No. 3
26 April 1864
My Lord Duke,
A few days before my departure for British Columbia I had a conversation in Downing Street with an Officer of Her Majesty's Treasury, in the presence of several gentlemen of the Colonial Office, respecting a claim advanced by the ImperialGovernmentManuscript image Government against this Colony for the sum of ten thousand, seven hundred pounds (£10,700) expended on the erection of Barracks for the Royal Engineers at New Westminster. Even from the statement of the official gentlemen present at the interview it appeared to me that the claim was one which could not without some appearance of injustice be pressed against the Colony; and I think itwasManuscript image was conceded on behalf of the Treasury that no further steps would be taken in the matter until I had reported with local knowledge upon the question.
I have not been able in the short time which has elapsed since my arrival in British Columbia to find the correspondence respecting this supposed debt to the Treasury, but one glance at the Engineer's CamphasManuscript image has convinced me that the buildings are almost valueless to the Colony. I would therefore earnestly beg that no further steps be taken to enforce payment of the account claimed until I shall have had an opportunity of laying my view of the question before Your Grace.
I have the honor to be
My Lord Duke
Your Grace's most
obedient humble Servant
Frederick Seymour
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Elliot
Though I was present at the interview referred to I do not recollect that it was conceded that no conclusive steps shd be taken in this matter until Govr Seymour had reported. My impression is that it was simply a case of remonstrance of Mr Seymour, against charging the Colony withManuscript image payment of the claim, to which, with some discourse on our part, we all listened; but that no expectation was held out by any person present that the Govt wd give way. At this moment the case stands in this position. Sir Jas Douglas has contracted a fresh Loan of £100,000 and by desph 4383/64 he has told us that he has instructed the Crown Agents to pay the debt due by the Colony out of that Loan, as soon as the Loan receives the sanction of the Govt. The Loan has been sanctioned—see T-y letter 5280/64—but will the terms of it justify us in directing the Agents to repay the advance? You will observe that the T-y confine the application of the Loan "to the survey and first construction of Roads and Bridges & Public Works." The Barracks, on account of which this debt has been incurred, may surely be regarded as a "public work." But it would have been convenient to us if the Treasury had more definitely said that they concurred in the arrangement proposed by the Govr in his Desph 4383—of which we sent them a copy.
It will be necessary for us toManuscript image immediately tell the Crown Agents that the Loan Act has been sanctioned. I assume that no departure from the determination to make the Colony will be permitted.
ABd 10 June
All that Governor Seymour asks is that we will take no positive step till we receive a further letter which he means to write.
It will take a long time to raise the loan, and a still longer time to pay away it's proceeds.
I feel no doubt therefore that there will be ample opportunity to hear from him again before anything is done. Meanwhile put by.
TFE 10 June
I think so.
CF 11
Notice may be given to the Crown Agents that this claim is in suspense.
EC 14