No. 36, Financial
3 June 1863
I have had the honor of receiving Your Grace's Despatch No 17 of the 31st March, enjoining upon me the manner in which the new Loan of £50,000 is to be raised. My Despatch No 30 of the 14th Ultimo,willManuscript image will have satisfied Your Grace that your instructions in this respect have been most implicitly followed. On the 14th Ultimo I forwarded the Loan Act to the Agents General with authority to dispose of the Debentures upon the most advantageous terms that they could procure, and I shall draw upon them from time to time upon account of the proceeds. I trust however that the explanation I afforded in my Despatch No 28 of the 13th May will haveplacedManuscript image placed my proceedings in connection with the first Loan upon a very different footing to that exhibited by the Agents General.
2. I have perused with deep regret Your Grace's observations in respect to my Despatch No 6 of the 10th January last, and to my inability to repay during 1862 the whole of the value of the specie sent out, viz £6,900. I can most confidently assert that it hasbeenManuscript image been my sincere desire to carry out Your Grace's instructions to the letter, and nothing short of positive inability would have caused the postponement on which Your Grace's animadverts. I am aware that it was within my power to have avoided that inability and to have been in possession of surplus funds; but I am also aware that such a state of things could only have been brought about by a course of inaction that although relieving me of a load ofanxietyManuscript image anxiety and harassing uncertainty would have brought the progress of the Colony to a stand still—would have depopulated the country, would have given the people cause to cry out in bitterness against their rulers, and in time would have created such a mass of evil, that would I conceive when brought about by me have caused Her Majesty's Government justly to regard me as unfit for the responsible position in which they have been pleasedtoManuscript image to place me. If I have not made these matters clear to Your Grace in the Despatches I have had the honor to address you; if I have not sufficiently explained the unprecedented circumstances of the Colony, the distance of the Gold Fields from the Port of entry, the impracticable character of the Country, the famine prices of provisions at the Mines, checking enterprise, killing industry, retarding immigration, and if I havenotManuscript image not represented in sufficiently strong terms the imperative necessity for the salvation of the country at any cost to open communication to the Mines, then indeed I have signally failed in my endeavor. I have felt it my solemn duty never to pause for one moment in the great work of rendering the country accessible, notwithstanding that I have been surrounded and occasionally almost overwhelmed by difficultiesandManuscript image and impediments financial and otherwise. The co-operation I have received from Your Grace in my uphill task has been most cheering to me, and I acknowledge with gratitude, Your Grace's kind intercession with the Lords of the Treasury as contained in Mr Elliot's letter of the 21st July 1862 in which Your Grace regards my request that Her Majesty's Government would supply the funds to maintain the Royal EngineersforManuscript image for 1862 as being worthy of indulgent consideration. Your Grace's Despatch of the 13th May 1862 No 122 was received by me on the 2nd July following. In that Despatch I am directed to repay the value of the specie, viz £6,900, by one of two methods, viz either by curtailing my drafts on Her Majesty's Treasury, or else by a direct remittance to England. It is obvious that the former course was the most economicalandManuscript image and most simple, and had Her Majesty's Government provided the whole cost of the Royal Engineers for 1862 the repayment would have been effected; for during 1862 I only drew the sum of £4,000 from Her Majesty's Paymaster General on their behalf. Their remaining expenses were defrayed by funds provided by the Colony, and as those expenses amounted to nearly £3000 in excess of the Estimate there will be a reclamation infavorManuscript image favor of the Colony for a moiety of the excess. The reply of the Lords of the Treasury to Mr Elliot's letter as aforesaid altho' in part ignoring the earnest representations I had made of the necessity of my having funds to carry on great public Works, still provides that if I should find myself under the necessity of sending home Drafts beyond the authorized amount that their Lordships would communicatefurtherManuscript image further with the Secretary of State before declining to honor them. Had I remitted the whole of the £6,900 I should have been placed in this necessity. I did not however remit it, and consequently I abstained from over drawing on the Imperial Treasury, and I therefore trusted that the amount would be considered as repaid for 1862, the overdraft caused by such repayment being refunded in1863Manuscript image 1863. That this arrangement helpless as I was to effect any other should have occasioned Your Grace's surprise and disappointment is to me a matter of deep vexation and regret; and I now hasten to discharge the remaining liability of the Colony in this respect. By this opportunity I forward Bills to the Agents General to place them in the necessary funds and I have instructed them to pay in to the account of Her Majesty's Paymaster General on behalf of the Colony of British Columbia the sum of £5052.3.8 which I believe will liquidate the liability on accountofManuscript image of the undermentioned, viz
Refund for Specie £6900.0.0
Overpayment Assay Office 152.3.8
Less amount undrawn in 1862 2000.0.0
5052.3.8 Trusting that this course may be satisfactory to Your Grace.
I have the honor to be
My Lord Duke
Your Grace's most obedient
Humble Servant
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Elliot
Governor Douglas is a grand hand at a despatch—& his defense seems complete.
ABd 17 July
It will be complete if the Treasury are able to agree in his Calculations, which may be, I should fear, far from unquestionable. With reference to our last letter to them in which we submitted his request to beManuscript image relieved from various charges (and which they have, I think, never answered) send this to the Treasury, and request to be informed whether their Lordships are satisfied with the Governor's explanations and with the steps which he has reported as effecting a settlement of his accounts?
TFE 17 July
CF 18
N 20
Other documents included in the file
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Elliot to G.A. Hamilton, Treasury, 25 July 1863, forwarding copy of the despatch and asking whether Douglas's settlement of account was satisfactory.