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Ex rebus antiquis eruditio oriatur.
Briefly stated, the general plan of publication adopted by the Bureau is developed within these well-defined periods, viz.: ending with 1763; 1791, 1841, 1867, 1900. The first period comprises the French regime, material for a volume respecting which is gradually accumulating : the second period includes the beginning of British trade and settlement in Upper Canada, the main feature being the arrival of the United Empire Loyalists. To this important event the documents contained in last year's Report belonged, and though covering but a comparatively small portion of the whole subject, gave to the world, for the first time, historical material of great value, which has been warmly and widely appreciated by students of Canadian history, and by a large section of the people, expressed through the columns of the leading press of Canada and the United States, and by correspondence with the Bureau.
Keeping still within the second period, the documents given in this Report concern the early settlement of Ontario prior to the organization of the Province in 1791, and consist chiefly of the Minutes of the Proceedings of the old Land Boards-of Hesse and partially of Nassau. The Minutes of the Proceedings of the Land Boards of Mecklenburg and Nassau have not yet been recovered. It is not the object of the Bureau to issue histories of the Divisions above indicated, but rather to furnish the raw material of our history in a permanent and accessible form, and the data now presented are the foundation facts of our Provincial annals.
The Report is in three sections: A, a brief reference to some of the more valuable material collected and examined during the year; B, notes on land tenure in Canada, leading up to the subject matter of the Land Boards' proceedings, and C, the Minutes, Letters, Lists, etc., pertaining to the work of the Land Boards, and correspondence between the Executive and its officers.
A faithful transcript of the MSS. has been adhered to throughout, in accordance with the usual practice, and for purposes of reference the number of each folio of the original bɔoks has been inserted in the text, within bracket marks, in heavy black type.
REPORT OF THE BUREAU OF ARCHIVES.
During the year the work of the office has been steadily prosecuted ; material has been gathered from many outside sources, and interesting papers have been transferred from some of the Departments to the Archives' Vault, which has been constructed so as to afford thorough safety from fire and satisfactory ventilation, and is convenient to the various branches of the public service and to the general public. The following letter from the Government Architect will assure contributors as to the question of safety:
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS,
TORONTO, June 3rd, 1905. ALEXANDER FRASER, Esq.,
Provincial Archivist, Parliament Buildings. DEAR SIR: In reply to your favor of this date in which you say you re often asked whether the vault recently constructed for your Department in the basement of the Parliament Buildings is fire and damp proof, I am pleased to be in a position to state that it is fire-proof and perfectly dry, as special care was taken in the construction to ensure both results. The ceiling is built entirely independent of the ceiling and floor above it, of concrete one and half a foot in thickness, reinforced with expanded metal, forming one solid slah which is supported on steel beams encased with concrete. The strength of the floor is such that in case of fire there would not be any danger from falling beams or other materials breaking through, the concrete being able of sustaining a load of 275 lbs. to the super foot. This is the only type of construction which satisfactorily stood the test in the comparatively recent fire in Baltimore. Heavy brick and stone walls form the sides. The entrances are enclosed with double fire-proof doors and the windows with wrought iron shutters. To prevent dampness, the floor was constructed by first laying a layer of concrete 4 in. in thickness on top. As a further precaution against dampness the outer wall has been plastered with cement on the outside; attention has also been paid to the heating, sufficient steam pipes being left to keep the temperature at about 65 degrees. You will, of course, understand that what I have said applies wholly to protection from the outside; the protection with the inside rests with yourself.
North SIDE, A., contains printed documents originating with the Legislative Assembly of Ontario; the Ontario Government Departments ; Public Institutions of Ontario East Side, B., contains two series of shelving, one for material relating to the counties and cities of Ontario, and the other, for
material relating to Ontario townships, villages, and school sections. SOUTH SIDE, C., contains contributions from private collections relating to Ontario; Dominion and Imperial Government papers relating to Ontario. WEST SIDE, D., miscellaneous papers.
Centre, E., extended through the centre of the vault is a large stand of specially titled drawers and shelving for the accommodation of newspaper fyles, &c., and the safe and convenient disposal of maps. The vault is well lighted from outside, and is supplied with desk and writing convenience, for the public, in cases where open documents are being examined or copied. Classification and indexing have been carried on and the collections arranged so as to be easily accessible. This is laborious work, requiring care as well as expert knowledge, to ensure accuracy and comprehensiveness, but the progress has been steady.
A number of collections of papers have been examined with the view of acquiring them, and others have been the subject of negotiation, which, in due. course, will, doubtless, be received. In such cases, the particulars, it will be obvious, should not be given in advance of actual possession, but it can be stated that much valuable material has been traced and investigated, and that as a result much will be preserved which otherwise would have been, in the course of time, destroyed or, at least, lost to the Province.
At the request of historical and kindred societies I have delivered public addresses at various points in the Province on subjects relating to the preservation of the materials of local history, and I have observed the existence of a strong patriotic feeling, especially among the younger business and professional men, in favor of preserving and utilizing our precious records.
The Bureau invites correspondence from all possessing, documents, books, etc., as set forth in Appendix “B” p. 517, Section C, of this report, with the object of obtaining papers of historical value, and the possessors are assured of their preservation and safe custody.
Received from Government Departments.
Department of Agriculture.
Attorney General's Department. Current Departmental Reports and of attached Branches.
Department of Education.
Canada-Public Accounts, 1839-1851.
Department of Lands, Forests and Mines.
Current Departmental Reports.
Heads of Enquiry, previous to granting lots in the two Connected Townships (Gosfield and Colchester), with list of grantees.
JOURNALS and Notes of David Thompson, 1797-1823.
Bagot Blithefield, etc.
A. P. Brough
T. A. Blyth
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