Milbanke, Mark (1724-1805)

Governor, 1789-1791

Mark Milbanke was baptized on April 12, 1724 and graduated from the Portsmouth Naval Academy in 1740. He became a lieutenant in 1744. His first command was in 1746. In 1780 he was promoted Admiral of the Blue, and Port-Admiral at Portsmouth from 1783 to 1786.

In 1789, Milbanke was promoted Vice-Admiral of the White and appointed governor of Newfoundland. He arrived in July 1789 and immediately addressed the problem of convicts from Ireland being sent to the island. Over a hundred convicts had arrived at southern ports, and. Milbanke had them sent back to England.

Settlement was officially discouraged on the island, and Milbanke did his best to hinder the process. He had buildings unrelated to the fishery demolished, and discouraged forest clearing. He also tried to limit the Irish presence in Newfoundland, and refused to allow the building of a Roman Catholic chapel at Ferryland.

Milbanke played a part in improving the administration of justice, by establishing in 1789 a court of common pleas to hear civil cases. The court was almost certainly illegal, and was attacked by those interests which supported the migratory fishery. However, the court continued through the 1790 season, being replaced by a court authorized by statute in 1791.

Milbanke's term ended in 1792. He was promoted Admiral of the White in 1795 and commander-in-chief at Portsmouth from 1799 to 1803. He died in 1805.

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