Douglas to Cardwell
14th Decr 1864 The Right Honble Edward Cardwell H.M. Principal Secretary of State for the Colonies

Absence from England has prevented me from acknowledging, at an earlier date, the receipt of Sir Frederic Rodgers' Despatch of the 9th August last, conveying to me your decision upon my application of the 2d of July 1864, for the residue of salary, which I considered was due to me, for the balance of the term short served of my appointment as Governor of the Colony of British Columbia.
2. Nothing could be further from my desire, than to prefer any claim that could be justly considered unreasonable, and did it appear to me, after a most careful consideration of the reasons you advance for declining to entertain this claim, that it could, in any way, be socharacterizedManuscript image characterized, I would at once abandon it. I venture, however, very respectfully to conceive, that the circumstances attending it are of a peculiar and wholly unprecedented character, and that the case is not parallel to that of other Governors, in which category you apprehend it was Sir Edward Lyttons intention to place me when I was appointed.
I have no knowledge of any case in which other Governors have been required to surrender their most valuable interests in order to hold their appointments.
I was informed that Her Majestys Government would appoint me for "six years at least," and it was a condition of that appointment not that any existing private interests, I might have elsewhere, should remain in abeyance, but that I shouldabsolutelyManuscript image absolutely give up and surrender all my connexion with the Hudsons Bay and Puget Sound Companies, together with my interests therein present and prospective.
There was no ambiguity in these terms. I accepted them and on my part, faithfully fulfilled them. I submit, therefore, that my position was not that of other Governors, but rather that of an officer, who gives a valuable consideration for a commission, which he becomes entitled to hold, on the stipulated conditions, for its entire term.
3. In reply to your remarks as to the unreasonableness of the time, at which my claim is preferred, I would desire to explain, that I was restrained by motives of delicacy from bringing it forward in my private communication to theDukeManuscript image Duke of Newcastle, alluded to in Sir Frederic Rodgers' Despatch.
I had no reason to suppose from His Grace's private letter to me announcing the probability of my removal from Office, for reasons solely of convenience and policy, that H.M. Government would be unmindful of my just rights, in the contemplated arrangement. I was not informed in the letter of the 16th of March when the change would take place: on the contrary, I was kept for many months afterwards, in a state of most tantalizing suspense. I believe it to be obvious from the whole spirit and tenor of my reply of the 31st July, that I relied on the fulfillment of the original agreement. Indeed, anxious to meet the views of His Grace in any project he might haveforManuscript image for the different administration of the Government of the two Colonies—and the first intimation of which, I would here observe, was greatly to my pain and mortification, given to me through the public prints—and naturally desiring rest after a difficult and harassing term of office, I, in mentioning it to have been my intention to apply to be relieved, at the close of the year, wished to convey what I then suggested to His Grace, that leave of absence should be given me, until the expiry of the term of my appointment.
I could, I am sure, make this the more apparent, had I my papers to consult, but not having brought them with me to England, I can only state the impressions under which they were written.
I would observe also, that it was not until the middle orlatterManuscript image latter end of February, that I heard definitely when I should be relieved.
My successor in Vancouver Island arrived in the following month, and Governor Seymour relieved me in British Columbia in April. I left shortly afterwards for England, and it seems to me that I could not well, have preferred my claim, at an earlier period, without giving rise to the impression that I was not anxious to fall in with the arrangements of Her Majestys Government. I may be mistaken in this: I should perhaps, not have allowed such feelings of delicacy to interfere with the upholding of what appeared to me my just rights, but having done so—whether mistakenly or not—does not, I apprehend, either legally or morally, vitiate ordiminishManuscript image diminish the force of these rights.
4. In reference to your allusions to the treatment I have received, on the part of Her Majesty's Government, I beg most distinctly to disavow either in this or in my former communications, upon this subject, any expression that could be construed into a complaint of their action. On the contrary, it has been my good fortune to receive from Her Majesty's Government, much kindness and consideration upon numerous occasions of trial and difficulty; and in again advancing what I should be loth to think, could be classed with the recognition of my humble services by Her Majestys Government, but what I view to be simply a claim founded upon the strictest equity. I feel sure that the fullest weight will be given to all the peculiar circumstances connected with it, and that justice will be done.
I have the honour to be
Your most obt hum: Servt
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Elliot
See minutes and draft attached to 6267.
VJ 17 Decr
Sir F. Rogers
As you dealt chiefly with this claim of Sir J. Douglas at the former stage, I forward his present letter to you.
He speaks at the beginning as if the place of Governor had been imposed upon him, and talks of having been "required" on that account to give up some of his most valuable interests. Of course the original despatch had better be referred to, but one may feel pretty sure that the Government was offered to Sir J. Douglas, and that he cannot be correct in speaking as if he, a free British Subject, had been compelled to take this appointment and to dispose of any of his private interests against his will.
TFE 17 Decr
I suppose he means that his abandonment of his interests in the H.B.C. was made a condition of his receiving a Govt for six years.
I think I should reply simply that Mr C. felt himself unable to depart from the decision already communicated to him.
Whatever was the original understanding or misunderstanding he waived it in his correspondence with the D. of N.
FR 17/12
I agree. This is a very discreditable demand.
CF 21
EC 11 [January]
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
Elliot to Douglas, 16 January 1865, advising that the previous decision to refuse his claim remain unchanged.