W3248 TO REV. THOMAS BAKER from his son Dr. John Orange Baker
Oct 7 1878
To: Rev. Thomas Baker, 3 Bold Street, Hamilton, Ontario
From: Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.
My dear Father,
I will not discuss with you whether I owe you a letter, or not, lest I may suffer in the investigation. But I was very glad to hear from you, and to know that you were in good health, I am sorry to hear that Grandmamma is still unwell, and fear that no advice from me can be of any service to you. The trouble with her last summer was some disorder of the bowels, and it appears that she has never completely recovered. Careful dieting, time, and appropriate medicines, which can only be prescribed by some one on the spot we hope may do much for her. But if my judgement of her case is correct you can scarcely find a more improper drug for her than Colchicium;1 it is of no use except as a diuretic of doubtful value, and for Rheumatism, and Gout, It [sic] is apt to produce diarrhoea with bloody
evacuations, and of course when there was any tendency to
disease of the bowels would be contraindicated, except in
the smallest doses. Drs. Malloch & Mullin are excellent
physicians, and you may safely trust to them that all will be done that can be done; and let us hope, the result will be such as we all desire.
Times here are not changing much for the better, yet your modest and unassuming son cannot complain, for if my business does not enrich me, I have much more to do than formerly and am most heartily abused by the pseudo faculty here, which, being by nature somewhat contrary, I most
heartily enjoy. I sent you a paper the other day by which
you will see that I am surgeon to the Hospital recently recently [sic] opened here by the Sisters of Charity, of
course that does not bring me in any money in a direct way.
Still it is an advantage, and causes each and every piddling
bastard of Aesculapius to feel much aggrieved; but according to Darwin's theory, that "in the race for life only the fittest survives" I shall still do well.
Give my best regards to Mary and her husband, tell
Isaac I received the histories, both the English, and the American and that I will write him my thanks in a day or two. Julia's health is not very good, I bought her a pony and side saddle and we have tried to believe that exercise on horseback has been beneficial to her at all events she is better than she was.
Give my love to all and believe me that I will write again in a few days, as I have much more to say till when believe me,
Your Affectionate Son
John O. Baker
P.S. Tell Mary to be very careful about the nose, I suppose it is about time for me to warn her I hope I am not too late. There was a Goddess, to whom the Ladies of old times used to sacrifice and whose good offices they besought that
they might have beautiful children [.] The Hebrew women
also, or at least one of them, antecedent to the birth of the Prophet Samuel appears to have been actuated by a
similar--stition.2 Mary may profit by attention in time let her remember she almost spoilt the first nose.
1 Colchicium is used in the treatment of gout. http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20UsesAB.htm. Rev. Baker's second wife, Mary-Jane McIlwaine (1809/10-1882) was eventually diagnosed with diabetes. She was scratched by a cat and may have died as the result of an infection.
2 The writer may be using a shortened form of "superstition."