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CORRESPONDENCE Between the Provincial Secretary and the Gold Commissioner, Cassiar, respecting refund… British Columbia. Legislative Assembly. 1880

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 400 Sustenance Allowance to A. "W. Vowell. 1880
CORRESPONDENCE
Between the Provincial Secretary and the Gold Commissioner, Cassiar, respecting
refund of sustenance allowance.
By Command.
T. BASIL HUMPHREYS,
.Provincial Secretary.
Provincial Secretary's Office,
1th April, 1880.
The Provincial Secretary to Mr. Vowell.
Victoria, 22nd May, 1879.
Sir,—On the 25th  February last, the House of Assembly passed the following
Resolution, a copy of which 1 enclose, together with Report of Select Committee :—
"That the House adopt the Report of the Select Committee appointed to ascertain
'How and in what manner the payment of S750 as sustenance allowance to the Gold
' Commissioner at Cassiar was made ?' That this House is of opinion that the sustenance
allowance paid to Mr. Vowell, for 1877 was made by the late Ministry in an improper
manner, and in direct violation of a Resolution of this House, and that the Government
should take steps to recover the same, with a view of giving proper effect to and upholding the Resolutions of this House."
I have, therefore, in obedience to the order of the House, as expressed above, to
request that you will be good enough to remit to the Treasury, with as little delay as
possible, the amount of sustenance allowance drawn by you since the 16th April, 1877.
I have, &c,
(Signed)       T. Basil Humphreys,
Provincial Secretary.
Mr. Vowell to the Provincial Secretary.
Laketon, Cassiar, 28th June, 1879.
Sir,—I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the
22nd May last, in reference to a refund of sustenance allowance granted me for the year
1877.
I most respectfully beg to call the attention of the Government to the following
facts, as borne out by the Resolution enclosed by you :—The money in question was
not paid to or drawn by the Gold Commissioner and Stipendiary Magistrate of Cassiar,
until authority was received in the usual form for the payment of said allowance. That
payment was duly sanctioned by Order in Council.
I, as an Officer of the Government, consider that I cannot be held responsible for
any irregularities of my employers, &c, more especially when I am ignorant of the
same, and when my actions in connection therewith are governed by an adherence to
the rules and regulations laid down for my guidance, as established by precedent
during all time within my knowledge.
It is not for me to question the power of Orders in Council as bearing upon my
present or future actions as a servant of the Government; mine is to act in accordance
with them as far as it is possible for me to do so.
Without wishing, even in thought, to be considered as capable of being a party to
anything that could in the least degree be interpreted as inimical to the proper respect
due to the Resolutions of the House, &c, I would beg that the- Government be so good
as to reconsider the demand embodied in your letter of the 22nd of May, as above
acknowledged. I have, &c,
(Signed)      Arthur W. Vowell. 43 Vic. Sustenance Allowance to A. "W. Vowell. 401
The Provincial Secretary to Mr. Vowell.
Victoria, B. O, 21st August, 1879.
Sir,—I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 28th June,
1879, requesting a reconsideration of the order contained in my letter of the 22nd May,
1879, for a refund of sustenance allowance.
In reply, I am to acquaint you that the letter referred to was written in pursuance
of a Resolution of the Legislative Assembly, and, being imperative, the Government is
precluded from reconsidering or in any way modifying their orders.
I am to remind you that the extra allowance was made by the Government in consequence of the high price of provisions at Cassiar, and that a part of the money required
to be refunded was drawn by you and charged to sustenance allowance for the interval
you were absent on leave from the Province.
I have, &c,
(Signed)       T. B. Humphreys,
Provincial Secretary.
Mr. Vowell to the Provincial Secretary.
Laketon, Cassiar, 17th October, 1879.
Sir,—I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 21st of
August, 1879, in reference to "refund" of sustenance allowance granted to me by the
late Government for the year 1877, and drawn by me upon " authority" received in the
usual form, &c.
With all due respect I would beg to call the attention of the Government to the
fact that the "Resolution of the Legislative Assembly" upon which your letters on the
present subject are based, applies rather to the late Government than to one who is
altogether blameless regarding the irregularities complained of in the payment of the
said " allowance," &c.
It is not customary, I think, nor do I know of a precedent, to hold an officer serving
under the Government, and subordinate to them in all things touching upon his duty,
responsible for the actions of that Government whose commands he is but carrying out,
In your last letter (August 21st) I am reminded "that the extra allowance was
" made by the Government in consequence of the high price of provisions at Cassiar,
" and that a part of the money required to be refunded was drawn by me and charged
" to ' Sustenance Allowance' for the interval I was absent on leave from the Province."
I would most respectfully state concerning the paragraph just quoted, that the
allowance was granted up to the 31st .December, 1877, in the same manner, as far as it
affected me, as was my salary as Gold Commissioner and Stipendiary Magistrate, &c,
for that period, and that for that year the allowance so granted formed part of my
salary as Gold Commissioner and Stipendiary Magistrate, &c, at Cassiar, for the year
1877.' Consequently when my leave was granted upon the consideration that I should be
in receipt of my salary during the time I was on leave, I did not then, nor do I now,
consider that I did anything incorrect when drawing that which I fully believed I was
entitled to, and which I had the sanction of the then Government in drawing, &c.
Tho allowance was drawn but for two months during the interval I was absent from
the Province on leave—viz., November and December—since which time I have never
drawn a cent on that account.
I may further state that I did not even draw it for those two months without
having previously consulted the then Minister of Finance at Victoria, who thoroughly
approved of my so doing, considering it identical with my salary for that year.
I trust the Government will pardon my thus troubling them on a subject the importance of which, to me, must be my best excuse, as I am not, I regret to say, in a,
position to make good the " refund" demanded.
I would also state that the loss inflicted upon me by the burning of the Government
buildings at Laketon in the spring of 1878 has been irreparable considering the means
which have since then been at my disposal.
Hoping that the Government may be so good as to relieve me, irom the overpowering burden contemplated, &c, I have, &c.
(Signed)       ^ W. Vowell,
* Gold Com. and S. M., Cassiar%

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