W4713 TO [REV.] CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his mother, Mary Baker McQuesten
Dec 3 1902 Wednesday
To: Calvin McQuesten Montreal Quebec
My dear Cal,
Since you wrote, you have, I suppose, been to Quebec and back, but it is not a very good time of the year for travelling and I fancy you have winter with you. With us it is pleasant and mild with no snow. The girls worked hard last week counting "spots" tempted by the money. H.[Hilda] R.[Ruby] & Edna made a desperate effort, but each one got a different result so as Ruby had done hers with the greatest deliberation, they thought it best to send hers, but scarcely hope for a prize, for though the McQuesten family has much to be thankful for they have never had windfalls.
In Saturday's papers was published the enclosed protest against the Referendum and really it made my blood boil to think of these miserable men coming out publicly against the Act. Of course they would not approve of it, but they could keep quiet for of course it is far too stringent a law to pass.1 However I got it on my mind that I must answer it so I got a Spectator & Herald to see their Editorials and I enclosed the Herald's which suited my purpose. So I wrote all three papers under the nom de plume of "courage" and am anxiously waiting to-night's paper to see if it is in. Of course I could have said, but was afraid to make it too long, for fear they might not put it in or people would not read it. It is not likely it will do any good, but it is so hard to keep quiet as Mrs. Mullin says when she sees these brilliant saloon windows she could just go up and write "HELL" upon them.2 Will send you paper if it is in.3
We are having special services every night this week up to the Communion, different ministers are speaking. Last night Mr. McGillivray from Newmarket, a brother of the one in London.4 I was too tired to go out but Mary said he was splendid, I hope to hear him to-night. We are to hear different ministers also on Sabbath all this month, for at the annual meeting the Doctor [Fletcher] is to announce that he would like an assistant, but the elders & managers had to insist that they were to have the choosing.5 The Doctor was surprised that we did not care for Gillies Eadie, but unless we get a first class man, we cannot keep up at all.6 We have now to meet a deficit of $600.
Well my dear, as to Xmas presents we had no plans because we do not want to spend any money unnecessarily. I am thankful to say, that my money is lasting out wonderfully, but I have just to be careful, when only one house on Bold St. is rented. If you are not giving Ruby a book, you can go shares with me in a little scent and I think I'll get Edna a knife. If there is any thing you have in mind, just let me know and I might share in it too, because there are so many of us for you to think of and you must need all you have.7
On Thursday we have the Leper meeting here and a Dr. Carleton from India is to speak. Ruby is expecting Annie Anderson, a niece of Mrs. Ross, to visit us for a few days next week.8 Old Mrs. Moncur has had an attack of paralysis and they do not know whether she will linger or recover.9
Well, it seems impossible to think of anything else to say. Mabel Fairgrieve is being married to-day, the wedding is in their own house and just the relatives; last week they gave a large "tea" as a farewell. Well, good bye, dear, take care of yourself. H. has never got her photo back yet. Isn't he nasty?10 With much love from all.
Your loving Mother
1 The "Protest" took the form of a petition headed:
RE THE LIQUOR ACT 1902: We, the undersigned, actively engaged in business in the Province of Ontario are of the opinion that 'The Liquor Act,' which is to be submitted to the people on December 4, 1902 next, is an unwise and impracticable measure, since it permits importation in any quantity from other provinces and countries and would, therefore merely transfer the drinking of intoxicants from licensed and well-regulated places to unlicensed and disreputable resorts and to the homes of the people. We believe that this measure would be detrimental to the best interests, both moral and commercial, of this province, and we therefore urge all voters to mark their ballots 'NO.'
The petition was then signed by more than fifty names of Hamilton banks, industries, and their presidents or managers, such as, The Bank of Hamilton, Hendrie & Co., George Tuckett, Balfour & Co., Dalley, Glassco, Mewburn, Teetzel, etc. "AND MANY MORE" (The Hamilton Spectator, November 29, 1902). The "stringent" aspect of the "law" stipulated that a majority vote required that "those in the affirmative must exceed 1/2 of those who voted in the Provincial general election of 1898 . . . 212,723" (The Hamilton Evening Times, November 27, 1902).
2 For Mullin family, see W4521
3 The letter did not appear. The Hamilton Spectator December 2, 1903 commented: "The Spectator is again deluged today with prohibition and anti-prohibition letters, for which we cannot afford the space." I have found no reference in The Hamilton Evening Times and The Hamilton Herald is not available on microfilm for this period.
4 Angus H. MacGillivray (?-1919), Knox College class of 1899, was a pastor in Newmarket, Chatham, and in Hamilton, and was a chaplain during the war (BDKC 156).
5 For Fletcher family, see W4479. Rev. Dr. Fletcher was 69 years of age. Mary was not pleased with his preaching and was eager to replace him. Fletcher was loath to step down and Mary grew impatient with him (W4713, W4815, W4835, W5012, W-MCP1-3a.056). The church deficit was a factor and Mary felt that a new and more popular minister would make the church prosper.
6 For Gillies Eadie, see W4605.
7 Ruby's letter to Calvin dated approximately December 3, 1902 also describes the family's poverty at "Xmas" 1902, and advises that the family should not "spend any money on each other this year." Ruby also notes that she will be minus 6 weeks pay and "there will be only about $20--however it will help us along" (W4263). In 1904, Calvin comments to his mother on a family that is "more poverty stricken than our family" (W-MCP2-3b.051).
8 For Ross family, see W4651
9 Mr. And Mrs. Robert Moncur lived at 222 Bay St. S. Mrs. Robert Moncur was a member of the MacNab WFMS (Latoszek 25; Tyrell 150; W4462). "Old Mrs. Moncur" may have been Helen Moncur who "died at her brother's residence on Bay St." in March 1909 (W6383b).
10 Hilda had requested the return of her photo from Kenelm Trigge (see W4635).