Holbrook and Cormack to Newcastle
New Westminster
British Columbia
September 16th 1863
To His Grace The Duke of Newcastle K.G. Secretary of State, for the Colonies &c &c &c

May it please your Grace,
We have the honor to state, that as judges appointed by His
Excellency
Excellency the Governor, in 1862, to adjudicate upon the merits of Essays setting forth the capabilities, resources, and advantages, of British Columbia, as a Colony for settlement, in pursuance of our duties, we awarded the premium of Fifty pounds (£50) for the "Essay" of the "Revd R.C.L. Brown, M.A.," and returned the Essay, in the same state in which it came into our hands, unchanged in any way, to the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works, for His Excellency.  
An Essay has just been issued in pamphlet form, from
the
the printing establishment of the Government, purporting to be the same, (see official notice on the back of the title page) viz. "An Essay by the Revd R.C.L. Brown, M.A."  
It is our duty—respectfully—to call Your Grace's attention to this pamphlet, as being very different from the Essay in question, when adjudicated upon, and is a document made up by leaving out numerous important matters, that were in the original, by manipulations, and by introducing new matter, different and diametrically opposite to statements made in the original,
which
which, if not counteracted, would mislead parties in England and elsewhere, and we are particularly desirous that the truth be conveyed to Your Grace.  
The Appendices (Nos 1 to 9) herewith will place this matter more clearly before Your Grace, and we beg Your Grace's notice especially to Nos 5 and 8.  
We take the liberty of introducing here—an extract from the British Columbian newspaper of the 12th instant, indicating the nature of some of the changes which have been made in the original Essay (newspaper clipping follows here).  
We have the honor to be Your Grace's
most obedient and most humble Servants
Henry Holbrook
W.E. Cormack
Members of the "Board of Judges on Prize Essays"
Minutes by CO staff
Mr Elliot
This letter encloses copies of a correspondence between the Members of the "Board of Judges on Prize Essays," and Colonel Moody, on the subject of an Essay on B. Columbia by the Revd R.C.L. Brown. The allegation of the Board is that the printed Essay, issued from the Royal Engineer Press, differs materially from the original Manuscript on which they adjudged the Prize to the Author. Colonel Moody, authorized by the Colonial Secretary, refuses to give up the Manuscript to the Judges, but on which grounds does not appear. I annex a copy of the Essay as printed sent home by the Govr in a recent despatch which is now in circulation. This letter ought, according to rule, to have been sent thro' the Govr and I presume the Papers should now be referred to him for report & the Writers informed that this course has been taken?  
VJ
13 Nov
TFE
13/11
N
14
See Govr/11527.  
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
  • Newspaper clipping, British Columbian, no date, showing examples of how the essay was altered.  
  • Schedule of appendices enclosed with letter, nine entries.  
  • No. 1 Holbrook and Cormack to Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works, 4 September 1863, protesting the publication of the pamphlet as containing an essay at variance with the one submitted and judged by the board of judges.  
  • No. 2 Holbrook and Cormack to Archdeacon Wright, 5 September 1863, advising of the alteration to the substance of the winning essay and asking for an opinion.  
  • No. 3 Wright to Holbrook and Cormack, 7 September 1863, regretting that the essay had been changed as noted by the other two members of the board of judges.  
  • No. 4 Holbrook and Cormack to Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works, 7 September 1863, asking for a copy of the original essay in order to accurately ascertain the "nature and extent" of the changes.  
  • No. 5 Wright to W.A.G. Young, Colonial Secretary, 8 September 1863, declining to participate in the formal request of the other two judges for a copy of the original essay, understanding that Brown had destroyed much of the original in the process of condensation, but agreeing with the impropriety of the changes made to the manuscript.  
  • No. 6 Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works to Holbrook and Cormack, 9 September 1863, advising that as the government merely acted as printers, they were not empowered to forward a copy of the manuscript as requested.  
  • No. 7 Wright to Holbrook and Cormack, 12 September 1863, advising that he had protested the alterations and was informed by the government that the function of the board ceased once their decision was made and, while objecting to this view as open to abuse, he declined to act further on the matter.  
  • No. 8 Wright to Young, 11 September 1863, agreeing that the board were not censors, but protesting the alteration of the essay after judging, particularly the insertion of a paragraph attacking those who called for certain administrative changes in the colony.  
  • No. 9 Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works to Holbrook and Cormack, 14 September 1863, advising that he had been instructed by the Colonial Secretary not to forward copy of the original essay.  
Documents enclosed with the main document (transcribed)
Extract from British Columbian Newspaper


are stricken out because containing strictures upon the Government, or merited praise of the Royal Engineers, and, in the instance which we now adduce, passages containing sentiments the very opposite have been substituted. We give the following as a specimen:

PASSAGE FROM THE PRINTED ESSAY
The manner to which the Government is carried on and the laws administered, gives general satisfaction. So long as the Colony progresses, and its new necessities are met by new enactments, the colonists (with the exception of an uninfluential clique at New Westminster) are satisfied; they have not the wish, as in the present circumstances they would not have the time, to legislate for themselves.

PASSAGE AS CONTAINED IN THE ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT  
The backward state of the country, the bad condition of the roads that exist, the waste of the revenue in the construction of roads now abandoned—because in districts now frequented—and undeveloped state of the agricultural resources, are owing to the misadministration of the Government.

 
We are indebted to the two gentlemen who were appointed judges for the above, which is the substance of the original passage.

 
Schedule of Appendices


No 1 Board of Judges on Prize Essay to the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
September 4th 1863
. No 2 Letter from two members of the Prize Essay Board, to the Venbl Archdeacon the third member of the Board.
September 5th 1863
. No 3 Letter from the Venbl the Archdeacon of British Columbia, to the other two members of the Prize Essay Board.
September 7th 1863
.
Prize
No 4 Prize Essay Board to the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works, requesting a reperusal of the Original manuscript. (see reply No. 9)
September 7th 1863
. No 5 Letter from the Venbl Archdeacon Wright to W.A.G. Young Esqe Acting Colonial Secretary.
September 8th 1863
. No 6 Letter from the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works to the members of the Prize Essay Board.
September 9th 1863
.
Letter
No 7 Letter from the Venbl Archdeacon Wright to the other two members of the Board.
September 12th 1863
. No 8 Letter from the Venbl Archdeacon Wright to W.A.G. Young Esqe, Acting Col Secry.
September 11th 1863
. No 9 Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works to the Members of the Prize Essay Board stating that "the Col. Secretary says he is not authorized to place the Original Essay in the hands of the Judges."
September 14th 1863
.

No. 1 Holbrook and Cormack to Moody
New Westminster, British Columbia,
4th September 1863
To Colonel Moody R.E. Chief Commr of Lands and Works &c &c &c

Sir
Printed copies purporting to be of an Essay on the "Resources &c of British Columbia by the Revd R.C.L. Brown," and for which Essay we—as authorized Judges—awarded a prize of fifty pounds, having been put into our hands this afternoon, we hereby protest against and interdict the issue
of
of such printed pamphlet as containing matter not in the original Essay, but matter entirely at variance with what was in the original, and which will convey grossly false impressions upon the state of the Colony as to its political and social aspects.  
We have the honor to be Sir
Your most obedient Servants
H. Holbrook
W.E. Cormack


No. 2 Holbrook and Cormack to Archdeacon Wright
New Westminster, British Columbia,
September 5th 1863
To the Venerable The Archdeacon Wright

Reverend Sir
The Essay on British Columbia by the Revd R.C.L. Brown, of which yourself and the subscribers were appointed judges, has appeared in a printed form,
from
from which the following extract is made, from "Chapter VIII, on the political and Social aspects" The manner in which the Government is carried on, and the laws administered gives general Satisfaction. So long as the Colony progresses, and its new necessities are met by new enactments, the Colonists (with the exception of an uninfluential clique at New Westminster) are Satisfied, they have not the wish, as in the present circumstances they would not have the time, to legislate for themselves.
Yet
Yet, although British Columbia has flourished under the present Governor, it is evident that her interests can never receive that exclusive attention which is essential to her rapid development, so long as his Excellency has also charge of the neighbouring colony of Vancouvers Island, and resides there.  
As no such paragraph appeared in the original manuscript, we are at a loss to account for it in the
printed
printed essay, and are therefore very desirous to have your opinion on the subject.  
We have the honor to remain Reverend Sir
Yours very faithfully
H. Holbrook
W.E. Cormack


No. 3 Wright to Holbrook and Cormack
New Westminster British Columbia,
September 7th 1863
Messrs Holbrook & Cormack

Gentn,
I beg to acknowledge your letter dated September 5th. The Essay by the Revd R.C.L. Brown to which we awarded a prize of £50 was returned by me to the Chief Commr
of
of Lands and Works and passed on by him to His Excellency the Governor. Mr Brown was informed by letter from Victoria that previous to publication the matter must be condensed and fitted for the press.  
I observe that the Essay has been greatly changed, some passages very interesting to the Colonists have disappeared, and others far from acceptable to them, have been introduced. Among the latter I place that to which you have drawn my special attention. The
addition
addition of an uncalled for attack upon some of the inhabitants of this City is very much to be regretted, and by no means just towards those who were requested to act as judges of the Essays.  
I am Gentn
Yours faithfully
H.P. Wright
Archdeacon of Columbia


No. 4 Holbrook and Cormack to Moody
New Westminster British Columbia
September 7th 1863
To Colonel Moody R.E. Chief Commr of Lands and Works &c &c &c

Sir,
As
As we find that certain matter has been introduced into the printed form of the Prize Essay on British Columbia by the Revd R.C.L. Brown, which did not appear in the original manuscript, we beg respectfully you will place the manuscript at our disposal for a day or two, in order that we may have an opportunity of assuring ourselves of the nature and extent of such changes.  
We have the honor to be Sir
Your most obedient Servants
H. Holbrook
W.E. Cormack


No. 5 Wright to W.A.G. Young
New Westminster British Columbia
September 8th 1863
To W.A.G. Young Esqe &c &c &c

Dear Sir
The inhabitants of New Westminster are very indignant about the alterations made in the Essay to which a prize of £50 was awarded. One passage which speaks
of
of "an uninfluential clique" (page 52) is an addition condemned by all. Messrs Holbrook and Cormack have asked me to sign a letter requesting that the manuscript may be returned to the Judges for examination. I have not consented to their request simply because I do not think that a formal address to the Governor upon the matter is necessary. Further, my belief is that much of the original Essay has been destroyed, as Mr Brown informed me that he had rewritten much of it. I write
to
to say that I quite feel with my fellow judges the impropriety of the article upon New Westminster and of the numerous unnecessary changes that have been made. Perhaps it will be well to allow the manuscript to be seen again by the Judges—especially as Mr Brown has said that he received instructions from Victoria to condense the matter previous to printing.  
Yours truly
H.P. Wright


No. 6 Moody to Holbrook and Cormack
Lands and Works Department
New Westminster
9th Septr 1863
Messrs Holbrook & Cormack

Gentlemen,
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your two letters dated 4th Septr and 8th Septr and I have referred both through the Colonial Secretary to
His
His Excellency the Governor.  
In the matter of the issue of the Prize Essay, this Department has solely acted as Printer; and it is not in my power to cause the Manuscript, as received by me to print, to be laid before you without authority.  
I have the honor to be Gentlemen
Your most obedient Servant
R.C. Moody
Colonel, R.E. &c
Chief Commissioner


No. 7 Wright to Cormack and Holbrook
New Westminster, British Columbia
September 12th 1863
Messrs Cormack & Holbrook
Gentlemen,
I declined joining in any formal application for a return of the Essay M.S. to the Board of Judges, but I wrote to Mr Young about the alterations &c. Mr Young holds that when
the
the Judges had given their decision "their functions ceased." As the view he takes is one which would enable any amount of good or bad composition, of truth or falsehood to be published as approved by the Board, I felt it my duty to show cause why I deemed him in error. I consider it due to you that my letter should be before you, and I therefore enclose a copy of it. Having done all that I thought necessary touching the alterations in
the
the Essay, I must decline saying any thing further upon the matter.  
Yours obediently and faithfully
H.P. Wright


No. 8 Wright to Young
New Westminster British Columbia
September 11th 1863
To W.A.G. Young Esqe Acting Colonial Secretary &c &c &c

Dear Sir
I have to acknowledge your letter of the 10th September. I quite agree with you that the Judges were not invited by His Excellency the Governor
to
to act as Censors, but I presume it was intended they should act as honest men. They gave their judgement in favor of an Essay which they deemed able and useful; but to publish as that Essay a pamphlet much of which had never been seen by them, they consider unfair to themselves, the public at large, and to those who competed for the Prize. By all means let there be freedom of opinion, but with it let there be strict integrity.  
I travelled from one end of this Colony to the other, and
from
from New Westminster to Alexandria: the common cry was for a resident Governor, Separation of the two Colonies, and some form of Self Government, and with that cry I may say every official in this City sympathizes; but if the writer of the Prize Essay thinks proper to say that all are contented with the present state of things, he has a perfect right to his opinion, but he has no right—after the Judges have given their decision, largely to alter and to qualify what was originally written, and to introduce an uninvited and bitter attack upon a portion of the inhabitants of the Colony.
Your
Your letter implies that you know certain persons who, after the Prize had been awarded, tried to tamper with the author. I am very sorry to hear it.  
I am Yours truly
H.P. Wright


No. 9 Moody to Holbrook and Cormack
Land and Works Department, New Westminster
14th September 1863
Messrs Holbrook and Cormack,
Gentlemen,
With reference to my letter to you No 217 of the 9th Instant, I have now the honor to acquaint you of my having
been
been instructed by the Colonial Secretary that I am not authorized to accede to the requests made by you in your letters of the 4th & 7th Instant.  
I have the honor to be Sirs
Your most obedient Servant,
R.C. Moody
Colonel R.E. and
Chief Commissioner
 
Correspondence (private letter):
Holbrook and Cormack to Newcastle, 16 September 1863, National Archives of the UK, 10840, CO 60/17. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871. Ed. James Hendrickson and the Colonial Despatches project. Victoria: University of Victoria. http://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/getDoc.htm?id=B636H02.scx. Accessed 21 November 2018. 

Last modified: 14:47:21, 28/2/2018