No. 78
28 December 1861
With reference to my Despatch of this date No 77 acquainting your Grace with the committal for Trial of Mr George Tomline Gordon, Treasurer of Vancouvers Island, upon a charge of embezzlement of the public funds, and that I had consequently suspended him from his office, I have nowtheManuscript image the honor to report to your Grace that I have appointed Mr Alexander Watson, to act as Treasurer in the place of Mr Gordon.
2. Mr Watson has been the Accountant in the branch at this place of the Bank of British North America, and resigns that office to accept the appointment I have conferred upon him. I have every reason to believe him to be a gentleman of the highest integrity, of good business habits, and of more than ordinary attainments; and I cannot, in view of the deep anxiety it hascausedManuscript image caused me to find suitable subordinates, but esteem myself most fortunate in this case to secure the services of Mr Watson, peculiarly qualified as he is by previous training and by an unblemished reputation for so responsible an office: I therefore earnestly trust that Your Grace will be pleased to obtain Her Majesty's confirmation of the appointment.
3. The Salary attached to the office by the local Legislature is Four Hundred pounds per annum; but as this was less than the emoluments of the office Mr Watson resigned, and as I am satisfied such aSalaryManuscript image Salary in this country would not secure the willing and faithful service of a competent man, I have promised Mr Watson a Salary at the rate of Five Hundred pounds per annum, payable from the proceeds of the sales of public land, of which I trust Your Grace will approve, as I believe the services which Mr Watson is capable of rendering to this Colony will be cheaply purchased with such a Salary.
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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Mr Elliot
The disposal of this piece of Patronage belongs to the S. of State. The Salary is apparently derived from the Land Revenue which belongs to the Crown and I can perceive no reason why the Duke of Newcastle should not appoint a Successor to Mr Gordon if he thinks proper so to do.
I presume that the nomination of Mr Watson is only provisional, tho' the Governor pushes hard forManuscript image Confirmation. If it is really the case that the Governor is open to the reputation of filling the public Offices with his friends the appointment of a Treasurer from England would help to neutralize his proceedings in that way.
ABd 3/3
It will be necessary to bear in mind that Mr Watson has resigned for this Office the place of Accountant in the Bank of British North America, with an income of more than £400 per annum.
TFE 3 March
Duke of Newcastle
It is a very disagreeable fact that three public servants appointed by Governor Douglas have proved defaulters.
He gives a high character of Mr Watson.
CF 5
The fact of three of the Govrs recent appoints having proved defaulters is strong primâ facie evidence of joint carelessness & laxity on his part. This third case is a very bad one. I commented upon it in a Minute when the appt was madeManuscript image and confirmed during my absence in America. Mr Gordon was a Scoundrel & a Swindler of the worst description in England & had been obliged to run from the Country, & the Govr could not have had a word of recomn of him from anybody of respectability. His haste to grasp the appointt again under the circumstances is reprehensible & but for the hardship to Mr Watson I certainly would not confirm it.
As it is I wd comment sharply upon this third case of embezzlement as discreditable to his Govt—tell him that he ought to have made only a provisional appt & give my only reason for confirming Mr W.
N 5
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Newcastle to Douglas, No. 91, 15 March 1862, scolding that it is incredible that three of the persons recently appointed by you to offices of trust and responsibility…would have proved defaulters, and grudgingly approving the appointment of Watson.