W-MCP4-6.214 TO DR. CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his cousin John Fisher
May 20 1837
To: Dr. Calvin McQuesten, Brockport, New York, [U.S.A.]
From: Hamilton, [Ontario]
Yours of the 13th was read on the 19th. We cannot purchase a draft on New York for our Bank has not funds there having overdrawn their a/c [account] before the failure of John Wood & Co. I do not know of a Rochester or other Western New York Bill in this place--I have got the promise of about $80 dollars on Backus notes by the 27th from [?]--I will send it on the day I obtain it, I have left it in the hands of a Lawyer as well as one of Woods of $150 one of Ferris of some $80.00. Tiffany says 1/2 of the Hall debt will be paid on the first day of next month and the remainder the first day of Sept--that it is safe--perfectly--I don't know but some better arrangement may be made should Backus come over but I know of none.
I have not sold the Lots--It may be I shall not be able to do so at any price. I think I can borrow some $200.00 and send you by the 27--It is thought our Banks will suspend [?] payment in a few days--it is to be hoped they will--think we can go along--if not, there will be but very little done this year. Our furnace man leaves us next week about Wednesday when I shall have to let the Furnace lay still till we find another--obtain Coal--and Iron.
Rough estimate of debts we owe $2250 including $400 to Brother Dean and $300 to Mr. Norman for Iron not rec'd--Due us some $240--not less--I hope your Banks have obtained a Law to continue Business one year without [?] redemption. Today we know not what will be the appearance of things next week we hope for a favourable change.
1 We have approximated the date by the context of the letter and by comparing it with others. See 1837 letters when the McQuesten foundry was having problems with banks, currency and paying and collecting debts: W-MCP4-6.201. Also another letter of 1837 mentions buying and selling lots: W-MCP4-6.165.
2 Although we have no signature on this document there are several clues that point to John Knox Fisher as being the author:
(1) the envelope is addressed to Dr. Calvin McQuesten in Brockport and the letter itself begins "Dear Cousin,"
(2) The hand-writing is a very close match to Fisher's, and
(3) the content and tone of the letter matches with that of Fisher's other letters to Dr. McQuesten.
Fisher, one of Dr. McQuesten's business partners, often had difficulty working with another of the foundry's co-founders, 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.