KING, EDWARD HAMMOND, soldier, printer, and publisher; b. 12 July 1832 at Stoke Damerel, Devonshire, England, son of Major John William King of the 21st Fusiliers and Anne Robinson; m. 14 Sept. 1854 Harriett Nice Holmes, and they had one son and two daughters; d. 7 March 1861 on an island, later named Edward King Island, in Barkley Sound off Vancouver Island, and buried at Alberni, B.C.
Edward Hammond King entered the British army as an ensign in the 94th Regiment in May 1851 and was promoted lieutenant on 3 March 1854. He transferred to the 27th Regiment in February 1855 and on 10 August became paymaster of the 59th Regiment. He served in India and China, was invalided home, and retired from the army on 16 Oct. 1857. He then became a superintendent in the Welsh Constabulary, but resigned after a few months probably because he was not promoted chief constable.
Restless and dissatisfied, King set out in 1859 with his family for Vancouver Island intending to enter government service either as a police officer or as an accountant. Failing in this plan, he turned to printing and publishing. His first venture, with Leonard McClure, was the Government Gazette for the Colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia, which carried official notices and proclamations for the two colonies. It was first issued on 10 Sept. 1859; on 13 March 1860 the two men sold it to George Elmes Nias. In the meantime King had launched two more papers. With the assistance of Coote M. Chambers he published the New Westminster Times in Victoria, whence it was shipped by steamboat to the mainland city; it ran from 17 Sept. 1859 to 3 March 1860 when McClure became proprietor. For the Victoria Gazette, whose first issue appeared on 5 Dec. 1859, King and McClure appropriated the name of the city’s first newspaper which had ceased publication on 26 November. The life of the second Victoria Gazette was short: King sold it to Nias on 16 April and it ceased to appear in July.
In 1860 King became involved in a libel suit in Victoria. Edward Edwards Langford*, a leader of the radical faction in the colony and a candidate for a seat in the assembly, published an election address in which he attacked Governor James Douglas* and his administration. A parody was issued anonymously and circulated throughout the town. Discredited, Langford withdrew from the election on 5 Jan. 1860. He believed King to be the printer of the pamphlet and instituted a libel suit. The case was heard before Chief Justice David Cameron* in April. Because Langford refused to answer questions in cross-examination a non-suit was entered. Langford, who had been ordered to pay the costs of the action, later charged King’s counsel, George Hunter Cary, with fabricating the bill. The charge against Cary was dismissed for want of evidence. On leaving the court King, a principal witness, encountered Edward Graham Alston*, a barrister who had been watching the proceedings with great amusement. A heated exchange ensued and King assaulted Alston. King was arrested immediately and on 6 November sentenced to a month’s imprisonment for contempt of court. On 17 November, in response to a petition signed by prominent citizens of Victoria, Governor Douglas pardoned King.
In March 1861 King, acting as a special constable for the government, investigated the wreck of the Florencia on 31 Dec. 1860. On his way back to Victoria he was obliged to take shelter in Dodger Cove in Barkley Sound. An avid hunter and fisherman, he died there on 7 March as a result of gunshot wounds in a hunting accident.
PABC, Colonial correspondence, E. H. King correspondence; Colonial correspondence, Police Dept, Victoria correspondence, 1860; Vancouver Island, Governor, despatches to London, 8 June 1859–28 Dec. 1861 (letterbook); 12 Jan. 1862–12 March 1864 (letterbook), James Douglas to Newcastle, 14 Feb. 1863. PRO, WO 25/158–59; 25/802, ff.255–56; 76/167; 76/171–72. Daily British Colonist (Victoria), 5 Jan., 17, 19, 21, 26 April, 3, 6–10, 13–15, 17, 20 Nov. 1860; 22 Jan., 27, 28 March 1861. G.B., WO, Army list, 1817–58. Walbran, B.C. coast names, 285–86. S. G. Pettit, “The trials and tribulations of Edward Edwards Langford,” BCHQ, XVII (1953), 5–40. Madge Wolfenden, “The early government gazettes,” BCHQ, XVII (1943), 171–90.