No. 49
1st August 1864
1. I have the honor to transmit two letters dated June 7th and 8th 1864 addressed to me by Mr Nagle formerly Harbour Master at Victoria.
2. I find on reference to the Despatch Book of my Predecessor that he reported Mr Nagle's dismissal in a Despatch No 67 dated 25th October 1861.
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3. I was wholly ignorant of this matter being left open and unadjusted till I received Mr Nagle's letter of the 7th June 1864, and I cannot after diligent search in the Colonial Secretary's Office (where no Register has been hitherto kept) discover any grounds for this apparently unnecessary delay.
4. The documents relating to this question are very voluminous and somewhat obscure, and I therefore do not transmit them.
5. I think it necessaryhoweverManuscript image however, to transmit my references to the Treasurer, Attorney General, and Acting Auditor, with their replies thereto,
Wholly inadequate.
as necessary to an understanding of the case, though they do not in any way account for the delay in closing it.
6. I brought the subject under the notice of my Executive Council and after a full consideration, it was decided that it would be inexpedient and impolitic for the Government to take legal proceedings to recover the sumofManuscript image of three hundred and eight dollars ($308) alleged to be the amount of Mr Nagle's defalcations, as the unaccounted for delay in so doing would render the result more than doubtful.
7. Under these circumstances I have with the advice of my Executive Council directed this amount to be written off the public accounts without pronouncing any opinion as to Mr Nagle's guilt or innocence, which is I think still a matter of doubt.
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8. Whether guilty or innocent Mr Nagle's social degradation and dismissal from office and the Commission of the Peace are in themselves a severe punishment.
I have the honor to be,
Your very obedient Servant
A.E. Kennedy
Minutes by CO staff
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Sir F. Rogers
Mr Nagle was dismissed from Office in 1861 for defalcation. The occurrence took place at a time when the Colony had the ill luck to have two other Defaulters—so that Governor Douglas probably felt it impossible to act otherwise than sternly. After an interval of 3 years Mr Nagle applies to the new Governor (in the absence from the Colony of the old one, and of Mr Young, the Colonial Secretary) and represents that since March 1862 he has been waiting for a settlement (I infer of his accounts) declares that he is not out more than 50 dollars, and urges that the charges against him be either maintained or abandoned.
According to the Attorney General's statement, and that of a Solicitor, Mr Drake, (at P.P. 27 & 28) to the Colonial Secretary Mr Young, now in England, the reason is attributed why proceedings against Mr Nagle were stayed.
The Auditor of the Colony reports at P. 33 that, deducting certain items (which probably were the occasion of Mr Young's ordering the proceedings to be discontinued) there is a net sum of 308 Dollars = £64 "due, beyond all doubt to the Government."
On bringing the subject before the Executive Council it was held by them to be inexpedient and impolitic "to attempt to recover the above sum of 308 dollars; the delay rendering the recovery more than doubtful.["]
The Governor, therefore, ordered the amount to be "written off" without expressing any opinion of Mr Nagle's guilt or innocence, which he thinks "still a matter of doubt". He further observes whether guilty or innocent Mr Nagle's social degradation and dismissal from Office and the Commission of the Peace are in themselves a severe punishment. These observations seem to me strange and illogical. If Mr Nagle is guilty he is properly punished: If innocent he is entitledManuscript image to reparation.
I am at a loss to know what the Governor wishes us to do in the matter. He does not send us all the papers relating to the case—which in a matter of account might be of importance—and he tells us that the debt is written off as a bad one. As the loss falls on the Colony and not on the Crown if we approve the writing the debt off as a bad one we assume to ourselves a responsibility in the affair which we have not adequate materials for assuming, nor any right to assume.
The conclusion, therefore, to which I come is that we should confine ourselves to acknowledging the Despatch &c and say that the local authorities are the proper persons to form a judgment upon the transaction and that the Secretary of State does not feel himself called upon to express any opinion thereon.
If any reference to Mr Young be considered expedient he can easily be communicated with.
ABd 20 Sepr/64
I agree. Ackn?
EC 25
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Copy, Jeremiah Nagle to Kennedy, 7 June 1864, asking that the case against him be either maintained or finally abandoned.
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Copies of correspondence which passed between Nagle, Henry Wakeford (Acting Colonial Secretary), Kennedy, and Alexander Watson (Colonial Treasurer), between 8 June and 17 June 1864, in which Kennedy is attempting to determine the background of the case.
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Copy, George Hunter Cary, Attorney General, to Acting Colonial Secretary, 21 June 1864, enclosing a letter from solicitor M.W.F. Drake.
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Copy, Drake to Cary, 17 June 1864, stating that he had been instructed by W.A.G. Young to stay proceedings against Nagle.
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Robert Ker, Acting Auditor, to Acting Colonial Secretary, 7 July 1864, reporting on the facts of the case and naming the final balance deemed owing to the government.
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Cardwell to Kennedy, No. 40, 29 September 1864.