W2860 TO REV. THOMAS BAKER from James Walker
May 24 1848
To: Rev. Thomas Baker
From: Hamilton, [Ontario]
My Dear Mr. Baker
Your letter of the 6th Inst. was received by me on the 18th through a private hand, as I was going out of Town. Many occupations have hitherto interrupted my reply there too, but from the Spirit of your letter I do not know that you will give me Credit for any statement I may make.
I am quite satisfied with your decision as to the class books and wearing apparel of my young friend, I could very easily acquit myself of any responsibility as far as pecuniary engagements are concerned, if I thought it proper to do so, but as I perhaps favor Mary Ann's marriage to her Brother in law1 about as little as you do your self altho [sic] the negative manner in which I spoke with you when in Hamilton may have left a different impression upon your mind, yet believing it to be of very doubtful propriety, to allow Mary Ann to lay under any remaining obligations to Frederic [sic] would be, unfaithful on my part and tend directly to confirm a connexion [sic] which I have some hope may not be consumated [sic].
We differ in opinion as to guiltiness, & disgracefullnefs [sic]. I should charge Mary Ann with Sin if she indulged vindictive and unkind feelings towards her deeply exercised Parent. I think her present position more creditable to herself & her Father than that she was subjected to for some weeks when banished from her natural home, or than a continuance of such prediction would be considered, She was then confined to avery [sic] limited Society without religious privileges, she now enjoys, the freedom of thought and action, of moral and religious Culture, and as to the very question which you fear most upon the predilections of the Society amongst whom she moves I believe are against the connexion you desire to prevent. More over [sic] she is just where you were pleased to place her for 1 year and pursuing that with which you were gratified as you stated to me both with her improvement in kind and manner.
When I have professed sincere friendship to yourself I have meant it, and I am still desirous to render you my service which I would have rendered to you at any time. When Mary Ann came first under my roof it was with the introduction of her Father. She is now esteemed not for her father's sake only, but for her own worth, and I should regret, and have said so in more conversations than any which I have had with Mary Ann on this subject if she should join her self in a marriage Alliance to which I could not be a witnefs.
And I should take the blame with you, if she was placed just now in a position which would in all probility [sic] lead to a speedy marriage.
There are steps which I think might be taken whilst matters are in their present position, one of your church men avows his desire to form a marriage connexion [sic] of doubtful propriety, if the Church is to give censure after the step is taken, it is surely competent to give advice before the step has been taken, if the Church is desirous to have the recorded sentiments of any beyond its circle for aiding their judgment now is the suitable time, the Church may finding its Ministers thus directly interested request a committee of 1 or 3 of its Members to obtain information for its use, by corresponding with parties whose opinion would be entitled to respect.
I write to you thus freely as it is probable you may not repeat your replies, and assure you that as far as my judgement enables me I will have a suitable regain [sic] to character and comfort for time and for Eternity of your Daughter, my young friend whom I shall endeavour to treat as a dear sister, and even if my hopes should be disappointed and she should become the wife of Frederic Wilkes without my views being changed. I should endeavour to urge Mary Ann to the precautionary step of a Marriage Settlement before Marriage altho I might be unable to feel the same interest in her in that connexion.
As my own opinion leads me to believe that if Mary Ann was restricted form correspondence or personal interview, with her Brother in Law, a desire for that which was forbid would be increased, I shall not see that course to be advisable, nor do I desire her to be denied in all things the right of private Judgement.
I remain My Dear Mr. Baker
P.S. I have read this letter over to Mrs. Walker & Mary Ann
Your letter I shall now destroy.
1 Frederick F. Wilkes was Mary Ann's late sister's husband. A marriage to a brother-in-law would have been considered unlawful.