There were no less than 17 William Wilson’s listed in the Baltimore City Directory of 1849-50. It appears this letter, however, was written by the one located at 135 Baltimore Street (Wm. Wilson & Sons) whose occupation is given as “commission & shipping merchant.” The firm ‘William Wilson & Sons’ was started by William Wilson (1749-1824) and included his sons, William Wilson (b. 1775), James Wilson (b. 1776), and Thomas Wilson (b. 1778).
Addressed to Messrs. Hoover & Frick, Waynesboro, Franklin County, Pennsylvania
27th October 1849
Messrs. Hoover & Frick,
Our inspections of flour this week, of all kinds, amount to about 20,000 barrels, & the sales to shippers c&5. We have not much demand for foreign account but for coastwise shipment the demand is fair, and no stock accumulates. I am in hopes that flour will not decline but we cannot tell. They have a light crop in Ohio. this, however, will not much affect our market. Wheat worth ____, corn 60 to 61 cts., rye 55 to 56, clover seed $4.50, salt $1.12 to 1.18, coffee up to 10 & 11 cts., sugar 6 to 7.
Business has been good. The accounts from Europe by last steamer indicates that a war will take place between Russia & Turkey because the Turks will not give up the Hungarian Generals ¹ who have fled to Constantinople. Austria & Prussia will sustain Russia and England & France will side with Turkey. The English & French authorities have addressed notes to Nicholas on the subject. War may be averted. The Pope is still afraid to go to Rome. ² Tyranny is again established in the eternal city by French bayonets.
We have no news of importance. The weather is now delightful for business & outdoor labor. If it is your interest to send flour to this market, I can get as good prices as any merchant here. Send me a load at W.W. Extra for reloading.
I am yours respectfully, — William Wilson.
¹ The suppression of the Hungarian Revolution forced Louis Kossuth and four Polish generals who had fought for him to to seek asylum in Constantinople. The Sultan refused to surrender Kossuth and the Polish refugees to the Austrian and Russian governments. This was the first incident in a string that would eventually lead to the Crimean War (1853-1856).
² Pope Pius IX “was considered a liberal and aroused the hopes of political liberals and of the poor both in the Papal States and throughout Italy. He began numerous political and economic reforms. Most dramatically he immediately pardoned hundreds of political prisoners, creating a sensation. He created a Council of State in order to share his power, as well as a municipal council for Rome and a Citizens’ Guard so that the middle class would be armed and support his regime. These projects raised high hopes for greater popular influence in the papal government and for Italian unification, and the disenchantment when these did not happen was severe. The reforms failed to resolve any of the grave political and economic problems of the Papal States. Pius IX refused to lead an Italian war of liberation against Habsburg Austria, because it was a Catholic stronghold. A violent uprising in Rome forced Pius to flee in November 1848. The failure of his modest liberal reforms turned him to the right, and he returned as a reactionary.” [Source: Wikipedia]