W-MCP2-3b.035 TO REV. PRINCIPAL GANDIER from Rev. Calvin McQuesten
Sep 18 1920
To: Rev. Principal Gandier Knox College, Toronto, Ontario
From: 44 Jackson St. W., Hamilton, Ontario
Dear Principal Gandier,
Your letter of the Fifteenth saying, that judging from the past policy of the House Committee, you did not think that I would be received into permanent residence in Knox College, came as a very painful disappointment to me.
It was Mr. Matheson who suggested the idea to me, and after half an hour's talk with him, I began to realize what an immense help it would be to me, to have access to such a Library as yours, with a living index attached, in the person of the librarian. In doing what work I have already done on my book here, I find that I am sadly handicapped by lack of books. The Public Library here is almost useless for my present purpose; and there are no bookstores in town where I can look over books that might be useful, before purchasing them. The stock of the latter is limited to little more than the works of a few standard poets, the latest novels, and a few belated war books. I cannot afford to order books at random, without seeing what is in them, and but little can be accomplished by an occasional day's visit to Toronto.
Do you not think that I might properly be regarded as a post-graduate student?
As such, my application for dormitory accommodation ought, I would think, to be considered second only to Undergraduate Students in Theology, and other post-graduate students like myself, whose applications were received before mine. To give me a regular standing as a post-graduate student, one of the staff might supervise my work, of which I enclose herewith, an outline, in case you may not have at hand the one which accompanied my previous letter.
Did I ever happen to explain to you the reason which has compelled me to withdraw from the regular Pastorate? Insomnia was the enemy which forced me to resign two charges within three years. And it was with heart-broken regret that I yielded to the entreaties of my family that I should not seek a call to another Church. The Pastorate still has for me an unequalled attractiveness, on account of the opportunities for personal intimacy, and for helping all kinds of people to the best thing in the word, even life eternal, which is to know Him, the only living and true God, through Jesus Christ, whom He has sent. But so far as I can interpret the Divine leading, I am convinced that for me the Ministry to which I am now called, is that of the pen.
This conviction is strengthened by the fact that I spent some four years of my life, immediately previous to studying for the Ministry, in newspaper work, as reporter and editorial writer on daily papers in Toronto and Montreal. My training therefore, seems to have been divinely intended to prepare me for just such work as I am now doing.
This kind of work seems also better fitted to my constitution and temperament than any other of which I know. The ablest Specialist in nervous diseases, that I have been able to consult, said to me--"The only thing the matter with you is your temperament. You are too enthusiastic. When you find yourself getting so keen on a thing that you don't sleep well, drop it and go away and forget it." Now this cannot be done with a congregation, but it can be done with a book.
Might I, then, ask you, Sir, to use your best offices, on my behalf, with the House Committee, and to lay this letter before them. I do not ask for any special favour, but I do ask that my application to be admitted to the dormitory of the College as a post-graduate student be considered in as favorable a light as is possible, without violation of the rights of others, or violence to the conscience of the House Committee.
If it be urged that I am in a better financial position to pay for a room elsewhere than the average Undergraduate student in Arts or other non-theological faculties, allow me to plead that this is not so. I have no private income, whatever, and less than $200 in savings to my name. Although we live in a large and beautiful home, my mother's income has never been adequate to it since my father's bankruptcy and death, when we were little children. It is only the fact that it has been the family home for three-quarters of a century, with the more substantial fact that its situation in a back-water between the business and residential districts of the City, with the C.P.R. Railway Tracks running ten feet from it, has made it practically unsaleable, that explains our retaining possession of it at all.
During the past two or three years I have met the needs of my heart by acting as a sort of voluntary Chaplain to the patients, military and civilian, at the sanitarium here, and by taking what part I could in the work of MacNab Street Congregation, as member of Session, and teacher of the Bible Class. And last spring, I handled the Publicity and of the Forward Movement Campaign. But these are all voluntary forms of service, without financial remuneration. As the Clerk of the Presbytery is without a charge, and the opportunity of earning a little money by furnishing Sunday supply, is very limited, and does not come to me on an average once a month.
It amounts to this, then, unless I can obtain the necessary facilities for completing this book, I must turn from the Gospel Ministry to which I believe myself called, and to which I have been ordained, and seek such secular occupation as a man crippled in body as I am, and without the physical and nervous stamina for continuous mental effort, is capable of engaging in, or I must continue to be dependent on the charity of my mother and brother. And although this charity is always tendered me with the most cordial generosity, and the most exquisite delicacy, this position of dependency is one which would not allow any man to maintain his self-respect, if there was any other course open to him.
The publication of this book, on which I am working, seems to afford the most feasible way out of the dilemma. And I believe also that in this I have the Spirit of God.
Would you, therefore, be so kind, as to give my application for dormitory accommodation in Knox College, during the next few months, the most favorable consideration compatible with justice to others applicants, and believe me, my dear Principal.
Yours Very Sincerely
[Calvin McQuesten, B.A.]
[Attachment] Outline of Chapter Headings of Book.1
Contents of Chapter Headings
Of Book entitled
"THE KING OF FIGHTING MEN"
A Course of Popular Studies in the Life, Character and Work of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
from the point of view indicated in the title, with practical applications.
BORN ON A BATTLEFIED.2
A Comparison of Belgium and Palestine as the two great centres of World Conflicts.
A FIGHTING RACE.3
THE CALL TO ARMS.4
The Baptist's ministry.
GETTING HIS COMMISSION.5
The Baptism of Jesus.
PLANNING THE CAMPAIGN.6
The Temptations of Jesus.
THE GREAT OBJECTIVE.7
Drummond's Programme of Christianity, Luke IV-16 f.
THE FIRST OFFENSIVE.
The Cleansing of the Temple.
THE OFFICERS' TRAINING CORPS.
The Weapons of Warfare-Scriptures, Prayer, Faith.
THE COURAGE OF THE KING.
THE KINGLINESS OF THE KING.
THE CONQUEST OF THE CROSS.
A Soldier, the first Convert of the Cross vis. The Roman Centurion.
The Missionary Command.
THE VICEROY or CHIEF OF STAFF.
The Holy Spirit.
I have finished the first draft of the first seven Chapters, but am much in need of access to such a Library as that of Knox College, in order to complete the remainder.
1 Chapters 1-6 of this book are included on this site. The rest can be found in the Whitehern archives.
2 See Box 04-028.
3 See Box 04-029.
4 See Box 04-30.
5 See Box 04-031.
6 See Box 04-032.
7 See Box 04-033.