Description[John E. Wool]. Francis Baylies Archive comprised of forty-five letters and two essays (giving later accounts of the 1837 Canadian Rebellion) spanning the years 1848 through 1862. All of the letters are written by Francis Baylies but two; one is written on Francis' behalf by his niece, Leonice (two weeks before his death), and one by his brother William. Francis Baylies (1783-1852) was twice elected to Congress and authored a book on General Wool's campaign in Mexico during the Mexican War.
The earliest letter dates from shortly after the end of the Mexican War while Wool was in command of the Army of Occupation in Mexico. Throughout his letters, Baylies discusses current events, both foreign and domestic, such as the French Revolution of 1848: "...the [French] King compelled to abdicate & the Ministry overthrown...a Provisional Government was established a REPUBLIC proclaimed and the King fled to England..."; the late Mexican War: "This Mexican War if it has done nothing else, has trained us well (perhaps) for more arduous contests..."; and the recent election of Mexican War hero Zachary Taylor as President of the United States. Baylies warns Wool to "...keep cool until you discover the course which the new President is about to take. Say not a word. If you find that he favours your enemies...then vindicate yourself and lay open the whole truth [regarding circumstances at the Battle of Buena Vista]. You stand very well with the nation now, and do not commence hostilities, until circumstances will warrant them." This only touches on the political intrigue that resides within the pages of these letters. This collection of letters gives a fascinating look at the behind the scenes workings of the government in the middle years between the Mexican War and the Civil War.
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