Cooper to Under-Secretary of State
June 16th 1865
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication [of] the 1st instant with enclosures.
For the information of Mr Secretary Cardwell, I have the honor to state that the report of the Finance Committee is incorrect.
The Statement of account, from February 13th 1864, the commencement of the Hospital year, together with the vouchers, and a balance of something over 20$ was handed by me, to the President of the Institution prior to my departure.
How the Finance Committee have arrived at the result stated in their report, in the absence of any explanationManuscript image from them I am at loss to understand. It is evident they have ignored the existence of my reports; their proper course, was I conceive, if there were any items they could not have understood in my accounts to have asked for an explanation.
At this distance from British Columbia, and the documents I left with the President, Captain Cooper, it will be somewhat difficult to point out all the errors in the Finance Committee's Report. I may mention however that I notice a balance of upwards of 200$, which was due to the Treasurer at the close of the previous year, and which appears in the printed Report of the Institution's affairs for the year ending February 12th 1864; it is not entered in the Finance Committee's Report. The amount of Subscriptions or rather Donations, said by them to have been received by the Treasurer, is in excess of the correct amount by about 400$. This error may have arisen from the circumstance of the Donation List having been commenced in 1863, and continued through 1864, many who putManuscript image down their names in the former year, did not pay till the latter; the amount received prior to February 12th 1864, was accounted for in the Report of the year ending upon that date; and the balance about 500$ received afterwards was accounted for in the Report given by me to the President; the several amounts received in each year were pointed out to him. I am thus able to point out errors in the Report of the Finance Committee as under,
Balance due to the Treasurer on February 12th 1864, say 210
Donations received and accounted for prior to Feby 12th 1864, and charged by the Finance Committee in error, say 400
Balance in hand in January 1865, handed to the President and omitted in the Finance Committee's Report, say 25
Total errors explained 635
Difference of Finance Committee's Report 685 .72
Balance unexplained 50 .72
This balance I have no doubt I could explain if I had the documents before me, and shall unravel it immediately on my return to the Colony.
About the middle of January, on returning from Victoria, I found an Auditor, Mr McMicking had been appointed; but I thought it better to hand the accounts to the President, who thoroughly understood them, at the same time that I handed him the balance, and my resignation of the post of Honorary Treasurer; which I had held by public re-election since the establishment of the Hospital. My time upon this occasion was barely sufficient to enable me to bid friends farewell &c, having to leave by the following trip of the Steamer, in order to arrive in Victoria for the San Francisco Steamer.
The accounts and vouchers for the previous years, were inadvertently packed in one of twelve cases of Clothing Books Papers &c; had I thought it a matter of any moment, I would have had the cases unpacked, and handed these documents to the President; but as the trouble would have been considerable, I left it until my return to the Colony.
I trust this explanation will be considered satisfactory, and that theManuscript image instructions recently issued to the Agents General may be withdrawn. Should I not have been sufficiently explicit upon any point, it will afford me pleasure to give any further explanation in my power.
I have the honor to be,
Your obedt Servant
John Cooper
The Under Secretary of State
for the Colonies
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
The Board of Management of the Royal Columbian Hospital, of which Institution Mr Cooper was the Honorary Treasurer, appointed a Committee to inquire into the state of the accounts—and the following is in substance the result of their investigation.
1st The Hospital Accounts are in a loose and unsatisfactory condition.
2. No record is kept of the Receipts & Expenditure, and the Vouchers for 1862 and 1863 are not to be found.
3. Every effort was made to haveManuscript image the Accounts audited before Mr Cooper left the Colony, but he treated the Board of Management with disrespect & refused to hand over the Accounts & Vouchers to the Auditor appointed by the Board.
4. So far as the Committee are able to ascertain from the incomplete Documents in their hands there is a balance of 685 Dollars unaccounted for.
The Committee regret that for the want of the necessary Documents they are unable to prosecute the enquiry.
Mr Cooper meets these charges by stating that he handed over the Accounts from February 1864 toManuscript image the President of the Institution before he left the Colony, and that the Accounts & Vouchers for the previous years, 1862 and 1863 were inadvertently packed in one of his Cases, and that he could not without considerable trouble get at them: That he judged it better to hand over the Accounts & balance to the President than to [the] Auditor because he (the President) thoroughly understood them. Mr Cooper points out several errors in the Report of the Committee, which he asserts, would reduce the balance from 685 to 50 dollars & that this balance could be explained if he had access to the Documents.
Mr Cooper's Statement may be quite accurate, but until itsManuscript image accuracy is ascertained by comparison with the Receipts & Vouchers I do not think it can be accepted as releasing him from responsibility.
VJ 20 June
Mr Elliot
Mr Cooper's Statements cannot, it appears, be substantiated without reference to documents which are in B. Columbia, & which are only accessible to himself. The case cannot, therefore, be completely disposed of until after his return to the Colony. Further payments to him, on acct of his 1/2 salary, have in the meanwhile, been stopped. This inconvenience will, I suppose, be serious to Mr Cooper; but I do not think we should be justified, in the present doubtful state of the question, in taking off the stoppage.
ABd 20 June
Mr Cardwell
Mr Jadis has supplied a clear statement of the case and I have myself been through the papers since, and with quite the same results.
I agree with Mr Blackwood that we could not remove the stoppage of Salary.
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I annex a draft.
TFE 22 June
Other documents included in the file
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Elliot to Cooper, 10 July 1865, summarizing the points of dissatisfaction of the finance committee, and advising that his half salary could not be paid until the issue was settled.
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Draft reply, Cardwell to Seymour, No. 10, 13 July 1865.
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Summary of Cooper's references, prepared by Colonial Office staff, no date.
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Seymour to Jadis, 15 September 1866, asking whether the issue had been resolved, Cooper being anxious to receive his half salary, and stating that he did not believe the treasurer was guilty of any dishonest practices.
Minutes by CO staff
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Dear Blackwood,
When I left no report had been received on Mr Cooper's case. About June or July 1865 the case was referred to the Govr & the payment of Mr C's 1/2 pay suspended. If no reply has yet arrived you will probably recommend an official reminder being sent out.
Yours ever
V. Jadis
I have written privately to Birch for a report. Put by. Note Mr Cooper's address.
ABd 19 Sep