Confidential
Victoria
21st November 1868
My Lord Duke,
I received this morning with the greatest concern Your Grace's despatch No. 85 of the 6th October, informing methatManuscript image that you had appointed Mr Philip Hankin R.N. to be Colonial Secretary of British Columbia. No mention is made of the present incumbent of the office, Mr William A.G. Young.
2. I, on the 5th of June, requested Your Grace to defer the formal confirmation of Mr Young until I had made some further communication on the subject. I haveneverManuscript image never made a complaint against him, nor have I had cause for being anything but fully satisfied with his zeal, integrity, temper, and knowledge. If I hestitated in recommending his final confirmation it was only because I was informed that he was too well acquainted with the place and had too many interests in it. There were statementsofManuscript image of his having been indiscreet in his revelations to old friends but I do not believe in their truth. I was but little prepared for the interpretation put upon my letter by Your Grace. As soon as I heard that Your Grace proposed to make an appointment I wrote to try to avert this step, on the 16th November. I telegraphed to the sameeffectManuscript image effect on the 14th November,
Manuscript image
Arrived too late.
and this morning I telegraphed again to beg Your Grace to pause. Possibly the matter may be reconsidered if Mr Hankin shall not have left England.
Manuscript image
He left on 4 Nov.
3. I may say that this would be a most unfortunate time for the arrival of a new Colonial Secretary. The Session about to commence, the first in Victoria, willbeManuscript image be one of particular difficulty. The people, not satisfied with the steady reductions I am making, are determined that their representatives shall only allow our present estimates to pass by the official votes. How a man totally ignorant of what has passed in the Colony for the last few years can furnish the information which will be called foronManuscript image on every petty item of expenditure I am at a loss to know. Mr Hankin, even if he were able to fill the place of Colonial Secretary would come before the public with peculiarly bad grace. It is but last year that he received from the impoverished funds of the Colony £51.11.0 as compensation for loss of office and £165 for passages of wife and family to England.ItManuscript image It is a little embarrassing to me to find that a man whose services I could not avail myself of in any of the offices of middling importance and with which therefore I had to dispense returns on my hands after due compensation for loss of office, to the highest post in the Colony. Then, he will come before the Public, during the fury for retrenchmentwhichManuscript image which now rages, as a fresh burden on the Colony. The President of the Council will appear weighted with the money he got from my having dispensed with the Services which might have been required of him in keeping order below the bar. If Mr Young was to be removed, I had in Mr Ball, Mr O'Reilly or Mr Trutch men of far greater experience and better education than MrHankinManuscript image Hankin. One of these could have been transferred to the Colonial Secretaryship and the Salary of his office saved. Her Majesty's Government directs me to retrench in every way.
4. It is my duty to Your Grace and it is by no means unfair to Mr Hankin to state what his antecedents in this Colony have been and how far they will enablehimManuscript image him to secure the full deference and respect to which the Colonial Secretary (next in succession to the Governorship) has a right.
5. Mr Hankin, a Lieutenant in H.M.S. "Hecate," resigned his commission for the purpose of proceeding to our Northern Mines to dig for gold. No one who does not know Cariboo can understand the strangeassociationsManuscript image associations and singular friendships which gold digging there entails, where muscle is nearly everything, the brain of little use. I should however say, he was accompanied by a brother. That brother has stuck to the diggings. It is in no way discreditable to the Messrs Hankin that they did not succeed in their labours. Mr Philip Hankin returned "dead broke"—thatManuscript imagethat is, without a farthing in his pocket. Worked his way down, on foot I believe, stopping necessarily at the [strange pot?] houses by the roadside.
6. On arrival in Victoria, after some delay he was appointed Junior Clerk in the Colonial Secretary's Office at a Salary of £200 a year, under Mr Young; whom he is now to supplant.
7. But, as stated byGovernorManuscript image Governor Kennedy in his despatch No. 100 of 3rd Decr 1864, Mr Horace Smith the Inspector of Police was indicted for "having received numerous bribes to permit gambling in various public houses and for other immoral purposes." He resigned, and into his somewhat tainted and never very agreeable appointment Mr Hankin was placed, at a salary of£350Manuscript image £350 and a residence within the prison walls.
8. He was employed with Rear Admiral Denman on an expedition against some Indian pirates, whom the natives declined to give up. The scuttlers of a vessel and the murderers of her crew were shelled for a considerable time by the flagship "Sutlej" and the sloop "Devestation." The effect was considerablelossManuscript image loss of lives, eighty say the Indians, but the murderers were not surrendered. For personal gallantry on this occasion Mr Hankin at the intercession of Admiral Denman was restored to the Navy.
9. I beg to refer Your Grace to Sir James Douglas' despatch No. 67 of the 25th of October 1861. He reports "I have been obliged to dismisstheManuscript image the Acting Harbour Master of the Port of Victoria, Mr Jeremiah Nagle, in consequence of discovering irregularities in his accounts, and that he had been in the habit of charging and appropriating to his own use, fees for services rendered in his official capacity." Mr Hankin married one of Mr Nagle's daughters. The family is still in the Colony.WouldManuscript image Would this connexion be a desirable one for the highest officer in the Colony?
10. I make these observations in no illnatured spirit, but the knowledge that until more liberal Institutions are granted much of the comfort of Board of Trade and of the easy administration of the Government will depend upon the personal weight of the public Officers. AndthisManuscript image this is not a time when an ounce of that weight can be spared. The "dead broke" miner must have some curious friends. The Junior Clerk must have had associates of a class similar to his own. The Inspector of Police must be well acquainted with Public Houses and less reputable places. But he is not the man to lead the Legislative Council, more particularlyifManuscript image if he comes back after having been paid in full for the abolition of his police appointment and in acquital of any claim he might be thought to possess, previously, upon the Government of this Colony.
10. [sic] On the other hand Mr Young has been Colonial Secretary of Vancouver Island since 1852 and, according to the Office List, "compiled from Official records withpermissionManuscript image permission of the Secretary of State," Colonial Secretary of British Columbia since July 1867.
11. He is an excellent pains taking Public Officer and if the only report that I ever heard against him—that he is still on very intimate terms with his former friends and relations be true—I look upon it at this present moment whentheManuscript image the newspapers are busy with a controversy as to the relative merits of Sir James Douglas and myself, as fortunate that there is a mutual friend who can and does prevent any asperity arising on either side out of the Public arguments.
12. The news of Mr Hankin's appointment reached Victoria this morning and I learn that great excitement prevails and that he would not nowbeManuscript image be allowed to land without personal violence. As to his managing the Legislative Council during the approaching Session I look upon that as impossible. Should he unfortunately have left England before my telegrams reach Your Grace, I do not know what circumstances may require, but the people are in no pleasant humour. Fenians, if not Americans,wouldManuscript image would probably join in any riot which may arise.
13. Your Grace will excuse me for speaking out thus plainly, but I know that you have but one object in view, that of promoting the peace, order and good Government of the Colony. All these I respectfully submit would be emperilled should I meet the Legislative Council with Mr HankinasManuscript image as President and Leader of it.
I have the honor to be,
My Lord Duke,
Your Grace's most obedient
humble Servant.
Frederick Seymour
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Lord Granville
As this and the accompanying dph are marked confidential I pass them straight to you. They shd , I conceive, be registered & treated officially.
Manuscript image
Yes.
G
I dare say that the appointment is an unfortunate one, but I also am under the impression that Mr Seymour makes the worst of it—(It is rather his way to make the most of things)—and I think that he has brought it on himself.
Mr Seymour having been Govr of B. Columbia since 1863 having been also Govr of V.C. Island since 1866 and having had the services of Mr Young in the capacity of Colonial Secretary since July 1867 ought in June 1868 to have pretty well understood Mr Y's merits & demerits. ButManuscript image it has always appeared to me that Mr Seymour & other persons connected with B. Columbia have shewn an adverse disposition towards Mr Young—who has always been connected with the [one word cut off microfilm] interest of V.C. Island. Mr Seymour did not resign himself to the appointment of Mr Young as Colonial Secretary, and in June 1868 with a mysterious kind of letter ("secret") deprecating Mr Young's apptmt witht further communication with him. The result as will be seen by the minutes was the Hankin appointment.
I doubt myself whether there was at any time any sufficient cause for delaying Mr Young's appointment after Mr BirchManuscript image gave up the Colonial Secretaryship.
I do not see that anything now can be done. Mr Hankin has by this time arrived—and it will have been seen whether he can or cannot maintain himself—between Mr Seymour, Mr Young and the Assembly; guided probably by Mr Young's father in law Sir James Douglas.
If anything portentous has happened we shall hear of it by telegram through the U.S. and YL will be better able to judge what must or can be done (i.e. to recall Mr Hankin). It wd be a leap in the dark, I think, to take any decisive step on the faith of mere prognostications.
It is a question whetherManuscript image copies of these dphes shd or shd not be sent to the Duke of Buckingham.
Manuscript image
I think so.
G
Some private letters for H.G. from Mr Seymour arrived by the same mail.
I saw Mr Hankin while he was in England, and thought his manner frank & prepossessing. He seemed a man of sense and self reliance.
He left England on the 4th of Novr and I suppose wd arrive in B.C. towards the end of December.
FR 5/1
Manuscript image
I agree with you in thinking we had better wait a little.
G 11/1
Seymour, Frederick to Grenville, Richard 21 November 1868, CO 60:33, no. 469, 467. 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/B68121CO.html.

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