Molesworth, Sir William
b. 1810-04-23
d. 1855-10-22
William Molesworth was born 23 May 1810 in London, England. Molesworth studied at both Cambridge University and Trinity College. However, he soon challenged a tutor to a duel, and as a result was asked to leave the college.1 He subsequently travelled to Germany, Italy, and returned to England in 1831. He was known at the time as a radical politician, serving as the representative from East Cornwall in 1832. Three years later, in 1835, he helped found the London Review; a journal on radical political philosophy.2 From 1837 to 1841 he represented Leeds in the British House of Commons and edited and reprinted the work of Thomas Hobbes in 1839, he was subsequently associated with his political thought.3 He held no seat in parliament from 1841 to 1845.4 In 1844, he married Andalusia Grant. Then, by 1845 he was returned as the representative from Southwark, a seat he would hold until his death.5
In 1855, he was made the British Colonial Secretary. Molesworth appointment came at the initiation of the San Juan Island Dispute which renewed his interest in the question of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s role on Vancouver Island.6 Molesworth requested an explanation from Governor Douglas about the conflicting information in his despatches and that of Charles John Griffin about the status of British settlements on the San Juan Islands.7
Molesworth was often critical of Douglas, for example noting that his appointment of David Cameron as Chief Justice was an example of nepotism.8 Molesworth was also critical of Vancouver Island becoming a British dependency, as well as the establishment of a General Assembly as he deemed it unnecessary, but died before a final conclusion was reached on the subject.9 He died on 22 October 1855, at the age of 45.
Mentions of this person in the documents
The Colonial Despatches Team. Molesworth, Sir William. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871, Edition 2.2, ed. The Colonial Despatches Team. Victoria, B.C.: University of Victoria. https://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/molesworth.html.

Last modified: 2020-12-02 13:40:34 -0800 (Wed, 02 Dec 2020) (SVN revision: 5008)