No. 7, Financial
26 January 1861
I have much pleasure in transmitting herewith a synopsis of the Revenue and Expenditure of the Colony of British Columbia for the year endingonManuscript image on the 31st day of December 1860, which I have caused to be compiled in the Audit Office from the Public Accounts for the purpose of laying approximately before Your Grace at the earliest moment such information as may be desirable, in anticipation of the formal Estimates which are in course of preparation, and will be forwarded by the next Mail.
Although the DecemberReturnsManuscript image Returns and some of the back accounts of the distant out Stations have not been received and are merely estimated in this account, yet it exhibits very closely the actual Revenue and Expenditure, and may, for all practical purposes, be assumed as a true statement of the financial position of the Colony.
The principal item of Revenue in that accountwillManuscript image will be found under the head of Customs, classified as follows, vizt Duties on Imports £29,702—Harbour and Tonnage Dues, Head Money, the Roads Tolls at Yale and Douglas for the month of November, and other minor receipts, collectively £5817, making in all the sum of £35.519.
The increase of Revenue from duties on Imports is about 70 per cent, as compared with the RevenuederivedManuscript image derived from the same source in 1859; and it may be fairly assumed, considering the increase of population and the progressive state of the Colony, that the Customs Returns of 1861 will be in excess of those of 1860.
The amount of land Sales for the Year 1860, is £10962, which is less by £7915. than the sales of 1859; a difference explained by the large sums receivedforManuscript image for building lots at New Westminster and other Towns where land was required for commercial purposes, and sold at high prices. A larger quantity of Country Land has been sold in 1860, but from the comparatively low price, did not yield a proportionate revenue.
There is no prospect of a material increase in Land Sales for 1861, exceptthroughManuscript image through the effect of emigration from Canada and Great Britain, as there is a very small farming population in the Colony; the working classes being chiefly miners, accustomed to excitement, fond of adventure, and entertaining generally a thorough contempt for the quiet pursuits of life.
The minor items of Revenue in the synopsiswillManuscript image will probably not vary much in 1861 from the sums in the present Return; and cannot, in any case, be expected greatly to affect the amount of the general revenue.
On the other side of the account is the sum of £16,736 expended for "Establishments"—the most rigid economy having been exercised in this department, the amountisManuscript image is not susceptible of reduction—but might with advantage to the public service be increased by some very necessary additions to the emoluments of the principal executive officers of the Colony; their present Salaries being not only inadequate to the relative importance and responsibility of the offices they hold, but literally insufficient tomaintainManuscript image maintain them in a respectable position; a subject which I will take the liberty of bringing before Your Grace in a separate Despatch.
The outlay on Works and Buildings amounts to the sum of £3513, and in the formation of Roads and Bridges there has been expended the sum of £18,935; a profitable investment for the Colony, as is apparent fromitsManuscript image its increasing revenue, which will no doubt keep pace with the improvement of its internal communications and the facilities afforded to trade and commerce. A detail of those Works is given in Statement No 2—and the outlay on each is approximately shewn.
The other items of disbursement, being separately of small amount, need no comment.
The entire expenditure amounting to £44,124: hasbeenManuscript image been defrayed out of the current revenue, and there remains a balance of £8886 in the Treasury, which will be sufficient to meet the outstanding liabilities of the Colony for the unfinished Contracts of the Roads in progress.
The Works we propose to execute this year, are as follows;
A Cart Road from Pemberton to Cayoosh, length about 36 Miles
Ditto from Hope to Shimilkomeen ................ 74 "
ImprovementManuscript imageImprovement of Navigation of Shimilkomeen River…60 Miles
Horse Road from Boston Bar to Lytton............... 30 Miles
Ditto from Lytton to Alexandria ............... 150 "
Ditto from Cayoosh to junction with Lytton Road 30 "
In Progress
Road from New Westminster to Langley ................ 15 Miles
Ditto from New Westminster to Burrards Inlet ..... 9 "
Ditto to Boundary Line at Semiahmoo Bay ........... 14 "
Ditto from Spuzzum to Boston Bar (nearly finished) 20 "
ForManuscript image
For the execution of these highly necessary works, we may, I believe, safely estimate that the sum of £25,000 can be provided out of the revenue of the Colony, without at all impairing its capacity to defray the whole Civil expenses of the Government. Much more than that sum is however required to complete such extensive public works; and I therefore addressed Your Grace on the subject ofaManuscript image a Loan of £50,000 in my Despatch No 84 of the 28th of August last.
If that project can be carried out, we shall enter the field with larger means, and the Colony will sooner experience the impulse thereby given to trade and industry; if on the contrary the Loan is not procurable, the extent of those undertakings will be regulated by the means actually at my disposal.
IManuscript image
I see no probability, short of an almost absolute abandonment of all the essential public works upon which we are engaged, of our being able, this year to maintain out of the Colonial Revenue, the Detachment of Royal Engineers stationed here; and I rely with confidence upon the Mother Country again affording her assistance in our difficulties, by providing for them as heretofore, outofManuscript image of Imperial Funds, so that I may be free to apply the whole surplus revenue of the Colony, after paying all its own Governmental expenses, to the opening of Roads and other public works indispensable to its development.
I have the honor to be
My Lord Duke,
Your Grace's most obedient
and humble Servant
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
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VJ 25 March
Mr Fortescue
This is on the whole, a satisfactory account of the progress of Revenue in B. Columbia.
Probably it will be acknowledged, with an intimation to that effect.
TFE 30 March
CF 3
N 7
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Note in file: "C.O. 60 Vol. 10, Folio 31R, being too large will be photographed later."
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"Synopsis of Revenue and Expenditure for Year ending 31 December 1860," signed by W.A.G. Young, Acting Colonial Secretary and Acting Auditor, 15 July 1861.
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Newcastle to Douglas, No. 74, 13 April 1861.
Douglas, James to Pelham-Clinton, Henry Pelham Fiennes 26 January 1861, CO 60:10, no. 2752, 21. 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/B61007.html.

Last modified: 2020-12-02 13:40:34 -0800 (Wed, 02 Dec 2020) (SVN revision: 5008)