Bacon, Charles Anthony
In this despatch, Hamilton informs Merivale that the Lord Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury have authorized the Master of the Mint to engage the services of Mr. Bacon as Melter.1 Newcastle's despatch to Douglas, and Douglas's subsequent reply, confirms that Bacon was employed as a melter at the Government Refinery and Assay Office in British Columbia. The office, which had been recently moved from Victoria to New Westminster, processed 1600 ounces of gold dust in one month and, according to Douglas, was in a state of efficient organization.2 After two years of employment there, Bacon and his co-workers earned Douglas's ire when they requested a salary increase that was deemed to bear very much the complexion of an attempt upon their part to coerce the Government into a compliance with their demands.3 Bacon and his co-workers claimed that they had been led to expect by the Master of the Mint that [their] salaries would be increased at an early period and refused to continue working until the raise was granted.4 The Assay Office insisted on the entitlement promised them by Professor Thomas Graham, but, with an understanding that was simply a verbal one, Douglas continuously denied their application. In the minutes of Douglas's despatch, Elliot criticizes the assayers and refiners for their comparative idleness and calls for effective discouragement of the Assay Office's strike. Newcastle's reply agrees with Elliot, stating that to yield to an official strike in such a colony as B.C. would be fatal.5
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