Item #35602 LOT OF SIX LETTERS FROM ABRAHAM HOLMES TO WILLIAM BAYLIES AND FRANCIS BAYLIES, JANUARY 19, 1822 - APRIL 11, 1834. William Baylies, Francis, Abraham Holmes.


Rochester, Boston, MA: 1822-1834. A collection of six letters ranging in size from 8-1/2" x 11" to 8-1/2" x 12-3/4", five complete and one partial letter. All in ink manuscript on unlined paper. Old folds, light toning, occasional light foxing, two on untrimmed paper. Most are addressed on final blank page and have wax seal remnants with the usual tear where wax was torn open [occasional loss to a few letters]. Overall, Very Good.

Abraham Holmes was a Massachusetts legislator and attorney. Opposing ratification of the Constitution, he was allied with the Anti-Federalist Otis family of Barnstable and Freeman family of Sandwich. He was an Anti-Federalist delegate from Rochester MA to the Massachusetts Ratifying Convention of 1788. He served as Sergeant in Capt. Barnabas Doty's company, Col. Ebenezer Sproat's regiment, during the Revolutionary War. He was admitted to the Plymouth County Bar in April, 1800, at the age of forty-six. Though he had no formal legal education, his admission to the Bar was permitted in consideration of his respectable official character, learning and abilities, and on the condition that he study three months in an attorney's office. He served as president of the Court of Sessions prior to his bar admission, practiced law in Rochester until the early 1830s, was a member of the State Constitutional Convention of 1820, and a member of the Executive Council from 1821 to 1823. [Davis, William T.: BENCH AND BAR OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS IN TWO VOLUMES, VOLUME II. Boston: 1895. Page 235; Daughters of the American Revolution: LINEAGE BOOK, VOLUME 12, 1900, Page 15.]
William Baylies [1776-1865] and Francis Baylies [1783-1852] were brothers and partners in a Massachusetts law firm. William served as a U.S. Representative from Massachusetts in 1809, 1813-1817, and 1833-1835; was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1808-1809, 1812-1813, and 1820-1821; and a member of the Massachusetts Senate from 1825-1826 and 1830-1831. Francis was a Congressman from 1821-1827; a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1827-1832 and in 1835; and the United States Charge d'Affaires, Argentina in 1832.
Holmes's Letters are as follows:
[1] Letter to Francis Baylies, Member of Congress, dated at Boston, January 19, 1822. Holmes, then member of the Massachusetts Executive Council, awaits reports of the State legislative committees, the incorporation of Boston ["which will serve to procrastinate the session"], the "suspense [of] the acceptance of office of the Judge of the Municipal Court" and issues such as criminal trials and the death sentence. "We pass our time here in Boston... the frequent application for appointments of both proper and improper candidates is rather an uncomfortable circumstance; but not so distressing as in affixing the time when convicts shall live no longer... to determine whether a convict shall die or not.... It is probable we shall have the trial of both soon as there has been three capital convictions since I was here; one for murder and two for highway robbery. Those trials I attended; a Mr. Simmons formerly of Taunton as I am told managed the Defence; I can not record him as possessing great oratorical abilities but for integrity of arrangement and strength and argument perhaps no man of his years stands higher..." [Boston was incorporated March 4, 1822, and the same year the Boston Police Court for criminal cases and Justice's Court for the County of Suffolk for civil claims were established.]
[2] Holmes's Letter to Francis Baylies, dated at Boston, March 28, 1822. Holmes notes that the State legislative session is coming to a close. He anticipates orations which would "cause Tully to wish that he hadn't ever learned to speak; and all this for the good of the Nation."
[3] Letter to William Baylies, Counsellor at Law, dated at Rochester MA, October 24, 1828 [docketed October 25]. An interesting three pages [for lawyers, anyway], written in small yet legible hand on legal size paper. Holmes discusses, with "great anxiety" and detail, strategies and implications of the case entitled Rounseville Spooner versus Davis et ux. presentation of which had just concluded in the Massachusetts Supreme Court. Holmes and Baylies had represented Rounseville. Judge Wilde issued his decision on the following day, October 25th.
The case involved land in Fairhaven, conveyed by Alden Spooner to Walter Spooner, which later descended to Humphrey Davis's wife; but Alden Spooner later conveyed it again to Rounseville Spooner. What will be done in the case, Holmes says, "God only knows." Judge Wilde's Opinion, reported at page 147 of Pickering's Reports [Boston: 1830] gives the victory to Holmes and Baylies.
[4] Letter to William Baylies, Nov. 21, 1828. Holmes discusses his excitement over a favorable verdict. "I rode into the yard... Mr. Bassett's son met me and informed me that the verdict of the jury was in favour of our client. Do you think I was sorry? My heart jumped to my throat and with some difficulty I prevented my immortal spirit from bursting thro' the clay tenement. I am glad now that we did not use Joshua Vincent's Deposition, for they would have objected and the point [next word illegible] for the Whole Court./ The next enquiry is Compensation. But I must stop with my hearty congratulations." [Docketed on final page, in part "Thomas v. D. & wife, Nov. 21, 1828."]
[5] Letter to William Baylies, dated Rochester [MA], April 11, 1834. A lengthy, poignant letter discussing his advanced age and retirement. He no longer views political issues with the same interest; despite his overall good health he is troubled with lameness and currently lives with his son and his son's wife. "Some of my old customers are not willing to apply to anyone else."
[6] Partial Letter to Francis Baylies, December [?] 1821. "... I dread the power of some of your colleagues. Mr. Saltonstall whose abilities are competent to make white and black synonymous terms, I understand -which God forbid] is strongly intrenched in a... Battery of Bankruptcy." Item #35602

Price: $1,500.00