Gosset to Elliot (Assistant Under-Secretary)
58 Gloster Crescent
Hyde Park
Novr 10 1862
Probably the most satisfactory reply I can give your communication of the 30th, with reference to the Assay & Melting branch of the British Columbia Mint, is, by soliciting from His Grace the Duke of Newcastle, that attention to my report of July 15/62, which, in it, I ventured to ask.
The report embraced the very points now under consideration—the Departments pastconditionManuscript image condition, and prospects.
It was penned specially for the information of His Grace, in anticipation of my views as Head of the Department being desired. It was forwarded to Governor Douglas for transmission as part of a correspondence relating to certain claims advanced by the Assay Officers, and should therefore be found in your office. I however enclose a copy.
To that report I should have nothing to add, were it not, that in your letter under acknowledgement, the sum of £9000 is in error quoted to me, as outlay in connection with the MeltingandManuscript image and Assay Department; whereas, that sum, as the report clearly states, includes the cost (about £2000) of the Mint, or coining, machinery, procured by Mr Douglas in 1861, prematurely as I thought at the time, and erected by me at New Westminister prior to my departure.
As my report further implies, other reductions should be made, in studying the legitimate cost of the Assay Establishment.
Although such corrections in the total expenditure, are necessary towardsanManuscript image an impartial scrutiny of the Department's career, it is not to be inferred, that I ever calculated upon first costs, plant, freight, passages, buildings &c &c, being directly repaid by current receipts.
When I wrote on the 25th April 1859, advocating the Melting and Assay parts of a Mint, I only anticipated the direct repayment of Current expenses by current receipts, and that, not until after the first year of the Department's establishment.
That my original expectations have not been fully realized, and may notbeManuscript image be, even during another year, does not shake my conviction of their rectitude. At the time I formed my opinions, I never imagined, that British Columbia's Capital would long be without a resident Governor, or the Colony without a Council and Assembly or that therefore, many measures contemplated at the time, deemed by the Colonists essential to British Columbia's progress, and which such institutions would have ensured at an early date, could have remained wanting to this day!
The Assay office has shared in the general effects resulting from a lack of apopularManuscript image popular policy. It suffered also a direct blow at the outset from delay in its establishment, for, doubts as to its future promptness were at once engendered, and to my discomfiture, private assayers were forming their connections the while. Notwithstanding these drawbacks, the Department is steadily gaining public confidence. A comparison of corresponding quarters, exhibits a regular and promising increase of business; and, the receipts by fees, although, as you remind me, if only £900 in two years, were £600 in the second year, orone thirdManuscript image one third of the annual current expenses.
In Augst, my last month in the Colony, about 5,500 ounces of gold were received for assay, against 1,700 ounces in the corresponding month of last year—a triple quantity. Should this rate of average continue, the Department would be directly self-supporting.
But, whether the current fees do or do not suffice to defray expenses, is regarded by the Colonists as a matter of very little moment. The effect of the Government office in checkingmalpracticesManuscript image malpractices amongst private assayers, is understood and loudly acknowledged. The saving to the Colony by this alone, at the lowest computation, 2 exceeds the total cost of the assay department, first cost current expenses, and every other item included!.
To confine any examination of the department's worth, to the mere consideration of its apparent cost, to the exclusion of the well known fact that any disturbance of its operations would be the tocsin for an enormous loss to the general community, would but ill accord with the views of theremarkablyManuscript image remarkably intelligent and practical people of British Columbia, who, sensible of the department's great value, desire its fullest development, and, of all expenditure out of taxation, have approved none more than that for the erection of the Melting, Assay, (and now Mint) buildings in New Westminister, and for preserving efficiency therein.
I have the honor to be Sir
Your most obedient Servant
W. Driscoll Gosset
Dy Master B.C. Mint
P.S. In confirmation of my statementsas toManuscript image as to public opinion, I enclose an adress presented to me by the Council of New Westminster. W.D.G.
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Elliot
The report which Capt Gosset refers—and of which he now sends a Copy has not been received thro' the Govr.
VJ 11 Nov
With reference to our late Correspondence with the Treasury, (22 Sepr from here & their answer of 1862-10-236) send them, for their Consideration, this letter received from Capn Gossett inManuscript image answer to a desire that he would furnish any observations that he might be able to offer on the subject.
Acke Capn Gossett's letter, acquaint him that his letter of the 15th July had not before reached this Departt, that the Duke of Newcastle has been glad to be furnished with the additional particulars and remarks which are supplied by that letter & by his present communication, & that they have been forwarded to the Lds C. of the Treasury for their Lordships information?
TFE 12 Novr
N 18
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
Elliot to G.A. Hamilton, Treasury, 24 November 1862, forwarding correspondence relative to the assay office in British Columbia for observations and suggestions.
Manuscript image
Elliot to Gosset, 24 November 1862, expressing thanks for the details provided and advising that his correspondence had been forwarded to the treasury for information.
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
Manuscript image
Gosset to Colonial Secretary, 15 July 1862, regarding the disposition of the assay department with reference to a salary review requested by the staff.
Manuscript image
Return of the total expenditure and receipts of the assay office from organization in December 1859 to 30 June 1862, with remarks appended, signed by Gosset.
Manuscript image
Henry Holbrook, Municipal Council of New Westminster, to Gosset, 25 August 1862, thanking him for services rendered in the colony, including the establishment of the assay office.