Murdoch to Elliot (Assistant Under-Secretary)
Emigration Office
19 July 1860
I have to acknowledge your letter of 6th instant inclosing one from Mr Pemberton, the Surveyor General of British Columbia, in answer to a charge brought against him by Mr Langford.
2. The charge was that Mr Pemberton had represented to Mr Langford that certain land which Mr Langford applied to buy had been sold to the Puget Sound Company—when it had not been so sold—and hadManuscript imagehad offered in proof of his statement to produce his Books to show that it had been paid for.
3. Upon this case I furnished a Report on the 4th ultimo. As regards the statement that the Land had been sold to the Puget Sound Company it appeared to me that although it was not precisely accurate Mr Pemberton had reason to believe it substantially true. The Land had been applied for by the Company & a negociation for its purchase was in progress—and in previous similar transactions the Company had never failed to complete their purchase. In regard, however, to the statement Manuscript imagethat Mr Pemberton offered to produce his books to show that the Land had not only been sold but paid for, which though supported by the evidence of Dr Wallace, Assist Surgeon of H.M.S. "Satellite", was disbelieved by the Governor and contradicted by the Assistant Surveyor who was present, but of which no notice was taken in the answer made by Mr Pemberton before he left the Colony, I suggested that Mr Pemberton should have an opportunity of offering any observations he might desire upon that point.
4. Mr Pemberton accordingly now points out the probability that the memory of the Assist Surveyor Manuscript imagewho was familiar with the subject would be more accurate than that of Dr Wallace to whom it was strange—that the former declares that he stated the Land to be "sold" only, and that Dr Wallace might easily after a lapse of 1 1/2 years confound this with a statement that it had been paid for—that the Book which he offered to show Mr Langford must have been the Official record in which the negociation with the Company would be on record, and which he was in the habit of allowing interested persons to examine—not the CashManuscript imageCash Book which would have shown no entry on the subject—and lastly he appeals to the entire absence of any motive for misrepresentation on his part and to the previous characters of himself and Mr Pearse as strong evidence of the improbability of the charge.
5. There is of course great difficulty in deciding between two directly contradictory statements from persons whose veracity there is no reason to impeach. Looking, however, to the time which has elapsed and to the circumstances under which the alleged conversation took place, I think it is most Manuscript imagelikely that Dr Wallace was mistaken in the words which he attributed to Mr Pemberton. Mr Pemberton's explanation of his probable offer to show Mr Langford his Office Books removes a great difficulty in understanding how the error arose. The absence also of any motive on Mr Pemberton's part and the silent acquiesence of Mr Langford during 18 months in what he now represents as a serious grievance, must be taken into account in deciding upon the probabilities of the case. Upon the whole I am of opinion that Mr Pemberton's explanation upon the Manuscript imageparticular point now under discussion is sufficient, and in respect to the more important questions regarding the conduct of Mr Pemberton and the Governor towards Mr Langford, I see no reason to alter the opinion expressed in my report of 4th ultimo.
I have etc.
T.W.C. Murdoch
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Sir F. Rogers
Adverting to Mr Murdochs other report dated the 4th June on Mr Langford's Complaint I think that after the enquiry which has now been made a despatch may be written to Governor Douglas stating that Mr Langford's representations having been investigated the S. of State does not consider that either the Governor or the Surveyor General are justly liable to the blame attributed to them by Mr Langford, & that that Gentleman should be so informed.
Write in a similar sense to the Surveyor General, who is in England.
ABd 20 July
FR 20/7
CF 21