No. 61
8th August 1866
Sir
1. Continuing the subject of my Despatch No 60 of this day's date and previous Despatches, I have now the honor to transmit lengthy Resolutions
Manuscript image
Speaker of Legislative Assembly, 8th August 1866. (Resolutions dated 25th July 1866).
passed by the Legislative Assembly as a "reply" to my Message dated 6th July 1866, a copy of which was transmitted in myDespatchManuscript image Despatch No 50 dated 12th July 1866.
2. The history of these Resolutions, as may be gathered from the newspaper reports contained in my Despatches named in the margin,
Manuscript image
No 52, 14th July 1866 and No 60, 8th August 1866.
may be shortly stated as follows:
3. Various discussions took place in the Assembly with reference to my Message between the date of the receipt of it (6th July 1866) and the 25th July, resulting, on the latter date, in the adoption of these Resolutions. It appears,however,Manuscript image however, that on the 27th July 1866 the Assembly agreed to postpone the transmission of these Resolutions to me, sufficient time, as I understand, not having to that hour elapsed for their preparation for that purpose. As I am informed this postponement was resolved upon in the expectation that a proposition then to be brought forward for the formation of a "Ministerial Council" would be adopted, and my concurrence or non-concurrence in that propositionwasManuscript image was intended to be made the condition on which the Resolutions should either be finally withheld or pressed forward. The Ministerial Council scheme failed to secure the approbation of a majority of the Assembly, who finally determined on the 7th August 1866 (more than a month after the receipt of my Message) that the Resolutions should go forward.
4. These facts will enable you to form a true estimate oftheManuscript image the value of these Resolutions.
5. I will now proceed to make such remarks upon the Resolutions, paragraph by paragraph, as may appear needful, premising only that I trust you will acquit me of any intention of imposing upon you unnecessary trouble in the perusal of a lengthy Despatch.
6. Paragraph 1. You are fully acquainted from previous Despatches with my opinion of the impracticable nature of the Legislative machineryofManuscript image of this Colony.
7. Paragraph 3. This paragraph contains a serious misstatement. The Legislative Council consists (by one half—not the "majority") of the four Members of the Executive Council, the Chief Justice (who is not a Member of the Executive Council), and three private individuals. The allegation, therefore, that in consequence of the Executive and Legislative Councils being "the same," theLegislativeManuscript image Legislative Council can reject measures, is inaccurate. The Council I presume would have full power to reject measures whatever might be its composition.
8. Paragraph 4. The Statement here given of the anomalous relative position of the three branches of the Local Legislature of this Colony bears out statements I have frequently made. But I only attribute the weary waste of time in the protracted sessions of the AssemblytoManuscript image to the true cause, when I assert that it is to be found in the unfitness and incapacity of the large majority of the Members of that Body to conduct the affairs even of this small community. The Executive Government so far from having had the "supreme control" has been at all times grievously and injuriously harrassed, hampered and perplexed by the impracticability of the Legislative machine. I venture to express the belief that thepossessionManuscript image possession of such a "supreme control" would have enabled me to administer this Government with more benefit to the Colony, and satisfaction to Her Majesty's Government and myself than I have unfortuately been enabled to do.
9. Paragraph 5. The "Ministerial Council" herein alluded to would have formed a quasi fourth branch of the Legislature and would in my judgment have been thecauseManuscript image cause of much greater complications and perplexities that those I have pointed out. I believe it was intended thereby to establish responsible Government in a form wholly impracticable and unsuited to the population and circumstances of the Colony. The adoption of the recommendations contained in the Despatch of the Secretary of State No 5 dated 28th February 1856 that the Legislative Council and AssemblyshouldManuscript image should be resolved into one Body would I think be a simple and practicable mode of bringing the Legislature into a shape that might be worked.
10. Paragraph 6. The Assembly would, if permitted, absorb the whole governing power of the Colony,
Manuscript image
Vide Despatch No 48, 26th June 1866.
both Executive and Legislative. I have already stated the real cause of the protracted sessions of the Legislature.
11. Paragraph 7. I have furnishedsuchManuscript image such full information from time to time in relation to the proceedings of the Assembly in regard to the Estimates as renders much comment on this paragraph unnecessary.
Manuscript image
Vide Despatch No 50, 12th July 1866.
I will only remind you that the Assembly has recently had under consideration what is termed in this paragraph "the usual provision" and "the usual authority" stated to have been "given five months ago," and that at this moment not only has no Supply Bill been passed by the Assembly, but I am left inignoranceManuscript image ignorance of that reconsideration, of the finality of which I could only be satisfied by the passing of the Supply Bill. I may here mention that the first and principal Appropriation Act for 1865 received my Assent on the 30th March in that year—and that the Session of the Legislature in that year was protracted until the 7th of July. I was informed by the Speaker a short time ago that it was seriously contemplated by Members of the Assembly to "tack on" to the Supply Bill otherBillsManuscript image Bills which had been rejected by the Legislative Council in the hope thereby to coerce the Council into the acceptance of those measures.
Manuscript image
Vide also Despatch No 24, 26th March 1866, Paragraph 7.
12. Paragraph 8. I think I have sufficiently shown in previous communications that "Ways and Means" have not been provided. A statement of the Expenditure of 1866 up to 19th June was furnished to the Assembly on 4th July 1866.
13. Paragraph 9. I have already informed you of the passing of the Loan Bill in my Despatch namedinManuscript image in the margin.
Manuscript image
No 50, 12th July 1866.
The doubt I therein expressed of the possibility of raising the loan in the Colony was but too well founded. Not one cent has been offered. Detailed accounts of Expenditure for the whole of 1865 were furnished to the Assembly as soon as the audit was complete—a sufficiently detailed account of that Expenditure to the 15th of December 1865 prepared by the Treasurer was presented to the Assembly with the Estimates on 20th December 1865. I am credibly informed and believethatManuscript image that the real aim of the Assembly was to obtain even the vouchers of expenditure in the hope by a re-audit of the accounts to discover some serious irregularity on the part of the Executive Government in the disbursement of public moneys.
14. Paragraph 10. This paragraph bears out my remarks on paragraph 7. The Supply Bill for 1865 was passed more than three months before the end of the Session. The argument in paragraph 10 would lead to the conclusion that suppliesforManuscript image for any given year ought not to be voted until the end of the year when the actual receipt of Revenue had been ascertained, and that financial legislation should therefore be retrospective, and the authority for expenditure ex post facto. I am prepared to give sufficient reasons why "the House was not dissolved" if required to do so.
15. Paragraph 11. The Address of the House herein referred to was transmitted in my Despatch No 48,26thManuscript image 26th June 1866.
16. Paragraph 12. I have already placed before you the "demands made by the Executive" and have shown that the Assembly actually voted sums in excess of those demands.
17. Paragraph 13. This subject has I think been treated of sufficiently in previous Despatches. The complaint of the Assembly that that Body had no voice in the preparation of the EstimatesisManuscript image is a remarkable illustration of its desire to usurp Executive functions.
18. Paragraph 14. This paragraph commences in effect by a condemnation of the proceedings of the Assembly in voting more than the amount proposed to them in the Estimates. Had the Executive Government greater influence or authority in the financial affairs of the Colony I have no doubt that a saving might be effected in various ways and at the sametimeManuscript image time larger sums applicable to works of public utility might be raised without unduly pressing upon any portion of the population. I am aware of the election of only three Members "during the last three months" and not "four" as here stated. Of those three one has invariably supported these Resolutions, the second has as invariably opposed them, and the third I believe to have given them but a partial and uncertainsupportManuscript image support. The statement that "the House admits that in many instances the salaries allowed are small," which I presume refers to the salaries of public officers, coming from the Assembly I think I am entitled to regard the strongest confirmation of remarks I have made on this subject in previous Despatches.
19. Paragraph 15. It is physically impossible for the Governor of this Colony to perform the duty of his Private Secretary.
20. Paragraph 16. The statementhereManuscript image here made that the Legislative Council sits much less frequently than the Assembly I think may be accepted as proof that the latter Body is the cause of the protracted Sessions of the Legislature. In this paragraph the Assembly again evinces impatience at the wholesome, though unfortunately often unavailing, restraint imposed upon it by the existence of another Body clothed with equal and concurrent Legislative authority.
21. Paragraph 17. I believe the reduction oftheManuscript image the Treasurer's salary to be in effect a gross breach of public faith. It is without doubt the duty and at the same time the necessity of the Colony to pay the cost of receiving and disbursing moneys on behalf of the public.
22. Paragraph 18. The same need would exist for cleansing &c the public offices, whether detached or concentrated in one building—the latter arrangement would be convenient in other respects if practicable.
23. Paragraph 19. The AssemblyhereManuscript image here merely assert their right to refuse to provide suitable remuneration for the Attorney General, but fail to offer any defence for such a proceeding.
24. Paragraph 20. However greatly the consummation of the union of these Colonies may be desired, the prospect of it has afforded no adequate ground for refusing to render efficient so important a branch of the Public Service as the Post Office.
25. ParagraphManuscript image
25. Paragraph 21. I have discussed this subject in previous Despatches. The accounts which are examined by the Auditor are those of the Treasurer and other accountant officers, of whom the Colonial Secretary is not one.
26. Paragraph 22. The statement that the Registrar General and Assessor "are not appointed under local Statutes" appears to be directly contrary to the fact. The two offices were created by local Statutes, and by those StatutessalariesManuscript image salaries were in terms fixed for those officers, the incumbents of which were appointed in pursuance of the provisions of those Statutes. Under these circumstances the services of those officers have not been dispensed with.
27. Paragraph 23. The Assembly do not meet the statement in my Message that the amount proposed by the House "for the carrying on of the whole of the public business of the District" (of Nanaimo) "is the very inadequate sum of$800Manuscript image $800 for 'Postmaster, Harbour Master, and Collector of Dues.'" I have elsewhere dealt with the subject of supplying intoxicating liquors to the Indians.
28. Paragraph 24. The Assembly affects to be unable to perceive that the effect of refusing to pay any officer to supervise the Lighthouses (one distant four and the other thirteen miles from Victoria) will be that the necessary superintendence of them must cease, and that in such an event irregularities perilous to shipping may naturally beexpectedManuscript image expected.
29. Paragraph 25. This statement will not meet the case I put before the Assembly.
30. Paragraph 26. The mode here indicated of providing policemen at Esquimalt, Nanaimo and other places, would have been practicable if the Assembly had voted the payment of a sufficient number. As it is, the numbers provided for by the Assembly are not nearly enough for the town of Victoria alone. I need not againenterManuscript image enter into the subject of the management of the Police and Gaol Departments.
Manuscript image
Vide Despatches No 100, 3rd December 1864 and No 10, 13th February 1866.
31. Paragraph 27. This paragraph may be thus elucidated. The Estimates for 1866 were, in December 1865, laid before the Assembly who, early in the year 1866, reduced the proposed vote for stationery &c, and have since protracted the consideration of the Estimates for so long a period that in answer to an intimation conveyed to them on the 6th July 1866, theywereManuscript image were able on the 8th August 1866 to inform me that "a further sum has been placed on the Estimates."
32. Paragraph 28. This is made up of a series of Resolutions condemning at first the proceedings of the Governor of this Colony and afterwards both the Governor and his advisers. Entertaining a sincere belief that the information I have from time to time and, at great length furnished to the Secretary of State will haveledManuscript image led him to conclusions in reference to myself differing widely from those of the Assembly, I trust I shall not be thought wanting in respect in abstaining from commenting in detail upon these allegations.
33. In order to render intelligible the complaint of the Assembly that the Governor "refuses to permit public officers to appear before a Select Committee of the Assembly," I will state shortly the facts of the case upon which I presume that ComplaintisManuscript image is founded. A few weeks since one of the Members of the Assembly, Mr McClure, (who has taken an active part in the preparation and passing of these Resolutions), procured the appointment of himself and two other Members as a Committee to inquire into the management of the Police Department. No complaint of irregularity or mismanagement was made either in or out of the Assembly, nor had any application been made to me for information, and when a summonsaddressedManuscript image addressed to the Superintendent of Police and two subordinate members of the force to attend and give evidence before the Committee was submitted to me I declined to authorize their attendance. This Committee summoned before it several discharged policemen whom it examined on oath—a proceeding wholly unauthorized either by law or custom. I am not aware that the Committee has been productive of any practical result, no report fromitManuscript image it having been made public. I think nothing more demoralizing or injurious to the public service can be conceived than an inquiry into the conduct of any public Department without cause of complaint alleged or necessity for investigation shown. Moreover, I knew, as I have stated on a recent occasion, that the condition and efficiency of the Police Force had been remarkably improved under the management of the present Superintendent with very limitedmeansManuscript image means at his disposal.
34. The Secretary of State is in a better position to judge of the nature of the Statements which the Governor has laid before Her Majestys Government with reference to the Assembly than that Body can possibly be. The Assembly judged by its proceedings alone cannot appear in a dignified light.
35. I forbear to make any comment upon the general tone of the Resolutions now transmitted or upon the language in whichtheyManuscript image they are couched.
36. These Resolutions appear to have been originated by Dr Dickson, and to have been strenuously supported in the Assembly by that Gentleman, by Mr McClure, and by Mr C.B. Young. Dr Dickson has for a considerable time assumed an attitude hostile to my administration, and his removal from the office of coroner is believed to have influenced him very unfavourabley. Mr McClure was lately the editor of the"BritishManuscript image "British Colonist" newspaper, and is at present proprietor and editor of the "Evening Telegraph" newspaper. I am informed that since the establishment of the latter paper he has declared his readiness to expend $1000 in "writing down the Governor." With reference to Mr C.B. Young I may inform you that in 1865 there were voted $4000 (£824) to be given as a premium to any person who should discover a cod fishery on the coasts of thisIslandManuscript image Island. Mr Young was concerned in sending a small vessel out to discover such a fishery, which succeeded in discovering cod banks not on the coasts of Vancouver Island, but on those of Kamschatka many hundreds of miles distant. Mr Young applied for the payment of the premium to himself. A compliance with his application would have been a palpable misappropriation of public money and it was accordingly refused—hence his hostility tomyManuscript image my Government.
37. The only portion of these Resolutions which has been published is the series of allegations under paragraph 28.
38. In conclusion I would draw your attention to the fact that the most prominent movers and abettors of these Resolutions now openly advocate that which I believe they have long desired, the annexation of this Island to the neighbouring territory of the United States.
Manuscript image
Newspaper clipping, unnamed, no date, reporting the debate over the union with British Columbia and an alternate suggestion that a petition be submitted for annexation to the United States. [Pasted in the margin.]
These gentlemenunfortunatelyManuscript image unfortunately form the majority in the present House of Assembly and the possession of their "confidence" can hardly be expected by any one who represents Her Majesty in this Colony.
39. It would be difficult to define the nationality of some of those Gentlemen and were it within the province of my duty to lay their antecedents before you I feel sure you would not attach much importance to their want of confidence in any personwhoManuscript image who is reasonably honest. Not content with the real difficulties incidental to all new Colonies, this "majority" of the Assembly (seldom more than three on a division and often one only) have created others still more formidable, by obstructing and interfering with the proper functions of the Executive.
40. If half of that which these Gentlemen have publicly alleged of each other be true, it is matter of but little importance what they think or say of anyoneManuscript image one else.
41. Having libelled, insulted, and even cudgelled each other, they have within a few days of the expiry of the Assembly by efflux of time, passed a vote of want of confidence in the Governor of the Colony by 7 to 5—a proceeding to which I trust you will attach as little importance as I do.
I have the honor to be,
Sir,
Your most obedient Servant
A.E. Kennedy
Governor
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Sir F. Rogers
This is the report of the Govr upon the resolutions of the Assembly which reached us a few days ago. Although the Assembly of V.C.I. has died a natural death the Resolutions wh: they have passed & sent home direct to the S. State, denote that they expect an answer. The Governor also is fairly entitled to expect one. It will be made public, I presume, by the means of theManuscript image local "Gazette," or the Journals.
Since Mr Kennedy's assumption of the Govt of V.C.I. not a single charge of interference with the rights or duties of the Lve Bodies has been addressed to this Office against him. The public Journalists who were in the Assembly have been abusive but they have ventured on no tangible complaint against Him. That he should strongly disapprove, & express such disapproval by message, of the proceedings of the House of Assembly in respect to their treatment of the Estimates, by means of wh: they attempted to usurp Executive function & deprive public officers of their salaries, was no more than natural & proper. Nor is it on the other hand surprising that the Assembly resent the Governor's plain speaking, by concocting a string of resolutions whichManuscript image end in expression of want of confidence & an appeal for his recall. But which is in the right the Governor or the Assembly. In my opinion the Assembly are in the wrong. I have carefully watched their proceedings for the last 4 years, & a more lamentable instance of a representative Body I am satisfied is not to be found in any of our Colonies, or in our lowest vestries in this Country. Without attributing absolute perfection to Govr Kennedy I consider that he has exhibited good temper and patience, under great provocation, towards this Assembly, and that he is entitled to the protection of this Office as against the "last word" of the deliberative Assembly of the Island he has had to govern.
ABd 8 Oct/66
Manuscript image
I have read these papers & see nothing about which the S. of S. need now trouble himself. I wd acknowledge this with Nos 60 & 62 stating very shortly that the questions to wh they relate will probably have been superseded before this dph can reach its destination by the union which will now be shortly effected of the two Colonies of V.C.I. & B.C.
FR 9/10
Manuscript image
Will be useful, if wisdom of Union under Crown Govt is disputed.
CBA 10/10
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
Manuscript image
Note, signed by Kennedy, asking that his despatch be amended as follows: "End of third paragraph for 'in relation thereto' read 'in reference thereto.'"
Manuscript image
J.S. Helmcken, Speaker, to Kennedy, 8 August 1866, forwarding "certain Resolutions, in reply to Your Excellency's Communication No 33, dated 6th July, 1866."
Manuscript image
Resolutions of the Legislative Assembly, confirmed 25 July 1866, relating to the financial affairs and political organization of the colony (nineteen pages).
Manuscript image
Kennedy to Legislative Assembly, unnamed newspaper clipping, 6 July 1866, pointing out certain facts in relation to the finances of the colony, appending a despatch from Cardwell relating to the cost of mail conveyance and an outstanding bill on account of lighthouse supplies.
Kennedy, Arthur to Cardwell, Edward 8 August 1866, CO 305:29, no. 9583, 94. 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/V66061.html.

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