[Written on envelope:] Kindly [favored?] by Mrs. F. [T.?] WilkesW2840 TO MISS MARY ANN BAKER from her father Rev. Thomas Baker
Sep 27 1846
To: Mary Ann Baker, Hamilton, [Ontario]
From: Brantford, [Ontario]
My dear Mary,
I was happy to be informed through Harriet1 that you liked your school very much and that you are getting on very well. But permit me to say I think it was hardly becoming in you to say you would not write to me till I had written to you, and a little too bad to have executed such a threat. I hope you will in further consider me entitled to better treatment.
I was sorry to hear your application to study had affected your health, this however was to be expected after being so long actively employed. I hope by this time you have become accustomed to it and that you are relieved from head ach [sic].
I hope, my dear Mary, you become more attached to your teachers as you become more acquainted with them and that you treat them with all due respect,--that you are kind and agreeable to your fellow scholars--and that you give all diligent attention to your studies so that you do not permit any one [sic] to go before you. Your Ma, I am sorry to inform you has been unwell: the work since you left has been rather too much for her; and she wishes me to tell you to learn as fast as pofsible2 that you may soon return home again she does not know what to do without you.
And now My Mary, let me give you a little fatherly advice--towards Mr. & Mrs. Walker3 I hope you always behave with respect and affection attend to their wishes and their advice and endeavour so to conduct yourself that your remaining with them may not may not be unpleasant to them--towards the servants behave kindly, but not with familiarity as it will lead to unpleasantness.
I have told you how you should behave to your teachers and school mates: on these topics I would say a little more. Seek to do every thing with diligence and cheerfulness that your teachers require of you, they have your interests at heart, at no time show any thing like sulleness [sic], opposition or dislike, and do not at any time think yourself incapable of performing any thing they may require of you: remember you are a sailor's daughter and therefore must be able to do any thing you are ordered to do. Now with respect to the young ladies whilst agreeable to all, you can only be very friendly with few, select your friends with care, let not the thoughtless, the gay, the ungodly be of that number, "He that walketh with wise men shall be wise; but the companion of fools shall be destroyed." And whoever may be your friends be not too confiding, say nothing that you would not like to hear again. I would also add do not select those, who are on account of connections &c, with whom intimacy must cease when you leave the Academy.
Before I close this letter permit me, my beloved daughter, to say a little to you concerning the salvation of your soul. Whilst diligently engaged in the pursuit of useful knowledge, do not let your studies intrench [sic] upon the time which should be saved to devotion. I do hope, my child, you will make a portion of the Bible every morning and evening the subject of prayerful study, and that at the same time commend your soul to be safe trusting and blessing of your heavenly Father, do not be tempted ever to omit this duty, remember "There is nothing lost by prayer, there is nothing gained by theft." It is God that gives the ability to gain knowledge therefore in the pursuit of it acknowledge him. And above all, my dear Mary, seek a saving knowledge of Christ, all other knowledge is worthless compared with this--this gives real value and glory to all other [sic]. You are privileged on the Sabbath to hear [the Gospel] it is a great blessing, give prayerful attention to what you hear, that you may be savingly benefited by it. Indeed my dear Mary it must afford me inexpressible pleasure to hear you ask "What must I do to be saved" May God speedily grant it to me.
You will now then [sic] I hope write me a long letter, tell me how you are doing--what you want--if I can do any thing to increase your happiness--if there is any thing more that you wish to [herein order?], tell me all your wants--wishes--desires--feelings--[?] if you have any.
Your Ma unites with me and all your Brothers in kindest love to you and respects to Mr. & Mrs. Walker.
Believe me your affectionate Father
PS. Tell Mr. Van Norman I called on Mrs. Smith & requested her to send Mary to Hamilton. She told me Mr. Smith was very well satisfied with the Academy but he thought of sending Mary to New York. She has not yet gone.
I am sorry it is not in my honour to send you a present I am very poor just now--the wheat we have thrashed out falls very short of what we expected. I hope soon to be richer, tell me if you want any thing , or if can get it you shall have it, do not lack any thing needful for your studies.
1 Harriett (Baker) Wilkes, Rev. Thomas Baker's eldest child and Mary Ann's sister. She died in childbirth in 1847 (Minnes 5).
2 Rev. Baker uses the archaic "fs" for "ss". We have transcibed using modern "ss" for ease of reading.
3 In 1848, the Walkers took in Mary Ann(e) as she was unwilling to stay with family who were trying to prevent her from marrying Frederick F. Wilkes, Harriett (Baker) Wilkes' widower. James Walker and his wife strongly disagreed with the relationship, but were even more firm that Mary Ann be given her legal right make her own choices. See W2855 for details and links.