No. 89
30th June 1865
Sir,
I have had the honor to receive your despatch No. 6 of 18th February, informing me that Mr Trutch reports a sale of his interest in the Public Works in the Colony and directingmeManuscript image me upon his producing any evidence requisite to satisfy me of the completion of the transaction, to continue to take advantage of his Services in an Office for which he has been described to possess valuable qualifications.
2. I have now the honor to forward Copy of the correspondence which passed between Mr Trutch and myself on the subject referred to in your despatch on his return to the Colony as well as the opinionofManuscript image of the Members of the Executive Council upon Mr Trutch's proposal to transfer his right in the Alexandra Bridge to his brother. You will observe that I have thought it better to allow Mr Trutch openly to possess an interest in one of the competing roads to the mines, rather than sanction an arrangement which would have appeared a deception upon the Public.
3. The position in whichMrManuscript image Mr Trutch is placed must necessarily prevent my availing myself of his Services to the extent which I would do if he were independent of local influences, yet I see no alternative other than to place Mr Trutch in possession of the Office to which he was appointed by your predecessors. I have no one now residing in the Colony on whom I could temporarily confer the Appointment of Surveyor General.
4. I thinkManuscript image
4. I think that those who recommended Mr Trutch for the Office he holds should have mentioned his peculiar position in regard to the Public Works of this Colony.
Sir J. Douglas did mention them.
His appointment has caused considerable inconvenience and one of the most important situations in the Colony has been, with the exception of a few months, in abeyance ever since I have administered the Government.
I haveManuscript image
I have the honor to be,
Sir,
Your most obedient
humble Servant
Frederick Seymour
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
After all that has passed, there is nothing else to be done, I apprehend, than to sanction the course taken under the circes, by the Governor. But the sanction might be accompanied by the expression of some injunction on the part of this Office that no oppy be lost by Mr Trutch for parting with the Bridge.
ABd 7 Sep
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Mr Cardwell
Probably nothing better can be done under the circumstances. There is a good deal that might be said on this subject, but it would be rather long to say it in writing.
TFE 8 Sep
An illusory transfer will be worse than none. This may wait a short time in case Mr Seymour fulfills his intention of coming home. If not, let it come to me again.
EC 12
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Mr Elliot
You remember the case of Mr Trutch. He was appointed Surveyor General of British Columbia by the Duke of Newcastle. He was the best—nay the only elegible man in the Colony for the post, but he had interests in certain public works which were incompatible with his Office. It therefore became necessary that he shd divest himself of these interests. He sold one interest out and out, the remaining interest he arranged to dispose of to his Brother who was to pay him a certain sum down, & the rest by instalments. The Governor naturally thought this was an illusory sale of property, and has allowed Mr Trutch—see 8621/65—to possess openly his interest in the Alexandra Bridge & Road. The Governor's arrangement has never been approved or disapproved. He has waited the convenient moment for settlement. As Mr Seymour has been continued in the Office of Governor of B.C., and is about to return there I think it is proper thatManuscript image the matter should be disposed of, and I submit the papers accordingly. I need not here repeat that I have throughout held that it was very objectionable to appoint a man to an Office who had private interests in the department over which he presided, and I should myself have insisted on his giving up either his Office or his private gains; but the case has trained on so long without complaint that I trust that the public interests will not be found really to suffer in the hands of Mr Trutch. I see, therefore, nothing else to do except to sanction the course reported by the Govr on the 30 June 65/8621, under the special circes of the case.
But see a note of Mr Seymours of the 16 Augt which followed me into the Country.
ABd 4 Sepr 1866
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Mr Blackwood's memo shows the case. It is by no means easy to get a good Surveyor for such a Colony, and after Mr Trutch has been serving well for some years with no complaint, I should certainly not move him on the strength of an offhand private note from Mr Seymour, but should make it necessary for him to express his opinion, and it's reasons, in an official and responsible manner. I annex a draft for the purpose.
TFE 28 Sep
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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J.W. Trutch, Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works, to Seymour, 29 May 1865, advising of the sale of his interest in the Alexandra Bridge to his brother, and his interest in the Thompson Bridge to Thomas Spence.
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Memorandum of Agreement between Joseph William Trutch and John Trutch, 9 March 1865.
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A.N. Birch, Colonial Secretary, to J.W. Trutch, 22 June 1865, advising that sale of his interest to his brother would not be "satisfactory to the public," but appointing him to possession of the civil office with certain qualifications.
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Minute of Birch, 5 June 1865, expressing opinion that the proposed transaction in no way released Trutch from his interest in the bridge, and that to hold the property openly was preferable to an illusionary transfer.
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Minute of H.P.P. Crease, Attorney General, 5 June 1865, advising that sale to his brother did not appear to constitute a real transfer of the property and that it was better for his possession to be open.
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Minute of C.W. Franks, Treasurer, 1 June 1865, disapproving of the proposed arrangement and expressing opinion that Trutch be allowed to retain the bridge and the appointment.
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Minute of W. Hamley, Collector of Customs, 1 June 1865, advising that it was in the best interests of the colony that Trutch be appointed, but commenting that sale of the assets should be actively pursued.
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Seymour to Blackwood, 16 August 1865, expressing opinion that it would not be wise to deviate from principle and accepted practice by appointing Trutch while he held private interests which must interfere with his public duties.
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Carnarvon to Seymour, No. 11, 1 October 1866.
Seymour, Frederick to Cardwell, Edward 30 June 1865, CO 60:22, no. 8621, 155. 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/B65089.html.

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