W-MCP4-6.169 TO DR. CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his cousin John Fisher
Aug 24 1836
To: Dr. Calvin McQuesten, Brockport, New York, [U.S.A.]
From: Hamilton, [Ontario]
I received your last informing me that you had sent me 11248 of Iron which was landed in part on the wharf the day your letter came to hand, and the ballance [sic] in a few day [sic] after--We were very glad to receive it. You further wrote me that Backus & Co had sent their Order for 10 Tons Iron to be sent us by the 10 am 12th of Last month--but none has yet appeared and our Furnace is now laying still--I have been writing & expecting to receive the Iron from Ogdensburg--that I might make some further arrangements for more--as you observed in your last from Buffalo but Poor Iron will not answer very well without some good to mix with it--From the past I now think it time to make some Sure arrangements for at least 30 Tons of Iron and 12 Tons of Coal. I have written twice to Bush and Shepard to know whither [sic] they had sent the ten Tons ordered by Backus & Co and whither they had received any instructions from you to purchase more for us and if they had to send in addition to the above 10 Tons 15 Tons more by the 15th of Sept. $5 or 6 is no object on a Ton of Iron if by that addition we can obtain soft and good--It is out of the question for me to obtain Iron in the [?] to any amount--and I must look to you to make arrangements on that side the matter for the present--Van Norman makes no pig but bad and the Garfield furnace has sent no Iron down this year. The coal I purchased of Carrington & Prall of Oswego has not yet reached us--Mr. Dike was at Oswego two weeks ago and called on them and they stated it should be delayed no longer, but it is not yet here Mr. Dike went as far as Albany after his furniture and got track of it there, followed it back to the Store House at the foot of our Street where it had been 3 months. We had enquired after it not less than 5 times but were always told that there was some there--
I have sold but two machines and Janes one--I sold one for Cash $150--1 for Cash 80 on [a note?] on 6 month with interest $80.--Our prices are Cash 150 on six months $160 with interest--We have advanced $10 in consequence of the advance on Iron. I sell no Castings short of 6 % per [by?]. I do not sell but a very little at present but [?] buy making horse powers--Harvest is about over and we shall than sell some if ever. The above $230 for Machines is about all the money I have received for 2 months.
I have collected on Backus notes and [expect at Hand?] and have this day obtained of the Bank $400 payable $200 in 90 days and $200 in 180 days--with which I have bought the Withen Draft of $130 for which I had to pay 3 per ct--There is yet some money in my hands which belongs to Backus and which I intend to send him in 2 weeks. I took some flour on one of his notes 13 Barrels and have sold it but have not received my pay--but should I not receive it in 2 weeks I will try and Borrow it--I have passed it to his credit as money received; but had I not rec'd the Flour. He would probably not have rec'd the money so soon as he now will--The farmers have sent their Flour to Montreal for sale as there was so much injured that the merchants would not buy it, they expect to loose [sic] a great part of it.
We have made 2 Sets of Scales for Mr. Janes and are now at the 3d--he says he can sell 50 Castings weigh 130 Beam of Brass Casts $1.25 Wrought Irons &c cost $3.25 Nails and Screws 38 cts. Lumber 50 cts. Paint 50 cts. Labour I say 6 days--Janes says 2 days making the cast some $21.18--I told Janes before he commenced the patterns that if there was no wright I would make the scales for him alone and would [charge?] him the castings at 6 1/4 per ct and for all other materials enough to cover the whole expence [sic] $1.25 per day for the labour on them, and then if he made prompt pay some $5.00 on each scale provided he gives us his patterns and makes no more after the fifty sets which he proposes selling. If he wants me to take notes on six months I think he ought to pay us some $8 or 10 more.
Janes is now sick has a kind of fever, think he shall die if he can have none but Canadian Doctors--he groans and grunts more than any other person I ever saw, "Good land if McQuesten was here I never should have had this fever--." He has a thousand projects in his head. He has now made a contract with one Clark of this place a waggon maker for building a large waggon shop on the lot [?] of ours--that he partly bought when [this?] was purchased--and they two are a going heels over head into the carriage-making and after they make rich come [sic] Janes goes to the west.
I know not at present whither we shall want more machines--thus far we have not sold half as many as Janes did last year but we hope in the course of a week to begin to sell--and it may be that the last of Sept we shall want more.
I shall probably be able to send you by the 18 of Sept the $238.55 for Bush & Shepard as to the money I have obtained at the Bank I shall inform you in regard to my ability to meet it without any assistance. I will endeavour to give you timely notice in regard to the payment of Bush & Shepard as well as the money this day rec'd from the Bank You will write me on the receipt of this If you can have made no arrangement with Bush & S. for Iron--and thay [sic] do not send the ten Tons you mentioned in your last we shall be in bad Breach.
Our Best regards to your Wife
[Written down the sides of the last page:]
I should like to have our property insured to the amount of $1400. The buildings are nearly all insured by one of the New York Cos [companies] in Town but they will not insure us at any rate should we get burnt out it will knock us in the head--If you cannot obtain an insurance I would rather go to Toronto provid [sic] we should not be able to obtain our money in case of fire short of two or three years.
[Written upside-down at bottom of letter:]
I wrote you that I could have our Furnace insured at this place by a new office established here but the first buildings insured were Burnt down and the Agency is withdrawn--On the [receipt?] of your last I wend [sic] to the agent to obtain Policy for $1400 but he told me he had been instructed to suspend any further business and that the company would probably never renew their Office in [Hamilton?].
1 John Knox Fisher, Dr. Calvin McQuesten's first cousin and business partner, had difficulty working with the foundry's co-founder Mr. [Joseph] Janes and was often concerned about the man's methods of conducting business. In 1838, Janes ran off, leaving behind his wife and thousands of dollars of debt. See W-MCP4-6.237. For more on Fisher, see W-MCP5-6.240.