Fonds AAAA1154 - Colonial Secretary of the Colony of British Columbia fonds

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Colonial Secretary of the Colony of British Columbia fonds

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  • 1858-1871 (Creation)
    British Columbia (Colony). Colonial Secretary

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Physical description

2.17 m of textual records;5 microfilm reels

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Biographical history

The first Colonial Secretary of the Colony of British Columbia, William A.G. Young, was appointed by Governor James Douglas in 1859. Prior to that, the territories known as New Caledonia were under grant to the Hudsons Bay Company. The Government of British Columbia Act (21-22 Vict., c. 99) provided for a legislature with a council and an assembly, but from 1858 to 1864 absolute power and authority for the colony was invested by the Crown in the Governor James Douglas. From 1859 to 1863, one Governor (James Douglas) and one Colonial Secretary (William Young) served both the Colony of British Columbia and the Colony of Vancouver Island. The Colonial Secretary was the administrative assistant to the governor as well as keeper of the official record. In 1863, the Colonial Office in England instituted constitutional changes that required a separate government for each colony. Douglas retired in 1864 and Young retained his position only with the Colony of Vancouver Island. The next Colonial Secretary for the Colony of British Columbia was Arthur N. Birch who served from 1864-1867. He was appointed by the Colonial Office in England where he had been private secretary to Edward Lytton, Secretary of State for the Colonies. During the 1865/66 term, Birch was replaced by Henry M. Ball in an acting position while Birch acted as the officer administering the government in the absence of Governor Seymour. Ball was a County Court Judge in Lytton and a member of the Legislative Council. In 1867, when Victoria was designated the capital of the colony, Birch left the colony and William Young took on the dual appointments of Acting Colonial Secretary and Acting Treasurer, and served as the Acting Colonial Secretary until 1869. Philip J. Hankin, former secretary to Arthur Kennedy, Governor of the Colony of Vancouver Island, and also Superintendent of Police (1864-1866), was appointed by the Colonial Office, over Young, as the last Colonial Secretary for the Colony of British Columbia. Hankin served in the position from 1869 to 1871, except for a few months when Charles Good, chief clerk in the office of the Colonial Secretary, was acting in the position. In 1871, the Colony of British Columbia joined confederation as a province of the Dominion of Canada. The position of Colonial Secretary remained as a provincial office and, in 1872, was renamed to Provincial Secretary.

Custodial history

Most records in this fonds were found in archival storage and the date of transfer is unknown.

Scope and content

The fonds consists of records generated by the Colonial Secretary of the Colony of British Columbia while fulfilling the role of secretariat for government of the colony. It also includes records created by gold commissioners in Hope, Rock Creek, Lytton, and Cariboo who reported to the Colonial Secretary from 1859 to 1871. Types of records include letterbooks, indexes to correspondence, correspondence inward and outward, account books, indentures, and indexes to proclamations and ordinances.

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BCAUL control number: BCA-2064

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