No. 52
27th April 1871
My Lord,
In February last, Mr Ball the Magistrate of the Cariboo District, who relieved the late Mr Brew in that capacity a few months before, reported to me in a Letter of which I annex a Copy, thatheManuscript image he had detected the abstraction of a large sum from the Revenue during the years 1868 and 1869, by the late Clerk and Recorder of Mining claims, Mr Cochrane, who was, it is believed lost in the "City of Boston" Steamer on his way to England.
2. As Mr Cochrane, and Mr Brew—through whose carelessness—arising I believeonlyManuscript image only from the extremely feeble state of his health for a long time, this embezzlement has occurred, are both dead, it seemed very improbable that the defalcations could be recovered, but I directed the Auditor General to communicate at once with Mr Ball, to furnish him with all the information and DocumentsheManuscript image he asked for and to ascertain as fully as possible the amount and particulars of the sums received by Mr Cochrane and unaccounted for. These are now reported to amount to Five thousand, seven hundred, and Forty-five Dollars, received for Records of Mining Claims, and "Leaves of Absence" from Mining claims under the GoldMiningManuscript image Mining Ordinance.
3. It appears that in the year 1868 two insignificant errors of $5 each were discovered in the Accounts of the Cariboo Station, for that Year, and the smallness of the amount and the explanation given did not cause any distrust. Further queries upon the 1869 accounts, which reached Cariboo after MrManuscript image Cochrane had left, where certain Leaves of Absence were entered on the Counterfoils but not entered on the Cash Book, amounting to $27.50, caused Mr Ball to make further comparison in the Record Books kept in the Office, disclosing in the end the deficiencies now reported.
4. It has always been manifest to me that theremustManuscript image must be great difficulty in exercising efficient supervision over the Accounts of the distant Districts; but extensive fraud was scarcely possible except through collusion, or great carelessness in the Magistrate. To this latter cause and over confidence in the integrity of Mr Cochrane on the part of Mr Brew, must the present casebeManuscript image be attributed, and if he were still alive he would be responsible, and liable to refund the deficiency.
5. I had feared that the amount embezzled would be totally lost to the Colony; but on enquiry I have ascertained that Mr Cochrane on leaving Victoria for England had obtained Bills from the Bank ofBritishManuscript image British North America on their Office in London for about Three thousand, two hundred pounds Sterling, reported to have been acquired in mining speculations, which have not been presented for payment, and are supposed to have been lost with Mr Cochrane in the "City of Boston." I have caused the ManagerofManuscript image of the Branch here to be notified that this Government has a claim against that sum of about Six thousand Dollars.
6. I am informed that Mr Robert Mellors, of Brittania Chambers, Pelham Street, Nottingham, holds a Power of Attorney from Mr Cochrane, and that Mr Mellors has written to theBankManuscript image Bank of British North America in London, stating that he holds this power, and, understanding that a large sum of money is at Mr Cochrane's credit at their Bank, and as Mr Cochrane was lost in the "City of Boston," that he intends to apply for Letters of Administration on behalf of the nearest of kin.
7. Under these circumstances the object of my present Despatch toYourManuscript image Your Lordship is to request that steps may be taken through the Crown Agents, or otherwise as seems most desirable, for the purpose of attaching the money in the hands of the Bank, or of the Administrator, and so recovering the sum of $5745, or £1184.10/9 due to this Government from MrCochraneManuscript image Cochrane. It is possible that even preliminary proceedings may have the effect of at once procuring a return of the amount, but if necessary any further particulars required can be furnished for the prosecution of the claim.
I have the honor to be,
My Lord,
Your most obedient
Humble Servant
A. Musgrave
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Meade
Mr Cochrane who was Clerk & Recorder of Mining claims is supposed to have been lost in the City of Boston on his way to England. A large defalcation has been discovered in his Accounts, & also that he has a considerable sum in the Bank of B.N. America, & Govr Musgrave asks that steps may be taken to attach the sum in order that the Crown may recover what is due. ItManuscript image appears to me that this is a case that should at once be put into the hands of the Solicitor to the Treasury in preference to the Crown Agents.
CC 30/5
Send the papers to the Treasury and request that their Solicitor may be instructed to take the necessary steps. Further Particulars can be got from the Colony if required.
RM 30/5
At once.
RGWH May 30/71
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
Manuscript image
H.M. Ball, Stipendiary Magistrate, to Colonial Secretary, 31 January 1871, reporting his discovery of the embezzlement.
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
John Gray, Solicitors Department, Treasury, to Secretary, Colonial Office, 3 June 1871, asking to be furnished with Cochrane's Christian name.
Manuscript image
Meade to Secretary to the Treasury, 31 May 1871, forwarding copy of the despatch and requesting that the Treasury solicitor take steps to recover the money claimed by British Columbia.
Manuscript image
Herbert to Secretary to the Treasury, 11 August 1871, asking to be informed what steps had been taken towards recovery of the money.
Minutes by CO staff
An Arrear List reminder.
Musgrave, Anthony to Wodehouse, John 27 April 1871, CO 60:43, no. 5322, 485. 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.

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