Hamilton to Rogers (Permanent Under-Secretary)
Treasury Chambers
20 February 1862
I am directed by the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury to transmit herewith copy of a letter, dated 5 Inst No 45, from the Commissioner of Audit, relative to a sum of £67 paid in by Captain Gosset for "repayment of his passage money from Ceylon to England," which Item appears in the Accounts of the Treasurer of British Columbia for 1859, and I am to request that you will move theDukeManuscript image Duke of Newcastle to inform My Lords from what funds the sum of £67 was issued in order that steps may be taken for the adjustment of the account.
I am Sir
Your obedient Servant
Geo. A. Hamilton
Minutes by CO staff
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Captain Gosset came to England from Ceylon in 1858, he was allowed a Contract passage, which was paid for in the usual course by the Admiralty, that Dt repeatedly requested payment of theManuscript image amount (£67), in October last the Agents General were ordered to pay it charging the same to Ceylon. Captain Gosset so far back as July 1859 deposited £67 in the Treasury Chest at B. Columbia, and the Gov. of that Colony was instructed on the 22nd Octr last (desp. No 89) to remit that amount to the Agents General, when Gov. Douglas does so the money will have to be placed to the credit of Ceylon by the Agents Genl. So Inform the Treasury.
WCS Feb 22
Sir F. Rogers
The course proposed by Mr Sargeaunt is quite right, altho', as will presently appear, one material step more is required. You will find that this letter illustrates one probably leading cause of the arrears of claims which have accumulated against us from the Admiralty.
They have just sent us in aManuscript image long list of such arrears beginning with a sum of £67 due since 1858. We were all puzzled to guess what this sum of £67 could be, when most opportunely the present minute by Mr Sargeaunt has come into my hands, showing that the subject is Captn Gosset's passage. I will now trace the history of the transaction. Captn Gosset came home from Ceylon in May 1858 and went to B. Columbia. The moment that he heard of the claim, he paid it into the Treasury Chest at Vancouver's Island, as was duly reported by the Governor on the 22nd of July 1859. If we had taken the right course at that time, we should never have heard of the claim again. The course which we did take was simply to forward the Governor's despatch to the Admiralty in a lithographed form, without a word of explanation and without any step to get the money paid to their credit. The Accountant General of the Navy has therefore never received the money and hence for 2 1/2 years more this claim has continued to trouble both Offices, without apparently either the one or the other ever making out what it was all about. At last in Oct. 1861 the Agents General were ordered to pay the money to the Paymaster General to the credit of the Admiralty, but still the Admiralty itself was not informed. Even now therefore this claim might continue to harrass the two Departments for an indefinite number of years more. What we ought to do is to tell the Admiralty itself on every occasion that the money is paid into the hands of some one who can place it to the credit of the Navy.
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I annex a draft of a letter of inquiry to the Agents General, and when they answer we must write accordingly to the Admiralty. I also annex an answer to the Treasury. It is a lame story and will not redound to our credit as men of business. For of course the money was paid into the Treasury Chest at Columbia with a view to it's being taken out of the Treasury in this Country: ordering it to be remitted by the Governor will probably entail a heavy loss of exchange besides the probability of a great deal more correspondence before this affair is finally closed. In fact I think it will be better at once to write again to the Governor in the terms of a draft which is annexed. This case has certainly not been happily managed.
TFE 7 March
Other documents included in the file
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Draft, Rogers to Hamilton, 13 March 1862, concerning the £67 for Gosset's passage.
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Draft, Rogers to Agents General, 15 March 1862, requesting information on whether or not the £67 had been paid to the paymaster general.
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Draft reply, Newcastle to Douglas, No. 110, 13 March 1862, asking Douglas about the payment and advising how best to proceed if it has not already been made.
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Edward Romilly and W.L. Maberly, Audit Office, to Treasury, 5 February 1862, questioning where the sum of £67 was issued.