W2444 TO DR. CALVIN BROOKS MCQUESTEN from his brother Isaac Baldwin McQuesten
Aug 6 1874
To: Dr. Calvin Brooks McQuesten, New York
From: Hamilton, Ontario
My dear Brother,
Independently of professional skill, unless there be some peculiarity in the case, I must give you credit for uncommon discernment in what you stated to me about Proudfoot's case. When at the time of his being in New York you wrote me, and made allusions to the effect that you were by no means certain that he was totally abstaining from everything alcoholic. I felt a little annoyed; for I thought I knew him so well that when he was once over the effects of it, he would certainly not--for some time at least--touch anything dangerous; and when I assured you of that, I thought you ought to trust me enough to believe it. This process is simply by way of acknowledging the cover, now I find myself in the wrong.
To make a long story short--: Proudfoot has been using--in moderation so far--their native Canadian wine more or less frequently since--probably--very shortly after his return from New York. I am right I imagine in this: that it's just a matter of time, a few weeks or months more or less, before another fit comes on him, & he will have recourse to whiskey again. I found out about it from Bigelow the other day. At first I could scarcely believe it. He assured me that every time Proudfoot called to see him he used it more or less freely. I know he goes there very frequently. Bigelow I know does not feel that he is subjecting Proudfoot to any risk. He insists--and I believe he is right--that Canadian wine unadulterated cured him of drunkenness; and therefore it must have the same effect on Proudfoot. Reason with him as I may it comes back to that.
Well, to make assurance doubly sure, I sent word that I wanted Margaret to come down to the house, & I questioned her on the subject. She assured me that what Bigelow told me about Proudfoot's using wine every time he was there was quite true. Now my fear is that it may be but a short time before he is off again. For some days back on coming into the office he has acted in that same uneasy manner he did last winter. I dread speaking with him on the subject. Some how I have very little fear but that when I do he will own up, and feel better for talking about it; and yet I have a sort of cowardly fear at broaching the matter to him. I have spoken of it to none but Mary; and thought the best thing I could do would be to write you. Meantime I shall keep a close watch. It cannot go as far as it did last time without my finding out, and I will not let a day when he is in Hamilton pass without seeing him. If I've got to act before hearing from you of course I shall be guided by what I feel to be best. I shall hope to hear from you as soon as possible. We are all well. The youngster especially. As ever your
I.B. McQuesten [Isaac Baldwin McQuesten][P.S.]
Sent your draft on Monday last.