W3004 TO MARY JANE BAKER [MCQUESTEN] from her father Rev. Thomas Baker
Jun 18 1867
To: Mary Baker [McQuesten], Mrs. Dr. Burns' Ladies Collegiate Institute, Gerard Street West, Toronto, Canada West
From: Newmarket, [Ontario]
My own dear daughter,1
I was very glad to receive your letter last evening. In what a [wind?] of pleasure you have for some time been living!! Brought into such close contact with so many eminent [Divines?], must have raised your estimation of the Clergy; and I hope afford in you some pleasure and profit. I am glad you had an opportunity of speaking with Mr. & Mrs. Moon. I have always feared for his health, but I pray God to strengthen and preserve him to the Church [?] and a blessing. He is I think a fine spirited man, and his kind remembrance of us is proof of it.
But after all I suspect the convocation had more attractions for you than [?] [?]. I am glad you were able to attend it; I was apprehensive you would not have that pleasure, as Mr. Fraser informed me Mr. Birnie's scholars were not going. I am much pleased you were not presented as I think such meetings or assemblies tend to enlarge your acquaintance with cultivated society, and enable you to form new estimate of their worth.
We were informed of the very superior abilities of Parker and hoped you would have an opportunity of hearing him, and am much pleased that you did, and that you were so highly delighted with her performance and that of her companions. Of course as you are now a singer, you are the better able to judge of her abilities, and also of being pleased and profited by the exhibition of good singing. My daughter, what shall we do with you in poor little out of the world Newmarket, after four terms residence in Toronto with such opportunities for pleasure and instruction? You must for a time reconcile yourself to circumstances, seek after self improvement. All that you have yet acquired only places you on the threshold of the temple of wisdom, has only given you some ability to tread the path of science. May God of his infinite goodness give you health, strength, inclination and opportunity to proceed; and above all may He teach you "to know Him as Jesus whom He hath sent." Never, my dear Mary, lose sight of the great and of [?] bring "Him to glorify God and hereafter to enjoy him for ever." May this be our happy experience.
I, with you, fear that you are not to have a public examination. This probably would be pleasing to some idlers, but no doubt very disappointing and annoying to the diligent who have been working hard to prepare; however they will have their reward in the superior attainments they will have acquired, though they may miss their honor they certainly do merit.
I need hardly tell you we are counting the hours [for?] your return. Should you stay the full term, nine [short?] weeks come to-morrow only remain till your return to our own little comfortable home; which will be indeed more cheerful by your presence, and more especially if we have that for which we pray, [ever?] the presence and blessing of our heavenly Father.
Last Sabbath was communion Sabbath. The sermon was long. I spoke at its conclusion, and was much exhausted. I fear my speaking time is over. I was quite unwell yesterday, but much better to-day for which I [desire?] to be thankful to the gracious giver of all good.
I recently had a letter from Alfred, tho' bad for years, his health is better, his crops are looking well, and with part of the money which I gave him he bought twenty sheep, and they have 24 lambs, and they will have plenty of wool for which they are all very thankful to me. Indeed the whole tenor and spirit of the letter is to me very gratifying. Poor fellow I hope there is a turn in the tide of his affairs, that God will yet make him a healthy, [pure?], and prosperous man sparing him long in [blessing?] to his numerous family. Miracles will never cease!!! Alfred also informs me that he recently heard from Dr. John [Orange Baker?], and he is married, that he has but one fault in his wife, and that is "She is a Yankee." Foolish fellow!! Why did he not marry 15 or 18 years ago? Why put it off till this time? Well, I suppose it may be said better late than never. He has also left Machia and settled at [Montage?], 12 miles from the former farm. All this I very [sic] glad to learn. John is a very clever doctor and has only to get into a proper practice to do credit to his profession, and to his abilities.
I have no recollection whatever of Mrs. Mudge, though she may have heard me in Paris school house. Many know me, of whom I have no knowledge. [Of course?] you could not help meeting Sarah Mudge, but I have no wish for intimacy with any of that family. If [Lottie?] calls you must be polite, but my [?] ended with [them?] with the funeral service for Mr. Graham. You will not mention any thing of this.2
I am glad professor [?] is giving you a good lesson; it will improve you greatly, you will not I am sure begrudge your labour. You have Faust's [?] in Italian. [It?] may be very beautiful, but how can I know that since I do not understand Italian? Perhaps you will be able to translate it for me.
Dear industrious mamma has her hand at work with changing the tick of the [?] bed, out of all there was of the feather, some, plucked in the duck of old country, [?] [?] [?] [to be over?].
Now, my Mary, you must let us know if you are going to have an examination, when it is to take place, or if the school is to allow such Exhibition of the young ladies examination, when that will be.
With [kindest?] love to you my dear child, and with our constant prayers to "the Father of [miracles?]" to [?] [?] in [?] [?] [?] both for [time?] and Eternity,
I remain your affectionate Father
P.S. Do not [forget?] Mary the [?] [?], and if you want money let me know in time. I think I told you to [give?] [her?] a [?] [?] as she would like to take to Ireland, and to Church with her, and just your name in it as a present to her--Let it be handsome.
This is the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, [it?] was fought 52 years ago, when I was on my way home to England, from [?] in the St. Lawrence in Lake Ontario. The many in that terrible war have passed away and many of my subordinates, yet I am [spared?]. Thanks be to God!
1 This document was in the same envelope as W3008.
2 James Alfred Baker married Maria Mudge in 1869 and then he died in 1876, leaving his seven children in Maria Mudges's care. Rumours circulated about Maria's reputation; Rev. Baker did not approve of Maria Mudge, and proceeded to try to find homes for the children (his grandchildren) elsewhere. See W3155 for a summary.