in June 1878. However, after 1882 he lost his seat in the government and spent time in the political wilderness.7 Five years later, Humphreys regained a seat in December 1887 for the Legislative Assembly for Comox but due to his failing health he left BC for San Francisco seeking medical attention. His condition did not improve and upon his arrival back to BC he died on 26 August 1890.8
After his death The Daily Colonist published an article describing Humphreys as responsible for contributing to the province as a Constable by weeding out the nest of thieves and murderers that infested this Province in the early days; as well as, that he would ever retain a firm hold in the affection and memory of the public of British Columbia.9
  • 1. Michael F. H. Halleran, Humphreys, Thomas Basil, Dictionary of Canadian Biography.
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. Ibid.; Life's Shadows are Past, The Daily Colonist, 27 August 1890, 5.
  • 4. Halleran, Humphreys, Thomas Basil.
  • 5. Ibid.
  • 6. Musgrave to Leveson-Gower, 23 May 1870, 6782, CO 60/38, 510.
  • 7. Halleran, Humphreys, Thomas Basil.
  • 8. Ibid.
  • 9. Life's Shadows are Past, The Daily Colonist.
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Trutch, Joseph William

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British Columbia



Fort Hope


Port Douglas

San Francisco

Victoria District