Retrospection and Introspection, by Mary Baker Eddy
Books by Mary Baker Eddy
My ancestors, according to the flesh, were from both
Scotland and England, my great-grandfather, on
my father's side, being John McNeil of Edinburgh.
His wife, my great-grandmother, was Marion Moor,
and her family is said to have been in some way related
to Hannah More, the pious and popular English authoress
of a century ago.
I remember reading, in my childhood, certain manuscripts
containing Scriptural sonnets, besides other verses
and enigmas which my grandmother said were written
by my great-grandmother. But because my great-grandmother
wrote a stray sonnet and an occasional riddle, it
was no sign that she inherited a spark from Hannah More,
or was her relative.
John and Marion Moor McNeil had a daughter, who
perpetuated her mother's name. This second Marion
McNeil in due time was married to an Englishman,
named Joseph Baker, and so became my paternal grandmother,
the Scotch and English elements thus mingling
in her children.
Mrs. Marion McNeil Baker was reared among the
Scotch Covenanters, and had in her character that sturdy
Calvinistic devotion to Protestant liberty which gave those
religionists the poetic daring and pious picturesqueness
which we find so graphically set forth in the pages of Sir
Walter Scott and in John Wilson's sketches.
Joseph Baker and his wife, Marion McNeil, came to
America seeking "freedom to worship God;" though
they could hardly have crossed the Atlantic more than a
score of years prior to the Revolutionary period.
With them they brought to New England a heavy sword,
encased in a brass scabbard, on which was inscribed the
name of a kinsman upon whom the weapon had been
bestowed by Sir William Wallace, from whose patriotism
and bravery comes that heart-stirring air, "Scots wha hae
wi' Wallace bled."
My childhood was also gladdened by one of my Grandmother
Baker's books, printed in olden type and replete
with the phraseology current in the seventeenth and eighteenth
Among grandmother's treasures were some newspapers,
yellow with age. Some of these, however, were not very
ancient, nor had they crossed the ocean; for they were
American newspapers, one of which contained a full account
of the death and burial of George Washington.
A relative of my Grandfather Baker was General Henry
Knox of Revolutionary fame. I was fond of listening,
when a child, to grandmother's stories about General
Knox, for whom she cherished a high regard.
In the line of my Grandmother Baker's family was the
late Sir John Macneill, a Scotch knight, who was prominent
in British politics, and at one time held the position
of ambassador to Persia.
My grandparents were likewise connected with Capt.
John Lovewell of Dunstable, New Hampshire, whose
gallant leadership and death, in the Indian troubles of
1722-1725, caused that prolonged contest to be known
historically as Lovewell's War.
A cousin of my grandmother was John Macneil, the
New Hampshire general who fought at Lundy's Lane,
and won distinction in 1814 at the neighboring battle of
Chippewa, towards the close of the War of 1812.
(c) Copyright 1998 -
Published by Cygni Communications Ltd. North Vancouver, Canada