W4129b MINUTES OF MEETINGS OF CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH IN BRANTFORD BY REV. THOMAS BAKER 1845 to 1848
Dec 30 1845 [1845 to 1848]
To: Brantford, Ontario
From: Brantford, Ontario MINUTES OF CHURCH MEETINGS IN THE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH BRANTFORD, [ONTARIO]1
December 30, 1845 [1845 to 1848]
From the [8?] of Sept, 1841 to the 30 of December 1845, our Church meetings were of an ordinary character relating almost wholly to the receiving of Ch. [Church] members and occasionally transferring a brother or sister to another Church.2
The 30 of December  will be always painfully remembered by the Church as on that day the first attempt was made of a character to disturb its harmony.
It was as follows--A [wax?] had been played off upon Deacon Moyle, 3 and he suspecting the Pastor's sons of participating in it had charged them with so doing in a letter to their father. The young men demanded of him as he had spoken of legal proof to put it to that proof or retract his charge. He instead of dealing with them, [decided?] to involve their father and failing withdrew from the Ch.--Messrs. Jas. Wilkes and Walker / Henry Moyle being present the 2nd time only since had become member, and a stormy night as if for the purpose assisted the pastor covertly,4 but debate soon brought out the design which was intend to [win?] Mr. Moyle at the pastor's expense--
It was introduced by Jas. Wilkes saying that several of our members were dropping off and had we no rule with which to time our members might be absent without its being brought before the Ch.--that Mr. Bates & Mr. Moyle had been a long time absent and he thought it should be looked to. The Pastor informed them he had no will. He generally gave individuals a considerable time and that he had sometimes found this contagious as members returned and took their seats and there was no further trouble--that Mr. Bates had done so on two former occasions and that probably he might do so again--Mr. Wilkes was willing to pass Mr. Bates by but as Mr. Moyle was a deacon and important person he thought he ought to be attended to. The Pastor stated as Mr. Bates had been longer absent than Mr. Moyle he considered that his case should first come under notice. The Pastor stated as informed by deacon Crandon that Mr. Bates had left because he had considered himself unkindly treated by one of the members, per Jas. Wilkes when names were not mentioned/ who had presented the acceptance of the Ch. of his Seraphim Organ, and as he was a poor man and could not have a Church meeting he had withdrawn. Mr. Crandon had asked him if he would like to have a Church meeting, & he had replied it was too late has [sic] he had withdrawn. The pastor stated he hoped that in this particular Mr. Bates was mistaken--that it never would be said with propriety that his Church was a respecter of persons, that a rich man only would have favour and that the rights of a poor man would be disregarded--that Mr. Bates should have gone to the supposed offending brother as Xt [Christ] had directed him, his having failed to do so the Ch. could not take cognizance of the matter. Mr. Bates had withdrawn and the Ch. had only to consider whether the connection should be dissolved. After a very short discussion no difficulty whatever appearing or objection been made, it was voted unanimously that as Mr. Bates had withdrawn from the Ch. that his connextion with us be dissolved.
Upon Mr. Moyle's case coming under consideration came the tug of war, Messrs. Jas. Wilkes and Walker labouring hard to put the pastor in the wrong and to then evidently inclined Mr. Gould. Messrs. Day and Frederick Wilkes strenuously defended the pastor. The latter brother whilst speaking was rudely interrupted by Messrs Wilkes and Walker bawling out contemptuously, Nonsense!! Mr. Wilkes appealing to the Ch. for protection against such improper conduct, the pastor expressed his disapprobation [?]. Mr. Jas Wilkes apologized, but Mr. Walker rudely and contemptuously only threw himself on one side said Bah!! and left the Ch. slamming the door after him!!!
The debate then continued during which Mr. Jas. Wilkes charged the pastor with want of courtesy to Mr. Moyle in expressing a private correspondence and with breaking off the negotiations when the business was almost stated without any reason--this the pastor denied saying it was absurd to call a letter private which brought grave and libelous charges against his sons and calling upon him to interfere--and that if Mr. Wilkes would ask his father he could inform him his reasons for breaking off business that the pastor had received a letter from Mr. Moyle in which he brought no charge against him but against his sons, and as these did not belong to the Ch. the Ch. had no control over them--that this letter he had answered pointing out what he considered to be Mr. Moyle's duty; but yet Mr. Moyle had left the Ch. withdrawn his name from the subscription list, informing him and deacon Crandon of his having withdrawn--the pastor further stated that as the case of Mr. Moyle was precisely parallel to that of Mr. Bates, the Ch. must deal with it in the same manner, as he was not aware that there was one law for the poor and another for the rich. Mr. Jas Wilkes however wanted the matter postponed--to this the pastor objected as not wishing the Ch. to be again agitated with this question; and the meeting concurring it was voted unanimously, that as Mr. Moyle had withdrawn from the Ch. his connextion with us was dissolved.
Prior to the vote being taken the parson was compelled though very reluctant, to read Mr. Moyle's letter and his reply.
February 1, 1846.
Brother Day was proposed to the Ch. as a suitable person to fill the office of Deacon--the pastor at the same time, inquired if there were any other person or persons whom the Church wished proposed but no such wish being expressed it appeared that Mr. Day was generally approved of by the Church.
February 24, 1846.
Mr. Walker in a very rude, boisterous, angry and dictatorial manner charged the pastor with having acted in an informal and unscriptural manner, in nominating Mr. Day and that he ought not to be present at choosing a deacon. The pastor asserted his right to be present at all Church meetings, denied that he had acted informally and unscripturally--that he had not attempted to force Mr. Day on the Church--that he had acted in the usual way of transacting Ch. business. He named Mr. Day as all seemed agreed that he was the fittest person, at the same he requested the Church to name any other person or persons that might appear more eligible. Mr. Walker endeavoured to sustain his allegation assisted by Mr. Jas Wilkes--Geo. Wilkes, Gould, Mr. Day, Crandon, Frank Wilkes & Ewing defended the Pastor. Mr. Walker's behaviour was so violent that the Pastor was under the necessity of calling him to order. And when the Pastor stated that there was not that he was aware any precise method specified to be observed in the choosing of deacons, and turning to Acts 6, he respectfully requested Mr. Walker to point out from the said text the method observed, he tartly replied, I did it before. The Pastor rejoined, meekly & respectfully, if you did it, I did not observe it and I shall feel personally obliged to you if you will do it again, but Mr. Walker refused--Mr. Jas. Wilkes said we are all agreed as to the person, we only disapprove of the manner of its being done and we wish for this time that it may be done by a show of hands. To gratify Mr. Jas Wilkes, Mr. Geo. Wilkes, Walker, Gould, Mr. Wilkes, Walker & Gould, it was put to a vote by a show of hands.
Whether we should alter our mode of transacting Church business from members stating verbally their objections to matters before the Church to an expression of opinion by a show of hands:- when a majority decided that we continue to take the sense of the Church in the way in which it had usually been done during the present pastorate, namely if any member felt an objection to a measure he should state, and if not made he should be considered as consenting to it.--In consequence Brother Day in the usual way was unanimously chosen to the office of deacon.
During the debate Mr. Jas. Wilkes objected to the right of females to speak in the Ch. [see three par.'s below] Mrs. Walker said that in the choice of Mr. Day before, it was done by ballot. This the pastor observed in the present case was obviously unnecessary as there was but one candidate in whose fitness all were agreed.
At this meeting it was fully evident how totally unable some persons are to appreciate kindness. After the behavior of Mr. Walker to Mr. Fred'k Wilkes & the Ch. at the meeting of the 30 Dec 1845, I called in that gentle'n stated that it was my duty to bring the matter before the Church. But as he was his sister's husband, and as many of the family connected with the Church if he could pass it by I thought it would be better to do so, and if no persons noted it the affair might be dropped. To this Mr. Wilkes very readily consented. The Pastor was evidently wrong in conduct though kind in intention. Had he sustained the authority of the Ch. by demanding on its behalf apology from Mr. Walker, and the unpleasantness of this Ch. meeting might have been prevented --He'll do so no more.
March 31, 1846.
The Pastor read the tract "On the choice of Deacons" published by the Congregational Union of England and Wales. He also stated that upon inquiring he had found that there had not been uniformity of usage observed by the Ch. in the choice of deacons--that when Mr. Day was before chosen to the office of deacon the Rev. Mr. Lillie went round to the Ch. members and obtained their proxies on his behalf--that he did not blame Mr. Lillie for this, but that it would have been wrong for this present pastor to have done so as it would not have been in accordance with the present usage of the Church--that Messrs. Tupper and Kiss had been chosen according to that matter and that no objection had been made.--
The Pastor then spoke at some length on the right of females to take part in transacting Church business, showing their being forbidden to speak related to Worshipping Assemblies, and not to meetings for the transacting of Ch. affairs--proof Acts 1-14 Women present at the election of Matthias--1Cor XI. 5-10 power on her head because of the angels--opinion of good angels present in worshipping assemblies--2. remembering their first mother's seduction by the angel, they may be sensible of their own frailty--3. The Bishops styled angels of the Churches--to Schleemann--Speculator, Explorator. 1 Cor XI--10 i.e. propter cos, qui a paganis intereunt convintibus sairis nos observandi causa 1 Cor 14, 3.4.5. & Tim 2.8.10. [Latin may be incorrectly transcribed?]. The Pastor hoped that he had now set the matter at rest; but in this he was painfully disappointed, a lengthy discussion again taking place. Mr. Geo. Wilkes most pertinaciously adhering to the opinion he had advanced at the former meeting, and offering that of the Pastor's and of almost the whole Ch. Certainly this was not as modest a young man as should have been. He has yet to learn and practice the apostolic injunction,
"You younger submit yourselves to yr. elders, yea, but every one of you be clothed with humility."
Mr. Jas. Wilkes said during the debate that if a member advanced any thing contrary to my opinion he was considered as offending the minister, and that I talked him down. The Pastor replied that he had never considered a member when properly expressing his views as an opponent and that he had never treated him as such--that if a member had an objection to a measure he had a right to state it, and if the Pastor by kindly talking with him could remove it, it was quite right for him to do it. Mr. Wilkes again spoke of voting by show of hands & was ardently [under executed?] feelings. Mr. Day with the Pastor and some others said that by a vote of the Church it had been set at rest. Mr. Jas Wilkes replied there is no unity and it will be brought forward again. As the Pastor rejoined his declaration a threat to agitate the Church till the object was attained he informed them that he kept notes of the business transacted, and as a matter of as much importance he had taken care to record as had he considered the matter finally settled--He also felt it his duty to admonish the party who was agitating the Ch. reminding them of the harmony that had before prevailed--that the law and order of the Congregational Church had been noted by many as in favourable contrast with other churches in the town, and with its former state--that he had felt proud of them--they had cheered his heart, strengthened his hand and exalted his head: but the conduct at the late Ch. meetings had distressed his soul, weakened his heart and humbled his head in the dust. He expected them to be careful of what they were doing as the Church doing had been twice [?] but they should be a third time.
This address the Pastor has reason to believe was affirmed of by all parties except the guilty parties. They were impatient of reproof.
June 23, 1847.
This was one of the most distressing affairs with which I ever had to deal. Deacon Crandon, a man highly respected by my friend and Brother Lillie, one who had affirmed himself a faithful man to myself, had to be brought before the Church for being intoxicated. The Pastor stated that Mr. Crandon was very humble and penitent defended his fall and felt most acutely on account of the disgrace brought on the Church through him, was earnestly [deserving?] if possible all the consequences might fall upon himself. The Church after deliberating for a short time passed unanimously Resolution I. [see below]
Next the Pastor had to bring before the Church the case of Brother Mr. Walker who had been charged in the report of the Mutual Insurance Company as [inserted sentence illegible?] with having been a defaulter to the amount with intent of 1014, 14.9 (Lbs) and with having made an urgent demand in said company for 67.5 Lbs. being at the rate of 10-0 Lbs per annum for six years and nine months over and above the salary which had been receiving, while salary had not less for some years than 250 Lbs per annum. He had never made any suit claim before, and as stated in the report, it had every appearance of a claim made mainly to cover in part the [defaliution?] [sentence crossed out] without a shadow of legal claim having ever been before demanded. This claim was by Mr. Walker, after having mentioned the company with legal proceedings withdrawn and thus tacitly admitted by himself to be unjust. The circumstance leading to the detection made it appear, as not for the first time the company's money had been used, [?] case of [?] 750 [Lbs] bill at the Bank [1000 Lbs?] knew to his [?].
This in a man holding the situation of a magistrate, Postmaster and a leading member of a Christian Church is truly deplorable--as it is an indictable offence, a breach of trust an attempt at great finance. To me it is attended with great & disturbing difficulty from his connection with the Wilkes family who will for the most part make with him every effort to present the discipline of the Church being duly administered.
After a very lengthy debate Resolution 2 was passed by a majority and Resolution 3 for further particulars, see notes page 8. [Here these notes follow the resolutions 1 & 2].
Ch. Meeting June 23, 1847
That though this meeting had heard with deep remorse that Deacon Crandon has been seen several times in a state of intoxication, yet they are happy to learn that of this he sincerely and deeply repents, throwing himself entirely on the Christian kindness of his brethren, who having duly considered his misconduct, do adjudge him to be suspended from his office during 6 months from this date--to appear at the next Church meeting express his contrition for his sins and be rebuked for the same--and that he be suspended from the privilege of Church membership till this resolution be fully carried into effect--and his brethren do earnestly entreat him to join a Total Abstinence Society as by so doing, he will [screen?] himself from the prevalence of a destructive habit and the Ch. of God from detriment.
That it is with great grief that this meeting has heard the charges exhibited against their Brother Walker in the Report of the Gore District Mutual & as published in the Brantford Courier of the 12 Inst.--and that it is their deliberate conviction that he ought to be blamed, because his conduct as therein described has been very prejudicial to the interests of Morality and Religion and greatly displeasing to God and they do therefore adjudge him to appear at the next Church meeting express his sincere contrition for his guilt, and be rebuked for the same;--and that he be suspended from the privilege of Ch. membership till his resolution be fully carried into effect.
Resolved that a Ch. meeting be held in Congregational Ch. Brantford on Wednesday Evening the 14th July at 8 o'clock and that Mess'rs. Crandon & Walker do attend [foll. crossed out: "for the purpose specified in"] that the above resolutions respecting each of them be carried out.
Transmitted copies of the above June 24, 1847.
Note: the case of Deacon Crandon was very soon disposed of. But upon Mr. Walker's being brought forward and after Messrs. Jas. [?] Wilkes had made some statements as they thought proper & the Ch. had asked them such as they wished. Upon the Pastor requesting Mr. [Walker?] to withdraw that the Ch. might deliberate on the case in [?] they might come to a decision, Mr. Geo Wilkes [said] what possible need was for that?--he said it was the usage of the Ch. in the admission of members and that it was according to the Pastor's experience that in all cases affecting character relatives withdraw--that there was an indelicacy in debating such things before relations--& that it implied a suspicion of the honesty & kindness of the [brethren?] They may not mind who hears [sentence illegible?]. He replied [?] [?] and until the decision is given. The Pastor insisted upon the usage of the Ch. being complied with maintaining Ch. discipline if the refusal was permitted in and finally he reluctantly withdrew.
NB Mr. Jas. Wilkes in answer to the Pastor. Had Mr. Walker made any charge before that stated in the Courier for services rendered as reason? No.
Were the books balanced yearly without it? Yes.
After a very lengthy debate 5 of the meeting viz Mr. Gould, Mrs. Gould, Mr. Lyman, Mr. [?] & Mr. Perry wished the meeting adjourned, to this the Pastor objected as Mr. Walker had told him he should not reply to the charges through the press as he had made arrangements to pay the money and should do so--That he did not think he should attend the Ch. meetings though duly informed/ but should let it take its course. And as he had not appeared but suffered judgment to go by default it was admitting the truth of the statements & they had ample evidence to guide them to a correct decision, and that it was necessary to attend to it now for the Pastor's happiness many [one sentence inserted: and who if it were not then decided wished to be released from administering by God, suffer Mr. Walker bring [?].] who had been distressed for nearly 3 months--for the satisfaction of the Ch. many of whom complained on amount of delay--on his own the Pastor was sustained by Messrs. Ewing, Moyle, [Turner?] and Selman, Mesdames [Burwell?] [?], Kiss, Macdonald, [Green?]. The Pastor's wife who [?] opinion though she did not vote.
The conduct of Mr. [Gould?] on this occasion was most extraordinary. He did everything in his power to embarrass the meeting and shield Mr. Walker when called on for his opinion, his mind was made up, it was only when in prior two or three days he had thought at all about it, and wanted a little time to consider and he wished the meeting adjourned as the majority of those present were women, and the meeting was small, and pains had not been taken to inform the Ch. as to what was going to take place.--The usual notice had been given--He had had the Brantford Courier in his possession from the time of its publication which was ten days at least, whilst the affair had been the topic and Church talk for almost three months--.
On Thursday the 17th June he himself commenced a conversation with the Pastor respecting the state of the Church in which among other things he said--The Pastor must be pretty much discouraged then even so many things wrong in the Church--that it could not flourish much whilst so many things wrong--That he did not blame the Pastor, he had done what he could--That it could not be called a Ch., it was just a family, and that if they only hung together they could carry almost any thing they had a mind to--. That it was men/ or just/ [?] [?] and for that reason he had not attended the Ch. Meeting, for he had not taken an interest in the Ch. And could not while things were so--That with respect to Mr. Walker's affair there was but one opinion--that it was wrong, and he would not mind telling Mr. Walker so himself--that he was astonished that any man of business could have made such a claim it was one of the foolishest things he had ever known--it was a blunder--that when a man had acted as he had done in a town as large as Brantford he was done for, that no man would ever afterwards put confidence in him as a man of business.
The Pastor, among other things, replied--that he deplored the state of things--he was greatly disturbed by them--and that Mr. Gould should point out to him what was wrong and attend the Ch. meetings and help him to rectify what was amiss--That things were better than when Mr. Pine took the Ch.--that the Ch. had twice voted against [?] family and found they could not carry every thing their own way. In this [Mr. Gould?] replied that was because they were divided among themselves, but if united they could carry almost anything now. The Pastor further stated [?] he had just been to Mr. Walker's residence to inform him that his affair would be brought before the Ch. next Wednesday evening that he had been so [lashed?] on every side on account of it, that he could bear it no longer but must let the Ch. manage it--For that the morality of the Ch. ought not to be worse than the morality of the world--to which he replied certainly not Mr. Baker.
Prior to the above having taken place, when the Pastor was at Mr. Gould's residence Mr. Gould pointing to the Courier, several of which were lying on the table containing the report of the Mutual Insurance & asked him if he had seen it? He said he had, that it was a sad affair, and that we had suffered much on account of it. Mr. F. replied it was, and I dare say we have. But what was to be done about it--there was such a family. The Pastor replied we must do that which is right: taking the New Test. for our guide we must obey Xt [Christ] whatever may be the consequence. Mr. G. further
said had it not been for that claim the affair might have been got over with the directors, but the making of it and then withdrawing it was a tacit acknowledgement that it was "unjust". Mr. Gould & Lyman wondered if Mrs. Walker had been told of it. Mrs. Baker said she thought she had--to this Mr. Baker assented saying he should think Mr. Walker had told her--that if such thing had happened to him, he thought he should have told Mrs. Baker.--Mrs. Lyman said emphatically, "[im?]possible! what tell your wife you were a rogue"[?].
How are these things to be accounted for? How are they to be reconciled in the conduct of the meetings? Poor Human Nature!! They had been to tea that evening with Mr. Jas. Wilkes--the Pastor knew this, and suspecting there was something sinister in the request for an adjournment, it had no weight with him and consequently he did not comply.
Saturday evening, June 26, a letter requesting a Ch. Meeting to be called, signed by Jas. Wilkes &c unraveled all the mysteries.
July 14, 1847.
The Church met according to appointment, rather a full attendance. After singing and prayer by the Pastor, Deacon Crandon, who was one of the [?] in attendance, on being asked, "If he in the presence of God and V. Church expressed his contrition for his offence," with great Xtn [Christian] meekness replied "I do sir." The Pastor then in carrying out the resolution of the Ch. commended him for his former excellent conduct during the pastorate of Mr. Lillie and for his fidelity & kindness to himself--reproved him with frailty for his sin and affectionately exhorted him to [unsuspicion?] and clean walking with God in future assuring him that at the [nomination?] of the review of his suspension it would, if possible offend him and the Ch. greater herein to restore him to his office tho' the present circumstance gave them pain--It was a solemn and to almost all present a deeply affecting occasion. For Brother Crandon since his [?] had gained himself in the estimation of his brethren by his very Christian deportment.
Next the Pastor asked Br. Walker if had [?] the resolution of the Church? He answered
"he had."--and when asked "If he in the presence of God and the Ch. he expressed his contrition for his guilt," he loudly and angrily replied "I do not," and for these reasons: and was about to read a written document; when the Pastor interrupted him telling him that they had met to carry out the resolution of the Ch. and were not prepared for any other business, and that no intimation had been given of that which Mr. Walker asked to bring before the Ch. Bro. Walker said, evidently in bad temper, "If I am not to be heard it is no use my being here." The Pastor replied, my Brother, when I called on you I told you twice that you could attend if you pleased and speak for yourself, you said "I do not think I shall, but let it take its course." You did so, and having let judgment go by default, and as you did not deny the construct of the statements in the report of the Mutual [Insurance Co.], the Church judged accordingly, and as we met this evening to carry out the decision of the Ch.
We had not time this evening to enter upon any discussion as we have several members to propose to the Ch., who having been kept back by this affair some time, I think it would not be right to keep them back any longer. Mr. Geo. Wilkes said that as what Mr. Walker wished to read was not very long, if there was no discussion he thought he might be permitted to read it. To this the Pastor consented and Mr. Walker read a paper in terms very offensive and in a manner very boisterous--and with feelings very bitter, indeed his whole behaviour was very unchristian. He acknowledged that he took the money with intention of replacing it which he thought he should have been able to have done, as negotiations for a loan were then so far advanced that he thought he was certain of obtaining it but was disappointed as Mr. [Tenet?] had refused to take debentures at any price--that he had done wrong, but not moral wrong--but he was sorry for it since that he had prayed to God to forgive him"--that his reputation had suffered--that the Rev. Clarke of Simcoe, to whom he had related the affair before he made the claim, told him his reputation would suffer, but that he had done no moral wrong--that another individual whom he did not name of high religious character and holding an official station in the Xtn Ch. had told him "there was no moral wrong in what he had done," but it was a legitimate subject to bring before the Church--that two of the directors had told him "if he would take the situation again they would put confidence in him--that he had left himself with the Ch. expecting to be treated kindly--that the Pastor had acted like a judge of the dark ages--like a Queen's Counsel he had pleaded against him for [many hours?]--and conduct of Pastor and Ch. was compared to that of the Inquisition.--That many were not permitted to remain who knew any thing about the affair--that the Pastor had listened to reports instead of going to men who could have informed him--and not through the office was requested to be postponed only for a short time, it was not granted--that he was not informed the inquiry would take place till the Monday evening previous--that the claim he had made though he had given it up, he did not think himself the less entitled to it on that account; that he had undertaken great responsibilities, and come under heavy bonds, and he considered where ever these were there was involvement."
At the conclusion of this very intemperate document, which "Mr. Walker said he read, because sometimes persons when they spoke said more than they wished!!!" The Pastor very calmly asked Mr. Walker if he said legitimate or illegitimate Mr. Walker replied legitimate. He also remarked that Mr. W. when he called on him did not make any objection to being published in the report, only that it was published--he did not deny the facts--that the Ch. could if it pleased rescind its own resolution--that they could if they thought proper act upon the document brought before them, it was signed by the proper officers, and had been sent forth honourably and openly to the world: that it was not evidence but a verdict founded in evidence of which set it aside we must go into the evidence upon which that verdict was founded; but that would be your business for the next Church meeting.
Thus disruption was prevented and no opportunity offered for further manifestation of angry feeling much to the satisfaction of the meeting, though most if not all present felt indignant at the behaviour of Mr. Walker, he was angry and abusive.
Mr. & Mrs. Bacon were received by letter from the Presbyterian Ch. at Dunkirk, Miss Robinson from the Methodist Ch. proposed as candidates Fred'k Eliot, Mrs. West, Mrs. Skimmins, Mr. Skimmins was objected to by Mr. Gould because he had reproved him for swearing--Mr. G. expressed great fear lest his having objected should be known beyond the Ch. though he was the person who had played the double and carried out an account to Mr. Walker of the previous meeting as to very injuriously affect his mind towards the Brethren. How powerful is a guilty [cousin?].
It was resolved with but one dissentient voice that Mr. Moyle be respectfully and affectionately invited to renew his connection with this Ch. And resume his former office as deacon.
Mr. Geo. Wilkes was the dissentient who since he did not wish to state his objection--Surely "if he only spoke the truth why should he mind who heard him!" people do not always like to be weighed in their own balance.
March 1, 1848
Fred'k Eliot and Mrs. West received into Ch. Fellowship. The Pastor informed the Ch. that Mrs. Skimmins had left the town, that prior to doing so, Mr. & Mrs. Skimmins had both called on him and expressed their regret at leaving on account of the Ch. as they have never felt themselves so much at home since coming to Canada before.
The consideration of Mr. Walker's affair was postponed as he was unable to attend from domestic affliction. The Pastor informed the Ch. that he had seen Mr. Walker several times, that he had admitted the way in using the money but it was never his intention to keep it, no one believed he did, the Pastor further stated that his mind was all that he could wish and he thought he [?] and was entitled to the sympathies of the Ch.
The Pastor also informed the Ch. that Mr. Jas. Wilkes had [agreed] to act as treasurer and that Mr. C. Deacon had taken upon [?] to manage the pecuniary affairs of the Ch.--that the Ch. was greatly in arrears with the late treasurer and he recommended that the money which he had in hand belonging to the fund raised for the poor at the Lord's Supper should be given or loaned to liquidate the debt--when after some discussion, it was Resolved that as the Church is in debt to the late treasurer Mr. Jas. Wilkes nearly 20 pounds, that to indemnify him, that sum be advanced from the fund raised at the endeavour for the support of the poor.
It was also agreed if Mr. Geo. Wilkes would purchase the Base Viol used in the singing [?] and for the purchase of which money was advanced from the above named fund, that should also be paid to Mr. Jas. Wilkes for the same purpose.
1 These documents are very difficult to transcribe. They are written by Baker his own hand, in tiny script, using little punctuation and many shortcuts, such as: yr for your, Ch for church, Xt for Christ and Christian; he uses the now archaic "fs" construction for "ss." Therefore, we have attampted to make some editorial decisions to assist the reader.
These documents may be important to the history of the Congregational Church in Canada. Rev. Thomas Baker was the first minister of the first Congregational Church in Upper Canada at Kingston in 1835 or 1836. He then moved with his family of 8 children to Brantford in 1845. These minutes of church meetings illustrate his inflexible patriarchal character. His daughter by his second marriage, Mary Baker (McQuesten) (1849-1935) likely inherited her strong matriarchal inclinations from her father.
The documents on this subject and in this series are listed in the calendar as: W4126, W4129b, W4142; see also W2931; search also Rev. Baker's Biographical sketch at "Family." The pages on the microfiche are listed as 4129a,b,c,d,e.
2 These minutes deal with methods and procedures within the church congregation. There was dissention in the church with several members, with choosing deacons, church attendance, alcoholism, embezzlement, with church discipline, and with the rights of women to speak in church matters, which Rev. Baker favoured against the wishes of some of the elders, and with an accusation against Frederick Wilkes about his relationship with Baker's daughter (Mary-Anne). A relatioship with a dead wife's sister was unlawful and sinful at the time. For more on this latter subject, see W2864, W2874 and others.
3 If this word is "wax" then it may refer to an imitation of the Deacon Moyle. Also "wax" can mean "a fit of anger" in a 19th C slang context. (Concise Oxford Dictionary). In this case it may refer to an imitation of Deacon Moyle displaying a fit of anger.
4 This "dark and stormy night" phrase illustrates Baker's literary ability.
5 Meeting of March 1, 1848. Obviously Rev. Baker had been absent for a few months. He states that he had been gravely ill. According to our files, Baker's wife, Sarah Hampson Baker died in childbirth on December 13, 1847, she would have been 47 yrs. of age, and his daughter Harriett Hampson (Mrs. Frederick F. Wilkes) also died in childbirth in the same year. It is not known the nature of Rev. Baker's illness--he would have been 53 yrs. of age.
6 The scandal involved the fact that Frederick Wilkes whose wife (Baker's daughter)had died in 1847, was consorting with the Pastor's other daughter, Mary-Anne. At that time it was unlawful and sinful to have any relations with a "dead wife's sister" and Baker objected strongly. Wilkes and Mary-Anne did marry and Baker wrote to his daughter condemning her and breaking off all relations with her W2840, W2864, and with Wilkes W2931. Mary-Anne died in childbirth in 1850 and Baker refused to see her on her deathbed. Baker was severely "slandered" for his hard-heartedness toward his daughter, W2968, W2984.
7 In the Calendar, W4142 to W4143 and W4144 and W4145 are all concerned with the same subject--problems in the church. They are listed in the Calendar as dated in 1849. They are very difficult to read, and we have not attempted full transcription.
W4142 to W4143. The Calendar states "Resolutions towards obtaining possession of 'our place of worship' and names of church members expelled and suspended. [place not named]."
W4144 Is listed as "Notes of a meeting held at Deacon Crandon's: new members, church debts, etc."
W4145 Is listed as "Transferrals and admissions to the Paris church."