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John Moodie to Susanna Moodie
May 24 1839
Patrick Hamilton Ewing Collection of Moodie-Strickland-Vickers-Ewing Family Papers (National Library of Canada)

24th May 1839

My Dearest Susie,

I received your welcome letter two or three days ago. I was afraid that my parcel had not reached you, and I am glad you are pleased with the articles sent.

    I have got a lot of juvenile shoes for our dear little brats, but I have not the slightest idea whether they will fit. I really don't know how the shoemakers manage to hit the proper sizes for 'the critters.' Instead of making shoes for the children it has always seemed to me to be an easier plan to reverse the matter, so that if the said shoes should not happen to suit any of the existing generation, – a new generation may be raised to suit them. A similar practise among our ancestors must have given rise to the common phrase of 'stepping into a man's Shoes.' I want to buy you a bonnet (black and white straw is much worn and looks well for the country) if I can manage to carry it without injury. I really cannot say when I shall be able to get away from this place as it takes a long time to wind up matters. Since the Militia here have been discharged a new Company of 100 men have been raised for 6 months (or longer, if required) under our late Adjt Capt Richey – but I am sorry to say that I am included in the reduction tho' I have been busy ever since. The Baron has written to get me Pay while I continue on duty. I cannot possibly get away before the end of this month and probably not for two or three weeks longer still.

    As I must go I cannot tell you how I long to be once more with my dear Susie and our sweet brats. The Baron will do all in his power to get me employed, and from present appearances there seems to be no chance of our remaining long quiet. Disturbances are re-commencing in the lower Province, and notice has been given authorities at Kingston of a band of Pirates having established themselves in the Thousand Islands.

    I am trying to get my Steam Boat stock sold on any terms even for one half to get out of debt which paralyzes all energy and hope.

God bless you my Dearest
And believe me ever Your Affte
J.W. Dunbar Moodie

By a new Post Office arrangement, letters will be conveyed from any part of this Colony to any part of Great Britain Via Halifax for one shilling for a single letter – and the postage may be paid either here or in England by the reciever. This will be a great benefit to the Colony, and you should attend to it if you are writing home.

    Remember me kindly to our kind neighbours the Caddys & Crawfords. I had some hopes of getting James Caddy a commission in the new Company raised here, – but the Baron had promised it to another before I could see him. It is perhaps no great loss as the Captain is not one of the most amiable persons. I have not been able to get much information regarding Texas for Major Crawford but I have bought him a very good pocket map of the whole territory. I sometimes wish I could clear out from this unhappy distracted country where I can see nothing but ultra selfish Toryism or Revolutionary Radicalism. The people in this part of the country are split into some three or four factions – The Catholics harbouring dark designs under an hypocritical profession of loyalty and Orangemen goading them on to rebellion by claiming all the loyalty in the country to themselves, – while the native Canadians are hugging the loaves and fishes as their own peculiar perquisite, agreeing with the others on hardly any one point but in hatred of the Scotch and their Church – whose determined spirit and proud independent minds will never become the slaves of any party, nor give up one particle of their rights as British subjects in a British Colony. It is this stern unyielding spirit, and integrity of purpose (tho' it sometimes carries them to extremes when opposed and irritated) that makes them to be hated by those who dare not, or cannot, think for themselves. Come what will, their strong heads and strong hands will ensure respect. A black cloud hangs over Canada. It may pass away and bright sunshine succeed, – but if it breaks, God help this wretched country. I wish I could think more cheerfully on this subject. Lord Durham's report has stirred up a hornet's nest. Hardly any one can talk or think cooly about it. I believe the middle course is the only safe one in this case, as in many others. It contains a great many home truths – and it is these truths which have given offence. The really objectionable parts are used by the parties most concerned to throw discredit on the whole. If the British Govt has the discernment to adopt his suggestions on some very important points it is my firm belief that he will yet be regarded as the best friend Canada ever had. It is perfectly clear that Lord Durham saw through the hollow loyalty of a large portion of our population, and their selfish views. This is an unpardonable Offence. His accute mind enabled him to see the difference between hatred of the Americans – and sincere attachment to British Institutions. What a contemptible figure Dr Strachan cuts with his half Radical letter. I long to see the Appendix with all the letters; which Lord D— will publish in support of his assertions. I have given you a longer letter than I intended when I began, but my notions ran away with me.

Farewell Dearest. Kiss my sweet brats for me. I hope I shall be with you about the beginning of June. J.W.D.M.


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