W2931 TO FREDERICK WILKES from his father-in-law, Rev. Thomas Baker
Feb 18 1848 1
To: [Frederick Wilkes]
From: Brantford, Ontario
My dear Sir,
I herewith transmit to you sundry papers which have been from time to time left at my house by you and for the use of which I am obliged. But as I now deem that all intercourse with my family and yours for the benefit of both parties, should cease. I have to request that nothing of the kind may be again left for any one of any family. I must also forbid communication of every kind.
I have inclosed [sic] a dollar as my half of the price of "The New England Puritan" which I shall for the present decline reading and [prefer?] by you to retain it only for your own use.
With deep anguish of soul I inform you that I have heard from several of my friends that your criminal passion for your deceased wife's sister had been suspected and was talked of with loathing and disgust. Pray that God, who has mercifully saved my child from degradation and misery, affect your heart to feel the sinfulness of your conduct, and give you [indulgence?] repentance for having laboured to teach a daughter to disregard the wishes and authority of, unhappily now, her sole parent in order that she might become the victim of your incestuous lust. The activity of which you endeavoured to conceal from her mind by proffering marriage and thus induce to the commission of crime forbidden by God and abhorred by man. May the Lord cause you to feel it thus. Can it be possible that you do not see it thus? If you do not may He enlighten your understanding that you may loathe yourself on account of your [possibly?] mistaken conduct.
That you may be removed from [hindrance?] of her account remembering the relationship you sustain towards my lovely and greatly beloved Harriet,2 I can but pray that you may be recovered out of this snare of the devil--thus long, honorably, happily and usefully and finally rejoin in a much happier place your sainted wife.
I am, dear sir,
Yours with great grief
Thomas Baker 3
P.S. I am obliged to you for having or by bringing any letters and papers from the Post-Office, in future [following sentence crossed out: be so kind as to leave them there but] I will obtain them myself and not trespass on your kindness.
1 The Whitehern Calendar states that the date is 1858, but that is impossible since Mary-Anne died in 1849 or 1850.
2 Harriett was Rev. Baker's daughter and the first wife of Frederick Wilkes. She died in childbirth in 1847, the same year in which Rev. Baker's wife died.
A relationship with a dead wife's sister was both unlawful and sinful; however Wilkes and Mary-Anne did marry, and Rev. Baker disowned her and refused to see her on her death bed. See W2894, W2881, W2880, W2870, W2864, W2857, W2864, W2874.
3 Rev. Baker often made a draft of his letters, which accounts for the fact that we have a copy of this letter to Wilkes; however, it may not be an exact copy of the final letter.