Sargeaunt to Elliot (Assistant Under-Secretary)
Offices of the Crown Agents for the Colonies
Spring Gardens, London, S.W.
16th October 1866
I transmit to you the enclosed copy of a letter from the Colonial Secretary of British Columbia requesting the Crown Agents in order to provide the sum of £4,125 for interest and Sinking Fund due on the 1st inst: on the loans of that Colony to draw a Bill at two months date on the Colonial Government and present it at the Bank of British Columbia to discount. I also annex copy of a reply received from that Bank to the application made to it, in accordance with the above instructions, stating that no advice having been received from the Branch in the Colony on the subject andtheManuscript image the Colonial Government being already very largely indebted to the Bank, the Directors do not feel disposed to increase the amount and therefore decline the proposed transaction.
As any break down in the punctual payment of dividends due at this Office would affect not only the interests of the defaulting Colony, but those of other Colonies and render all Colonial Debentures for the future much less saleable, the Crown Agents have taken upon themselves the responsibility under the circumstances of the case, of satisfying the claims for interest which have been presented, the result beingthatManuscript image that the British Columbia account at this Office on the 13th instant stood as follows:
Amount overpaid on 13th October 1866 £3,148. 16.7
Interest on Debentures due on 1st October but not yet claimed £381.
Sinking Fund due 1st Octr £1,125.
Mr Cooper half Salary for 9 mos £150.
Stores & Incidental £245.  3.5
I have to apply for the Earl of Carnarvon's approval of the course taken by the Crown Agents and have only to add that the necessity of making punctual remittances has been repeatedly broughtunderManuscript image under the notice of the Colonial Government by the Crown Agents, the amount required annually to meet the interest and Sinking Funds payable at this Office on account of British Columbia are:
1st January £6250
1st April 4125
1st July 6250
1st October 4125
I have forwarded a copy of this letter to the Colonial Secretary of British Columbia by this day's Mail.
I have the honor to be,
Your most obedient Servant
W.C. Sargeaunt
Minutes by CO staff
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Sir F. Rogers
Signify Lord Carnarvon's Approval of the course taken by the Crown Agents—say that the Govr of the Colony will be communicated with—and write to Mr Seymour instructing him to supply the Crown Agents with the means of maintaining the credit of the Colony, & to make an immediate remittance to the Agents in reimbursement of their advances.
ABd 17 Oct
I think that a strong censure shd be prepared on this proceeding. I would send the Governor a copy of these letters. I wd say that Lord C. had received with extreme surprise an announcement that the Officer Admg the Govt of B.C. had sent to the Cr Agents in payment of claims wh it was urgently necessary to satisfy, a draft upon a Bank with which the Colony had no assets and by whom, as far as at present appears they had no sufficient reason for supposing that the draft wd be honoured. That Ld C. trusts that some explanation of this proceeding will be furnished. That he requests that remittce will at once be made sufficient to meet this & future demands and that altho' he has authorized the Crown Agents to meet this demand from funds in their hands in order to save the Credit of the Colony he can not presume that the same course will be taken hereafter.
FR 17/10
CBA 18/10
I quite agree.
C 20 Oct
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Copy, H.M. Ball, Colonial Secretary's Office, to Crown Agents, 23 August 1866, authorizing them to draw a bill on the government through the Bank of British Columbia for payment of interest and sinking fund.
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Henry E. Ransom, Manager, Bank of British Columbia, to Sargeaunt, 10 October 1866, declining the proposed transaction.
Other documents included in the file
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Elliot to G.A Hamilton, Treasury, 26 October 1866, forwarding correspondence on the subject of colonial finances.
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Colonial Office to Crown Agents, 31 October 1866, conveying approval of their actions and advising that the governor had been instructed to rectify the situation.
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Draft reply, Carnarvon to Seymour, No. 17, 30 October 1866.