No. 70
16th May 1870
My Lord,
I did not receive Your Lordship's Despatch No 27 of the 16th March, on the subject of the Ordinance No 21 of 1869 "to establish Public Schools throughout the Colony of British Columbia," until the afternoon of the day on which the Legislative Session had been closed. The CouncilhadManuscript image had then already passed the Ordinance entitled "An Ordinance to amend the School Ordinance, 1869," of which I enclose the usual printed Copies with the Attorney General's Report. It was of course too late to act upon Your Lordship's suggestions during the present Year. In fact, however, any Educational measure can be in the existing circumstances of the Colony only of a very rudimentary character. Not only would the details of MrFo[r]ster'sManuscript image Fo[r]ster's scheme, as Your Lordship remarks, be unsuited for adoption in this Colony in the form applicable to England; but even the arrangements which are desirable in a comparatively closely populated Colony of small area like Trinidad would be found quite unworkable from lack of material and machinery in such a peculiar Community as British Columbia; containing a very few thousands of population in small knots separated by great distances.
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2. The Ordinance which I now transmit seeks to supply the defects in the original measure which experience has so far shewn to be the most important. But the want of a "conscience clause" has not been felt. No difficulty on this point has hitherto arisen.
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Happy Columbians!
And, in fact there are no common Schools in any District existing without the aid of Government.
3. Great assistance may be afforded, I hope, to the Governor and Council by the appointmentofManuscript image of Inspectors. Mr Alston, the Registrar of Deeds, a man of ability who has always taken great interest in the subject of Education and Schools, has at my request consented to act as Chief Inspector, and in the District of Victoria—and the Magistrates will serve as Inspectors in the other Districts. The Chief Inspector will draw up such general rules for the management of Schools, election of local Boards, Text Books, etc, as when approvedbyManuscript image by the Governor in Council, will relieve the latter from the unnecessary trouble of being applied to in matters of detail.
4. The local Boards would correspond with the Inspector, and in any case where the Chief or District Inspector is not authorized to determine and act under the general Rules, the matter would be referred to the Governor in Council.
5. One of these Rules may include a "Conscience Clause,"andManuscript image and the necessity of any Legislative enactment as proposed by Your Lordship would be obviated; and thus it would be in the power of any Denominational Public School to make application for a Grant on complying with the provisions of the Ordinance and the Regulations made in pursuance thereof.
6. The General Rules could be so drawn as to embody all that is valuable and applicable to our case in Mr Fo[r]ster's Act. And although theseRulesManuscript image Rules would not have the exact force of law it would always be within the power of the Government to refuse to make a Grant on non-compliance, supposing that they were not repugnant to the provisions of the Ordinance.
7. I therefore submit the Ordinance just passed to the favorable consideration of Your Lordship—not as a perfect measure, but as another step towards the establishment of a moresatisfactoryManuscript image satisfactory system.
I have the honor to be,
My Lord,
Your most obedient
humble Servant
A. Musgrave
Minutes by CO staff
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You will see that the present Ordinance was passed before the receipt of Lord Granville's dispatch of the 16 March. See minutes & draft attached to 13289.
The only remark I venture to make is that I think that unpaid men as Inspectors is hardly wise—let the Salary be ever so small.
CC 25 June 70
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Mr Herbert
There is no legal objection to the Ordinance, which is a step in the right direction, inasmuch as it relieves the Executive Council of work which they wereManuscript image unfitted to perform. But the epithet "rudimentary" applied to the Ordinance of 1869 may fairly attach to this Ordinance also.
HTH 25/6
RGWH June 27/70
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FR 27/6
WM 28/6
G 30/6
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See subsequent 92-9448 July 27-70 forwarding Rules & Regulations for the Management & government of Common Schools.
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
Three printed copies of ordinance not on microfilm.
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H.P.P. Crease, Attorney General, to Musgrave, 20 April 1870, reporting on the ordinance as per despatch.
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Granville to Musgrave, No. 70, 2 July 1870.