Langford to Newcastle
49 St Pauls Road
Camden Square N.W.
May 21st 1862
My Lord Duke
I have the honor to enclose to your Grace the Copy of a letter from the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Demerara and also the copy of one from the Sherriff-Clerk at Perth, giving information concerning Mr David Cameron the Chief Justice of Vancouver Island, who is one of the officials whose conduct is complained of in the Statement which I had the honor to address to yourGraceManuscript image Grace on the 18th June last, which statement was placed in your Grace's hands by Mr Charles W. Fitzwilliam.
I have the honor to remain
My Lord Duke
Your most obedt humble Sert
Edward E. Langford

His Grace
The Duke of Newcastle K.G.
&c &c &c
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
See 5078 and minutes thereon. Neither this Letter nor the enclosures contain charges against the Governor. They only allege that Mr Cameron compounded with his creditors in Scotland and did not pay them after all, and that he was declared insolvent at Demerara. These, if they are facts, were unknown to the Colonial Office when Mr Cameron was appointed Chief Justice of VanCouver Island.
I may as well mention on this occasion that a Supreme Court of Justice was first established in V.C.I. in /54. It was createdManuscript image in consequence of the dissatisfaction felt with the decisions of the local Justices. The Governor (Douglas) selected Mr Cameron for the Office of Chief Judge: the Govr told us at the time that Mr C. was not a professional man, & that he (Cameron) accepted the post solely at the Governor's wish and "until a Law Officer was appointed by the Crown…a measure which he was desirous should be soon carried into effect." I am not aware that Douglas told us that Cameron was his Brother-in Law, but we learned the fact through the H.B.Co. Some time afterwards a Petition reached us from V.C.I. complaining of the composition of this Supreme Court. It was referred to the Governor, & we recd his ans:—which ans: was deemed satisfactory; for afterwards (in 56) A Supreme Court of Judicature was solemnly established by an O. of the Queen in Council and Mr Cameron appointed Chief Justice of the Court. (The correspce respg the Estt of the Court, & the apptment of Mr C. is the Vol. of /54.)
ABd 22 May/62
Forwarded for consideration.
TFE 22 May
Duke of Newcastle
Referring to your minute on 5078, I suppose you now have Mr Langford's charges "in writing", as far as he intends to make them, consisting of his letter of June 18 1861, and those letters now Sent.
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They directly affect Ch J. Cameron, Judge Begbie & Mr Good, not the Governor, and therefore, in spite of the fact of the Ch. Justice being his brother-in-law, & Mr Good his Private Secretary, they may perhaps be sent to him, with a desp. calling for explanation.
With respect to Mr Cameron, you will find, on reference to the bound volume, that his appointment was at the time treated as provisional & temporary—the Crown writing that Mr Cameron "is not a professional lawyer," that "he had accepted the appointment until a Law officer for the Colony is appointed by the Crown, a measure which for the sake of the Colony &c Govr Douglas is "desirous sh. be soon carried into effect." If it was desirable to have "a professional lawyer" on the Bench at Victoria then, it is infinitely more desirable now—but how this is to be accomplished I do not see.
I pass this through Sir F. Rogers.
CF 23
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Copy, James C. Hitzler, Registrar, Demerara, to Langford, 24 June 1861, advising that in view of the lack of bankruptcy laws in the colony, Cameron had been "adjudged insolvent on the 28th January 1851."
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Copy, A. Reid, Perth, to Langford, 11 November 1861, responding to his enquiry with a discussion of Cameron's prior financial dealings in Scotland.
Other documents included in the file
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Fortescue to Langford, 31 May 1862, informing that any charges against the officials of Vancouver Island must be brought before the Colonial Legislature or the Governor for referral to London.
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Draft reply, Newcastle to Douglas, No. 101, 2 June 1862, forwarding copies of letters from the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Demerara and the Sherriff-Clerk at Perth containing allegations that Cameron had defaulted on debts in Scotland and British Guiana before arriving on Vancouver Island, asking Douglas to explain how much he knew of these allegations, and recommending that it was time to revisit Cameron's temporary appointment.
Minutes by CO staff
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I have observed on looking back that Govr Douglas's relationship to
Mr C. was known here from a memorial transmitted by Mr Douglas with his report upon it—before the apptmt was sanctioned.
Yes.
Langford, Edward Edwards to Pelham-Clinton, Henry Pelham Fiennes 21 May 1862, CO 305:19, no. 5117, 654. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871, Edition 2.2, ed. James Hendrickson and the Colonial Despatches project. Victoria, B.C.: University of Victoria. https://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/V626L02.html.

Last modified: 2020-12-02 13:40:34 -0800 (Wed, 02 Dec 2020) (SVN revision: 5008)