No. 74, Financial
30 November 1861
I have the honor to forward herewith the Estimates of the Civil Expenditure of the Colony of British Columbia for the year ending 31st December 1862, framed as closely in accordance with rule as is practicable under the existing circumstances of the Colony.
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2. I have so fully placed before Your Grace in other Despatches the exact present condition of the Colony, the recent discoveries of immense auriferous wealth in the newly opened District of Carriboo, the almost certain large increase to the population in consequence, and the general confidence established in the richness and future of the Country, that it is not necessary I should revert to the subject here, further than to remark that I trust these circumstances will have their weight with Your Grace in leaving me free, as heretofore, to devote the whole Revenue of the Colony,afterManuscript image after deducting the ordinary expenditure, to the important object of opening up the communications with the distant gold fields, so as to cheapen the transport of Provisions; a matter which just now demands all our energies, and absorbs all my attention.
3. The large tract of country embraced in these new gold fields will cause a heavy increase in the civil expenditure in providing for adequate Magisterial supervision. Such however is indispensable to the order and good Government of the Country, and I have consequently made provision for the same in the Estimates.
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4. In my Despatch of the 16th July last, "Separate", I mentioned that I had found it necessary to establish a Gold-Escort. In the accompanying Estimates provision is consequently made for its maintenance during the year 1862, but as, from the great distance it has to travel, and the nature of the country, it has proved very costly I propose to abandon the scheme for the present, if I can carry out one part of it, viz. that of periodically strengthening the hands of the Magistrates in distant localities, in some equally efficient, but less expensive manner.
5. I have also, at the earnest solicitation of some of theSubordinateManuscript image Subordinate Officers in the different Departments, made a slight increase to their Salaries. The additional charge upon the Revenue caused thereby will be comparatively insignificant, some Six Hundred Pounds (£600) only, and in the end will, I believe, be fully repaid; for the consideration thus shewn may I trust, render the present incumbents contented with their position amidst the many instances before them of suddenly acquired wealth, and will consequently secure to the Government the continuance of their services now that they have, as it were, become remunerative by possessing a knowledge of their particular duties. With scarce an exception none had any previousexperienceManuscript image experience of public business, and all had to be carefully trained, and here we have no field to select from to fill vacancies with qualified men.
6. With the foregoing exceptions the Estimates do not differ materially from those submitted for the present year, and I trust that they may meet with Your Grace's concurrence and approval.
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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Mr Elliot
The only remark which it occurs to me to make on these Estimates—which are very clearly drawn out—is that I think Governor Douglas ought not to be allowed to incur, or introduce into his Estimates, any expenditure exceeding some specified sum—say £2 or 300—without the previously obtained consent of the Secy of State. If he is not restricted in this way he will always find some convenient reason for spending everyManuscript image sixpence of the Colonial Revenue, & he will leave this Country to pay for the Engineers, or any other charge his skill in writing will persuade us to bear, without thought or remorse. I am rather induced to say this much because I observe in this, as in the previous years Estimate, a charge, or appropriation of £3000 for a Govt House at New Westminster, & smaller items for Govt houses at Hope, Yale, Lytton, & so on. It is very proper if a Governor were fixed at N. West. that he shd have a suitable residence: but there is no Governor there yet, or projected so far as I know. Nor has the proposed appropriation for his house ever been specifically asked for or sanctioned, that I can remember. Nevertheless the sum of £3000 figures as an expenditure making the balance of revenue so much the less. Then the item for roads is very large seeing that at the same time the Governor is asking for & this Office is backing at the T-y a Loan of £100,000 for that very service. I do not contend that the item for roads is too large: I merely refer to it as an example to show that, if we are not very careful, the Governor will not refrain from spending the Col: Revenue & borrowing from us at the same time.
ABd 5 Feb
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The fault of these estimates is, that whilst the enormously bulky sub-estimates state all the salaries in great detail, they furnish no detail whatsoever of such services as Works, amounting to £7500, or Roads, amounting to £31,749. The seeming copiousness of information therefore is somewhat illusory.
I should order the Governor in future to furnish the summaries on paper of the same size as his despatch and should remark to him that whilst the salaries are exhibited in almost superfluous detail, those heads of expenditure which most demand scrutiny and deserve explanation are exempted by him from all supervision by means of his merely stating them in a single large sum such as £31,749 for roads and £7500 for Works.
I should also take notice of the disposition continually to augment the expenditure so as to exceed the growing revenue.
The rest of the answer mustpartlyManuscript image partly depend on the decision about 1164 (on cost of the Royal Engineers) which is circulated today. I should tell the Governor that he must so far curtail some of the different services proposed in his Estimate as to admit of paying out of the revenue of the Colony the charge apportioned to it in respect of it's military expenditure: that charge will be decided by the minutes on 1164.
Whatever views be adopted, they must be proposed for the concurrence of the Treasury in transmitting the Governor's despatch to that Department.
TFE 6 Feby
CF 8
I had not read this when I minuted 1164. This despatch confirmed the view I have there taken.
N 9
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
Not in file.
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Newcastle to Douglas, No. 105, 27 February 1862, calling for further details in key areas of Douglas's expenditures.
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Draft reply, Newcastle to Douglas, Separate, 22 February 1862, asking that future expenditure estimates be written upon the same sized paper as used for despatches.