Gosset to Under-Secretary of State
The Cloisters
Octr 25.58.
Naturally apprehensive, without assurance to the contrary, lest the salary of my office should be regarded as an index to my station, in British Columbia, or that His Excellency The Governor, if vested with discretionary power, might exclude me from his Council, from ignorance of my past experience in Colonial legislation, I have the honour to express a hope, that some definition may be given me of my future position in the Government, or, if this should be productive of embarrassment in the presentstageManuscript image stage of arrangements, that such intimation may be conveyed to His Excellency as shall secure me that consideration, upon which, (judging from the constitution of the Ceylon Govt) I have relied, when accepting the post of Treasurer or Chief Officer of Finance.
2. And, valuing my services in Ceylon, (as not to do, would be ungrateful on my part, towards His Excellency Sir Henry Ward & towards the people of Ceylon, European & Native, whose good opinion both in my place in Council & as Surveyor General, it was my great fortune to experience), I beg that the dateofManuscript image of my entry into Colonial Service may be quoted to the Governor of British Columbia, by which, the continuity of that service, may be recorded, and preserved to me.
3. The peculiarities of a New Colony, requiring spécialtés in the preparations, I have, at considerable expense, provided myself with a house; unless however enabled to erect it, this provision would be wasted; to secure therefore the reasonable consideration of a roof over my head, I trust that it may seem proper to you to direct, that thirty or 40 acres of land be granted me, should I be desirous of obtaining them, and on my paying for them the upsetpriceManuscript image price, whatever that price may be in the locality selected.
This I earnestly request, in order that I may be saved from ruinous competition with speculative bidders, or spared the discomfort and indignity which would accrue from being compelled to retire from public Contests I might not be able to maintain. The Commissioner of Lands and Works & his Military Officers have been provided with houses at Government expense, which will doubtless be erected on Government property: with me a Civil officer the case is unfortunately different, yetinManuscript image in my humble opinion private houses should stand in private grounds for the prevention of doubts or disputes a future day.
4. By the custom of the Commissariat Department, the officers acting as Commissaries are entitled to certain privileges in the matter of rations for their families, horses &c &c; perhaps, as the Governor of New Columbia may be unversed in such trifles, it may be advisable that he should be apprised of my claims in this respect.
I have the honor to be Sir
Your very obedient Servt
W. Driscoll Gosset

The Rt Honble
The Under Secy of State
for H.M. Colonies
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
I consider it impossible to define with the precision asked for by Capn Gossett what his position will be in B. Columbia beyond that of Treasurer & Commissary. His wish is to be in Council. And I should think he would be very useful there, and that the Governor would be only too glad to have his services at the Board. But until an Order in Council is passed, as prescribed by the Act of Parlt, the S. of State is not at liberty to empower the Governor to constitute a Legislature or form a Council. When the proper time arrives Capn Gossett's claims may be favorably considered, if the S. of S. thinks fit to put the Treasurer in the Council, whh is not, I think, the case in every Colony.
2. The date of his entry into the Colonial Service of Ceylon can of course be communicated to the Governor since it is wished.
3. I think there can be no objection to allow Capn G. & other public Officers to purchase a small quantity of land at the upset price, but I am sensible that it is, on principle, a privilege that shd be conceded only onManuscript image very exceptional grounds—such as exist in this case—viz, the belonging to the party which is sent out as the first settlers, & the smallness of the Officer's Salaries. The first reason appears to be strong enough as it must be undoubtedly rough work that has to be encountered in the establishment of a Colony in such a wild Country, entitling the first founders to some privileges.
ABd 27 Oct /58
Lord Carnarvon
1st On the first point it occurs to me that the simplest course will be in notifying Captain Gosset's appointment to inform the Governor of the high credit with which he served in Ceylon and to say that subject always to the Govrs discretion he would appear a very proper and useful person to introduce into the Council whenever the time for forming such a body arrives. 1
2dly Communicate the date of his entry into the Ceylon service.
3dly I should certainly refuse his third request, telling him that Sir E.B. Lytton must decline to grant to any public officers any distinction whatever from all other British subjects in respect of the acquisition of public Land. The adoption of a contrary course in the formation of a new settlement has always been attended with perniciousManuscript image consequences, and has occasioned a just public resentment.
4. Captain Gosset seems in rather an anomalous position by being both a Commissary and not a Commissary. I annex an inquiry to the War Departt which I have made unofficial in conformity with your suggestions in our conversation.
TFE 17/10
I think that with reference to request number 3 it might be said, that though all public officers in B. Columbia must in the acquisition of land stand on the same footing as the mass of the community, that Sir E. Lytton feels assured that Capt Gossett will have all reasonable opportunities for the purchase of the land wh is necessary to his personal comfort or to the efficient discharge of his official duties.
I am not sure that it wd not be wise to strengthen the answer to No 1 by a remark on the complete supremacy of the Govr. There is an indication in Capn Gossetts letter of rather a restless spirit, wh if it confines itself to its legitimate channel will be most valuable as in Ceylon but wh if unguarded might lead to a conflict of authorities, than wh nothing cd be more dangerous.
C Oct 28
Lord C's minute commending precautions shd be attended to. No promise of land. 30 or 40 acres might be in the heart of a future town.
EBL Oct 29
Other documents included in the file
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The allowances to which Captain Gossett would be entitled, whilst acting as a Commissariat Officer in British Columbia, would be regulated according to the scales laid down for Officers of his corresponding rank on the Staff.
Before therefore, it can be stated what would be the amount of his allowances, it must be ascertained what rank will be accorded to him, whilst in discharge of the duty referred to.
War Office
28h October 1858
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
This has been sent to me. I know not for what purpose. Have you called for the infn?
ABd 2 Novr
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Lytton to Douglas, No. 37, 10 November 1858.
Minutes by CO staff
Mr Elliot
As Capn Gossett has sailed it will be in conformity with ordinary practise, & desirable on the ground of maintaining a proper subordination to the Governor that we shd send the ansr to Capn G. through that Functionary.
With regard to Capn Gs application for allowance as a Commissariat officer, the fact is, I believe, that an Officer of his rank wd be entitled to a coupleManuscript image of horses, forage accy, & a very liberal scale of allowance of rations for himself. This, I think, we can scarcely allow. No terms were made with him that he shd have any Commissariat rations at all, when he accepted the Office (which he knew wd be conjoined with that of Treasurer) of Commissary—nor can the Force conveniently afford the allowance he asks for. With these views I have proposed the passage you will find in this draft.
  1. Carnarvon has edited Elliot's minute by inserting in red ink the words that are underlined. [MDH: No words are marked as underlined in the document! TODO: Check against MF.]
People in this document

Blackwood, Arthur Johnstone

Carnarvon, Earl

Douglas, James

Elliot, Thomas Frederick

Gosset, William Driscoll

Lytton, Edward George Earle Bulwer

Merivale, Herman

Ward, Henry George

Organizations in this document

War Office

Places in this document

British Columbia