No. 99
Victoria
10 August 1868
My Lord Duke,
I have had the honor to receive Your Grace's Circular Despatch of the 15 June, transmitting Copy of a Draft Bill which has been introduced by the Secretary of State for the Home DepartmenttoManuscript image to provide for the carrying into effect of Capital Punishment within Prisons.
2. Your Grace is of opinion that where there is no statutory impediment, or no difficulty in removing such impediment by Legislation, I should consider and report to Your Grace my opinion as to the expediency of adopting the principles of this Bill in this Colony. Your Grace desires, likewise, that I shall make any remarks whichmayManuscript image may occur to me on the subject.
3. I considered the question fully in the Executive Council, and, as all the Members were of the same opinion as myself, I speak in their name as well as my own.
4. Were it not for the inexpediency of having two modes of carrying out a Capital Sentence in the same Colony, one law for the larger Towns, Victoria andNewManuscript image New Westminster, and another for the smaller ones such as Lytton and Lilloett, I should decidedly desire to have Executions take place within the prison walls. In Victoria and New Westminster it would be perfectly practicable; but in the other Assize Towns, Yale, Lytton, Lilloett, Richfield (Cariboo), and in others, the prison Buildings are without Walls. The general well being of the populationandManuscript image and the consequent absence of Crime, allows of our keeping the few prisoners in the Country Districts in Houses which, elsewhere, would be condemned for insecurity. They are, however, generally empty.
5. In New Westminster the gaol is at the back of the Town, and a man must go out of his way should he wish to witness an execution. Few do.
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6. In Victoria the Prison is in one of the main Streets, but by having the sentence of the law carried out at daybreak and a Guard of Marines in the Street, I think all would pass with decency, and the number of spectators would probably be very small.
I have the honor to be
My Lord Duke
Your Grace's most obedient
humble Servant
Frederick Seymour
Seymour, Frederick to Grenville, Richard 10 August 1868, CO 60:33, no. 9940, 245. 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/B68099.html.

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