W2971 TO REV. ENOCH BARKER from Rev. Thomas Baker
Sep 28 1864
To: Rev. Enoch Barker, [Newmarket, Ontario]
From: Newmarket, Ontario
Rev. Enoch Barker
In compliance with your request I transmit you the following statement, made to me yesterday by Mrs. Kirke.1
"Mr. Barker called on her last Feby. [February] to pay a visit of condolence, and sympathy on the lofs [sic]2 of her mother. The conversation soon glided into church matters, when Mr. Barker complained that it was a difficult matter to form an opinion of facts, which had occurred years before to which he was not an eye witness: that he would, on that account, have liked to have had a conversation with Mr. Baker as he had been conversant with all these matters. I (Mrs. K) [sic] said it would have been well if we all had had a conversation with Mr. Baker. He (Mr. Barker) replied he did not feel himself free to call on Mr. Baker when he came to Newmarket, owing to reports he had heard injurious to Mr. Baker's Christian character, but he said nothing about it, as Mr. & Mrs. Baker were not members of the Church. Mrs. K. replied, I have never heard any thing of those reports, and believe Mr. Baker to be, what he seemed to be, a Christian gentleman. Mr. Barker said, that these reports had reference to the Church at Brantford, and domestic matters.3 I (Mrs K.) answered, there is a person in the Province, who has known Mr. Baker more than thirty years, esteemed Mr. Baker very highly, and still esteems him: that person is Dr. Lillie. Mr. Barker said, well! I have been often stumbled at that."
If the above statement is true, and I know not how to discredit it, your conduct furnishes me with a complete refutation of the slander. You, sir, invited me to occupy your pulpit, and afsured [sic] me by so doing. I would oblige you, and the friends;--you sir, repeatedly requested me afsist [sic] you at the Lord's supper, and again, and again invited me to your table, saying, with emphasis, you be happy to see me at any time.--You and your friends have complained that those advances had not been met, on my part, as you wished. I fully admit it, sir, I could only be covetous to you; intimacy was impossible. "Can two walk together unlefs [sic] they be agreed?"
Permit me to remind you that when you called on me last Monday, you said why you had not made any inquiry of me was, that you had thought it might lead to a difference of opinion, and you did not wish that there should be any difference between the old pastor and the new. Certainly a strange reason, and, as appeared to me, strangely at variance with the above statement of Mrs. Kirke.
This is not the first time you have spoken evil of me. More than a year and a half ago, when Mr. Smith informed you that I was surprised at the turn things had taken, with us put to his affair with the Church, you were pleased to say of me, ["who informed me" is crossed out] "He never succeeded with any Church, he is of no authority."
Though this was distasteful to me, yet I said nothing about it, beyond putting into Mr. Smith's hand some documents which I thought disproved it ["in his opinion and mine" is crossed out]. I wished to have it quietly and patiently, hoping there would not be a repetition of similar conduct.
["That you should have caused me, by subsequent statements, very painful disappointment is deeply regretted by,
"yours with all due respect
is crossed out]
That painful disappointment has been caused by statements subsequently made by you, as aleged [sic] Mrs. Kirk [sic], highly injurious to Christian character is very deeply regretted by,
yours with all due respect
1 The actual statement from Mrs. Kirke is in W2968, however it is repeated in this letter. The statement is in Mr. Baker's hand but Mrs. Kirke signed the statement in her own hand: "These are the words of Mr. Barker without adding or deleting from them. Agnes T. Kirke." It is dated, September 27, 1864, Newmarket, Ontario.
Enoch Barker was dismayed by Baker's refusal to see his daughter on her deathbed (W2894) and it seems that this issue is central to the quarrel between the two reverends. For further correspondence between Rev. Baker and Rev. Barker See W2975, W2982, W2984, W2986.
For Rev. Baker's letter to Frederick Wilkes regarding his affair with Rev. Baker's daughter, Mary-Anne, who was Wilke's deceased wife's sister, see W2931. An affair with a dead wife's sister was unlawful at the time and was regarded as incestuous.
2 Rev. Thomas Baker uses the archaic convention of "fs" for "ss." We have transcribed using "ss" for ease of reading.
3 See W2894 for Rev. Baker's letter to his daughter on her request to see him. The reference to "domestic matters," likely refers to the circumstance mentioned in W2894, that Rev. Baker refused to see his daughter when she asked his forgiveness on her deathbed.