W6853 TO REV. CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his mother, Mary Baker McQuesten
May 24 1915
To: Calvin McQuesten Buckingham Quebec
My dearest Calvin,
I had intended writing so that this letter would reach you to-morrow, but was just so stupid and sleepy, that it was impossible; but to-night am feeling brighter.
I reached home by 6 o'clock on Saturday night leaving Montreal at 9 a.m., it is really a fine train. Mrs. Colin Fletcher and I went and came together I cannot enter into particulars about our meetings. We had one tussle with the "Home" party and baffled them, for which we were thankful! Fortunately our Prov. Board is almost a unit1. On the Wednesday I managed to get in a drive with three others from 5:15. We went up the mountain passing through McGill ground and seeing the residences of many notables on up to the "Look out" point. Just as we reached there and got under cover, it began to pour in torrents, so we had to wait, but we had a fine view and the rain stopped. We passed that magnificent statue to Sir Etienne Cartier, a superb thing not yet completed on account of the war2.
Then on Friday morning I ordered a car for 9.30; took Mrs. Colin F. and two other minister's wives for two hours and a half. We drove out through Westmount and partway up mountain and away back again to the French quarter and then to Bonsecours Church and market, then to Chateau de Ramezay, Notre Dame (but they would not let us into the garden) and then to St. James. It was really a great treat for us all. Of course the time was too short for the Chateau but we got a good idea of it. I wonder when you last saw St. James, if those beautiful mural paintings had been put in, they are around the two wings
and are scenes in the early days of the Romish priests in Canada, one presented by the French Government, they are most beautiful. Then that magnificent bronze canopy over the altar!
Then at 2.30 that day St. Paul's ladies treated us to a trip to Pointe au Tremble. We enjoyed that very much, had refreshments and were addressed by the Principal and a Dr. Kelley, it is really appalling to hear how the Catholics are gaining ground and the Protestants losing, the priests are even persuading the young men not to go to the war, but to stay at home and have families, getting hold of the farms and sending these children whose parents are unknown -- as soon as old enough -- out in batches to settle in the west.
Our ladies suggested a collection and $153 were given a friend of Mrs. Hays of Ottawa, Miss Margaret McKellar giving a $50 cheque3. Altogether I got a very good idea of Montreal. We met scarcely any of the ladies and they did not entertain as far as we knew, but I fancy the war has affected them very much.
By the way, did you ever receive a life membership from the Bible Society?? The Agent was preaching here some months ago and I gave $100. He wrote saying I should
have two life memberships so I sent in your name for one. You ought to get also their monthly "The Bible in the World." If you do not, let me know, for it has some very interesting news in it.
We heard that the son of Rev. A.H. had been terribly treated in the war. At our meetings we have been praying that the "accursed thing" strong drink may be cast out, feeling that something is hindering our progress in the war.
I am afraid you will be lonely without Hilda. The weather keeps so cold. Poor old Mr. Black was kneeling at his bedside when he died4.
With much love
1 The "Home" party is the WHMS. See W5172 and note for Shortreed for the history of the struggle between the FMC, the WFMS and the WHMS which finally led to the formation of the WMS in 1914, by "coercion." The struggle was largely over the use of the personnel and funds raised by the WFMS, which was considerable. The FMC wanted to use the funds for the home missionary work in the West and the North. Mary's remark discloses that the resistance continued after the merger as Mary and many others continued to favour expenditures on the foreign work (W6853, W5172, W5765, W6951, W9180).
Another missionary conflict occurred with Rev. John Wilkie involving both the missionaries and the WFMS. It also involved the finances that the women had raised for the missionary work, see W4651. See also footnote to McKellar below.
2 Sir George-Etienne Cartier (1814-73) lawyer, railway promoter, politician, prime minister of the Province of Canada, descendent of Jacques Cartier, Father of Confederation, reconciled the majority of French Canada to Confederation (CE 367-68).
3 Miss Margaret (Dr. Maggie) McKellar (1861-?) medical missionary. Brouwer notes that Miss McKellar was an example of the young single women who were often attracted to missionary work by a desire for travel. As a young milliner in Southwestern Ontario, she first tried giving money for the "world's evangelization" but found that "it did not work." Then, in 1883, she went back to school to get an education as a doctor so that she could participate directly in the field, and was sent to India. She was often very outspoken and during the "gender wars" and the "Wilkie" problems, she "wryly observed, 'I am not half so much surprised at the state of the heathen as I am at the state of the missionaries'." Her work was exemplary and Dr. R. P. MacKay payed her this tribute: "When I landed in India I started with the strongest prejudice against lady doctors and I confess that this prejudice still obtains so far as home is concerned. As concerns India, however, Dr. McKellar and Dr. Oliver . . . have entirely converted me. . . Both these ladies have earned my highest respect and liking for their arduous and conscientious work and their breadth of mind" (Brouwer 71, 88, 144, 179). This comment illustrates the problems that women had in becoming accepted as medical doctors in spite of their exemplary work in the field. (See also, Box 12-340, Box 12-631, Box 12-074, W9084). (See W4651 for Wilkie and the "gender conflict."
In November of 2004, we received an E-Mail from Margaret (McKellar) Hammond, likely a grandniece of Dr. M. McKellar. Jean Hammond discovered a note in The Ingersoll Chronicle, Thursday, November 17, 1904, that comments on Dr. McKellar's apeech at the Presbyterian Church in Ingersoll: "THE ATTENDANCE WAS VERY LARGE--From the standpoint of attendance as well as in all other respects, the twentieth annual meeting of the Paris Presbyterial Women's Foreign Missionary Society, interest was manifested in the work of the society. The address by Dr. Margaret McKellar, India, was well received. Miss Nellie Hutt, took part in the program."
4 For Rev. James Black, see W6063.