Watson to Secretary of State
Edinburgh 41 Ann Street
16th July 1867
My Lord Duke,
In consequence of the abolition of the Executive Government of Vancouver Island by an Act of the Imperial Parliament uniting the Colonies of British Columbia and Vancouver Island I have the honor, as an Officer of the late Colony, to address Your Grace on the subject of my appointment.
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In the year 1861 while serving in the capacity of accountant in the Bank of British North America at Vancouver Island and enjoying a Salary at the rate of £400 per annum I was induced by the late Governor, Sir James Douglas, to accept the more honourable appointment of Colonial Treasurer on the terms specified in a letter which I received from the Colonial Secretary dated the 25th December 1861, copy of which is enclosed herewith (Enclosure No 1).
The appointment was afterwards confirmed by Her Majesty by Royal Warrant dated the 28th day of April A.D. 1862.
On the 13th day of November 1866 I received a Circular from the Governor of British Columbia dated 13th November (Enclosure No 2)Manuscript image setting forth that upon the proclamation of the Act of Union, my office would be abolished and requesting that I would continue my services until the 31st of December ensuing.
At the close of the Year I was again requested by the Governor, through a letter addressed to the Colonial Secretary, to continue my services as Colonial Treasurer until further notice.
On the 6th of March 1867 I received a letter from the Colonial Secretary of British Columbia (Enclosure No 3) informing me that my appointment was rendered unnecessary by the passage of the "Officers Enabling Ordinance" and proposing that I should act in the capacity of Sub-Accountant to the TreasurerManuscript image of British Columbia. Believing that my acceptance of the Subordinate office would be derogatory to my Rank and Status in the Colony—more especially as the Officer then holding the appointment of Treasurer of British Columbia was, by virtue of the date of his appointment my junior by two years, I respectfully declined to accept the office in a letter addressed to the Colonial Secretary dated the 13th of March 1867 (Enclosure No 4).
As my letter was simply answered and no further instructions issued for my guidance I again appealed to His Excellency in a letter dated the 26th of March 1867 (Enclosure No 5).
Whereupon I received a reply dated the 30th of March (Enclosure No 6) to the effect thatHis ExcellencyManuscript image His Excellency regretted his inability, on account of the financial condition of the Colony, to offer me suitable employment within the Colony; proposed to recommend me to Your Grace for employment elsewhere; and offered me a free passage to England and Six months leave of absence on full pay, which I understood to mean, pay at the rate of £600 per annum, having received no notice whatever of a reduction in my Salary as Colonial Treasurer.
Being desirous of promoting the Governor's efforts to remodel the Executive, although at the risk of great personal sacrifice, I accepted the terms offered by His Excellency. Subsequently, however, it appeared from a conversation which I had withManuscript image the Colonial Secretary, that the financial condition of the Colony had necessitated a reduction of my full pay from £600 per ann to £400 per annum—a rate of pay, which, I submit, is neither adequate remuneration for the Office nor, I regret to say, is it in accordance with my original engagement with the Colonial Government. In support of the foregoing statement I take the liberty of referring Your Grace to my Enclosure No 1, and also to an Excerpt from Governor Kennedy's Message to the House of Assembly (Enclosure No 7) at a time when that body attempted to reduce my Salary below the rate assigned to the office by the Secretary of State in the Year 1863.
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With regard to the circumstance of my acceptance of the reduced rate of full pay, having no alternative, other than an Appeal to the Secretary of State, I at once availed myself of the leave granted and on the 30th of April, in accordance with the Governor's directions, I handed over the keys of the Treasury and the balance of moneys remaining in my hands, to the Honble W.A.G. Young late Colonial Secretary, and left the Colony.
On the 25th of June I reported myself at the Colonial Office in London.
Having been the first to move Resolutions in favor of Union of these Colonies in the Legislative Council (Enclosure No 8) as far back as the 27th of April 1864—believing it to be theManuscript image policy of Her Majesty's Government at that time, I feel confident that Your Grace will not consent to my being a sufferer through the consummation of Union.
My leave of absence expires on the 31st of October next and as it is incumbent upon me to make provision, without delay, for the maintenance of my family I have the honor to request that Your Grace will acquiant me with the decision of the Government in relation to my late office and my future employment either in British Columbia or Elsewhere.
In the meantime, should it be necessary, I trust that an Extension of leave commensurate with the period of my Service (five years and four months continuously) will be graciously extended byHer Majesty'sManuscript image Her Majesty's Government.
Herewith I transmit duplicate of my Certificate of leave in order that the payments for the months of August September and October may be authorized.
I have the honor to be,
My Lord Duke,
Your Grace's most obedient
and humble Servant
Alexander Watson

His Grace The Secretary of State
for the Colonies
Downing Street London
Minutes by CO staff
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Sir F. Rogers
As regards reemployment see minute on 5080.
The Treasury have sanctioned 6 Month's Salary up to 31 Octr & Mr Watson has had an advance up to 1 Aug.
Inform him that the Agents will be authorized to pay him when due one Quarter Salary from the 1 August to 31 October which will complete the payments to be made on the loss of his office.
As to further leave of absence that is of course out of the question & may be refused.
CC 20 July
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So answer.
FR 22/7
CBA 22/7
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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W.A.G. Young to Watson, 28 December 1861, advising of his appointment as treasurer of Vancouver Island and stating the salary and terms attached thereto.
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Circular despatch, Seymour to Watson, 13 November 1866, advising that his appointment would be abolished on the act of union but asking that he continue his duties until 31 December 1866.
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A.N. Birch to Watson, 6 March 1867, stating that the extension to his appointment was concluded and offering the position of sub-accountant of the colony at his existing salary.
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Watson to Colonial Secretary, 13 March 1867, declining the appointment of sub-accountant, with explanation.
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Watson to Colonial Secretary, 26 March 1867, asking that his position in the colony be clarified.
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Birch to Watson, 30 March 1867, advising that due to the financial condition of the colony no hope of suitable appointment could be held out, but offering six months leave of absence on full pay and a free passage to England.
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Kennedy to Speaker of the House, 6 July 1866, explaining certain aspects of the finances of the colony and advising that the proposed reduction in salary for the treasurer "cannot be regarded in any other light than as a breach of public faith."
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Printed copy of "Speech of the Treasurer on the subject of 'The Civil List Resolutions,' referring to the Union of the Colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia, which were passed by the House of Assembly, and transmitted by the Governor for the consideration of the Council, 11th April 1864" (six pages).
Other documents included in the file
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Adderley to Watson, 1 August 1867, advising they could hold out no hope for re-employment or for extension of leave, but that his salary would be issued to 31 October 1867.
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Rogers to Crown Agents, 1 August 1867, conveying instructions to issue Watson's full salary to 31 October 1867.