Boyle was born in Bridgetown, Barbados on May 29, 1849. He attended Charterhouse school in London. He went on to study law and colonial administration and, in 1879, was posted as a magistrate for the Leeward Islands. He was knighted in 1899 and promoted to the governorship of Newfoundland in 1901. He was married to Judith Louise Sassoon (1874-1964), daughter of Reuben David Sassoon (1835-1905). Postings:
1879-1882 Magistrate in the Leeward Islands
Boyle governed Newfoundland during a prosperous time. His genuine interest in the island made him popular with the people, and his tact in governing helped smooth the way for settlement of nagging concerns like the French Shore issue. He also helped negotiate a deal that established a large newsprint mill in Grand Falls, and supported Guglielmo Marconi's efforts to establish wireless communication between Newfoundland and England. His friendship with the difficult Premier Sir Robert Bond helped create cordial relations between the Crown and the Newfoundland government. Boyle's 1902 ode "Newfoundland", however, is his most popular and lasting contribution to the island. It eventually became the Newfoundland's official anthem, both national and provincial. He also presented a silver trophy to the St. John's Hockey Association, The Boyle Challenge Cup, which was contested until 1971.
Boyle left the island in 1904, to the dismay of many Newfoundlanders. He was next posted as governor of Mauritius from 1904 to 1911. He retired in 1916, and died in London on September 17, 1916.
In 'Elegant Extracts - A Duobiography' by Edmund Malone and George Hawes there is a description of Mauritius and life as an officer of the 3rd Btn Royal Fusilier posted to the island. In Hawes's letter written in Mauritius in 1908 he mentions Cavendish Boyle and sheds light on his style of governorship:
'We have had a small revolution in this wretched island. The locals had some grievance, and marched in a body on the Government Offices in Port Louis, and old Boyle and his staff very pluckily went out to meet them, and stood on the steps of the Legislature and appeared to have overawed them by their attitude. Anyway, it has all caused endless inconvenience and much extra work for me, and the Regiment is split up into innumerable minute detachments spread all over the island. As I write, things seem to be quieting down, but I fear it will not do Cavendish Boyle any good. I am sorry for he is a very charming gentleman and, I should have thought, most capable. But he sometimes could not help showing his contempt for local society.
For instance, so bored was he with the everlasting fusses about precedence that one evening at a dinner party at Government House, just before dinner, he informed the guests that he had instituted a new method of going in. He thereupon led the way, with an astonished mob trailing after him. They found that all the ladies had been put down one side of the table and all the gentlemen down the other. They were furious. There is a story that on another occasion when soup was being served, Sir Cavendish took the ladle, turned to the excessively stout lady on his right, and offered to scoop back into place one of the lady's bosoms which had inadvertently slipped out. All this sort of thing is very amusing, of course, but our Proconsuls cannot afford to be tactless.'
Newfoundland | Newfoundland Administrators
Armed Forces | Art and Culture | Articles | Biographies | Colonies | Discussion | Glossary | Home | Library | Links | Map Room | Sources and Media | Science and Technology | Search | Student Zone | Timelines | TV & Film | Wargames |