[The transcription of an unrelated document written on the same paper is included below.] W3143 TO MARIA [MUDGE] BAKER from her father-in-law Rev. Thomas Baker
Feb 12 1878
To: Maria Mudge Baker [Burwell Street], Paris, Ontario
From: 3 Bold Street, Hamilton, Ontario
Reply to Feb. 4, 18781
Dear Mrs. Alfred,
I was very glad to receive your letter; as an answer to mine had been delayed, I was becoming anxious lest mine had
not reached you. Should such a thing occur the sooner I am
informed will the probability of succefsfully [sic]2 tracing it: were it lost I may not be able to make a remittance to cover it.
I am sorry to learn that you have had Minnie with you seven weeks, John and his child two months when you wrote Feby. 4th that "you gave him good board," that "he likes to
live well,"--that, up to the time of your writing, you had
not received one cent from him, nor did he say any thing
about paying."--You also write in acknowledging my letter of the [1st?]"containing $55.00. I was very much in need for the last you sent me I had not much left after paying my rent, and finished paying for my Stove."3
Why did you not inform John of that fact and tell him, as you could not afford to keep him and his child he must pay for the board of self & child? I think it was a very fitting time for you to have informed him that of the money you received from me not one cent was designed for the
support of himself and son:--and also that I had informed
you that my circumstances did not permit me to increase the
amount of my bi-monthly remittances. It seems to me to have been a duty which you owed to yourself and to the family under your care.--You state "John has been very hard with us, but he is my poor Alfred's child and I feel for him."
This may be right in its proper measure. But have you not with you other children of Alfred who were never hard with their father or with you, but the contrary always kind? Now for these I deeply feel; for if you are not fully
remunerated for the trouble and expense he and son have been and may yet be to you, they with you will have to suffer great privations that your loss may be recovered.--
You also write, "John has not given Minnie any thing
yet, and I do not think he intends to as he will not let her have what his wife gave her before she died: he says "He needs all he has got himself"--What unmitigated
selfishness!!! Poor Minnie, she deserved from him very
different treatment. She served him kindly and faithfully in the seasons of his greatest necessity, and he should have liberally acknowledged it! She is a kind hearted girl. May
the good Lord reward her. When her poor mother was dying
[At bottom of page is written:] T. over [turn over]
she committed to Minnie, though young, the care of the family, and I have never heard that she did not do all in her power for their comfort. I hope when you make your claim you will
not receive a similar answer, "He needs all he has got for himself."
I wish there was a liberal spirit pervading the
family. If "Alice has all she can do to clothe herself on sixty dollars a year," how are the rest to be clothed? She certainly should consider this, and if she cannot impart any thing she should be careful to take as little as possible from you. She should not spare Mr. Harbin's larder at your expense.
I am glad to hear the children have been doing well at School. I hope they will be encouraged to increased
exertion. It is a sad thing for any one [sic] to be without Education. I must soon leave them, and I pray God that they all may have such an amount of knowledge secular and religious as will, through the Divine blessing, make them
useful in Society and Ornamental in the Church of God.
I am sorry to hear your health has again become feeble, and that your mother is unwell. I hope and pray both may speedily be restored.
With kindest love to you and the children, in which all here unite. And with fervent prayer to "The Father of mercies" to bless you and the family with every needed blessing for [Time??] and Eternity,
I remain dear Mrs. Alfred,
Your afft. Father Thomas Baker
P.S. I informed you, at your request, in a former letter that the board of a labouring man earning 6 dollars a week was four dollars, the board for a child 2 dollars. I shall
write and inform John of these facts. He must not live in happy ignorance of such.
A true copy of a letter sent to Mrs. Jas. A. Baker
Feby. 12, 1878
[Following is a brief letter found on the same paper as the above draft. Likely Rev. Baker used the blank space on the sheet for the draft of the letter to Mrs. Maria Baker.]
Hamilton Mutual Fire Insurance Company,
16 Merrick Street.
Rev. Thos. Baker
My dear Sir,
I send you herewith a Copy of Resolution which was passed at the Meeting of the Church held last Wednesday having reference to our late pastor and his family--Would you kindly sign the same as Chairman of the meeting so that I can send it to Mrs. Saunders.
Yours very truly
1 This is a draft or copy of the reply to Maria's letter of the 4th of February (W3137). This draft appears to have been written on the same paper as an unrelated note concerning church business. The transcription of the note is included at the end of the letter.
2 Rev. Baker often uses the archaic convention of "fs" for "ss" which we have transcribed with the current convention of "ss" for ease of reading.
3 Maria (Mudge) Baker "inherited" seven stepchildren in 1876 after the death of her husband, James Alfred Baker. Her father-in-law, Rev. Thomas Baker, provided her with financial support as she was still caring for the most of the children. However, in 1878, her eldest stepchild, John P. Baker, reported to Rev. Baker a rumour that Maria was keeping gentlemen callers for undue lengths of time and, as a result, the Reverend removed the children from Maria's care. See W3155 for details.