Private letter from W. Halse
dated 30th. May 1848.
30th. May 1848
My dear Sir,
I think it is as well, not knowing when you may return, to avail myself of the first Post, to name to you a subject of great importance, on which the Resident Magistrate and the Police are at variance.
It appears that two judgments were obtained against the goods of Messrs. Gillingham and White, at the suit of Smith and Bassett, - why S. Gillingham, the remaining partner, was not included in the proceedings, I do not know. The Writs of execution were directed to the Sergeant of Police, who levied; and after sale of the goods by Auction, the proceeds were tendered "to the Clerk of the Court", as directed by the Writs. But Captain King and Mr. Standish being in a dilemma, or fancying so, the latter would merely receive the actual debt and costs, in each action. I told my brother to pay the balance to the party entitled.
Captain King endeavoured to arrive at my opinion, through my brother, but I refused to advise Captain King, on two grounds. 1st.,- that he would not follow it, if Mr. Standish's were adverse; and 2nd., - I disapproved of the manner in which he sought to ascertain it. When I afterwards heard that Captain King and Mr. Standish had gone so far as to tell my brother that their control ceased with the issuing of the Writs, and the subsequent proceedings were at the sole risk of the Police. I waived my objection, and wrote to Captain King, telling him I only expressed an opinion at his request, conveyed to me through my brother; which, in effect, was that the Resident Magistrate or Magistrates, issuing the Writs, were responsible for everything done by virtue of them; and that the Police were mere agents, subject to his instructions. It was useless, as I anticipated. On the following (this morning) Captain King wrote to my brother, repeating the novel doctrine that the business was no longer in his hands. It, however, contained an opinion that S. Gillingham was the Agent of his brother; and upon that, I recommended payment of the balance to him.
You will see the necessity of taking some steps in this matter, for your guidance for the future.
I recommend you, on your return, to write to the Attorney General or Colonial Secretary, for the settlement of the duties of Captain King and the Police. In the present instance, Captain King not knowing his duties, and fearing the consequences of acts done under his name, has dared to throw the risk on your Department.
Mr. Standish was very offensive in his remarks to my brother, telling him "he ought to know his duty" that "he wouldn't advise him"; and "there would be no difficulty in finding persons to act as Sergeants of Police, who would know them". But I have strongly advised him to take no notice, but continue his duties as heretofore, and to look to you for protection as long as he may continue in the Force.
On further consideration, I advise my brother not to pay the money on Captain King's letter.
D. McLean Esq.