J. G. (John Gideon) Millingen.

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Clinton, La. has just reached me, in which you are
pleased to say, "the signs of the times relative to the
next Presidency, and the prominent position of your
name in connection with it, is a sufficient excuse for
the letter."

That "it is a happy feature in our government, that
official functionaries under it, from the lowest to the
highest station, are not beyond the reach and partial
supervision of the humblest citizen, and that it is a
right inherent in every freeman to possess himself
of the political principles and opinions of those into
whose hands the administration of the government
may be placed," &.c., to all of which I fully coincide
with you in opinion. Asking my views on several
subjects, "First — As to the justice and the necessity
of this war with Mexico on our part. Second — As
to the necessity of a national bank, and the power of
Congress for creating such an institution. Third —
As to the effects of a high protective tarifi", and the



POLITICAL LETTERS.



right of congress, under the Constitution, to create
such a sj'stem of revenue."

As regards the first interrogatory, my duties, and
the position I occupy, I do not consider it would be
proper in me to give my opinion in regard to the
same ; as a citizen, and particularly as a soldier it
is sufficient for me to know that our country is' at
war with a foreign nation, to do all in my power to
bring it to a speedy and honorable termination, bv
the most vigorous and energetic operations, without
inquiring about its justice, or any thing else connect-
ed with it ; believing, as I do, it is our wisest policy
to be at peace with all the world, as long as it can
be done without endangering the honor and interests
of the country. As regards the second and third in-
quiries, I am not prepared to answer them; I could
only do so after duly investigating those subjects,
which I cannot now do; my whole time being fully
occupied in attending to my proper official duties,
which must not be neglected under any circum-
stances ; and I must say to you in substance what I
have said to others in regard to similar matters, that
I am no politician.

Nearly forty years of my life have been passed in
the public service, in the army, most of the time in
the field, the camp, on our western frontier, or in the
Indian country ; and for nearly the last two, in this
country or Texas, during which time I have not pass-
ed one nio-ht under the roof of a house. As regards be-
ing a candidate for the Presidency at the coming
election, I have no aspirations in that way, and re-
gret the subject has been agitated at this early day,
and that it had not been deferred until the close of
this war, or until the end of the next session of Con-
gress, especially if I am to be mixed up with it, as it
is possible it may lead to the injury of the public
service in this quarter, by my operations being em-
barrassed, as well as produce much excitement in
the country growing out of the discussion of the me-
rits, &c., of the different aspirants for that high of-
fice, which might have been very much allayed, if
not prevented, had the subject been deferred, as 1
suggested ; besides, very many changes may take
place between now and 1848, so much so, as to make
it desirable for the interest of the country, that some
other individual than myself, better qualified for the
situation, should be selected ; and could he be elect-
ed, I would not only acquiesce in such arrangement,
but would rejoice that the republic had one citizen,
and no doubt there are thousands more deserving
than I am, and better qualified to discharge the du-
ties of said office. If I have been named by others,
and considered a candidate for the Presidency, it has
been by no agency of mine in the matter ; and if the
good people think my services important in that sta-
tion, and elect me, I will feel bound to serve them,
and all the pledges and explanations I can enter into
and make, as regards this or that policy, is, that I
will do so honestly and faithfully to the "best of my
abilities, strictly in conformance with the Constitu-
tion. Should I ever occupy the White House, it
must be by the spontaneous move of the people, and
by no act of mine, so that I could go into the office
untrammelled, and be the chief magistrate of the
nation, and not of a party.

But should they, the people, change their views
and opinions between this and the time of holding
the election, and cast their votes for the Presidency
for some one else, I will not complain. With con-
siderations of respect, I remain your ob't serv't,

Z. TAYLOR.
P. S. I write in great haste and under constant in-
terruption.



No. 4.
TO DR. J. T. CLARKE.

Headquarters ^rmy of Occupation,
Camp near Monterey, Mexico, June 21, 1847.

Sir : 1 have the honor to acknowledge, with senti-
ments of high gratification, the receipt of a copy of
the Resolutions recently adopted at a meeting of the
Democratic Whigs of the county of Mercer, N. J.

My thanks are specially due to my friends of the
State of New Jersey, for their flattering expression
of approval and esteem, and which 1 can assure them
is as truly reciprocated.

I embrace this occasion to remark, that if the
people of the country desire to place me in the high
office of the Chief Magistracy, 1 do not feel myself
at liberty to refuse ; but, on the contrary, in that po-
sition, as well as one more humble, it will ever be
my pride and constant endeavor to serve my country
with all the ability I possess.

Please convey these my thanks and brief acknow-
ledgments to the citizens of the county of Mercer.
I wish them and yourself much prosperity and hap-
piness. With great respect, I remain your obedient
servant,

Z. TAYLOR, Maj. Gen. U. S. Army.

Dr. J. T. Clarke, Secretary Public Meetine at
Trenton, N. J. ^



No. 5.
TO WM. HALL, ESQ., OF MARYLAND.

Headquarters ^rmy of Occupation,
Camp near Monterey, {Mexico,) July 6, 1847.

My Dear Sir : The' resolutions recently adopted
by a meeting of the citizens of Prince George's
county, Md., forwarded to me by you, have been,
with your accompanying letter, duly received.

Through you 1 would respectfullj return to those
kind friends my deep and sincere thanks for the very
high lionor and flattering testimonials of approval
which they have thus conferred upon me. If the
good people of the nation should so greatly honor me
with elevation to the Chief Magistracy, I shall, by
all zealous endeavors and to the best of my ability,
strive to serve them, and maintain the best and high-
est interest of the whole country ; yet, though I feel
impelled to yield to the call of the people at large, I
should hail with pleasure their determination to con-
fer so great a gift on some eminent statesman.

Be pleased to accept, with these acknowledgments,
for yourself and those whomyou represent, the warm
good wishes and regard of your most obliged servant,

Z. TAYLOR,
Major General U. S. Army.
Wm. Hall, Esq., Aquasco, Prince George's
county, Md.



N®. 6.
TOGEN. P. S.SMITH.

Headquarters Jlrmy of Occupation,
Camp mar Monterey, July 6, 1847.

Sir : The prospectus of a Native American paper,
to be edited by yourself, forwarded to me with at-
tached remarks from you, has been duly received.

Upon the points alluded to in those remarks, and to
which members of the Native American party re-
quire assent from those whom they favor for the
Presidency, i can only say with all candor, that if
elected to that office it must be by the spontaneous
will of the people at large, and without agency or
pledge on my part in any particular. If I ever fill
that high office, it must be untrammelled with party



10



POLITICAL LETTERS.



obligations or interests of any kind, and under none
but those which the Constitution and the high inter-
ests of the natioB at large most seriously and solemn-
ly demand.

I do not desire the Presider>cy, and only yield thus
far my assent, to be considered a candidate in the
same proportion in which it is desired by the people,
irrespective of party.

Your paper — the number which you were kind
enough to promise — will be very acceptable ■, mean-
while I can only hope it will prove useful to the
country.

Very truly and sincerely, your obedient servant,
Z. TAYLOR,
Major General U. S. Army.

Peter Sken Smith, Esq., Phiiadelphia, Pa.



No. 7.
TO DR. W. J. A. BIRKEY.

Headquarters ±,inny of Occupation^
C-amp ne-ar JMonteretj, July 13, 1847.

Sir: I had the honor to receive your letter sub-
mitting on the part of the Nominating Committee of
the Native American Convention, the request to be
informed of my views relating to several points of
National policy entertained by the body of Native
Americans of our country.

Limited leisure from my public duties coostrains
tne to reply in very general and brief terms, that to
the points cited in your letter, I do not feel myself at
liberty to express my frank opinion. My willingness
to yield to the wishes of the people at large, snd to
serve them in the office of the Chief Magistracy,
should they fully and unanimoosly place its weighty
responsibilities upon me, has been more than once
expressed, but I am not willing to be the candidate
of any party, to pledge myself to any political creed
save that which proceeds diiectly from the Constitu-
tion, and the best and paramount interests of the
country, and which they solemnly demand. Ifelect-
ed to the Presidential office, it must be without any
agency of my own, (it will be at variance with oiy
most ctierished aspirations,) and to those duties I
must go untrammelled by party pledges of every
character.

Should the people nominate and elect (and there
is ample space for this, previous to the time of elec-
tion) some one of the gifted statesmen of the coun-
try to represent its highest interests, 1 should hail the
measure with joy.

With sentiments of highest respect, I have the
honor to subscribe myself, your most obedient ser-
vant, z. TAYLOR,

Maj. Gen. U.S. Army.

W. J. A. BiRKET, Esq., President Native Ameri-
can Convention, Pittsburgh, Pa.

No. 8.
WILLIAM DOCK, ESQ., IIARRISBURG.

Headquarters Army of Occupation, )
Camp near Montery, Aug. 2, 1847. \
Dear Sir : — Your letter, enclosing to me a copy
of the proceedings of the Democratic meeting held
at Harrisburg, Pa., in which 1 find myself nominated
with 80 much honor for the Presidency, has been re-
ceived. This evidence of the high and flattering re-
gard of so many of my friends of the Keystone State
is, I assure you, most feelingly appreciated. I beg
you, as president of the meeting, to convey to the



people of Harrisburg, as opportunity may offer, my
sense of their kindness, and the assurance, that,
though sincerely distrustful of my ability to fill with
efficiency so exalted and important an office, it wilt
be my strong and zealous endeavor, should the peo-
ple decide to bestow it upon me, to serve them for
the good of the country, and as shall be required by
a strict respect for the constitution and the manifest
wishes of the whole nation.

I return you my thanks for the handsome and ac-
ceptable manner in which, as president of the meet-
ing, you have made known their proceedings to me.
With many wishes for your prosperity in life, I
remain, with high respect.

Your obedient servant,

Z. TAYLOR, Maj. Gen. U. S. A.
Wm. Dock, Esq., President of a late meeting at Har-
risburg, Pa.



No. 9.
TO HON. J. R. INGERSOLL.

Headquarters Army of Occupation,
Camp near Monterey, Mexico, August 3d, 1847.

Dear Sir: I have the pleasure to acknowledge
the receipt of your esteemed letter of the 7th ult.,
which has just reached me, in which you say:

" 1 had the honor of being called upon last evening
to address a mass meeting of the Whigs of the city
and county of Philadelphia. At that meeting, your
name was frequently mentioned in connection with
the office of Chief Magistrate. I stated to that
meeting, as 1 had before stated in my place in the
House of Representatives at Washington, that you
were a VVhig, not indeed an ultra partisan Whig, but
a U'hig in principle."

All of which is entirely correct; and after the
discussion which occurred in both Houses of Con-
gress, at the last session, growing out of the capitu-
lation of Monterey, in which discussion you thought
proper to defend my conduct in regard to that trans-
action, when assailed somewhat, if not entirely, ou
parly grounds, I can hardly imagine how any one
who was present and heard the speeches on that oc-
casion, or read them after they were published,
could well mistake the complexion of my politics.
At the last Presidential canvass, it was well known
to all with whom I mixed, Whigs and Democrats —
for I had no concealments in the matter — that I was
decidedly in favor of Mr. Clay's election, and would
now prefer seeing him in that office to any individual
in the Union.

1 must say I have no wish for the Presidency, and
cannot consent to be exclusively the candidate of a
party ; and if I am one at all, or to be so at the com-
ing election, it must be borne in mmd that I have
been, or will be so by others, without any agency of
mine in the matter. Independent of my wishes, I
greatly doubt my qualifications to discharge the du-
ties properly, of an office which was filled and
adorned by a Washington, a Jefferson, as well as
several others of the purest, wisest and most accom-
plished statesmen and patriots of this or any other
age or country. I tremble at the thoughts of the
undertaking. Yet, if the good people think proper
to elevate me, at the proper time, to the highest of-
fice in their gift, I will (eel bound to serve them, if
not from inclination, from a principle of duty, and
will do so honestly and faithfully to the best of my
ability, in accordance with the principles of the con-
stitution, as near as I can do so, as it was construed
and acted on by our first Presidents ; two of whom,



POLITICAL LETTERS.



11



at least, acted 30 conspicuous a part in framing and
completing that instrument, as well as putting it in
operation.

But very many important changes have taken place
at home and abroad, between now and the time for
holding the election for our next Chief Magistrate —
so much so, as to make it desirable for the general
good, that some one with more experience in State
affairs, should be elected as a candidate, than myself.
And could he be elected,! will not say I would yield
my pretensions, for I have not the vanity to believe
I have any for that distinguished station ; but would
acquiesce not only with pleasure in such an arrange-
ment, but would rejoice that the republic has one
citizen more worthy and better qualified than I am,
to discharge the important duties appertaining to
that position, and no doubt there are thousands. Be
this as it may, if I ever occupy the White House, it
must be by the spontaneous movement of the people
without any action of mine in relation to it ; without
pledges, other than I have previously stated ; a strict
adherence to the provisions of the Constitution, so I
could enter on the arduous and responsible duties
appertaining to said office, untrammelled; so that I
could be the President of the Country, and not of
a Party.

With considerations of great respect and esteem,
I am your obedient servant,

(Signed) Z. TAYLOR.

To J. R. Ingersoll, Esq., Philadelphia.

No. 10.
TO DR. P. S. BRONSON, CHARLESTON.

Headquarters Jlitny of Occttpation,
Camp near Monterey, Jlugusl 10, 1847.

Sir : Your letter of the 17lh ultimo, requesting of
me an exposition of my views on the questions of
national policy now at issue between the political
parties of the United States, has duly reached me.

I must take occasion to say, that many of my let-
ters, addressed to gentlemen in the United States in
answer to similar inquiries, have already been made
public, and I had greatly hoped that all persons in-
terested had, by this time, obtained from them a
sufficiently accurate knowledge of my views and de-
sires in relation to this subject. As it appears, how-
ever, that such is not the case, I deem it proper, in
reply to your letter, distinctly to repeat that I am not
before the People of the United Slates as a candidate for
the next Presidency. It is my great desire to return
at the end of this xuar to the discharge of those pro-
fessional duties and to the enjoyment of those domes-
tic pursuits from which I was called at its com-
mencement, and for which my tastes and education
best fit me.

1 deem it but due to candor to state, at the same
time, that if I were called to the Presidential chair,
by the general voice of the people, without regard to
their political differences, I should deem it my duty
to accept the office. But while 1 freely avow my at-
tachment to the administrative policy of cur early
Presidents, I desire it to be understood that I cannot
submit, even in thus accepting it, to the exaction of
any other pledge, as to the course I should pursue,
than that of discharging its functions to the best of
my ability, and strictly in accordance with the re-
quirements of the Constitution.

I have thus given you the circumstances under
which only 1 can be induced to accept the high and
responsible office of President of the United States.
I need hardly add, that I cannot in any case permit I



myself to be brought before the people exclusively by

any of the political parlies that now so unfortunately
divide our country, as their candidate for this office.
It affords me great pleasure, in conclusion, fully
to concur with you in your high and just estimate of
the virtues, both of head and heart, of the distinguish-
ed citizens (Messrs. Clay, Webster, Adams, McDuf-
fie and Calhoun) mentioned in your letter. / have
never exercised the privilege of voting ; hut had I been
called xipon at the last Presidential election to do so, I
would most certainly have cast my vote for J\Ir. Clay.
1 am, sir, very respectfully,

Z. TAYLOR,
Major General U. S. Army.
P. S. Brownson, M. D., Charleston, S. C.



No. 11.
TO COL. JOHN PICKELL.

Headquarters Jirmy of Occupation,
Camp near Monterey, Sept. 22d, 1847.
Sir : I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt
of the Resolutions adopted at the Whig Convention
of the citizens of Baltimore, which were forwarded
by you.

My views in relation to the use of my name as a
candidate for the Presidency, are evidently well
known to the people of the country, and I therefore
avail myself of the occasion, only to express my high
appreciation of the honor conferred in the terms of
the resolutions and the recommendations adopted by
the Convention.

Please make this known in suitable manner to the
citizens forming the Convention, and accept the very
best wishes of.

Very respectfully.

Your most ob't servant,
Z. TAYLOR,
Maj. Gen. U. S. Army.
Col. Jno. Pickell, President, Sac.



No. 12.



TO WM. G. WOOD, ESQ., NEW YORK.
Headquarters %lirmy of Occupation,
Camp near Monterey, Sept. 23, 1847.
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt
of your letter of July 20th, enclosing to me the pro-
ceedings of a meeting held by the Democratic Repub-
lican Electors of New York City, for the purpose of
nominating me for the Presidency.

In return,! most respectfully and cordially tender
to the citizens composing the meeting, my deep obli-
gations for the high honor conferred upon me, in the
Resolutions they have adopted.

In regard to the signification of my approval of the
spirit of the Resolutions, I have respectfully to say,
that agreeably to the spirit and intention of the course
which I have thought it advisable to adopt, ! do not
feel myself at liberty to express any sentiment hav-
ing the nature of a pledge to any political party.

! have the honor to remain, with high respect,
your most obedient servant,

Z. TAYLOR,
Major General U. S. Army.
Wm. G. Wood, Esq., President Democratic Re-
publican Meeting in the City of New York, N. Y.



No. 13.
TO GEN. P. S. SMITH.
Headquarters %9rmy of Occupation,
Camp near Monterey, Mexico, Sept. 28, 1847.
Sir : Your letter, under date of the IGth of March,



12



POLITICAL LETTERS.



has been duly received. To the inquiry, as to
whether I am disposed to accept the nomination of
President of the United St;ites, if tendered to me
from the National Native American Convention, I
would most respectfully reply, and with full appre-
ciation of the kind feeling which dictated the men-
tion of my name in connexion with the dignity and
lionor of so high an office, that, even if an aspirant
for the Presidential office, (which is not the case,) I
oould not, while the country is involved in war, and
while my duty calls me to take part in the operations
against the enemy, acknowledge any ambition be-
yond that of bestowing all my best exertions to-
wards obtaining an adjustment of our difficulties with
Mexico.

I have the honor to be, dear sir,

Your most ob't servant,

Z. TAYLOR,
Maj. Gen. U. S. Army.
Peter Ske.v Smith, Esq., Philadelphia, Pa.

No. 14.
TO HON. ANDREW STEWART.

Headquarters Army of Occupntion,
Brazos Island, Texas, A'b«. 25, 1847.
Dear Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the
receipt of your favor of the 8th of October, convey-
ing to me a copy of the proceedings of a meeting of
my Whig friends at Waynesburgh, Pa.

I have read the resolutions adopted by the meeting
with great piide and pleasure, and I beg you to con-
vey to the members of the meeting, on a suitable oc-
casion, my thanks for the distinguished honor they
have so flatteringly bestowed upon me, and my as-
surance that I have no wish or intention of changing
the position in which I stand towards the people of
the country in relation to the Presidency, or the
course which I have felt it my duty to pursue.

My thanks are due to you for the copy of your let-
ter to the Hon. Mr. Seaman, of New York. (Ad-
dressed to the New York Mirror.)
I remain, dear sir, with high respect.

Your most obedient servant,

Z. TAYLOR,
Com. Maj. Gen. U. S. A.
To Hon. Andrew Stewart.



No. 15.
TO HENRY A. MUHLENBURG, ESQ.
Headquarters Jinny of Occupation,
Brazos Island, Texas, Js'ov. 25, 1647.
Dear Sir : I take great pleasure in acknowledging
the receipt of your favor of the 9lh October, enclosing
to me a copy of the proceedings of the Democratic
Taylor State Convention, which assembled at Har-
risburg, Pa.

The resolutions of the meeting have given me
great pleasure and satisfaction, as the expression of
high respect and consideration from the people of
Pennsylvania; and I embrace the earliest moment to
acknowledge my warm appreciation of the high
honor thus bestowed upon me, by their nomination
of me for the Presidency.

To yourself, I would not fail to express my thank-
fulness for the very courteous and acceptable man-
ner in which you have conveyed to me the proceed-
ings of the Convention.

1 remain, dear sir, with high respect,

Your most obedient servant,
Z. TAYLOR, Maj. Gen. U. S. Army.
Henry A. Muhlenburg, Esq., President Taylor
State Convention, Reading, Pa.



No. 16.
TO THE CITIZENS OF PHILADELPHIA.

Baton Rouge, La., Dec. 30, 1847.

Gentlemen: Yoiu" polite communication of the
17th inst., in which 1 am kindly invited to participate
with you in your celebration of the approaching an-
niversary of the victory of New Orleans, did not
reach me until this morning.

Although now quite too late for me to reach your
city by the appointed time, I deem it proper to stale ,
that had your letter reached me at an earlier date, I
should yet, I regret to say, have been unable to ac-
cept your kind invitation. Private matters of much
importance to me, and the fact that my professional
services are at any moment at the disposal of the
government, render it necessary and proper that,
during my short leave of absence from duty, I should
remain in this vicinity. Be pleased, therefore, gen-
tlemen, to convey to ray fellow citizens of Philadel-
phia, my sincere acknowledgments for this unde-
served evidence of tiieir kind consideration, and my
great regrets that 1 am unable to make these acknow-
ledgments to them in person, as 1 am thus compelled
to forego the pleasure of meeting you on this inter-
esting occasion.

1 beg that you will accept, in my stead, the follow-
ing sentiment:

" The City of Philadelphia — The devoted patriotism
of her citizens illuminates the brightest pages of our
national history."

For yourselves, gentlemen, be pleased to accept
the assurances of my esteem, and believe me to be,
very respectfully, your obedient servant.


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Online LibraryJ. G. (John Gideon) MillingenThe Taylor text-book, or Rough and ready reckoner → online text (page 3 of 16)