[This document is a certified copy of the one sent to Mary Ann.]W2864 TO MARY ANN BAKER from her father Rev. Thomas Baker
Jun 6 1848
To: Mary Ann Baker
From: Brantford, [Ontario]
My poor misguided, motherlefs [sic] child,
I once more make an effort, may God make it successful, to save you from the consequences of the improper course you have been sometime pursuing. It must be now evident to you that a marriage between you and Fred'k. Wilkes is not only not sanctioned by the scriptures, but is also contrary to the Law of the land.1,2 It has been reported in Brantford, by Mrs. Day, that Mr. Walker told you in her presence you could not be married--that writings could be drawn up between you to live together, and when either was dissatisfied you could separate he allowing you a maintenance, I heard this from Mrs. McKay.
My dear child, I hope at length your eyes are open, and that you see the dangerous position in which pretender friends have placed you. What! become a kept mistress and not a lawful wife? How degrading--how fraught will it be with misery; reflect awhile--think I pray you before you submit to this. What will it be to return to Brantford in this disgraceful connection? How will you bear the withering scowl of his family--the distance of friends--the contempt of all and a sense of God's displeasure. Will Fred'k. compensate for all this? How long will he retain you? How soon may he, when appetite is sated, dismiss you casting you as the offal of his lust upon the dung hill of society. Be afsured, my child, the distance between the fervor of lust and inveterate hate is not wide. The man, who has already for selfish purposes deceived you by telling you your marriage would be lawful in this country, would deceive you again--He, who would have you disregard your engagements to your father and the wishes of your dying mother, will not be very mindful of his own promises when he finds it inconvenient to keep them. And inconvenient he will find it when he cannot introduce you into honourable society--when his friends frown upon you and your own cannot associate with you. How deep, my child, will be your degradation, how poignant your grief. But the step will then be taken, irretrievably taken; and remorse, weeping, lamentation, and woe will be unalterable consequence.
Listen, my dear Mary, to the advice of your deeply distressed father, be afsured he is still your best friend. You are not yet ruined--immediately return to Brantford, you will thus show that though you could be induced to act indiscreetly to become his wife, you will never disgrace yourself by becoming his mistress. Now, my dear Mary, for you are still very dear to me though you have deeply injured me, I have a father's heart for you, and it is desolate without you. Write me immediately, tell me you have given up Frederick for ever and that you will return to my home, and I will come or send for you. Do not, I intreat [sic] you, delay, for now is the time when by doing as I requested you, your character will be retrieved--delay and it will be totally wrecked.
May God blefs you my dear child, my poor motherlefs child, my heart bleeds for you. Will you disgrace yourself and cause your distrefsed father to go down to the grave sorrowing? Say Oh no--Oh no. I will return and cause once more his withered heart to expand--his sorrowful spirit to rejoice in receiving his only and beloved daughter--this will be to him as life from the dead-- as that was lost but again is found.
May the Lord incline your heart to receive and comply with this in the fervent prayer
Of your deeply suffering father
Ps. Several friends having heard the report brought by Mrs. Day have said surely she will now see surely she will not submit to that--Tell me as speedily as possible I may say she will not
[Written after post-script:]
To Mifs Mary Ann Baker.
The foregoing letter is a Copy of the original read to me by the writer this 7th day of June 1848--
John W. Downs
1 Frederick F. Wilkes had previously been married to Mary Anne's eldest sister Harriett who had died in childbirth in 1847. To escape the "confinement" she apparently suffered while staying with one of her brothers (most likely John Orange Baker), she ran to the Walkers' home where she stayed for some time and refused to come back to her family (W2868). Rev. Baker was so outraged by her sinful and disobedient behaviour that he refused to see her again. See W2855 for details.
2 In a later attempt to persuade Mary Anne to leave Wilkes, Rev. Baker cited a case in Montreal in which a man married his late wife's sister and their children, deemed illegitimate, were unable to inherit (W2880).