Transcribed by: Garth Bulman firstname.lastname@example.org and Nick Vine Hall email@example.com
Reference: Acc 2702 Item No. 843 P.E. I Public Archives, Charlottetown, PE Canada
Letter: James Bardin Palmer to Earl Bathurst dated August 27th 1813
Transcribed by: Garth Bulman firstname.lastname@example.org and Nick Vine Hall email@example.com November 2005
Aug 27 1813-Copy of Mr. Palmers Letter to Earl Bathurst
Asking effect of orders made agst. him. Also spelling out Characters of those upon whose repres. his order was made.
110 Tottenham Court
August 27 1813
The situation of Prince Edward as relating to the administration of the affairs of government having varied infinitely since my arrival in England, I feel it necessary to add however reluctantly to the trouble which I must already have created by requesting permission to address your Lordship previous to the approaching period for the last Convoys to sail this season for North America, and to state such recent occurrences as may induce Your Lordship to approve of an arrangement which I shall humbly by leave to submit.
I understand that the influence of the late Attorney General Mr. Cambridge and Mr. Hill, through their own representations and those of their dependants, has induced the Earl of Selkirk to lay before His Majesty’s Ministers certain charges of general misconduct attributed to me, but particularly as an officer of the Court of Chancery and a member of the Legislature of that Colony, together with some other charges the very nature of which renders it unnecessary to mention,- reason or disaffection for instance. My opinion is partly confirmed by the assertion of Mr. Hills Partners lately that the charges against me were preferred by Lord Selkirk. The Journals of the House of Assembly last Session being before Your Lordship, I shall only refer to them relative to my conduct in a legislature capacity; and as the due administration of the laws it now appears that the people upon whose representative Lord Selkirk acted were interested in endearing to effect a submission of justice. The late Attorney General protected in his lifetime, has died in the depth of insolvency. Mr. Cambridge’s creditors in England and now proceeding against his estates in Prince Edward Island – the ownership of which he has never been divested of, notwithstanding his Bankruptcy. Mr. Hill’s creditors here are adopting similar measures. I can scarcely suppose Your Lordship will credit that the acting Assignee of this man deposed last Saturday on Oath before the commissioners to the affect that he Mr. Hill had never disclosed surrendered or accounted for any part of his estate at Prince Edward Island on his examination as a bankrupt in 1807 – the very time when Mr. Hill was making reiterated applications to government for an abutment of the quit rents and representing himself as an extensive proprietor
Mr. Cambridge paid eleven pence in the Pound. Mr. Hill paid 2s. 10d. Lord Selkirk’s own agent, or late agent, Mr. Williams is an embarrassed Insolvent
Mr. Gough, lately appointed Deputy Clerk of Council is an insolvent resisting the payment of hi debts. Mr. Holland is plunged in pecuniary embarrassments. Mr. Plaw his Brother Magistrate is a proclaimed Bankrupt.
Mr. Birnies fate and the Estate of the Honorable Mr. Villiers whom Mr. Waters, Mr. Birnies principal, was a Clerk are intimately connected and Mr. Irving is struggling under a deed arrangement of composition. Those are the acting secondary persons in the Colony, and various acts of their misconduct have been already been substantiated. I trust therefore that Your Lordship will not only discredit the information which comes from such a source, but will also consider whether the corruption of this office does not to presently attach discredit to the office, and how such characters must be regarded by the inhabitants of the Colony who are well acquainted with those circumstances, and by the Merchants of London whose observations now actively directed to the proceedings in the Colony.
From the last communication with which I was honored by Your Lordships order, dated the 8th June, it appears that I have been removed from all offices under the Crown; I presume that order will be construed in Prince Edward Island as excluding me from the Magistracy. I am at present the Proprietor of about eleven thousand acres of good land in that Island, and in very few months after my arrival there I shall be out of debt. Now my lord I cannot avoid representing that from my education and habits and from the general sentiments of the people with respect to my character, which has been evidenced by their certificate to that effect, it appears singular that without any specific reason assigned my name should be struck out of the Commission of Magistrates, while Mr. Curtis sits as a Judge.
Property becomes valuable in proportion as it is protected, and a considerable part of the protection arises from the legal information of the body of Magistrates, - this Your Lordship may see principal object in making this representation.
Declining to adopt any other mode than that of respectful, and I hope practical solicitation, I have sought even to reason the time of my attendance here not wholly unserviceable by compiling a Work which will soon be published, ??? a description of the duties offices in Prince Edward Island. The death or removal of the principal persons who have heretofore associated to remove me, and a desire to enjoy peace has determined me to give up all other views than those which immediately regard the improvement of my property and advancement of my profession; and I humbly by leave to express a hope that His Majesty’s Ministers may be at length inclined to relax in some measure from the rigor of the Order which was made respecting me when it is recollected that I have anxiously entreated for investigation. That I have evaded nothing, but on the contrary by conviction and anticipation have sedulously sought to meet and answer every charge which human depravity or misinformation could in my opinion bring forward against me that those charges and in particular those relating to the Court of Chancery retort with double force against my accusers in consequence of the proofs I have adduced in my defense, and that under the circumstances, however unadvisable it might be considered to rescind the former order, yet that it may not be held to have any prospective operation and that I may go out to the Colony not incapacitated to fill any office in the Law or Magisterial department which I may be considered hereafter as adequate to the discharge of..
I am therefore to entrust that your Lordship will be pleased to favor me with intimation previous to my departure for Prince Edward Island whether the order of government relative to my removal in the Law Department to which the Governor of Prince Edward Island may after due investigation think proper at some future period to recommend me.
I have the Honour
(Signed) J.B.PalmerNote: Lord Bathurst was Henry Bathurst, 3rd Earl of Bathurst (1762-1834) who served as Secretary of State for War and the Colonies from 1812-1827