No. 56
14th July 1866
Sir,
Your despatch No. 23 of the 30th April directs me to reduce the expenditure of the present year to such an amount as may be covered by a Revenue calculated on the actual average Receipts of the lasttwoManuscript image two years. I have in my despatch No. 50 explained the causes of the heavy expenditure of the past, I have also informed you that the outlay on public works during the present Year has been reduced to the lowest limit. The only manner in which I could carry out the instructions I have received would be in the reduction of the Civil List.
2. During the past nine months I have made reductionsunderManuscript image under this head amounting to nearly £8,000 and I am of opinion that considerable reductions may still be made without impairing the efficiency of the Public Service, but before doing so I should wish to receive instructions as the Chief Appointments I propose to abolish are held by Gentlemen appointed by the Secretary of State. I mean the Treasurer, the Post Master General and the Harbour Master.
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3. I propose to abolish the Treasury Department, increasing the Staff of the Collector of Customs by one Clerk and entailing upon the Head of that Department the light duties now performed by the Treasurer.
The Postal Service of the Colony in no way justifies the appointment of a Post Master General. The Registrar General is perfectly capable of undertaking the supervisionofManuscript image of the Postal Department without any extra assistance or remuneration. The appointment of a Harbour Master for British Columbia is one that could hardly have been suggested by any one conversant with the Colony. The duties—if any—should be performed by the Chief Revenue Officer.
4. I may add that should you direct me to make these reductions there is no possible opening fortheManuscript image the employment of these gentlemen in this Colony.
I have the honor to be,
Sir,
Your most obedient
humble Servant
Arthur N. Birch
Minutes by CO staff
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Lord Carnarvon
I do not know that I can bring the question better before you than by annexing a copy of a private letter from me to Sir F. Rogers and of his answer.
As Mr Seymour is going back immediately, you will probably think it better to reserve the reductions for him as Sir F. Rogers suggests.
The Rule of the Treasury at home inManuscript image cases of abolition is very simple. If a man has served 10 years he has earned a pension. If he has served less they give him a gratuity equal to one month for each year of service.
I am not in the least surprised to hear that both Governor Seymour and Mr Birch should wish to be rid of Mr Franks. He gave some proofs of intolerable presumption when he went out, and I have never heard a good word of him from any one really in contact with him. But like most undeserving people, he is precisely the man who would pour in the greatest number of letters in his favor from persons in too high station really to know him.
Shall we send a copy of this despatch to Mr Seymour officially and tell him that he is fully authorized when he returns to the Colony to make any reductions which appear to be demanded by the financial state of the Colony and consistent with the efficiency of the public service?
TFE 3 Septr
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As regards Mr Franks who seems to be a ceaseless cause of annoyance to every stage of B. Columbian Affairs I do not now anticipate much difficulty. Mr Seymour is going out prepared to deal with the case & I have distinctly said to him that it must not be treated so as to give Mr Franks a title to further Colonial Employment, to wh from all I have heard I do not think he has any claim.
I think that Mr Seymour understands that he has virtually all or nearly all the power proposed to be given to him by Mr Elliot, but it will be well to put it in writing as suggested.
Let me see the dft.
C 3 Sep
Mr Blackwood
Draft may be prepared in terms of concluding part of my Minute, as a despatch for Ld Carnarvon's signature. Please send me the draft this afternoon.
TFE 3/9
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Lord Carnarvon
Governor Seymour starts on Monday. He has been with me today and says that the enclosed letter will hardly give so much support as he had hoped for in making his reductions. Instead of being authorized to "propose the reductions for sanction" he wishes to be authorized to "effect the reductions subject to sanction." I own that I think that this would be preferable, if you should seeManuscript image no objection.
But I remember while I am writing that there will not be time to let Mr Seymour have the altered letter, in case you approve it, unless we send you a copy for signature today. I therefore annex one, and if you should not approve, we can send him back the one already signed by you.
TFE 13 Septr
I agree.
C 14 Sep
Other documents included in the file
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30 Augt 1866
My dear Rogers,
British Columbia finance is embarrassed. We have enjoined the Governor to practise every economy. He here distinctly reports that three Offices are superfluous, and I believe him to be right.
The public interestManuscript image therefore requires that these Offices should be abolished. Do you think that the personal interest of the holders of them ought to constitute a sufficient objection, and that the Offices should be maintained for the interest of their holders and against that of the public? As the present case would be one of rather a general nature, I trouble you with the question.Manuscript image I am too much pressed to put it otherwise than in plain terms.
Believe me
Ever sincerely yours
T. Frederick Elliot
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Sept 1/66
My dear Elliot
Is not the real answer to 8290 B.C. that questions of administrative reform must wait the arrival of Seymour, & the annexation of V.C. Island.
I know that before Seymour's departure he & Blackwood settled an establishment together in wh Seymour took creditManuscript image for providing for everybody except Franks.
I do not myself remember any case when Officers, in Crown Colonies, have been simply turned adrift, on an abolition of Office—but then my remembrance does not embrace much.
I imagine that a case of abolition (barring special circumstances wh constituted notice of impermanency)Manuscript image wd be dealt with much as in England. Could not the Treasury help as to a principle when the question really arises.
I feel a suspicion of this scheme from the fact that Seymour &Birch both hate Franks (I dare say with reason) & wd gladly throw him back in our hands here. I think they shd caution rather to make him resign—or dismiss him regularly proManuscript image criminilus or give him quite a bonus by way of compensation for loss of office as shd furnish us with an answer to any claim for reemployment.
Seymour (I hear) declares that Franks has been three times horsewhipped.
Ever yrs
Frederic Rogers
Other documents included in the file
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Carnarvon to Seymour, 14 September 1866, forwarding copy of the despatch and conveying authority to carry out the necessary reductions in the public service upon his return to the colony, subject to imperial sanction.
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Statement showing the proposed three reductions in the civil service, listing present salary, date of appointment and who made the appointment, prepared by colonial office staff.
Birch, Arthur Nonus to Cardwell, Edward 14 July 1866, CO 60:25, no. 8290, 49. 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/B66056.html.

Last modified: 2020-12-02 13:40:34 -0800 (Wed, 02 Dec 2020) (SVN revision: 5008)