No. 5
31st January 1865
Sir,
I informed you in my despatch No. 72 of 26th November, that I purposed to transfer Mr William George Cox, Assistant Gold Commissioner in Cariboo West to a similar position at the Kootenay Mines. I would beg leave now to report that I have postponedtheManuscript image the transfer for a year at least.
2. The Kootenay Mines are daily increasing in importance, and are the same time, at present, so inaccessible from the Seat of Government, that the position of Gold Commissioner and Police Magistrate in the new district becomes one of the utmost importance. That Officer must take upon himself the duties of Governor, Judge, and, to a certain extent, those of Legislator also. Mr Cox has all the good qualitiesattributedManuscript image attributed to him in my former despatch, but he has faults which I thought it unnecessary on a previous occasion to allude to. The manners which have made him popular with Miners and Indians are not quite those which I should wish the American population on the Kootenay to think characteristic of the English Public Officer.
In the previous desph Mr Seymour says that "the political duties of keeping on good terms with the Authorities of the neighbouring United S. Territories will, I think, be well performed by Mr Cox."
But I should probably have left his appointment untouched but for the further development of apeculiarityManuscript image peculiarity which I observed in him during the Expedition into the Chilicoten Country. Mr Cox wishes to be entirely uncontrolled. He will avoid co-operating with another Officer if he can, or attending to instructions which are not Commands from the Governor. I made great allowance for his occasional disregard of my wishes in his former position of a Civilian suddenly called upon to lead an Expedition against savages and overlooked the circumstancesentirelyManuscript image entirely when I offered him the post on the Kootenay. The Appointment was speedily followed by the request that he would come to New Westminster before assuming the duties of his New Office. I wrote informally, but any other Officer would have taken my note as a command. I stated that I considered it of great importance that he should meet his predecessor on the Kootenay, Mr Haynes, and also the Colonial Secretary, before taking uponhimselfManuscript image himself duties of enormous importance in a country entirely new to him. I offered him a room in my house, and he was well aware that his travelling expenses would have been paid, but he apparently wished to be totally unfettered by instructions and announced, though in perfectly respectful terms, his intention of proceeding direct to the Kootenay.
3. Upon the receipt of this intimation I sent for Mr O'Reilly, the Gold Commissioner at Cariboo,nowManuscript image now in attendance on his Legislative duties, and said I should feel obliged if he would take charge of the Kottenay district for this year, when the proper management of its affairs is of almost vital importance to the Colony. Mr O'Reilly consented. I am not aware if this Gentleman is known to your Department, but I may assure you, that there is no one in this Colony—indeed taking his long Cariboo experience into consideration—there is nooneManuscript image one out of it either, whom I had sooner see represent the English Government during the first year that thousands of American Miners will be under its rule.
4. I propose to leave Mr Cox in charge of Mr O'Reilly's Office in Cariboo East during the latter Gentleman's employment elsewhere. This arrangement inflicts no hardship upon Mr Cox. It has always been held that the Governor can change the scene of duties of the AssistantGoldManuscript image Gold Commissioner at his pleasure and Mr Cox on receiving notice of his appointment to the Kootenay, merely expressed his readiness to serve wherever I might direct.
I have the honor to be,
Sir,
Your most obedient
humble Servant
Frederick Seymour
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Elliot
I confess I don't much like this proceeding of Mr Seymours. If he had had any discrimination he must have seen Mr Cox's unsuitable "manners" when he appointed him to the Office of Magistrate at "Kootenay," & to deprive him of the post before he has been tried in it is, I think, premature. The Governor moreover had observed Mr Cox's indisposition to submit to control or attend to instructions, & nevertheless he appd him to "Kootenay." The Governor says that this supercession of Mr Cox by Mr O'Reilly inflicts no hardship on the former. Perhaps not, but it is a slight which, I suspect, Mr Cox will resent, & make a ground of complaint. Is it possible that the Governor can have been affronted at Mr Cox not availing himself of his offer of hospitality at New Westminster and going instead direct to Kootenay? You will see that Mr Cardwell has approved (25 Feb.) of Mr Cox's apptment at Kootenay. According to my view I should defer answering this despatch until a sufficient time has elapsed to admit of any complaint being recd from Mr Cox, who may give another version of the transaction.
ABd 21 April
The answer I should make would be, that Mr Cardwell must necessarily depend mainly on his (Mr Seymour's) judgement in the choice and distribution of the gentlemen whom he selects on the spot to be officers of his Government.
Just allowance must be made for his difficulties. He has rough people to deal with and I should not too readily condemn him forManuscript image making examps which may be evoked by eccentricities, or stubbornness, on the part of people not much accustomed to subordination.
TFE 24 April
I agree with what Mr Elliot has said. But there can be no harm in waiting as Mr Blackwood proposes a sufft length of time to give Mr Cox the opportunity of stating his Case if he thinks proper to do so.
EC 28
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
Draft reply, Cardwell to Seymour, No. 34, 26 June 1865.
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Blackwood
See the Minutes on 3694. A sufficient length of time has, I conclude, elapsed to allow of any remonstrance being received from Mr Cox?
Mr Elliot
I think this proposed desph may be safely sent now.
ABd 23 June
Seymour, Frederick to Cardwell, Edward 31 January 1865, CO 60:21, no. 3694, 19. 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/B65005.html.

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