No. 13
3rd March 1865
Sir,
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Despatch of the 24th of November, No. 70 in which you report that your Predecessor having appointed the Legislative Council of British Columbia to last for one Year, which expired on the 31st of December, you had reconstituted the Board and made several fresh appointments.IManuscript image I have no observations to make upon the selections which have been made, but the course which you have pursued in effecting this reconstruction will I fear give rise to inconvenience if unless prompt steps are taken for obviating it.
In the first place I do not see under what authority you are empowered to "dissolve" the Legislative Council. That mode of proceeding is appropriate to a legally constituted Representative Assembly. But the British Columbia Council is not technically a Representative Body, but a mere CrownCouncilManuscript image Council to which the expedient of dissolution is not naturally applicable, and is not made applicable by the Order in Council which established the British Columbia Legislature.
The only modes by which a Councillor can be relieved of his Office are 1st by the expression of Her Majesty's pleasure under Clause 5, of the Order in Council. 2ndly by his seat being declared vacant by the Governor upon his bankruptcy under Clause 13, and 3rd by his suspension by the Governor on some definite charge, underClause 14Manuscript image Clause 14, of the Order in Council, and 23rd of the Governor's instructions 2nd serious doubts may (to say the least) may be entertained whether the new Councellors are not unlawfully appointed as having been appointed before their Predecessors term of Office had expired. With the view of extricating you from this dillemna [dilemma], I am disposed to recommend you to reappoint the gentlemen whom you have already appointed and as soon as they are reappointed to pass a Law establishing retrospectively the validity of all acts and proceedings takenbeforeManuscript image before their reappointment.
In adopting the course which you have pursued I think you have not been sufficiently alive to the necessity of studying the exact provisions made by the instruments under which your powers as Governor are conferred upon you before you proceed to exercise any of those powers.
And I cannot too strongly urge upon you the necessity of acting with great care and in any doubtful case with the advice of counsel in matters where the legal validity of your proceedings isliableManuscript image liable to be impeached.
I have the honor to be
Sir,
Your most obedient
humble servant
Edward Cardwell
People in this document

Cardwell, Edward

Seymour, Frederick

Places in this document

British Columbia

Cardwell, Edward to Seymour, Frederick 3 March 1865, NAC RG7:G8C/12, 94. 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/B657013.html.

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