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LASCELLES, HORACE DOUGLAS, naval officer; b. 20 Sept. 1835 in Yorkshire, England, seventh son of Henry Lascelles, 3rd Earl of Harewood, and Lady Louisa Thynne; d. a bachelor, 15 June 1869, at Esquimalt, B.C.

Horace Douglas Lascelles entered the Royal Navy in 1848 and saw service in India, China, and on the west coast of Africa. He came to the Esquimalt Station in hms Topaze in March 1860 as 1st lieutenant, having received his promotion in 1855. After the death of its commander, he succeeded to the command of the gunboat Forward in November 1861. In this capacity he participated in several excursions against coast Indians who menaced settlers on Vancouver Island and its adjacent islands in the 1860s.

On such an expedition in April 1863, Lascelles in the Forward bombarded and devastated the village of the Lamalchi band of Cowichans on Kuper Island during a concerted search for the murderers of a settler, Frederick Marks, and his married daughter, Caroline Harvey. In Victoria, Charles William Allen, editor of the Evening News, made a harsh criticism of the exertions of the Forward in his newspaper, taunting Lascelles for “running away” without apprehending the malefactors. Lascelles was enraged. He had brought Marks’ widow and five children back to Victoria and had then returned to the scene of action. Allen was lured on board the Forward on 20 May 1863, confined, and taken out to sea. Escaping by diving overboard, he was recaptured, and eventually put ashore. Allen filed suit for $25,000 against Lascelles for assault and battery, and the case came before Judge David Cameron* of the Supreme Court of Vancouver Island. The jury found for the plaintiff and Allen was awarded $1,000 for damages and costs.

Lascelles, a man of means, figured prominently in the social life of Victoria, especially in riding and horse racing circles, and when not on active service was always to be seen at race meets and queen’s birthday celebrations at Beacon Hill. Lascelles reportedly sought the hand of Catherine Anne Wigham who in December 1862 married instead Gilbert Malcolm Sproat*, a businessman and government official. Lascelles invested in real estate on Vancouver Island and founded the Harewood coal mine near Nanaimo, of which Robert Dunsmuir* was resident manager. He was closely associated in Victoria with James Johnson Southgate, a retired ship-master engaged in commission business, and with him financed the building of a commercial block shortly before his death.

Returning to England in 1865, Lascelles retired the following year with the rank of commander but, in company with Southgate, took up residence at Esquimalt in 1868. He died on 15 June 1869, and was interred with full naval ceremony at the Naval Cemetery on the same day as Governor Frederick Seymour. The Victoria Colonist in lengthy accounts described him as being “generous to a fault” and deeply interested in the advancement of Vancouver Island. A stained glass window in St Paul’s Anglican Church, Esquimalt, given by the Harewood family, and a number of place names commemorate his life on the west coast.

Madge Wolfenden

Daily British Colonist and Victoria Chronicle, 1860–63, 16 June 1865; 1 June 1866; 24 Aug. 1868; 16, 17, 22 June 1869; 23 April 1879. Daily Evening Express (Victoria), May, November 1863. Evening News (Victoria), 1863. Burke’s peerage (1885). Walbran, B.C. coast names. James Audain, From coalmine to castle; the story of the Dunsmuirs of Vancouver Island (New York, 1955). Edgar Fawcett, Some reminiscences of old Victoria (Toronto, 1912). B. M. Gough, The Royal Navy and the northwest coast of America, 1810–1914: a study of British maritime ascendancy (Vancouver, 1971). D. W. Higgins, The passing of a race and more tales of western life (Toronto, 1905). L. B. Robinson, Esquimalt, “place of shoaling waters” (Victoria, 1948). Daily Province (Vancouver), 19 Jan. 1922, 7 Feb. 1940. Victoria Daily Times, 30 Dec. 1938. Madge Wolfenden, “The early government gazettes,” BCHQ, VII (1943), 171–90.

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Cite This Article

Madge Wolfenden, “LASCELLES, HORACE DOUGLAS,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 9, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed September 21, 2023, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/lascelles_horace_douglas_9E.html.

The citation above shows the format for footnotes and endnotes according to the Chicago manual of style (16th edition). Information to be used in other citation formats:

Permalink:   http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/lascelles_horace_douglas_9E.html
Author of Article:   Madge Wolfenden
Publication Name:   Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 9
Publisher:   University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication:   1976
Year of revision:   1976
Access Date:   September 21, 2023