The collection consists of a series of 48 letters sent by Francis Baylies to
General John E. Wool between 1848 and 1852. Baylies writes extensively, and often
scathingly, of antebellum era politics, statesmen, military operations, military
leaders, and social movements. Specific topics covered include the Mexican-American
War, the presidential elections of 1848 and 1852, New York state politics, and
revolutionary activity in Europe in 1848-1849.
Francis Baylies was born on October 16, 1783, in Taunton, Massachusetts. He was a great-grandson of Quaker ironmaster Thomas
Baylies (1687-1756), nephew of Hodjiah Baylies (1756-1843), an aide-de-camp to General George Washington during the American
Revolution, and brother of Congressman William Baylies (1776-1865). Baylies studied law and was admitted to the bar in Massachusetts
in 1810. He ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1818 before being elected to the Seventeenth, Eighteenth, and Nineteenth Congresses.
He was the only New Englander to vote against John Quincy Adams when the presidential election of 1824 went to the House.
Baylies ran as a Federalist, Jackson Federalist, and Jacksonian before being defeated in a re-election bid in 1827. He subsequently
served as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1827 until 1832. He was briefly appointed as charge
d’affaires in Buenos Aires in 1832, and after returning to the United States was re-elected to the House of Representatives.
Baylies married Mrs. Elizabeth Moulton Deming in 1822. He published An Historical Memoir of the Colony of New Plymouth in
1830 and A Narrative of Major General Wool’s Campaign in Mexico, in the years 1846, 1847, and 1848 in 1851. Baylies died in
Taunton on October 28, 1852..
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