Langford to Newcastle
31 Queen's Road
Camden Square N.W.
June 18th 1861
My Lord Duke,
I beg most respectfully to claim your Grace's attention to the statement herewith forwarded; a statement containing complaints of a serious nature against certain Government Officials in Vancouver's Island.

Statement
 
At the General Election that took place in Vancouver's Island in January 1860, I was solicited by numerous Electors of the Town of Victoria to come forward as a Candidate to represent them in the Assembly; I acceded to their request and published an address explanatory of my opinion on the affairs of the Colony, founded on the experience of nearly nine years residence therein having been nearly the whole of that time a magistrate and chairman of the Sessions.  
A few days after my address was published, an anonymous libel (in the shape of a placard) was published and posted in the Town containing insulting allusions to my family, and also defamatory of my private character.  
The printer of this libel refused on being applied to, to give [one line cut off microfilm] I then hoping to compel a disclosure of the names of the authors, brought an action against the printer, in the supreme Court of Civil Justice.  
The proceedings in Court at the trial, were of an improper, illegal and vexatious character; and on my refusing to answer a question which was irrelevant to the statement contained in the declaration, inquisitional and harsh in its tendency, and which affected the interests of society at large, I was removed from the Court in Custody of the Sheriff, the examination for the defence was carried on in my absence evidence which I had given on oath was struck out by direction of the Judge and a nonsuit recorded; I was then brought into Court, was sentenced to be imprisoned in the common jail, and to pay a fine of £10. I was taken to prison and locked up with felons, Indians and maniacs.  
A bill of costs was afterwards sent in by the Attorney General, who acted both as Attorney and Counsel for the defence, amounting to £90.9s.2d which I declined to pay; judgment was then entered up for the amount of the Attorney General's bill of costs, and my furniture and other effects seized under an execution; when two days prior to the time at which the sale was advertised to take place I was presented by a Committee of Gentlemen with the sum of 500 dollars, the amount of a subscription raised by the Inhabitants of the Island, for the purpose of enabling me to satisfy the amount of the execution, which I did on the 14th July 1860.  
In October last I accidentally made the discovery that the Attorney General's bill of costs contained items of payment which had never in fact been made, and soon after [one line cut off microfilm] the libel against me, revealed to me the name of the author of the libel: it was Mr Begbie, Judge of British Columbia, and he further informed me that Mr Good (then, and I believe now the private Secretary to Governor Douglas) brought the libel in manuscript to the printing office, and Capt Ring further told me that Mr Good gave him £20 to pay to the Attorney General, stating that he was to defend the action.  
It is my wish that Your Grace should distinctly understand, that, in bringing the circumstances above mentioned to your notice, it is not my object to seek any pecuniary redress whatever for the ill-treatment that I have received, but that it is an official enquiry which I ask for, concerning acts which I believe Colonial Officials have been guilty of, disgraceful to them in their official capacity: and when your Grace may be satisfied that my complaints are well grounded, I feel assured that such acts as my statement contains would not be allowed to be perpetrated with impunity in any of Her Majesty's Colonies however distant or insignificant.  
I have the honor to remain
My Lord Duke
Your most obedient humble sert
Edward E. Langford

To His Grace
The Duke of Newcastle K.G.
Secretary of State for the Colonies &c &c &c
Minutes by CO staff
Mr Elliot
This document was delivered to me by Mr Engleheart, at the desire I believe of the Duke of Newcastle in the month of Oct. It was presented to His Grace by Mr Fitzwilliam, I think. Shortly afterwards Mr Langford called at this Office, & stated to me that he possessed further documents which it was his intention to send in here partly, as I collected, to substantiate his statements, & in part to prove the unfitness of the Chief Justice of V. Couver's Island for his Post. I told him that as soon as he furnished these additional papers, as it could not be expected that this Office could take up such serious charges as are herein contained in a piecemeal and incomplete form, the Duke of Newcastle would take the matter into consideration. He quitted me, saying that he wd fulfil his intention. Since that time nothing has been recd from Mr Langford, nor has he been heard of until to-day; when he called here & said that he shd either send in to the Duke of Newcastle, or cause to be delivered to Mr Fortescue the further promised papers. Such being the case I pass on this letter in order that when the papers in question reach His Grace, or Mr Fortescue they may be able to connect them with these charges. I distinctly recalled to Mr Langford's recollection the conversation between us, & made him sensible that the cause of the delay in communicating with him in answer was attributable to himself.  
ABd
15 May/52
Who this Mr Langford may be I do not know. But I cannot help submitting that any man who comes to this Office in order to endeavour to undermine the character of a high functionary at a great distance, and who after having stated that he would produce further documents take[s] eleven months for that purpose, is to be viewed with the greatest suspicion and to be treated with great caution. He has taken time enough to write over and over again to the Colony to trump up charges or to collect evidence, without the existence of any notice to the person who during all this time has been the subject of his private accusations.  
TFE
16 May
Put by for the present.  
CF
17
Early in June last year Mr C. Fitzwilliam called upon me & verbally brought charges against the Ch: J: of V.C. Island upon the authority of Mr Langford. I told him I must have the charges in writing from Mr L. and I would then institute an enquiry. A week or two later Mr F. again called to put this paper in my hands, but he then on the part of Mr Langford made (again verbally) serious charges against the Govr. I told him at once that as he now implicated the Govr I could not order him to enquire into the conduct of the Ch: J: and that I must again require these new charges to be put in writing, when I would consider in what form and through what channel I would institute an enquiry. These documents have never been sent in. In the month of August I was asked by another person whether I had done anything in the matter. I replied that I was waiting for promised papers. Since then I have heard nothing of Mr Langford or his accusations.  
Put by for the present.  
N
18
Mr Langford's statement comes to this.  
That he was candidate to represent Victoria in the Assembly.  
That while he was standing a placard was published which he considered libellous.  
That he brought an action against the printer.  
That being (I presume in the witness box) he was asked a question wh was (in his opinion) irrelevant, harsh, vexatious, inquisitional and affecting the public interest.  
That on his refusal to answer he was sentenced to the double punishment of imprisonment & fine. The cause was proceeded with—part of the evidence given by him struck out—and a nonsuit recorded.  
That he had to pay costs to the opposite party to the extent of 90£ odd.  
That in that account of costs payments were included wh had never in fact been paid.  
That the printer informed him that the placard was written by Mr Begbie the C Justice of B. Columbia.  
That 20£ part of the expense of the action was paid by Mr Good the Govr's private secretary.  
Further Mr Langford in a subsequent letter produces evidence that Mr Cameron compounded with his Creditors in Scotland & passed thro' the Insolvent Court in B[ritish] G[uiana].  
It also appears that he was recommended for the temporary C. Justiceship by Mr Douglas, witht any notice of these objections to his antecedents or of the fact that *
*
P.S. This appears in a dph of Mr Douglas' received before the appointment was first made.  
he was Mr Douglas' brother in law.  
Now as to Mr Langfords personal complaints it appears to me that he does not even make out a primâ facie case.  
There is nothing to shew that the peccant placard was a libel, or that the question asked him in Court was an improper one—or that the Court could do otherwise than commit him for refusal to answer it—or that the fine for such refusal was unwarranted by law—or that the evidence given by him & struck out by order of the Judge was not really inadmissible.  
Or that the charges of the Atty Genl are improper or unusual—(for the payments charged mt have been due though not actually made).  
Or that the placard was such as to make it a serious offence for Mr Begbie or Mr Good to have been concerned in printing it—wh wd involve the duty, in point of honor, of indemnifying the printer. (It was however a decided indiscretion in Mr Begbie, if truly charged against him.)  
Of course Mr L may be right & the others wrong—but charges brought in this studiously inexplicit shape, and behind the backs of the accused parties are I think generally untrustworthy.  
I would answer Mr Langford that the complaints against the administration of justice ought either to have been brought forward in the Colonial Legislature, in which case their justice wd have been tested by public discussion, or transmitted through the Governor, in which case he wd have taken steps before so transmitting it to give the parties inculpated the opportunity of explanation.  
That it is wholly impossible for the D of N to take any other steps on such an ex parte and imperfect statements as have now been submitted to him than that of sending it to the Govr with the instructions to submit it to Mr Cameron, Mr Begbie & Mr Good and to forward to his Grace with his own observations, whatever statements any of these Gentlemen may think it necessary to make upon the subject; and that this had accordingly been done.  
This accordingly I would do. And it is for the cons. of the D of N whether the D of N should not 1. desire Gov. Douglas to explain how it was that in recommending Mr Cameron for the acting C. Jship he took no notice of his antecedents or of his connexion with himself and 2. express his opinion that the time was approaching (or had arrived) when V.C. Island would be entiled to the services of a Professional Judge, and suggest that the question of providing for his payment shd be brought before the Legre.  
It is clear from [1908?] V. Couvers Id 855 that Mr Douglas considers Mr Cameron's apptmt as a mere temporary expedient.  
FR
24/5
Duke of Newcastle
The above seems the right course.  
CF
26
This is the proper course and that which I promised to take a year ago before I was informed that charges were to be brought against the Governor himself. I would certainly put the question and give the intimation suggested in the latter part of Sir F.R.'s minute.  
N
26
 
Correspondence (private letter):
Langford to Newcastle, 18 June 1861, National Archives of the UK, 5078, CO 305/18. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871. Ed. James Hendrickson and the Colonial Despatches project. Victoria: University of Victoria. http://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/getDoc.htm?id=V616L01.scx. Accessed 20 July 2018. 

Last modified: 15:36:57, 14/5/2015