No. 42
New Westminster
9th May 1868
My Lord Duke,
I have the honor to forward for Your Grace's consideration a resolution passed by the Legislative Council in favour of a larger popular element being infused into it.
2. I addManuscript image
2. I add a statement by the Acting Colonial Secretary shewing why he, as President, gave his casting vote in support of the resolution.
3. The Present Legislative Constitution copied I believe from that of Ceylon is without precedent in its application to an English Community. Here the difficulties of working it are perhaps greater than would be found elsewhere from our being overlapped North and South by theRepublicManuscript image Republic of the United States. Yet I have not found that practically it works badly. I know that I find, now that the Western Colonies are united, that things were on a much more satisfactory footing on the mainland than on Vancouver Island, and that there was less of the "Jobbery" which seems inevitably to belong to the premature extension of a representative Constitution, to a small community.
4. TheManuscript image
4. The question however is one which I shall very carefully consider and report upon before the next Legislative Session. The Council will expire by efflux of time next month and though it is probable that I shall not place any more seats than the present number to be filled on the recommendation of the people, I think I shall popularize the Legislature by placing several independent GentlemeninManuscript image in the position of Magistrates in the Council, instead of filling up all the Magistorial Seats by Salaried Officers.
5. The present system of Government, I need hardly say, imposes in a Colony like this enormous responsibility on the Governor not alone as a Legislator; but he stands so entirely removed by his extraordinary powers from the public officers that he has occasionally as stated in my despatch No 37 of 9 September 1864 to appearinManuscript image in the character of an Armed Volunteer and at others as mentioned in my despatch No 92 of 16 August 1867 to assume the duties belonging to a Constable for the Maintenance of the Public peace.
I have the honor to be
My Lord Duke,
Your Grace's most obedient
humble Servant,
Frederick Seymour
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Sir F. Rogers
I think before Govr Seymour begins popularizing the Legislative Council of B. Columbia he had better get the Colony in a sound FinancialManuscript image state, and pay his Debts.
Until that is done it appears to me that there is quite as much popular element in the Council as is consistent with the working of a Crown Colony. As however he says he shall carefully consider and report on the matter this despatch may not call for notice unless it is thought well to caution him about stirring the question openly or in any way committing himself.
It was questionable the Colonial Secretary giving his castingManuscript image vote in favor of the Resolution, siding with the 4 Elective, so to say, Members agt the Govt Members.
CC 7 July
Manuscript image
This is merely for information and the Govr promises a report so "Put by."
I have no doubt that the representative system promotes [one word cut off microfilm]. But the contrary system has not prevented ruinous Extravagance in B. Columbia. And whichever system is abstractedly the best, a Governor who has no British money to dispense no British troops to command cannot control a population of English and U.S. origin, unless they are satisfied with the institutions under which they live. Therefore if they want more representation, it is, I conceive hopeless to keep it from them. At the same time the longer a constitution is deferred, the promis[e], I conceive, will be the ground on wh we can build it. Population will have more fixed itself.
Therefore I think the temporizing measure proposed by Mr Seymour is probably a right one.
FR 8/7
Manuscript image
I agree to the temporizing measure, & think, so near the US, the constitution will have to be popularized [remainder cut off microfilm].
B&C 9/7
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
Manuscript image
W.A.G. Young, Colonial Secretary, to Seymour, 29 April 1868, forwarding a resolution of the Legislative Council requesting the governor to make "at least two thirds of the Council elective."
Manuscript image
Young to Seymour, 30 April 1868, explaining the vote on the resolution.