No. 56
Downing Street
26 October 1860
I am directed by the Secretary of State to acknowledge your despatch No. 72 of the 4th of August last respecting certain grants of land which you were desirous of making to the Clergy of the four principal denominations of Christians in British Columbia, i.e. of the English, Roman, Presbyterian and Methodist Churches.
For the reasons already communicated to you the Secretary ofManuscript imageof State cannot sanction the grants of rural Land which you still apparently advocate, but he sees no objection to your affording a temporary pecuniary assistance to Ministers of Religion in British Columbia from Colonial Funds, if those funds are adequate for the purpose, and if you have sufficient reason for believing that such an appropriation of public money will not be unacceptable to the Colonists.
Charged as you are with the task of expending on your own responsibility the produceManuscript imageproduce of the taxes, it is peculiarly necessary for you to avoid the appearance of individual preference, or partiality. I think therefore that the Public aid given to Ministers of religion should not be confined to any specified denominations but should if possible be determined by a generally intelligible rule which while furnishing some security against useless or improper appropriations will not suggest any distinction between Ministers of different persuasions who may be exerting themselves with equal earnestness for the goodManuscript imagegood of the Community. It might be required for example as a condition to any grant of money that a Memorial should be presented to the Governor signed by a certain number or proportion of persons resident within a certain district and either offering to meet the Government grant by certain immediate or annual contributions of their own or stating that from some source or other such contributions had been made. This however is merely suggested by the Secretary of State, as an illustration. He is fully aware thatManuscript imagethat your own knowledge of the exigencies of the Colony, of the temper and wishes of the population and of the assistance to be derived there from Religious persons or societies, will enable you to choose your own course in a matter of detail more appropriately than he can do.
But in any case you will take care to make it clearly understood that any assistance of this kind is temporary, and that if given in the form of an annual payment all those who receive it must not calculate on retaining it after itManuscript imageit has ceased to be sanctioned by the Public opinion of the Colony, and consistent with other demands on the Revenue.
I have the honor to be
Your Obedient Servant
C. Fortescue
People in this document

Douglas, James

Fortescue, Chichester

Places in this document

British Columbia