Confidential
7th March 1866
Sir,
I deem it my duty to direct your attention to Proceedings of Executive Council transmitted by this Mail pages 7, 9, 10, and to the letters dated 11th and 12th August 1865 in the Appendix thereto, relative to the suspension of Mr Wootton, Postmaster and Harbour Master of this Colony.
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The outline of this case as given in the proceedings will speak for itself.
I could not entertain a doubt of Mr Wootton's drunkenness on the occasion referred to—a habit he is well known to indulge in—and it seems incredible that a medical man would prescribe and a chemist administer a dose that would deprive a full grown man of his senses and the power of locomotion in a few minutes. I am therefore driven to the painfulconclusionManuscript image conclusion that the Witnesses (who were unsworn) brought forward in Mr Wootton's defence made a false statement to save a friend from the consequences which they knew would result if the charge of drunkenness were proved.
Though I entertain an indifferent opinion of Mr Wootton (who is an ex-master in the merchant service) both as to character and capacity I thought it expedient to suspend him when the whole of the MembersofManuscript image of Council voted against it.
I have the honor to be,
Sir,
Your most obedient Servant
A.E. Kennedy
Governor
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
The details of this case are supplied in the proceedings of the Ex: Council (4665/66) for the 1/2 year ending Decr/65 which I pass on herewith.
The Governor met the Harbor Master in a state as he supposed, of Drunkenness in the day time. The Govr suspended him from Office, & called an enquiry which resulted in his being proved (2y) on unsworn evidence, to have been in a stupified condition arising from the remedies given him, by order of a Dr, for an attack of neuralgia.
Acknowledge.
ABd 17 May
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See separate Minute.
TFE 21 May
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I apprehend that no sane (and one is tempted to add no honest) man can entertain a moment's doubt that Mr Wootton was purely drunk. The whole of the Officials of Vancouver probably think it a mark of good fellowship to acquit a brother officer against the evidence. If they are unanimous in wishing the Colony to have a drunken man to perform such duties as those of Harbormaster and Postmaster, the Governor could hardly do otherwise than submit.
Two courses might be taken here. One would be simply to acknowledge. The other would be to express surprise that the Members of the Executive Council had been able with such unanimity todeclareManuscript image declare themselves satisfied by testimony of the nature of that which was brought before them, but that Mr Cardwell presumes that they cannot be ignorant how blameable it would be knowingly to maintain in such responsible Offices as those of Postmaster and Harbormaster a man addicted to intemperate habits, and is bound therefore to suppose that they found some reasons which convinced their minds of the truth of the defence offered by Mr Wootton.
TFE 22 May
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Acke.
EC 23
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Cardwell to Kennedy, Confidential, 25 May 1866.
Kennedy, Arthur to Cardwell, Edward 7 March 1866, CO 305:28, no. 4781, 296. 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/V66019CO.html.

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