Ring, George David Babington
b. 1804
d. 1875-01-17
Ring, born 1805 in Dublin, came to Victoria in 1859. Ring was a senior barrister in Victoria who sat as a member of the Second House of Assembly for Vancouver Island from 1861 until 1863, and again from 1869 until 1870.1 During his first appointment in 1862, Ring proposed the Divorce Bill and the Deserted Wives’ Bill, which would protect abandoned wives’ property.2 After receiving heavy pushback on both, he decided to promote only the Deserted Wives’ Bill.3
In 1863, Ring was provisionally appointed by Douglas to act as Attorney General during Attorney General George Hunter Cary’s absence.4 Because Cary was also a Member of the Executive Council of Vancouver Island, Douglas approved Ring as an acting member of this council as well.5 When Cary left the post in 1864, Ring expected to take over permanently; however, according to Ring’s letter, which asks Cardwell to consider the great injustice committed against Ring, and Kennedy’s defense of his choice in this despatch, Thomas Wood was promoted to the post instead.6 Ring also served as the first president of the Law Society of British Columbia from 1869 until 1874.7
Ring and Cary were not on good terms; Ring had physically threatened Cary in the past, and had once been challenged to a duel by one of his supporters.8 Ring often engaged in political feuds, including one against Judge Matthew Begbie, and had a reputation for flouting social norms.9 As a lawyer, he frequently represented unpopular clients, such as Penelekut men Tshuanahusset (also known as Tom), Jim, and Charlie (Kal En Ru San) who were suspects in the murder of William Robinson, a settler on Saltspring Island.10 Jim was acquitted in 1866, but Tshuanahusset and Charlie were both found guilty.11
Ring was forced into retirement following an attack of paralysis; he returned to England where he died 17 January 1875.12 Ring Point (at the southern end of Principe Channel), formerly known as Wolf Point, was renamed in honour of Ring in 1945.13
  • 1. Jan Peterson, Black Diamond City: Nanaimo, the Victorian Era (Victoria: Heritage House Publishing Co, 2002).
  • 2. Chris Clarkson, Domestic Reforms: Political Visions and Family Regulation in British Columbia, 1862-1940 (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2011).
  • 3. Ibid.
  • 4. Douglas to Newcastle, 22 May 1863, 6923, CO 305/20, 186.
  • 5. Douglas to Newcastle, 23 July 1863, 9248, CO 305/20, 270.
  • 6. Ring to Cardwell, 9 September 1864, 9653, CO 305/24, 294.
  • 7. Andrew Scott, Ring Point, The Encyclopedia of Raincoast Place Names: A Complete Reference to Coastal British Columbia.
  • 8. Ruth Sandwell and John Lutz, The Murder: Cast of Characters, Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History: Who Killed William Robinson? Race, Justice and Settling the Land.
  • 9. Clarkson, Domestic Reforms: Political Visions and Family Regulation in British Columbia, 1862-1940.
  • 10. Ruth Sandwell and John Lutz, The Murder: Cast of Characters.
  • 11. Ibid.
  • 12. Ibid.
  • 13. Andrew Scott, Ring Point.
Mentions of this person in the documents
The Colonial Despatches Team. Ring, George David Babington. 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/ring_db.html.

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