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Bruce Peel Special Collections Life, Events, and Players in the North-West London, England
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1839 (May) from John Smith to Smithurst

Place: Hudsons Bay House, London [England]

From: John Smith

To: The Revd John Smithurst, Church Missionary House, Salisbury Square [London, England]

Details: 1pp

Notes: This letter confirms a previous conversation between John Smith of Hudson's Bay House in London and Reverend John Smithurst. Rev. Smithurst is awarded the position of chaplain to the Hudson's Bay Company at Red River in Rupert's Land. He is granted passage from London to Fort Garry [modern-day Winnipeg].

1842 (Feb) from Anne Alsop to Smithurst

Place: Sycamore Cottage [Derbyshire, England]

From: A. Alsop

To: The Rev'd John Smithurst, Church Missy House, Salisbury Square, Fleet Street, London [England]

Details: 4pp with integral address

Notes: Anne Alsop sends much news from England, with unrest over the corn laws having led to a crowd in Derby burning an effigy of Sir Robert Peel. Since the last letter, Catherine Wasse was pregnant but lost the baby boy. Anne Alsop has not seen Rev. Smithurst's brother George for some time, but she believes one of his daughters got married. Mr. Nightingale (the father of Florence Nightingale, the famous nurse) is in the area collecting rents. The economy is doing quite poorly, and the Tories want to change the poor laws. Alsop herself is a Wigg, but her nephews are Tories. While in London, she saw great crowds gather during the election. She also attended twice daily sermons to hear Dr. Crow at St. Stevens Walbrook, by whom she is greatly impressed. (It is possible she is referring to Dr. Croly who was a rector at St. Stephens Walbrook in London during this period. He was a famous orator and novelist.)

Alsop, Anne

1843 (Apr) Invoice for seeds

Place: London [England]

From: Bot. of T&C Lockhart

To: Revd J. Smithurst

Details: 1pp

Notes: An invoice for numerous plants and seeds ordered by Rev. Smithurst including Early York cabbage, Tripoli onion, Long white radish, Yellow Dutch turnip, James keeping onion, Brown Dutch lettuce, other varieties.

1849 (May) from Church Missionary Society to Smithurst

Place: Church Missionary House, London [England]

From: Church Missionary Society

To: Revd. J. Smithurst, Indian Settlement, North West America

Details: 1pp

Notes: A list of goods ordered by Rev. Smithurst and shipped via the "Prince Rupert" ship under the command of Captain Herd, sailing for North West America. Items include a map, books, newspapers, and reports.

Church Missionary Society

1850 (Nov) from W. G. Smith to Smithurst

Place: Hudson's Bay House, London [England]

From: W.G. Smith

To: Revd John Smithurst, Red River Settlement

Details: 3pp and integral address face

Notes: Mr. Smith writes to Rev. Smithurst regarding financial matters. He comments that money is cheap due to the influx of gold from California.

Smith, William Gregory

1851 (May) from James Settee to Smithurst

Place: Lac La Ronge, C.M.L. Station

From: James Settee

To: The Reverend J. Smithurst,
Indian Settlement (crossed out),
Church Missionary House, Salisbury Square, London (crossed out),
Middleton, Wirksworth, Derbyshire

Details: 3pp and integral address face

Notes: James Settee writes to Rev. Smithurst on a number of matters. He says that Thomas Cook brought Rev. Smithurst's last letter to him and told Settee that Rev. Smithurst was suffering badly from rheumatism. Settee says both he and his wife also suffer from rheumatism, which he blames on the cold climate. Settee is about to leave on a long journey to Norway House, and he mentions that the baptized Natives object to working on Sundays, but Settee feels that the portages would be impossible without the help of the Hudson's Bay Company boats and so they must work on the Sabbath to keep up. The mission at Lac La Ronge is doing well, and Settee hopes to writes to Rev. Smithurst again once he reaches Norway House.

While written in May, this letter has a cancellation for Sault Ste Marie, C.W. in September. The letter then made its way to Church Missionary House in London, England where it was then redirected to Middleton, Wirksworth, Derbyshire.

Settee, James

1851 (Oct) from W. G. Smith to Smithurst

Place: Hudson's Bay House, London [England]

From: W.G. Smith

To: Revd John Smithurst, Middleton, Wirksworth, Derbyshire [England]

Details: 2pp

Notes: In this letter, Mr. Smith writes to Rev. Smithurst to let him know that his packages have arrived in England and he will forward them by train.

Smith, William Gregory

1838 (Aug) from William Buckley to Smithurst

Place: Middleton [Derbyshire, England]

From: Frs Buckley

To: J. Smithurst, Church Missionary Institution, Islington [London]

Delivery: Great Britain mail

Details: 3 pp + integral address face

Notes: Reverend William Buckley is deeply disappointed to hear that John Smithurst had to cancel his planned visit to Middleton. Rev. Buckley goes on to relate news of recent marriages and clergy appointments.

Buckley, William

1841 (Feb) from Anne Alsop and Catherine Wasse to Smithurst

Place: Sycamore Cottage [Derbyshire, England]

From: Anne Alsop & Catherine Wasse

To: The Reverend John Smithurst, Church Missionary. To be forwarded and properly directed from Islington

Delivery: Forwarded by the Church Missionary Society to Red River Settlement via Hudson's Bay Company supply ship and canoe brigade, and then by courier to the Indian Settlement at Netley Creek

Details: 4 pp (partly cross-written) + integral address face

Notes: Composite letter from friends Anne Alsop and her niece Catherine Wasse. Anne Alsop mentions Rev. Smithurst's brother George and family matters. Catherine Wasse writes about her impression of London, the renovations to Dethick Chapel, the success of her brother who is leasing Wakebridge Mine from Mr. Nightingale (the father of Florence Nightingale), Mr. Nightingale's annual visit, and the record-setting winter weather.

Alsop, Anne

1841 (May) from Enoch Reddall to Smithurst

Place: Church Missionary Institution [Islington, London, England]

From: Enoch Reddall

To: The Rev’d J. Smithurst

Delivery: Forwarded by the Church Missionary Society to Red River Settlement via Hudson's Bay Company supply ship and canoe brigade, and then by courier to the Indian Settlement at Netley Creek

Details: 4 pp + separate address cover

Notes: Reddall discusses various missionary works including great success in New Zealand and a new missionary to the Teloogoo people in central India. Clergymen posted to Ceylon, Abyssinia, and Sierra Leone are also mentioned. Reddall notes that this letter is forwarded by Abraham Cowley on his way to Rupert’s Land.

In fact, Abraham Cowley and his wife Arabella crossed the Atlantic Ocean three times in nine months attempting to reach his missionary posting at Lake Manitoba. On 5 January 1841, less than a fortnight after their marriage, the young couple set out for Montreal on their way to the Red River Settlement in Rupert’s Land. This unusual route was taken in the belief that the Cowleys would be able to travel with Bishop George Jehoshaphat Mountain of Montreal who was planning a visitation of Rupert’s Land. The couple arrived in Montreal on 28 February, and Cowley was ordained a Deacon on 7 March. Bishop Mountain’s visit to the northwest was postponed, however, and the Cowleys, seeing no hope of reaching the Red River Settlement from Montreal, returned to England and took ship almost immediately for Hudson’s Bay. They arrived in Red River on 28 September 1841.

This letter was apparently delivered by Cowley to Smithurst upon his arrival in Red River.

1843 (Feb) from Anne Alsop and Catherine Wasse to Smithurst

Place: Sycamore Cottage [Derbyshire, England]

From: Anne Alsop and Catherine Wasse

To: The Rev’ J. Smithurst / Church Missionary House, Fleet Street, London

Delivery: Forwarded by the Church Missionary Society to Red River Settlement via Hudson’s Bay Company supply ship and canoe brigade, and thence by courier to the Indian Settlement at Netley Creek

Details: 4pp (partly cross-written) + integral address face

Notes: Composite letter from friend and her aunt on family matters. Mentions annual visit of Mr. Nightingale (father of Florence Nightingale – John Smithurst’s first cousin) with details on their losses owing to a bank failure.

Alsop, Anne

1843 (May) from [Lord] Chichester to Smithurst

Place: London [England]

From: [Lord] Chichester

To: The Rev’d J. Smithurst

Delivery: Forwarded by the Church Missionary Society to Red River Settlement via Hudson’s Bay Company supply ship and canoe brigade, and thence by courier to the Indian Settlement at Netley Creek

Details: 3pp + integral address face

Notes: Lord Chichester writes a few hurried lines and mentions his preparation of a gift parcel that includes a few books, an educational book, and knives for Smithurst’s use in his missionary work. Lord Chichester further apologizes for the hurried packages and comments on the many things he would have liked to have included, had he the time.

1845 (Feb) from William Buckley to Smithurst

Place: Middleton [Derbyshire, England]

From: William Buckley

To: Rev’d J. Smithurst, Church Mission House / Salisbury Square, Fleet Street, London

Delivery: Forwarded by the Church Missionary Society (CMS) to Red River Settlement via Hudson’s Bay Company supply ship and canoe brigade, and then by courier to the Indian Settlement at Netley Creek

Details: 3pp + integral address face with postal marks

Notes: Letter from a friend with news from home.

Buckley, William

1845 (Feb) from Church Missionary Society to Smithurst

Place: Church Mission House [London, England]

From: Church Missionary Society

To: Rev. J. Smithurst

Delivery: Forwarded by the Church Missionary Society (CMS) to Red River Settlement via Hudson’s Bay Company supply ship and canoe brigade, and then by courier to the Indian Settlement at Netley Creek

Details: 1pp + integral address face

Notes: An accounting of expenses and wages for 1844 and 1845.

Church Missionary Society

1846 (Feb) from Anne Alsop to Smithurst

Place: Matlock Bath [Derbyshire, England]

From: A. Alsop

To: Rev’d John Smithurst, Church Missionary House, London

Delivery: Forwarded by the Church Missionary Society to Red River Settlement via Hudson’s Bay Company supply ship and canoe brigade, and thence by courier to the Indian Settlement at Netley Creek

Details: 3pp + integral address face

Notes: In her annual letter to Rev. Smithurst, Anne Alsop sends news, largely relating various marriages, births, and deaths in the community. She mentions that William Wass died and Catherine [presumably her niece, Catherine Wasse] is ill with grief. Mr. George Saxton plans on enclosing a letter of his own to Rev. Smithurst. The winter was surprisingly mild. Anne Alsop now lives in Matlock Bath and is dismayed over the tenant who now resides in her old home, Sycamore Cottage. She adds a postscript commenting on the widespread speculation occurring as railroads are being built across England.

Alsop, Anne

1846 (Feb) from G.W. Saxton to Smithurst

Place: Matlock Bath [Derbyshire, England]

From: G.W. Saxton

To: Rev. J. Smithurst

Delivery: Likely enclosed with Anne Alsop's letter of February 7, 1846.

Details: 3pp with integral address face

Notes: George W. Saxton was the secretary of the Matlock Church Missionary Society and writes this letter to reach out to Rev. Smithurst whom he admires for his missionary work. He mentions the Arkwright family, the church at Cromford, and the generous financial donations of Mr. Beaumont which have covered various expenses of the Matlock Bath church. Mr. Saxton goes into great detail about the Matlock Bath church and future plans. He mentions that his parents are dead and that his widowed brother preaches at the parish of Sutton Coldfield in Warwickshire.

Saxton, G. W. (George Withers)

1847 (Jan & Apr) from W.G. Smith to Smithurst

Place: Hudson’s Bay House, London [England]

From: W.G. Smith

To: Rev’d John Smithurst, R.R.S. [Red River Settlement]

Delivery: Forwarded to Red River Settlement via Hudson’s Bay Company supply ship and canoe brigade, and thence by courier to the Indian Settlement at Netley Creek

Details: 1pp + integral address face

Notes: William Gregory Smith, a secretary at the Hudson’s Bay Company London office, acknowledges receipt of Smithurst’s letter dated August 4, 1846 containing two bills to be paid and credited to Mr. Cockran, also that six cases belonging to Mr. Cockran have arrived safely and “have not been lost sight of.”

An addition to the letter reads: “Your letter of the 17th Nov’r forwarded by Winter Packet has just come to hand. Sir George Simpson leaves tomorrow with the Express. I have therefore only time to say that every exertion shall be used to meet your wishes.”

Smith, William Gregory

1847 (Mar) from Richard Davies to Smithurst

Place: Church Missionary House [Islington, London, England]

From: Richard Davies

To: Brother Smithurst

Delivery: Forwarded by the Church Missionary Society to Red River Settlement via Hudson’s Bay Company supply ship and canoe brigade, and then by courier to the Indian Settlement at Netley Creek

Details: 3pp on one sheet of paper.

Notes: Davies, a colleague of Smithurst’s in England, offers his thoughts and prayers to Smithurst as a letter from William Cochran has informed him that cholera has been rampant in the Red River district. Davies relates that dysentery claimed one of his own brothers in September. Davies also expresses hope that Mr. and Mrs. James have reached the Red River area safely and that Mr. James is able to relieve Smithurst of “some of the heavy duties which must have weighed on your mind as well as tried your physical powers.”

Other comments: “In many parts of Ireland too a severe pestilence is at this time raging and carrying off hundreds who hitherto have been spared by the grievous famine which has prevailed there and in some places in Scotland.”

1847 (May) from W.G. Smith to Smithurst

Place: Hudson’s Bay House, London [England]

From: W.G. Smith

To: Rev’d John Smithurst, RRS [Red River Settlement]

Delivery: Forwarded to Red River Settlement via Hudson’s Bay Company supply ship and canoe brigade, and then by courier to the Indian Settlement at Netley Creek

Details: 1 pp (letter) + 2 pp (invoice) + integral address face

Notes: Hudson’s Bay Company secretary W.G. Smith mentions having received Smithurst’s letter of November 17, 1846 on April 16, 1847 and having written a brief acknowledgement that was included with the Spring Express. Smith appends an invoice for goods ordered (tea, gun powder, sugar, mustard, salt petre, soda, starch, pork, soap, etc.) and says these were shipped to Smithurst on board the “Westminster” via York Factory and Red River Settlement.

Smith, William Gregory

[1847 (Jun)] Accounts from Church Missionary Society to Smithurst

Place: Church Missionary Society [London, England]

From: Church Missionary Society

To: Rev. J. Smithurst

Delivery: Forwarded by the Church Missionary Society to Red River Settlement via Hudson’s Bay Company supply ship and canoe brigade, and then by courier to the Indian Settlement at Netley Creek

Details: One (1) large sheet of paper + integral address face

Notes: An invoice, showing expenses and salary for the period May 31, 1846 to June 1, 1847.

Church Missionary Society

1848 (Jan) from W.G. Smith to Smithurst

Place: Hudson’s Bay House, London [England]

From: W.G. Smith

To: Rev’d John Smithurst, RRS [Red River Settlement]

Delivery: Forwarded to Red River Settlement via Hudson’s Bay Company supply ship and canoe brigade, and then by courier to the Indian Settlement at Netley Creek

Details: 1 pp (letter) + 1 pp (invoice) + integral address face with hand postal marking

Notes: Hudson’s Bay Company secretary W.G. Smith offers his apologies to Rev. Smithurst. The vessel "Westminster" carrying Smithurst's ordered goods, arrived too late in the season to be unloaded before the Red River-bound boats were sent off. Consequently, very few of the privately ordered goods reached Red River before the Spring.

Smith acknowledges receiving Smithurst's letter of August 6, 1847 which was brought by the vessel "Prince Rupert" in October, 1847. He further apologizes because of an error in the charges for the last shipment. Adjustments have been made accordingly to Smithurst's balance, a copy of which is appended to the letter.

Smith, William Gregory

1848 (Apr) from W.G. Smith to Smithurst

Place: Hudson’s Bay House, London [England]

From: W.G. Smith

To: Rev’d J. Smithurst, RRS [Red River Settlement]

Delivery: Forwarded to Red River Settlement via Hudson’s Bay Company supply ship and canoe brigade, and then by courier to the Indian Settlement at Netley Creek

Details: 1 pp + integral address face with hand postal marking

Notes: Hudson’s Bay Company secretary W.G. Smith acknowledges Rev. Smithurst’s letter of November 23, 1847 which arrived by the Winter Packet. Smith apologizes and writes, “I regret to find that my worst fears, with regard to the loss and disappointment, likely to arise from the late arrival of the Westminster, have been fully realized.” Smith explains that, “[s]he had a most narrow escape and I believe that, had it not been for the 1st officer of the P[rince] Rupert, who was on board the Westminster when she was driven from her anchorage, both ship and cargo would have been lost.”

Smith goes on to say that Mr. Christie (at Red River) will refund Smithurst the overpayment made for the goods, caused by an accounting error.

Smith, William Gregory

1849 (May) invoice from R.B. and G. Seeley to Smithurst

Place: No. 54 Fleet Street, London [England]

From: R.B. & G. Seeley

To: Rev. Smithurst, c/o Church Missionary Society

Delivery: Forwarded to Red River Settlement via Hudson’s Bay Company supply ship and canoe brigade, and then by courier to the Indian Settlement at Netley Creek

Details: 1 pp invoice

Notes: Smithurst’s book order from the firm R.B. & G. Seeley, London. Titles include: The Holy Lamp, Gallery of Arts, Old English Worthies, and Nautical Almanac for 1850.

[1849 (May)] Invoice from Church Missionary Society to Smithurst

Place: London [England]

From: Church Missionary Society

To: Rev. J. Smithurst

Delivery: Forwarded by the Christian Missionary Society to Red River Settlement via Hudson’s Bay Company supply ship and canoe brigade, and then by courier to the Indian Settlement at Netley Creek

Details: 1pp invoice

Notes: An invoice, showing shipping charges on the "Prince Rupert" taken against Smithurst's balance over the period April 5 to May 31, 1849.

Church Missionary Society

1850 (Jan & Apr) from W.G. Smith to Smithurst

Place: Hudson’s Bay House, London [England]

From: W.G. Smith

To: Rev’d J. Smithurst, RRS [Red River Settlement]

Delivery: Forwarded to Red River Settlement via Hudson’s Bay Company supply ship and canoe brigade, and then by courier to the Indian Settlement at Netley Creek

Details: 2pp + integral address face

Notes: Hudson’s Bay Company secretary William Gregory Smith discusses a request by Rev. Smithurst to submit money to the Hudson's Bay Company for interest. As mentioned to Smithurst by Sir George Simpson, the Company can do so only for money earned through the company. Smith did approach the Governor and Committee on Smithurst’s behalf, but they refused the request.

Also mentioned is business regarding a Mr. Henry Cook and the property of his deceased father. A postscript dated April 3, 1850, indicates Smith received additional papers from Rev. Smithurst regarding the late Joseph Cook, presumably Henry Cook's father, but he does not have time to process these before the Spring Packet leaves London.

An additional note scrawled in a different handwriting is written on the integral address face and mentions Cook and money.

Smith, William Gregory

1851 (Feb) from William Buckley to Smithurst

Place: Middleton [Derbyshire, England]

From: William Buckley

To: Rev’d J. Smithurst, Church Mission House, Salisbury Square, Fleet Street, London

Delivery: Forwarded by the Christian Missionary Society to Red River Settlement via Hudson’s Bay Company supply ship and canoe brigade, and then by courier to the Indian Settlement at Netley Creek

Details: 4pp + addressed envelope with postal marks (stamp removed)

Notes: William Buckley writes from England to his friend, Reverend Smithurst. Buckley mentions that cholera has killed thousands in Jamaica. He gives a detailed account of the death of his brother Francis, who died the previous November after several months of illness. William Buckley is admiring of the deep faith in God and heaven which his brother maintained. He then gives news of people they both know. He mentions Mr. Wass, Mr. Hubbersty, Mr. John Wathy, and Rev. Smithurst’s brother George and his troubles. Buckley then complains about the “radical party headed by Messrs Everett, Dunn & Griffith, assisted by the Editor of the socalled Wesleyan Times.” He blames these radicals for spreading discord, as eight local preachers have joined these “Agitators.” He mentions Mr. Greville, Mr. Jones, Mr. Barker, Mr. Harward Senior, and Mr. Frederic Harward. Mr. Alfred Alsop plans on having a business at the Viagellia [Via Gellia] Works in Bonsall. William Buckley mentions that Mr. Mason speaks highly of the new Bishop of Rupert’s Land [David Anderson]. “Mr. Mason” is presumably Reverend William Mason. Buckley mentions there is political dissatisfaction with Lord John Russell’s handling of the Pope’s proposed papal hierarchy. There is excitement for the “Exhibition of the works of arts of all nations at London” and Buckley expects the census next year to be a great deal of work for the Registrars.

Buckley, William

1852 (Feb) from W.G. Smith to Smithurst

Place: Hudson’s Bay House, London [England]

From: W.G. Smith

To: Rev’d J. Smithurst, Wirksworth, Derbyshire (England)

Delivery: Great Britain mail

Details: 3pp + addressed envelope with postal marks (stamp removed)

Notes: Hudson’s Bay Company secretary W.G. Smith writes to say he is glad that Rev. Smithurst is enjoying himself upon his return to England, and discusses some outstanding balances due, including money from Henry Cook. He also mentions that he has a received large order from Rev. Cockran for blankets to be distributed to the Indians of his old mission.

Smith, William Gregory

Thirteen envelopes and two prayer cards

Thirteen (13) envelopes and paper enclosures, & two (2) prayer cards, similar in size to playing cards.

Eleven (11) of the envelopes and paper enclosures are addressed to Reverend John Smithurst at Indian Settlement, Red River. Most are undated.

Of these eleven, one (1) features a black wax seal, a hexagon border surrounding two (2) initials, possibly “K” and “R.”
Two (2) envelopes are embossed, one with an oblong border around the initials “CMS” and the other embossed with “Etches & Wilson, Manufacturers, 32 Hatton Garden, London."

One (1) paper enclosure is sealed with five (5) wax drops in different colours.

Seven (7) have red wax seals:

  • Design obscured
  • bearded man’s profile in a rounded rectangle,
  • tiny rounded border surrounding script “Theo” (?)
  • the initials “S” and “C” in a circular border,
  • the initials “J” and “H” in gothic script inside a rounded rectangular border,
  • an oblong shape filled with a hatched design,
  • a large red wax seal with most of the design obscured except for the tiny letters “Pro P Elle” along the border.

Two (2) envelopes are addressed to Reverend Smithurst via Church Mission House, Salisbury Square, Fleet Street, London, England. Bear postal markings for Wirksworth in England for the years 1848 and 1849. Both are sealed with red wax, imprinted with a left-facing lion rampant design.

Two (2) prayer cards. Both are printed. The first one is printed in black and red with a prayer beginning “Create in me a Clean Heart." Text in the border reads, "Teach me thy way o lord and lead me in a plain path.” Handwriting in ink on the blank back reads “Master Henry W. Erwin.” The second one is printed in black with purple and green colour with an image of Eve with the serpent. "The entrance of thy word giveth light. Ps 119.130.” Handwriting in ink on the blank back reads “Henry Walter Erwin.”