No. 136
21st December 1868
My Lord Duke,
I have the honor to inform you that I opened the Legislative Session on the 17th Instant by an Address of which I enclose a copy.
2. LateManuscript image
2. Late this Evening I received a reply copy of which I beg to forward to Your Grace.
3. As far as I can judge I think that the people and their representatives are in a better temper than I have seen them for some years.
I have the honor to be,
My Lord Duke,
Your Grace's most obedient
humble Servant.
Frederick Seymour
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Holland
I pass this thro' you that you may see what is said about Acts.
Hopeful as regards Finance—he says however "the Public Debt has been considerably reduced yet larger sums have been expended on public works of utility," no doubt necessary works but nevertheless running the risk of causing a breach of faith by not having remitted monies regularlyManuscript image to pay the interest & Sinking Fund on their Debentures.
Governor Seymour has no right to refer in such a document as his Speech to the Legislature, to unofficial letters he has recd "shewing a desire on the part of HM's Govt &c."
And very questionable whether he should have given his opinion that the people should be allowed to elect their Representatives without having to obtain the concurrence of the Govr in their choice,Manuscript image tho' it really is a very small matter—as the Govr almost as a matter of course approves of the elected man, & even takes the 1 named if more than one is put to him.
CC 3/2
Manuscript image
Sir F. Sandford
You should see this, as it relates in a great measure to the financial prospects of the Colony.
Manuscript image
No doubt it would be a good thing for the Colony if one of the 2 Chief Justices could be removed by promotion to some other Colony, so that the 2 Supreme Courts of V. Island & B. Columbia might be united under one Chief Justice & one Puisne Judge.
I rather agree with Mr Cox's criticisms upon other points in Govr Seymour's Speech.
HTH 3/2
FRS 4/2
Manuscript image
I should write first that Ld G. was glad to learn from Mr S's. speech that the finances of B.C. were in process of recovery.
I would observe that Ld G. is not aware what are the unofficial letters to wh he refers as conveying to him the opinion of HMG respecting the Union of HM's possessions in BNA but wd point out that such communication ought not to be made the basis of a formal announcement to the Legre or community of B.C.
With regard to the proposal to give formally as well as virtually representative institutions (the Lege Council is at present entirely nominal but the Govr always in fact names a certain number of persons who are practically elected in different districts of the Colony). I would point out to the Govr, that it is more than doubtful both whether the Lege Council of B. Columbia are legally competent to alter their own constitution & whether they are a fitting body to be intrusted with that power. But that if the difficulties whichManuscript image have hitherto prevented the formal establishment of representative institutions are in process of wearing out, Ld G. will readily consider any detailed scheme which in Mr Seymours opinion will provide for the adequate representation of the population & for the efficient Govt of the Country.
And I would observe that the three difficulties wh appear to be met arise 1. from the migratory & scattered character of the population. 2. from the large proportion of aliens or visitors wh exists in it & 3. from the presence of the Indians whom it is difficult to govern & protect without a settled and understoodManuscript image policy and a strong Executive power.
FR 25/2
Manuscript image
(I do not trouble you with the legal reasons for doubting whether the B.C. Legre can alter its own constitution. But they shd be explained to the Govr in the dph.)
I am somewhat afraid of instituting responsible Govt (wh will follow at no distant date in the [creation?] of a Council & Assembly) in B.C. before it gets attached to Canada. I shd fear an Indian War before long.
WM 25/2
G 26/2
Manuscript image
For speech closing Session see 40/5397 March 17, 1869.
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
Manuscript image
Government Gazette Extraordinary, 17 December 1868, containing Seymour's speech opening the Legislative Council, the Council's reply, and Seymour's rejoinder.
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
Draft reply, Granville to Seymour, No. 17, 5 March 1869 commenting on sections in Seymour’s session opening address and discussing the possibility of representative government in British Columbia as well as the legality of the actions proposed by Seymour and British Columbia’s legislative council.