Sold for $2,640 in our auction of Saturday 30th January 2021
Lot 26 Ottawa 17 Jan 1874 content rich 4-page Marcus Smith letter to his wife
#marcussmith #bcsurveyor #canadianrailways #bchistory
Ottawa Jan 17th, 1874
My dear Wife
Flemings offices were burnt down yesterday evening and an immense quantity of Plans profiles, filed books &.c. destroyed the loss cannot be less than a million dollars- as there are no copies of anything- except the work in British Columbia of 1871-not worth much- Of all my work in B.C. in 1872- embracing nearly 900 miles of plans & profiles- only 150 miles of plans are saved- and there are no copies of either plans profiles or books anywhere- the whole of the profiles are gone-
I was terribly afraid my report of 1872 was gone- it has not been printed- I was careful to put it in the safe every night while I was engaged on it- but finished it only the last day I was at Ottawa and gave it to Fleming. I had no time to make a copy- and feared Fleming would just lay it on the table, but Burpee tells me it has been found in Fleming’s safe and most of the papers though singed are readable- I hope it is but I have not seen Fleming- It is of very great value now as the lines surveyed are carefully described in it, and the leading grades given- I go up to see about it this evening-
Fleming wishes me to apply to the Institution of C.C. to be made a member- which I should have been at first- Fancy making Forrest and Blackwell and other members including Bourne and me only associate. Fleming says it is ridiculous and he will write a sharp letter to the secretary- But the application has to be made in proper form and those that Fleming had are all burnt up- I wish you would search amongst my books- like searching for a needle in a bundle of hay you will say, and find amongst the pamphlets Institution C.C. – perhaps between the leaves some of those forms of application for admission to the Institution (about the size of a magazine)- If you cannot find these perhaps Mr. Keefer has them, and will give me a form and lend me a list of members, as I want to look out for the necessary number of signatures for my application and find the address of those who know me-
Mr. Fleming will propose me and no doubt Mr. Keefer will put his name down, which he might do alone- leaving the first for Mr. Fleming- We have had it very cold here these last two days- I hope you have not suffered much from it, and that you are all well. I should have liked to come down today but as we are very busy, it will be better to leave it till next week when I shall stay over till Monday afternoon- love and kisses to all.
P.S. all our work of 1873 (in B.C.) is safe, as we have our offices in the Parliament buildings.