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Crease - Sir Henry Pering Pellew


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Gravestone of Sir Henry Pering Pellew Crease
Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.


Sir Henry Pering Pellew Crease (b. 20 August 1823 d. 27 November 1905)

Born and educated in England. (son and heir of Henry R. Crease, Capt., R.N., of Plymouth, who as a lieutenant, in 1803 aboard HMS Tonnant, acted as tutor to Fleetwood Pellew second son of Sir Edward Pellew, Viscount Exmouth). Schooled at Mount Radford, Exeter. Matric. Michs. 1840; B.A. 1847. Adm. at the Middle Temple, May 21, 1846. Called to the Bar, 1849. Crease arrived in British Columbia in 1858. He became the first practising barrister in Vancouver Island, accompanying judge Matthew Baillie Begbie on his inaugural circuit in March, 1859. Crease became involved in the island's political life, labelling himself a "liberal and independent Reformer", and ostensibly opposing the Hudson's Bay Company's strong political monopoly. However, Crease may have been more a political opportunist than a true reformer. In 1860, when Crease was elected as Victoria's representative in the Legislative Assembly of Vancouver Island, Amor De Cosmos (then editor of the opposition newspaper the British Colonist) alleged his victory had been engineered by the Company. In 1861 Governor Douglas seemed to confirm Crease's politics when he appointed him as the first attorney-general of British Columbia. Upon this appointment he resigned his seat in the island assembly. In 1866, British Columbia and Vancouver Island were united, and Crease became the attorney general for the new administration, a position he occupied until 1870. During his attorney-general-ship, Crease helped draft and promote a mass of legislation dealing with land settlement, gold-mining, and regulation of the economic transactions that accompanied the exploitation of resources. During the period of debate over Confederation, Crease was not an early supporter of union, although he eventually endorsed the idea.

Afterwards, Crease became a Judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, 1870-1895. He was noted during this period for his vigorous and sometimes intemperate rejection of provincial authority over the Court. While Crease's jurisprudence was strongly influenced by laissez-faire individualism, his political attitudes were driven by his self-conscious English middle-class background. This manifested itself in a deep distrust of universal suffrage, and by an unwavering faith in the better judgement of those whose habit it was to rule. When he retired from the bench in 1896, Crease was made a knight bachelor, Jan. 1, 1896.

Married Sarah Lindley, dau. of John Lindley, F.R.S., 1853. Died 27 November 1905, at Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.


(Foster, Men at the Bar; Dict. of Canadian Biography; The Times, Mar. 1, 1905.) See further the Dictionary of Canadian Biography (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1994), v. XIII, pp. 228-231).


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