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Re: Caulfeild, Treasurer of Ceylon
Posted by: Alan Little Date: September 02, 1999 at 15:31:20
In Reply to: Caulfeild, Treasurer of Ceylon by Ted Pearce of 2355

John Caulfield (1806-1861) was indeed at one time the Treasurer of Ceylon.

From the books and reference material at my disposal it is a little unclear as to his exact term of office.

He served in the Ceylon Civil Service from 1823 to 1861 and played an influential part in the downfall of Governor Torrington for his handling of the 1848 Rebellion.

He was specifically mentioned in a letter from Torrington to Lord Grey 14/4/1850.

" Mr. Caulfield, the Acting Treasurer an old and able public servant stated that he considered the step I had proposed to the Council was a most dangerous one - Mr. Caufield felt with much regret, anxious as he would be to show mercy, that the proper time had not arrived -" Mr. Caulfield has stated that under the circumstances he would be disposed to grant an amnesty to all with the exception of one or two men tried before the Supreme Court"
Reference -Page 211-212 - 'The Rebellion of 1848' by K M de Silva.

During the riots of 1848 he was Government Agent of the North Western Province a post which he held till 1854 with a brief spell as Acting Treasurer from 1/1/1850 to 1/7/1851.
Reference - Pages 20-1 'Tombstones & Monuments in Ceylon' (Colombo 1913) by J.P. Lewis.

In John Ferguson's Directory - 'Ceylon in 1883' he is shown as Treasurer in 1854.

There are further interesting references to John Caulfield in 'The Administration of Sir Henry Ward Governor of Ceylon 1855 -1860' by S.V. Balasingham :-

Page 115 - "Ward appointed a Commission in 1858 to revise the existing scale of military allowances of officers of the Army. This consisted of J. Caulfield, Lt. Col. R Waddy, G. Lee and Major Woods."

Page 106-107 - "Patronage in appointments to official posts was criticised. In 1859 Governor Ward sought the sanction of the Secretary of State for the appointment of the son of Caulfield, the Treasurer of the Colony. Ward admitted that he had made this promise earlier and had requested the son to come to Ceylon at his own expense. Ward admitted that he was influenced by " the long service of the father, the largeness of their family and their natural desire to see their son provided for in a service which they had played an honourable part. - The Secretary of State could not accept Ward's reasons, though he sanctioned the appointment". (Reference - Ward to S. of S. No 102 of 23rd May 1860, Colonial Office Despatches 54/352 (I am not sure where you would go to trace this document)

This is all I have managed to find. I hope it is of some interest.

Charles and Hugh have already 'beaten me' with info from 'Tombstones & Monuments'. Oh how I wish I had a copy of this book! They may also be able to advise you on the whereabouts of the Colonial Records mentioned above.


Alan Litttle


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