W5105 TO [REV.] CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his mother, Mary Baker McQuesten
Sep 11 1903 Friday Night
To: Calvin McQuesten Montreal Quebec
My dearest boy,
Your letter had just reached me sent back from Toronto and I have just come back from there, having gone down for the day. Of course, dear, I am trying not to be anxious about you, but I am quite sure and have felt it for some time that you could not possibly have a more trying occupation, the very worst for your trouble. Then it may be too God's way of leading you into his service as you always longed to do. But what I want you to do is not to go back to the Herald Office, come right home, or if you think the sea air so good, go back to Cap a l'aigle, as it is such a reasonable place until I can consult those whom you mentioned. I can send you funds. But do not do another day's work. Would like to have you home, if you are to go so far away in October, but I know that Hamilton climate is not bracing so that you must do what is best. Think I will go to Toronto to-morrow as it is the last day of cheap fares and [see] Dr. Caven1 and Dr. Warden2. Then I will talk with Dr. Lyle for he was up seeing the various stations on his way to assembly3. Now please do no more work or you will lose the good of your holiday. I don't think you need regret the newspaper work for it is hard work for very little either money or praise. My heart is full of sympathy for you my dear boy, but we will Trust in God4.
Your loving mother,
1 Dr. William P. Caven, physician, lived at 70 Gerrard St. E., Toronto. Mary gave Calvin the doctor's report in her next letter: "Climate had nothing to do with it, but whatever kept your mind easy and happy was the thing for you. He said that newspaper work was the hardest work in the world. . . . He would take no money for his advice. . . . I had got a tonic prescription from him." Mary's advice to Calvin was: "In the meantime it seems to me it would be wise for you to come home and thoroughly rest your brains. So as to be ready for any thing & I would like to have you with us for a good visit (W5109). Dr. W.P. Caven was related to Dr. John Caven who knew Isaac "well at college" and examined Ruby in 1908 when Dr. W.P. Caven had "gone back to the old country" (W6169).
Dr. and Mrs. John Caven and his wife were passengers on the shipwrecked Republic in 1909, but were rescued (W6336, W5105).
Rev. Dr. William Caven (1830-1904) was likely related to William and John Caven. He lived at 76 Spadina Rd. He was professor of exegetics and principal at Knox College (1873-1904), convenor of the Committee on Union and "poured out his soul on behalf of Union." He worked closely with Dr. R.H. Warden and others on Union and modernization of the Church, which Mary did not support, see W5283n. Caven's collected papers are Christ's Teachings Concerning the Last Things (1908) (McNeill 37, 79, 251-52; Moir Enduring 182, 189; MDCB 142; Tyrell 38; W5105, W5984, W6343, W6374, W6509). This book is not in the Whitehern library.
2 For Rev. Dr. R.H. Warden and family, see W4531. Mary conveyed Dr. Warden's advice to Calvin:
He thought you must consider it well, for to go to the mission field just as a catechist would only be a temporary arrangement and after being engaged so long in the newspaper work it seemed a pity if you could not find something in that line that would not be too much strain. He spoke of the business managerships. . . .the Westminster was requiring a man to represent them. (W5109)
Warden provided a copy of the Mission "Regulations," which listed the salary of a catechist as $5 and board per week for summer and $5.50 for winter (W5113).
On September 21, Rev. Charles W. Gordon also replied to Calvin's inquiry about taking a mission in the West:
I am very sorry to hear of your threatened breakdown, and wish to offer you my earnest sympathy in your trouble. I am not sure whether you would like our work, or whether you would be fitted for it, or whether it would be the thing that would be best for you, but on the whole I feel like recommending you to try it. With this thought in mind I shall give your name to our Committee here, and I think there is reasonable ground to hope that you may be appointed to a mission field in the West. With very kind regards, and wishing you complete recovery and a congenial sphere of labour. Kind regards to your mother. (W7439)
For Charles William Gordon (Ralph Connor), see W5359.
3 For Rev. Dr. Samuel Lyle and family, see W4436.
4 Calvin wrote a letter of resignation to James S. Brierley, Managing Director of The Montreal Herald on September 21. Brierley replied:
I trust that your indisposition will be temporary, and that you will soon be in the newspaper harness again, and I hope with the Herald. During the two years you have been here, you have shown yourself possessed of very considerable literary ability, of great diligence, and of an earnestness of spirit that quickly won the confidence and respect of all with whom you have been associated. (W7438)
Calvin accepted a missionary position at Macleod and Standoff, Alberta.