No. 58
24th March 1869
My Lord,
I have the honor to lay before your Lordship a humble petition adopted unanimously by the Legislative Council praying Her Majesty to remove the presentunsatisfactoryManuscript image unsatisfactory condition in which the Courts of Justice of this Colony are now left.
2. Unquestionably the Ordinance passed during the recent Session was much needed, but it does not appear to the Legislative Council to meet all the popular requirements.
I have the honor to be,
My Lord,
Your Lordship's most obedient,
humble Servant.
Frederick Seymour
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Holland
See 5583 with the Ordinance referred to.
CC 18 May
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Sir F. Rogers
No doubt it is unfortunate that in a Colony like B. Columbia there should be 2 Courts & 2 Chief Justices, and it would be a very good thing if Mr Needham or Mr Begbie could be removed to some other Colony. But until that is done, or until the Colony can make provision for the retirement upon pension of one of the Judges, no better course can be adopted than that marked out by the Ordinance which has just been, & which was settled by the Law Officers here.
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See 5583 & last enclosure to this Despatch.
Acknowledge petition, & state that it has been laid before H.M.
Could not Needham be offered a puisne JudgeshipManuscript image in Jamaica, if Mr Ker is promoted? The Salary is the same, but it was stated some time ago that Mr Needham would be glad to be removed from Vancouver Island. He is a good sound lawyer & I believe has done well in V. Island.
HTH 20.5.69
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The state of this controversy is roughly as follows, according to my view of it.
The consolidation of V.C.I. with B.C. found the two Colonies of course with separate C. Justices, and no adequate opportunity has offered of getting rid of either of them.
Mr Seymour raised all sorts ofManuscript image difficulties about working the existing system, and the C.O. shewed him generally the way out of them.
This was not what he or the Colony wanted (i.e. they wanted to magnify the difficulty so as to force the removal of Mr Needham) & so they went on making more difficulties—and passed an Ordinance to remove them by providing not for two but for one C. Justice. This of course was not meeting the difficulty at all; & so they were told. And a draft Ordinance was sent out wh was capable of disposing the peculiar difficulty wh was raised, wh, I think, they were invited to modify in detail as to meet any other difficulties wh the state of things in B.C. mt involve.
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They were told afterwards when the Govr stated that objections & difficulties had been raised by the Judges & AG that a draft law framed in England wd necessarily require alteration in detail. 6295 BC/68.
It was pointed out to them (truly) that this mt easily be done; but like naughty children they now adopt wholesaleManuscript image the draft sent out to them for modification and make a grievance of the defects of detail, wh if real, they ought to have removed.
The question is whether the Ordce should be simply sanctioned or whether any effort should be made to "put the saddle on the right horse"—by observing that if the Ordinance is really likely to cause the inconveniences apprehended by the L.C. it is unfortunate that the Council did not (act on the invitation of the S. of S. to) modify the draft sent out [so] as to remove or mitigate those inconveniences.
I think the facts justify the words within betn—if not they shd be omitted.
FR 21/5
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Give me back in hand with the Jamaica & British Guiana papers.
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The Ordinance was sent out with Despatch of 13 Novr/67—and hope expressed that it wd "receive careful consideration & approval of the Legislature" (8561/67).
In reply the Govr sent back the objections made to it by the Judges & Attorney General & he was told by Despatch of 26 June 1868 (6295/68) that the Draft was sent out "to guide & assist the Legislature" & that a draft Law "framed in England must of course require alterations & additions in matters of details, & that it was hoped that imperfections of this class would have been removed by the introduction of clauses into the Ordinance before or during its progress through the Legislature, & that many of the suggested difficulties could have been so met."
I think this justifies the words in brackets but to make the allusion quite clear I would observe
That if the ordinance is likely to cause some of the inconveniences apprehended by the Legislative Council it is unfortunate that the Council did not act upon the invitation made by the S of State in his Despatch No 40 of the 26th June 1868, & modify the Draft so as to remove or mitigate these inconveniences.
HTH 22/5
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Mr Monsell
See L. Granville's minute last page.
The Chief Justiceships of Jamaica & B. Guiana have (I believe) been disposed of & I would now draft in the sense of the above minute.
HTH 24/7/69
WM 26/7
G 1/8
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Printed copy of petition of Legislative Council, no date, asking for removal of one of the colony's two chief justices.
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Handwritten copy of petition as noted above, attested 11 March 1869 by Charles Good, signed on behalf of Council by W.A.G. Young, and enclosing copies of the Supreme Court Ordinance (1868) and "The Supreme Courts Ordinance, 1869" (ordinances not on microfilm).
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Granville to Musgrave, No. 82, 9 August 1869.