No. 60
8th October 1864
My despatch No. 3 of the 26th April, begging that the order issued by the Duke of Newcastle for the payment of ten thousand seven hundred and four pounds 16s/7d (£10,704.16.7) for the buildings erected by the Royal Engineers in this Colony, might not be enforced was crossed by His Grace's despatch, No. 6 of the 4th April, stating that the money must bepaidManuscript image paid.
2. I presume that the payment is for the general services rendered to the Colony, not for the value of the buildings. Erected of the slightest materials without regard to appearances and being essentially a Camp, the Engineer quarters are but of little value to the Colony. Sir Edward Lytton's despatch No. 61 of the 10th December 1858, gives as one of the reasons for sending out a detachment of Engineers, "these being the soldiers who could with the most ease and rapidity cover themselves, and I thus enabled you to postpone costly buildings for the accommodationofManuscript image of troops until you could raise from Colonial Resources the means by which such improved accommodation might be provided." The Engineers have "with rapidity covered themselves," and it appears to me that the Colonial resources have to pay for "improved accommodation." The Camp was erected without any view to the buildings being ultimately converted to Civil purposes.
3. I must however state that I am at present in the occupation of Colonel Moody's house, which, I have made at the expense of the Colony, tolerably habitable and which will obviate for a few years, iftheManuscript image the Colony continues to languish, the necessity of building a Government House. Here the Colony has clearly profited by the Engineers buildings. Colonel Moody laid out, I am told, one thousand pounds (£1,000) on this house. Could not this sum be fairly accepted by Her Majesty's Treasury as a settlement in full?
4. I have seen in the West Indies the Imperial Troops Marched out of magnificent barracks, which were at once handed over to the Colonial Authorities without charge. The Military stores were given with the buildings and soon afterwards soldforManuscript image for the benefit of the Colony. If we could become possessed of buildings like those at the Ridge, Antigua or Brimstone Hill St. Kitts, I would most willingly pay double the amount claimed for the perishable huts on the Fraser.
5. The enforcement of this claim will fall with peculiar severity on the Colony just now when we have to pay the expenses of the late Chilicoten insurrection but should you still desire the ten thousand seven hundred and four pounds 16s/7d, (£10,704.16.7) to be repaid to the Treasury, you might perhaps instruct the Colonial Agents to pay it out of theproceedsManuscript image proceeds of the New Loan.
I have the honor to be
Your most obedient
humble Servant
Frederick Seymour
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
The cost of these Buildings is, you are aware provided for in the Colonial Estimates. It has already been decided that the Colony should pay the Sum of £10704, for them—a large amount, if the frail buildings cannot be turned to any permanent use, either for Civil or Military purposes.
VJ 20 D
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Mr Fortescue
Governor Seymour seems to me to show strong reasons for considering it rather a hardship if the Colony is forced to pay the large sum of £10704 for the Huts which the Royal Engineers have vacated, and which will be of no great value to the Colony. These fabrics, such as they are, it must be remembered, have long been built, and their cost paid, and the only question is whether the Colony should be forced to repay the amount to the Imperial Exchequer.
On general grounds my opinion is that it is not only illiberal but impolitic, to deal hardly in such cases with a new Colony. I would beg leave to draw particular attention to Governor Seymour's remarks on the precedents in the West Indies. England is a great Country and it has not been her custom in vacating buildings which she no longer requires in young or poor Communities, to exact payment of their value. It must be a question for Mr Cardwell however, whether or not he will make any representation on the subject to the Treasury.
TFE 21 Decr
The Colony seems to me to have a good case. The expenditure upon the Barracks was purely military.
CF 22
Other documents included in the file
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Elliot to G.A. Hamilton, Treasury, 29 January 1865, forwarding correspondence on the subject and advising that the reasons offered by the governor appeared worthy of consideration.
Minutes by CO staff
Submitted for approval.
TFE 28/1