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[The letter and envelope are edged in black, representing bereavement.]

W-MCP5-6.366 TO ISAAC B. MCQUESTEN from his cousin Mary McQuesten
Apr 10 1865
To: Isaac Baldwin McQuesten, Upper Canada College, Toronto, Canada West
From: Plymouth, New Hampshire

My dear cousin,

Though a rainy evening, cannon are firing, bells ringing.1 Flags flying and our houses illuminated on account of recent events in field and country. Trusting no one will come in I commence this, and first of all will thank you sincerely for your kind and beautiful letter. I did not think dear cousin, with all my good opinion of you, that you could do so well. Aside from the sympathising character of the letter, it was a charming specimen.2

We all are very well. The little baby is perfectly healthy and just as good.3 He never screams, but seems to try to make as little trouble as he can. We take the whole care of him, allowing no strange hands to touch him. He is our most precious treasure. His Father has been sick for the last six weeks, broke down with his troubles. He is better so that we expect him to visit us this week. He is one of the most honorable men in the whole world, a true brother to me. I cannot realize dear Carrie's death. It seems as though her "footsteps are even at the door yet never coming in." Hers is a beautiful missing. Dying so young and so good and beloved. It makes you seem nearer to me, for you will know I cannot lose any of the cousins, you Isaac.

That young man you went a fishing with, has not been in our house since you were here--a perfect loafer. Isaac, dear cousin, dear as a younger brother to me, do not think you ought not to be gay, light hearted and happy. Do nothing sinful and you have a right to all the pleasures of Life, and Isaac, do you know--that not a single wicked indulgence but brings pain and misery? Therefore, fly my youthful buck, but cultivate all the joyous feelings of your many nature. Isaac are you indulging in a single [?]. I ask the question for you to answer for yourself. You know all that my kind, loving arms must, would wish you to be--that is what your cousin Mary asks of you to be--do try. I do try if you wish, not to feel that I am as good as can be, cousin than you. Every heart, and every indiscretion has to cause temptation and Sin, and Satan knows our weakest parts. You and I have a great deal of the McQuesten in our natures, and will you allow me to suggest a few things, which I know owing to that will not come amiss? Be the same outwardly that you are inwardly, as far as good is concerned. It is natural for us to hide a large amount of goodness. Show the affection you feel. Then hold not to any side of opinion for the sake of arguing. Be not obstinate. I know dear cousin the good of our natures if sin company it--and so I beg of you to think on the above hints. Make a good man, and if you like how happy you will be. As God gives you of his care & blessings, use them well, and rejoice in Him, holding Him at the same [?] on this standard.

I have written a long letter, and I fear you will tire of it--but I do so want you to be all that I envision. You remember your promise of course. Do not break it. Not to drink. You gave me [?] very interesting family items. I am always so glad. [Letter ends here.]

[Cousin, Mary McQuesten]

1 1865--Civil War ends. General Lee's troops were surrounded and on April 7, Grant called upon Lee to surrender. The two commanders met on April 9, and agreed on the terms of surrender. U. S. President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on Good Friday, April 14, 1865. "Abraham Lincoln April 1865." November 22, 2003.

2 In Mary's letters to Isaac, she often instructs him in letter writing form, as well as in moral behaviour and religious devotion.

3 Likely her sister Carrie's baby. Carrie died of a fever after childbirth, but we do not know the exact date. Mary writes to Isaac on January 28, 1865, to inform him of Carrie's death (see W-MCP5-6.276). She states that the baby was born January 4. Carrie married Charles Dole in December 1863. (See also W-MCP5-6.272, W-MCP5-6.273, W-MCP5-6.274, W-MCP5-6.274a, W-MCP5-6.275, W-MCP5-6.276, W-MCP5-6.277, W-MCP5-6.361, W-MCP5-6.362, W-MCP5-6.363, W-MCP5-6.366, W-MCP5-6.367, and possibly others).

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Copyright 2002 Whitehern Historic House and Garden
The development of this website was directed by Mary Anderson, Ph.D. and Janelle Baldwin, M.A.
Please direct questions and comments to Mary Anderson, Ph.D.

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