1 Private
Downing Street
16 December 1858
I have to acknowledge the receipt of your private Despatch of the 4th of Oct announcing to me your acceptance of the Office of Governor of BritishManuscript image Columbia and your intention in consequence to take early measures for withdrawing from the Hudson's Bay Company and disposing of your Puget Sound Stock. 2
I have on former occasions assured you of the high estimation in which I hold the vigor and ability you have displayed in the incipient stages of a Colony that promises to be so noble an accession to the Dominions of our Sovereign; and it gives me peculiar pleasure to find that you are disposed to continue your assistance towards the development of resources which were first brought to light under your administration of Vancouver's Island. You state your belief that the sum of oneManuscript image thousand Pounds a year would be wholly inadequate for the befitting Salary of the Governor of a Colony in which the necessaries of life far exceed the Standards in England. Since the date of the despatch in which that sum was named, the information that has reached me is, as you are aware, much less vague as to the value of the Gold fields than it was when, immediately on my accession to office, I foresaw that we should lose no time in securing Law and Government to a district hitherto unknown to Civilization—and I hastened to offer to yourself the post you have gratified me by accepting.
I Manuscript image
I should rejoice to see the Revenues of the Colony such as would justify a considerable increase to the Salary I originally proposed. But until those revenues are actually in operation and their results unequivocally apparent, I should feel it equally impossible to obtain from the British Parliament, and unfair to the Colony to apportion to its earliest expenses such a Salary for the Governor as you suggest. It is my duty to consult economy pushed to thrift until the Colony is provided with the ways and means that justify a more liberal expenditure. Whenever that happens I think on every principle of sound policy that we should secure to its administration the zeal andManuscript image talents of the ablest public officers—and to stint the salaries of such men, would be in my judgment, to retard the growth of the Colony.
But you have now large expenses to meet, including the services, at least the Colonial pay of the British Engineers.
These last I trust the early Sales of Land will suffice to cover—yet until the statements you promise me as to the next year's revenue arrive, it is clear that I cannot form a judgment of the expenses I ought to sanction.
I shall not at present be enabled to recommend to the Lords Commissioners ofManuscript image the Treasury a higher Grant than Eighteen hundred pounds a year for the Governor of British Columbia and Vancouver's Island out of the Parliamentary Grant—and I hope that this will be the only item, except by way of advance, in which the House of Commons may be called upon to contribute to the Expenditure of the Colony. But I shall certainly not object to a large increase of that Salary out of local funds, if your accounts of the local Revenue are such as to justify it.
The extent of such augmentation must obviously depend upon the character and the extent of those Revenues considered with reference to other local charges which must be defrayed, and to a reasonableManuscript image calculation of their productiveness hereafter. More than this I am unable to say at the present moment, but I shall look for the further information which you promise me upon the financial prospects of the Colony, and to any future explanations which you may wish to give on the subject before I can come to a definite decision.
I have etc.
E.B. Lytton
  1. This file appears to be a duplicate of the following files: V587355A.scx & B587055A.scx; however, the transcriptions in said files are incomplete.
  2. = Douglas accepts Governorship I.e., Douglas to Lytton, 4 October 1858, 12643, CO 60/1, p. 175.
People in this document

Douglas, James

Lytton, Edward George Earle Bulwer

Organizations in this document

Hudson's Bay Company


Places in this document

British Columbia

Puget Sound

Vancouver Island