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.
Addressed to Hon. Francis James, Washington City, D. C.
January 30, 1842
Hon. Francis James
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