1842: John Parker Baily to Hon. Francis James

This letter was written by John Parker Baily (1805-1874), the son of Jacob Baily (1775-1854) and Elizabeth Parker (1778-1851) of Chester County, Pennsylvania. He was married to Mary Malin Evans (1806-1848), the daughter of Joshua Evans (1777-1846) and Lydia Davis (1778-18xx), in May 1839.

Baily wrote the letter to Francis James (1799-1886) — a congressman from Baily’s home district in Pennsylvania. Francis was born in Thornbury Township, Chester County, Pa., April 4, 1799; attended the public schools and Gauses’ Academy; studied law; was admitted to the bar of Chester County in 1825 and commenced practice in West Chester, Pa.; member of the State senate 1834-1836; elected as an Anti-Masonic candidate to the Twenty-sixth Congress and reelected as a Whig to the Twenty-seventh Congress (March 4, 1839-March 3, 1843); chairman, Committee on Revisal and Unfinished Business (Twenty-seventh Congress); resumed the practice of his profession in West Chester, Chester County, Pa.; chief burgess in 1850; died in West Chester, Pa., January 4, 1886.

1842 Letter

1842 Letter

Addressed to Hon. Francis James, Washington City, D. C.

Cincinnati, Ohio
January 30, 1842

Hon. Francis James
Dear Sir,

I wish you would have the kindness to send me the document containing the Census of 1840. I am desirous of seeing the relative proportions of the different classes and occupations of citizens — merely for my own gratification and information. Anything else occasionally will come acceptably, but I do not wish to tax you and therefore will look for none except the one mentioned above. I came out here last fall and am as yet “a looker on in Vienna.” It is a pleasant place to live & not expensive.  And while I was making money I took care to “hoard some for a rainy day.”

I wish you would tell me candidly whether it would be worth while at this late day to read law — I am just 37 years old — whether the ranks are so filled up that no money is to be made at it without a labour that would be next to death or whether I should find a pleasure in it that would compensate time & labour.

Yours truly, — John P. Baily


P. S. Mrs. Baily has gone to Friends’ Meeting. Were she here, I am sure she would send her best respects to yourself & Mrs. James. — J. P. Baily

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