A small political storm is created when
Douglas proposes Captain Luard as the successor to Colonel Moody as
the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
What follows are the letters at the eye of the storm.
14th September 1863
My Lord Duke,
The mail bringing in Your Graces
despatch of the 10th July No. 34 relative to the withdrawl of the
Royal Engineers, has just arrived, and I hasten to avail myself of the
very short interval before its departure to address Your Grace upon
one point which I consider very essential to the future well being of
the Colony, and that is, the selection of a fit and proper person to
succeed Colonel Moody as the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
Your Grace is perhaps aware that the entire Department of Lands and
Works has been con- ducted by the Officers and men of the Royal
Engineers, no civilian assistance having been called in for the
discharge of this office's duties, and that therefore when the Troops
are with- drawn from their Civil duties, not one single person will
remain who has any knowledge of the Records, or of the system which
has been persued for the Department. Your Grace in- forms me
that before long you will name a Suc- cessor to Colonel Moody.
From what I have stated it is very evident that Successor should enter
upon the duties of this office at the earliest possible moment, and
prior to Colonel Moody relinquishing his Civil duties: and above all
it is especially desirable that the Chief Commission- er of Lands and
Works should be a man tho- roughly aquainted with the character and
re- sources of the Country from personal know- ledge and experience, and
cognizant of all the events that have transpired connected with its
development by means of the road and land systems which have been
introduced. As Your Grace may have some difficulty in selecting
a person so qualified, who may in other respects be fitted for the
responsible Office referred to, I trust I may be pardoned for
submitting to you the names of two gentlemen either of whom, I think,
would most effciently and satisfactorially discharge all the duties of
the head of the Department.
The first is that of Captain Henry
Reynolds Luard, now serving with the Detachment of Royal Engineers.
Captain Luard is a gentleman who, since his residence in the Colony,
has gained the good will and esteem of all; and he is, I believe, a
person of good professional stan- ding, and from my own knowledge, I
can safely say, of excellent business habits. He has almost from
the first, had charge of all of the Office de- tails of Colonel Moody's
Department, and from the moment of his taking charge a great increase
in order, method and correctness was percep- tible. He is
thouroughly versed in every matter of detail, and has a perfect
general knowledge of all that has transpired since the creation of
the Colony. I could desire no better officer than Captain Luard
to fill the position of Surveyor General or Chief Commissioner of
Lands and Works.
Should however any militray difficulty arise which would prevent
Captain Luard from being appointed to the office in question--even
were Your Grace inclined to confer it upon him, I would take the
liberty of placing before you the name of Mr. Joseph William Trutch, a
Civilian, now and for the past five years resident in the Colony.
Mr. Trutch is a Civil Engineer by pro- fession, and has contracted for
many of the works undertaken by the government, always completing his
Contracts in the most thourough and satisfactory manner. From
the experience I have had of him, I believe his general profes- sional
knowledge, the more especially as adap- ted to the peculiar
requirements of a new coun- try where precedent and rule cannot always
be folowed, to be equal to any in the Country. He is a gentleman
of good social standing, and he bears a character in the place of the
highest in- tegrity. I believe him also to be a man of tho-
rough business habits; methodical but at the same time quick and
accutrate: and from the close personal knowledge I have had of him I
believe their are not many men who would bet- ter discharge the duties
of Surveyor General of a new Colony. Mr. Trutch was introduced
to me by Your Grace's predecesor, Sir Edward Lytton, and I annex a
copy of a private letter which I received from him in addition to the
official letter of introduction of the 29th October 1858. Nearly
five years experience of Mr. Trutch has shewn that the favorable
mention of Sir Edward Lytton was not undeserved.
With reference to the last paragraph of
Your Grace's Despatch now under reply, I would beg to obseve that I do
not anticipate any difficulty in finding suitable persons to fulfill
the Sur- veying and Engineering duties hitherto perfor- med by the
Royal Engineers. The difficulty which presents itself is in
immediately provi- ding a head to carry on the current work of the
Department--a difficulty which I could have met by a provisional
appointment, but I fear now to take any such step least I might
unintentionally interfere with Your Grace's arrangements. I
will, however, Your Grace may rest assured, make the best provisions I
can under the circumstances for relieving Colonel Moody and his Staff
of their Civil duties.
I trust Your Grace will pardon the
hurried de- spatch, written to save the outgoing mail, but I am so
sensible of the up-hill start it would be for any person personally
unaquainted with the Country to enter upon the duties of the Office,
and the hinderance that would arise in the trans- action of business,
and the execution of public works, that I desired not to lose an
instant in submitting these circumstances to Your Grace.
I have the Honour to be
My Lord Duke
Your Grace's most Obediant
and Humble Servant
Notes on back:
This relates to the appointment of a Successor to Colonel Moody--on
which is mentioned on 3913 and 5193. The salary is to be 800
Pounds per annum.
Duke of Newcastle
I have no doubt that all the ? anticipated by a position which,
independently of professional attainments, ought to be one of
considerable social importance in the Colony. And will he quit
Perhaps Mr. Blackwwod can find out at the W.O. something more than we
at Horse Guards of Captain Luard--especially as to his character and
conduct and as to his views of a Military or Civil carreer.
? would be the consequence of sending out a New Head who
would find none of the old Staff remaining. I only proposed it under
the idea that there was no fit man in the Colony.
Of the two men reccomended I should think the antecedents of Captain
Luard the most likely to justify him.
Duke of Newcastle
In persuance of Your Grace's decision I
have instituted the nessecary inquiries at the War Of- fice and at the
Office of the Engineers at H. Guards. I am informed that Captain
Luard's conduct and character are unimpeachable, and that, in his
Military Capacity he is a "sharp" of- ficer. There
will be no difficulty in placing him on the "seconded" list,
in a requistion to the W.O. from hence. There is no nessecity
for Cap- tain Luard to quit the Army: The "seconded" him
will be sufficient. We have already several Of- ficers of
Engineers, serving in Civil Capacities in the Colonies (Sims at
Ceylon, Morrison at Mauritius, Colonel Ord at Bermuda) who have not
therefore, quit the Army.
I presume the Governor must have very good reasons for selecting
Captain Luard; or else that Captain Grant, RE, if the offer was made
to him, has thought proper to decline the place: for there is no
question as to the eminent qualifications of the latter officer, and
also of Lt. Palmer for the Duties of Chief Commissioner of Lands and
If Your Grace should decide on appointing Captain Luard it would be
well to do so by the earliest opportunity as the Engineers are under
orders to come home, and Captain Luard may have quitted the Colony.
31st Oct. 1863
These are the papers relating to the
selection of a Chief Commissioner of lands and Works for
British Columbia. Captain Luard RE is strongly reccomended
by the Governor. Mr. Blackwood ascertained at the War
Office that his Conduct and Character are unimpeachable; and
there is no military obstacle as he can be seconded with-
Unless therefore there should be some
objec- tion which does not appear on the face of these
papers, I should think that Captain Luard would seem the
fittest person to appoint? The Gover- nor's testimony
on the 1st page of sheet 2 is ex- ceedingly strong, and
seems to show the reason why this officer more especially
had been se- lected as the object of his reccomendation.
I agree. Let
Captain Luard's appointment go out by next Mail.
Duke of Newcastle
21st December 1863.
11th Nov. 1863
I have the honour to
acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 8th Inst.
detailing the num- ber of officers and men who will return
to Eng- land under your Command.
I have to aquaint you that I have reccomen- ded Captain H.R.
Luard to the Secretary of State for appointment as Chief
Commissioner of Lands and Works in this Colony. Of
course at the present moment I am not aware whether Captain
Luard will be appointed: as the Secre- tary of State may
have made other arrangements prior to the receipt of my
reccomendation; but as it is highly desireable that the
Lands and Works Department should not remain inactive--which
it must do under the only arrangement which at present it is
within my power to make--by em- ploying a non-professional
man in charge of the Department--I have to request that you
will au- thorize Captain Luard to delay his departure for
England until I can receive an answer from the Secretary of
State--so that in the meantime I can usefully employ him in
the service of the Co- lony.
I don't apprehend that any
inconvienience can arise from this arrangement. The
orders from home for the with- drawl of the Detach- ment
give the end of the year as the period, and I therefore
submit that by permitting Captain Luard to remain until that
date, when I shall pro- bably either have received an answer
to my app- lication: or a successor to yourself may have ar-
rived, you will not be deviating from the letter of those
instructions, but will be acting in their Spi- rit by making
the Lands and Works Department to be manned until the end of
the year. I further notice that if Captain Luard does
not return with you, you will still have with you 3 officers
and 8 non-commissioned officers while the number of Sappers
is only 8.
I shall not fail to explain
to the Secretary of State, this requisition upon you, in
such manner as to relieve you of the responsiblity of having
detained the departure of Captain Luard.
I have the honour to be
Sir, your most ob. Ser.
13th November 1863
I have had the honour to receive your
letter of yesterday's date.
Your Excellency informs me you have reco- mended Captain Luard
to the Secretary of State for the Office of Chief Commissioner
of Lands and Works.
For Captain Luard I have a very high regard-- my good opinion
of him and friendship towards him are of long standing and
well known, but I know also the exact nature of his
qualifications and it becomes my duty to state (Your Excel-
lency's letter alone obliges it) that valuable as they
are, among them are not comprised what are indispensible at
all times for the Office of Chief Commissioner of Lands and
Works and in a most marked degree requisite in the Colony of
I can scarcely suppose Captain Luard himself has applied for
Your Excellency's letter at this moment places me in a
position very embarrassing and most re- pugnant to my disposition and to all my desires.
I wish sincerely you had consulted with me prior to
recomending Captain Luard to the Sec- retary of State for this
office in particular.
Had I been aware at a sufficiently early period you desired an
Officer of Royal Engineers, I could have officially named
for recomendation others to you well qualified, and available
and I might have had the grati- fication of sending your
desire to aid Captain Luard in some other way advantageous to
the Public Service.
When consulting with you as to the steps to be taken after I
received orders closing our Service in British Columbia, and
directing distinctly (naming each one in the orders) that all
were to return to England, I submitted proposals to you and
among others we considered Mr. Trutch, a civil Engineer, well
known to Your Excellency and myself and a Resident in this
Colony, to be particularily well suited for the Office:
consider- ing however the close of the Season and the no-
tification to Your Excellency that a successor would be
forthwith appointed from England, you finally decided on a
temporary arrangement and selected Mr. Brew to take over
temporary charge retaining a few of the well qualified sub-
ordinates for current work and to supply what information
Mr. Brew might require.
This arrangement has been effected--I have given over charge.
We have entirely broken up and left the Colony--The Admiral
has arranged for the passages of all of us--and at this late
hour--the mail steamer by which we depart be- ing expected
tomorrow--my orders clear and explicit--I do not well see
at present how I can take on myself to leave an officer behind
for a re-delivery and to resume charge.
I would also, with the greatest respect, beg Your Excellency
to remember my responsibility to the Commander in Chief in a
matter to impor- tant as discriminating the duties and
recognizing the relative claims and fitness of Officers placed
under my immediate command.
I have the honour to be
Your Excellency's most obedient
P.S. I hope sincerly nothing whatsoever in the above
may be taken as refecting on Captain Luard's value to the Ser-
vice. I would gladly use any language that would guard
against an impression of that kind.
14th November 1863
Your Excellency will have received my
letter of yesterday's date, and if after considering what I
have therein ventured to lay before you--you should deem it
indispensible for an Officer of Royal Engineers to remain
and resume charge of the Lands and Works Department in British
Columbia from Mr. Brew, I will take the respon- sibility of
giving the nessecary orders, selecting one qualified for any
matter you may at present desire and for anything that may
arise, but I would stress you not to require it unless indis-
An early answer will greatly oblige me as the Steamer by which
we depart is expected tonight.
I have the honour to be
Your Excellency's Most Obedient
14th November 1863
I have the honour to
acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 13th inst.
aquainting me, in re- ply to my request, that Captain Luard
might be instructed to delay his departure from the Co- lony so
that I could provisionally place him in charge of the Lands
and Works Department, that, as your "orders" are
clear and explicit, you do not well see how you can take on
yourself to leave an officer behind.
I have also received your further letter of this date in which
you offer--if I consider it indis- pensible--to select an
officer of Royal Engineers to remain behind in charge of the
Lands and Works Department--but you urge me not to re- quire
it unless indispensible.
I should be sorry to ask you to take any steps that might
conflict with the orders you have re- ceived. My object in
begging you to cause Cap- tain Luard to postpone his departure
was simply to forward the Public Service. If the
Secretary of State approves my recomendation, and makes
arrangements for the appointment of Captain Luard, and only--if Captain Luard now proceeds to England--will
cost be incured for his return passage, but the Colony will
be the longer deprived of a provisional head of the De-
of Lands and Works.
If the Secretary of Sate does not approve him, after you have
left him behind, the only incon- vienience, in a military point
of view that I can see is, that Captain Luard may arrive in
Eng- land a month or so after the rest of the Detach- ment--no
additional expence would be incured-- and the Colony in the
meantime would receive the benefit of his services: and so far
as the Mi- litary question is concerned I venture to think the
arrangements of the War Office and Horse Guards will not be
impinged, as these arrange- ments distinctly contemplate the
withdrawl of the Troops at the End of the year.
I have the honour to be
Sir, Your most dedicated servant:
Majesty's Steam Packet "Shannon"
19th December 1863
I have the honour to enclose for the
informa- tion of His Grace the Secretary of State copies of a
correspondence between the Governor of Bri- tish Columbia and
myself on the eve of my de- parture from the Colony.
I venture to hope His Grace will approve the step taken by me
not aquiescing in the appoint- ment of an officer possessing
many good points yet lacking the qualifications that are
absolutely indispensible for the office named.
Immediately on my arrival in England I shall have the honour
to report myself at the Colonial Office.
I am Sir,
Your Most Obedient and Humble Servant,
that although there was great consernation about this appointment and
that Captain Luard was already off the Coast of England, the wheels of
the Government still creaked on...
The Under Secretary of State
24th December 1863
I am directed by the Duke of Newcastle to
aq- quaint you for the information of the Secretary of State for
War that His Grace has selected Cap- tain H.R. Luard RE to fill
the office of Commis- sioner of Lands and Surveyor General of
British Columbia made of the 1st Prox.
By His Grace's directions inquiry was private- ly made both at
the W.O and at Horse Guards when it was understood that
there would be no military objection to seconding Captain
Luard in order to enable him to hold the appointment without
quitting the Army.
5th January 1864
The Despatch for the appointment of Com-
missioner has been held back upon receipt of this
inteligence, and the appointment has never been so much as
offered to Captain Luard, so that the Secretary of State is
still entirely free to deal with it as he may deem best for
the Public Service.
I have not yet seen Colonel Moody myself as
I was absent in the Country for part of last week, but I
understand from Mr. Jadis that he expres- sed the most
unhesitiating and confident opi- nion of Captain Luard's
unfitness for this par- ticular post. Far from having
any predudice against Captain Luard, he spoke very favorably
of him both in his private capacity and as a Mili- tary Officer,
but he said that he knew nothing of surveying, and could
hardly be unaware himself of his want of qualification for
the control of such a Department.
If Colonel Moody felt that he had such good
reasons for this opinion, I think that he was quite justified
not leaving Captain Luard be- hind. The inconvienience of
what has occured (and after all it is but a slight one, since
the de- tachment has reached England just at the mo- ment of
decision) is owing to Sir James Douglas' departure from the
proper course in not consul- ting the Commanding Officer of the
Engineers before he selected one for reccomendation to the
Secretary of State. This was evidently VERY ir- regular,
and neither just to the Officers them- selves nor to the one by
whom they were com- manded. Colonel Moody has told Captain Luard
that he cannot reccomend him.
Colonel Moody, I understand, spoke in a
friendly manner of his other officers, but said (giving his
reasons) that there was only one of them who would at all
answer the purpose, if it should be desired to make a
selection from them for this appointment.
The main reason for that course is however
removed by the fact that they have all come home. And
whilst an officer of Royal Engineers is the best Surveyor
General if he is also to be the Commander of a body of Sappers
and Miners, I confess that when that is not the case, I doubt
whether a Civil Surveyor General is not best suited to a new
Colonel Moody confirms the favorable ac-
count already received of Mr. Trutch. The Governor's
estimate of him will be seen at page 6 of the despatch of the
14th of September 1863; which is amongst these papers.
It is difficult to conceive higher terms than those in which
Sir James Douglas speaks of Mr. Trutch, and sup- ported as this
is by Colonel Moody's good opi- nion, and by the convienience of
employing a gentleman already conversant with Colonial wants,
habits and resources, there seems a strong union of
considerations in favour of the selec- tion of Mr. Trutch.
I have written this minute in concert with
Mr. Jadis, in order to be sure that I repeated faith- fully his
impression of his conversation with Colonel Moody.
I think there can be no doubt that to send Captain Luard back
again would be inadvisable.
I am inclined to appoint Mr. Trutch, but a final decision may
stand over till my return to Town.
Duke of Newcastle