Hamilton to Rogers (Permanent Under-Secretary)
Treasury Chambers
8th December 1865
With reference to Mr Elliot's letter of the 11th Ultimo, in which he transmitted a copy of a despatch from the Acting Governor of British Columbia, enclosing an application from Mr O'Reilly the Gold Commissioner of the Cariboo District to be relieved from liability on account of a sum of public money amounting to £586.5s.10d, of which a Constable travelling with him had been robbed in October 1862, I am directed by the Lords Commissoners of Her Majesty's Treasury to transmit to you the enclosed copy of a Report of the Commissioners of Audit, showing howfarManuscript image far Mr O'Reilly stands charged with this sum as part of a larger sum of £3475.13s.3d as Collector's Balances not passed through the Treasurer's Cash Books for 1864.
It is to be regretted that the late Governor did not bring this subject under the consideration of the Secretary of State at an earlier period, when more light might have been thrown by him upon the question of the responsibility of Mr O'Reilly for the loss, and Their Lordships would here remark, with reference to the Statement of the Commissioners of Audit that the sum stolen in 1862 is outstanding against the Accountant in the Accounts of 1864, as part of a larger sum, shows the existence of an unreasonable delay in bringing up the Accounts of sub-accountantsinManuscript image in British Columbia, to which They consider that the attention of the Governor should be called with a view to obtaining a system of earlier account for public monies in the Colony.
With reference however to the immediate question of relieving Mr O'Reilly from responsibility for the loss of the sum of £586.5s.10d, it appears to Their Lordships that that officer, on the robbery being reported to him, took steps to investigate the matter by offering a reward, and by bringing the Constable before a Justice of the Peace, though without any satisfactory result, and further by dismissing the Constable on account of his culpable carelessness, and taking into consideration the alleged difficulty of transporting money in safety throughtheManuscript image the upper part of the Colony and the other circumstances reported, My Lords are of opinion that Mr O'Reilly may on this occasion be relieved from responsibility for the loss, but with a warning, if he is still in the service, to exercise more vigilance over persons accompanying him to whom he entrusts public monies.
I am,
Your obedient Servant,
Geo. A. Hamilton
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
Authorize the Governor to relieve Mr O'Reilly from responsibility for the loss of the £586.5.10 adding the warning suggested in this letter. Also call the Governor's attention to the delay in rendering accounts of Public Monies?
VJ 11 Decr
TFE 11/12
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Copy, W.L. Maberly and C. Macaulay, Audit Office, to Treasury, 23 November 1865, concerning the disposition of O'Reilly's accounts.
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Cardwell to Officer Administering the Government, No. 94, 16 December 1865.