W2476 TO DR. CALVIN BROOKS MCQUESTEN from his brother Isaac McQuesten
Mar 15 1876
To: Dr. Calvin Brooks McQuesten [New York]
From: Hamilton, Ontario
My dear Brother,
Perhaps $35 will be more acceptable to you tomorrow than to wait some days--how many I can't for certain say--for the balance. I could have sent this last week; but each day expected more funds & did not like to remit such a small amount. There seems to be a most fearful stagnation at present, and merchants seem to look with pleasure on a few dollars, when usually as many hundreds would not have an especially exhilarating effect. The open winter & no snow or sleighing seems to affect us more than anything else; for farmers are kept at home, and that puts a stop to money circulating. However, at worst, a pretty good sum will be coming in by the 15th of April and at intervals afterwards. But I will almost certainly have something in within a week.
You got my hurried scribble about the microscope & Dr. Mullin's circular as well? Hope you approved of the choice. You would see that some of the exact figures given by you were not in the table. So Dr. M. had to approximate as much as possible. And with others, he had found mistakes that he had himself made after he had his instrument and had it in constant use; and he thought you would not be offended if he assumed that you might be labouring under some of the errors that he had had. Certainly a microscope does not come to the enormous figure I had imagined: for the sum total will not much exceed $75. If it cannot be sent to you before, I can probably manage to take it when I go over to the centennial should I be able to do so, and now that there is the probability of a few art displays I must say I'm more desirous. For I've long had an intense desire to see some real Art, and to have more than an hour to take it in. Mary, I don't suppose will be able to go.1 And after all, it would use her up fearfully, for she would see all to be seen, as long as she could and then would have to pay for it. Still I would enjoy more sitting on a barrel and surveying my feet, looking at her enjoy herself, than see the things myself; for she certainly does go in for sight-seeing with a zest that is pleasant to note. Youth, you'll have a hard time of it with me. Well would it be for you if she was there to save you a little, for I'll trot you around till all the socks in your library are sweating.
I had a letter from Payson.2 And he is quite willing to do anything that will oblige us: let the land stay in his name or as we may choose. And I think that would be the best course. There would be no harm in mentioning it to father, but I do not like to do it. It has not a pleasant ring about it. Certainly the having it, & having the present homestead clean of all except of the house would add greatly to the enjoyableness. Nor would the expense of removal be very great; for all the material could be used over some way.
I always look forward to your coming home here some day to live, if we're both shared. And we have neither of us a great horde of relations that we care to cultivate. However I don't think that there is a shadow of fear that there can ever be unpleasantness between us. I'm learning every day, though it may be slowly, the necessity of going outside of self & consulting less my own pleasure alone; and I think with you it's the same. And further I don't think it will cost us the large sum to live that I used to think it would. For there is a more enjoyable life in real sociability in a more quiet way than with a whole of display. And I can enter more into your feeling than formerly that I'd just as soon consider nine tenths of those I know as acquaintances that may just as well stay at a distance.
Dr. & Mrs. Ormiston were here over Tuesday. They were at Wm. [William] Hendric's. Father went up there to dinner on Monday & said he thoroughly enjoyed it. Was quite 'taken' by little Mrs. Hendric. The Dr. told me yesterday, before leaving for N.Y. that the fact of father's going up there so pleasantly gave him more satisfaction than anything else. Father had written him before to the effect that he would in no way be offended at him [if] the Dr.'s not staying with him as there was very little enjoyment having any friend his guest with fear at any moment of a squall.3
The champagne wine is bottled off: 150 bottles & 8 gallons in an iron enamelled cylinder. So will see what the result will be. Think it will be favorable. But if the cylinder busts, it will be a lively explosion.4
The murderer of Mill was executed yesterday. Have not yet seen Mullin or Matlock. But was it satisfied in my own mind of the man's insanity, that I'm anxious to hear about the post-mortem. There now, there can be no complaint about the length of this letter.
As ever yours,
1 Mary B. McQuesten was more than seven months pregnant at this time. Her son Calvin was born on May 1, 1876.
2 Likely Payson Sawyer, Isaac's cousin. In 1857, Payson and his brothers Luther and Samuel and their cousin, William McQuesten, purchased the McQuesten & Co. iron foundry and related land from Dr. Calvin McQuesten and his cousin John Fisher, who co-founded the business. For more, see
Dr. McQuesten's bio
3 This may be a reference to the character and temperament of Dr. Calvin McQuesten's wife, Elizabeth Fuller. She could be very sweet sometimes, but had a terrible temper and could be very demanding, see W-MCP5-6.351.
4 See W2458 in which Isaac is making wine. Isaac developed an early dependency on Alcohol (CMQPW 8). See W2275, W2511, W2520, E2-2, and others.