Camp 110 Miles West of Winnipeg 4 July 1880 Smith letter to his wife
Lot 25 in our auction Saturday 4th September 2021
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Camp 110 miles west of
Winnipeg July 4th, 1880
My dear Wife
I arrived here in Mr. Murdoch’s camp three days ago I had been 40 miles farther west with Mr. [Seerehan]’s party for about 10 days and got through with the work there- sending the party farther west- Lumsden’s party I have not seen yet- I send this by our purveyor who came into camp to-day and is going to Winnipeg. You will see that I have got a good deal of work done so early in the season- but I feel the season is going to be long enough for comfort as the weather is very hot and we are devoured with mosquitoes but I am otherwise in good health.-
This however is likely to be my last season for you will see that Schreiber is appointed Chief Engineer and has already issued to me instructions which are childish and grossly insulting and with which I have no intention of complying I wrote to both Sir John and Dr. Tupper saying that I could not report to Schreiber as it would be useless because he knew nothing of the country- I have had a letter from both- and they say that the law does not allow more than one Chief Engineer and therefore they cannot allow me to be independent- Sir John’s letter however is kind but he seems to think it is a more matter of etiquette and tells me to be content with the substance and never mind the shadow- I should like to know what the substance is- hard work and little pay-
At the same time comes a telegram from Schreiber asking me to report to him at least once a fortnight and before work is commenced to submit all plans and profiles for the
impr approval of the Govt. The Govt. being Mr. Schreiber- The first part is literally impossible and useless. The second implies that I am not to be trusted in designing the work- I shall take no notice of either excepting a simple acknowledgement of his telegram and saying that it is impracticable that I shall only Report what is worth reporting and it will be the end of August before I have anything to Report to anybody-
I hope you are all enjoying yourselves- love to all.
P.S. Fort Ellice N. West Territories will be my address till the end of Sept.