No. 59
10 September 1861
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Grace's despatch No 55 of the 1st May, forwarding a letter from Mr Heseltine representing that a sum ofSixtyManuscript image Sixty six Pounds, thirteen shillings and four pence (£66.13.4) was due at the time of his decease to his late son, on account of salary as Steam Inspector to this Government.
2. With reference to the above claim I have the honor to acquaint your Grace, that Mr Heseltine was appointed to the office of Inspecting Engineer as represented, but he nevercompletedManuscript image completed any one single Act of the important duty it was intended he should perform, altho' many times called upon to do so; alleging as a reason that he was waiting until he could obtain apparatus suitable for testing the peculiar boilers used on this coast. It would seem from a letter addressed by him to the Harbour Master in reply to a Requisition for a Report on the condition of theSteamManuscript image Steam vessels, that he had been on board most of them and had made a provisional inspection as he termed it. No Certificates of the fact were however forthcoming, and I am inclined to believe these provisional inspections consisted mainly in using his reputed Office for the purpose of obtaining passages backwards and forwards between this place and British Columbia, and up the Fraser River, in the different steam vessels.
3. ForManuscript image
3. For these reasons I considered that Mr Heseltine could not be regarded as having any claim to a salary which was to be given for specific services rendered, and it would almost appear that Mr Heseltine so regarded it himself, for he never preferred any claim.
4. At the time of Mr Heseltines appointment, from the number of high pressure steam vessels running between these Colonies, it was highly desirable if notindispensableManuscript image indispensable as a necessary security to life and property that the Office of Inspecting Engineer should be created. Mr Heseltine was brought to my notice, as a person possessing superior attainments as an Engineer both theoretically and practically, of most respectable connections, and, in short, as the only thoroughly qualified individual in the community. These representations I have every reason to believe were strictlycorrectManuscript image correct, but unfortunately he was also a person of dissolute and erratic habits, and much given to inebriety. Of this I only became aware after his death, but to these propensities unquestionably may be attributed the non-performance of the duties of his Office.
I have the honor to be
My Lord Duke,
Your Grace's most obedient
humble Servant
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
Copy to Mr Heseltine—who will probably not think this a sufficient excuse for not paying a claim due to an Officer who had not been dismissed from his situation.
ABd 2 Novr
That Mr Heseltine was an undeserving person and that he rendered no real service to the public, may be taken for granted on the Governors report. But he was not hired on condition of working by the job. He was engaged as some of the papers shew at a regular salary to fill an office from which the Governor neither suspended nor removed him. I apprehend therefore that it is quite inadmissible to refuse payment of the salary on the ground that he was an unprofitable servant. This would have been a reason to dismiss him, but not to withhold his pay whilst he retained his capacity of a public servant.
I think therefore that we can by no means send a copy of this Despatch to the Survivors. It is so insufficient that the Governor might really be liable to legal proceedings. I should propose instead to write out to him pointing out the true nature of the case.
TFE 6 Nov
N 7
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Newcastle to Douglas, No. 75, 14 November 1861, informing him that since Heseltine was not dismissed, the salary due at the time of his death should be paid to his legal Representatives.