Towanda, PA: 17 October 1846. Single leaf, entirely in ink manuscript. The recto filled with Piollet's letter; folded for mailing, with address to "John Hastings Esq. | Brooksville | Jefferson County | Pa." Remnant of red seal on blank portion of verso. Light wear. Very Good.
Victor E. Piollet [1812 - 1890] was a Democrat, and friend and supporter of David Wilmot, an antislavery Democratic Congressman from Piollet's district. Wilmot had signaled Northern Democrats' disaffection with their southern colleagues by introducing in Congress the 1846 Wilmot Proviso which, if adopted, would have barred slavery from the territories acquired in the Mexican-American War. The resulting backlash from advocates of slavery resulted in an avalanche of opposition against Wilmot in the upcoming Congressional election.
Piollet had, as superintendent of the North Branch Canal, "employed David Wilmot, then a young, struggling lawyer, who had recently hung out his shingle in Towanda. Wilmot was grateful for the opportunity and the financial remuneration which he received. It is probable that this personal relationship existed for many years... In 1846 and again in 1847 Piollet served as a representative of Bradford County in the Pennsylvania State Legislature. The Mexican War occurred during his tenure as a legislator. President Polk appointed him a paymaster of the army. He was assigned to duty with the army of invasion under Generals Taylor and Scott." [Hazeltine, Victor Piollet: Portrait of a Country Politician. 40 Pennsylvania History, pages 1-20.1973].
Piollet writes, "The election has resulted in the election of our Whole ticket in Old Bradford by an increased majority over last year. Our Member of Congress the Hon. David Wilmot has been elected not withstanding the extraordinary exertions made use of to defeat him. During the contest the corrupt appliance of money was used to every extent that it could possibly influence the action of men - large sums were furnished from some quarter to the Whigs and basely applied to corrupt the Elective franchise. When will the people of this country make a demonstration against the demoralising influence of money. The accomplishment of no purpose will justify the use of money in Elections. I shall be happy to hear from you throughout the Legislative Session and will be pleased to serve you in any way in my power. Be sure and leave no effort undone to reelect Old Shunk for another term." Shunk was the Democrats' candidate for Governor. Item #37894