W-MCP4-6.161 TO DR. CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his cousin John Fisher
Jun 16 1838
To: Dr. Calvin McQuesten, Brockport, Monroe County, New York, [U.S.A.]
From: Hamilton, [Ontario]
I send you enclosed a Draft for $150.00 Cost 5 per ct. I should have sent it before but could not obtain it--there is no dependence to be put in our best men in relation to the payment of debts--Confidence is destroyed--and but very few feel under any obligation to pay--To sue is more than useless--The destruction of the Sir R. Peel1 has exasperated the people beyond measure--It was well that the American Boats did not venture to this port directly after the loss of the Peel--It would have been destroyed--What next I know not--Hope they will not burn the property of Americans--Did you ever mention to Backus what I stated in relation to Janes being unsteady.2 He says I have sent such word to Brockport. I should rather he would not know that I made any statements in relation to it.
We have cast 8 stoves No. 2 Rotary and they are well done--better than I expected for the first--If there is any business in our line I think we shall do some thing to advantage in this line--Prospects are dark at present in Canada as particularly for the Yankeys [sic]--Should you burn another Boat we may as will [sic] be off--It is fortunate that all the Americans here condemned the destruction of the Boat without measure and were as willing to admitt [sic] that the cutting out of the Caroline was no justifycation [sic] of the latter outrage as the tories could desire--Should your Govt. neglect to bring the perpetrators to merited punishment they richly deserve the contempt of every government on earth--I dare not say I will send you more money at present but I will do the best I can--Sales thus far this month $236.40--so you see our sales are at present very small--I do not include the stoves.
I am Respectfully
Catherine sends her love to Mrs. McQuesten.
1 The Sinking of the Sir Robert Peel
"It was dark and rainy in Alexandria Bay, NY, on the night of May 30, 1838. The Canadian steamer SIR ROBERT PEEL, under the command of John B. Armstrong, was taking on wood at McDonnell's Wharf, in the southern channel of the St. Lawrence River just above Alexandria Bay. The SIR ROBERT PEEL was on her way from Brockville to Toronto with nineteen passengers and 20,000 Pound Sterling, payroll for the troops in the Upper Province."
"A company of men, allegedly led by the infamous pirate 'Captain Bill Johnson,' rushed on board, shouting 'Remember the Caroline!' They were disguised as savages and armed with muskets and bayonets. The passengers and crew were ordered ashore as the ship was set afire and pushed out into the river. The sunken hull remains there today, a popular attraction of scuba diving tourists and history buffs."
"This was one of several international incidents surrounding what has come to be called "The Patriots War," an ill-devised plot by some well-meaning American patriots to capture Canada for the United States. It might have succeeded, too, had it not been for the fact that heavily armed British troops stationed along the border had contrary ideas. The Caroline, the subject of Captain Johnson's battle cry, was a ship that had previously been sunk by the British in Lake Ontario near Buffalo. In Canadian history this conflict was known by another name, 'The Rebellion of 1838.' " (For a note on the Rebellion, see W-MCP4-6.193.) "The Sinking of the Sir Robert Peel," Story by Mike Sandburg with special thanks to Jeff Hebert.
"Sir Robert Peel." December 3, 2003. http://www.1000islands.com/peel/srp.htm.
2 Mr. [Joseph] Janes was a business partner in the foundry. Apparently, he and Fisher had some difficulties working together and eventually Janes ran off, leaving his wife and numerous debts behind. For more details and links, see W-MCP4-6.237. For Fisher, see W-MCP5-6.240.