W5898 TO [REV.] CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his mother, Mary Baker McQuesten
Jul 5 1907
To: Calvin McQuesten Glenhurst, Sask.
My Dearest Calvin,
I was just delighted to hear from your letter this morning that you had at last found a home. It is a kind Providence that opened this home for you; and I am so thankful your health is so good, it makes everything light; and good congregations too. It is all so encouraging, and I am sure when you are feeling well, you will be able to give them something worth hearing and that will do them good.
I have just been reading a magnificent address by J.A. Macdonald to the students at Northfield.1 I am just proud of him, he is really a very able fellow. I read it aloud to the family and it thrilled one. I saw him and Mrs. McD.[sic] at Convocation, she is a dear little woman.
Nellie James arrived last night, so glad to have her, she is always so cheery.2 Willie has given up his position at Knox & Co., he could not stand the heavy work and their meanness any longer.3 Jim Stuart is back there again, they offer him $60 a month to go to Toronto. What is that to keep a wife and children in Toronto? Willie has nothing in view. Some of their men just left them without giving any notice. You see men will not go through all the heavy labour of moving for employers who are thoroughly mean; and they have been doing a very large business. We wonder at their moving.
The bills for Bold St. improvements are coming in and though large, think they can be met in course of time without taking more of my principal than $500 of the money coming from the club. I cannot forget the wonderful provision made for us this year. I am so glad to get Bold St. in such shape as to obtain the increased rental but I would have been very loath to use over a $1000 of my principal; and then to think the Club was sent along to provide the extra money; just the year when Tom needed $200 in one sum and Edna needed to be in the country. It all seems just such a wonderful and kind provision of our Heavenly Father. And this place is so delightful and not too quiet.
We had a call, a P.P.C. as he called it, from Robt. Buchanan.4 He is going off on this tour of the world with some of the laymen, visiting the mission fields, but he is going to take views and give illustrated lectures on Canada. If you could have heard him on all the things he intends doing, and the way he has been working the C.P.R. and the G.T.R., specially eulogizing these R.R. [He] had Col. Davis to report this part in full, sent the paper to the officials etc. and now hopes for passes. Our brains fairly reeled with his projects. I had to write a letter introducing him to Mr. Nosse at Ottawa, from whom he hopes to get some introductions.
I saw the reference to Dr. Primrose, it must have been a slip of reporter from Dr. Peters. Dr. Primrose was at Convocation, I heard a lady pointing him out on platform (I do not know him). We had Mr. McGregor of Presbyterian last Sabbath, a good discourse, but such a sing-song delivery that I really did not understand half of it, and felt too tired to try.5 Ruby is writing you, so she will report her own doings. With much love to all.
Your loving Mother
1 Likely, Rev. James Alexander Macdonald (1862-1923) University of Toronto, B.A., Knox College, University of Edinburgh, managing editor Knox College Monthly 1889-91, pastor St. Thomas 1891-96, first editor of The Westminster 1896-1902, founder and editor of The Presbyterian, principal Presbyterian Ladies' College 1896-1901, Managing editor The Toronto Globe 1902-16, L.L.D Glasgow 1909, Birmingham 1911 (BDKC 128). He gave a series of impassioned speeches on evangelism and radical social reform during conferences in 1908 and at the National Missionary Congress in 1909. MacDonald was critical of the church's failure to Christianize civilization. He and others were angry that the "churches did not extend the right-hand of fellowship to new Canadians. . . . There is nothing more un-Christian, more utterly pagan, than the flaunting ostentation and pride and idleness of the members of the House of Have." He also lectured on settlement work such as Toynbee Hall in England and others in New York and Chicago (CBD 1471, W4785), and he helped to pioneer the settlement idea in Canada by the Presbyterian Church and its "energetic Committee on Moral and Social Reform," also inspired by Charles Gordon, see W6446, W6343. In 1911 the Board opened St. Christopher's House in Toronto as its first settlement" and the movement soon spread to Montreal, Winnipeg and Vancouver (Moir Enduring 184-85,187,195; McNeill 19; Gordon 162-63). Ruby, in Ottawa, commented on a similar lecture given by a "young" and "unabashed" "L.M. King" in 1903 (W4785). Likely, William Lyon Mackenzie King (1874-1950), social activist and Presbyterian, who became deputy minister of labour in 1900, and prime minister in 1921. King wrote Industry and Humanity (1918) (EC 1136), a copy of which is in the Whitehern Library.
2 For the James family, see W4436.
3 Knox & Co. was owned by John Knox (1824-1915) merchant, executive, one of the founders of the Cataract Power Co. He lived at 54 Hunter St. W. in 1900 (Tyrell 145) and was a member of St. Paul's Presbyterian Church and chairman of its Board of Managers for twenty-two years. St. Paul's owes its chimes to him (see W5709). His dry goods business was at 18-22 King St. E., Hamilton in 1905. In 1908 the firm was planning a move to Toronto; however, after delays caused by a workers' strike, the business was sold to Gordon, MacKay and Co. of Toronto (DHB1.85; W6053). For the MacKay family who owned the business in Toronto, see W4297.
4 Robert Buchanan was likely related to the Isaac Buchanan family, see W4367 (W5330, W5347).
5 Rev. Malcolm McGregor (1852-1908) was special writer and editor of The Presbyterian 1900-08.