Confidential
Victoria
29th November 1868
My Lord Duke,
The steamer that brought Your Grace's despatch No. 85 of 6th October announcing the appointment of Mr Philip Hankin to the office ofColonialManuscript image Colonial Secretary only waited a few hours in port and consequently, being thus pressed for time, I fear that my despatch, Confidential, of 21st November bears marks of the haste in which it was written.
2. It is however my deliberate opinion that the appointment of Mr Hankin is an unfortunate one. For many reasons:
First; because in his miningpersuitsManuscript image persuits and in his police employment he has been brought into immediate contact with the lowest classes of the community.
Secondly; because, the Colony being financially embarrassed, I bought off all Mr Hankin's claims at a very high price and fondly imagined that I had got rid of him. He was totally useless. The bargain was not a bad one for us.HisManuscript image His passage was paid to England and now it appears from Your Grace's despatch that the Colony will have to pay him half Salary from the date of his embarkation in England for this port. Your Grace will forgive me for saying that this is but small encouragement to me to carry out the reductions in expenditure which have so often been urged upon me.
Thirdly; because the OfficeofManuscript image of Colonial Secretary is one of very great importance. We govern here by moral influence alone, and the social position of the principal public officers, as well as their official capabilities, is freely canvassed by all persons. I send Mr O'Reilly to collect the Revenue at the Kootenay mines, 600 miles from Victoria, and to settle all disputes. He is respectedandManuscript image and liked by everyone. How could I send the "dead broke" miner, Mr Hankin, on such a duty? He would be simply made the laughing stock of the place. Yet the office of Colonial Secretary is higher than that of Gold Commissioner.
Fourthly; Mr Hankin has not, as far as I am aware, shewn the slightest aptitude for business during the time he has beenemployedManuscript image employed under the Colonial Government, and—not to make this despatch too long—he has married into a family with which it would not be pleasant for some ladies to associate. He is personally extremely unpopular, being one of the two men blackballed for the Vancouver Club, by no means an exclusive establishment. If Mr Hankin, taken as he is, were butnewManuscript image new to the Colony, one might make something of him, but as it is, he seems likely to disturb everything. I do not believe that personal violence will be offered to him on his arrival, but I fear it will be utterly impossible for me to get through the Legislative Session if I appoint him Colonial Secretary, and as such, President of the LegislativeCouncilManuscript image Council. I am informed, though not officially, that the Members for Victoria will not take their seats in a Council presided over by Mr Hankin. Numerous petitions are being got up praying that I will not try the experiment.
3. I have the honor to enclose copy of a letter from Mr William Young whom Mr Hankin supersedes. It would be vain to denytheManuscript image the fact that I cannot place that entire confidence in Mr Young which it is desirable that a Colonial Secretary should receive from his superior officer. I fear that there is no doubt of his being mixed up in the eternal small intrigues which stir up the Victoria community. When I am in this town there is no great harm in his proceedings, or suspectedproceedingsManuscript image proceedings, but I cannot leave Head Quarters without a slight feeling of uneasiness. He is however shrewd, industrious, painstaking, and in many respects able. I need hardly say that I would infinitely rather take him—with the vague feeling of distrust from which I cannot free myself—as Colonial Secretary than Mr Hankin.
4. Mr Young certainly in his letter makes out astrongManuscript image strong case for Your Grace's consideration. He has served nearly ten years as Colonial Secretary of British Columbia or Vancouver Island. He gave up his Situation in the Navy for the Civil Service and I believe that during his tenure of office here, he has given satisfaction to Sir James Douglas, Mr Kennedy and I know to myself—entirely so, but for his local connections.MrManuscript image Mr Young has some remarkably good qualities for a public officer and prominently amongst them I should mention his industry, zeal and temper. I could hardly desire to have a more efficient Colonial Secretary in a place new to himself where he could venture to think entirely for himself.
Entertaining a strong opinion as to Mr Young's claims upon the Government it neveroccurredManuscript image occurred to me when suggesting in Downing Street, the mode in which the amalgamation of the civil Establishments of the two Western Colonies, then about to be united should be carried out, to dispense with the Services of Mr Young. I find in the list of Public Officers for the United Colony drawn up principally by Mr Blackwood and myself, but submitted for the approval of the Earl of Carnarvon thefollowingManuscript image following remark placed opposite the name of Mr Young. It shews that the feeling of uneasiness on my part is not of recent growth. "Mr Seymour would prefer (solely on public grounds) that Mr Young, who will be displaced from the office of Colonial Secretary of Vancouver Island should be appointed to be Police Magistrate at Victoria, Salary £800 and that Mr O'ReillynowManuscript image now a Stipendiary Magistrate up the Country should be appointed Colonial Secretary at the Salary (as before) of £800."
6. Mr Young therefore makes no mistake when he says that I assured him, on my assumption of the General Government, that he should have the Colonial Secretaryship or a situation of equal value.
7. I cannot believe thatunderManuscript image under the circumstances Your Grace will look with indifference upon Mr Young's appeal. I confidently state that in him you will possess a valuable public Servant. I am quite prepared to receive him from Your Grace's hands as Colonial Secretary trammeled though he be with recollections of the miserable disputes which signallized the earlyColonizationManuscript image Colonization of this Coast; but I imagine that he would be still more useful in a new scene of action where he would start free from all prejudices and partialities.
8. It seems to me, if I may venture to say so, that the public faith is pledged to Mr Young by the communication which, with the sanction of the Earl of Carnarvon, I madeManuscript image to him on the Union of the Colonies being effected.
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
See Governor Seymour's two despatches 468 & 469 & minutes on the latter.
Copies of them have been sent to the D. of Buckingham (Given to Mr Bryant for that purpose).
I can only say that in my opinion any annoyance or difficulty that may fall to the lot of Governor Seymour as regards Mr Young's removal from the Colonial Secretaryship he most fully deserves. I find of Mr Young, he writes in 8195—"is so clever & energetic, but he is so mixed up in the affairs of Victoria" (to which place the seat of Govt had been moved) "that I cannot give him the entire confidence which a Governor should repose in hisManuscript image "Colonial Secy"—& this was at a time when Governor Seymour most specially needed cordial cooperation to help him smooth down the ill feeling of many as regarded the change of the seat of Govt, & to assist in his endeavour to redeem the Colony from its almost Bankrupt state.
As regards Mr Young himself it is quite another matter.
As to the appt of Lt. Hankin I can say nothing. I never heard his name till he was appointed, & never saw him but once which was two days before he started, on my return from my holyday.
Officially, as far as I know, testimony is in his favor.
On the 21 Dec 1866 (1330) Govr Seymour writes "the records of yourManuscript image Lordships Office shew that he has been very highly commended by Mr Kennedy & by Rear Admiral Denman. My own more limited knowledge of him leads me to regret that the absolute necessity for retrenchment in the Public Depts compels me to deprive my Govt of his Services." See also minutes on it.
Admiral Richards spoke in his favor whilst serving under him—see 2968. And the testimonials sent in by Lt. Hankin (2969/67) were so favorable that they apparently led to his appt as Col: Secy at Honduras (Mr Kennedy, Admiral Denman, Judge Needham), Mr Taylor remarking "if the testimonials are true Lt. Hankin is just the man for the place."
As Governor Seymour now speaks so lightly of Lt. Hankin's antecedentsManuscript image & character I have thought right to state this much.
As already directed wait & see the result? & let the D. of Buckingham have a copy.
CC 17/1
Manuscript image
Yes. Mr Seymour may very probably be right. But considering the nature of Colonial Society he evidently makes too much of Lieut Hankins antecedents. I do not see why a man is the worse for having been what he somewhat unnecessarily calls a "dead broke" miner. It really shews little else than enterprise.
His police experience is perhaps unfortunate, for if he did his duty in that capacity he will have all the "roughs" as his personal enemies. And of course a very little lukewarmness in high quarters in Lieut H's behalf will give a great deal of courage to those who would like a little violence. Mr Young's case is very strong indeed.
FR 18/1
Manuscript image
The Governors vague secret letter was acted on too hastily. Revolting from the consequences of his own act he tries to get out of them by depreciating Lt Hankin against whom, as far as I can see there are no real & personal grounds of complaint. The result of the governors letters & of the hasty act of this department is that there are two men fairly entitled to the same office. Probably the colony may be made too hot for Lt Hankin. If so I suppose some other place should be found for him. If he be able to hold his ground it seems to me that we are bound to place Mr Young in as good a position as that of which he has been unfairly deprived.
WM 21/1
Manuscript image
I believe a snubbing letter has been sent to the Govr, if not one should be written—but we had better wait to see how Hankin gets on before taking any steps in the matter.
Manuscript image
i.e. wait news of Lieut H's arrival—or at least await next mail.
G 29/1
Manuscript image
Sir F. Rogers
I do not at all understand Govr Seymour's proceedings about Mr Hankin's appt assuming what Mr Hankin says is correct.
He cannot be waiting for answers to his two despatches of 21st/469 & 29th/546 Nov, because we have despatches from him up to the 30th Jany & on the 14th of that month he acknowledges the receipt of the D. of Buckingham's despatch of the 28th NovManuscript image—see 8195—which finally refused to respond to his remonstrance agst the appt. Moreover his later despatch of the 12 Dec—803—did not lead us to belief that he intended further to resist the appt.
Mr Hankin says he has now (16 Feby) been 6 weeks in the Colony—so that altho he had been there for a month—wh to the date of Govr Seymour's last despatch—30 JanyGov S has notManuscript image even reported Mr Hankin's arrival in the Colony. It is true that the conversation between Govr S & Mr H. is a fortnight later than the date of the last despatch recd—but it nevertheless appears to me quite inexcusable that he should have remained silent even for the one month.
The minutes on 469 & 546 will shew you why they have not been answered—they in fact hardly requiredManuscript image any.
The Colonial Secretaryship is £800 a year—the same as that of Chief Commr of Lands.
CC 3/4
Manuscript image
Mr Monsell
It is however a question, now that a B.C. mail has come in whether we can leave matters to take their chance much longer about the Colonial Secretaryship in B. Columbia.
Govr Seymour has sent us
1. His confidential dphes of 21 & 29 Nov. (recd Jan/16) pulling Mr Hankin to pieces and threatening disturbance if his (Mr H's) appointment was consummated—to wh no reply has been given.
2. His dph 12 Dec raising a difficulty about Salary—to wh a reply has been sent to the effect that Mr H & Mr Young will be entitled in certain proportions & Mr H. "of course" to "full salary from the date of his arrival." This is only important as it will have shewn Mr SManuscript image that Ld G is not going to take any steps in a hurry to get rid of Mr Hankin.
3. With this Mr Seymour's dphes cease. Unless a telegraphic statement that everything is quiet is to be added.
4. We learn from private letters from Mr H to the Duke of Buckingham the last dated Jan 16 that he has been 6 weeks in B.C. i.e. since Dec 2 about, has not recd his Colonial apptmt as Coll Secretary—and has been offered the place of Commr of Lands & Works (now held by Mr Trutch a ci-devant contractor) instead of his Col. Secretaryship—wh he has refused.
Mr Hankin, wd, as is natural, be glad to be removed to another Colony.
5. Then a letter from Mr Young stating the hardship of his displacement wh is doubtless considerable.
Manuscript image
It seems to me time to let Mr Seymour know what impression his dphes have made (vide Ld G's minutes on 469 & 546 B.C.)
I should be disposed to write that Lord G. had received his confl dphes [and] that it appeared to H.L. that the facts alleged by him did not at all bear out the strong opinions wh he expressed as to Mr Hankin's unfitness for his office, and that this fact with the evident animus of these dphes had indisposed Ld G to adopt the apprehensions expressed by Mr Seymour respecting the riot & disturbance to wh Mr Hankins appointment was likely to lead. That as far as Ld G can judge of the past it appears to him very unfortunate that Mr S did not long ago make up his mind as to the fitness of Mr Young for Col. Secretary, wh there seems to H.L. even on Mr S's statement to be no sufficient reason for doubting. But that as he has not done this and as Mr H has consequently been apptd it is of courseManuscript image Mr Seymour's duty to do all in his power to enable Mr H. to perform his duties effectively.
That Ld G. learns from private sources that Mr H. had been six weeks in the Colony before the mails just received were despatched from it, but that H.L. has recd no information from Mr S and is left to conjecture whether the disastrous consequences foretold by Mr S have arisen or are likely to arise.
That under these circumstances it is impossible for Lord G. to give Mr S any encouragement to suppose that he will have been warranted in any other course than that of giving effect to the arrangements decided upon by the D. of B. and that H.L. desires to know whether this course has been take[n] & if not what has been done & with what result.
WM 5/4
Manuscript image
Write at least as strongly as Sir F.R. suggests. What will be the position of Mr Young, when the Governor makes up his mind to obey his instructions respecting Mr Hankin.
G 5/4
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
Manuscript image
W.A.G. Young, Colonial Secretary, to Seymour, 26 November 1868, explaining the circumstances of his past service and stating his case regarding future employment (eleven pages).
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
Draft reply, Granville to Seymour, Confidential, 19 April 1869.
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
(Ansr to Ld Granvilles minute.)
Mr Young will be simply displaced when Mr Hankin is appointed. I do not see how he is to receive any salary after Mr H's arrival.
FR 9/4
Seymour, Frederick to Grenville, Richard 29 November 1868, CO 60:33, no. 546, 482. 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/B68121CP.html.

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