Shepherd to Grey
Hudson's Bay House
3rd August 1854
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of Mr Under Secretary Peel's letter of the 28th ulto, requesting such information as the Hudson's Bay Company may possess regarding the qualifications of Mr David Cameron for the office of Acting Judge of Vancouver's Island, to which he had been appointed by Mr Governor Douglas; and further enclosing an Extract from a Memorial addressed to the Secretary of State by certain inhabitants of that Island, objecting to Mr Cameron's appointment.
In reply, I have the honor to inform you that previously to Mr Cameron's employment by the Hudson's Bay Company in 1853, he resided for several years in British Guiana. He was stronglyrecommendedManuscript image recommended to this Company as a man of integrity and excellent business habits by Mr James Stuart, a highly respectable and influential gentleman of that Colony, and Governor Douglas (to whose sister Mr Cameron is married) having recommended him as being well qualified for the responsible office of Superintendent of the Company's Coal mines in Vancouver's Island, he was accordingly engaged for that duty.
In corroboration of the truth and justice of these recommendations, the Hudson's Bay Company have had the satisfaction of receiving substantial proof. Mr Cameron's conduct in managing the important business entrusted to him has been such as to meet with our entire approval.
Our principal dependence, however, as regards his character and qualifications for the office of Acting Judge of Vancouver's Island, is our conviction that Governor Douglas wouldManuscript image not have appointed him on any other than public grounds, and we are of opinion that it will ultimately be found that as regards his education, talents & integrity Mr Cameron was as well qualified as any one whom Mr Douglas had within the sphere of his choice. No legal talents, I apprehend, were available for the office; but I hope the period is not far distant when the Colony will be enabled to afford such remuneration as would secure the services of a respectable member of the legal profession for the office of Judge or Recorder.
With respect to the extract from the Memorial of certain inhabitants of Vancouver's Island, the statement is so vague and hypothetical that it is difficult to deal with it, and I am inclined to attribute it to the feelings of a Party, anxious to bring forward any charge which might appear plausible against Governor Douglas. This hostile feeling towards the Governor, we have reasonManuscript image to believe was principally excited by the Revd Mr Staines, who incurred his displeasure, and who not only neglected, but abandoned his duties as Chaplain to the Company, without previous notice or leave granted.
With reference to disputes which may arise, and which the Memorialists state have arisen, connected with the working of the Companys Coal mines, we have received no information whatever, whilst it is certain that if disputes of a serious nature had occurred, they would have been duly reported to us. Under these circumstances I am not inclined to attach much weight to the remarks of the Memorialists on this point. The Company work these coal mines by the labour of their own Servants; the coals raised are sold on the spot at a fixed price, or transported to a foreign market in the Company's own, or in freighted vessels; and under such arrangements there would notManuscript image appear to be much risk of disputes with the Settlers of Vancouvers Island requiring legal interference, but if such did occur between parties whose interest was at variance with that of the Company, I feel assured that it would be sufficiently obvious to Mr Douglas & Mr Cameron that such cases ought not, and would not be adjudicated by the latter, if he continued to hold the office of Superintendent of the Coal Mines.
With regard to the case alluded to by the Memorialists in paragraph 4, we have received no information, and as no names or particulars are given we have no certain means of enquiring into it. A copy of the statement shall, however, be forwarded to Governor Douglas and Mr Cameron, with the expression of our desire to be furnished with a full report of all the circumstances of any such case, if any such did really occur.
Trusting that these remarksmayManuscript image may prove satisfactory.
I have the honor to be Sir
Your faithful and obedient Servant
John Shepherd
Deputy Governor

The Right Honble Sir George Grey Bart M.P.
etc etc etc
Colonial Office
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Merivale
Now send, I suppose, a copy of the Complaint to the Governor that we may have his own explanation. Should a Copy of this Letter accompany our Communication?
ABd 5 August
I think not.
FP 14
No. But this shd be put by for reference when the Govrs report is received.
GG 14
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
Draft reply, Grey to Douglas, No. 3, 20 August 1854, forwarding a copy of the memorialists’ complaints.