HC Deb 21 April 1887 vol 313 cc1399-400
MR. DILLWYN (Swansea, Town)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether the Acting Administrator of the Gambia has appointed Dr. F. H. Spilsbury, Colonial Surgeon, to be the Acting Chief Magistrate of that Settlement; whether that gentleman has had the legal training necessary to perform the duties of that office; whether, when he was invested with similar functions on a previous occasion, grave complaints were made by suitors and others; whether there is any officer of the Government who has been called to the Bar; and, if so, why he was not appointed; and, whether it is true that the Assistant Colonial Surgeon is about to leave for the Gold Coast; and, if so, who is to perform his duties in the absence of Dr. Spilsbury?


Dr. Spilsbury was appointed acting Chief Magistrate; but the Administrator has since been directed to offer the post to Mr. Maxwell, the Queen's Advocate, whose office it has been found necessary, for reasons of economy, to abolish. It is not known that Dr. Spilsbury has had any regular legal training; but he has acted as Chief Magistrate to the satisfaction of the Government on previous occasions; and the Memorial which was sent in against his appointment, in September last, was not of such a character as to induce my Predecessor to alter the arrangement, which appeared to be the best possible under the circumstances of the Settlement. The selection of officers to fill acting appointments is necessarily left to the discretion of the Local Government, and in small Colonies like the Gambia the choice is very limited. I have no information of the reasons which induced the Acting Administrator to appoint Dr. Spilsbury instead of Mr. Maxwell. the Assistant Colonial Surgeon has been transferred to the service of the Gold Coast Colony; and the question of the best mode of providing for the medical requirements of the Gambia is under my consideration, and will be decided upon before any leave, if asked for, is granted to Dr. Spilsbury.