Colonel Moody
Captain Luard
Luard Controversy
Governor Douglas
Duke of Newcastle

    A small political storm is created when Governor 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.

Victoria, Vancouver's Island
  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
  James Douglas

Notes on back:

  Sir F. Razen,

  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 the Army?

      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 Works.

      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


19th December 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- out difficulty.

    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.

Note on back:

I agree.  Let Captain Luard's appointment go out by next Mail.


Duke of Newcastle

21st December 1863.


Victoria, Vancouver's island
  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.
  James Douglas


Victoria, Vancouver's Island
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 British Columbia.

    I can scarcely suppose Captain Luard himself has applied for the Office.

    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
  Hubmle Servant
  RC Moody
  Colonel RE

  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.


Victoria, Vancouver Island
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- pensible.

    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
Hmble Servant
RC Moody


Victoria, Vancouver's Island
  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 additional cost be incured for his return passage, but the Colony will be the longer deprived of a provisional head of the De- partment 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:
  James Douglas


Her Majesty's Steam Packet "Shannon"
At Sea
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,

It appears 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...

(Not Posted)

The Under Secretary of State
War Office
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.


War office
5th January 1864
Internal memorandum


    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 Colony.
    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.

On the back:

    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