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W-MCP5-6.279 TO ISAAC BALDWIN MCQUESTEN from his cousin Mary McQuesten
Aug 22 1864
To: Isaac Baldwin McQuesten, Hamilton, [Ontario, Canada]
From: Plymouth, New Hampshire, [U.S.A.]

My dear cousin Isaac,

It has been a perfect day--"so clear, so calm, so bright, Bridal of earth and sky"--

Your dear Mother left us Wed'y for Concord, and I sit down to write you to night which is next seeing you. We have enjoyed her visit so much. Thank you for advising her to come. And now we want to see you. Father thinks a trip here will do you good this Fall. If you can come, do so--you shall have a nice time, if we can possibly make you. You know you are great favourite with us. I wish I was coming to you. I remember with great pleasure our week there last year. I am so glad you are to be at home. It is so pleasant for your Mother. She gives splendid accounts of you and loves you as much. What a comfort you can be to her. A young gentleman in the family is a great addition.

Remember, mon cher, all I have entreated of you in time past and be kind and really loving in manner to her. She has such tender sensitive heart. Remember kisses to a Mother are holy things, purifying the heart making his kisses all the purer. "Mary" is a sweet name if it is mine. From what you wrote me, and the little your Mama said, I imagine it to be very sweet to you.1

I [?] this with you in easy joy in life, and dear Isaac, let me lovingly tell you something. Now my dear, you are an [?] of a great loving heart within you, with such a nature and strong passions, a strong will. Now my dear cousin--let love rule, softening, making you tender, let religion garnish your conquering selfishness. Then you will be such a man as a woman loves with all her heart. Don't get in the habit of wounding the feelings, for it grows in one and many a man ruins a woman's happiness, thoughtlessly not really meaning to. [F?] this lecture, though it be a [?] lecture Isaac, may you ruin here a woman who is not worthy of you, who does not suit you.

Write me confidentially as you choose, and I will be truly your friend this way. I want you to be a good man--an able man and a lawyer. Also, a Christian man. Be growing better in some respect every day--in spite of your faults, mistakes, sins and almost despair, alike let your "great deeds be your prayers to your God." If you pray--you will be guided if you will do just what you know to be right.

A word as to myself. I am not engaged--there is no prospect of it. I will surely tell you when I am. I cannot conceive of a man's loving me--as I must be [?] to open my heart to him. I have such a fuss, such a dread of man's arbitrariness. I should die as most women live of a broken heart, or live on to suffer as people are not dead, in such cases.

Your mother will tell you here we spend our time reading, sleeping, eating, walking, croqueting [sic], gardening. By the way, cultivate the better tastes--You have so great an opportunity--We missed a visit from Dr. Ormiston--he choosing to [?] his favors on other persons. I'll not forgive him--so do not send my love. But a great deal to your Father.

I hope you will guide the days in this direction into back ways and [?] [?] of anxious words. [?] the time that you can sit into a den by smoking and I say yet that such a habit with kindred sins like drinking &c be given up.2

It is growing dark. Write me soon if you wish to give me pleasure and come to us if you can. Mother is suffering from a headache to day, and would send much love were she here, and knew I am writing you. May God bless this dear Isaac, is the prayer and wish of,

your aff't cousin

Mary E. McQuesten

[to] Mr. I. B. McQuesten


1 Mary is referring to Isaac's stepmother Elizabeth Fuller McQuesten, Dr. Calvin McQuesten's third wife. The marriage (and Elizabeth) seemed sweet enough at first, but as time went on, Elizabeth became demanding and emotionally abusive. Isaac encouraged his father to separate from her (which did not happen) but in his will Calvin bequeathed to his wife an annuity which was quite meagre by her standards considering that she had been demanding that she be granted the largest portion of her husband's estate and money. See W-MCP5-6.351 for more details on Elizabeth Fuller McQuesten.


2 Isaac is seventeen years of age at this time and he was never able to completely rid himself of his drinking habit which likely contributed to his death in 1888 at the young age of 40. See W2511, W2520.




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The development of this website was directed by Mary Anderson, Ph.D. and Janelle Baldwin, M.A.
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