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Reply to McClure's Magazine
MARY BAKER EDDY


         It is calumny on Christian Science to say that man is aroused to thought or action only by ease, pleasure, or recompense. Something higher, nobler, more imperative impels the impulse of Soul.

         It becomes my duty to be just to the departed and to tread not ruthlessly on their ashes. The attack on me and my late father and his family in McClure's Magazine, January, 1907, compels me as a dutiful child and the Leader of Christian Science to speak.

         McClure's Magazine refers to my father's "tall, gaunt frame" and pictures "the old man tramping doggedly along the highway, regularly beating the ground with a huge walking-stick." My father's person was erect and robust. He never used a walking-stick. To illustrate: One time when my father was visiting Governor Pierce, President Franklin Pierce's father, the Governor handed him a gold-headed walking-stick as they were about to start for church. My father thanked the Governor, but declined to accept the stick, saying, "I never use a cane."

         Although McClure's Magazine attributes to my father language unseemly, his household law, constantly enforced, was no profanity and no slang phrases. McClure's Magazine also declares that the Bible was the only book in his house. On the contrary, my father was a great reader. The man whom McClure's Magazine characterizes as "ignorant, dominating, passionate, fearless," was uniformly dignified — a well-informed, intellectual man, cultivated in mind and manners. He was called upon to do much business for his town, making out deeds, settling quarrels, and even acting as counsel in a lawsuit involving a question of pauperism between the towns of Loudon and Bow, N. H. Franklin Pierce, afterwards President of the United States, was the counsel for Loudon and Mark Baker for Bow. Both entered their pleas, and my father won the suit. After it was decided, Mr. Pierce bowed to my father and congratulated him. For several years father was chaplain of the New Hampshire State Militia, and as I recollect it, he was justice of the peace at one time. My father was a strong believer in States' rights, but slavery he regarded as a great sin.

         Mark Baker was the youngest of his father's family, and inherited his father's real estate, an extensive farm situated in Bow and Concord, N. H. It is on record that Mark Baker's father paid the largest tax in the colony. McClure's Magazine says, describing the Baker homestead at Bow: "The house itself was a small, square box building of rudimentary architecture." My father's house had a sloping roof, after the prevailing style of architecture at that date.

         McClure's Magazine states: "Alone of the Bakers, he [Albert] received a liberal education. . . . Mary Baker passed her first fifteen years at the ancestral home at Bow. It was a lonely and unstimulating existence. The church supplied the only social diversions, the district school practically all the intellectual life."

         Let us see what were the fruits of this "lonely and unstimulating existence." All my father's daughters were given an academic education, sufficiently advanced so that they all taught school acceptably at various times and places. My brother Albert was a distinguished lawyer. In addition to my academic training, I was privately tutored by him. He was a member of the New Hampshire Legislature, and was nominated for Congress, but died before the election. McClure's Magazine calls my youngest brother, George Sullivan Baker, "a workman in a Tilton woolen mill." As a matter of fact, he was joint partner with Alexander Tilton, and together they owned a large manufacturing establishment in Tilton, N. H. His military title of Colonel came from appointment on the staff of the Governor of New Hampshire. My oldest brother, Samuel D. Baker, carried on a large business in Boston, Mass.

         Regarding the allegation by McClure's Magazine that all the family, "excepting Albert, died of cancer," I will say that there was never a death in my father's family reported by physician or post-mortem examination as caused by cancer.

         McClure's Magazine says that "the quarrels between Mary, a child ten years old, and her father, a gray-haired man of fifty, frequently set the house in an uproar," and adds that these "fits" were diagnosed by Dr. Ladd as "hysteria mingled with bad temper." My mother often presented my disposition as exemplary for her other children to imitate, saying, "When do you ever see Mary angry?" When the first edition of Science and Health was published, Dr. Ladd said to Alexander Tilton: "Read it, for it will do you good. It does not surprise me, it so resembles the author."

         I will relate the following incident, which occurred later in life, as illustrative of my disposition: — While I was living with Dr. Patterson at his country home in North Groton, N. H., a girl, totally blind, knocked at the door and was admitted. She begged to be allowed to remain with me, and my tenderness and sympathy were such that I could not refuse her. Shortly after, however, my good housekeeper said to me: "If this blind girl stays with you, I shall have to leave; she troubles me so much." It was not in my heart to turn the blind girl out, and so I lost my housekeeper.

         My reply to the statement that the clerk's book shows that I joined the Tilton Congregational Church at the age of seventeen is that my religious experience seemed to culminate at twelve years of age. Hence a mistake may have occurred as to the exact date of my first church membership.

         The facts regarding the McNeil coat-of-arms are as follows: — Fanny McNeil, President Pierce's niece, afterwards Mrs. Judge Potter, presented me my coat-of-arms, saying that it was taken in connection with her own family coat-of-arms. I never doubted the veracity of her gift. I have another coat-of-arms, which is of my mother's ancestry. When I was last in Washington, D. C., Mrs. Judge Potter and myself knelt in silent prayer on the mound of her late father, General John McNeil, the hero of Lundy Lane.

         Notwithstanding that McClure's Magazine says, "Mary Baker completed her education when she finished Smith's grammar and reached long division in arithmetic," I was called by the Rev. R. S. Rust, D.D., Principal of the Methodist Conference Seminary at Sanbornton Bridge, to supply the place of his leading teacher during her temporary absence.

         Regarding my first marriage and the tragic death of my husband, McClure's Magazine says: "He [George Washington Glover] took his bride to Wilmington, South Carolina, and in June, 1844, six months after his marriage, he died of yellow fever. He left his young wife in a miserable plight. She was far from home and entirely without money or friends. Glover, however, was a Free Mason, and thus received a decent burial. The Masons also paid Mrs. Glover's fare to New York City, where she was met and taken to her father's home by her brother George. . . . Her position was an embarrassing one. She was a grown woman, with a child, but entirely without means of support. . . . Mrs. Glover made only one effort at self-support. For a brief season she taught school."

         My first husband, Major George W. Glover, resided in Charleston, S. C. While on a business trip to Wilmington, N. C., he was suddenly seized with yellow fever and died in about nine days. I was with him on this trip. He took with him the usual amount of money he would need on such an excursion. At his decease I was surrounded by friends, and their provisions in my behalf were most tender. The Governor of the State and his staff, with a long procession, followed the remains of my beloved one to the cemetery. The Free Masons selected my escort, who took me to my father's home in Tilton, N. H. My salary for writing gave me ample support. I did open an infant school, but it was for the purpose of starting that educational system in New Hampshire.

         The rhyme attributed to me by McClure's Magazine is not mine, but is, I understand, a paraphrase of a silly song of years ago. Correctly quoted, it is as follows, so I have been told: —

     Go to Jane Glover,
     Tell her I love her;
     By the light of the moon
     I will go to her.

         The various stories told by McClure's Magazine about my father spreading the road in front of his house with tan-bark and straw, and about persons being hired to rock me, I am ignorant of. Nor do I remember any such stuff as Dr. Patterson driving into Franklin, N. H., with a couch or cradle for me in his wagon. I only know that my father and mother did everything they could think of to help me when I was ill.

         I was never "given to long and lonely wanderings, especially at night," as stated by McClure's Magazine. I was always accompanied by some responsible individual when I took an evening walk, but I seldom took one. I have always consistently declared that I was not a medium for spirits. I never was especially interested in the Shakers, never "dabbled in mesmerism," never was "an amateur clairvoyant," nor did "the superstitious country folk frequently" seek my advice. I never went into a trance to describe scenes far away, as McClure's Magazine says.

         My oldest sister dearly loved me, but I wounded her pride when I adopted Christian Science, and to a Baker that was a sorry offence. I was obliged to be parted from my son, because after my father's second marriage my little boy was not welcome in my father's house.

         McClure's Magazine calls Dr. Daniel Patterson, my second husband, "an itinerant dentist." It says that after my marriage we "lived for a short time at Tilton, then moved to Franklin. . . . During the following nine years the Pattersons led a roving existence. The doctor practised in several towns, from Tilton to North Groton and then to Rumney." When I was married to him, Dr. Daniel Patterson was located in Franklin, N. H. He had the degree D.D.S., was a popular man, and considered a rarely skilful dentist. He bought a place in North Groton, which he fancied, for a summer home. At that time he owned a house in Franklin, N. H.

         Although, as McClure's Magazine claims, the court record may state that my divorce from Dr. Patterson was granted on the ground of desertion, the cause nevertheless was adultery. Individuals are here to-day who were present in court when the decision was given by the judge and who know the following facts: After the evidence had been submitted that a husband was about to have Dr. Patterson arrested for eloping with his wife, the court instructed the clerk to record the divorce in my favor. What prevented Dr. Patterson's arrest was a letter from me to this self-same husband, imploring him not to do it. When this husband recovered his wife, he kept her a prisoner in her home, and I was also the means of reconciling the couple. A Christian Scientist has told me that with tears of gratitude the wife of this husband related these facts to her just as I have stated them. I lived with Dr. Patterson peaceably, and he was kind to me up to the time of the divorce.

         The following affidavit by R. D. Rounsevel of Littleton, N. H., proprietor of the White Mountain House, Fabyans, N. H., the original of which is in my possession, is of interest in this connection: —

         About the year 1874, Dr. Patterson, a dentist, boarded with me in Littleton, New Hampshire. During his stay, at different times, I had conversation with him about his wife, from whom he was separated. He spoke of her being a pure and Christian woman, and the cause of the separation being wholly on his part; that if he had done as he ought, he might have had as pleasant and happy home as one could wish for.

         At that time I had no knowledge of who his wife was. Later on I learned that Mary Baker G. Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, was the above-mentioned woman.

                                                                        (Signed) R. D. ROUNSEVEL

 

         Grafton S. S. Jan'y, 1902. Then personally appeared R. D. Rounsevel and made oath that the within statement by him signed is true.

         Before me,                                              (Signed) H. M. MORSE,
                                                                        Justice of the Peace

         Who or what is the McClure "history," so called, presenting? Is it myself, the veritable Mrs. Eddy, whom the New York World declared dying of cancer, or is it her alleged double or dummy heretofore described?

         If indeed it be I, allow me to thank the enterprising historians for the testimony they have thereby given of the divine power of Christian Science, which they admit has snatched me from the cradle and the grave, and made me the beloved Leader of millions of the good men and women in our own and in other countries, — and all this because the truth I have promulgated has separated the tares from the wheat, uniting in one body those who love Truth; because Truth divides between sect and Science and renews the heavenward impulse; because I still hear the harvest song of the Redeemer awakening the nations, causing man to love his enemies; because "blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake."

 

Excerpted from
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany
by Mary Baker Eddy, pp. 308-316


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