W2431 TO DR. CALVIN BROOKS MCQUESTEN from his brother Isaac Baldwin McQuesten
Jan 31 1874
To: Dr. Calvin Brooks McQuesten, New York
From: Hamilton, OntarioPROUDFOOT, JONES & McQUESTEN,
SOLICITORS IN CHANCERY, &c.,
OFFICE, No. 11 Main Street East.
WILLIAM PROUDFOOT, Q.C., JOHN W. JONES
I.B. MCQUESTEN, M.A.
My dear Brother
Your note anent 'the dorg' arrived shortly after I posted a note and the shoe strings to you. I wanted to write you about one or two matters yesterday, but had not time. It will please you to hear that the McNab [sic] St. Church (Mr. Fletcher's) has elected father to the eldership:--his votes being nearly double of any other candidates. Of course this is exceedingly pleasant after the manner in which the Central Church people treated him.1
Mrs. McQ. has talked to him very seriously about the impropriety of his accepting of it, considering the doubtful character of his home life, especially in regard to his treatment of her.2 I do not imagine her solicitude for his course of moral rectitude will seriously affect him.
Now, as to another little piece. It had puzzled me a good deal how to manage with Cobourn in regard to this change in father's affairs. One of two things had to be done: either acquaint him with the whole matter (or enough to make him curious) or withdraw all the money at once. I felt it better to take the first course & trust to his word of honor. So I found out what certainly surprised me--that Mrs. McQ. feels anything but the most kindly towards Mrs. C. since she (Mrs. C.) had become rather sick of the O.L. and had told her she thought her conduct was such as to injure herself & no one else.
Luther I know--our father's statement--felt very strongly for father--& I imagined if Mrs. C. was also for him that it was through Luther's influence. Cobourn spoke very straightforwardly about matters; & I don't think we have a right to suspect a man without any prima facie proof of suspicion. He told me Mrs. McQ. was talking to this person and to that, and that her conduct was matter of common notoriety, rather than anything that father or I had done. So it seems to amount to this: that her conduct is causing one friend after another to leave her; and before long I fancy she'll have none left, except the McKeand crew who cannot help sticking to her.
Mary is decidedly amused at one dog's getting the fits so soon after being chosen, and trusts the one finally decided upon will not play the same trick as soon as he arrives here. When you will get your tobacco & segars [sic]--in other words when Proudfoot will go to N.Y. seems quite uncertain. Will send you some the first good opportunity that occurs. The ould [sic] woman has just come in to trot me out & sends her love & kisses. She keeps very well, except that her appetite is decidedly large. With all best wishes. Believe me
Yours as ever,
I.B. McQuesten [Isaac Baldwin McQuesten]
1 Dr. Calvin helped to finance, design and build many Presbyterian Churches including Central Presbyterian Church which, at that time, stood just across the road from Whitehern. (It burned in 1906 and then moved to the corner of Charlton & Caroline Sts.) Dr. Calvin McQuesten had a falling out with Central Presbyterian Church over the majority choice of a new minister and "he found himself (and his money) ousted from the Church." (G. Minnes, Whitehern researcher. See her bio. of Dr. Calvin McQuesten. p.5)
2 Mrs. Elizabeth Fuller McQuesten was not herself the model of a loving spouse. She often demanded money from her husband and had threatened "to disgrace him and the whole family unless he gives her all the money she wants" (W2321). It is more likely that her statement was an attempt to manipulate Dr. McQuesten with guilt. For more on Elizabeth and her relationships to her husband and stepsons, see W-MCP5-6.351.