W-MCP5-6.239 TO DR. CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his cousin John Fisher
Dec 5 1837
To: Dr. Calvin McQuesten, Brockport, Monroe County, New York, U.S.A
From: Hamilton, [Upper Canada]
I have just received yours of the 29th inst. Before this reaches you will no doubt have heard this in one of which the Queen's troops were defeated with the loss of but few lives, in the other they succeeded in taking Ft. Charles with the loss of at least 100 lives and have burnt the place--No one can fortell [sic] the result that thousands will loose [sic] their lives before peace is restored admits of hardly a doubt. I can give you no idea of the situation in this Town. But a few days ago all was quiet--But the loss of lives belaid [belayed] has aroused all the angry fringe which we possess--To day a deep gloom hangs over the place.
It is expected that this week a number in this town as will as in other places will be arrested for High Treason--John G. Parker expects to be one of the members--A member of Parliament from Toronto now in Town brings word that the Governors in Council are about directing all the Americans either to leave the province or prepare themselves to engage in defence of the Country--you probably know that the troops from Toronto with the exception of about 16 have gone to Montreal to put down the French--not less than 1200 Radicals on Young St. North of Toronto are under arms and it is daily expected they will be down on the city--at any rate let one blow be struck and we are engaged in war.
The Government party admit that a majority are against them--but with the Troops they hope to preserve the connexion with the Home Govt--To day they are raising volunteers in this place--to be prepared for a defence--J.G. Parker is in Gaol for Treason, it comes like a Thunder Bolt--Troops are now starting for Toronto--No man can tell what will be on the morrow.
There is trouble in Toronto--I know not what. It is impossible to borrow a Dollar--I send you $40.00 I will write tomorrow--I shall try to say nothing and attend to my business.
Evidence against Mr. Parker, some Letters detained and opened in the Post Office.1
He is, aside from this change, one of our best men beloved by all, a deacon in our Church--and my Best friend in this Town--But the Law will be magnifyed [sic] in this case unless he's [?]--I cannot describe the commotion.
[P.S.] I expected $600 of Davis & Ford on their mill job last week, $400 of which I intended to send you--They did not pay me any but said they would try and do it this week. When it comes you shall have $400.
I need not say that I wish I were in the States with what we brought here--but all this was unknown.
1 For a biographical note on John G. Parker and the Rebellion of 1837 see W-MCP4-6.193. The incriminating evidence against Parker is the letter he wrote to Thomas Storrow Brown, Hamilton, 22 November 1837. It reads: "Private* ....I wish you could write me from official Accounts from the seat of war--The Radicals in Upper Canada are afraid that the C. [Canadiens] have no spunk, and all will end in talk & smoke.--The Upper Canadians are ready for almost any thing. I have been informed that political Unions are formed all through the Country based on the declaration of the Reformers of Toronto on 31 July last.--We have a rifle Establishment in this Town, and it is said that a great many of the farmers are getting Rifles, in fact everything here looks squally. There is a nest of Scotch Radicals of the worst sort back of Toronto and I was told by a man from that Quarter that they were getting well marshalled, and only waiting for good news from L. Canada, when they will enter the City, and salute the Governor and Nobility in--demonstrations of great joy carrying flags of divers colors. I look for great things this winter and early in the winter--It is said by some one travelling from Lower Canada that the month of December would make known the fate of the Canadas, I hope they will make money plenty so that poor folks may pay their debts. The banks may yet become very useful--I suppose you have seen the 'Home Made Constitution' in a late constitution, it takes well here. It may yet be adopted. The London and Western District[s] are said to be boiling over, ready for Reform--The Tories begin to cow in many places, a great many are determined to take no part whatever,--there is I am told 3 or 4 Unions formed in this City in a quiet way, of determined spirit. The Tories begin to calculate that their real Estate will be worth double what it is when the troublesome times are over, and frequently are heard to say 'whatever change takes place let it be done at once'--I do not believe we have any fear of consequences in U.C.--a great many people are anxiously awaiting for the News from below--the Country is excited all over--One of Head's officials/I think Hagerman/was heard to say 'The Canadas are lost'--I wish you could write me--It is said Mr. Papineau has gone to the States for help!--I suppose not.--Do the Americas feel favorable and will they render any assistance? Are the--Canadians united?--There is a report they are divided--No wonder--no organization--no means, no arms, no courage--These things are said by certain friends--." Colin Read and Ronald J. Stagg, in The Rebellion of 1837 in Upper Canada, (p. 103-04).
2 John Knox Fisher was Dr. Calvin McQuesten's first cousin and business partner. He had some 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.