Douglas to Cardwell
2d July 1864
Sir
It is with extreme reluctance that I venture to trespass upon your time with a matter of personal concern; as it is one, however, which involves a question of right, I think it only proper, that I should bring the subject fairly and frankly under your notice.
The matter I allude to is connected with the appointment which I lately had the honour of holding as Governor of British Columbia. When theofferManuscript image offer of that appointment was made to me by the right Honble Sir Edward Lytton in his Despatch No 3 of the 16th July 1858 it was accompanied by one imperative stipulation—which was, that I should relinquish the whole of my interests in the Hudsons Bay and Puget Sound Companies, and subject to that condition I was assured of the appointment, and that I should hold the office for "6 years at least," provided always, that my administration of the office continued to meet the approvalofManuscript image of Her Majesty's Government.
On these terms, involving I would observe, the sacrifice of many personal interests, I agreed to accept the appointment and, on my part, I have carefully, complied, in every particular, with the terms of that agreement.
Her Majestys commission containing my appointment as Governor of British Columbia is dated, if my memory be not in fault, on the 2d day of September 1858, and, strictly speaking is not terminable before the 2d day of Septmember 1864.
InManuscript image
In consequence however of the appointment of my successor at an earlier date, I ceased, altogether, to draw my salary as Governor of the Colony, from the 12th day of April 1864.
After the honours that Her Majesty has been pleased to confer upon me and the many kind and gratifying marks of approval which I have, from time to time, received from Her Majesty's Government, I cannot suppose that my premature removal from the office arose outofManuscript image of any feeling of dissatisfaction with my public administration, and I would appeal to the several Memorials, forwarded, since the middle of last year, through me, to His Grace the Duke of Newcastle, as a proof that there exists a very general impression, both among the people of Vancouver Island, and British Columbia, that my administration has been entirely successful, in maintaining the honour and dignity, of the Crown, and in furthering the best interests of these important Colonies.
The ClaimManuscript image
The Claim which I now submit, is simply what the justice of the case appears to call for, that is to say, that an allowance may be made to me equal to the sum that would accrue from my official salary, of £3000 per anm, for the interval (about 4 2/3 months) extending from the 12th April, to the 2d of September 1864; being the unexpired term of the six years, for which I was originally appointed.
I may add as a reason for pressing this claim that I have incurred very heavy expenses throughmyManuscript image my official position, and, the very unusual circumstance of my holding Her Majesty's Commission for two separate and distinct Governments, and having necessarily to entertain in two Colonies instead of one—expenses, I may observe, which are greatly in excess of my official Income.
I have the honour
to be
Your most Obt Servt
James Douglas

To the Right Honble
E. Cardwell
&c &c &c
Her Majesty's Principal
Secretary of State
for the Colonies
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Elliot
This is an unexpected claim. The S.S. despatch of the 16 July/58 (drafted by Mr Merivale) says "And it is the desire of H.Ms Govt to appoint you at once to that Office on the usual terms of a Governor's appointment, namely, for 6 yrs at least, your Administration of that Office continuing to merit the approval of H.M. Govt."
This desph construes wrongly our usual reading of the tenure by a Govr of his Office. I have always considered that though the appointment of a Governor was limited to 6 years it was not meant that the S.S. was precluded from removing him before the 6 years were over.
I fear that the precise terms of the S. States desph leaves us no escape: nor wd special pleading be very creditable to us, if employed against a man who has been Governor for 13 years of the Colonies of V. Couver Isld & B. Columbia. If the claim must be paid the money will have to come from B. Columbia.
ABd 6 July/64
Sir F. Rogers
See separate Minute.
TFE 19 July
Manuscript image
Sir F. Rogers
I cannot help observing that this claim of Sir J. Douglas's appears to me highly discreditable to him, and such a one as could hardly be expected from a gentleman who has just been selected for the rank of Knight Commander of the Honorable Order of the Bath.
No doubt Mr Merivale's draft was incautiously worded: the meaning was that the ordinary term of a Governor's service is six years; but that a man retiring with honors within a few months of completing that period should spring a sudden pecuniary claim on the Government under the letter of the bond, and should demand to be paid salary for a period during which he renders no service, is really astonishing. It is like a sharp Attorney's taking advantage of a flaw in a deed.
AnnexedManuscript image
Annexed is a useful Memo: in which Mr Ebden has collected for me all the leading particulars that our records will supply.
I would advise that in the first instance a letter be written to Sir James Douglas, pointing out to him that the real meaning of the despatch was that six years was the ordinary term of employment, but that it never could have been intended to imply that whether or not he were rendering any service to the Public, he was equally to draw salary for his private benefit, and that any such demand from a Governor is wholly unprecedented; and I should request to be informed whether under these circumstances, he still desires to urge the claim which he has submitted.
IfManuscript image
If he should answer in the affirmative, I should then proceed to construe in the strictest manner a claim which is founded on the letter and not on the spirit of his engagement. In the first place I would observe that the despatch on which he relies only announced to him a salary of "at least" £1000 a year, and therefore if he really must be allowed to put into his pocket unearned money as the penalty of not having sufficiently fenced that particular despatch, I should certainly not permit him to reckon the salary at any other higher rate than the one which it expressly named.
In the next place he seems to have drawn at the rate of £1800 from the beginning of his service. I should look to the despatch cited by Mr Ebden(ParlManuscript image (Parly Paper, Part 2, page 73,) and unless that were most distinctly retrospective, I should surcharge him with the excess in the rate of salary which he had drawn in the interval from his first appointment to that date.
In short where a claim is next thing to dishonest, I think that it would be our duty to take on behalf of the Public, the benefit of the letter of the documents just as the claimant rests upon the letter and upon that alone.
TFE 19 July
N.B. Private letter to Mr Engleheart July 27 adds infn as to date & manner of supersession.
[FR]
I have thought it best to obtain from Mr Engleheart copies of the correspondence betn the D. of N. & Sir J.D. wh resulted in his premature relief. It will be seen that on 16 March H.G. informed Sir J. (then Mr) DouglasManuscript image that the Colonies of V.C.I. & B.C. must be divided—that he could not conveniently be left a Governor of one, & that he must therefore be relieved of both.
Mr Douglas replies on the 13h of May not by stating that his office, or at least its emoluments were guaranteed to him for 6 years but that he did not see how his "premature removal from office one year previous to the term for wh I was originally appointed can be managed witht leaving an impression derogatory to the character of my administration. It was my intention" he added "to apply for relief at the close of the present year 1863" (in fact he continued in office till 12h of April 1864). "…I however leave the matter entirely in YG's hands. I only ask to be permitted to retire with honour, & that the officers" who had acted under him shd be suitably rewarded.
On the 31st July 1863 the Duke answered this letter informing him of his KCB.
On 8 Dec Sir J.D. offers his "sincere & hearty thanks for the extreme kindnessManuscript image of your private letter of 31 July" & particularly for the K.C.B.
I think I should answer as follows. First (as stated by Mr Elliot) that Mr Cardwell apprehends the dph of [blank] to have been intended to treat Sir J.D. on the same footing as other Governors that is to say to offer him a tenure of at least six years subject to removal not only for absolute misconduct, but in case of any politicial necessity like that wh actually arose—that it must be admitted that it was not unnatural for a person not conversant with the practise of the Public Service to place a stricter construction on the words actually used and to infer that a six years' tenure of office was guaranteed to him subject only to removal for misbehavior or incapacity. But that the proper occasion for alleging this guarantee was when on the 16 March 1863 the D of N ActingManuscript image upon his own construction of the dph of [blank] announced his intentions to relieve Sir J.D. before the expiration of his six years. If the guarantee had been so alleged it wd have been for H.G. to consider what course should be taken respecting it. But far from putting forward any such claim for pecuniary compensation Sir J.D. replied on 31 July ascertaining incidently that it had been his intention to apply for relief at the close of the then current year (3 1/4 months before the period at wh Sir JD was actually relieved) adverting indeed to his premature removal, but leaving the matter entirely in the D of N's hands and only asking to be permitted to retire with honour.
That to this letter the D. of N replied by informing him that he had been recommended for &c (K.C.B.). I trust he added that you will consider &c…as "approval."
That with this announcement Sir JD manifested no dissatisfaction but on the contrary offered his services & hearty thanks for its extreme kindness.
Manuscript image
That it is only in July 1864 [blank] months after the D of N's relinquishment of office that he advances this unexpected claim.
State that as the claim to compensation was not advanced by him but on the contrary appears implicitly waived in the correspondence between himself & the D of N and as his removal did not in fact take place till after the period at wh he states in that correspondence he had himself intended to apply for it Mr Cardwell wd not feel justified in applying either to Parlt or to the Legre of B.C. to grant Sir JD salary as Governor for 4 1/2 months after he ceased to perform the duties of that office.
[FR]
EC 3
Manuscript image
Mr Elliot
I think the facts, respecting the Salary of Governor Douglas are now fully collected.
He was offered the govt of B. Columbia "to be held for the present in conjunction with that of Vancouver I" on the 16th of July 1858 with a salary of at least £1000 a year from Home (PP Part I p. 43) in respect of B Columbia.
He accepted the office but objected to the salary, which was changed for £1800 a year from home for B. Columbia and Vancouver I (PP Part II p. 73).
He did not draw any salary before 1860 when he drew for £2395 or at the rate of £1800 a year from the 2nd of Septr 1858 the date of his commission to the 31st of Decr/59. The Bill was accepted (3210/1860).
Manuscript image
In the meantime he had represented his salary as still too small. Its insufficiency was acknowledged and he was permitted to draw £1200 additional from B Columbia provided the revenue reached £50000 (PP Part II p. 92).
He objected to this proviso (12573/1860) and he was specially authorised to draw £1200 for the year 1859 in which the Revenue was less than £50000. Since 1859 the revenue has exceeded £50000 (See Blue Books).
With respect to the £800 voted by Vancouver I we have returns only from 1 January 1862 to 30 June 1863 during which period he did not draw any of it. There is no entry of the recall of Governor Douglas or of the appointment of his successor but inasmuch as the result was known in the Colony before the 18th of September, it must have been sent not later than the 1st of August 1863.
P.S.Manuscript image £1800 a year for Governor Douglas was not provided in the Parliamentary Estimates up to the 31st of March 1863. He does not however appear to have drawn upon it after the 31st of December 1862. In fact In the Colonial (B.C.) Estimates for the year ending 31 December 1863, £3000 (viz £1800 + 1200) was inserted for the Governors Salary.

Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
[Enclosures with above:]
Extracts from private letters pertaining to the claim forwarded by Douglas, as follows:
1. Manuscript imageNewcastle to Douglas, 16 March 1863.
2. Manuscript imageDouglas to Newcastle, 13 May 1863.
3. Manuscript imageNewcastle to Douglas, 31 July 1863.
4. Manuscript imageDouglas to Newcastle, 8 December 1863.
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
Rogers to Douglas, 9 August 1864, refusing his claim for salary with extended explanation.
Douglas, James to Cardwell, Edward 2 July 1864, CO 60:20, no. 6267, 307. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871, Edition 2.2, ed. James Hendrickson and the Colonial Despatches project. Victoria, B.C.: University of Victoria. https://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/B646D01.html.

Last modified: 2020-12-02 13:40:34 -0800 (Wed, 02 Dec 2020) (SVN revision: 5008)