W-MCP4-6.165 TO DR. CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his cousin, John Fisher
May 10 1837
To: Brockport, Monroe County, New, York
From: Hamilton, Upper Canada
Yours of the 10th I rec'd this morning and did send you an answer by Mr. Arthur. I will sell the Lots at the price you name if I can obtain the offer. Mr. Arthur who offered me $13.00 [sic] [likely means $1300] the day after I bought has bought another Lot--but I think they may be sold in a week at $1200. I am of opinion that the Lots will be worth $1500 in 90 days. I may be under a mistake. Lots in this place have not been sold on so long a credit as in the states more or Less Cash is generally paid down and the remainder in one year or 18 months.
I have been to one of the Bank Directors to see if I could obtain $400 by purchasing a Draft on New York, but the Bank has no funds in New York. I will use my best endeavour to borrow $300. of some [private?] person for 60 or 90 days--how successful I may be I know not.
If your apprehensions are all well founded I am perfectly willing our business be closed next week. I would rather leave to-morrow than be constantly and perpetually harassed.1
I think owing to the arrangement in business with you, and as at this time we are not able to obtain money here should we be called on to pay our Debt the week it is due it must be an exception to the general rule--I have had to pay out $500. this month and must pay $100 now the 3 of next month $165. We expect to be able to obtain money from the Banks in 2 week--may be disappointed.2
Janes is disposed to make 20 machines, there has been 10 spoken for--should not our machines break or some bad luck attend in doing good work. I would be willing to forfeit my liberty for one year if there can not be 30 machines sold from our shop, in case we have an ordinary crop of wheat. 3
I will send you a statement as you requested in my next.
I have heard nothing from Kinrade--Do not understand what advantage he is to be to us in a pecuniary point of view.
Yours in hast [sic]
1 Fisher is likely referring to the unrest leading up to the Rebellion of Upper Canada in 1837, instituted by William Lyon Mackenzie. As an American owner he and the company were being threatened. In Dec. 1837 Fisher sent his wife and children back to Nassua, and he stayed in Canada to protect the foundry form being burned, see W-MCP4-6.193.
2 In 1837, there was a general shortage of currency at the Banks. The general anti-Americanism present had caused the Bank of Canada to refuse loans to American companies. Allan MacNab was the president of the Bank of Canada at the time, and he received his knighthood for his part in quelling the Upper Canada Rebellion.
As a member of the legislature MacNab opposed the reform movement in Upper Canada led by William Lyon Mackenzie. When Mackenzie led the Upper Canada Rebellion in 1837, MacNab was part of the British militia that moved against Mackenzie at Montgomery's Tavern in Toronto on December 7, dispersing Mackenzie's rebels in less than an hour.
MacNab served in the legislature of the Province of Canada, leading the province as from 1854 to 1856. His mansion in Hamilton, Dundurn Castle, is now a tourist attraction in the city.
3 John Knox Fisher, Dr. Calvin McQuesten's first cousin and business partner, had difficulty working with another of the foundry's co-founders, Mr. [Joseph] Janes, and was often concerned about the man's methods of conducting business. In 1838, Janes ran off, leaving behind his wife and thousands of dollars of debt. See W-MCP4-6.237. For more on Fisher, see W-MCP5-6.240. The McQuesten foundry was making threshing machines at this time, which eventually became the source of the foundry's success.