4 May 1859
Since addressing you on the [blank] of last March, with respect to your Confidential Despatch of the 10th Decr last, acquainting me that Her Majesty's Government can only guarantee me a Salary of £1800 per Annum as Governor of the two Colonies of British Columbia and Vancouver's Island, I have received Despatches from the Governor and Directors of the Hudson's Bay Company upon the subject of the instructions I had forwarded to them to dispose of my entire interest, both directly and indirectly in connection with that Company.
2. From these advices I find that had the purport of my instructions been strictly adhered to, I should have been involved in a considerable pecuniary sacrifice, so much so, indeed, that the Governor and Directors actually placed themselves in communication with Her Majesty'sManuscript imageMajesty's Government to ascertain whether some arrangement less disadvantageous to myself could not be entered into, and finding that rigid adherence to the conditions laid down is insisted upon, have paused to address me before completing the final steps, and subjecting me to a most serious loss.
3. Under such circumstances, you cannot fail, Sir, to be sensible of the extremely embarrassing position in which I am placed. On the one hand liable to a heavy pecuniary loss; on the other, if sustaining such a loss, committed to a Salary which is neither befitting to my position, nor sufficient for my proper support.
4. I have devoted the most anxious thought to the subject. I unhesitatingly submitted to the conditions required of me in full confidence that in placing myself and case in the hands of Her Majesty's Government I should not be required to sustain any actual loss; but, now, seeing no way by which I can with true honesty of purposeManuscript imagepurpose comply with such conditions except by an entire abandonment of the benefits resulting to me from my many years of Service in the Hudson's Bay Company, a sacrifice which I beg most respectfully to submit it is hardly just should be required, and which, indeed, I cannot afford to make for the inadequate Salary attached to the Offices I hold, I beg to submit the following proposal for the consideration of Her Majesty's Government.
5. I tender the whole of my actual and prospective interests in the Fur Trade for a fair equivalent in Money, leaving the proceeds of my interest therein to be paid over annually to the Colonial Office.
6. I estimate the value of my retiring interest in the Fur Trade as follows, basing my calculation upon the average profits of the Company's Trade, for the last seven years, which I, submit, is fair, and reasonable.
AverageManuscript imageAverage profit of 1/85 share for the 7
years ending with outfit 1855........ £437.15s.0d
One year on Furlough..2/85.............. £875.10s.0d
Retire with 1 June 1860, one year
full interest......2/85.............. £875.10s.0d
Six years half interest, 1/85th each
at £437.15.0........................ £2626.10s.0d
This interest I now propose to transfer into the hands of Her Majesty's Government for the sum of £3,500 in Money.
7. If Her Majesty's Government decline to accord me in this assistance & protection from loss, I have no alternative than, with heartfelt thanks for past favours, to tender my respectful resignation, & to request I may be relieved in the Offices I now hold under the Government so soon as may be convenient.
8. For further information I beg to forward the Copy of the Letter which I have addressed to the Directors of the Hudson Bay Company upon the subject.
I have etc.
James Douglas
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
Draft reply, Newcastle to Douglas, Confidential, 29 July 1859.
Minutes by CO staff
I see that Sir E Lytton (in a draft written by himself) announced to Mr Douglas that the salary of £1800 from the Ty was paid him in respect of both governments. I am a little afraid that this will encourage the VanC Island legislature not to vote him any salary at all. But it is not easy to retract what Sir E Lytton has thus done.
Sir E.L. not only says the £1800 will be paid him for both Colonies but "out of the Parly grant." There is little chance therefore of any Colonial Vote.
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
Douglas to Thomas Fraser, Hudson's Bay Company, stating that unless the company would purchase his retirement benefits for a fair price, he would resign the governorship.
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Merivale
I send with this Governor Douglas' desph of Feby, and Lord Carnarvon's ansr of the 23 May—which cannot yet have reached the Governor. It is surely desirable that all the local authorities in this expensive region should be adequately remunerated for their services; but when the Governor suggests, as Mr Douglas did on a former occasion (see 12643/58), that he himself should have £5000 per annum, one is a little puzzled to know to whom to have recourse to fix a reasonable scale of salaries for either himself or the rest of the public officers. By Lord Carnarvon's minute he gives £1200 to Govr Douglas out of the Col: Revenue of B. Columbia of the Current year. If this addition were allowed annually perhaps the Govr wd be content. See also on the subject of official Salaries 6954/59.
ABd 12 July
See 7063.
HM Jy 15
CF 18