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Incendiary 30 Apr 1875 Omaha, Marcus Smith letter to his wife
Lot 32 Saturday 18th March 2023 #SandfordFleming #MarcusSmithLetters

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                           Omaha. April 30th 1875

My dear wife

                     I spent four hours at Guelph on tuesday – all well – we were delayed yesterday by a break in the Ry and missed connecting with the Union Pacific train – so have lost a day and now have barely a chance of catching the boat at San Francisco – so it will be almost impossible to get through my season’s work and have written to Fleming to say so – I fear in spite of etiquette I shall have to write to the Government – for Fleming has written instructions to have work done far beyond what was discussed with Mr. McKenzie and which it is impossible to do in one

long summer season instead of half one which I shall now have – besides the work is not required

The line he wants surveyed is thoroughly impracticable as I examined it myself last season in fact when I looked at the man to see if he were joking when he talked about having it surveyed – and saw he was in earnest I began to doubt his sanity – and still strongly doubt it – his brother is in the asylum and I am told there is insanity in the family – who have intermarried for generations past – In fact he told me himself he had a silent dread of it – So you must not hint or whisper this to a living soul – as he has made me a confident of the terrible dread –

Altogether there is trouble ahead and I would not for anything go through the same terrible muddle and uncertainty that I did on The Intercolonial for any money so intend to have it out this summer – and if I have to leave will have time to look out for something else – I could get the Surveyor Generalship of B.C. for asking but it is only $2000 a year – and I may do better by being Engineer for a Contract Company in B.C. when the work is let.

One thing very certain is that it will be impossible for any one having self respect to stay on the line if Fleming is Chief Engineer –

The Govt already sent him and act independently of him – so that he will insist on us doing things that he has not power to back us up in – neither has he the will when it comes to push —–

Mr Selwyn the Chief of the Geological survey is here – he says that young Dawson – son of the Professor in McGill College Montreal – comes out in July to take charge of the Geo. survey in B. Columbia which will last for a lifetime he says Dawson is an exceedingly worthy young man and I could get Tom with him if I would consent to let him go for his keep and a mere nominal salary of $20 a month to begin with – this is what we are going to reduce beginners wages to on our work —

I am always in dread of that terrible river by our door and don’t know what to suggest as your eye cannot always be on the little ones. I wish you were living away from the water.

Love to all.

                                 Yours ever

                                       M. Smith