Wood to Kimberley
4 [Papen?] Building
Temple
July 5 1870
My Lord
Having arrived in England from British Columbia in which Colony I have been resident for upwards of eight years, and during a portion of which time I have been in the Service of the Crown IhaveManuscript image have the honor to submit the following statement for your Lordship's favorable consideration.
2. Sometime before leaving British Columbia I addressed a note to His Excellency Governor Musgrave referring to the position I held in the Colony and stating upon what grounds of merit and public service I ventured to hope that my case, when occasion offered, might be favorably considered. His Excellency favored me with a reply and more than one interview, andhe wasManuscript image he was good enough to say that he would transmit to the Colonial Office copies of our correspondence wherein the nature of my services is detailed, together with such comments of his own as he might think proper to make and to these I venture to refer Your Lordship.
3. I may however here state that the circumstances of my case are shortly these. Early in 1863 I arrived in Vancouver Island (then a separate Colony) and in obedience to what I understood to be the guidingprincipleManuscript image principle in the Colonial Service, that local merit would enable me to secure the honor and Emoluments of my profession I endeavoured to the best of my ability to distinguish myself at the local Bar.
4. This point of the presumable recognition by the Colonial Office of local merit and services, was, I can assure your Lordship a matter upon which I had just reason to rely and did rely, and I am permitted by Mr W.S. Lindsay then MP for Sunderland toreferManuscript image refer your Lordship to him as having been expressly given to understand by the then Colonial Minister on the occasion of an application made by him to the Colonial Office on my behalf, a short time before my Departure from England in 1862, that the best and soundest ground upon which I could hope for legal preferment in the Colonial Service of the Crown was by local distinction; the rule being that the Colonial Office did not appoint from HomeexceptManuscript image except in the absence of [an] apt man in the Colony.
5. After practicing at Victoria and in Cariboo for more than a year His Excellency Sir Arthur Kennedy then Governor of Vancouver Island did me the honor to appoint me Acting Attorney General for Vancouver Island and as such I continued from August 1864 until November 1866 when by the operation of "The British Columbia Act 1866" the Colony of Vancouver Island was absorbed in that of BritishColumbiaManuscript image Columbia, and the Executive of the former Colony ceased to exist.
6. In November 1866 Mr Seymour then Governor of the United Colony continued my appointment as nominal Attorney General of Vancouver Island until January 1st 1867 and again retained me as Solicitor General of British Columbia until April 1st 1867, both of them temporary and exceptional offices; when, the Legislative Session of 1867 having closed, my services were no longer required.
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7. Your Lordship is doubtless aware that by the Act of the Imperial Parliament uniting the Colonies of British Columbia and Vancouver Island no provision was made for the establishment of an effective Supreme Court having jurisdiction throughout the entire Colony; and pending the reconsititution of such Supreme Court which I have ventured to hope was no less necessary than imminent, and which I thought must lead to a vacancy on the Bench or in the office of Attorney General I remained in the Colony, with, I trust, notan unreasonableManuscript image an unreasonable hope that my past services would not be overlooked when occasion should arise.
8. This occasion though delayed for upwards of three years—arose on the promotion of Mr Needham to the Chief Justiceship of Trinidad and the consequent promotion of Mr Crease to the Puisne Judgeship of British Columbia but the vacant office of Attorney General of British Columbia was filled up by the appointment of Mr Philippo from home.
9. The circumstances of the Colonyare suchManuscript image are such as to make the ordinary emoluments of the profession without the addition of some certain permanent salary too precarious for me to endeavour to reside in the Colony with reasonable comfort and without your Lordship's assistance I have no alternative but to try the fortunes of my profession elsewhere which at my age of 49 and with the ties of a family is somewhat hazardous.
10. Your Lordship will observe that my appointment as Acting Attorney General was never confirmed, and such being the case it might be said thatI doManuscript image I do not hold the same strong claim to favor from the Colonial Office on ceasing to hold office on the Union of British Columbia with Vancouver Island which a Crown Officer suddenly deprived of office for reasons of public policy is usually presumed to have; but I trust that your Lordship will consider that in principle and in fairness my position is no less strong; considering the length of time during which I was acting as Attorney General for Vancouver Island and the nature of my services while I so acted.
11. On being appointed ActingAttorney GeneralManuscript image Attorney General by Sir Arthur Kennedy in 1864, it has been lately for the 1st time intimated to me that Sir Arthur Kennedy in communicating with the Colonial Office on the subject of my appointment, while speaking of me in favorable terms; yet on account of local complications which he considered then to exist recommended a permanent Attorney General of Vancouver Island to be appointed from home; but this fact was never at the time communicated to me, and the covering letter containing my appointment as Acting Attorney General of VancouverIslandManuscript image Island stated that it was "pending the approval or decision" of the Secretary for the Colonies and without for a moment imputing any blame to His Excellency Sir Arthur Kennedy in acting with the reserve that he did; yet I may say for myself that had it been communicated to me, that an Attorney General was to be appointed from England, I should either have declined the acting appointment or have made provision for leaving the Colony on the arrival of my successor for the same reason that now obliges me to do so.
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12. No intimation having ever reached me as to the decision of the Colonial Office with respect to my appointment notwithstanding a direct application made by me, and addressed to the Colonial Office under cover to the Governor soliciting a confirmation in my office, and not supposing that any valid reason could exist to prevent my formal appointment by warrant, save the probability of a speedy Union of the two Colonies of British Columbia and Vancouver IslandI didManuscript image I did my duty as an Executive Officer in promoting that Union in the Common interests, as I believed, of the Colonies themselves no less than of the mother Country, and relying upon what was expressed, but need hardly have been expressed, by our then Governor Sir Arthur Kennedy, that disinterested and candid conduct in that matter though against our apparent interests would never be overlooked in an officer of the Crown.
13. After the Union of the Colonies of British Columbia and Vancouver Island I have every reason to think that Mr Seymour regardedme asManuscript image me as the leading member of my profession. I was still retained, as far as he could do so, in the service of the Crown as a nominal Attorney General and Solicitor General for a few months—Subsequently as a Commissioner of Bankruptcy and locum tenens of Mr Needham during his absence in Cariboo, and always since 1866 as one of the 3 non-official and non representative members of the Legislative Council of British Columbia.
14. In asking for favorable consideration at your Lordship's hands I would beg to referto theManuscript image to the clear letter and spirit of the published Rules and Regulations which we hold as favoring the service in matters relating [to] the filling up of vacancies in Colonial appointments and which point to local merit and local services as the stepping stone to local preferment. My services as Attorney General of Vancouver Island may speak for themselves but I am sure I may ask for the favorable judgment of all who have known me in the Colony to satisfy you that I discharged the duties of my office with integrity and at least average ability andsustainedManuscript image sustained in public and in private the credit of the honorable office I then held.
15. I do not desire to ask for your Lordship's more favorable consideration of my case on the Ground of my having incurred such pecuniary losses as I in common with many others have sustained by reason of the decline of the Colony, except in so far as they bear upon the matters above adverted to; but I may say that I emigrated in 1862 with a wife and family, and established myself substantially in the Colony at considerable expense under a conviction that by doing so I was assistingthe solidManuscript image the solid colonization of the place, at the same time that by professional distinction I might fairly hope to attain to the honor and reward of my profession. On continuing year after year without interruption to be acting Attorney General of Vancouver Island; knowing that I did my duty to the satisfaction of the executive, I was induced to make, and did make, such investments as I should not otherwise have done had I known my position to be as precarious as I now find it to have been, and which investments can only be realized at the present time by forced sale at very great loss while I am nowobligedManuscript image obliged owing to the decline of the Colony, at great personal inconvenience, and loss, to return to England and obtain Employment where best I can; and in addition to this I may I trust reasonably lay claim to consideration on the fact that for years past owing to circumstances to which I need hardly allude the question of the modification of the Supreme Courts of British Columbia, a matter known to be necessary and carrying with it so far as I am concerned the question of my advancement or comparative poverty being kept in abeyance for upwards of 3 years left me in a position of uncertainty involving no slight amount ofloss ofManuscript image loss of time and means and much mental trial.
16. I can hardly help thinking that your Lordship will consider the withholding of any confirmation by the Colonial Office of my appointment as Attorney General of Vancouver Island as telling rather in my favor than against it. I had fair reason to expect that I should have been either promptly dismissed or confirmed in my office. As a member of the Executive Council bound to act an independent part in the interests of the Crown and the Colony I felt that I filled an important and delicate position without that security in the tenureof hisManuscript image of his office which an Attorney General ought to have. In many ways my duties as Crown Officer and Legislative Councillor have interfered with the emoluments of my profession and after 2 1/2 years of faithful service I hope your Lordship may feel that my case is one which deserves to secure the favorable consideration of Her Majesty's Government.
17. I have the honor to enclose a letter from Sir Arthur Kennedy which I have recently received referring to my conduct and character during my tenure of office in Vancouver Island.
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18. In conclusion I may say that I am mainly induced to select Vancouver Island as a home on the score of its acknowledged salubrity. At my age and with a wife and young children a consideration for their health and welfare no less than for my own makes it impossible for me to contemplate living in a tropical country except under favorable circumstances. Should your Lordship, however, have in your disposal some appointment either judicial or as Attorney General in a healthy Colony, I trust your Lordship will consider the facts adverted to above asestablishingManuscript image establishing a strong case in my favor.
I have the honor to be
My Lord,
Your Lordship's most obedient
and very humble Servant
Thomas Lett Wood

To The Right Honorable
The Earl of Kimberley
One of Her Majestys Principle
Secretaries of State for the Colonies
&c &c &c
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Herbert
As to Mr Wood's claims &c see minutes on 6783.
CC 11/7
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Mr Wodehouse
? Reply that Lord Kimberley is unable to recognise any claim to re-employment in the circumstances of Mr W's connection with the Govt of British Columbia, but will not object to note his application for consideration with those of other persons in the not probable event of a vacancy occurring in an appt such as he desires and such as can fairly be conferred upon him.
(A decently competent & respectable barrister is by no means always procurable when wanted—so it may be worth while perhaps to note him.)
RGWH July 13/70
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I agree with Mr Herbert both as to the answer that should beManuscript image given to Mr T.L. Wood, and also as to noting his name, for Mr Wood is well spoken of.
EHW July 14/70
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Yes, but leave out 'not probable' as it will be more civil without it & it engages me no further.
K July 14/70
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Noted.
ERW
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Recd.
ED 18/7
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Enc. returned to Mr Wood by his desire.
EHW 20 June/70
Other documents included in the file
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Rogers to Wood, 20 July 1870, saying Kimberley would note his application "for consideration with those of other persons, in the event of a vacancy occurring."
Minutes by CO staff
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Qu & send a copy to the Govr for his information & with reference to his desp 6783?
Other documents included in the file
*
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Draft reply, Kimberley to Musgrave, No. 6, 23 July 1870.
Wood, Thomas Lett to Wodehouse, John 5 July 1870, CO 60:42, no. 7264, 436. 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/B706W07.html.

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