[This document is a certified copy of the original sent to Mary Ann.]W2870 TO MARY ANN BAKER from her father Rev. Thomas Baker
Jul 11 1848
To: Mary Ann Baker
From: Brantford, [Ontario]
My poor misguided motherless child,
As God has mercifully once more imparted to me a little strength, I devote a portion of it to endeavour to reclaim you from the errors of your way: though, alas!, judging from your very unbecoming letter to your sick father, I now have very little hope.
Of John's1 letters I knew nothing till I received yours, when he informed me that you "if you would give up Fred'k. [Frederick] he would ensure you a good reception with your friends"--With respect to my own, several friends who saw it thought it would certainly bring you back. Every consideration was affectionately urged to induce you to abandon all thought of a connexion [sic] which must involve you in guilt, disgrace and misery, with the kindest appearance that I had a heart and a home for you.--Now Mary permit me to say that I cannot for a moment suppose that you believed your own statement when you wrote "From the spirit of those letters it is very evident that if from any consideration I declined to become the wife of Fred'k. a home in my own family is quite out of the question." No Mary, you did not--you do not believe this: but your ever labouring to make a case to justify, which is impossible, you in the sinful and disgraceful course you are pursuing, and I fear are determined to pursue.
You speak of Mr. and Mrs. Walker as kind friends, and would wish me to think so with you. You must permit me to say, my daughter, I never can consider those your friends, who have encouraged you to disregard the wishes of your dying mother--the wishes, instructions and authority of your bereaved and greatly afflicted father--and who have opened their house that your mind being corrupted your person may be handed over to your deceased sister's husband as his kept mistrefs [sic]. Do not think I over state the case: because your "dear friend Mr. Walker" has sent me a letter, which he says he read to you in the presence of Mrs. Walker in which he writes "I perhaps favour Mary Ann's marriage with her Brother in law [sic] about as little as you do, believing it to be of very doubtful propriety; and I should regret, and have said so to Mary Ann on this subject, if she should join herself in a marriage alliance to which I could not be a witness. And even if my hopes should be disappointed, and she should become the wife of Fred'k. Wilkes without my views being changed. I shall endeavour to urge Mary Ann to the precautionary step of a marriage settlement before marriage altho [sic] I might be unable to put the same interest in her in that connexion [sic]."
Did not the blood mantle in your cheek when such a scandalous proposition was read to you? It did, if the blood of your parents flows in your veins And if it had not become sadly degenerate, you would have immediately retuned to you father's house. But evil communication corrupt good manners [sic]. Had I replied to Mr. Walker's letter I should have asked him If [sic] he was a man or a fiend? to dare to insult an injured father by telling him he would urge his daughter prior to her becoming the Liaison of her brother in law to stipulate for the price of her prostitution: so that should he at any time please to dismifs her she may receive the hire of a harlot and depart without murmuring. If, my child, you have any regard for your deeply afflicted father--if any regard for your own well being for time and Eternity, leave that moral pest house--renounce for ever the sinful and disgraceful connexion and return--to your father--You are still his daughter, though disobedient, and he has an affectionate heart and home for you.
Why does Mr. Walker talk so differently now to what he did to me when in Hamilton? Does he find that his conduct in this affair has not tended to advance his reputation? And does he now, having you thoroughly ensnared, cast the responsibility of the whole transaction on you, supposing that this will protect him from censure? Does he think this, with his letter to me, will hide his conduct from the scrutinising [sic] eyes of the public? He mistakes if he thinks so. The veil is too flimsy, it only makes more apparent the atrocity it was intended to conceal.--bar of God before which Mr. Walker must stand and give account for having taken a child out of the hands of her father--her divinely appointed guardian presuming that he would better manage her interests. "The day will declare it."
You tell me "I shall not in future desire to receive letters from my friends with the last two as specimens of this spirit." The plain English of this is, I suppose, unless you can encourage me to pursue the course on which I am determined, you will oblige me by not writing again. Well, my child, I have no doubt a time will come when you will be glad to hear from your father, and especially if he write in the spirit which has dictated all his letters to you. And the wish will be vain--he will be beyond the reach of trial, anxiety, disgrace and sorrow on your account. And though conscience may now be asleep, it will then be aroused and you will say "I am verily guilty concerning my mother, and I am verily guilty concerning my father when I saw the anguish of their souls, when they besought me, and I would not hear, therefore is this distress come upon me."
My dear Mary, once my chief hope; but now my chief misery. May God pity and save you from your evil conduct and its consequences, and restore you again to my heart and to my home prays fervently,
Your greatly afflicted, deeply injured
And grossly insulted father,
To Miss Mary Ann Baker
The foregoing is a true copy of the original read to me this 13 day of July 1848 by the [Revd.??] Thomas Baker
John W. Downs
1 Likely John Orange Baker, Mary Anne's older brother, who sided with their father on the issue of Mary Anne's involvement with her late sister Harriett's widower, Frederick F. Wilkes. Mary Anne had left her brother's house, apparently because her freedom had been restricted, likely to separate her from Frederick Wilkes (W2868). For more details and links, see W2855.
Mary Anne and Wilkes did marry and on her deathbed she asked to see her father to ask his forgiveness and he refused to see her, see W2894