26 January 1860
My Lord Duke,
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Grace's Despatch of the 5th September last upon the subject of the non-residence in the Colony of British Columbia of the Officers who have been appointed by the Crown to conduct its affairs.
2. I need scarcely say, that as a general principle, I fully agree with your Grace as to the advantages Manuscript image advantages attending a residence in the Colony, but circumstances have however compelled me to retain hitherto at Fort Victoria some of the principal Officers of the Government of British Columbia, and I would long 'ere this have reported to your Grace any reasons for adopting such a measure, had I not been under the impression that the whole circumstances were well known, and understood by Her Majesty's Government.
3. The day after the arrival of Mr Begbie, the Judge, he accompanied me to British Columbia, and after his return to Victoria he was of the greatest assistance to me in discharging the functions of Attorney General, which Office Manuscript image Office he kindly fulfilled with the concurrence of Her Majesty's Government. Since the arrival in Victoria of the Attorney General Mr Begbie has passed long periods in, and has been on circuit over the greater portion of British Columbia, and his personal communications to me upon his return have been most valuable, and have assisted me materially in framing laws, and in adapting the general systems of Government to the actual requirements of the people. Mr Begbie has but recently returned from an extended circuit, and I do not think that his absence from the Colony under existing circumstances has in any way proved injurious; although it certainly has formed a subject of Manuscript image of remark to a discontented few whose only business it is to cavil at everything.
I think we, who pay him, are the people to "cavil."
Mr Begbie is however on the point of proceeding to British Columbia to take up his permanent residence there.
4. Your Grace is well aware that I constantly require the Colonial Secretary to be with me, and the same remark applies to the Attorney General.
5. With regard to the Treasurer, it is probably more for the convenience of the service, and for the benefit of the Colony of British Columbia that he should at present and probably for some little time to come reside at Victoria, but I beg Manuscript image beg Your Grace will receive my assurance that so soon as I am satisfied that his stay here is detrimental to the public Service, I will instantly require him to proceed to British Columbia.
6. I do not presume to enter more fully into particulars, for the opinion I have given accords with that already expressed by Your Grace in previous Despatches referring to the Colonial Secretary and to the Treasurer; and I doubt not Your Grace will readily understand of what little assistance would the Attorney General be, unless he be near to me.
I have etc.
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
VJ 14 M
Mr Fortescue
Probably it will be best to take no more notice of this at present?
HM Mh 14
CF 15
N 18