No. 25
8 November 1858
In reply to your Despatch No 14 of the 2nd of September
Print for Parlt immediately with other correspondence.
1 transmitting copy of a letter which you addressed to Colonel Moody on the subject of granting land, on certain conditions to the Non Commissioned Officers andmenManuscript image men of the Royal Engineers who are to be employed in British Columbia, and instructing me to report to you my opinion whether it would be desirable to grant remissions 2 on the purchase of land—to retired Officers of the Army and Navy, as was formerly the custom in many of the British Colonies—I have the honor to state, that without having had opportunities of acquiring information on the subject of your Despatch, I am strongly biased in favor of extending the system of locating retired Officers of the Army and Navy in British Columbia, and of making grants to the men of the RoyalEngineersManuscript image Engineers, of small portions of agricultural land, on condition of residence and military service within the Colony, if called upon.
2. I think it especially desirable to introduce the remission system into British Columbia, for the purpose of adding a respectable British element to the population, and thereby infusing and encouraging sentiments of attachment and loyalty to the Crown. I think the advantages greatly outweigh any inconvenience that may in future arise to the Colony from the introduction of the system, seeing as suggested in your Despatch, that the privilege of granting remissions on the purchase of land toretiredManuscript image retired officers, might for a time be secured to Military settlers, even should the Crown lands be hereafter made over to the Colony.
3. I now submit a list of the officers for civil situations immediately required in the New Colony—feeling assured however, that circumstances will soon render it necessary to allow a complete civil staff.
4. Mr Begbie will as you have so kindly arranged lend his general aid for the compilation of the necessary laws and other legal business, properly coming within the range of duties discharged by the Attorney General, but as he cannot engage in conductingsuitsManuscript image suits on the part of the Crown; it is obvious that the appointment of a Law Officer for the Crown is immediately required. I would thus suggest the following appointments
An Attorney General
A Colonial Secretary
A " Treasurer
appointed Capn Gossett

A " Accountant
i.e. Auditor
The pay of those officers must necessarily be regulated by the expense of living in the Colony. A gentleman may live in England on an income of £1000 a year, with far more comfort than an income of £1800 would command in this Country.
5. As the Attorney General and Colonial Secretary will hold offices which should befilledManuscript image filled by gentlemen of the best education and ability, I think that such men may not be disposed to accept of a less valuable appointment and perhaps the Treasurer,
Capt. Gossett has £500.
who will have to find heavy securities, may be included in the same category.
6. The pay of the Accountant may be regulated by the pay allowed to the higher appointments, and probably about £700 a year, may be considered a fair compensation for that official.
7. I will take the liberty of addressing you further on the wants of the Colony as they occur.
The Manuscript image
8. The want of efficient assistance, the multiplicity of the duties devolving on me, and the journeys I have been compelled to make into the gold regions—for the enforcement of law and order—must plead my excuse for not addressing you more frequently on the affairs of the Colony, though the reports of my two journeys to Fraser's River, embody almost the whole amount of reliable information that can yet be given in respect to the value and extent of the gold fields.
I will however hereafter prepare a briefreportManuscript image report on that subject by every mail.
I have etc.
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Merivale
I presume that so much of this Desp: as relates to the remission on the price of land purchased by Military & Naval Settlers should be referred to the Emigration Commissrs? In the latter portion of the Desp: the Govr suggests two or three new appointments.
VJ 17 Jan
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Mr Merivale
I think that you have overlooked this desp. but before passing it on to Sir E. Lytton I sd be glad to have your opinion.
1. On the remission system—of wh the Colonial Office has had experience.
2. The propriety of affording Govr Douglas some additional assistance for the discharge of his duties. I am, as I think you know, persuaded of the necessity of giving this assistance so far as he is personally concerned but this desp. raises the important question of a large accession to the civil Govt of the Colony.
3. We cannot obtain good men; unless we give them sufficient salaries: but our scale of salary has been I think so low as yet (with perhaps the exception of Col. Moody) that large salaries to new officials will disturb the existing proportions & involve a remodelling of the whole system. How is this to be dealt with?
C Jany 18
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Lord Carnarvon
1. The application of the remission system for officers & location system for men form a question on which the Ld & Em. board are peculiarly qualified to advise. As far as my own experience goes, I agree with the Governor that the remission system is on the whole desirable. The location of men on small lots is much more doubtful in my opinion. Old soldiers make very bad and very grumbling colonists. But there is no doubt that sappers & miners are better qualified for this purpose than other soldiers, & the advantages of the scheme may counterbalance the costs.
2. As to civil assistance, I think the Governor peculiarly & urgently requires the help of a private Secy with a salary of, say £300 per annum.
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2. An Attorney General ought in my opinion to be content with £400 or 500 per annum and practice. I know the objections to the latter: but it is a choice of evils.
3. I think one man should combine the functions of Colonial Secretary, and of what the Governor calls accountant, by which I suppose he mean[s] an auditor. Salary about 800 per annum.
But I do not see any way to appointing these officers without securing them salary for one or two years on the Parly estimates. It seems to me quite uncertain what revenue B. Columbia may afford.
If we are resolved on the cheap system, then there is nothing for it but to do what, I apprehend, the Americans would do: tell the Governor that he may have the assistance of civil officers, if he can find them and pay them.
HM Jan 20
Sir Edward Lytton
You will best know what can be done with regard to thisManuscript image last point. If it be possible to secure part at least of the Salary of the Colonial Sec. and the Attorney Genl on the parliamentary vote it is undoubtedly advisable in as much as the efficient administration of these offices—but under present circumstances particularly that of Col. Secy—is of the deepest importance to the Colony and may save us many future difficulties. Cheap functionaries, like most other cheap articles, entail so many indirect expenses that in the long run they become very costly.
As regards the private Secy—unless we can send out Douglas some efficient man, and no such person is likely to go only on the trust of Colonial payment—it wd I think be right to authorise him to obtain the best assistant he can on the spot at a salary not exceeding £300 but to be defrayed from local revenues. This I think due to the Govr; and at the same time is good policy for the peace & prosperity of the Colony clearly depend upon his personal life and I do not believe 3
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[First part of this minute missing] must also consider that all charges for roads, public works & buildgs must be found out of Col. funds, & that all which I do not authorize as charged for in estimates he must provide for or do without till he gets a revenue. Mr M. would sneer less at the economical system if he had to fight Estimates thru' the H of C. & Estimates which as yet have had no parly sanction.
EBL Jan 22 1859
Other documents included in the file
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Merivale to Emigration Commissioners, 14 February 1859, forwarding extract of the despatch for observations.
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Carnarvon to Sir Hugh Cairns, 15 February 1859, requesting that he suggest a suitable candidate for attorney general.
Minutes by CO staff
Sir E. Lytton
I am informed that you have settled with Mr Elliot to apply to Parlt for a vote for certain public Officers of B. Columbia, amongst whom, I presume, will be the Attorney General.
I minuted on a desp. from B.C. several days ago, 4 that such an appointment seemed required.
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
Draft reply, Lytton to Douglas, No. 34, 19 March 1859.
Minutes by CO staff
Lay before Parlt.
  1. See Lytton to Douglas, 2 September 1858, No. 14, CO 398/1, p. 67.
  2. Remissions to officers and Royal Engineers. Brief history of practice??
  3. I do not believe Merivale's minute ends abruptly at this point. Obviously a page (or more) has been lost or misfiled. Part of Lytton's minute that follows is also missing.
  4. = BC vote in Parl? See Merivale's minute in this file above, dated 20 January. Check Parliamentary vote for BC above??
People in this document

Begbie, Matthew Baillie

Blackwood, Arthur Johnstone

Cairns, Hugh MacCalmont

Carnarvon, Earl

Douglas, James

Elliot, Thomas Frederick

Gosset, William Driscoll

Jadis, Vane

Lytton, Edward George Earle Bulwer

Merivale, Herman

Moody, Richard Clement

Organizations in this document

Colonial Office

Places in this document

British Columbia

Fraser River

Vancouver Island