Pemberton to Fortescue (Parliamentary Under-Secretary)
174 Euston Road N.W.
August 11th 1860 Chichester J. Fortescue Esqre M.P. &c &c

I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 10th Instt informing me that his Grace the Duke of Newcastle has been pleased to confer upon me the Office of Surveyor General of Vancouver Island.
I find it difficult to express in words the gratitude I feel for his Grace's condescension in complying with my request but shall endeavour to express it by discharging the duties entrusted to me so assiduously that his Grace will have reason to be satisfied with my humble exertions.
As no details are stated having reference to the appointment I beg leave most respectfully and frankly to mentionManuscript imageto mention [illegible] as regards Salary, that up to the time of my quitting the Island I was paid £500 a year, that in the present state of the Colony I do not ask for any increase of it, but merely request that his Grace may be pleased to confirm it, and that I may be informed from what date, as in such cases may be customary, it should commence.
I would further respectfully inquire whether with regard to expense of passage out his Grace may be pleased to place me on the same footing as civil officers sent to British Columbia.
In what I have stated having reference to emoluments I hope to be understood as not asking for any special or Exceptional privilege.
2ly I would suggest that if my experience as a civil Engineer, which as will appear from the enclosed printed document is not inconsiderable, could be made serviceable to Government on the passage out; it would not cost me more to travel out by the Red River Saskatchewan and the Rocky Mountains than by the Isthmus of Panama.
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3ly My leave of absence having nearly expired I would ask for a small extension of it, in consideration of its shortness (8 months) and the circumstance that the Season is now so far advanced that however expeditious I may be in getting out, little Surveying can be done in Vancouver Island until Spring.
That if his Grace shall be pleased to allow me this slight extension of leave of absense and that if during my stay in London I can do any work for the Colonial Office, so far from considering such as laborious, I should be but too happy to exert myself to the utmost.
I have the honor to be Sir, respectfully
Your very obedient and obliged Servt
J. Despard Pemberton
Minutes by CO staff
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Sir F. Rogers
If this Office could have suspected that by complying with Mr Pemberton's request to be invested with a warrant of Appointment as Surveyor General of Van Couver Id he would have founded this application my impression is that we should have guarded ourselves by careful provisos against giving the writer the oppy of which he has availed himself for preferring demands which, in my opinion at least, cannot be entertained. With the exception of the Govr The few Officials of Van Couver Isd are paid out of Colonial Resources. The local Legre raises the means of defraying the Civil Establishment. Out of funds over which the Impl govt has no control Mr Pemberton has hitherto been paid and must continue to be paid. The proper amount of his Salary is a matter for the Governor & the local Authorities to settle: nor can this Office take it out of their hands unless we pay him from the B. Treasury. Mr Pemberton treats the formal Instrument of Appointment as if it conferred on him a new Office. Now, in my apprehension, we understand nothing of the kind. By giving him a warrant we meant only to confirm him, in the ordinary way, in a situation which he had held for several years, & in virtue of which he is now on leave of absence. I admit that the Governor's desph 2317 is susceptible of a double construction, for whilst he reports having granted Mr Pemberton leave of absence for 8 months, & that that Officers salary wd cease from the date of his quitting the Colony, he talks about any "future appointment" of Surveyor General which H. Ms Govt may contemplate—for which situation he strongly recommends Mr Pemberton. It would almost seem as if he meant that when Mr Pemberton quitted the Colony he lost Office also. But that must be impossible otherwise why Should he have granted Mr Pemberton leave of absence, and, why as Mr Pemberton mentions in 6776 does he press for his return to the Colony unless he still regards him as a public Officer of it. A Governor can of course only give leave of absence to a Public Servant. Nobody except an Official requires leave of absence to quit a Colony. In short although I think the Governor's desph 2317 creates some embarrassment there are not adequate grounds, according to my view, for meeting this Application in any other shape than by informing Mr Pemberton that he is under a mistake in supposing that this Office intended to treat him Manuscript imageotherwise than as a public Officer on leave of absence, who from peculiar Colonial circumstnces had not hitherto had a formal Warrant of appointment conferred on him. In giving him a warrant the step was taken at his own solicitation and he must be requested to understand that it must rest with the Colonial Authorities to assign him a Salary, as they have done already in his provisional capacity.
2. With respect to his enquiry whether he might be placed on the same footing as B. Columbia officials with respect to a free passage I have to state that the answer which shall be given to Mr Pemberton's first request will govern likewise this point. If Mr Pemberton is treated as an official on leave of absence the public would not pay the Expense of his passage. If this is regarded as a new appointment I suppose his journey should be paid.
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3. As to any extension of his leave of absence see what the Governor is reported in 6776 to have said to him—viz: that "his leave of absence was nearly expended, and his speedy return urged."
ABd 15 August/60
Mr Blackwood
What is the exact position of this gentleman in respect to the Legre. What Change has taken place in it which renders it doubtful whether his Salary will be continued to him?
FR 16/8
Sir F. Rogers
There are some papers in circulation just now to which I should have been glad to have referred before answering your questions, though I am not sure that they would have thrown a complete light upon the subject. In their absence, therefore, I have turned to the Governor's despatch of the 12 Sepr/59 which states—Par: 4—that, at that date, he had nothing to depend on for paying his little Civil Establishment except the funds Manuscript imagearising from the sale of public Lands. Which funds, in pursuance of the Grant of Van Couver Island to the Hudsons Bay Company are until the Island can be retransferred to the Crown applicable to Colonization with the exception of 10 per cent which the Co have a right to retain by way of profit. Wherefore & from the Governor's despatch I infer that the Surveyor General stands in no relation whatever at present to the Legislature, as that Body votes him no salary.
2. As to the changes in the Legislature I have to mention that the Assembly has been lately increased from 7 to 13 Members, and that as several men of education and respectability have been selected to the House
Mr Cary, Attorney Genl for B.C.; Capn Gossett [Gosset], Treasurer for B.C.
there is more reason to hope that salaries will be provided for proper Officers.
ABd 17 Augt
Mr Fortescue
This gentleman it appears was just Surveyor Genl under the H.B.C. and then (as he alleges) under the Govt wh succeeded the H.B.C. From what fund he was paid does not Manuscript imageclearly appear—probably from the Land Fund. The salary of a Surveyor General is a fair charge on that Revenue.
In this position he comes home with 8 months leave & takes the opportunity of asking for a commission—wh is given him. I think with Mr Blackwood he is merely an officer home on leave whose position is in no respect altered by having been gratified by a commission. And I wd answer nearly as proposed by Mr Blackwood. I would tell him that his position is that of a Colonial Officer home on leave for eight months and bound to return at the expiration of his leave, and that neither in respect of salary nor in any other [way] was his position altered by the issue of a commission. That it would be necessary for him as an officer on leave to find his way back to the Colony at this own expense, and that the amount of his Salary would be as much and as little under the control of the Coll Authies as if no commission had [been] issued. But I think no answer shd be sent till Mr Elliot has seen this letter as perhaps Mr E. may see his way to [assure?] Mr P of the salary of 500£. [Possible one line cut off microfilm.]
[One line cut off microfilm] the answer already proposed.
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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"Extracts from Professional Certificates of J. Despard Pemberton," printed copies of testimonials, as per letter (10 pages).
Other documents included in the file
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Draft, Elliot to Pemberton, 19 September 1860, stating that as he was considered to be on leave from the colony, there would be no change in his salary and he must bear the cost of the return journey, but granting an extension of his leave until January.
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Draft reply, Fortescue to Douglas, No. 36, 20 September 1860.