No. 35
2 May 1861
With reference to my Despatch No 50 of the 5th of December 1860 upon the subject of the completion of the Light Houses in Fucas Straits, and wherein I report the amount required to effect a final settlement of the cost oferectionManuscript image erection as about one Thousand pounds (£1000), I have the honour to represent to Your Grace that after this settlement was effected, and I was under the impression that all payments had been made, claims against the work to the extent of between Eight Hundred (£800) and One Thousand pounds (£1000) were brought to my notice; the Contractor, as I stated in my Despatch, having broken down and having no available assets, and his sureties being legally relieved from their responsibility by theGovernmentManuscript image Government under the circumstances before explained being compelled to step in and take the work of the Contract into their own hands.
2. These claims were principally for provisions supplied to workmen, and it was alleged that the Government was justly responsible for their settlement, inasmuch, first, as although ordered in the name of the Contractor, still they had been obtained by the officer of the Government superintending the work; and secondly, thatwhenManuscript image when some of the orders for payment given by the Contractor upon the Colonial Surveyor had been presented to that functionary, he although not at the time accepting them, had nevertheless, as they considered it, given such assurances of a final satisfactory settlement, as to quiet the apprehensions of the creditors, and to lead them to make further supplies.
3. I placed the whole matter in the hands of the Attorney General, who after a long and careful investigationascertainedManuscript image ascertained that although probably legally the Creditors could not force their claims, still that for the credit of the Government, we were morally bound to liquidate a portion of the claims amounting to the sum of Four Hundred and thirty pounds (£430).
4. Under these circumstances I felt that it was incumbent upon me to accept of this portion, and I am therefore obliged to draw one further Bill upon Her Majesty's Government for the necessary sum of Four Hundred and thirtypoundsManuscript image pounds (£430). I do so with great reluctance for Her Majesty's Government have already so generously and readily met our requirements, and having led Your Grace to imagine that my last draft would be final, as I then believed it would be, I am most loth to make this further call for assistance, but I have no other means of meeting the outlay required, for the expenses of starting the Lights in working order have been very heavy, andtheManuscript image the Colonial funds appropriated to their maintenance have been all absorbed.
5. I trust therefore Your Grace will be pleased to cause the Bill I now draw to be accepted by the Board of Trade upon presentation.
6. The final accounts with that Department will be forwarded either by the present or following Mail.
I have the honor to be
My Lord Duke
Your Grace's most obedient
and humble Servant
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
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Copy to Treasury & B. Trade. It is to be hoped that the Colonies of B. Columbia & V. Couver Isld will be required to pay the moiety of this further & unexpected charge for the Lighthouses.
I can conceive few situations more adapted than Fucas's straits for the collection of light dues; and as the whole of the shipping, excepting always [possible one line cut off microfilm] belongs to the United States, we should not feel much compunction in demanding toll. The Consumer might ultimately have to pay the tax; but the amount wd be very small, & indirect.
ABd 8 July
I suppose we must send this despatch to the Bd of Trade for consideration.
TFE 9 July
And to Treasury? and inform them that the Duke of Newcastle while recommending that the Bill be accepted, proposes to call upon the Govts of V Id & B. Columbia for repayment of a moiety of the total cost of the Lighthouses.
CF 10
N 11
Other documents included in the file
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Colonial Office to James Booth, Board of Trade, 20 July 1861, forwarding copies of this and a subsequent despatch (No. 36).
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Elliot to G.A. Hamilton, Treasury, 20 July 1861, forwarding copy of the despatch and asking that the additional bill be accepted.