W-MCP1-1.025 TO THOMAS B. MCQUESTEN from his mother, Mary Baker McQuesten
Aug 18 1904
To: Thomas B. McQuesten Carleton P.O. Carleton Ont
My dearest boy,
The important thing of this week has been Edna's results. You may be sure there was great hurrahing when the Times came in on Monday with "honours" in French, Latin and Greek, though I think Edna rather hoped for a scholarship in Classics. There is a mistake somewhere as the papers state the Governor General's Scholarship to Queen's for Classics and the girl who won it, did not take Greek, neither could she have taken it for general proficiency. I wrote registrar of Queen's inquiring as Thompson is in the North-West1.
Saturday's News had two of Cal's pictures, but the article was not to be seen. I hope it will appear next Saturday or Cal will be disappointed. He says he has some schemes for making something out of his photography. Have sent you several papers lately, as I thought you probably did not see any, and there were some interesting items.
The Japs are going ahead at a great rate. There is not doubt at all in the minds of Christian people that God is specially using them just now for the punishment of Russia for the treatment she has given His ancient people. When you think of it now all Europe has been afraid of Russia and suddenly there rose up this little people whom we used to laugh at, and who have completely vanquished her, and Russia acts as if she were paralized [sic]2.
Mr. Singer came in last night to tell me about Wittenberg, the one I was trying to get work for. He had finally to go to Toronto and Mr. Singer says now he preaches with him, he is very eloquent and perfectly fearless and the other night addressed about 300 Jews3. Jean Ross came on Tuesday. Mr. Murray is back from the old country and took them all for a drive yesterday. We are all to go to Mrs. Fletcher's to-night and they come to us to-morrow. I mean Mrs. Ross and Margaret. We borrow Mrs. Davidson's chair for Margaret.
We are having cool weather, and a good deal of rain. We have not required any ice yet. Hilda came home on Monday, looking much better but she did not care for Walkerton or its people. Of course the Richardson were very kind and Mr. [?] has been over very often but he seems very wretched and constantly suffering. I see that Dr. Osler has been appointed Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford to succeed Sir John B. Sanderson. Herbie Bell writes that he has got quite fat, but tried some lessons in German and found he could do no study.
Perhaps you will not understand what this money is, about which there has been such an extra-ordinary decision in House of Lords. When the Free Church came out from the Old Kirk in Scotland, through Dr. Chalmers and Dr. Guthrie's eloquence and exertions a Sustentation Fund was raised to support the ministers who had left the Old Kirk, so that each one had about 300 pounds. When last year, or short time ago the Free Church & United Presbyterians joined & were called United Free Church, 24 of the Free would not join and these 24 stiff old Highlanders actually went to court to reap the Funds which had been vested in various properties. They lost it in Scotland and appealed to House of Lords, who really know nothing about it. One cannot imagine men of that sort to be Christians as to interfere with the whole progress of the Church to carry their views. It will never be tolerated4.
Well dear, time is fast passing. I see you are paying great attention to the nourishment question. Try dear, not to neglect the study of your Bible. I hope you have a reference one, for one gets a great deal of light by comparing passages. I never could have believed it possible, that Prof. McFadyen could have got so far astray but I hear that he does not really believe in the Old Testament at all. He will soon be a Unitarian for he says God did not ordain the sacrifices among the Jews, that they just followed their heathen neighbours. I wonder the students had so little strength of mind as to be led away by him5. I see the Turbinia does not leave Toronto every Friday till 8:30p.m. With fondest love.
1 In Mary's letter to Calvin, August 22, she wrote:
Imagine our feelings when the reply came on Friday that it was a mistake & my daughter had won The Governor-General's Scholarship in Classics. I was out that morning & when I came in sight of the door all the family was out waving, gesticulating, I didn't know what was up. Our heads were nearly turned. Just to think of little Edna. . . . Edna thinks now that after this year's rest, she will try Queen's next year, if she only goes a year. In fact she is full of projects. She is going to try for pupils to coach and thus make a little towards paying her music lessons. (W5297)
On August 29, Mary wrote "There is a women's residence under the care of a Mrs. Goodwin a niece of Sir Oliver Mowat, which makes Queen's an ideal college for girls. Of course Edna does not intend to go this year" (W5303). Edna's mental health continued to be fragile, she had another breakdown in September 1904, and was never able to go to Queen's, see W5426.
2 Japan's war with Russia in 1904-05 saw Japan gain several victories and then "defeated the Russian fleet at Tsushima in 1905" (CBD 1465-66). On September 13, 1905 Mary wrote: "It is sad poor old Tojo's battle ship lost, the Japs are having a hard time lately with the Scots" (W5406). The Hamilton Spectator, September 12, 1905 reported: "Fire Did What the Russians Failed To Do: Admiral Tojo's flagship, the Mikasa, was destroyed by fire and the explosion of her magazine at an early hour . . . . The cause of the fire is under investigation." On September 13, "peace was declared between Russia and Japan and the Chinese in Manchuria were very happy since for 18 months the war had been fought on their land while they were obliged to "play the game of neutrality to each side."
3 For Mary's work with the Jewish Mission, see W4717.
4 This is partly explained in the note on Anglicans in the previous letter. It refers to a dispute that occurred within the divisions of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, the Free Kirk and the Old Kirk. In 1843:
Dr. Thomas Chalmers led 202 other commissioners out of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland to found the Free Church. . . . The basic issue . . . was the relation of church and state rather than any doctrinal grievance. The specific controversy concerned that old grievance. . . . to restore the Reformation practice of congregations [lay patrons] 'calling' ministers. . . .[However, the secessionists still] held that the state was obliged to support the church.
Chalmers and the "seceeders [sic], over one-third of the ministers, resigned in 1843 to found "not a voluntary Church, but a voluntarily endowed and supported Church." The dispute over division of money and properties, the "clergy reserves," the funding of universities, and other power struggles followed, including slavery issues between Canadian Free Church and American Presbyterians who "replied bluntly that slavery was no concern of the Canadians." The negotiations toward union revived the old grievances and controversies in a "Backwash of Disruption" (Moir Enduring 101-03, 127, 82, 98, 189; W-MCP1-1.025, W-MCP6-1.424.
5 Rev. Dr. John Edgar McFadyen, professor at Knox College from 1898 until 1910 or 1911 (see W8969), was one of the foremost proponents of the "higher criticism" in theology and Biblical scholarship. He had studied in Germany, married a German woman, graduated as the best theological student in Scotland, published nine books in as many years, and was a "scholar of international stature" (Moir Enduring 188). Five of his books are in the Whitehern library: In the Hour of Silence (1902), Introduction to the Old Testament (1906), Ten Studies in the Psalms (1907), The Prayers of the Bible (n.d.) and A Guide to the Understanding of the Old Testament (1927). The new "critical method" became a "storm centre" and caused a conservative backlash, which Mary and Mrs. Ross are reflecting. Mary reported: "Tom says that Prof. McFadyen has all the students at Knox with him" (W5183); and she cautioned Calvin at Knox College to "keep him [Tom] straight for his Knox College friends are all carried away by McFadyen" (W5289). She also notes a meeting in which McFayden was criticized and Dr. Lyle "took up 15 minutes eulogizing him" (W5157; for Lyle, see W4436; McNeill 185, 203; Moir Enduring 174-75, 188-89, 235; W-MCP1-1.025, W5157, W5183, W5283, W5289, W5794, W6460, W8969).