No. 50
5 December 1860
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Graces Despatch No 31 of the 28th August, acquainting me that the Lords Commissoners of the Treasury will not object to the acceptance of Bills for the expenditure in the Colony on LightManuscript imageLight House Service, to the extent of £7751.16.10, but instructing me to limit the expenditure, if possible, to that Amount.
2. I am happy to inform Your Grace that both Lighthouses are now completed. The Light in the one on Fisgard Island has been exhibited for the last fortnight, and has already proved of much utility. The fitting of the Lantern on the Race Rock Tower is rapidly progressing, and I trust that the Light will be displayed in about a week or ten days.
Yesterday Manuscript image
3. Yesterday, accompanied by Captain Richards of the Plumper, I inspected both the Lighthouses, and the condition in which I found them, and the manner in which the work has been executed afforded me unqualified gratification; for considering the many difficulties against which we had to contend we at one time almost despaired of carrying out the undertaking satisfactorily: in fact had it not been for the valuable aid rendered by Admiral Baynes in furnishing a working party for some months the Tower at the Race Rocks couldManuscript imagecould not have been completed for the really moderate amount it has cost. The Contractor for that work much miscalculated it. Building in Stone was an experiment in this Country, and, indeed, as is now apparent, had his offer been £6000 instead of £4100, the sum would not have been remunerative. As it was he broke down and could not carry out his Contract. Consideration and calculation made it manifest that the foreiture of his Sureties, and the continuance of the work either under a fresh Contract, or by hired labor, would involve serious delaysManuscript imagedelays, and a considerable increase in expenditure; we, therefore, as the best expedient, decided to afford all reasonable assistance to the Contractor to enable him to complete the work; and I am sure Your Grace will be pleased to learn that it is one calculated to stand for ages, and such as would reflect credit upon any Country. Indeed as I viewed the massive Structure I could scarcely realize that, in a young Colony like this, with chance labor, and with but the rude appliances at hand, such a work could be producedManuscript imageproduced. Part of the Stone of which the Tower is built was hewn upon the spot, but from its extreme hardness the quarrying was found to be ruinously expensive, and the remainder had to be brought from a distance. The Tower has a diameter of 19 feet at the base, and 12 feet at its summit, with a thickness of solid stone wall 6 feet 3 inches at bottom and 2 feet 3 inches at top; and an elevation of 118 feet above the Sea Level.
4. Notwithstanding that we have been obliged to allow the Contractor compensation for many unforeseenManuscript imageunforeseen expenditures that he was called upon to make, and for many unavoidable losses that he incurred, I am told that he still will be a loser on the work by about a thousand pounds, in fact being a man of but small means he is all but ruined. We have drawn within a few pounds of the sum named in anticipation in my despatch of June last, but it is found that when all accounts are settled we shall still have to make a further expenditure of about One Thousand pounds; and I trust, under the circumstances herein narrated, thatManuscript imagethat the Bills which I shall have to draw for that amount may be duly accepted, for I can assure Your Grace that in addition to the difficulties with which we have been beset, I have kept the most watchful eye upon the whole proceedings, and have caused the most rigid economy, consistent with efficiency, to be practiced on every hand.
5. I enclose herewith Copy of Notice to Mariners of the exhibition of the Fisgard Light; and, in conclusion, I trust Her Majesty's Government, and Your Grace individually, willManuscript imagewill accept the cordial thanks of the Colony for the generous assistance extended to us, by means of which a signal benefit has been conferred not only upon this Colony, but also upon that of British Columbia, and a national work completed worthy [of] the great character of our Country.
I have etc.
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
Copy to Bd of Trade & Treasury.
ABd 31/Jany
TFE 1 Feby
N 2
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Mr Elliot
The cost of the Light Houses at Van Couver Island was estimated at £7000, and in the year 1860-61 a Vote for this amount was taken, on the understanding that one half, or £3500, should be repaid to the Imperial Treasury by Van Couvers Island & British Columbia jointly (see 4647 Treasury).
In June 1860 the Governor reported (7738) that the entire sum required for the Works in the Colony would be £7751.16.10—but this amount did not include the cost of the Lanterns &c sent from England vizt £3266.4.1 (see Brd of Trade & Treasury 1110 & 7664).
The sanction of the Treasury was obtained for this excess of expenditure beyond the Vote of £7000, and they informed us that it would be inserted in the Estimates to be submitted to Parliament for the year 1861-2. See 8306.
The Governor now applies for an additional £1000, for the completion of the Works and it therefore becomes necessary to obtain the sanction of the Treasury for this further expenditure.
The total cost of the Light Houses will be £12018.
VJ 6 Feby/61
Mr Jadis
This makes the matter clear. But I think that, to prevent Manuscript imageany slip or oversight at the Treasury, it will be better briefly to recapitulate the facts in our communication.
TFE 7 Feby
N 10
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
Not in file.
Other documents included in the file
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Draft, Elliot to James Booth, Board of Trade, 16 February 1861, forwarding copy of the despatch.
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Draft, Rogers to G.A. Hamilton, Treasury, 16 February 1861, forwarding copy of the despatch and recommending the additional sum be paid.
Douglas, James to Pelham-Clinton, Henry Pelham Fiennes 5 December 1860, CO 305:14, no. 943, 420. 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/V60050.html.

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