Verney, Lieutenant Commander Edmund Hope
b. 1838-04-06
d. 1910-05-08
Edmund Hope Verney was an officer in the Royal Navy who was stationed at Esquimalt from 1862-1865. While in Esquimalt, he commanded the gunboat Grappler and was tasked with the protection of settlers.1 Verney's orders to protect settlers at Cowichan Harbour are outlined in this despatch. Later in his posting, he also provided support to the HMS Topaze in endeavoring to capture Indians who had committed outrages on White Men.2 The despatches also highlight Verney's role as the secretary of the Board of Light House Commissioners during his time in Esquimalt.3
Verney wrote regularly to family in England while he was stationed in Esquimalt.4 These letters provide insight into the day-to-day life of early settlers on Vancouver Island as well as important context about settler-indigenous relations at that time. Verney's letters highlight the imperialist and often violent treatment of indigenous peoples by settlers.5 While Verney himself was considered to be “progressive” for his time, criticizing the colony's treatment of indeigenous peoples and refusing to engage in violent policing of indigenous groups, he still contributed to colonial activities such as the collection and shipment of indigenous artifacts to England.6
After leaving Vancouver Island, Verney continued to be interested in the affairs of the colony, writing letters to the Duke of Buckingham in support of Governor Seymour and the selection of Victoria as the capital of the colony.8
Verney was born on 6 April 1838 in England and began his education at Harrow School.9 In 1851, he joined the Royal Navy and served in the Crimea and India before his posting to Vancouver Island (9). After leaving Esquimalt, he served in Africa before returning to England to pursue a political career as a member of parliament for North Buckinghamshire.10
Mentions of this person in the documents