No. 157
23 May 1859
Sir,
I have the honor to forward to you herewith the Copy of a Letter addressed to me by Captain W.D. Gosset, the Treasurer, and Mr W. Hamley, the Collector of Customs, of British Columbia, forcibly representing the utter inadequacy of their Salaries to enable them to maintain even a show of respectability in the Country.
IManuscript image2. I already have had the honor to bring to your notice the relative value of Salaries here and in England,
In desph 544/59, I suppose.
and have suggested the rate which I considered was but a fair remuneration for the principle Officers of the Government. I would now earnestly beg you to adopt some measures which may place those Officers in a position suitable to the responsibilities devolving upon them. With the present rate
The Treasurer has £500 a year. The Collector of Customs £400.
of Salary they cannot live independently as Gentlemen without running into debt, and if they do not live as gentlemen their status as public Officers and in Society is lost.
3. I would most respectfully submitManuscript imagesubmit that such a state of things should not be permitted to exist. It is in the first place unworthy of the high standing of our Country, and in the second place it is the means of weakening if not obliterating the prestige of the local government.
4. Under such circumstances I feel sure you will pardon me in pressing the matter upon you, and I sincerely hope you will see the necessity of revising the present scale of Salaries.
5. Indeed so urgent do I consider the cases of the Treasurer and the Collector of Customs that I am compelled to afford them immediate relief to save them from debtManuscript imagedebt, and therefore, until the matter can be referred to you with a view to a suitable fixed Salary being granted them, and to their being placed in a proper position in this Colony as in others, I have, as a temporary measure to relieve them merely from existing pressure, granted an increase in the Salary of the Treasurer at the rate of £300 per Annum, and in that of the Collector of Customs of £200 per Annum, on the provisional List.
6. I trust you may not disapprove of this measure. I have the most earnest desire to exercise the most scrupulous economy in the expenditure of the public money, but theManuscript imagethe case I have now brought before you is one in which I could not justly refuse assistance.
I have etc.
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Merivale
See 6987/59 recd by this Mail. I annex a copy of a Parly return which will apprize the Duke of Newcastle of the amount of salary assigned to each of the public officers of B. Columbia. The Estimate (£43,000) has not yet been voted.
I think I am not wrong in saying that we were all of opinion that the Salaries of the Civil Servants, with the exception of Colonel Moody—who has £1,200 a year exclusive of military pay, were fixed at a very low rate. Indeed I always contended at too low a rate, but Sir E. Lytton was apprehensive of assigning salaries which should be regarded as excessive and preferred commencing, at all events with a low scale. The complaints, which were to be anticipated have now overtaken us, and a revision of the salaries must, I fear, be the consequence. I add 544, 5435, & 5893/59, which with 6987 will, I hope, put the matter clearly before you.
ABd 12 July
HM Jy 13
See on 6956.
CF 15
N 16
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Newcastle to Douglas, No. 7, 26 July 1859, which reports that Gosset and Hamley knew their salaries before they accepted their positions and that "it is impossible…to make any addition to the Parliamentary Estimate for the service of B. Columbia in this year."
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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W.D. Gosset and W. Hamley to Douglas, 9 May 1859, declaring that their meagre salaries deny them "the common comforts of life."
Douglas, James to Lytton, Edward George Earle Bulwer 23 May 1859, CO 60:4, no. 6954, 380. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871, Edition 2.2, ed. James Hendrickson and the Colonial Despatches project. Victoria, B.C.: University of Victoria. https://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/B59157.html.

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